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FAQs About Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 5

Related Articles: Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Goldfish Nutrition, Goldfish, Goldfish Varieties, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease, Basic Fish Nutrition by Pablo Tepoot

Related FAQs: Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish 2, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 3, Bloaty/Floaty Goldfish 4, Goldfish in General, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction,

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Goldfish Success
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Goldfish needs help      11/28/16
Can you please help me?
<Will do my best>
I have a 4-year-old telescope goldfish. He's been living in a 125 litre tank for the past 2 years and has been fine until recently. For the past several months I've been feeding him dry mosquito larvae (which I now think was a big mistake). That's the only thing that's been different. I noticed that he floats at the surface (right way up) and he can't dive down.
Sometimes, when he's being still, the filter current carries him to the bottom, but a soon as he tries to swim, he floats back up. He doesn't look bloated, and has been eating normally (from the surface), and he's always been a lazy fish, which is why I haven't noticed right away that something's wrong. I think this condition has lasted for at least a month,
maybe more. I haven't fed him anything for the last 3 days, and tomorrow I'll begin feeding him cooked peas. Obviously no more floating food of any kind for him. Do you have any advice? Do you think he'll recover?
<One can never tell in these instances... I might try Epsom Salt... and would have you read Sabrina's piece here:
and as much of the Related FAQs files linked above... to grant you an understanding of what is going on here; your avenues to consider. Bob Fenner>
Thank you in advance.
Re: Goldfish needs help      11/28/16

Hi Bob,
<Hey Jelena>
Thank you for your advice. I knew it was food-related, but didn't know that it had to do more with high protein content than floating, air-filled food. I'll try to feed my fish according to the info in the article. I'm worried because this has lasted for some time already, and it doesn't look like he's constipated/bloated, he doesn't flip over either, he's right way up,
just can't swim downwards. So I'm guessing it has something do to with fatty deposits mentioned in the article, or swim bladder disorder of some kind, that can't be fixed in a couple of days.
<Hopefully... though may take a few weeks>
I hope the damage isn't permanent, he's only been eating high-protein larvae for a couple of months. I'll change his diet and hope for the best. Thank you once again.
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Goldfish needs help       12/1/16

Hi Bob,
One more question: in the article it says that feeding sushi Nori to goldfish is a good idea. As far as I know, it contains iodine, and I read in several places that iodine is harmful to goldfish. Is this another myth?
<Some iodine is actually an essential (micro) nutrient. Not to worry, "unflavored", i.e. plain Nori is fine>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Just a little suggestion... Dropsy addn.   7/31/16
I noticed that you link to Wiki How's page about Dropsy
<http://www.wikihow.com/Cure-Goldfish-Dropsy>*) in your response on you FAQs on Goldfish Medications post
My page (www.landoffish.com/dropsy-treatment  ) has a lot more information about diagnosing and treating dropsy, so I believe it would be valuable to your readers if you added it as a link in your response.
Thanks for your time & let me know what you think,
- Derek from Land Of Fish
<Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish... floaty, bloaty, rdg?      6/4/15
Hi I have an issue with my fancy goldfish he has swimmer bladder disease
<Actually... this is a symptom; not a disease per se>

I think he is upside for about 3 and a half weeks I took him to the vet which he put him on antibodies and was told it was s bacterial infection the antibodies seemed to help at first but then he was upside again I tried Epsom baths and my vet also gave me a medication called Flagyl as a soak bath.
<Mmm; Metronidazole... for what?>

I tried brine fish and peas but would not eat it he is outdoor pond fish.
I also separated him in a smaller tub where he tries to swim upright for about 10 seconds. He seems to be getting weak and I don't want to lose him the problem is he has a enlarged bubble like on his side near his anus. Is there anything else I can do. I saw that is a way to deflate the bloat is this possible? And will it help. I desperately want to save my fish. I only
thing I believe that he is getting is some algae. Please help. Sincerely, Mrs. Cirocco
<Well... what type of goldfish (variety) is this? What have you been feeding? Such floaty, bloaty GF issues are common amongst rounded fancy types; ones fed too much dried food over time. Could you send along a well-resolved image?
Have you read on WWM re?
Bob Fenner>

Last ever..... GF...    5/3/13
Hello Neale , this will be my last email ever, I am taking my fish to my local privately owned fish store, I have been getting water from them (better source then softened) I still am dealing with the floaty fish and they want me to ask
If this fish has been doing this for 3 months or better and Not digesting food would he be thin and sick by now?
<Certainly thinner, yes; Goldfish can go weeks, months without food when kept cold (they more or less fast throughout winter in iced-over ponds) but indoors will be metabolising much faster, and you'd expect Goldfish to quickly lose apparent bulk (within weeks, a month) if not eating anything at all.>
He took a piece of 2 inch by 3 inch algae sheet and pulled entire piece off of clip, before I could get it he swallowed it then about 30 minutes or less later threw up almost entire piece, does this mean it was just too much or he cant digest food, reason I am asking is I gave him a pea and some brine shrimp the other day and it is coming out (poop) almost as it did when he ate it?
<Likely means nothing at all. Does he eat anything else?>
The pet store lady just wondered if there can be problems with fish not being able to digest food and this is why he has thin poop
<I'm sure fish can have situations where they digest food poorly, just as humans can; but Goldfish produce a lot of faeces, often in long brown strings, and "thin" doesn't really tell me much. Pale faeces (not brown, more clear or off-white) typically contain a lot of mucous, and these can indicate protozoan parasites in the gut, which irritate the bowel, and that in turn produces the faeces.>
He is a good eater. I am taking them on Monday (here) she set up a new tank
for them, she also uses salt, which I know is yes or no to a lot, but I
have to get them used to that too as this is one of her protocols The tank
is a bit bigger and her water is not from a softener, it is hard water.
Well any advice on this would be appreciated, little detail if you can
offer it as I only have the weekend to get him a bit better, she will feed
and care for the tank but she is not going to watch over him constantly as I
do, I have obligations coming soon and wont be able to care for them, I
will be gone a lot, and am hoping this is a better choice overall for them,
I am hurting all the time with worry and even now the concern for them when
they leave
<Good luck, Neale.>
Visit     5/14/13

Hello, I thought I wouldn't have to mail you again but I had the goldfish
that kept floating and did for about 2 months, I moved them (2 of them ) to
my local private fish store, they are friends and I can visit, so today I
did, they were acclimated to new water before I took them, they were in my
water from water softener for 12 yrs, so they are now in water that is NOT
from softener and is hard, Upon visiting today I noticed that the floating
fish is no longer floating at all at the top of tank, he swims great and
eats well,
However he stops at times and sits on gravel, for about 2 minutes then
starts swimming again, what does this mean,
<Could be many things, but my guess would be some sort of problem that
means his buoyancy is not neutral (i.e., he doesn't float in midwater) but
has negative buoyancy (i.e., he sinks). In other words, if he stops
actively swimming, he sinks down, and because that's hard work for a
Goldfish, he prefers to sink to the bottom. Now, negative buoyancy can be
caused by various problems, but constipation is by far the commonest.>
No ammonia as we tested it today, The fish store lady does use aquarium
salt, and said she put the last dose in last night, so today with thinking
it might be they aren't used to 1 tsp per gallon of salt, she took some out
and added fresh unsalted water, I went back a few hours later to see and it
did seem a bit better but right before I left I looked in on him again and
was sitting on gravel, then started swimming again
<A small amount of salt does no harm to Goldfish though whether it actually
cures anything is open to debate.>
PS I have to say when he sits on gravel it at one side of tank or the other
and a few times it looked more like sitting at a bit of an angle, not
laying on side but not straight up either, sometime leaned on glass and one
time just sitting sorta leaning its tail down with body upright and tail
laying on side
<Quite so. Since Goldfish have round undersides, they don't easily sit
steadily on the ground, and may well lean over. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Visit, GF...     5/16/13

You mentioned negative buoyancy can be caused by a number of things, I
don't understand if he is still constipated how is it that he don't float
on top anymore??
<Constipation affects the ability of a fish to swim normally; it may cause
the fish to sink, to float, or simply to roll over. It's all to do with the
mass of faeces in the colon and the relative positions of the centres of
mass and buoyancy.>
he still eats and his belly is not swollen on sides like it used to be, he
is not a round body goldfish , it is a common or comet with long tail, no
round belly, so when you say he sinks, it looks more like he goes to bottom
on purpose to sit, not sink, he swims well, it seems so now, What can we do
to help him now, as before we did all the Epsom salt and peas etc, He went
from floating on top to swimming great, with some sitting at bottom a few
minutes, you have to watch him for about 20 minutes straight to catch him
stop and sit on bottom. Just wondering as now he looks so much better and
went from one problem to a possible new one!! They tell me that freshwater
with salt added as they do with this fish is called brackish, do goldfish
like this?
<Goldfish do not particularly like or need brackish water. But adding a
teaspoon of salt per US gallon does not create brackish water! Brackish
water contains around 3-4 teaspoons of marine aquarium salt mix per US
gallon of water, and in many case two or three times that much. When you
add very small amounts of salt, like a teaspoon per US gallon, you're using
salt as a therapy. Won't harm the Goldfish used that way. Cheers, Neale.>
Just read an article on fish anatomy and negative buoyancy in fish, it was
written for wwm and makes a lot of sense, It stated that gas in the
swim bladder is what makes fish keep neutral buoyancy, can changes in water
hardness and using salt affect the blood of fish to make the gas in
swim bladder out of sorts, this one that floated all day and now swims and
will sit at times, does this mean he will not correct his swim bladder with
gas exchange needed??
<Goldfish, like all cyprinids, have a connection between their throat and
their swim bladder. In effect, they can gulp extra gas (air) if needed, or
burp out any excess.>
He does go straight up after he eats to the top and gulps air a few times
before he settles to swim around, I suppose he is trying to adjust it, but
can it actually get better from the ups and downs he has been  having with
it, one time too buoyant then next time not buoyant enough!??
<Adjusting buoyancy takes time, and if the problem goes deeper than simply
too much/too little gas in the swim bladder, it may take some days, weeks
to recover. Cheers, Neale.>
Interpet 13
what are ingredients in Interpet 13, I read on it but it don't say what it
is, sounds like only available in UK??
<A widely cited list of fish medicines states that Interpet Number 13
("Anti Swim Bladder Disease") contains Bronopol (1.045%), Formaldehyde
(1.8%) and Benzalkonium Chloride (0.5%). Formaldehyde is pretty nasty
stuff, so approach with caution. Bronopol is a widely used antibacterial
medication; same for Benzalkonium Chloride. Interpet medications do seem to
be sold primarily in the UK. From my limited experience of the Interpet
alternatives to antibiotics (such as Maracyn) they generally work
moderately well in slight infections, but much less effectively for serious
or persistent infections. I wouldn't go out of my way to use Interpet
Number 13 if I had something like Maracyn 1 + 2 at my disposal! Cheers,
Okay , did my moving my fish cause this negative buoyancy??
<You can damage the swim bladder of the fish if you bashed it around while
moving it, or dragged it up from a depth of a couple hundred feet below the
surface! But otherwise no, it's unlikely that this is the problem.>
1- when with me always floated at top after eating, till morning and would
swim fine, then eat and float
<It is what it is. Maintain and treat the fish as best you can, medicate
sparingly but judiciously, and if it can get better, it will.>
2 when we moved him we lowered water in tank and took it to the pet store,
on the frame, with tank fish and water, then she took them out with net and
put in the new tank, already filled and ready, we got fish ready for new
water with water changes of water from new home to old tank before taking
it to the pet store
3 after 3 days I visited and fish were swimming fine, only noticed this
sitting when a customer come in and said something wrong with fish , it was
just sitting in corner, then before we could see it was swimming fine,
4 we feed it and it comes to top and gulps air after eating, swims
throughout tank fine , until it wants to go to bottom and sit for about a minute??
5 it eats twice a day, flakes in am and shrimp pellets every evening I should have done this with first email, sorry, I explained it all better here in this one, What do you think , did we harm the fish when moving it making it go from floater to possible sinker?
<Unlikely. Cheers, Neale.>

Sickly Oranda…bloated but not porcupine     4/19/13
Hi There,
Thanks for taking your time to answer my question…I have tried the internet but am going around in circles!
We have two orange oranges (two years old, one about 10 cm long the other slightly smaller - which is the problem one) 1 x small black moor, 2 x fantails average sized and a Plec (the smaller kind that will not attack out fish!)
<Ah, good. I have kept Ancistrus spp. w/ my fancy goldfish for years>
out tank is 160L (a tad small for the fish maybe? but not by much?)
<About minimal, but sufficient>
 and is partially cycled every weekend.
<I take it by this you mean you change out some of the water>
We also have a CF1200 external filer which runs 24/7 (naturally).
The PH level is 6, which I know is low…it is what the tank has sat at for the last year and a bit with no problem so am hesitant to do anything now as it may affect her? tap water (will test soon for 24hr test) is about 7.2 - 7.6?
<Interesting... I might add some carbonaceous substrate, perhaps put in your canister filter if you don't like the looks in the tank... Or develop a baking soda routine (a tsp./scoop per water change period...)>
Don't have any other tests at the moment but will look into purchasing some now.
<Likely unnecessary>
Went to the pet shop where the lady owns Orandas and she said there is nothing else we can do…but I do not want to give up!
<... agreed. Give up on...?>
Now the larger Oranda and the black moor are prone to Dropsy…badly. so all our fish live off a lot of veges (mainly peas…they LOVE peas) with the odd bloodworms
<Drop these from their diet... problematical. Do a cursory search/review on WWM re>
and fry food (pellets and flakes)
<And the flakes... I use Spectrum pellets almost exclusively (some veg.s otherwise at times)...>
 that have been sitting in water a while (seems to help them not get sick…so keep doing it. I know this is a controversial topic to some).
The other week we noticed our smaller Oranda..Miranda was quite bloated. She seemed fine otherwise. Now she sits at the bottom of the tank a lot. Still eats, but when she swims near the top of the tank her bum rises up….I tend to think this is dropsy. But I am concerned her problem could be that our apple snail died a few days before she got sick….and someone ate him before we got to remove him…(he was about half the size of Miranda).
Could this be why?
<Not likely>
we've cut feeding down to once a day (usually twice) and smaller portions…
<More often (w/ the right foods) is better...>
the others are angry at me but…it helped her for a while but she seems to be losing her energy now.
In the last 48 hrs she's developed misplaced scales or bumps on one side? she is naturally quote a 'bushwhacker' so she is prone to loosing some odd scales but am concerned this has something to do with her condition.(see photos)
<These scale losses, behavior are indicative of zooming about, physical injury... Tis the Spring season, nothing to worry about... Will repair on its own>
thanks again for your time:)
<Welcome. To review, skip the sewer flies and flake food, consider bolstering alkalinity and pH w/ CaCO3 and/or Sodium Bicarbonate addn./s. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sickly Oranda…bloated but not porcupine   4/21/13
Thank you so much for your help.
We have started a baking soda cycle but doing it slowly to raise the ph level.
<Ah good>
Were also looking at new food, although haven't found the brand you mentioned (I live in new Zealand) so also going into winter not spring.
<Mmm, Hikari also makes good goldfish pelleted foods; and has much wider distribution. I think I've see it there>
Miranda seems more energetic but the lump on her side is larger? Keeping an eye on her ( well actually a him...) could this be a potential cyst?
<Could; but once again, almost assuredly the result of a mechanical injury, and not directly "treatable". BobF>

Re: Sickly Oranda…bloated but not porcupine    5/17/13
Hi again,
Thanks for all the help and advice you have given us. We have started the baking soda cycle. We did this for two weeks then found that the water PH was settling? (7.2) but our goldfish is still very sick and I am afraid she is on her last legs (or fins).
she now struggles to stay upright and lies on the bottom of the tank on her back. (well his…this is a boy, sorry old habits!)
and she appears to be gasping (breathing) rapidly. (all bad signs I know).
she's being fed peas 2-3 times a day in small portions…but the last two days she's stopped eating as when she tries she end up upside down.
I tried her in shallow water in an old tank as I had herd this may make it easier for her to swim if it was dropsy.
 but it didn't help, so to avoid stress I put her back in her old tank.
Is this dropsy? I have read that antibiotics may help?
<Can tell re the dropsy... antibiotics do (but rarely) help. Please read here:
she also had what appeared to be a bump (as I walked about earlier last month to you) this grew in size until it suddenly disappeared…(any relation? who knows?)
<The latter>
 I am feeling so helpless any advice would be much appreciated!
<When in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout... No; actually, better most times to keep reading, delving into the subject/s at hand. Bob Fenner>

Gel food, floaty GF     4/5/13
Hi everyone, I think I made a discovery with a floaty fish I have constantly been calling on all of you for advice, I keep reading till I cant anymore and one thing I noticed in all the reading is one common thread, it is the use of gel food for goldfish, I made some yesterday with baby food peas, tuna, tablet of acidopholis,some crushed pellets, Spirulina flakes, egg whites, and gelatin, so far (knock on wood) today is the first day since I can remember that after 5 hrs my fish is not sitting on top, I am still watching and hoping this food wont harm him in any way. I just need a bit more advice
In making this can I use flaked foods in mixture along with baby food peas and tuna instead of pelleted foods, I am having a time crushing them and have so many cans of flaked foods. Also wonder why this works so well??
<The lack of dried components likely. I would not use/add tuna for foods made for Cyprinodontiform fishes like goldfish; not what their dentition, nutrition, calls for. BobF>
Can you explain?
Thanks for all your time
Psyllium     4/5/13

Hello, I really need some advice here, I got online to another site to ask a question and was told to make a gel food for my floaty goldfish I have talked to you folks about a lot, I wanted to try to stop this in him, I think when I made the change to pelleted foods, it happened as he has never had these before, so he became constipated, I made a gel food with the following and need to know if it will in any way hurt him (make him worse) or help?
I used
baby food sweet potatoes
baby food green beans
garlic powder
psyllim powder
probiotic pill crushed
cod liver oil
<Not this; will likely float out, coat the water/air surface>
tuna low salt
<Not this>
wheat germ meal
mint tea
and gelatin
Please advise, Thanks
I cant get answers so I end up using others advice that I am not so confident with
Thanks for the time
Reading... Floaty GF, foods      4/9/13

Hello again my patient friends I hope!
I sent a message a few days to a week ago about a common goldfish I have that is old and he floats after he eats about every time, I READ so much in the last few weeks and have headache now! I wanted to ask about Progold, It seems on their site at least that this along with alternating Spirulina flakes is what some of the customer reviews say has helped their floaty fishes. It has a lot of alfalfa and ammio acids along with fish oil and some probiotics, some other stuff too, but Is it okay to feed old fish food with these ingredients,
I let it soak as they don't sell flakes , it soaked to a point of almost nothing left! I fed them more then a few of the pellets as I have been doing with other foods, only to read one place that (don't laugh) not unlike a horse a fish that don't get full will get gassy!! Maybe my not feeding them much worrying about floating has contributed to the issue??
<... not likely>
 I wouldn't think it is an infection as the next morning he is swimming fine, never lays on bottom and eats very well.
Could you tell me what you think about the ingredients in the food I am trying now, Progold as mentioned above
Is there something I did mention to make the claim it will help in floaty fish? What about the protein, (amino acids?)
<? These strings of words make no sense to me. >

Thanks again so very much
I hope to figure this out and not have to keep bothering you, I have been on here talking to others that their advice is actually pretty scary! One suggested I take oil and water in a dropper and put down fish throat!
<There are times, conditions that have been remedied by such action. BobF>
I don't think so!
Electrical current.... GF Helter Skelter!  More and more chatting  4/12/13

Hello, still trying to figure out why I have this floaty old common goldfish that sits vertically at top of tank, I noticed he bends his tail while sitting there and sometimes when swimming, He can straighten it but now I am seeing it bend at the base where it meets his body, I am feeding peas, and doing the Epsom salt stuff, and now have him on Medigold. I was reading about the bent tail, and wonder what your thought are on electrical current or shock, I have a 13 yrs BioWheel that hardly flows water out,  but still makes the wheel turn . What do you know about electrical shock or current in fish tanks?? would if affect both fish or possible just one? I watch my nitrates too, have read about them being a problem in floaty fish
Thanks again
<Problem/s you have are not related to electrical current. By the sounds of things, this filter is close to dead. As Bob and I have been saying OVER AND OVER, your consistent, repeating troubles are environmental, and nine times out of ten that means "filtration". So if this filter really is dying, and after 13 years any cheap filter probably is, then run now to your nearest aquatics outlet, buy a decent, high capacity filter, and install at once. Ideally, leave the old filter running with the new one for at least 2 weeks, ideally 4, so the bacteria from the old one can colonise the new. While you're at the store, take a look at the aquariums on sale; as I recall, you have a 10-gallon unit, which (again) as Bob and I have pointed out, is much too small for Goldfish. For one or two Goldfish, even 20 gallons is tight, so look at the ones around the 30 gallon mark. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Electrical ?? Backwards swimming......      4/12/13

I am sorry to bu ya once again! I don't know who else to call upon, I read some people ask question about backward swimming to top of tank with tail up and head down, but not much in the way of any answers, This is what my floaty goldfish does , he also when he goes to top backwards, he bends his tail, as if it is his rudder???
<Fish can indeed swim backwards; no cause for alarm in itself.>
I am thinking I might be off track here in treating him for swimbladder, I would assume it would be getting better with all I am doing?? What could cause this swimming, It is this
He will get to bottom , root around then all of a sudden his tail shoots up from behind him and off he goes to the top and usually stays, I sent this as I am now discovering this, he used to shoot up horizontally, now it is like this, weird but I will do anything suggested to help him, have already invested quite a bit of money for this or that as suggested on some site!!
<Not really clear what you're getting at here. Goldfish do indeed root about at the bottom for food, then swim away in midwater. If this Goldfish has swimming problems or there isn't enough oxygen in the water, then yes, his swimming may be jerky or flustered.>
But once I get it I am not sure if I should use it as the answers on some sites are not reliable
<As you observe Cathy, be careful what you read; not everything given away for free on the Internet is a bargain! Why not buy a fish magazine today? Those are written by experts and proofed by editors, and that means what you read will be reliable. Even if not about Goldfish, the articles will give you lots of background tips and information. Some magazines are sold for the iPad and other tablets too, often quite cheaply, so if your local store does't carry a title you like, you may be able to get it there. Otherwise, find sites you can trust. This is one of them (many of us write for magazines) but there are others like FishChannel and TFH that have lots of articles plus good online forums where you can ask questions and share concerns. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Electrical current     4/12/13

Thank you, I did put a new filter on last night, It is just a fast flowing filter , Now they have two good running ones, I do have a 20 Not a 10 gallon, I am sorry to keep bothering you but when you've had fish this long it is not unlike having dogs or cats a long time
<Quite so, and I'm honestly pleased that you're trying so hard to look after your pets properly. Would sooner a dozen emails from one person that cares, than no emails from dozens of people who don't care!>
Thank You again
Hope your vacation was a good one!
Have a good day
<Vacation was great, thank you, but sadly, on the way home today! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Electrical ??Backwards swimming    4/12/13

Thanks for understanding, Yes I really care!!
<I'm sure that's true… or you wouldn't keep coming back!>
Epsom salt helps him some, but I when I add it to where it helps him, the gh goes to 40-60 on test tube,
<As it should. This is actually quite low general hardness; Goldfish appreciate somewhat hard water, so I'd actually be aiming for general hardness around 100-150 mg/l ("slightly hard" to "moderately hard" on your test kit results card).>
Although I know it shouldn’t be 0 as it always is,
<General hardness of zero is bad for your fish.>
can this change harm them and how long can I leave the Epsom salt in??
<I would use indefinitely, and if your water is normally very soft (general hardness close to zero, certainly below 50 mg/l) I would be using the Epsom salt as a permanent addition to all batches of new water during water changes.>
Would aquarium salt work good too?
<No, not quite the same thing. While adding a little salt *can* be beneficial in certain situations, it isn't something you want to use every day.>
Thanks again
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Electrical ??Backwards swimming    4/12/13

okay I will put some in now and again as I do water changes,
<Not randomly; use Epsom salt as we've directed. Around a tablespoon per 5 US gallons works well in most situations: try this, use your general hardness test kit to see that the general hardness is somewhere on the "medium hard" scale on whatever results chart/card comes with your test kit.>
One more thing for real for today anyhow! Will Epsom salt or changing the hardness of water stress fish and especially will it alter my other parameters as they are good, My kH is 180
<This is good for hard water fish including Goldfish.>
and nitrates 20-40
<Somewhat higher than ideal, but shouldn't cause major problems.>
and no ammonia, no nitrites,
<All good here.>
Just checking before I continue
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Electrical ??Backwards swimming... Squawk!  – 04/13/13

this fish is in trouble , he lays on his side at top now, can I give him a
tiny piece of Epsom salt in a pea??
<No!!! Epsom salt is NOT a medicine. You can't feed it to a fish to make it
feel better. Think of Epsom salt as a therapy -- you wouldn't eat a
physiotherapist, would you?>
What do I do??
once he starts swimming ok but hard to get to bottom then floats to top and
sits and then goes on side. What about that oil and water in his mouth I
mentioned in one email, the Epsom salt I read about but don't know if
either is safe, this happened after he ate again, I fed him bit of gel food
mixture with baby food peas and probiotic and some crushed pellet food,
<Concentrate on ensuring the aquarium is a good place to live. Do water
changes. Check the filter is working. Test for nitrite (or ammonia, though
nitrite is better). Check the pH. If your fish can get better, it will do
so only if given the right conditions. Cheers, Neale.>
Could I be changing too much water out I have changed about every day for
past week??
<Do not change more than 20-25% on any one day. See my previous e-mails on
this topic. Make sure when you add Epsom salt, you add the right amount for
the bucket of water, not the whole tank. So if your bucket contains 2.5
gallons of new aquarium water, you'd add about half a tablespoon of Epsom
salt alongside the water conditioner.>
When this fish starting doing this today after eating he went really fast
around tank eating bubbles, and gulping surface air, can they get air in
body and make them float, what to do about this if so?
<Read, review our last few (maybe many) e-mails. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Electrical ??Backwards swimming
I am checking water, If it were water wouldn't the other fish be affected too?
<Maybe, maybe no; when it's cold outside, does everyone come down with the flu at the same time…? Genetic variation plays a big role.>
The only change now is the gH, it has gone up from 0 with my using Epsom salt, I keep doing water changes, Should I add more Epsom salt to tank,
<With each 20% water change, each day, add the right amount of Epsom salt for each bucket of water added to the tank. See previous email.>
what about Epsom salt bath, how do you do that, or should I??
Have you dealt with this before, what do you do?
<Yes, have had fish with dropsy; treat with Epsom salt and improving environmental conditions.>
My filters are both good and running, large airstone, it has a lot of bubbles, Large pump I guess is making so many bubbles, Oh boy I am scared
<Seems so; not helpful. Cheers, Neale.>
I read all the time, I don't have all my emails to you? Just don't know
what to do, the ammonia is good,
ph is 8
<Fine for Goldfish.>
nitrates 40 and nitrites 0,
just tested gH is 120 climbed from 60;
KH is over 180
<Also good. Cheers, Neale.>

actually I cant tell if my ammonia is 0 or 0.25 as the color is hard to
tell , in some light it looks 0 and others 0.25,
<Go with the nitrite test and forget about the ammonia test. If water
quality is a problem, both ammonia and nitrite will reflect this, but so
long as nitrite is zero, you'd all good! Do, of course, ensure your water
conditioner neutralises any ammonia (and chloramine) in your tap water.>
I tested my tap and it is the same way, now with this I have to tell you
that I had water tested at health dept when last fish died, it said we do
have ammonia in water, so we purchased from a water company that said they
have to install a large whole house catalytic carbon filter that has
sulfaban to remove chloramine, chlorine and sulfur and iron, this is what
they said would remove ammonia from our water, I don't know if this would
have something to do with all this as the other fish is not bothered at
<If it's safe to drink, it's safe for fish.>
Okay just letting you know, thanks for being here!
<Welcome. Neale. Signing off now. Been up for some 36 hours now, travelled
halfway round the world and need some sleep. Cheers, Neale.N>
Okay the fish I keep mailing about that floats pretty badly at top most of
them time, has this pattern, so strange, he was really bad last night, I
woke to find him swimming perfectly fine, gracefully, along bottom, middle
He looked slender on sides, no bulging, and I cant tell if he poops as it
goes right in filter,
<As it should.>
Now when I feed him he will eat fine, absolutely no problem, then he starts
going to top and sucking in air, then before I know it he is sitting up
there all day and when it is bad he flips on side for a second then back,
but still stays up there, if he had a swim bladder,
<Yes, he has a swim bladder. He's meant to. But if you're asking if he has
a swim bladder infection? Unlikely. Constipation can cause a fish to lose
buoyancy, and swallowing air can cause a fish to gain buoyancy. But because
Fancy Goldfish have deformed swim bladders and deformed spines, any slight
changes in buoyancy are much harder for them to correct than normal fish.
This is a fact of life for many Fancy Goldfish, and the risk you take when
buying them.>
or infection or anything wrong, why wouldn't he just stay at top or sit on
bottom?? IT is like he gets air or gassy, after he eats from going along
top and either looking for more food and as he does this he takes in air,
Do they get gassy and it causes pain?? How do I fix gassy in a fish!
<Why not try sinking foods instead of floating foods? Algae wafers sold for
Plecs make an excellent staple for Goldfish, assuming the fish can feed
naturally at the bottom of the tank (big glass pebbles and such won't make
it easy for Goldfish to feed, but sand or fine gravel is fine).>
It has to be because of his routine of going to top after eating?? I know
he thinks there is food there, even if I feed him sinking pellets, He knows
this is where it is dropped in from, either pellets, flakes, peas any of
Thanks for the help
I must think of a way to stop him from going to top after he eats,
something to scare him away!
<This sounds a bad plan.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Hid the bubbles... More Neale/GF chatting     4/14/13

I do feed him sinking foods, and I anchored plastic plant over where he
goes to eat bubbles, still good today, you mentioned the different ways
they use bubbles for buoyancy for different levels will my putting these
plastic plants in the area he eats bubbles hurt him if he needs them for
buoyancy, seems to be keeping him away for where he goes to eat the
bubbles!! BUT if he has to get bubbles, then I will move them out, He is
Not a fancy goldfish, it is a common or comet goldfish
<Without getting into the physiology of swim bladders too much (yes,
periodically some fish do gulp air to inflate the bladder) what you're
seeing is normal foraging behaviour. Goldfish root about in the mud and
nibble at plants, and bubbles in this case are almost certainly only
accidentally swallowed rather than deliberately consumed.>
Thanks for you help
I did as you said despite my desire to try many things and add this or
that, and did nothing, seemed to really work for him
<Indeed. Glad to help, Neale.>
Re: Strange??

Hello, I just ordered seaweed select algae sheets with floating clip, will this aid in his problem with floating and constipation along with all other foods you recommended??
<Seaweed Select is a fine food for many fish. Not all go for it at once though… don't be afraid to not feed other foods for a few days if the algae isn't eaten.>
I want to help him , the plants seem to be working keeping him from the air that he eats, might be what causes him gas??
<Plants aren't giving him gas, no.>
This algae I ordered can be given daily??
Thank you again
<Welcome, Neale.>
water sprite. Neale GF penance ongoing       4/16/13

Hello, I have a few questions, cant find the answers to with searching
1-Will the algae sheets I purchased aid in the constipation issue I have with one of my fish (common goldfish)
<Somewhat, yes.>
2-If I get a water sprite plant, do I have the water conditions for it, if I don’t will the plant become toxic to my fish, I have never had a plant before!
<Water Sprite, Ceratopteris thalictroides, grows in most conditions. It's quite easy to cultivate.>
I have ph 8 gH 20-40 on test strip, no nitrites, no ammonia, and nitrates around 40
3. I read this Very often, constipated goldfish lose equilibrium, tending to float upside down, yet still maintain their appetite and otherwise healthy appearance for a while. Too often, if this condition is permitted to persist, it will evolve into a fatty accumulation within the body of the fish that can be ultimately fatal to the animal. 
<Indeed, much as with people. A poor diet for a few days or weeks can cause constipation and other short-term problems; a poor diet month after month, year after year will cause serious health problems, possibly life-threatening ones.>
I've been working on this for about two months, off and on with not a lot of improvement, is this what it mean if permitted to persist , or are you talking longer ?
This worries me, as I have been using all things suggested to aid in constipation with improvement at times, and at times none
<Quite so. Do what you can do. It may well be that this fish has some deformity and will always be prone to problems. Stick with the good diet and better water quality, and see what happens.>
I found that putting a fake plant near the water filter where he gets most of his bubbles shortly after eating (cant understand why he does this) has stopped him from floating so far today at least!!! Don’t know as far as long term, this is why I ask about the live plant, how long do you have to have light on it each day if I have plenty of light coming in from windows?? Providing I can even get one if water conditions are correct for purchasing it
4. Would providing this plant as I have read it takes minerals out of water cause my fish to stress, I might be wrong with what I read here , not sure, but it said something like , lives off water minerals etc
<Not a problem to worry about. Crop the plant back once it covers more than, say, half the surface of the tank, but otherwise Water Sprite is not demanding or dangerous.>
Thanks,. I am still trying here! I appreciate the help
<Welcome, Neale.>
Fatty accumulation      4/16/13

Whoops on one of my last question that I read on your site ,I made mistake
in the question , I highlighted  catching it in time, but didn't put the
rest in their about providing you catch it in time or it will cause a fatty
accumulation resulting in fish stress and maybe death
What does this mean regarding the fatty accumulation?
<As per humans; animals can store fat around certain internal organs, and
do so naturally and for good reasons. But if too much fat is stored on the
organs, the organs themselves may stop working properly -- fat around the
heart is the classic example in humans. So while this isn't something to
worry about too much, it's a risk if you feed (for example) a herbivore
like a Goldfish a rich, meat-based diet for month after month.>
This is why I asked about the time frame of fixing this constipation
problem with my common fantail type goldfish
Okay enough for now I guess , My eyes are seeing things not here from being
on here so much reading!
Thanks again
<Welcome, Neale.>
Interesting! Not      4/17/13

Well this is interesting to me anyway, this floaty goldfish is pooing a
large clear bubble, I thought he had a blister on his underside, it is
floating to his side, (he is not finished yet) and does NOT swim jerky as
he has been,I fed him for the first time ever a few bits of frozen brine
shrimp tonight, I didn't do anymore peas as I felt they were making him
gassy, he actually would look like he was in pain, float to top and had a
bit of bend in his tail, he looks graceful tonight, hasn't done this in a
long time, what does the bubble poo mean??
<Honestly no idea, but likely better out than in! Cheers, Neale.>
Thanks, Had to tell someone
and see what they think

Okay I got my algae sheets, ocean nutrition seaweed, (is this algae?)
I followed directions and put in tank, and this floaty fish ate it all so
fast I could hardly get it back out of tank, NOW what do I do??
<Use regularly, as often as you want. Sushi Nori from an Asian food store
may be cheaper and is functionally identical.>
I was trying to watch his food so he can get better, seemed to be working
and then he hogged about 1/16 of the sheet before I could get it out
properly, I thought they would graze on it, the other fish didn't even get
any!! By the way , that feces I mailed about last night being like a big
bubble, it was and when he finished 2 hrs later, I got it out of tank, was
a big bubble with all clear string and at the end was a piece of colored
part, that brine shrimp must have made him really go!!
<Brine shrimps are a laxative.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

I think I a might be making progress on my floaty fish, three days now!! I
fed him his original flaked food, very little for two days, and some brine
shrimp made him go! and some seaweed, Ocean nutrition green algae type, SO
FAR he is good!! I better knock on wood! I wondered a few more things. The
frozen brine shrimp is made by Hikari, Is this a safe food as some say it
can cause parasites,
<Completely safe. Brine shrimps live in high salinity environments,
stronger than seawater, and don't carry parasites that affect fish.>
And it did thaw very little by the time I got it home, it still had ice
crystals on it and I put in freezer is it still safe??
<Best not to refreeze foods; can cause problems in humans, and perhaps fish
How often can I feed the brine shrimp??
<Daily if you want.>
How often can I feed the algae sheets (pieces)
Thanks so much
<Welcome, Neale.>
Going     4/19/13
Okay I got this floaty fish going now (bowel movements) he is either going
twice a day or one long very long strand once a day taking him hours to
finish, what does this indicate?
<Goldfish defecate frequently; if there's adequate fibre in their diet, the
faeces shouldn't form a long "string", though stringy faeces are common
among aquarium Goldfish fed standard flake foods.>
It is impressive, and he always feels better, How can I tell if he is
getting an impaction out finally or just going from eating the brine shrimp
and seaweed??
Thanks for the help
It really helps me to hear from you so I can try to keep helping him! Your
very kind.
<Kind words indeed, Neale.>
WetWebMedia Crew" <crew@wetwebmedia.com>
Subject: Black poo
In regard to last message I sent, he finally finished either one very long
bowel movement or the second for the day , I looked closely at it and in
doing so I felt a piece of something tiny and hard, it was like a very tiny
black stone, his entire stool except for the clear mucous was very dark,
almost like black chalk when I put it on a paper towel?? What does this
mean , if you have any idea please tell me what to do, I seen this once
when about a month ago, I add a piece of Spirulina to his very sparingly
fed Wardley flakes in the am, then the brine shrimp, does it have pieces of
hard substance in it, and would the Spirulina mixed with light colored
flakes do this?? Has this any indication as to his problem and am I
treating it as I should?
<Faeces vary in appearance, and provided the fish is otherwise healthy and
feeding normally, don't worry. Cheers, Neale.>
The floaty fish
one other thing I want to mention, I notice that when he eats he fills out
so to speak and looks that way all day, then in the mornings he looks very
slender, no look of plumpness, so slender from about after his head down to
tail? Does this indicate anything unusual?
<Nope. Nothing much if he fills up normally after the next meal.>
I do not know anymore how much to feed him so I am feeding him very very
little, with the flakes, then a few pieces of brine shrimp and a bit of
seaweed algae
Am I underfeeding him, is this why he floats??!! Not enough food in stomach
I am still trying to get him on track
<Just feed normally and don't worry too much about floating. If this fish
can settle down, it will, but only if given a moderate, balanced diet.
Bulking out the diet with fibre, e.g., spinach, peas, pondweed, seaweed,
etc. will help.>
Thanks '
Cathy Hart
<Welcome, Neale.>
Burping (please read soon)
Hello again, I am just wanting to be sure I am not missing something here
with the floaty goldfish, I wrote how his constipation has improved with
the use of brine shrimp, Yesterday he did sit a lot at top of tank, (today
I didn't give the brine shrimp) only flakes (soaked) and some Spirulina and
the ocean nutrition green algae. Last night I looked before going to bed and
he moved to a point toward the airstone and actually had A LOT of bubbles
coming out of vent, he then dropped to bottom of tank and some more bubbles
came out of his mouth. After that he sit normally at bottom and still is
this morning I suppose until I feed him,
!- What is a swim bladder infection? Symptoms?
<Unless you are a vet, you cannot diagnose an infection of the swim bladder
as opposed to an infection of any other part of the internal organs.>
2-Why did he do this bubble release from vent?
<It is normal for some fish to eliminate swallowed air via the anus.>
3-should I medicate with Maracyn 2 or something?
4- Do they still make jungle medicated food,
<Can't answer this; Jungle Medicated Food was never sold in the UK to begin
with; consult with your local retailer.>
 I have tried the Medigold and he gets to floaty on it, cant continue more
then a few days
If you think I need to do something more then what I am , let me know, I
change water, feed brine shrimp, and other foods,
Sorry to keep bothering you, He loves to eat, I would think that if
something was wrong he is dying he wouldn't be so hungry? he is active in
the morning before eating, as he is looking for food, then he sits at top,
he stopped swimming jerkily since I got him to defecate, so this part has
improved a lot, should I still use the brine shrimp??
<Just carry on with the good care: good water quality, regular water
changes, and the high-fibre diet including green foods. If this fish can
get better, it will, though often Goldfish have congenital issues that may
never be resolved. Cheers, Neale.>
Carry On      4/20/13
Okay , I will keep doing what I am doing, the water changes brine shrimp
and gonna change to new life spectrum thera a
I read its not good to give brine shrimp everyday, is it okay to use
<Adult brine shrimp should not be the only food used everyday because they
lack certain nutrients. But they can be used everyday alongside other
foods, whether greens, flake or whatever.>
If this has been an issue with being gassy with air and constipation , how
long does it take to get it going in right direction, if impacted will it
take more then one good poo??!!
<No idea. Cheers, Neale.>
I took some pics of my fish to send you, might help with something I don't
know, Keep in mind this tank is nothing special to look at but it is what
they are very used to. Notice on the white fish it has this skin on face
that looks peely or dry, has for awhile now and then there is my gold one,
mr floaty!! Don't know if you can tell anything special from looking at
either of them as to what might be a clue here to what might help the gold
one that floats at top after eating
Thanks again
<Nothing revealed by these. Cheers, Neale.>
 last message
(we'll see; NM's thoughts on what the Daily FAQ is…)
in regards to the photos I sent, I found that if you click on the attachment instead of scrolling the pic wont be so large!
<Hmm… what else to say that hasn't been said many times already… sending large photos or else 10+ MB of them straight from your camera or cellphone aren't helpful; please do sort through, crop and/or resize photos beforehand… if a photo is bigger than 500 KB to 1 MB, then it's too big, and you're likely to clog up our e-mail system and make it a hassle for those of us with slow network connections to download, view the images.>
But if you want to get a close up look,then scroll, I hope this can be of some help in figuring this out, if there is anything to figure out, I wonder now about the white one with black indented dot in middle of nose and swollen nose??
<Cathy, time to stop writing for a while. There's nothing specifically wrong with this fish that we/I can diagnose from a photo or textual descriptions. It's not apparently in a life-threatening situation, and whatever has caused problems in the past were either environmental or developmental, and can't be fixed with drugs or therapy… get the environment right and time may allow the fish to get back to normal, if that's possible. If you want to "chat" about your Goldfish, then the Daily FAQ isn't the place to do that; I happen to like fishforums.net but there are many others including those on the popular magazine websites such as FishChannel, TFH and PFK. Lots of nice folks on these forums will chat with you about Goldfish, offer up tips and suggestions, and give you positive feedback on your hobby. So what's the Daily FAQ for then? Specifically, life-threatening or otherwise urgent aquarium questions that can't be easily answered by reviewing the regular WWM pages and FAQ archives. Feel free to write in when something dramatic happens and you need our thoughts, but do also bear in mind I'm six time zones away from you, at least, so I may not answer your question for some hours, even a day, after you send it in, so don't think of the Daily FAQ as a "911" service. We're all volunteers here, and you're helping us to help others if you try to use other resources (like the archived FAQs and articles) before you write in, and you're also more likely to get a quick solution to your problem if you search for it yourself. Meantime, join a forum and buy and aquarium book; both these things will help you make the most of your hobby! Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish With Hemorrhaging and Swim Bladder Issue 10/14/12
I have a 4 year old fancy goldfish alone in an established 50 gallon tank.
As you can see she is floating upside down and blood is pooling in her belly area- this is NOT due to injury or trauma- it started out as tiny pinpoints of blood that looked like a rash and has progressed over the past few days. The area that is red is the area that sticks up out of the water as she is floating (could be from drying out?). Her scales are not lifted, she has no intestinal blockages- I have been feeding a couple peas per day and they pass. She was upright a week ago- this is very sudden. I change 30% of the tank water twice a week.
<I do not see any images attached to your email. This sounds like a bacterial infection to me. Take a look at the images on this page:
The images start about half way down. The hemorrhaging you described sounds a lot like the second photo. That your fish is floating upside down might indicate an infection in the swim bladder as well. Antibiotics for aquatic use are readily available >
Thank you!!
<Welcome and good luck. Rick>

Re: Goldfish With Hemorrhaging and Swim Bladder Issue 10/14/12
Thank you Rick-
The photos do look similar but the bleeding in my fish is much more extensive.
<Unlike dogs, where illness is very noticeable, it very easy to wait too long before treating an illness in a fish. This is especially true if it happens to occur during a period where you are busy. Always better and easier to treat as early as possible.>
I have put Kanaplex in the water now since I have read that Kanamycin is one of the few antibiotics that can be absorbed through a fishes skin. The fish is still hungry but I am afraid to feed her: can food make the infection worse or is it okay to give some vegetables? I can make some gel food with Kanaplex in it if this would help.
<Feeding with medicated food is an excellent idea.>
Thank you so much!!
<Again, you're welcome. Good luck. - Rick>
Re: Goldfish With Hemorrhaging and Swim Bladder Issue 10/14/12     10/16/12

Last email, Rick:
<Keep emailing if the problems persist.>
I made some gel food last night using Kanaplex and the fish is eating (she is quite hungry, actually). Unfortunately when I tested my water this morning I am getting a reading of 10 ppm ammonia. I did a 50% water change but am still detecting ammonia which it is especially serious since the pH of my tank water is 9.05 (this is cutting my horrid tap water with 50% RO water). My tap water is pH 9.5 and even pure RO water still has a pH of 8 after going through the filters. 
<It's rare indeed when I find somebody with harder, more alkaline water than mine! Maybe use pure "RO" water here if it still has a little hardness.  (Might mean you need new filters in the RO system.)>
I know I need to hit this infection with an appropriate dose of antibiotic but the stuff I added to the water is killing my good bacteria (even though the product is not supposed to do so, according to the rep).
<It will after continued dosing after a little reading on the Seachem forum. It suggests resting the tank for 3-4 days to allow the beneficial bacteria to recover.>
I chose Kanaplex because it can be mixed with food, is one of the few meds that is actually absorbed by the fish and it one of the best rated for very high alkalinity (and I happened to have several vials of it in case of emergency).
<Ah, good.>
What can I do to reduce the impact on my filter? How deadly is 5 to 10 ppm ammonia in a pH of 9.05? I hate to NOT add medication to the water if it gives the fish a better chance, but ammonia poisoning is just as lethal.
<I think you want to get some zeolite crystals and add it to the filter path if possible. They absorb ammonia. Now, in my opinion this is not a permanent solution, just something to get you past the illness.  Once the fish recovers or passes, then it's time to look for a more permanent
solution to the ammonia problem.>
I am treating the fish in her tank as she is too big for a hospital tank- I drained out quite a bit of the water for comfort for the fish (she was swirling all over the place trying to right herself) and to ensure that my oxygen levels in the tank stay nice and high during treatment. I have 25 gallons in the tank (about 5 inches of water) which keeps the fish much calmer than when it was full.
<Interesting. Diligent water changes. Less room for the fish waste.>
 Should I stop adding medication to the water and concentrate on feeding her the antibiotic food instead? The Kanaplex frustratingly does not give a dose in relation to the fishes weight- they just say to add a level scoop to 1 tablespoon of food paste. Hopefully I am giving her enough- I am not sure if it is safe to add more and the rep that I
called did not understand what I was asking when I called to find out how much Kanaplex I needed to treat a 340 gram fish.
<I'd try the Seachem support forums and see if you can get a good answer that way in terms of dosing by fish weight or mass.
I think that if you can get the ammonia under control with zeolite, then continue dosing the water. If not, then just in the food.  See also if you can get some java moss or the like to put into the tank to help absorb the ammonia.>
Sorry for my long letter but the fish is still very interested in food and I am clinging to the slim hope that I may be able to save her. She was my very first goldfish and is infinitely precious to me so I am most grateful for your advice.  
<We all have fishes that we grow fond of. Write back if this doesn't work.>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Rick>
Re: Goldfish With Hemorrhaging and Swim Bladder Issue 10/14/12    11/8/12

Hi Rick:
Just wanted to give you an update on this fish: I made gel food with the Kanaplex (I never did find a correct amount per weight so I just made it up as per directions and fed the fish a little bite every 20 minutes to keep the antibiotic in the bloodstream). I also raised the temperature of the tank up to 30 C to kill off any Aeromonas. It took about a week and a half
for the bleeding in the stomach to disappear and about a week after that she was still upside down but at the bottom of the tank rather than the top. She has since flipped upright. She is still lethargic but has very much improved- thank you so much for your help with this fish!
<Great! Sounds like you are making good progress. Keep it up. It's easy to let down your guard after you see the fish starting to recover. Hopefully the recovery will continue and the fish will live a long and happy life. -

tried searching, GF nutr.     4/16/12
Hello, I tried to search your website for probiotic use in goldfish after using Medi gold , I have a package of jump start and wanted to find out if it Is a good food to use for fish that seem to get floaty after eating, I typed it in the search and a lot of diseases come up, can you give me your exact web address for searches and also if you don't mind just telling me what you think of using this food, I read it might cause floatiness in fish that already seem to have problems with it and other places I read it is a must after antibiotics?
<Cathy, just read here:
Fish don't need probiotic anything, any more than humans do. Sure, folks'll sell you all kinds of stuff. But a healthy, balanced diet is as good for fish as it is for us. Cheers, Neale.>

2 more questions, GF foods, int. parasites 4/14/12
I have an arsenal of fish food, trying to get the poo not to be long and stringy, I have tetra fin, Wardley flakes (low protein) aqua masters wheat germ, and one that I don't quite know what to think of it, it is apparently for pond goldfish and talks about feeding in certain temperature, Hikari sinking pellets, wheat germ, thinking one of these would help, I don't know what to think of this last one as it talks about temperatures, is it okay to feed this to inside fish in aquariums??
<Yes. In ponds, Goldfish are fed regular food between late spring and early autumn, wheat germ (low-protein) food in early spring and late autumn, and potentially no food at all in winter if it is colder than 10 degrees C.
Indoor Goldfish are kept at the same temperature, so they can be fed whatever you want, though if the room is cooler in winter, it wouldn't be a bad idea to reduce food and bias it towards plants and/or wheat germ pellets.>
What food preferably flakes as they tend to find this for some reason easier then pellets, (two cant see) would you recommend?
<See above.>
Then my last question is , is it possible for them to have internal parasites if nothing other then new water from water changes and the food I give has ever been introduced into the tank??
<Unlikely, but if the fish were infected when you bought them, and they probably were to some degree, environmental stress can cause parasite loads to go right up, causing health issues.>
Nothing live, no different water, no plants,
Thanks a lot
Ill not bother again for a bit!

<Real good. Neale.>
Medi-gold 4/14/12

Hello, I have been giving my goldfish Medigold for 7 days now, they were sitting on the bottom even with water changes and checking parameter, one would sit horizontally at top, I thought I might try this as nothing else would work, the pea, changing food, etc. is it okay to give this to them , it contains Krill, fish meal, wheat germ, soybean meal, fish oil, 38 percent protien,12 percent fat, vitamin c, and much more vitamins and minerals,
the med is sulfadimethoxine and ormetoprim sulfa, I guess since I have been giving it to them my question is if they didn't have bacteria will it hurt and if they did will it help, they don't sit on bottom anymore, I worry about the krill, I read you shouldn't give it to them everyday??
<You shouldn't use any meaty food daily; Goldfish are herbivores! Much better to use pond weed and (ideally) wheat germ or algae-based flake as the staple, regular flake 2-3 times a week, and something like krill as an occasional treat.>
Should I stop now its been 7 days or continue the 14 days as suggested
<Always use medications to the full number of days stated by the manufacturer.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish food 12/15/11
Hello, I have to keep giving one of my goldfish a pea every night as he seems bloaty floaty! They are older fish and I want to give them a better flaked food,
<Mmm, no. There are none that are really useful. Instead look for and use either Spectrum or Hikari brand pellets for goldfish. Read here re:
this is all I want to use as they are sort of blind ( two of them) and I cant find the food suggested from you,
<Use the Internet to order it, have it delivered if not available locally>
I have a place that I can order and was suggested this a low protein food called Aquamaster?? Have you ever heard of it and do you think it will help them with their constipation problem, It is made for Koi but they said it will be ok for goldfish too?? I am currently using Wardley flakes, protein is 39 percent.
Thanks Again
Cathy Hart
<I wouldn't use Wardley period.>
PS I don't like pellets as they get stones in their mouths going after it
<You need larger or much smaller stones then... Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish food
Everyone is very down on Wardley, why?? Also Tetra Fin?? 12/15/11

<Wardley's foods and a good many of their other product lines have a negative reputation due to "putting more effort into their marketing" than research and development IMO... Tetra is a fine, venerable line, though the co. has gone through too many hands in recent years. Their flake foods are generally excellent, but NOT a good staple for goldfish in my and many other peoples' experiences. Thank goodness and for other folks making much better. Read where you've been referred. BobF>
Re: Goldfish food... "teach a person to fish..." 12/15/11

Thank you very much, However I cannot open the link you sent me in regards to fish food, can you send it again or maybe send another, it just goes to an error page
<Mmm, please use the search tool (on every page), searching for "goldfish foods, feeding, nutrition". B>

Female Oranda with chronic mushy belly 9/30/11
I am writing in regard to my 5 year old female Oranda who has been lethargic for months but with no specific symptoms. She is transiently floaty and has trouble keeping balance: her back end floats up and she sometimes flips upside down but is easily able to right herself. She is a super-pooper and has never had issues with constipation. Her feces is not trailing or white; nor does it float or contain air bubbles.
<Good reporting>
When she becomes floaty she tends to try to stay toward the bottom of the tank, skimming along the gravel surface. When she is in this "phase" she often retreats to her measuring cup for several days and refuses to eat.
She once stopped eating for an entire month.
When she does emerge from her cup, she acts normally, begging for food and swimming about the tank with no apparent distress. During these "phases" she appears absent of all floatation woes and likes to be in the middle of the tank or near the top where she enjoys playing in the water currents created by the filters.
Since her floatation issues are transient I am wondering if it is related to her food. I feed her homemade gel food and perhaps it is too rich or the gel is causing problems. Could this be possible?
<Possible but not likely>
She is such a big fish (her body is about 7 inches long, not including tail) that the size of that all the pellets I can find are all too small and the Koi pellets seem to all be of the floating type.
<There are some sinking types, but these are almost always too-high in protein content... there are some "winter" feeds made in Japan, but I've very rarely seen these in the states. I feed my fancy goldfish nothing but New Life Spectrum pelleted food... and have for, gosh, the last decade or so>
The homemade food contains beet tops, carrot, zucchini, garlic, squash, yam, peas, stabilized vitamin C, salmon fillet, Spirulina, a dash of wheat germ, a small amount of Cream of brown rice, Knox gelatin and Vegegreen capsules. She also gets fresh vegetables and fruit as treats twice a week (mango, banana, strawberries, zucchini and peas). It may be my imagination but she often seems to get floaty right after eating the gel food and I can't figure out what may be causing this. I tried to eliminate gassy vegetables such as broccoli from the mix. I feed her quite a small amount (about the size of 8 peas) twice a day.
She is entering one of her floaty phases now, and is looking at me very morosely from the corner of her tank (the sheer guilt has prompted me to write).
I examined her this morning and found nice, red, healthy gills, clear eyes, and fins intact with no blood streaks. I examined a skin scraping under the microscope and did not find evidence of parasites. Likewise with a sample of her feces. The only thing I noticed that is out of the ordinary is that her belly between her ventral and pectoral fins is quite soft and mushy.
What does this indicate? Could this be related? There is scant information about this is the forums.
Thank you for your help: Gina de Almeida
<Worthwhile for you to switch foods, try the NLSpectrum product. Your fish may just have "genetic troubles" as too many goldfish do nowayears, but I'd try the commercial food. BobF>

Goldfish floating issue 6/6/2011
I recently (about 3 months ago) purchased three goldfish. About a month and a half after purchasing them one of them was found floating dead at the top of the tank for what appeared to be no reason (unless I was potentially overfeeding them, I cut back a little on this).
<Good... but what food/s?>
After cleaning the tank recently I noticed that one of the two remaining goldfish was having buoyancy problems, he seemed to float helplessly to the top and really struggled to make it close to the bottom. The buoyancy issues seemed to pass after a few days but when I cleaned the tank again this time the issues seemed to have returned.
I was wondering if you could suggest something, I've never owned fish before and I don't want them to be in distress.
<Yes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm
Likely the problem is either nutritional and/or environmental. As you give no data re either...>
Yours Sincerely
Brittany Patterson
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

yet another floaty, bloaty goldfish! 9/14/10
hi my fantailed gold fish is bloated and hardly moves around. what do I do
<Do start by reading. Most Goldfish are killed by their owners through lack of proper care. Pay particular attention to their need for a large, filtered aquarium -- 30 gallons minimum -- and that their diet needs to be mostly fresh greens like pondweed and spinach rather than flake.
It's a shame Goldfish are so inexpensive because it leads people to assume they're cheap and easy to keep; they're not, and that's why most of them have short, miserable lives before their owner somehow kills them through neglect or whatever. I hope you're not one of those people! If you need more information, please e-mail back. Cheers, Neale.>

Hi re bloated goldfish 9/3/10
Hi , I recently bought my daughter two gold fish,
<Without wanting to be a killjoy, Goldfish are not good pets for children.
Among other things they need a large aquarium -- at least 30 gallons/150 litres -- and those cute plastic My Little Pony aquaria sold to appeal to children are DEATH TRAPS as far as Goldfish are concerned.>
after two weeks, one of them has started to swell around the abdomen, It seems happy, its not constipated and eats normally just doesn't look right, any suggestions very welcomed .
<Abdominal bloating can be caused by a number of things, including constipation and dropsy, this latter usually associated with the scales sticking out like a pine cone when the fish is viewed from above. I want to be surprised and find out you're keeping these fish in a tank at least 30 gallons in size with a big strong filter. Unfortunately experience tells me that most parents who buy their children pet Goldfish do so without having read a single book beforehand, and they end up sticking a couple of "small" (i.e., juvenile) Goldfish into a 5-10 gallon plastic aquarium or God help us a bowl. Do read here:
That article will tell you what you need AT MINIMUM to keep Goldfish humanely. Sure, people keep Goldfish in bowls. But most of them die. All that teaches children is that animals are there to be used as we humans want, without any thought at all to that animal's welfare. Once you've read that article, read this one about dropsy:
After that, please e-mail me back, and tell me more about the aquarium you have. For example, did you mature the filter for a few weeks before adding the Goldfish? What's the water chemistry and water quality? These are key bits of information I need to provide you with the help you need. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi re bloated goldfish
Hi thanks this has been very useful , The tank is only about 6 gallon
<Far too small'¦ this is why the fish is sick, either directly or indirectly. Do read the articles to which I directed you last time.>
and has under gravel filter and pump ,
<Undergravel filters can be okay for Goldfish, but they need to be quite large, and very well maintained. Wouldn't be my first choice to be honest.>
I don't know what levels the water are at as I don't have any equipment to test it but shall go to pet store , They have a diet of vegetarian flakes some pellets and I have a couple of plants in there which they seem to love eating ,
<Good! They love fresh greens, and they're good for them.>
It looks like the fancy fish has dropsy and I will go and get meds for it , seems happy enough eating well .
<There is no medicine for Dropsy; while some antibiotics can help, you need to fix the environment for them to have ANY chance of working. If you stick with 6 gallons, I can almost guarantee you'll kill these fish. If your shop says otherwise, the clerk is taking advantage of your ignorance. A 6-gallon tank with a heater and filter would be fine for a couple of Dwarf African Frogs and some Cherry Shrimps, a much more interesting and easy to maintain community for your family to share.>
Thanks again for your help
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi re bloated goldfish
Hi thanks again, the under gravel has a bubble tube coming it from it
<Likely inadequate if the water is getting murky.>
with a filter cartridge on top
<Useless gimmicks.>
changing water 50% a week to keep it clean and add chlorine removal liquid, but water does get murky quite quickly .
<Indeed. The tank is too small. You're keeping an elephant in a rabbit hutch. Do read the articles I sent you. You have two choices. Replace the Goldfish with livestock suitable for 6 gallons, or upgrade the tank to a 30 gallon tank. Goldfish in 6 gallons end up dead, usually. Even the ones that live are miserable.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi re bloated goldfish 9/3/10

Ok point taken thanks Ill get it sorted thanks very much
<Glad to help. Do read here for some ideas for stocking 5/6 gallon tanks:
Cheers, Neale.>

Large Bubble Head Goldfish 7/28/10
Please advise why my daughter's lg bubble head goldfish can not swim steadily.
<It would be impossible to do so without more information on his environment, diet, etc. Please do read here:
as well as some of the linked files above on goldfish systems, feeding, and general care.
What you'll need to do is compare what you're offering to what is advised within our pages. Most often, goldfish suffer due to environmental issues, such as tanks which are too small (if this fish is truly "large," he would need an aquarium of at least 30 gallons, with filtration which moves the tank's volume six times per hour), malnutrition (too often, not enough wet/vegetable matter is provided, leading to digestion problems), or new, uncycled systems (if you're not sure what I mean here, please do read:
Hopefully, you'll be able to spot any issues right away after a little reading. If you still can't figure it out, please do write back with: tank size, filtration, what he's fed, time the tank has been established, and Nitrite and Nitrate readings.>
It seems to float to the top quickly.
Its like his bouncy is not functional.
<Please do read on our site and take the time to understand that fish health is the culmination of many factors, and without more information on your system, it is impossible to pinpoint what may be going on.
Ultimately, the majority of goldfish maladies can be fixed by fixing environment, but if you do not find the answers within our site, or need more information, please do feel free to write back.>
Please advise.
Ms. Wright
Re: Large Bubble Head Goldfish 7/29/10

Dear crew,
Thank you for your response .
The fish is much better today.
I did send this note kind of fast, but when your child is crying for their distressed pet, us Mom's panic.
The tank is a 55 gal, with about 11 fresh water fish.
It has a 4 tube under ground filter system, with a 30-60 Whisper filter.
Then it has a Eheim 2217 also.
<Good quality, redundant filtration>
Apparently this fish had the "floaty Bloaty syndrome.
<Very common w/ "fancies" fed much types of dried foods to exclusion>
I did follow your wet site suggestions, by lowering the tank water, applying the Ebson <Epsom, not Buddy, magnesium sulfate> Salt treatment, an giving the tank group a chopped spinach lite dinner.
And your suggestions has calmed my nerves, the tank is happy, my daughter is happy, now I can rest an enjoy the tank.
Thank you very much , to all involved behind the scenes.
The Wright Girls
<Steady on WGs... these syndromes (like most forms of obesity in humans) can be solved. You were directed here?:
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner, in for Neale>
Re: Large Bubble Head Goldfish (Bob?) 7/30/10

Yes I was.
This fish still has some symptoms of the "Floaty Bloaty" . How long will this last ? Please advise.
Thank you,
Linda & Stacie
<Hello Linda and Stacie. Difficult to predict. If you're adding Epsom salt as well, a high-fibre diet should shift any blockages within a few days. Fish don't have long digestive tracts and food stays in their guts for less that a few hours in most cases. With fancy Goldfish though you have secondary issues related to their deformed spines and misshapen swim-bladders, and long-term buoyancy problems are common. For now, I'd watch and wait. Be alert to other problems like abdominal swelling and loss of appetite, but provided the fish remained active, interacting with its school-mates, and interested in food, I'd not worry overmuch. Let nature take its course. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick goldfish -- 4/12/10
I have spent many hours reading through your emails, and while I have found them extremely helpful, and have tried a few of the suggestions, my fish is still sick. I thought by writing in and sending a picture of her it might help. I have had her and a black moor for almost 2 years now. They are in a 30 gallon tank with a 30 gallon filtration system. About 6 months ago I noticed that she was getting much fatter. I wasn't sure if fish necessarily get, but she was eating more than the fish she shares a tank with so it seemed like a reasonable answer. However, it seemed this happened over night. The next thing I knew she was having trouble staying upright, and eventually just swam upside down almost all of the time. I went to the pet store, and they told me to try peas. Then I found your site. I went back to the pet store and purchased dropsy medication. I treated her for the entire duration, and she didn't improve at all. A month later, and after no improvement, I went BACK to the pet store and got aquarium salt. It's been about three weeks now, and the poor thing is still just lying at the bottom looking around. I have been hand feeding her, as weird as that may sound, but I feel that she is just suffering and it breaks my heart every time I walk into the room hoping to see her swimming, and she hasn't moved. Is there anything else you can suggest I try? She has been like this for so long and is such a little fighter. I'd like to try everything possible at
this point.
Thank you,
<Greetings. Do read here:
To fix this problem you need Epsom salt (not the sodium chloride, i.e., tonic/aquarium salt, you have) and high-fibre foods, such as peas, Elodea/pondweed, live daphnia and live brine shrimp. Don't feed anything else, and don't worry if the healthy Goldfish only eats this stuff during the treatment period. The "cure" takes a while, but if the fish is otherwise healthy and alert, there's a good chance that constipation is the issue here. Dropsy typically causes fish to become lethargic and disinterested in food, and the pine cone-like appearance of the scales when the fish is viewed from above is highly distinctive. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick goldfish (RMF, a post scriptum; any better ideas?) <<No>> -- 4/12/10
<PS. Just looked at the photo. Gosh. Doesn't look like Dropsy, but yes, this fish is in a bad way. Do understand fancy Goldfish are highly deformed, and constipation causes them major problems. This fish may be constipated, but it may also have a tumour, or be genetically weakened/damaged somehow (not uncommon with the more inbred, deformed fancy Goldfish). Constipation can be fixed, Dropsy may heal given good conditions and antibiotics, but little/nothing can be done about tumours and bad genes. Cheers, Neale.>

Still a floaty goldfish 4/9/2010
I read all the posts and nutrition information about floaty bloaty goldfish about 8 months ago, and I immediately changed the diet of my two fish. I give them fruit (orange slices) and vegetables of a wide variety.
<Cooked peas are the best.>
Because the servings are a little larger than I had given them in flake food before, I feed them less often, about once every other day.
<Hmm... wouldn't adopt this approach. Green foods contain less protein and much more water, so by volume they're less likely to affect water quality.
If you're giving green foods only, a sensible approach is to ensure there's always something they can chew on, whether strips of Sushi Nori or a bunch of Elodea pondweed.>
My comet goldfish has done really well with the change, and my fancy goldfish can now swim upright, but I'm concerned that my fancy seems to rest or sleep at the surface of the water. He will stop swimming and just float up to the surface (in an upright position) and then stay there for an hour or more. Because he did not do this behavior before, I was concerned.
My friend has a variety of fish in her tank and whenever one of her fish stayed near the surface for an extended period of time, the fish died within days. My fancy has been doing this for a number of weeks now, and I am wondering, is this still a symptom of floaty bloaty syndrome, or something else?
<Difficult to say without any additional information. If the fish doesn't have obvious signs of dropsy [such as raised scales] and is otherwise swimming about and feeding happily, it may simply need more time to recover. Do consider other factors; start reading here:
Differences between your home aquarium and the requirements of the species are likely problems.>
Should I be concerned?
Thanks so much.
<You are most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Floaty, Bloaty GF reading 1/31/2010
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
I have a blue/silver Oranda that seems to be having difficulties swimming, especially after he eats.
<Very common...>
It seems to have started (or at least I noticed) some weeks back after I fed him live Blackworms.
<A poor item>
He was having trouble staying down, and would quickly rise to the surface, as if pulled up. He would stay near the surface, with his back out (not his mouth). I thought it might be a swim bladder issue, since I have given my fish Blackworms before without problems, so I gave him sweet peas (which I give my fish on a regular basis as well), but it made things worse.
Actually, he has the most trouble after he eats. Once he digests, he seems better, although it looks to me as though he's having trouble swimming even after digesting, and is really straining to swim. For the past week I've kept their diet simple: fish flakes and peas. I have two other small Orandas and a small Ryukin in the same tank (about two inches each fish, total of 4 fish in a 55 gal tank). The other fish do not seem to be having much trouble, and seem fine after eating. Also, he seems to spend time around the water heater or in the aquarium corners but then has to wiggle around to get out of those spaces, whereas the other fish seem to get around those spaces fairly easily.
I have several books on the care of fancy goldfish, and they suggested that I test the water. I tested the water, and it is in normal ranges for pH (7.4), ammonia (0 ppm), nitrite (0 ppm), and nitrate (5 ppm). I usually change about 50-60 % of the water weekly (although this time I've waited two weeks). I use a mix of 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 Tbsp Epsom salt for every 10 gallons of water. In the tank I also have plants (an Amazon sword, Anacharis, and a couple more that I don't know the names), for which I use an organic carbon fertilizer that I usually only add when I'm doing water changes, or if necessary, once again half way through the week. I add 5mL for every 10 gallons during water changes, and 5mL per 50 gal midweek. Besides the regular filter, I have a secondary filtration system (a sponge filter) in the tank and a long air stone in there, too. I don't have the air flow on high, but I would say it's generally running at about 65-70% capacity (pump's specifications: power 5 W .011hp, exhaust 9.0L/Min 140GPH, pressure >0.014 Mpa 2.03 psi). I usually run it that high because I've heard so much about lack of oxygen in goldfish tanks that I'm always afraid that will be an issue in mine. However, today I lowered it to about 45-50% air flow just in case maybe the current is too strong. I also keep a steady temperature of 72 degrees F.
I have been trying to figure out what it could be, aside from a swim bladder issue. I'm thinking I'm either feeding them too much, or maybe I have too many strong currents in the aquarium. I've been thinking of setting up a third aquarium just my silver Oranda, but haven't made up my mind yet. Even though he seems to prefer to spend time by himself, I know that goldfish are social fish, and like to be in groups. The last thing I'll say is that all the fish seem to get along very well, and after inspecting them have found no evidence of any fights or torn fins or any other lesions.
Anyway, I hope this has been enough info. If I missed anything please let me know. You guys have always been very helpful the times I've written, so I will thank you in advance for any help or suggestions you can give me.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re Floaty, Bloaty GF reading 2/1/2010
Thanks for the link. I have placed my silver Oranda in a hospital tank (20 gal long) by himself with fresh plants for him to eat.
I hate seeing him all by his lonesome in the tank, but the shallower tank seems to be much better for him.
<You are correct>
I also replaced the sponge filter in his old tank with new ones, and put the old one his new tank to help mature that system.
<Very good>
Today I'm off to buy him some more plants that he can eat that I got from the article (he has some Amazon swords and Anacharis in there). I wanted to ask you, how long should he be in the hospital tank? Should I keep him
there permanently or eventually put him back in the big tank?
<Weeks... till this fish is able to well-orient consistently>
Also, I'm wondering if I should permanently nix giving him peas (as the article mentioned they're good for them, but I have tried to no success).
<Yes; this or other useful foods. I feed my fancies almost exclusively on Spectrum (yes pelleted food). Completely nutritious and very palatable>
He certainly loves them (all of them do), and will gobble them up very quickly, but I don't want to make a bad situation worse.
Thanks again for your help!
<Thank you for your efforts, positive report. BobF>
Oh, sorry, one more question I forgot to add before, should I start my silver Oranda on medicated food, or wait and see if fresh plants and the hospital tank do him any good?
<I would not utilize medications, in food/s or otherwise here. The root problem is really genetic... many fancy varieties of goldfish (like some dog breeds) have not been carefully conceived... trend too much to "tipping" as a consequence of body conformation and the placement of their swimming/gas bladders. This situation is further worsened by foods/feeding that add low density mass (fat if you will), causing them to tip further.
NOT treatable by medicines>
From what I have read in the articles and previous cases in your website, if addressed too late, the fish will die, and I would really hate to see my silver Oranda die (his name is Glup... just a fun fact...)

Floaty goldfish (RMF, other thoughts on this?) 11/16/09
Hello crew, I have three large red cap Orandas. They live in a 200 gallon outdoor pond which is heated in the winter,
<<? How, and thermostatically? To what temperature? RMF>>
and always has a supply of duck weed, hyacinths, and water lettuce. I also feed cooked peas and shrimp.
The largest and oldest, about 7 years, is now floating upside down. All I have read the prognosis doesn't sound. Did a partial water change, and if I cup her in my hands and she will gobble up her peas, but, if I don't hold her, she can't eat. Can't be any fun living "upside down." but I don't have the heart to end it for her. I do have a neighbor who says she will put her in the freezer. Any other advice is greatly appreciated.
Every day I am amazed that she is still alive, and that she can still struggle to swim down, but she pops right back up. thank you in advance for your attention. P. O'Donovan
<I assume you've read this article, and performed the Epsom salt/cooked peas treatment?
If not, that's the first step. Yes, it's true that Fancy Goldfish by their very nature are prone to swim bladder problems, or more specifically, because of their skeletal deformities, slight problems can cause them to lose balance. But if the fish is happily feeding, the problem is unlikely to be a serious problem in the sense of a bacterial infection, though treating in a hospital tank with an antibiotic would be well worthwhile, just in case. One last thing: putting a fish in a freezer is not humane. In fact it's cruel. The idea the fish "goes to sleep" slowly is a myth.
Instead ice crystals form inside its fins, bursting the cells, presumably causing whatever the fish equivalent of pain and stress might be. There are humane ways to destroy fish, and the easiest is probably to use an overdose of Clove Oil. I find about 50 drops/litre does the trick. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>
<<I suspect this floating issue is the result of foods/feeding and the genetic predisposition to such problems as Neale mentions. I would move this fish indoors, and feed very little of very low protein food for a few months. BobF>>

Re: More re: Floaty goldfish (RMF, other thoughts on this?) -- 11/16/2009
a few more questions please. If I move her indoors, at what temp should I keep the tank ?
<Low 70's, and with a heater set to that point. Do monitor for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate>
I did do one Epsom salt treatment, for the life of me I could not find the ratio of ES to water, used a tsp to a gallon.
<About right>
I read that this was very stressful to the fish,
<Mmm, not so>
so when I did not work the first time, I did not do it again...it's beginning to get cold in No. Cal. and her belly is always exposed to the cold, is it better for her to be cooler or warmer.
<... fancy goldfish (all other breeds than comets and Shubunkins) do best at/near "room temperatures">
The outdoor pond is heated with regular aquarium submersible heaters to about 60 degrees.
<Too low>
Her two tank mates are quite happy but, this problem did start when I started feeding more protein, ie: shrimp every few days,
<Very common... did you read where you were referred?>
when I usually did not feed them much at all. Their main diet was primarily plant roots. Thank you for the quick response.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bloat... GF... 5/11/09
My 8" - 9 year old goldfish has been belly up on the bottom of the tank for 4 days now.
He had a problem similar to this before floating belly up on the top of the tank. I did as you directed. I put in the Epsom salts and only fed him peas. He was doing so well for the past 4 months. Now this. I put back in the Epsom salt.
Is there anything more I can do for him?
<Hi Linda. Do review diet and environmental conditions. If this is a diet thing, then repeat the Epsom/fibre regime as last time. Do note that Fancy Goldfish are rather prone to constipation because of their distorted body shape. But also reflect on the environment: aquarium size, filtration, temperature, water chemistry, water quality. If these aren't as good as they should be, then your recurring problem could be a reflection of that.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: not-so-sick fantail 6/1/2009
I followed the advice in Floaty Bloaty Goldfish, to feed him on green peas for a couple weeks.
<It is indeed a good article; Sabrina did a fine job.>
Lo and behold, one day last week he started swimming around like normal!
He still spends some time in the corners, but I think he is going to live a decent life after all. Thanks for all the help.
<Happy to help, Neale.> <<RMF sent a copy to Sab.>>

Advice re. floaty fantail please! 3/20/09
Good morning WWM,
I'm emailing to ask a question about my 4-inch (without the tail) fantail goldfish,
<Without the tail is called "standard length" in ichthyology, and is the normal way of measuring them, as it happens.>
who I've spoken to you about in the past and you've always been a great help. Thank you very much for your past advice and I hope you don't mind me taking advantage of your kindness again.
<By all means.>
The specific problem is that my fish has in the last week begun floating for several hours after eating. It's not causing him a problem swimming, eating and so on, but obviously I'm concerned. The floating is definitely related to feeding as I didn't feed him for a day, and no floating occurred. Fed him, and it happened again.
<Don't use food X. Use something else, e.g., pond plants, peas, daphnia. If the fish is fine, then stop using food X.>
It starts shortly after feeding and lasts for anything up to six or seven hours, and he always returns to normal after defecating. I'm worrying about swim bladder damage, stunting and God knows what (particularly stunting, in fact - it's probably totally biologically inaccurate, but I have a mental image of the food in his gut increasing the pressure on his swim bladder).
<Hmm... Carp do stunt, and it's common in the wild. Indeed, Crucian Carp for example are almost always stunted. So for Carp at least (of which Goldfish are a type) it doesn't really seem to be a major problem in terms of internal organs.>
Now the important information you'll need to hopefully help me; the tank is 27.5 UK gallons, it's shared with two much smaller goldfish (I know the tank's too small - I'm ordering a new one in the next few days).
<27.5 UK gallons is 33 US gallons, and ample for three fish.>
Diet is one and a half peas twice a day, they're gone in way under two minutes. Aquarium flakes are fed (underwater) at one feed per week, but when I tried feeding these they actually produced less floating than peas which was extremely confusing!
<Agreed; but in any case, cycle between foods and see what works. Maybe stop using pellets/flake altogether, and alternate between Elodea, peas, spinach, and frozen bloodworms (a couple times per week). Daphnia and brine shrimp are excellent laxatives, and could be used either live or frozen, as you prefer. It's the dried and freeze-dried foods that tend to cause constipation and thus bloating/floating problems.>
There is some Elodea in the tank as well. Water tests show pH 7.5, no ammonia, no nitrite, under 5mg/l nitrate - I change a third of the water per week to maintain these levels.
Finally, while I'm emailing you anyway, do you have any advice on the necessary tank size for three goldfish (4-inch, 2-inch and 1-inch)? I was thinking of a Rio 240 (Juwel) tank as we currently have a smaller version that's been great; do you think this would be enough or should I be looking for something bigger?
<For three fancy Goldfish (which get to about 20 cm) then either the Rio 180 or the Rio 240 would be fine. In either case, I'd be tempted to add an external canister because the built-in Juwel 'Compact H' filters are pretty poor when it comes to mechanical filtration. They're fine with small tetras and whatnot, and have excellent biological filtration capacity, but they don't have enough "oomph" to move solid waste (dead plants, faeces) about effectively. The Eheim 2215 or 2217 for example could be picked up for around £60-90 and would provide excellent water clarity. Eheim filters last forever, and while these "classic" models are a bit fiddly to maintain, they're good long term value. On the other hand, if you're happy siphoning out the gunk from the Rio aquarium every week, then buying another filter might to be necessary. The Compact H filters take care of ammonia and nitrite just fine; it's just the solid wastes they're not so good about.>
If there's any other information that you need to advise me, please let me know and I'll respond as soon as I can. I hope you can help, and thank you very much for everything you guys do to help aquarists.
<Don't actually think your fish is in any great danger. Fancy goldfish are pretty mutated, and we really have no idea what selective breeding has done to their swim bladders and digestive systems. Likely some quite bad things! Provided the fish is happy and healthy, I'd just play around with food options/frequency/meal size, and see what happens. Hope this helps. Neale.>

Re: Advice re. floaty fantail please! 3/20/09
Dear Neale,
Thank you so much for the advice; as usual it was very helpful. I'm glad to hear that this is hopefully not a major problem and will definitely be taking your advice re. swapping foods around, introducing some daphnia and suchlike. The advice on the tank was extremely useful too and I really appreciate it. Unfortunately my happiness at hearing the problem wasn't so bad has been somewhat mitigated by finding that one of the other fish in the tank has somehow wounded himself and developed some fungus in the wound (in a spot lying between the eye and the gills, but involving neither - so far). It never rains but it pours, I suppose.
<Grab some eSHa 2000 and treat promptly.>
I thought there must be a connection because it seems like such terrible luck (the goldfish have all been fine for years and to have this happen in the same week is horrible), but it does just seem to be plain misfortune. I hate to trespass further on your no doubt overtaxed time, but could you please let me know whether I've done the right thing about it? I carried out a water change, cleaned the filter media (only squeezing in water so as to keep the bacteria happy) and treated the water with Interpet No 8 (anti fungus and Finrot) which I really hope will do the job; I had some luck with it when I rescued the same fish from some people who were mistreating him a couple of years ago. Should I be doing anything else - and is this even likely to work?
<Interpet No. 8 contains an antiseptic/antibacterial called Phenoxyethanol.
To be honest, I have never found this product to be terribly reliable. Your own mileage may vary. I tend to use/recommend eSHa 2000 simply because it treats a wider range of diseases, is more reliable, and is much less expensive per litre of aquarium water. For whatever reason, Interpet sell big, over-packaged bottles with very dilute medications.>
Sorry to bother you again, I was really hoping to just be able to send a "thanks very much" email this afternoon...no such luck. Still, thank you very much for your time and patience nevertheless; again, I hope you can help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Advice re. floaty fantail please! 3/20/09
Dear Neale,
Many thanks again - I'm ordering some eSHa 2000 today. However, obviously I can't have it in the aquarium alongside the Interpet medication. The Interpet stuff lasts 7 days; should I leave it in there until then, and then add the eSHa if necessary, or should I remove the Interpet stuff and add the eSHA as soon as I get it?
Many thanks for all your help - Oliver
<Hi Oliver. I'd let the Interpet medication run its course. The fish isn't likely to roll over and die just yet, so there's no urgency. If seven days later there's no improvement, use the eSHa 2000. Cheers, Neale.>
Hi Neale - terrific and thank you very much... now time for the crossing of fingers, methinks. My grateful thanks to you and WWM in general as always!
<Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish 2/1/09 My fish is an 8 year old feeder goldfish. He is in a 10 gallon tank. He is the only fish in the tank. His diet was exclusively "Goldfish Crisps". About 3 weeks ago, he started floating bottom up in the tank. First, for only a few minutes then progressively to pretty much all the time. Towards the end of the second week his lower belly was distended. One week ago I found your article and immediately lowered the water and added Epsom Salt. I feed only Romaine and peas. He stopped floating upside down on the top of the tank to right side down on the bottom of the tank. He doesn't care for the Romaine, but does eat approximately two peas (I chopped them up into small pieces) morning and evening. His belly is not distended. But he just sits at the bottom of the tank. Gets a little excited when I put in the peas. Three days after I put in the first 2 teaspoons of Epsom Salt, I made a water change and added 2 more teaspoons of Epsom Salt. Your article said it might take a long time for my fish to recover and to make frequent water changes. My question: How often do I put in the Epsom Salt. If I add 2 teaspoons every time I make a water change, won't the water get too salty? I feel really bad that I didn't do more research on what to feed my fish, he's always been pretty healthy. I will be getting plants and adult brine shrimp this week. Thanks for your help with this. I hate to lose the little guy. <Linda, the short answer is very simple: no, the water won't get too salty. Provided you take out a gallon of water (say) and replace it with a gallon of water, then the water going out will take the same amount of Epsom salt as is being added by the new water. So you only add new salt with each water change, and note very carefully, it is BY FAR THE BEST approach to add the salt to each bucket of water at the same time you add dechlorinator. Mix both well. Once the salt has dissolved in, then add to the aquarium. For a variety of reasons, adding salts of any kind directly to an aquarium isn't a good idea. Now, the only thing to watch is that any water added to top up evaporation has to be water *without* Epsom salt. Why? Because evaporation leaves Epsom salt behind. Cheers, Neale.>

Floaty-bloaty Goldfish...on one side only. ~ 01/09/09 Hello, <Hi there Hillary> I've had my Bubble-eye goldfish (Teddy, after Theodore Roosevelt) for about a year now; unfortunately when I bought him I was entirely mislead. He was about one inch long, and I was told that I could keep him in a bowl. Within a day, I bought a 2.5 gallon tank for him because he was gasping for air. About four-five months ago I bought him a 5 gallon tank when he came down with Swim-bladder disease. Unfortunately, this is as large as I can go with the tank right now, but I plan on getting a 10-gallon as soon as possible. <... which won't be adequate> I have two questions; first, he is ill again and I need advice. He has no appetite, sits on the bottom of his tank, and one side of his stomach is very swollen. I have changed the water, and will be doing partial water changes over the next few days (that saved him the last time he got sick), and added 1/2 tablespoon of Epsom salt. I am not feeding him until he starts swimming again, and I got him peas to eat when he can. I have been feeding him pellet goldfish food (which after I read the Floaty-Bloaty article I know now that they should only be used as treats). The food is why I was thinking it's malnutrition, but is it normal for them to only be bloated on one side? As his scales do not stand out. <Less common that this condition/syndrome is unilateral than bi-... but can/could be "other than gas bladder involvement" here... Gut blockage, or gonadal, tumor...> Next, I also learned from your site that goldfish should live in groups; so of course now I feel like a dog for having mine by himself. With a five gallon tank though, I do not think it would be possible to get another goldfish. Would it be possible if I were to do frequent water changes? <Not really, no> Finally, I'd just like to say that I hate pet stores for being so misleading. <Such is the human condition... too easy to "buy" w/o sufficient understanding, relating> Thanks for your help, Hillary <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

My poor bloated fish that I have tried all.... 8/13//08 Hi Mr. Fenner. I really need your help! I have read through your website through and through. And tried but now I need some more help. I have a goldfish, that is about 3 years old. Last year she/he got really bloated and I assumed (her name is Jewel) was pregnant. But she never got better. Or laid eggs. She was chubby and fine. But then she got huge. She started floating upside down at the bottom of the tank. Anyway, after reading I have tried the following: A couple teaspoons of Epsom salt, no food for several days then a diet of peas. (6 peas for 3 fish a day.) <Good> She stopped floating upside down. I moved her to a new small 5 gallon tank and treated her with Maracyn Two (but only half the dosage since it was half the tank size.) Then a 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt for ht tank, and 1 pea a day. I think she was getting bigger and maybe crazy but sad without her buddies. I have put her back in the tank with the other two and she seemed so much happier. I don't know what to do now. Any help? Thanks, Lucy <Mmm, unfortunately, the fact that this fish is permanently upside down AND on the bottom is indicative of damage to the gas bladder... usually irreversible. It may live a good long while... being fed especially, perhaps being kept in a more shallow situation. Bob Fenner>

Here is Jewel when she was floating upside down but I think she is even bigger now and lumpy. Lucy <Good pic, bad situation. BobF>

Re: My poor bloated fish that I have tried all.... 8/14//08 Thank you so much for your quick reply. How unbelievably remarkable. My fish is not upside down anymore. She swims around. I really do understand it is just a fish as people keep saying, I just want to help the best way I can. She seems happy.... Lucy <Ahh! I do hope your fish continues to progress. Do keep it and your other fancies on a low protein diet regimen. Cheers, BobF>

Floaty fantail ! 7/9/08 Hi, Firstly thank you for your excellent site and all the great advice you give. I am writing about my fantail "Tickle" . We bought / rescued her (?) and two other fantails from a pet shop here that had the fish in 10 by 20 inch tanks (each fish measures 10cm from mouth to bum , not including tails - pretty big to be stuck in such a small tank we thought). <Arghh! Sounds like you made a good rescue there!> Anyway we have a 200 litre tank (sorry we don't use gallons here and I'm not sure how to do the conversion) with a giant Fluval 200 filter system. We have generous aeration , several living plants, and pebbles on the bottom of the tank. They share this with 2 3 inch black moors we got from the same place. <All sounds great. Fantails and Black Moors generally get along fine, and 200 litres should be ample for 3 specimens.> Two nights ago Tickle started to float. We had been feeding her floating dry food (no longer since i read your article) and before this she was totally fine. I gave her shelled green garden peas and she pooped quite a lot the next day (delightful as this is, the poop was green with what looked like air bubbles in a number of places along it). After this she started to swim normally. She was fine all yesterday and this morning then suddenly she started floating again! I'm new to fish keeping , but after reading your previous advice I can only assume it's either because she's been swallowing air or its due to a swim bladder problem. Have you any ideas on how I can figure out which it is? I wasn't sure if a swim bladder problem can just develop over night with no obvious cause? Water in tank is given a 50% change weekly, we use an ammonia remover, supplementary ammonia eating bacteria and stress coat. last readings were ph7, ammonia nil, nitrates very low. <With Goldfish, the first thing to do is treat for constipation. This involves switching to an all-greens diet, and then adding Epsom Salts (cheap and easily obtained from any pharmacy) to the water. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm Bona fide swim bladder infections, where bacteria have invaded the body cavity and caused the swim bladder to turn septic, are actually rather rare.> One more thing ! The other two fantails have spawned! I wasn't sure what was happening when they started chasing each other around and around the tank but there is now ( i estimate) 4 or 500 fry living in a another tank (3 weeks old today - very cute) . Problem is they are at it again! I don't think i have the room for 500 more fish! What am I best to do? I tried removing him to another tank for a few days then returned him but the second I did he started after the female again! The guy at the pet shop said they shouldn't spawn at all in a tank but he apparently does not know what he is talking about! Thanks in advance for any advice! Nikki - UK <It is very unusual for Goldfish to spawn in aquaria, so your local pet store guy is not actually misleading you. You are very lucky or unlucky depending on how you view these things! The simplest way to get rid of unwanted eggs to remove and rinse them off the plants and down the drain. Or you can leave them in the tank where they will be quickly eaten, particularly if you add something like an Apple Snail or Weather Loach to the system. Baby fish are rather difficult to rear, and while you may have 500 hatchlings, you honestly won't get that many to a size at which you can sell them. Goldfish tend to spawn when they are warm, so turning down the heater in your tank, if you have one, should help diminish their ardour. Other than that, good luck! Neale.>

Another Floaty Bloaty Goldfish - 06/10/2008 6/12/08 Hi, <Hello, Tina. Sabrina with you, today.> we are taking care of friends' goldfishes. One developed a swim bladder problem 3 days ago in the evening. <Probably actually an ongoing nutritional issue, rather than an actual problem with the swim bladder.> I gave her peas and the fish was OK in the morning. <Yep, likely nutritional, then. Peas are a good thing in this case.> However, she (he?) started to have problems again in the evening, again got better till the morning and now in the evening it is floating again (though it looks better than yesterday). <Sounds like a pretty classic case.> Today I only fed her peas and clipped some lettuce inside the tank (this fish seemed to really like the lettuce). <Wonderful!> There are other 2 goldfishes in the tank and they are OK. I know the temperature is probably little bit higher than it should be as there is really hot these days and we don't have AC, but it is nothing too serious (there is 24-25 deg Celsius in the tank today). <High, but not terrible.> We thought maybe the fish just digested too much air because it was warm, and there was probably too little oxygen in the water. <How big is this tank? Do please keep in mind that goldfish really require at least 10 gallons per fish, preferably more.> Is it standard that the disease comes back every evening and the fish looks OK in the morning? <Well, it often can "come and go", at least.> Should I continue feeding her peas and lettuce, or it is better to stop feeding her at all for few days? <I would go with veggie foods only - and VERY little food for a while. You might also add one to two tablespoons of Epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate) per 10 gallons; this may also help a great deal for right now. Please do take a look here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thanks for your answer! <And thank you for writing in!> Tina <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Re: Swim bladder problem? 6/13/08 Hi, thanks. Where do I buy the Epsom Salt? We only have a small Pet Smart here, and then Wal-Mart and similar stores (I've read people buy it there). How do I know it is OK for the fish? Thanks for advice! Tina <... is sold at all grocery stores and drugstores I've ever visited. Is safe for humans... fishes. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish floating. Reading 3/23/08 I have 3 Fancytail goldfish since two years ago, one of them started look bloaty three weeks ago, we thought was too much food, but now it is floating up side down, it is able to swing and go to the bottom of the tank but if it stops moving the fills it goes up again, and also it has red joints and some small red flecks in its belly (back part of), it is eating fine and doesn't look sick at all, one side of its belly seems bigger than the other, we already clean the tank and change 50% of the water, we also add salt to the tank. please help me.. I don't want my fish die, it has been per two years with us. thanks Carolina. <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish floating. -03/27/08 We already did the Epsom Salt twice, but it seems to don't be working, the tummy is a little smaller, but the joints still red and the flecks don't get better, please help us. we are also feeding it with peas. <Keep doing the Epsom Salt treatment, and feed NOTHING but peas and aquatic plants (e.g., Elodea). No flake. No pellets. Do also make sure you are providing an optimal environment for your fish. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm At least 20 gallons of water per Goldfish. Check the nitrite concentration (must be zero!) and the pH (must be above 7). The "red flecks" suggest Finrot or Fungus. That will need treating, is almost always a result of physical damage or poor water quality. So check these things. In any case: floating, upside down Goldfish usually have constipation from being fed the WRONG diet for months or years. So that's the cause, and Bob's told you the cure. All you can do now is persist with the treatment and hope for the best. Cheers, Neale.>

Floaty Bloaty Goldfish 2/2/08 Dear sir, I have a shubunkin gold fish, and has a very bloated body, he/she has had this aliment for the last six months, but no one can give me any advice about how to cure him. The fish is in a 8x12x4ft outside pool, he feds well, and has koi, and other gold fish in with him and seems healthy except for his rather bloated appearance and his scales are sticking out. Your article suggests that it could be the food I am giving him , can you suggest a food or a treatment I could give him hope you can help john <Hello John. Plenty of advice on treatment and options for food here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Note the generous use of plant foods rather than pellets. Very important. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Floaty Bloaty Goldfish 2/3/08 Neale, thank you for your reply, feeding my fish Epsom salts is going to be fun , I can not catch the little b thanks john <John, you don't feed them Epsom salts! You put Epsom salts in the water! You feed them pondweed, tinned peas, Sushi Nori, live Daphnia, and other high fibre foods. You *stop* feeding them low fibre foods like flake and pellets. The Epsom salts in the water act as a mild muscle relaxant, helping the laxatives in the foods listed in doing the job of clearing out the insides of the Goldfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: bloated goldfish 12/3/07 Hi! My fish has finally had a poo! It was the thickness of my little finger- poor thing! Bloating gone now- thank God. Back to normal. I have learnt a lot. Do I do a water change due to the Epsom salts? or can I leave the water as it is? Thanx <I'd personally keep adding Epsom salt to the water changes you do over the next week or two, and then stop. Do keep using plant foods and/or live daphnia exclusively for the next few weeks as well. Together, this will give your fish the equivalent of a Hollywood-style colonic irrigation! And, once the fish are certified A-1 healthy, make sure you keep the diet nicely balanced with green foods from here onwards. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: save my black Moor please! 10/19/07 Hi again! This is a follow up question from a while back ago. I have read the goldfish malnutrition page, and cut pellet food from my black Moor's diet. Now all he eats are blanched peas/lettuce/spinach. I have even used the special salt, and my black Moor is still floating upside down. I'm really confused now, and I just don't know what to do for my black Moor. Sincerely, Jennifer <Hi Jennifer. As far as the floating goldfish goes, you have to be patient. It will take a few days for things to go back to normal. Which salt are you using? Make 100% sure you are using Epsom Salt. Some people seem to use "aquarium salt" instead because their aquarium shop says that's all they have in stock. ONLY EPSOM SALT will work; it's a muscle relaxant, and that's how it works. It's "saltiness" has nothing much to do with the cure! If you can't find Epsom salt in your aquarium shop, any drugstore or pharmacy will have it. In the meantime, keep up with feeding the plant foods to the goldfish, and look to see how things progress. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish bloat... likely env. 9/1/07 I have a 30 gallon tank with 4 peppered Corys and 2 bronze Corys. I also have 2 black moors 1's pretty big and the others just a baby. i have a calico fantail (medium size) and a little orange and white fantail. <Too crowded...> I use to have a really big orange 1 but he died at the end of June. now 2 days ago i lost another goldfish (bubble eyed) to bloat. he was acting weird for like a week and then his scales started popping up so i really didn't try to save him because i tried really hard to save my other 1 but it was impossible. I have read that it can be spread to other fish. but how do they get dropsy???? i feed them at 3:00pm some peas, a little frozen brine shrimp block, and a little bit of flaked food. I put the food in the water not on top because i heard that that gives them bloat too. thanks ,Brittany <Your goldfish need more room than this my young friend... Likely the mal-affects of poor water quality and psychological lack of space are at root/cause... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Upside down goldfish after 100% water change 7/22/07 Hi. <<Hello, Laura. Tom here.>> I have read through several of your responses but can't find quite what I am looking for. <<Lets' add yours to the FAQ's and perhaps it will help others down the road.>> My husband recently did a full water change because we have been having problems keeping our tank clean and our sucker mysteriously disappeared. <<Full water changes are occasionally in order, Laura, but almost always these are needed when water parameters have 'gone South'. When general housekeeping is the problem, smaller, more frequent changes are a better way to go, by far.>> Well, all of the fish have been fine except one. She/He is upside down the majority of the time. I've read up on this and have been feeding him and the others the insides of peas and have been gently wedging the goldfish between the side of the glass and a net for a period of time, as I read that sometimes helps. The fish doesn't seem to be upset by this...seems almost relieved. <<Okay. The shelled peas are a good idea, by the way.>> We added the stuff to take out the chemicals with the new water and understand that the change probably stressed him out. <<A likely possibility, Laura, but not the only one. Sounds to me like there's something more afoot here, however. An otherwise healthy fish that becomes stressed by a such a change usually displays a different style of stressed behavior like uncharacteristically hiding or not eating.>> He's one of those fatter-in-the-stomach orange goldfish. <<One of the 'fancy' varieties. Okay.>> There are 2 others but they are much smaller and have not been affected. So, will wedging him really help him get his equilibrium back? <<I'd hold off on doing this for the time being, Laura. Since the change in behavior was set off by the water change, constipation doesn't strike me as a probable cause. If the diet of shelled peas and whatever 'wedging' you've done hasn't started the ball rolling to get your Goldfish eliminating waste, I don't think continuing this will be of much help and may do some harm.>> Should we not ever do the 100% water change, even once a year? <<If water changes are performed on a regular basis at appropriate intervals a 100% change should never be necessary, not even once a year. The goal is to maintain stability in the tank at all times. Small changes not exceeding 30% help to keep the tank stable, i.e. whatever the fish have become accustomed/acclimated to. These also supplement the water with trace elements that have been lost over time. A full-scale change, however, can be overwhelming even if it appears to fly in the face of logic to us.>> They already eat the sinking pellets because this fish became bloated once before. <<Bloat or constipation isn't uncommon for these fish which is why diet is so important. Not a bad idea, once things have settled out, to keep up a regular regimen of the peas (spinach, zucchini and brine shrimp also are good) to keep the fish 'regular'. If you go with processed foods, make sure to stick with high-quality foods formulated for Goldfish and avoid 'Tropical' flakes or pellets. The protein content of the latter foods may be to high for Goldfish to assimilate properly. They're just not built to digest proteins well.>> But it appears to be because of the water change. Happened almost immediately. Unless this fish ate the sucker and that has caused it. <<Here is where I really get suspicious, Laura. Though you're not specific about the species of 'sucker' that you had, I would offer that a small species such as an Otocinclus could have been a temptation to your Goldfish if the Oto became weakened, or even died, as a result of the water change. Goldfish feed primarily on algae in the wild but are opportunistic when it comes to eating. Frankly, they don't have the common sense that the good Lord gave dirt when it comes to feeding and are not above swallowing, or attempting to swallow, a small tank mate that might be found floating about. If such was the case, your Goldfish became impacted and little, if anything, may be passing through its system. Putting the whole picture together, this seems, in my opinion, to be the most likely scenario.>> Anyway, don't really know what immediate things to do or continue doing or if the fish is just basically going to die. <<What I would recommend is to remove the Goldfish to a suitably large container and prepare a bath with Epsom salts. The salts have a natural laxative effect and might very well provide some relief for your pet. Now, if what I think happened did, in fact, happen, there are no guarantees that the impaction will clear itself. Time to keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. Stick with the types of foods I suggested earlier for all of your fish to avoid potentially complicating the situation.>> Thanks for any feedback. <<You're quite welcome and best of luck. Tom>>

Re: upside down goldfish after 100% water change - 7/23/07 Hi. <<Afternoon, Laura. Tom again.>> Thanks so much for your quick response. <<Glad to do it.>> I have learned tons from reading your website. <<Happy to hear it, Laura, and thank you.>> Since sending off this email below and before receiving your response I read about salt from your website. So I added 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt one time for my 10 gallon tank as specified on the box. And up until reading your response this morning was still feeding my "fancy" upside down goldfish the peas and gently wedging her between the net and side of tank - she seems to have gained an affection for the net. <<Who wouldn't? :) >> Basically is still upside down. Se eats great and seems ravenous when the food is near - though I really have to work with her to find it at first. However it does not appear that she is emptying herself after eating. <<What goes in must come out'¦or should, anyway. Therein lies our problem.>> So a couple more questions. I am going to put her in another bowl by herself...with the salt treatment. Should I continue to feed only peas or soak some sinking pellet food first or not feed her anything for a period of time? <<I would refrain from feeding her for a least a couple of days, Laura. Her digestive system needs to 'catch up' and, right now, this doesn't seem to be happening.>> Also, my main confusion is whether there is a difference between Aquarium salt and Epsom salt. <<Two different critters all together, Laura. Aquarium salt is pure sodium chloride. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. (The latter was tagged 'Epsom' salt based on the location (Epsom, England) where its medicinal qualities first gained popularity/fame.) I have the aquarium salt and will head straight to the store to get the Epsom salt if that has some different helping aid. <<The aquarium salt will have far less benefit than the Epsom salt would in this context. We want to get your fish 'cleaned out' and the Epsom salt is fairly effective as a saline laxative.>> Also, while my fish is in another bowl how often should I do the salt treatment and for how many days before she goes back in the big tank. <<You can add the salt, via a water change with the salt mixed in with the fresh water, to the bowl and let things take their course. No real time limit here except that 'bowl', to me, equates to 'small'. Therefore, you're going to have to stay on top of water changes to make sure that we don't leave her swimming around in 'sewage'. If the Epsom salt is going to work its magic, you'll see some results in a day or so. Right now, I don't suspect anything wrong with your Goldfish that might be passed to the other fish. The 'catch' is that it's more efficient to treat her separately than trying to treat the display tank for something no one else has. Not good form, if you see what I'm getting at.>> As for my comments below about our sucker fish dying. He came up missing at least 2-3 weeks before we did the complete water change. <<Still doesn't negate my supposition, Laura. I had an Oto that I couldn't find for a week and a half that suddenly reappeared one day. The little devils have a knack for going MIA on us. (Mine showed back up with a silly grin, a tattoo and a T-shirt saying 'I love Daytona'. Needless to say, he's grounded. :) ) Seriously, it does happen.>> Unfortunately, we did not know how much work was actually needed in keeping an aquarium. I had no understanding of water changes, vacuuming and so on. So this has been a LONG learning process. <<I'll let you in on a secret, Laura. The more you learn, the less 'work' it is. There isn't a hobby, that I'm aware of, that isn't a 'hands on' activity to one degree or another. To me, if keeping an aquarium didn't require any effort on my part, it would be boring. As for the learning process, you're writing to me and there isn't something new that I don't learn nearly every day. That part of the hobby never ends. Quite honestly, I hope it never does. ;) >> So, the water change was more because the tank had just gotten out of our control and we didn't know what else to do to get the water clean quick - though all of the fish were acting normal. <<A tip? Don't ever go for 'quick' unless your fish are going to die without it, i.e. an ammonia/nitrite spike, etc. Fish are more adaptable than we give them credit for. Change their environment too quickly, even when it's for the better, and you run a risk.>> Funny thing is that it was actually better right before the sucker died - he was one of the cheap little suckers - not the kind that grow to 18-24". Anyway, he came up missing the next day after my husband vacuumed and cleaned the tank (this cleaning was about 3 weeks before the 100% tank change) and it seemed like the tank went downhill quickly after that. We figured it was because the sucker wasn't there to eat the algae. <<Sounds like something else may have happened, Laura. I've seen/owned some voracious 'algae eaters' but have never seen a tank go 'downhill' fast because of the lack of one. Been a long time since I've kept any Goldfish, too, though.>> Still no apparent problems with the fish though. We went to the pet store and they didn't have any more little suckers. It wasn't until a couple days after my husband did the 100% water change that we found any evidence that he was eaten as opposed to just mysteriously evaporated : ) We found a small chunk of his spotted body : ( So that is why it seemed to be the water change that caused this fish's problems but maybe it was from the sucker 2-3 weeks earlier. <<Hard to put my finger on this one, Laura. I still think that your big Goldfish had a part in the fact that you only found 'part' of your demised 'sucker'.>> So we are back on track with water changes and have a better understanding of the responsibility of fish care giving. <<Very glad to hear this.>> Hope our learning doesn't come too late for our goldfish Dorothy named after Elmo's fish on Sesame Street which is our 2 year old's favorite show. <<First, the learning never comes too late. Second, at the risk of dating myself, the only 'Dorothy' that I'm familiar with was in the Wizard of Oz. Still, a fish close to your son's heart must be saved, if at all possible.>> So my checklist is as follows. As soon as I hear back regarding any difference between the salts, I will separate Dorothy and add the salt. Feeding her according to your response and anything else that you see fit to give instruction on. <<I think we've covered all of the above, Laura. If I can give an assurance at all here, the fact that her appetite is good is HUGE! Sick fish usually show up, first, with a loss of appetite. I still believe she has something wrong with her 'tummy' that she needs to get rid of.>> Hopefully she will make it back into the big tank. <<I'm with you on that one!>> Anyway, thanks for your answers and website. Laura <<You're welcome, Laura. When you write back again, I'd like to hear some good news. :) My best to you. Tom>>

Re: Bob F: Goldfish troubles and woes... Floaty, bloaty... 7/10/07 Hi Bob, (Previous letters below) I hope all is well, I know it's been a while since I've contacted you but things have been going pretty well up till now. Recently Rupert has just been acting badly. :-( A couple weeks ago, Though I give him a varied diet of frozen peas, brine shrimp and flake food, he started to floating to the top of the tank and not being able to swim back down when ever I gave him the brine shrimp or flake food. ( I only feed him every other day most of the time) <No dried food period...> I read that sometimes too much protein can cause this, so I've cut down his diet to just frozen peas. Which seemed to work, until I recently noticed him gasping for air at the top of the tank. I have wall of bubbles along the back wall of the tank so it is curious to me that he seems to need oxygen. <Mmm, gasping likely due to distress, not oxygen> Checked and all levels seem to be fine, change one bucket of water once every week, he's the only fish in a 20 gallon tank he's been living in for a year and half.. and nothing appears to be sickly about him. Fins are open, he's grown since I got him, and still bright and shiny orange, no ick or fin rot.. yet now he just seems to float vertically at the top of the tank and I'm not sure what causing it. He won't even eat anymore which I know is horrible sign. <Fatty accumulation, perhaps damage to the gas bladder... A very common situation in/with fancy goldfish varieties> The only thing I can notice that is strange, are these little tiny circular discs.. or spores? ( don't even know how to describe them..) on the inside walls of the tank. They are clear except for a brown dot in the middle.. I have no clue what these are. I almost thought they were dried water dots on the outside of the tank until I really got a close look. I thought maybe it was some sort of algae, but couldn't find anything that matched it's description. Could this be making Rupert sick? I try to wipe them off and they just slide a long with the glass, very hard to get off. What are they? <Mmm, not likely a cause of trouble... maybe snail egg clusters...> Is this the end of Rupert? :( <Hope not> Please let me know, if you have a chance.. Hope all is well. M <Please (re) read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish, Floating, Feeding, and Disease - II - 04/06/2007 Thanks for the answer! <You bet.> I've read most of the articles in your site about feeding, bloating, before writing to you. <Ah, GREAT!> The water readings in my aquarium are: Nitrite- 0 Nitrate- 30 mg/l <Too high.... I'd rather see this at half that amount, or less....> GH- 16 KH- 8 d pH- 8.0 <What of ammonia, the most dangerous, most important?> I've also checked the water supply in my town and the Nitrate is 25 mg/l, and we have a very hard water here, and this does not fluctuate.! <Frightening.... And perhaps not "good" for human consumption.... At the very least, I would strongly recommend getting some live plants into the goldfish's tank to hopefully help with reducing this; you might also consider using a different water source, difficult though that may be to do.> I have also a UV sterilizer, 11 W. When the goldfish bloats and bleeds under the scales, he continues to swim normally. I also feed him with blanched spinach, pumpkin, broccoli, lettuce, and tiny bits of raw apple and orange. <I would omit the starchy pumpkin, and the apple and orange, and include some aquatic plant material - Anacharis/Elodea, for sure. I like for the majority of a goldfish's diet to consist of live aquatic plant matter.> All the goldfish love it and behave/swim well when fed these foods. However, he still got the disease swelling, bleeding, distorted jaw) and it's been like this "on-and-off" for 6 months. <Very disconcerting.... When you give him the antibiotic food, how long do you feed it? Is it the exclusive food at that time? What is/are the active ingredient/s? If this is not a dietary/environmental issue (I still feel that it may be, with those nitrate levels....), then I am somewhat concerned that, if it IS a bacterial infection, it has not been "cured" by the medicated food.... just "beaten back" some.... And if so, the bacteria may be becoming immune to the medication over time. Just some thoughts/concerns.... Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Re: Goldfish, Floating, Feeding, and Disease - III - 04/12/2007
The antibiotic food I give the goldfish is Bakto tabs (produced by Sera). The active ingredient is Nifurpirinol, the label says the fish should be fed for 7 days exclusively with the antibiotic food, I even do it for 10 days (till all symptoms are well gone). This is the only medicated food in stores in Bulgaria and I think that the bacteria (if it is a bacterial issue) are becoming resistant to it. <I would fear this as well.> Can I prepare an antibiotic food myself? <Yes, actually.> I grew in a doctor's family and I am acquainted with human medicines. but for fish??? <You'd be surprised at how many medications used for fish are also things used in human medicine. Here is one site that sells medicated flake food: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/234/cat234.htm?5 I do not know if they can ship to Bulgaria, but it might be worth asking them. You might also try Jungle's antibacterial food product, if you can find it or have it shipped. Here is a link to it on one popular site; again, I do not know if they ship to Bulgaria, but it's worth asking. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=12788&N=2004+113021 You can find instructions and recipes for medicated foods online; here are a couple of links with ideas/suggestions: http://thegab.org/Articles/MedicatedGelFood.html On the next link, the important bit is under the section "Homemade Medicated Feeds": http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VM008 You will probably find a lot more results searching Google on recipes for medicated fish food.> I try to do my best for water changes, no live plants in the aquarium--is it a great problem? <Well, yes and no. Goldfish certainly can live successful and happy lives without live plants in their aquarium; however, in your case, with high nitrate right out of the tap, it would be a really good idea to have something in the tank that would reduce this. Since plants consume nitrate, it would help a lot if you had a hardy, fast-growing plant like Anacharis/Elodea/Egeria for them. In the US, I know this plant is sold at a lot of places that sell pond plants. Sometimes it's even called "oxygen plant" or "oxygen weed". In pet shops, it's often sold as Anacharis or Elodea, sometimes Egeria. Some shops even sell it specifically as a goldfish food - it really is that useful in a goldfish tank. So, in your case, it would do double duty to help with your problems - it would help to reduce nitrate AND it would provide excellent nutritional value to your goldfish's diet. You could reduce the amount you are feeding him a lot if he had plenty of plants to snack on, and it may be healthier for him. I do hope this has shed some light and given you more avenues to think about! Wishing you and your goldfish well, -Sabrina>

Overfed? Gas? - 02/09/2007 I have some sort of goldfish. He/she has always been "stocky" or "husky", but has recently become bloated, it's scales are sticking out and fights hard to get to the bottom of the tank then he/she bobs right back up to the top of the tank as if he/she was a cork in the ocean. <Ah, yes... a "dropsical" condition... fluids leaving cells, over-pressurizing the intracellular spaces...> My husband says I must be overfeeding him/her, <Mmm, much more likely "mis-feeding"> but I think it's something else because the other fish (his/her companion) doesn't act like this and looks fine and healthy. My vet doesn't "treat" fish. He or she was purchased at Wal-Mart and they don't know anything about them. I have attached pictures... they're not very good pictures but the best I could get. Thank you for any advice. Beth Ladnier <Do please have a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Floating 12/14/06 Hi! I'd first of all like to say that your website has already helped me a lot with many of my fish-related problems. But now I have a problem that I can't seem to find the answer to: <Let's see...> I have an Oranda that I bought about 2 months ago. For the first month he was fine, no diseases or anything, but then suddenly he started to float upside down (often after eating). <An important clue> I looked this up on your website and found out that it's probably due to a diet problem <Yes> and so then changed his diet to all vegetables (fresh or frozen that have been boiled, generally peas, beans). It had only been about a week after he started to float that I changed his diet, hoping that he should be able to regain his normal, healthy state soon enough. But now it's been at least 3 weeks and he still floats. <"Takes a while..."> No longer upside down, just with his butt in the air so to say. I assume this just means he's going to need more time for the new diet to take proper affect -- he doesn't seem to have a loss of appetite but he does float a lot (it kind of looks like he's sleeping all the time). Even this, I could still accept as normal but now he also has some sort of white blotches that look kind of like fungus (definitely not ick) that have shown up on his dorsal fin and the base of his tail. Is this just because when he floats those parts are out of the water? <Yes, likely so> Or does he have something else? <Perhaps... but I would try nothing stronger than salt treatments here... Perhaps a bit of Epsom and Aquarium type... See WWM re. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Erika

Goldfish has dropsy... Pea-feeding 12/8/06 > your article you said to feed the fish peas but how exactly do you do that after the skin is off. <Mmm, I generally just "pinch them out" and feed the blanched pea inside as is> I mashed it and it floated to the bottom. <Mmm, I wouldn't mash...> I so not think my fish can even get to the bottom. <May need to keep such a debilitated fish purposely in a shallow water setting...> Please explain. Also, I have added Epsom salt about a 1/5 tsp since I have only a on gallon tank. <Too small> Tell me what else I can do. <Read... and soon... show your concern by engaging, educating yourself... then acting... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Millie
Re: goldfish has dropsy, feeding peas 12/9/06
I have mashed to the point where he could it and dangled it from hemostats. He would eat it and spit it out. I did not think they could eat a whole blanched pea. Millie <Ah yes... can/will pull on the mass till part of it is freed. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish has bloated abdomen, no protruding scales, vent seems closed. 12/4/06 WWM team, <Jeff> Our 5 year old goldfish, Gabrielle, is having problems with her abdomen near the vent. For the past 6 months she has been having balance problems and we also noticed minor abdominal swelling. After doing some online research, we began feeding her peeled peas as part of her regular diet. The problems diminished but never completely went away. For the past week, her abdominal swelling has been increasing. When she was resting near the surface (dorsal side up), there was a significant bend past her dorsal fin. She appeared to be dropping from her dorsal fin up. Gabrielle also had problems swimming downward and she also kept rolling bellyside up. After some more online research, I paid close attention to the condition of her pectoral fins and noticed one of them was significantly smaller and a bit jagged (fin rot??). <Perhaps... but very likely secondary here> I should mention that Gabrielle has a tank mate: another comet who is in outstanding health. <Good clue> We thought Gabrielle had an internal bacterial infection, but almost doubted it because the other goldfish is so healthy. <Me too> We tested the water -- pH was a bit high, but all other tests were excellent. We bought medicated goldfish food (Jungle Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food) and began feeding it to Gabrielle on Thursday evening 11/30/2006. For the first 2 days, we noticed temporary improvements in balance and decreased swelling. On Saturday 12/2/2006 she began floating upside down and struggling to swim downward or in a straight line. We thought the pellet-style medicated fish food may have been difficult to digest and fed her some peas. <Good> On Sunday morning the swelling had increased dramatically and she is upside down almost all of them time. We moved Gabrielle into a 3 gallon isolation tank which we treated with: Mardel's Maracyn-Two (medication) Seachem's Neutral Regulator to address the pH issue 1 tablespoon of API's Aquarium Salt API's Stress Coat The weird thing is that her vent looks like it's sealed shut. It looks like if she could just open it then whatever is causing the swelling would simply expel. I attached some pics to show you what I mean. Please let me know what you think about the vent issue. Also, we would really appreciate any advice you can give to improve the course of treatment. We've read about how serious these conditions can be for goldfish, and want to do everything we can to help Gabrielle recover! Also, should we treat the main tank with the Mardel's Maracyn-Two to protect our other goldfish who seems to be in perfect health?? Thanks! -Jeff & Carolyn <I would try a very safe and often quite effective bath using Epsom Salt, and then some of this in the fish's main/system water. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Goldfish and Floating--Please help my Fred - 10/18/06 Hi! <<Hi, Holly. Tom with you.>> I'll looked through your site, but I'm afraid all I am now is more anxious, without any answers. I came home this evening and noticed my Fred was a little lethargic. I got him about three months ago. He's just an average goldfish, bought at the Wal-Mart. We have him in a one-gallon bowl with a filter. <<First off, Holly, Fred needs to be in a much larger tank. There's just no realistic way to keep the water in a one-gallon bowl stable enough for the long-term health and well-being of any Goldfish. Please note that if Fred's of the Common or Comet variety, he can, under proper conditions, grow to a foot in length. (No, I'm not making that up!) :)>> He seems to be sinking, if such a thing is possible. He's normally a pretty active little guy, but today he looked like his was struggling with his little side fins to swim, and he'd get to the top of his bowl and kinda ... sink to the bottom. <<Likely a swim bladder disorder, Holly. Common among Goldfish if they're fed too much or don't have enough variety of "good" foods in their diets.>> I have no idea what to do. He's only about two or so inches and he's very important to me. <<Let's fall back on one of the easiest things to do which is to feed him a "shelled" pea. This has a purgative effect if he's compacted. Brine shrimp, which you can buy either frozen (thaw first!) or freeze-dried, will also assist in cleaning him out.>> I hope that you guys answer regularly. I fed Fred this evening, three of those tiny Tetra fish crisps, they're little round thingies, and the box recommends one chip for each inch of fish. We've been feeding him three in the morning and three at night. <<Better not to feed Fred at all for the time being than to even cut back on his usual regimen. Don't worry about him "starving". Fish can go for quite some time without food.>> Might it be my fish is just overweight and needs to flush out his system? <<That would be my estimation of it, Holly.>> Please help! Fred's the only pet I have (the only kind I can have, actually) and I don't want him to die. <<Look into a bigger tank - 30 gallons is what I would recommend - with an appropriately sized filter. Don't be afraid to go a little "overboard" on the filter size. Goldfish are messy critters and it would be nigh onto impossible to over-filter his home. Read up on aquarium "cycling" if you haven't already and feed him the peas and/or brine shrimp to see if we can get the swim bladder issue resolved.>> Holly <<Best of luck with your pet, Holly. Tom>>

Suffering Goldfish? 8/16/06 Help! I've apparently been torturing my Calico Fantail, as a result of my absolute ignorance. We have had "Mr. Fish" for nearly five years. <!? Surprising for what you state below> He has always been active, hungry, and healthy, so I assumed I was doing things right. A couple of months ago he started to float upside down a lot, at various levels in the water, but was able to turn over, swim and eat whenever he saw me approach. Now he can't turn right side up( but still eats very well, and passes stool alot). And so, I found your website, and found out I've done it all wrong. He has, since we got him, lived in the same 5 litre hex tank, aerated but not filtered. I have never fed him greens, checked the pH, or apparently done anything good for him! I didn't know I should be doing these things, and certainly no one has ever told me. Is it too late? <As long as the animal is still alive, no> Please tell me if there's anything I can do to help him from this point on. I will NOT flush him down the toilet as everyone I know has suggested. Despite our unintentional lack of proper care, we love that little guy. I would really appreciate any help or advice you might give. Thanks, Sharon <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Suffering Goldfish? 8/17/06
Hi, Bob and everyone, <Sharon> Thanks for your reply. Sadly Mr. Fish died the very evening I sent you my questions. I really appreciate your response, and the excellent info that you sent. We will make sure we have the right environment available before bringing goldfish into our home again. Again, many thanks. Sharon <Sorry for your loss. Thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>

Headstanding goldfish - 8/9/2006 Hi I have written several times, and the help offered has been useful. I have another problem with one of my fish. Moby the goldfish has not been himself the past 24 hours. He hovers at a 75 degree angle to the base of the tank, head down. <Not good> This morning he has started to rest head down on the top of the pump head. He appears to eat normally (gannet like and first to the top as usual). He is a little quieter than normal. The tank is approximately 70 litres, and contains a comet and 4 minnows. We do a 25% water change each week, with PH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all within normal levels, as listed on your site. I add some aquarium salt to the tank each water change, following the correct dosage as on the side of the box. I also treat the tap water with King British Safe Guard, and add Tetra Aqua Easy Balance and Nutrafin biological aquarium supplement in the correct doses. The tank has an undergravel filter <Not the preferred filtration with goldfish> and a pump head with tube attached to aerate the water. I feed the fish on a mixture of goldfish mix (frozen helpings of daphnia, bloodworm, and vegetable matter in a small block), daphnia, spinach, Mysis, and vegetable mix - all frozen and defrosted as needed. <Very nice> I rarely feed flakes, never more than once every 2 weeks, and feed only once a day. The fish also have live plants to nibble on in the tank. <Very good> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I really don't want to transfer him to the hospital 'tank of death' (named because all fish that have gone in have never come out!!). Paula <It may be that this goldfish has developed some sort of "fatty degeneration" internally from being "too well fed" on high-protein foods... and the cure will be to simply feed less or to turn to foods with a much lower protein concentration (less than 20%)... It could be that the fish is experiencing some form of gut blockage and that the trapped gas is causing a loss in orientation... here I would treat with Epsom Salt: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Lastly in my "best guess" choices will be some type of gas bladder damage... Goldfish, minnows in general, the lower teleosts/advanced bony fishes are physostomous, have the ability to take in, release gas from this bladder via the mouth... but there can be instances of constriction internally... these are very hard to "cure"... but may be related to the first two possibilities. Bob Fenner>

Bloated Goldfish 8/6/06 I have just read your web page. It has a lot of good sensible info. One of my baby goldfish is so fat I think its going to burst. Unlike the one in your picture, it is fat at the sides. It eats heartily swims chases the other fish, but I take it is bloaty. Can I treat it in the pond [1001 gallon 8 fish some 5 years old all healthy except this one] or should I remove it? My only problem being my tank indoors has 8 fry in it so I don't have anywhere else at the moment. Can you please advise? thank you < Warm summer temps have stressed many cool water fish. This stress results in a diseases called bloat. I would isolate the fish into a separate container and treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone. It would be too expensive to treat the entire pond. Any suitable container will do.-Chuck>
Re: Bloated Goldfish Research 9/12/06
Chuck. Thank you for that. Do Goldfish Dr's exist? Is there any point in trying to do any further investigation? If so, do you have any suggestions. - We are in Oxford Thanks Clare <Not much money for vets in helping common goldfish, they do have vets for very expensive koi. I would research the koi websites for articles on bloat/dropsy and see if any actual research was done related to goldfish. I know these vets actually inject medication into the fish to get them treated. Check local koi clubs for a possible vet reference.-Chuck>

Bubble eyes gold fish - buoyancy problem - 07/03/04 <<Hello, Karen. Tom here.>> I've read your FAQ about buoyancy problems in Bubble Eyed Goldfish, but it's not clear on how to correct it. Is it a matter of changing the food or is it the water? This just started in the past week. He's been in a new tank for about two weeks. He's about 2" long and just lays on the bottom. <<The first question I have to ask, Karen, is whether, or not, the tank was "cycled" before you added your Goldfish? I'm thinking, "New fish. New tank. Two weeks. Yep. Could very well be up to his "bubble eyeballs" in Ammonia." Sounds like I'm coming off as being facetious but, I assure you, I'm not. Your fish isn't laying on the bottom due to a buoyancy problem like a swim bladder issue. That would manifest itself by him/her not being able to swim in a normal fashion. Test your water or, have it tested at the fish store, and find out what the exact readings are for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates (if any at this point) and pH. If you have detectable levels of either of the first two compounds, you're going to have to do some major water changes. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to recommend anyway. Change out 30% of your tank water ASAP adding a good dechlorinator to the new water. I'd suggest that if you see any improvement in your fish, we're likely onto the "culprit". If the water tests lead you to suspect a lack of complete cycling, Marineland makes a product called BIO-Spira which will come as close to "instantly" cycling your aquarium as any product on the market. (Don't waste your money on "wannabe" products. BIO-Spira must be kept refrigerated at all times. Off-the-shelf products will do you and, your fish, no good.) You might also look at the size of your tank and read up on what these fish will require. Within a given amount of reason, it's pretty hard to have these animals in a tank that's too big since they produce a good deal of waste. He's little now but I'd like to help ensure that he doesn't stay that way, if you get my meaning. :) Tom>> Karen Boden <Probably could have added this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm . -SCF>

Goldfish, Fluctuating Environment, Mal-Nutrition - 06/22/2006 Hi Guys, great site. <Thanks, we're glad you enjoy it!> I have a Ryukin goldfish (Big Ben), that appears to have either Dropsy or constipation. I recently did a filter change on my canister filter (2 weeks ago) and as always seems to happen all of the fish react badly and the tests go hay-wire Ammonia Nitrate and Nitrite all show toxic levels a day after the change (is that normal. I do use a de-stressor). <This is not normal, and not okay.... You absolutely must find a different/better method of maintaining this system; "shocking" the system in this manner can be fatal to your tank's inhabitants. Do not make changes large enough to cause the tank to "re-cycle".> The rest of the fish appear to be back to their normal habits and all of the tests are showing perfect or near perfect except for the Nitrate which is still off the scale at 160. <EXTREMELY disturbing.... This should be less than 20ppm.... Either your tank is grossly overstocked, grossly undermaintained, or has something that is "causing" this extreme nitrate level. You must address this urgently with significant water changes, daily if necessary, and fixing whatever problem is causing this - e.g., if you are overstocked, either upgrade tank size or downgrade your fish population.... For a general rule of thumb, we recommend 15 to 20 gallons per goldfish for a system.> Am I doing something wrong with the filter change? ( <Apparently so, yes, though I suspect you are heavily overstocked as well. Without knowing what you did with your filter change, I can't tell you for sure how to change what you are doing.> I change 10% of the water religiously every week and only give them enough food for them to consume in 2-3 min) Back to Big Ben. For the last 3-4 days he has been sitting on the bottom of the tank hiding in the live plants I have not seen him eat and his whole body is swollen and his scales appear lose, he rarely moves and when he does it is a brief trip to about the middle of the tank and then right back to the bottom. <The disturbingly high nitrate, and possibly an inadequate diet, are at "fault" here.... Though these two issues can be corrected, I do not know if you can do so "in time".... I urge you to act quickly regarding that nitrate level.> If he doesn't eat is there another way I can treat the constipation, (If it is constipation). <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> Thanks for any help, -Sam <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Floaty Bloaty Goldfish - 06/20/2006 Why is my lionhead floating on his back? Every time he goes to the bottom he floats back to the top. Other than that he likes fine. He just started this today (06-17-06). Will he die or will this affect my other fish which is common gold. Please help. Thank you, -Nancy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm . Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish Nutrition - 06/20/2006 Hello I have a 35 gallon tank with a black moor about three inches long. Over the past few days he mostly sits on the bottom of the tank as if he has swim bladder issues. I feed mostly live or frozen foods, blood worms, brine shrimp. <Too high in protein, by far....> Water quality is fine, 0 ammonia, temp 72, ph fine. No external signs or trouble on the black moor. Is there really an effective treatment for him? Also, I have one of those ammonia indicator color wheel things that stick to the inside wall of the tank. What do you think of those? <They're neat, but can be inaccurate - be sure to use a regular test kit as well.> I'd sure appreciate any help I can get for my fish, Thanks, Lisa <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm . Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Non-Native Speaker, No Information - 05/23/2006 Hello, My name is Anam. <Hi, Anam, thanks for writing in.> I have a problem with my fish. She is breathing alright. Her appetite is fine. But she is floating on the surface of water. She tries to swim but she fails. She could not balance her. Please tell me what to do. I am really worried. <Anam, I don't know what kind of fish she is, or how big her tank is, or anything else that I might need to know to help you. Just as a guess, try reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thanks <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Re: Goldfish passing gas 5/23/06 Hello, Tom. <<Hello, Alfredo.>> I have received word that the medicated goldfish food is at the frontier of Mexico and I am awaiting its arrival. <<Okay.>> I have a couple of questions meanwhile (I am sorry to bother you). <<It's no bother.>> I saw Lucy the Lionhead pass gas today. A small bubble came out of her anus and floated to the top of the tank. Is this normal? If not, I hope its related to the stomach parasites that you mentioned, as the food that will be arriving will cure them. <<I don't know if I would characterize this as "normal" but it's certainly possible. Typically, you would expect to see a gas buildup due to constipation but a bacterial or parasitic infection can do the same as part of the reproductive cycle of the "bad guys".>> Also, the spots on Lucy`s head are gone. I remember reading that the hood on lion heads grows by little white dots that form on the ´mane´ by a secretion or something of the like. <<My concern was the red spot you noticed in place of the white lump, Alfredo. The white markings you refer to during growth actually disappear due to color changes on the fish. In the case of Ich, flesh is torn away when the cyst erupts leaving a small wound in its place. That's what worried me.>> Anyhow, I am ready to medicate her with the plan you proposed. I am a bit confused with some of the data and have some silly questions regarding. <<Nothing "silly" about clarification...>> After raising the temperature you suggested that I increase the salt solution to 2-3 tablespoons per 5 gallons and to maintain this level until Lucy shows no signs of white spots and, then, for at least three days after the spots have disappeared. <<Yes.>> Do I add that amount of salt once during the duration of the treatment or is it a daily dose? <<Just once. The salinity will stay fairly constant until you do a water change.>> When should I stop the treatment given that the white spots have already disappeared (let us hope)? <<The salt treatment is completely safe for her and, even without a recurrence of any white spots, you could easily hold the salt at this level for five days to a week without harm. Just keep the aeration up in the tank during this time.>> Also, should I siphon to remove the Epsom salts that I had put in for Mimi before adding the 2-3 tablespoons per 5 gallons? <<I would do this, yes. Always a good practice to do a good water change prior to any type of treatment. This optimizes the water conditions and allows you maintain the medication/treatment in the tank without fear of water conditions degrading drastically.>> Would you recommend giving Mimi some more Epsom before the medication arrives? <<Yes. The medication will be most effective when her system is clear of any built up food. Probably wouldn't hurt to go without feeding for a day or so, as well, so that she's hungry when you feed her the medicated food. Side note: Follow the directions with the food but keep an eye on Lucy. If her feces start showing normal, dark coloration, stop treating her with the Metronidazole. (The directions suggest three days of medicated food then four days of regular diet repeated over a period of four weeks.) Don't continue repeating this if things return to "normal". Metronidazole is very potent and may even become toxic to the fish in large dosages. Normally, I recommend following directions to a "T". Not this time, however.>> I appreciate your patience and help, Tom. Thank you very much, Alfredo <<Happy, once again, to help, Alfredo. (Sorry about being "tardy" getting back but I was out of town over the weekend and we lost power at the house yesterday for several hours.) Tom>>

Bloated Goldfish 4/26/06 I hope you can help me. My lionhead goldfish, Comet (about 9 cm long, excluding tail) is extremely fat. I must have overfed her :( She's been staying at the bottom of the tank for few weeks now (she used to be very active). Her poo have been thin and transparent for most times and her vent is jotting out. I could see a bit of blood veins around the vent and fins - though they're much less now than last week. She had few holes on her fins these past couple of weeks but have disappeared now. I initially thought it was a disease rather than overfed, so I moved her to another tank and added Multicure liquid to the water, but now I'm more convinced that she's overfed. So last night, I moved her back to the main tank (120 Litres) ,because she looked so depressed when she was by herself in the smaller tank (20 Litres). I moved the black moors fish that seems to attack her before to the smaller tank. Today, she started swimming around for a little bit. Whenever she saw other fish were being fed, she would try to swim to the surface, though her tummy seems to weigh her down that she's never made it to the top of the tank. Plus, I also noticed, sometimes she swam upside down if not leaned on one side. Could you please advise what I can do apart from stop feeding her, which I've already done so for almost a week now? I have her for almost 3 years now and don't want to lose her. I lost Mooncake (red cap) mid last year- he was pretty fat too and was choking before he died. I can't handle losing another one. I feed my fish with different diet 2x a day, I watch them everyday, water condition and space are excellent (120 Litres tank for Comet, 1 fantail & 1 black moors goldfish of similar size and a smaller size red cap). I love them very much. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you very much, I hope to hear from you soon. Rindy < Sometimes when goldfish are fed foods that are too rich for them or they become stressed they develop an internal bacterial infection. Treat him with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. Google the WWM website for bloat and dropsy for other FAQ's responses from other crew members.-Chuck>

Please help my lionhead!! - 04/24/2006 I have a lionhead named Jefferson who has lived with us for about 4 months. She lives in a 5 1/2 <A bit small, consider upgrading in the future. Goldfish are messy, and foul the water quickly. More water means a healthier fish.> gallon tank equipped with an internal filter of 5 to 10 gallon size. We change roughly 40% of her water by vacuuming the rocks every week to 2 weeks. <I would do every week in a tank that size.> She eats TetraFin goldfish fun food brand floating pellets supplemented with Hikari Betta Bio-Gold <Too high in protein. I wouldn't feed this anymore.> and sun dried gammarus for her digestion. She has a few floating bunches of elodea but other than that she is the only person in our tank. The problem is that this morning she seems to be having real trouble staying at the level that she wants to be at in the tank. She looks absolutely normal accept she seems to be too buoyant. She can stay reasonably submerged by swimming but when she stops she starts rising again. I've tried gently squeezing her sides as I hear they can have trouble passing eggs. This did nothing. <You really shouldn't do this. I have heard of trained professionals helping a fish to pass blockage, but the risk is extremely high to the fish if this is not done correctly. Consider that our first reaction if a human is suffering from some digestive blockage is to look at their diet, not start squeezing their stomach!> I also tried to feed her peas but she doesn't like them. <She may not recognize that they are food. A few days of fasting ought to be enough to change her mind!> She accepted a gammarus so she will still eat. I don't know what to do. Please help me to help Jefferson!! <Most floaty Goldfish are this way due to inappropriate diet. Low quality flake foods and high protein foods are especially bad for your fish. They cause intestinal blockage to form. The closest wild relatives of Goldfish enjoy a variety of plants supplemented by surface insects. You need to change your pet's diet, right after you fast the fish for a 3 to 5 days. 1 TBSP / 5 GAL Epsom Salt (you can find it at your local Pharmacy) may help your pet pass the blockage. Here is WWM article on this topic: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Good luck! Jason N.>

Lola, the Pampered Picky Eater - 04/19/2006 Hi Sabrina <Steve! Good to hear from you! I hope your Abelmoschus crop is doing well - I'm still interested in trying to grow this plant some time.> This is about Lola, the large fantail. <I do very clearly recall.> She was very stable for several months on a diet of mashed, cooked, peeled peas, cooked zucchini, and minced, boiled greens. When I feed her the greens, she has large, dark green, well formed stools, which she doesn't have with the peas. <Sounds like good goldfish poo.> Other vegetables like mashed, cooked beans and carrots seem to constipate her--as evidenced by a period of immobility and large, well formed stools. <Immobility is definitely a symptom to avoid....> I was--and am--concerned about a varied diet so I thought I would give both goldfish (Golda and Lola) some defrosted, frozen brine shrimp enriched with Spirulina for protein. I was hoping... They both loved it. <Adult frozen or live brine shrimp is another very good food to use to help correct constipation, actually, as it is very high in "roughage" content.> Golda was fine, but 3 days after the seafood, Lola stayed on the bottom, dorsal fin clamped, barely moved and barely ate! <Yee-IKES! Any possibility that this was coincidence and related to some other variable? Water parameters ideal, I trust (ammonia, nitrite ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm)?> She didn't interact with Golda at all--even though Golda was constantly nudging her, trying to get her to move. This was the worst she had been ever. <Disturbing.> The next day, a long, irregular white thread started to emerge from her anal spot. I had read that this was not a good sign. <Indeed.... Can be a symptom of a number of internal complaints (including constipation), but usually associated with parasites. I would probably wager that it was from constipation (again).> After fasting for a day, I returned to her usual diet of peas. It has been 3 days of slow recovery--and a few long, thin green stools-- but she is definitely improving and eating more! <Ahhhh, good.> Today she raised her dorsal fin when I fed her and she actually started to resume her old feeding behavior of chasing Golda away from the peas so she can (try to) eat them all. (Golda is no dope--she sneaks in when Lola isn't looking and gulps down a lot.) <Heh! I'm glad she's improved.... Whew!> She is still "resting" with clamped dorsal fin but not nearly as much. Now when I enter the room, she gets up and swims around. It appears that mashed, peeled peas are the only food she can tolerate without digestive distress. <What about the other greens that gave her well-formed stools but no distress?> I read that a constant diet of peas can cause cataracts. <To be honest, I wouldn't know - however, a diet of only one thing can in fact be harmful, just for not giving "well-rounded" nutrition.> I am completely at a loss. Just about everything besides peas causes some distress as evidenced by immobility and then large stools. (When she gets just peas, I never see stools.) Yikes! Could she be that fragile? <Yes, she really could. "Fancy" goldfish are notorious for having digestive issues, and once in a while they can be as bad as Lola. "Fancy" goldfish are bred to be (literally) deformed - deformed, shortened bodies leads to deformed "innards", too. In Lola's case, deformed to the point of being dangerously unhealthy. For this and other reasons, I am not a fan of selectively bred fish; I'm still not even sure where I stand on things like fancy guppies and long, fancy finned Bettas.... But I won't get on my soapbox now, I promise.> What do I give her for better nutrition? <Hey, I don't know if I'd written this before our last correspondences: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm . In Lola's case, I would try with some aquarium plants like Anacharis/Elodea/Egeria.... Maybe also some floating water lettuce or watersprite, as these plants have tasty dangling roots that would be of good nutritional value. If it were me, I would also experiment by keeping a small tub outside with water lettuce or watersprite in it and "change out" the one(s) I keep in the tank every few days - this way, not only would the plants have a chance to grow their roots back, but you'd be brining in some nice tiny little organisms living on the roots that would also be consumed by the goldfish, adding more nutritional worth. I canNOT speculate how this would cause Lola's sensitive tummy to react, but if it were me/my fish, I would try it. You know her better than I do, though, and know better what you can/should risk.... A tough call with the experiences she's had thus far.> How much protein does she need? <Mm, not a great deal.> Has anyone tried baby food with goldfish? <I don't know.... Honestly, I fear this would foul the water significantly and very quickly, so I wouldn't recommend it.> Do I need to boil the greens even more than 5 minutes? <Nah, even 5 minutes is longer than I do; they just need to be soft enough for her to munch.> As usual I am so grateful for your help with Lola. <And I am glad to be of service to her and you. Thank you for your diligent care of your animals!> Steve <All the best to you, -Sabrina>

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