I"m wondering what the life expectancy is of these guys, so maybe it's old age, or is the low level of nitrates finally getting him sick?
That he perked up when the water flow increased suggests that there may be a gas exchange problem. Perhaps adding a power head or air bubbler can help move a little more water, so increase the rate at which oxygen is circulated and CO2 removed from the tank.
We have had quite a heat wave this past week. Is the tank warmer than usual?
Happy fish keeping!
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