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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all,

I have a 20 gallon tank with some fire ring danios, some red phantom skirt tetras, and some pygmy corys (about 5 of each). Everybody seems fine, except one danio that has been hanging out entirely at the surface for a while now; not sure how long, could have been a week or so. I know that is not a good behavioral sign, but this fish seems otherwise healthy and active; is it not listing at all, for instance, and has been very adroit at getting away from me as I try to corral him to get a better look. This fish seems larger and darker than his danio tankmates, in case that is diagnostic. I haven't checked the water conditions yet, but am about to do so, tho I don't think I'll find anything amiss: I changed 40% of the water about 4 days ago. I have a bubbler and a waterfall filter, so oxygen levels are probably okay.

Here is what I think the problem could be, and if so, there may not be much I can do about it: I can see under his chin what looks like a super thin 1/16th or 1/8th inch-long hair. My wife thinks it resembles a whisker like catfish might have, but I don't think danios ever have something like that. I think he swallowed a hair that got into the tank. One time I was able to pull a hair out of the mouth of a betta that had swallowed one, but in that case the hair protruded by 3/4." I have tried to corral this danio and pull the hair our a few times over the last day, each time employing a slightly different strategy, but he is too active and the hair is far too short to give me the slightest hope of success.

By the way, with the betta, it was obvious that fish was trying to "cough it out," but this danio doesn't seem to be doing anything to dislodge it. Also, not 100% of swallowed-hair theory; the "hair;" the "hair" does not protrude straight outward, but tucks back right under the chin, which is why it does look like some kind of fish whisker. Just tried to take a photo, but he did not comply.

Anything I can do to help this guy? If so,thanks for sharing!

Otherchuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info about the barbel! Very glad I didn't pull it out! This guy, as far as I could tell, had only one, so that is one reason I thought it might be a barbel. The other reason is that I looked at photos of fire ring danios online, and I couldn't see barbels in the photos I looked at.

He is still going strong, albeit still hugging the surface. Sometimes another danio will approach him and he will assertively charge the encroaching danio away, so its not like he is feeble and weak. He is larger and darker than the other danios, and maybe that means he is older, so maybe his behavior is indeed old-age-induced.

Otherchuck
 

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I had some pretty intense behavioral issues with some Danio's that I ended up returning.
One of them did hide up near the top behind the heater.
When I noticed mine coloring up super dark it turned out they were in breeding mode.
Not sure if any of this is pertinent to you but thought I'd share it.
How old are they?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Susankat,

Here is the water info. I have an API Freshwater Master test kit, and also Tetra EasyStrips, so I will report both

API test kit:

High Range ph: 8.4
Ammonia: 0 ppm (maybe a tiny bit more than 0? Pretty much 0 tho)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 20+ ppm (a little darker orange than 20 on the scale, but nowhere near the red of 40 on the scale)

Tetra EasyStrips:

Nitrate: About 20 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Hardness: Very hard
Chlorine: 0 ppm
Alkalinity: 180+
Ph: 8.4

I was surprised, but gratified, to see such reliability across two different analysis strategies. I live in a ranch association where we have our own wells and reservoir system, and I was very much aware of the fact that our water is quite hard.

I clean the tank maybe every 3 weeks (could be slightly more frequently than that) and whenever I do, I vacuum the gravel pretty thoroughly, and do about a 40-50% water change. I never do just a water change; I always do the water change as part of a fairly thorough cleaning. Last cleaning was about 2 weeks ago. I replace the charcoal filter on the waterfall filter most times I clean the tank; sometimes, though (if it doesn't look too filthy) I might just run water thru it to clear it out and return it to the housing. If I do that, I most definitely replace it the next time I clean. I don't keep a schedule to see how long ago it was since I last cleaned the tank; algae on the plastic plants and on the glass is my hint that we are about ready for another clean (and then I tend to stall a few days). After I clean, I put a dose of API Stress Coat in the tank.

Funny thing is, a few days ago, that fish seemed to be happily swimming down low like a normal fish, and I thought "Wow, he must have gotten over whatever the problem was!" But, that may have been an anomaly, because now he (or she) is back where he has been for the last couple week, hugging the surface.

By the way, re: food, I have historically fed Tetramin flakes, but I was recently concerned my red phantom skirt tetras didn't seem to be enthusiastic eaters, so (based on advice from elsewhere on the forum) I switched to Fluval Bug Bites, and I might start varying Tetramin with Fluval in the spirit of diversity. I also sometimes toss in some shrimp pellets and occasionally a spirulina wafer.

Re their age: I really can't say. I guess I have had them maybe 2 yrs? I don't know what their normal lifespan is. I found Gamgurl's comments about her danios getting dark in breeding season interesting.

That fish still does not seem otherwise sick or weak, by the way.

Thanks!

Otherchuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, and guess what? For now, that fish is off the surface again and behaving (at least temporarily) like a normal fish! Is he/she just messing with me at this point? :p Doin' what I can to maintain a favorable environment!

Otherchuck
 
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