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Is my cardinal sick?


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I've had a loaner (ie likes to hide by himself) cardinal since day one when I picked up 11 about 5 weeks ago.  I've since lost 4 (like gone presumed dead) and I took a closer look at my loaner today and it seems to be gasping.  I'm not sure what to make of it.  I have an airstone and the other cardinals, guppies, shrimp and otos are all happy and doing their thing. 

 

Could it be sick?  what would the likely culprits be?  He's a video of the gasping so that its clear what I'm describing

 

parameters are

nitrogen: 0/0/20ish

gh 7

kh 4

ph 7.8

temp 24C

 

 

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One reason could be the temp of 24 °C, Cardinals prefer a temp range from 75-84°F (24-29 °C), the 24 °C is at the very bottom of their range. If they had a rough journey from the dealer to your LFS their immune system could already be compromised. I'd try to gradually raise the temp some and see how he reacts. And as @Colu suggested a parasite could be another suspect.

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Just another thought, if your Cardinal is wild caught it might prefer a little lower pH since 7.8 is usually the upper tolerance level for Cardinals.and the pH in the Rio Negro around Barcelos in Brazil where most of the Cardinals originate can sometimes be as low as around 4. They usually do really well at neutral pH or just slightly lower, and  It just might need some time to acclimate, but as already said if it had a rough trip already, temp and pH could add to the stress and a parasite would have an even easier time with the added stress.

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Thanks guys.  They came from ACO so they did get the trio.  I believe they were wild caught. 

This one is one of my widest/fattest cardinals.  Would a paracite cause him to get skinnier? Any other signs I should look for?  He still eats and will school up if disturbed.  He's also been hiding since day 1, or at least a cardinal has been.

 

I can't do much about my ph so if that's the case i may just have to accept a certain percent won't make it.  I did get 4 tank raised over the weekend to replace losses.  Compared to the wild ones they got their color back way faster after their trip to my house.  I may just have to be mindful of age and source now when I shop for tetra.

 

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You might already be doing this but I thought I'd mention it anyway; whenever I introduce new fish to one of my tanks I generally do so in the evening after returning from the LFS, I usually feed the rest of the community while the new arrivals are still acclimating in their bags, after the new fish are released into the tank I turn the lights off for the evening. By next morning when the lights come on my new fish normally have regained their color, and are hungry and ready to explore their new environment. I have found my wild caught Cardinal Tetras overall to be hardier, and more resilient than farm raised fish, the gene pool in the Rio Negro is just naturally bigger than the limited environment of a fish farm.

If your Cardinal has a parasite this could be made apparent by weight loss, but it isn't necessarily one of the first symptoms, there are plenty of different parasites out there. The rocking back and forth movement seems a bit worrisome, although I have seen stressed fish display that behavior and turn out to be normal a few days later as well. I've also currently got two, or three Cardinals in my swarm of 35 in the 75 gallon tank that love to hang out by themselves every once in a while and then rejoin the school later as if they had never left.

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