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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 47

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease, Goldfish, Goldfish Varieties, Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment System, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHP, Hole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis,

Related FAQs: Goldfish Disease 1, 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 Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish Health 22, Goldfish Health 23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25, Goldfish Disease 26, Goldfish Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30, Goldfish Disease 31, Goldfish Disease 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Disease 38, Goldfish Disease 39 Goldfish Disease 39, Goldfish Disease 40, Goldfish Disease 41, Goldfish Disease 42, Goldfish Disease 43, Goldfish Disease 44, Goldfish Disease 45, Goldfish Disease 46, Goldfish Disease 48,

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antifungals, Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals ( Copper, eSHa, Metronidazole, Formalin, Copper, Malachite Green), Dewormers, Organophosphates, Salts, Mela- et al. non-fixes, Misc. Med.s,

Goldfish Disease by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4, Environmental 5, Environmental , (Absolutely the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Eye Troubles
Lumps/Bumps/Growths (including idiopathic tumors)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal Infectious
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans, Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/ Anchorworms/Lernaeids, ) Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder Problems
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Black Moor hlth. 6/25/09
Hello WetWeb Crew,
In my 25 gal tank I have a Black Moor (which hasn't been black since turning copper around the 5th month in my care) with a lump on the right side of it's body. The lump is just before the gills. I also have a Fantail and a Cory Cat which are active and appear healthy with no lumps.
Here's the history:
The Cory started this tank and my sister had it for a while (years) before giving it to me. Initially I started this tank with 7 goldfish (but before you gasp) and quickly I realized I had been lied to by the folks at the 'Super' store who told me I could buy even more for that tank size. To my dismay...the fave of the two Moors I bought met it's fate 1 day after I brought it home. All the rest of the young goldfish seemed fine. I brought back the dead moor to the store for a replacement common gold (another gasp) and decidedly plunged into researching the aquarium (specifically goldfish) hobby. Slowly I learned about diseases and environment issues and overcrowding. I replaced the 10-20 model Aqua-Tech Power Filter with a 20-40 model. At first I did 15% water changes every month and after several trips to different pet stores and lots of on-line reading I discovered that my gorgeous goldfish would be continually diseased and suddenly dying if I kept them in this tank. I started 20% water changes every week and after the largest Common was about 7 inches I found a local pet store that would take them all for the local pond enthusiasts. I brought all save two; the remaining Moor and the Fantail.
I cried all the way...surprised that I was already sooo attached!
<Ahh, I stand before the sacred presence which is human>
So that was about 6-7 months ago. Ok, now I only have the three fish.
Recently, just before the school year ended I let the tank water go a few weeks before changing it. I did this a couple times and the Moor was definitely suffering...staying at the bottom corner except during feedings.
I feed them 'Hikari Staple' floating pellets and sometimes peas. I did have some live plants for a few months but not now. After reading extensively on WetWeb I now know I need to go purchase Anacharis and Ceratopteris (Watersprite) and cycle them first (?) so not to introduce snails or possibly unwanted others.
Also I have very hard water and from what I read and understand; this is not a problem but can you please confirm if that is true?
<This is so>
Now back to my question; About four days ago (Sat 6/20) I noticed what looked like a tiny fleshy cauliflower (very white and almost like the appearance of a Sea anemone) or a cluster of white eggs attached to the side of my Moor. At first I thought his flesh was burst open and I was seeing the innards. I did a 30% water change...added some aquarium salt and treated with Rid-Fungus. On Sunday the white cluster was gone but now there is this bump and I wondered if what I saw was a parasite of sorts
<Not a parasite... but a type of tumuorous growth>
and has now burrowed its way inside my darling Moor. Oh and I also added Melafix with each water change.
<Not worthwhile... can even cause more trouble... among other things interrupting nitrification>
Yesterday I did a 15% water change; again adding salt, Melafix and Rid-Fungus. I checked the tank water with a 5 in 1 test strip and all looked fine but after reading more I guess the quick dip sticks are not always accurate?
<Not either very precise (giving the same measure) nor accurate (measuring what is)>
I also So I still need to purchase something else soon to use for checking the water. Today I noticed the fin tail of the Moors a bit red on the edge (looks burned)
<The "fix">
and I'm freaked out...maybe I'm using too much chemical...I don't know what this bump is or what the white fleshy stuff was that fell off so I changed another 15% of the water and this time I only added the aqua safe water conditioner, a lil bit of stress coat and salt; no Melafix and no Rid-Fungus. I also put the filter back in. Now I guess I have to just wait. I know I probably shouldn't change the water so much so I'm controlling my OCD.
<You are self-aware to a high extent>
Please tell me what to do and if this is a tumor
<Yes, most likely... and thus only "treat-able" indirectly... through environment, nutrition>
or possibly something else. If any, what treatment should I use.
Oh..the Moor's poo poo is a dirty white strand...this isn't good is it?
<The treatment...>
Sorry so long....thanks for any help you can give me.
<Better water quality and foods. Bob Fenner>
Ooops...forgot the pic; sorry it's not very good.
<Is indicative. B>
Re: GF dis. 6/26/09

Thanks for your patience.
Can you tell me if the filter I'm using is good. If not any suggestions?
<Is a good filter... but good to have redundancy with goldfish systems...
Another filter working concurrently>
Is the pellet food I'm using good?
<There are some good and some not so good brands. I almost feed Spectrum exclusively to my goldfishes>
It was recommended by Koi enthusiast who had a business building ponds here. I will soon be adding the live plants to my tank.
I have a temperature strip outside the tank that usually reads between F 76 & 78 but I'm unsure how accurate it is. Do you recommend using something else?
<Mmm, I use heaters in my large goldfish systems... set low...>
Can you make a suggestion on a kit for testing the water?
<This is all posted on WWM>
Thanks Bob for all your help - you folks are the best!
<Welcome. BobF>

Egg bound Pearlscale? (Nope, not at a 2-inch length!) 6/18/2009
Hi WWM Crew!
I have a question about my 2 inch Pearlscale goldfish.
<Much too small to be sexually mature.>
I am quite convinced that she is egg bound, as I recently witnessed some mating behavior.
<Likely just social behaviour; Goldfish are gregarious fish, and when kept in small groups especially often exhibit various hierarchical and other social behaviours such as chasing and nuzzling.>
Prior to that, she was active, but lately, she has been sitting on the bottom, unable to move, except in circles with her belly stuck to the ground.
<Not healthy.>
She doesn't show any pine-coning, but she has a "bruise" on her underbelly from lying on the bottom of the tank.
<The bruise is likely the first sign of secondary infection; assume it's bacterial, and act accordingly.>
Today, I transferred her to a 5 gallon bucket (with aerator) with 1/2 tsp of Epsom salt.
<Don't do this.>
I plan to change the water daily, to avoid ammonia problems, so I assume I should be adding the salt with every water change.
<Don't do what you're doing.>
My question is, can I place a male in with her to help her expel the eggs?
<Irrelevant. She isn't egg bound. That's wishful thinking. Goldfish need to be around 4 inches/10 cm before they're sexually mature. It's much more likely the fish isn't healthy.>
Will the Epsom salt be harmful to the male fish?
<No, but this isn't what's required here.>
Unfortunately, we just lost one of our palm-sized Pearlscales to the same condition.
<Hmm... how big is your palm? If you mean it was about 10 cm long, then it's possible it was sexually mature.>
I did an amateur autopsy and found loads of eggs in the poor fish.
<I honestly don't believe that the fact the fish carried eggs had anything to do with why it died. Purely coincidental.>
Thank you in advance! I love your website, very helpful indeed!
By the way, tank size is 100 gallons (about 5ft long, 2ft deep, 1.5ft wide)
with 1 large Ranchu, 8 2-inch Pearlscales, 1 Ryukin, 2 overhead filters with 2 powerheads, ammonia- 0, nitrites- .25, nitrates- 10, ph- 7.5, using aquarium pharmaceuticals freshwater master test kit.
<And that's why your fish are sick. Pearlscale Goldfish are highly inbred, genetically very weak animals, and extremely sensitive to poor water quality. They suffer from a deformed swimbladder, which means many
specimens can't swim properly, and for whatever reason they're prone to a variety of other problems as well. I'd strongly argue that they should NEVER be mixed with other varieties of Goldfish, partly to avoid exposure to diseases carried by cheaper fish so far as possible, but largely because they're easily bullied by more robust varieties. In any case, the nitrite level indicates inadequate filtration, overfeeding, or overstocking -- or quite possibly a combination of these factors. I recommend 30 gallons for the first two Goldfish, and then another 10 to 15 gallons per additional Goldfish. Filtration should be robust, something around 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, so for a 100 gallon tank, that's a filter (or filters together) rated at 600 gallons per hour. Since these fish don't like very strong currents, you'd be best off with a reverse-flow undergravel system that directed the outflow up through the substrate, spreading out the current but ensuring excellent water quality and water clarity. Heavy duty sponge filters would be another option. Ignore what the manufacturers say about a given filter being "suitable for tanks up to 100
gallons" or whatever -- if you have ammonia or nitrite in your aquarium, your filter quite obviously (and unarguably) cannot cope, and that's all there is to it. Adding an additional filter should help.>
Been having trouble with the nitrites lately!
<Cheers, Neale.>

goldfish health -- 6/17/09
dear sir,
I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice.
I have a 4ft tank with a variety of goldfish. Over the last two days I have noticed that they have all become very sluggish.
<As ever, do a water test: I'd suggest you always have a nitrite test kit (note the "i" in nitrite, as opposed to the "a" in nitrate) and a pH test kit. When water quality turns bad, nitrite levels rise above zero. So if
you can detect any nitrite, your problem is overstocking, overfeeding, or insufficient filtration. Goldfish like hard, alkaline water. If you have a pH level that drops below, say, 7.5, then there's a good chance your water is too soft, or more specifically, lacks the carbonate hardness these fish need. Do see here, and if needs be, use the Rift Valley salt mix (not plain salt!) to harden the water and raise the pH:
The sit around the bottom of the tank, swimming occasionally. They still seem to want their food. I can see no visible signs of illness. I have changed a third of the water and cleaned the filter. Last week I did add a
snail and Plec to the tank.
<Unless the tank has a heater, you shouldn't add a Plec to the aquarium, and frankly Apple Snails don't last long in aquaria anyway, so tend not to be worth the effort. In any case, check the temperature is adequate; Plecs need tropical conditions, so around 24 C will be acceptable for them but not so hot the Goldfish will be unhappy.>
Can you please give me some guidance as to what maybe wrong. I am going to take a water sample to a fish retailer later today.
<If you want a second opinion, let us know the results of the water tests, and we can analyze further.>
Many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: goldfish health 6/18/09

Thank you for you reply.
<Most welcome.>
I have had the water tested by a local fish retailer, they said that the quality was very good. The Ammonia levels were 0.5 but not worrying.
<Contradiction in terms. Pick up any -- and I mean ANY -- book on freshwater fish health, and you will be told in no uncertain terms that 0.5 mg/l (sometimes written as ppm) ammonia is toxic. No ifs, no buts. This is
what is making your fish sick. End of story. Anything the pet store said to the contrary is merely highlighting their ignorance. Safe water for goldfish is as follows: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and less than 50 mg/l nitrate. If you're detecting ammonia, it generally means that the filter can't nitrify (make safe) the ammonia produced by your fish quickly enough.
While it's possible for your tap water to contain some ammonia (use a test kit to see) any half-way decent filter should deal with safe (for drinking) amounts quickly; some water conditioners, such as AmQuel, will deal with it too.>
All the other tests were fine.
I was advised that the fish may have a parasite, being that they are clamping up all their fins.
Occasionally some of them darting around but majority sitting down. I was given a Tetra GoldMed treatment.
<Ka-ching. They made a sale. On the basis of what, precisely, did these founts-of-all-knowledge use to establish "parasites"? Tetra Gold Med is a medication for treating Fungus and Finrot; it's ingredients are
Formaldehyde and Malachite Green. These WILL NOT treat anything internal, so unless you can physically see Finrot (bloody, shredded fins) or Fungus (tufts of white cotton) then all you're doing is adding poisons to the water. Please, please, please read before dumping stuff in the water.>
I have since added this and they seem to be showing a slight improvement.
They are swimming around more, and showing more interested in food. Their fins are still clamped together at times.
<I bet. You haven't done anything that will help. Even if your fish had Finrot or Fungus, they wouldn't suddenly get better just because you added the right medication, any more than someone with TB suddenly feels better once they've swallowed their first Penicillin tablet.>
Can you tell me, do you think I need to do anything further ?
<Yes! Use some logic here: you have ammonia. Ammonia is toxic. Ammonia is produced by fish. Ammonia is removed by biological filtration. If you have ammonia, you don't have enough biological filtration. If you have ammonia, your fish will get sick. Ergo, the ammonia needs to be removed more quickly than it is now, and that will likely mean either reducing the stocking of the tank or increasing the amount of filtration.>
Many thanks yet again. I really do appreciate your guidance.
<Happy to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Green algae growing on sides of one goldfish 6/7/09
We have @3,000 gallon pond with all goldfish. Today, we noticed a 5-6" solid red-orange goldfish that appeared to have both sides covered in 1/4 -1/2" stringy algae. The goldfish swims upright and is eating normally. We did introduce four new goldfish about one week ago. We have had a fish pond for about 10 years and have not seen this sort of thing before. Please advise.
<This isn't algae; or rather, it's algae caught in the threads of something much, much more serious. This would appear to be a Fungal infection, and will need to be treated using a reliable anti-fungal medication (not salt, not Melafix-type tea-tree oil "cures"). Do also try to establish why this fish is sick. Fungus usually affects [a] physically damaged fish or [b] fish exposed to chronically bad water conditions. Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Anchor worms and quarantine 6/4/09
I've poked around on the web, but haven't found anything that can answer my question. On Monday I bought 2 new goldfish, a calico fantail (3cm) and a orange-and-white fantail (4cm), to add to my 10 gallon with a 6cm fantail (upgrading to 60gal at the end of the month).
<Glad to hear you upgrading this tank! Ten gallons isn't nearly enough for three Goldfish.>
I've had that fantail for a year and a half, with no problems. This morning (Thursday) I noticed that there are thin string-like things on the tips of the white-and-orange fantail's tail, he also has a scale that is dark (looks like a wound) that I noticed when I bought him home.
<Now, there are three things to think about here. The first is some type of external parasite like Anchor Worm, just as you suggest. But the two other things to consider are Finrot and Fungus. Finrot erodes fin tissue, leaving behind what we call fin rays (the bones) until these snap off. It's actually very common for Finrot to take the appearance of receding fins and trailing fin rays. Fungus is characterized by the presence of the hyphae that make up the "body" of the fungus, and these look like cotton wool threads. They can, in some instances, be quite long, over 1 cm. So that's another thing to think about. Both Finrot and Fungus are latent in all aquaria, even well maintained ones, since the bacteria and fungi responsible normally do good work breaking down waste materials.
Consequently they have the potential to come out of nowhere when conditions turn bad in the aquarium. Anchor Worm, and indeed most of the other large external parasites, have complex life cycles that cannot be completed in aquaria. They only really become problems in ponds, and because Goldfish are farmed in ponds, it's newly imported fish that are likely to carry them. Once exterminated, Anchor Worms rarely turn up in aquaria ever again.>
I've done some reading about Anchorworms and I've decided to quarantine him, because he doesn't seem to have any other wounds where the worms could've reproduced. Should I keep him in quarantine and treat him, or should I treat the main tank?
<Quarantine, treat and observe the fish until you are happy he is no longer infected. Free living parasites could potentially hitchhike from the quarantine tank to the display tank via buckets, nets, etc. so take care to isolate the two tanks as fully as possible. Disinfect buckets, nets, etc. using a strong brine solution (50 g/litre cooking salt should do the trick). Anchor Worms are normally treated using organophosphate insecticides to kill the free living stages, with the adults ideally removed by hand. This is fairly tricky to do, but worthwhile if the insecticide isn't killing the adults quickly. Place the goldfish in a waterlogged towel, wrap the fish securely to hold it firmly, and then pull away the adult Anchor Worm using forceps from its head, NOT it's tail (it's a lot like removing ticks from dogs, if you've ever done that). Dab the wound with some sort of antiseptic such as mercurochrome, iodine, tea-tree oil, etc. It would be a very good idea to use something like tea-tree oil proactively in the aquarium once you're finished to prevent secondary infection, though if only the tail fins are affected, the risk of trouble is very small. You may decide to dip the Goldfish in seawater for a few minutes prior to manual removal of the parasites; although this won't cause serious harm to the Goldfish, and doesn't kill the parasite, it does weaken the parasite, making it easier to remove them. Make up seawater using 35 g per litre non-iodised cooking salt or aquarium salt; don't use regular marine aquarium mix because that raises the pH and hardness, which won't be appreciated by the Goldfish. Dip the fish using a net, and leave for several minutes, potentially 15 minutes, but remove the fish at once if it shows signs of distress such as rolling over. You can now pull of the Anchor Worms a bit more easily than otherwise. After a couple of weeks, if there's no sign of any more parasites on the fish, and you've finished the treatment of insecticide, you can then move the Goldfish into the display tank.>
I know this isn't fin rot, there is nothing else wrong with his fins or with him, he's eating and swimming....
Thanks for your time!
Nadine (South Africa)
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Torn fins and...5/30/2009
Dear Wet Web Media,
Well, I have a very urgent question to ask you.
I have 8 feeder fish in a 30 gallon fish tank (2 ft x 1 ft x 1.5 ft) and I have recently discovered that one of my fish (the second smallest) has torn fins (top fin & back fin) and the colour of the fish (which is orange) is dull and fading, as it has a tint of pink.
<Finrot, more than likely. Review water quality and water chemistry; Goldfish need hard, alkaline water (pH 7.5-8, 10-20 degrees dH) and the water quality should be excellent (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite). Water circulation is critical, and pokey filters won't work here! Look for something shifting the water at least 6 times the volume of the tank per hour; i.e., for a 30 gallon tank, choose a filter rated at 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour.>
This fish is swimming in the corner of the tank (it looks frightened!) and it doesn't feed on the food like the other fish when it is time to eat. I have had these fish for about 5 months now, I first had 11, but 2 of them died months ago. Ever since, my fish looked healthy and active, but I don't know if any of them fight during night or when I'm not looking. This kind of problem has never occurred to me and so I am clueless. I do not know how long this fish has suffered, but I just discovered it today during feeding and am panicking. I am wondering if this is some kind of sickness or if it's been hurt by other fish in the tank.
<Most probably environmental; while there are bacterial infections that bump off fish, they're usually triggered by something (bad) in the environment. Review the environment, while treating with a useful medication; in the US I'd recommend an antibiotic such as Maracyn, but elsewhere an organic dye antibacterial like eSHa 2000 would be appropriate. Either way, treat all the fish in the tank. Don't waste your time on Melafix or anything based on tea-tree oil -- these don't work reliably. The addition of a small amount of salt (3-4 grammes per litre) can help if ammonia and nitrite are an issue, but long term you should use salt, and it's critical to fix the ammonia or nitrite problems rather than to use salt to moderate their toxicity.>
I was going to isolate this fish from the other fish, but I wasn't sure if it would cause it to become weaker in its new environment, and because I prefer not to put it by itself.
<Treat everyone together.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish all died and turned blood red on bottom. 05/29/09
I have checked you FAQ and have not found the answer. I have an outdoor pond that is 125 gals, been in place for over a year now. The water levels are all at the correct levels according to the test kit.
<I need numbers! To recap, you should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH around 7.5 to 8.2, and a hardness around 10-25 degrees dH. Goldfish are
intolerant of acidic water, and prolonged exposure to poor water quality will kill them. Fancy Goldfish are not really suitable for ponds, and even if you use the correct "outdoor" varieties such as Standards, Shubunkins and Comets, you will need a filter. A pond 125 gallons in size will not be big enough for Goldfish to be kept safely without filtration of some kind.>
I have had a set of Goldfish in the pond for over a year now and about two days ago I saw three fish floating, then next five more, then today was all the rest.
<Do review the pH; sudden pH changes are a common cause of mortality of this type. Also consider circulation, oxygenation, and filtration issues.
As the water warms up during spring, its oxygen content goes down, while the demand for oxygen by the filter bacteria goes up. At the same time, the fish's metabolism is increasing, and that means they're producing more ammonia. It's easy for a critical point to be reached where the demand for filtration on the part of the fish is exceeding the oxygen and circulation properties of your pond. Don't forget that last year these fish were much
smaller; as they grow, they demand more resources. A fish that doubles in length increases its mass eight-fold, so requires not twice as much filtration and oxygen, but eight times as much!>
Something kill all fifteen fish I had and it looks like their under belly's were blood red. There were no changes in water, put in the normal Algae
preventer, and some barley/peat extract to clear the pond. The same stuff I have been doing all year.
<Anything that kills algae by definition also increases the amount of rotting in the pond or aquarium. This of course means that the bacteria responsible for decay and nitrification have to consume more oxygen, so again, you can easily reach a tipping point. Others may disagree, but I resolutely advise against using anything that kills algae, snails or anything else in an aquarium with substantial biomass. The risks far
outweigh any notional benefit.>
Now here is where it gets stranger, I have another pond next to it that is 100 gals same every, water levels, preventers, and so on. All the fish seem
happy and alive in there.
Got any answers? Thank you in advance.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish all died and turned blood red on bottom (RMF?) 05/29/09

I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH 7.7, hardness at 15 dH currently in both ponds, however I have more Algae in the bad pond than I do in the good pond. I do have filtration in both ponds that can handle up to 300gals. These are not the Fancy Goldfish, purchase them from local pond shop.
<Sounds fine. However, you can have high levels of general hardness but low levels of carbonate hardness, and if the carbonate hardness is much below 5 degrees KH, pH can be unstable. What that means is that pH will tend to drop over time, or that the pond can experience sudden swings in pH when certain things take place, such as rapid photosynthesis by day.>
The pH level seem to be good. Circulation is there in the form of two waterfalls and filtration system. The plants in the pond seem to be not effect to what the fish had, they are growing very well.
<If the plants are submerse (below the waterline species) a process called biogenic decalcification can cause rapid pH changes as bicarbonate is extracted as their carbon source in preference to CO2. This isn't a common problem, but it is certainly a potential one. Funnily enough the last time I heard about a total pond die-off, it was from some type of pH crash; while hardy animals, Goldfish (and Carp generally) don't like soft water and can't tolerate rapid acidification. By contrast, wild fish of these types are astonishingly tolerant of brackish water, which probably tells you all you need to know about their preferences so far as the mineral content of water goes. Not that adding salt to a pond is a good idea! But it can be a useful way to fix certain problems in the short term, e.g., Flukes, Ick, while quarantining fish and without recourse to toxic chemicals.>
Currently I have three pumps that filter and two of which create a waterfall down into the pond. The other pond that is doing well only has two pumps one is a filtration system the other for fountain.
Well I am using TetraPonds algae preventer, but was told by pond shop to use Barley/Peat extract which is safer, even thou TetraPond says it is safe for plant and fish. The water is pretty clear, just have algae growing on plant stems.
<If the pond "isn't happy" for whatever reason, I'd refrain from adding anything not essential. Under the circumstances, given there are no more
fish in the pond, I'd suggest checking the filter is working and has healthily clean media; I'd clean out all the gunk from the bottom as best as possible; and I'd change as much of the water as possible to flush out any potential toxins, e.g., insecticides, pesticides that might have got
in. Do see Bob's review on the Spring Cleaning topic, here:
If all looks good after that, add a few more smallish Goldfish and see what happens.>
Got me on this one, but thanks for the help.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish all died and turned blood red on bottom (RMF?) 05/29/09

Thanks I will try all this to make sure it works well for my next fish.
<Good luck! Usually, I find breaking down systems fixes problems I couldn't recognize otherwise. It's a chore, I know, but the fishkeeping equivalent of reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system: drastic, but works! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish all died and turned blood red on bottom (RMF?) 05/29/09

Oh know all about the computer stuff, that is what I do for a living ...thanks again.
<A-ha! Then enjoy yourself installing goldfish for Ponds 2.1. Good luck, Neale.>

Goldfish Bump 05/27/09
<Hi there!>
I recently discovered your website as I was searching for information on goldfish diseases. My goldfish, Jeeves, has a large bump on his head.
<I see this>
We've only just noticed it about a week ago, and have been treating the bump with Maracyn-Two
<... not efficacious>
for a few days now. Unfortunately, he does not seem to be getting better quickly, as the bump on his forehead has split open. There are other, smaller bumps on his head now too. There doesn't seem to be any mucus coming from the split bump, but there does seem to be some white bumpy substance in the bump itself. Otherwise the fish seems fine. He is a large goldfish, about 6 inches long including the tail, 4 inches long without.
We feed him once a day, everyday, at about the same time. The food we feed him is TetraFin Goldfish Flakes.
<Not sufficiently nutritious... See WWM re>
We haven't cleaned to tank recently, so the water quality may not be the best. I know that many goldfish diseases result from poor water treatment.
<Yes; the majority>
I have included some photos of our fish, the bump, and the tank overall. My questions are -
1) What disease is Jeeves afflicted with?
<Looks like an environmentally mediated viral involvement>
2) How can we treat it? Will the Maracyn-Two work okay?
<Better nutrition, water quality... And no to the Minocycline>
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Paul Kojzar
<Keep reading Paul... Use the search tool on WWM... "Goldfish" "Virus"... and the nutrition FAQs. Bob Fenner>

Fancy Tailed Goldfish 05/24/09
I have recently lost two fancy tailed goldfish in the last month over approx 3 weeks. I have one left that doesn't seem to be doing well at all. I have had my tank for about 6 or 7 years with all the same goldfish in it. The one that I have left over the last two days has developed a very red tummy that goes half way up the one side of the stomach and underneath.
<Sounds like a bacterial infection, likely opportunistic, related to water quality, chemistry. Treat immediately with a reliable systemic antibiotic or antibacterial; Maracyn would be ideal. Secondarily, review aquarium conditions: tank size, water quality, water chemistry. Three Goldfish would need a system 115 l/30 gallons in size, with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH 7.5-8, and hardness 10 degrees dH upwards.>
I am trying the Epsom salts in the tank (but have just started that today), and will start to feed him peas tonight as it looks like a case of dropsy to me.
<Epsom salts don't really "cure" anything as such; all they do is help reduce swelling. So you will need to treat as described. In addition, if your water chemistry, water quality aren't right, you'll need to correct those, too.>
Is there anything else I should be doing?
<Read about Goldfish needs:
In particular, review water chemistry as well:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm >
I have also done a 25% water change on the tanks today as well. Please help! I don't want to lose my last little buddy!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Bubble Deflation 05/20/09
Hello there,
I have been researching for some information on an issue that we are having with a goldfish and haven't found anything mentioned about it. I'm hoping that you may have an answer for us.
<Let's see!>
The issue is the Red-capped Oranda's "bubbles" have deflated and I have never seen this happen before so I don't know if it is something to worry about. We are on a tight water change schedule and the water parameters are all showing good...IE no ammonia, no nitrites or nitrates. This is an established 55 gallon aquarium that has been up and running for over 9 years now with a Magnum 250 running on Carbon and a Power Filter for added filtration along with two small power heads. There are only two goldfish that are about 4 inches long from nose to beginning of tail... both Oranda(s). There are only two small plants towards the back of the tank (previous goldfish kept injuring itself on decorations so they were taken out) so we don't think the goldfish might have injured himself. We are watching closely for any indications of infection and so far everything looks good...just the "bubbles" are flat (no tears or holes). We are doing more frequent water changes just to make sure the water quality is at it's best. We also keep a level of salt in the aquarium at the rate of 2-1/2 Tablespoons per 10 gallons for natural healing and bacterial suppression.
<Salt doesn't do anything of the kind; this is old school fishkeeping with no scientific evidence to back it up. Wouldn't bother; much better ways to fritter your money away.>
Some of my questions are listed below:
1. What do you think would have caused the deflation of the "Bubbles"?
<Almost always rough handling or bumping into solid (especially sharp) objects.>
2. Will the "Bubbles" repair themselves and re-inflate?
<They won't.>
3. If a bacterial infection becomes a reality, what medication do you think would be best? I have access to Penicillin, Amoxicillin or Maracyn, Maracyn Two and Metronidazole. If there is something else that would be better, then I can go get it.
<Metronidazole isn't an antibiotic, it's for treating Protozoans; the others are antibiotics, and for fish, Maracyn is a good starting point. Would certainly use that (not salt!) to prevent secondary infection, which is very common in this type of situation.>
4. If the "Bubbles" do grow back, how long does it normally take?
Thank you for your help with this matter. Keep on swimming, Keep on swimming.....
<Good luck, Neale.>

Oranda Not Eating 5/14/09
Jolli has been sickly for two days. Ate last on Monday pm. Tuesday am on side, bottom of tank, very little swimming all day, he seemed very weak and depressed. Tail finnage ragged, damaged and streaked with red. Tuesday pm I put him in 5 gallon Rubbermaid and added .1%aquarium salt. 12 hrs. later which was Wed. am I increased to .2% salt. This afternoon he is bit better, moving around a bit. He now has a spot of white on his beautiful red head, looks like a bump, not a pimple. Skin isn't broken. Have read about using meds on this site.
<The obvious first possibility is Ick/Whitespot, and that is relatively straightforward to deal with. Since Ick treatments (whether salt/heat or standard medications) only kill the free-living stage, not the "white spot"
you see on the fish, it takes a while for the cure to become apparent. In coldwater tanks especially, the "white spot" may take a couple of weeks to mature and burst open, so don't expect immediate results.>
As he is in a weakened state I hesitate to do more than the salt treatment?
<Fair enough.>
I had thought to increase the salt to .3% in 12 hrs. after the increase to .2%. I hesitate to do that until someone with more knowledge than I weighs in. He and tank mate in 55 gal. Water perimeters are very good with none showing except Nitrate 5.0 ppm as it should be. Very soft water here that I buffer and GH is 7 KH 5
<I'm glad you're adjusting water chemistry; I'd actually nudge the general hardness even higher if I could, simply because with Goldfish, "the harder, the better".>
pH 7.8. 2 HOB and 1 canister filter equaling over 600 gph. I feed gel foods and veggies. Did 30%water change on 5/9. Had added another Oranda 5/6 that had been alone in 29 gal with .1% salt for 2 weeks and appeared very healthy.
<Ick could easily have come in with the new fish, or more specifically, free living parasites might have swum in with the water the Goldfish shipped in.>
I have lost goldfish in pass with what I think is swim bladder problems and this is nothing like that.
Appreciate any help to save Jolli.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Oranda Not Eating 5/14/09

Thank you for quick reply.
I have seen Ick/Whitespot and this doesn't look any thing like that.
White looking spot on head size of a half pea isn't as pronounced this am and looks less white. He isn't better or worse this am. I changed water and used .2.5% salt, increased 1/2%. The damaged tail fin with 2 red streaks isn't any better.
<Ah, did you mention this in your earlier mail? In any case: the red streaks imply Finrot; treat accordingly, using Maracyn, Seachem ParaGuard, eSHa 2000 or similar. No need for salt, Melafix, etc. Review water quality: Finrot is commonly caused by water quality issues.>
No interest in pea I dropped in this am. Still in very weak condition.
Could this be bacterial infection that I should perhaps treat with meds?
I can treat for Ick.
Yesterday I bought Triple Sulfa, Maracyn and Maracyn 2, Jungle anti bacteria medicated food. I'll pick up some Ick treatment today while out.
Start this pm if this is what you still advise.
Again, Thank You
<Believe this an opportunistic bacterial infection. Don't over/cross medicate: use a single medication at a time, specific to Finrot. Follow the instructions, and remember to remove carbon (if used). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Oranda Not Eating 5/15/09

Thanks Neale for reply.
<You're welcome.>
Yes, I did mention the red streaks in tail fin my first e mail. Also tank water parameters.
<Ah, yes, I see...>
Doesn't matter as he was gone when I came in this afternoon. His poor tail just full of blood streaks and spot on head was pale red. I do feel bad, this is the way it is with goldfish.
It must have been as you stated, bacterial infection. Sure was quick as he was all perky till Mon. pm and here he's gone on Thru. pm.
<Unusual to be sure, but can happen.>
Hard for me to think poor water quality was cause as all numbers were right where their suppose to be.
<Perhaps bad luck or bad genes, but either way, do review conditions, diet, maintenance, and act accordingly.>
Had him 9 months. Oh well, maybe I should try an easier fish to keep as I'm doing something wrong and don't know what.
<Wouldn't give up hope! These things do happen, even to those of us who consider ourselves "experts". Goldfish are finicky in some ways, particularly the Fancy varieties; would always recommend Standard varieties (single rather than fantail varieties) such as Comets, Shubunkins and similar if you want the least risk of problems.>
Thanks for your time
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Oranda Not Eating 5/15/09

One more thing. Tank temp is higher than ideal as the canister filter sends warm water back into tank. Winter temp is around 74, summer can get up to 79 - 80 degrees. I do drop in frozen water bottles and bring back down. I also drop water level so that the 3 filters make aeration at the top, the canister output bar sends bubbles to the bottom. Any suggestions here other than replacing canister filter with other type?
<You have a thermo filter? One that heats up the water? If it's something like the Eheim Thermofilter, there should be a temperature adjuster somewhere, and yes, you'd ideally want to set it to a lower temperature. If you simply have a regular glass heater that sits in some sort of compartment within a filter "compartment" in the aquarium, then perhaps you can unplug the heater? At the least, even this type of glass heater should have a setting knob; set this down to the minimum setting. Sometimes, these dials get stiff with age, and a pair of pliers can be useful, if applied carefully.>
Question is could the warmer than ideal temps be stressful to fancies and cause problems like this one?
<Up to a point, yes; when water is warm, it loses oxygen, and in the long term this can cause stress on your fish.>
I also have lost 4 others in last 3 months that I had for about 8-9 months, not all together, only kept 2 in the 55 and 2 small Ryukins in 29. Those 4, 2 small and 2 large in separate tanks, started out looking floaty. I tried fasting and than peas they to died in 4-5 days after being floaty.
I understand that swim bladder problems can turn into infections?
<Not necessarily; most "swim bladder problems" that Goldfish get are dietary problems, in which case once fixed with a fibre-rich diet, all is well. But some systemic bacterial infections can, will cause the swim bladder to become infected. These usually occur alongside obvious signs of systemic bacterial infection: dropsy, raised scales, bloody fins, etc. It would be very unusual for a fish to develop a swim bladder infection without any other symptoms as well.>
I do have 3 Shubunkins that I overwintered in garage and now their in small 90 gallon pond, at least I've had them close to 2 years. I know your right about the commons being easier to maintain good health with.
<Agreed; in fact Shubunkins are my favourite Goldfish for their hardiness, liveliness, and amazingly bright metallic colours. They aren't good fish for small aquaria because they like swimming so much, but they'd be nice additions to a 55 gallon tank.>
Now have 1 Oranda in the 55 and 1 Black Moore in 29. I was sure with not overcrowding, plenty of filtration, weekly water changes, soft foods, I wouldn't kill them. Wrong. Won't add any more fancies.
<Certainly, I'd recommend you're super cautious when buying Fancies. In some ways, they're like Persian cats or Labradoodle dogs -- you get what you pay for, and at the "mass market" end of things, you're getting fish produced to a price rather than a quality. That's a shame, and I do with retailers would make an effort to stock good quality Fancies produced by dedicated breeders. But until that happens, there's a lot to be said for sticking to Standards, Comets and Shubunkins.>
Thanks for your interest and advice.
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>

Fantail Gold Fish (Wen) 5/13/09
We have had a Gold Fantail (Goldfish) for almost two years in a tank, he has been healthy and fine. His (Wen) nose flap on one side has grown large to the point that every time he eats it ends up in his mouth. Is this a problem and should it be cut off?
<It could be a problem... If you perceive it as an impediment that is hindering this fish's capacity to feed I would nip it off with small, sharp scissors... holding the fish just under the water surface... perhaps with
the aid of another. Likely no need for either an anesthetic or medicine>
Thank you for your time please let us know?
Angie & Jarri

Goldfish question... Sys... not reading as all too usual before writing 5/11/09
I have a 10gal tank that had 5 goldfish and everyone was fine.
<Far too small for 5 goldfish; if this tank was 55 gallons, you might be okay, but there's zero chance of these fish staying healthy in here. For Goldfish, we recommend 30 gallons per adult, and another 5-10 gallons per additional specimen, provided you [a] have robust filtration and [b] do lots of water changes. Please read here:
Four weeks ago the water condition deteriorated and first became very cloudy and then started turning green. I did a complete water change and after the first week added 2 Plecos to keep the algae in check.
<Sorry, you added more fish? Plecs don't keep algae in check, but what they will do is put massive strain on the filtration system. Five Goldfish and two Plecs (each of which gets to 45 cm/18 inches within two years) need a huge aquarium, 75 gallons at least. I hope I don't need to mention that Plecs are tropical fish, and do need a heater. The water temperature should be around 25 C / 77 F. And before you ask, no, a centrally heated home isn't warm enough.>
Within a week one goldfish died (I had him the longest) after another week one of the Plecos died.
<Not in the least surprised.>
Yesterday, which is a week later the 2nd Plecos died. Now 3 of the other 4 goldfish look like they are turning white and they are just laying mostly on the bottom of the tank.
<Dismal. The white is probably Fungus (if cotton wool-like) and/or Finrot (dead white tissue, often with bloody sores). See here for medications:
Don't mix different medications at once, unless you are told specifically it is safe. Don't waste your time with Melafix or salt, neither of which is relevant here. Seachem PolyGuard would be a good choice since it deals with Fungus and Finrot. Remember to remove carbon from the filter while treating, and follow the instructions to the letter!>
They do come up to eat and swim around sometimes. The other one is becoming very aggressive. HELP.? Thanks much
<Look, you have no chance keeping any of these fish in this tank. Either buy a MUCH bigger aquarium, or return these fish and buy something suitable for 10 gallons:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: goldfish question, sys. 5/12/09
Thanks much for taking the time to answer my question.
<Welcome. BobF here as Neale is marked "out" presently>
The links were very informative. I plan on doing my homework before venturing into Petco ever. The sales person sold me those Pleco and 5 goldfish to put in a 10 gallon tank.
<... Dismal>
I think I will go to a bigger tank even though as it looks now, only 1 fish looks healthy and the other 2 have white dots or something on them and are still laying on the bottom of the tank or at the very top.? Thanks
again for your time.
<Keep reading... the links at top of where you were referred to.>

Sick red Lionhead 5/5/09
my name is Allison
<Hello Allison>
and I have had my red Lionhead goldfish for a year now and she has been through a lot so far cotton mouth and fin rot, thanks to sick fish from other stores but I have never seen her like this so it really worries me, she has recently been getting red spots around her scales (almost bloody looking) and I thought it was my new fancy goldfish that I just got so I took the new fish out and kept her in there (afraid moving her will put her in shock because she seems so fragile right now) and this morning I found more red lines now on her back, behind her front fin, and along her side, I also noticed that she now has two pimple looking spots on the bubbly part of her head, she has no appetite, and seems very week. I am very concerned for her I love her very much and I am afraid for her. I thought about changing her water but I'm afraid it will shock her too so I figured I'd ask before I do it I don't know what it is or how to treat it. Please help me asap so I can save marshmallow's life. You can email me back at: XXXX@yahoo.com.
Hope to hear from you soon and thank you wetwebmedia.com
<... Need more input here dear... Water quality (tests) and the make-up of your system (size, gear...) and your history of maintenance, foods/feeding.
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and the linked files above to start with... give you a check list of what your goldfish need, what sorts of data we're looking for. And do write back with this information. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish (need more information!), GF -- 05/03/09
I received a 10 gallon tank about 7 years ago with everything included so in our ignorance we rushed to the pet store and bought what was recommended. Well after the neon fishes died and the Danios I realized I
should be treating fish like I treat my dog and cat and the last remaining fish a Corydoras I researched what was best for them and bought 4 more for him. They lived happily.
Then last year at a church bazaar there is a game children play throw a ping pong ball and get it in the tiny fish bowl and win the fish.
<It's a shame a church should be doing what is basically cruel; giving away fish that will 90% of the time end up living a short and miserable life.>
We were leaving and two bowls were left on the ground only to be thrown away so I took them.
<They were throwing away live fish...? Weird church this... Or are we talking about the goldfish bowls being thrown away?>
One we lost the other is now eight inches We searched for a bigger tank found what we thought was a great deal 7 hours away (we couldn't afford it all new) When my husband got the tank it was unusable and filthy so on the way home he side tracked and bought a new one. The worst part in a plastic container after the car ride was a 8inch Pleco in 4 inches of water with a fancy goldfish and a dead fish.
<Quite the expedition!>
We didn't know how to use a filter with bio balls so rushed and bought a dual filter for up to 70 gallons meanwhile I have all these fish in a 10 gallon tank. I lost all my Corydoras they were at the top gasping for air it seemed and I really tried to get the 55 gallon running I did everything I think I was supposed to but I am having trouble feeding my Pleco.
<Oh; usually Plecs feed pretty readily: courgette (zucchini) is brilliant, as are carrot and sweet potato. On top of that, small bits of shellfish or white fish work well, too.>
The woman we bought the tank off told my husband she was disgusted with taking care of the tank and really forgot about them because it was the kids job. My problem is I bought my Pleco algae disks at first and he seems to be having such a problem trying to eat them I added cucumber and zucchini also but he won't touch them.
<Odd; he should eat all of these. What's the water quality like? Even the hardiest fish will go "off its feed" if the water quality or water chemistry isn't acceptable. At minimum, try and establish the pH and nitrite levels inside this tank; that's key information for me. Also check the temperature; Plecs are tropical fish, and if the temperature gets below, say, 22 C / 72 F, they'll stop eating. For long term health, they need to be kept at 25 C / 77 F. Contrary to what some suppose, you can't keep them in unheated tanks (unless of course you live in the tropics!)>
My Pleco doesn't really hide and aren't they supposed to?
<Again, aberrant behaviour is often a sign that the environment is wrong.>
He did at first but my little guy who is 3 talks to him and he does stay there and doesn't seem afraid. I know he must be to big for my tank with an 8 inch goldfish but I am at a loss here I tried to do the best I can my
water is perfect I just checked, <Ah, define "perfect". Please, give me the pH, temperature, and nitrite
but my big "Goldie" is losing scales and I am overwhelmed I also have a black fish that my cousin bought for her 'aggressive' tank and he was half eaten and I took him and he hid in my little boat and I stirred the water
by him so food sunk to him and he is a beautiful fish now. Can you please help me I don't know where to start with my Pleco was he so neglected he can't eat?
<Need data!>
He is sucking the side of the tank I feel that's good?
<Well, it means he's still alive, but beyond that...>
Also my tank is about 72.
<Does this tank have a heater? A daytime temperature of 72 F might seem fine to you, but it's actually too cold for tropical fish.>
I also used her bigger decorations rocks and such and there is a smell to my tank.
<Smells often go along with old or inadequately filtered water. Are you doing 25% weekly water changes? Are you properly maintaining the filter, e.g., by rinsing media once a month in a bucket of aquarium water, not under a hot tap).>
I just thank you for any advice you can give me. My little guy and I sit by their tank and just watch them I want to do the best for the fish but every web site is different info you seem to be the best and you don't
mince words I like that tell me like it is.
<Certainly try to do that!>
Hope to hear from you but you probably receive so many emails. Donna
<We do indeed get lots of messages, but we do answer them all. In this case, my gut feeling is that your aquarium is perhaps too cold, and that's why the Plec is inactive. Warm the tank up and he should act normally. This does of course assume the water quality is good (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite) and that the water chemistry is appropriate (for Plecs and Goldfish kept together, pH 7.5-8, moderate hard to hard water). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick fish (need more information!) 5/4/09

Hi I thank you so much for answering my email I was very surprised and grateful.
<We're happy to help.>
First off I fully agree with you about the fish game at the church picnic I don't condone it nor endorse it my little guy does not participate.
Yes the poor things were left for whatever would become of them in the parking lot my guess would have been feral cats from the woods
I would never let that happen everyone just kind of walked on by. It is a catholic church. But about my Pleco I am just so worried that he was so neglected for so long that he doesn't know fresh vegetables I bought a sweet potato today I need to find out how to feed it to him but anything I can do for him I will.
<The feeding bit is generally easy; simply add a slice to the tank (blitzed with the microwave for a few seconds if you want to soften it up). Leave for a few days if necessary, because often they won't eat the thing while it's still too fresh. Don't worry, this won't affect water quality! Some vegetables sink, some don't; tying them with a rubber band to a rock works well.>
I am at my island now he is in a darker part of the room and he is swimming and hanging on side of tank. But what is quite the exception? The fact the Pleco made it here alive?
<No, I said, "expedition", as in, quite the eventful trip. Perhaps it's a UK usage of the word that doesn't make sense otherwise.>
She told my husband he was in that shallow container for over a week before we got him. Things like this bother me the callous nature of humans and the disregard for things that are otherwise helpless but for us.
<We're in sympathy here.>
I am trying my best my nitrate and ammonia are 0 my ph is 7.4. But my tank is only one month old. like I said I am doing my best I will do anything you advise I would like to try the zucchini again any ideas? Or the sweet potato?
<Either. It's really a case of whatever is in the fridge at the time.
Carrots, cucumber, curly lettuce all work well, as do cooked or tinned peas. There are really all sorts of veggies that Plecs enjoy. Giving them this sort of diet is not only healthy, but cheap too, since you can use up scraps or vegetables starting to get a bit icky too eat.>
I thank you so much for this help. I am grateful for any advice. But one thing that bothers me so badly why do you think My Corydoras died?
<Difficult to say without seeing the tank really. Your water seems fine; 0 ammonia/nitrite and pH 7.4 should be good for a wide variety of fish. Most Corydoras species (there are exceptions) prefer water a little on the cool side, around 22-24 C / 72-75 F, so temperature is one stress factor.
Because Corydoras stay close the substrate, they are particularly sensitive to dirty gravel and poor water circulation; dirty gravel allows bacteria to cause problems, while poor water circulation means there's not enough oxygen for them. While Corydoras are air breathers, if they make a lot of trips to the top of the tank to gulp air, say, once a minute, that might indicate problems of these types.>
They were so happy for so long even with the big goldfish and then we got the Pleco and it seemed like it would die if I didn't put it in something so we put him in the 10 gallon and they all died within 3 days. My little guy almost saw the Pleco eat his pinky.
<Given the series of events, my guess is that the Plec "tipped the balance" in terms of what the aquarium (including its filter) could handle. Nitrite and ammonia levels went up, the Corydoras died, and then some sort of balance was re-acquired given the tank now had fewer fish in it. In my experience, all tanks have a certain "carrying capacity" above which they will hold no more fish. If you add too many, something goes wrong, some fish die, and eventually it settles back down to the same "weight" of fish it had before (though perhaps not the precise same specimens).>
That was a horrible sight Is it normal ?
<Yes, Plecs are scavengers, and part of how Nature recycles things. I admit, it's not a good thing to see, and actually shouldn't be allowed in fish tanks where possible, because parasites can pass from the corpse to the healthy fish.>
I cried and took my son in the other room. Was he so starved that he ate him?
<Probably not; just instinct.>
I am an animal rights advocate so you know I will do the best I can, I thank you so much.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Sick fish (need more information!) 5/10/09

Hi, I was so thankful for your advice everything was going great my Pleco was eating sweet potatoes zucchinis and then all of a sudden my little fancy goldfish was on its side just kind of trying to maintain normalcy and then the two fish I have the huge goldfish and a black one I nursed back to health attacked him I got a new tank together as soon as I could put him in but they got his fins and tail really bad. He is now pointing down and gasping for air in the new tank I am really having a hard time watching him suffer.
<Be careful when moving fish to "hospital tanks" -- unless that second aquarium has a cycled filter, then things get even worse for the "patient".
It's always important that the conditions in the hospital tank are at least as good as those in the main aquarium, and that the fish isn't exposed to sudden changes in temperature or water chemistry. Unless you can be sure about these things, it's usually best to leave the fish in the main tank, though a separator of some sort, such as egg crate, plastic mesh, or even a breeding trap (if big enough) can be used if required.>
He has oxygen I don't know what do
<Do check the water quality: mostly when fish are gasping at the surface, it isn't so much lack of oxygen (though that is certainly possible) but more often poor water quality (ammonia, nitrite) or sudden changes in pH. A good tip is to do a series of 25% water changes, at least four hours apart, as often as you can across 2-3 days. If the fish peps up shortly after the water change, that usually means the problem was with water quality or water chemistry, and if you address those things, the fish should recover.
On the other hand, if the fish carries on getting worse no matter what, then the fish may well be very sick.>
Please help he could be old I really don't know. He stays in the same position and won't move I thought it was swim bladder but obviously its not.
<Difficult to say precisely what is going on. It's actually very rare for Goldfish to turn on one another for no reason: they're schooling herbivores, lacking both teeth (for biting) and an instinct to fight with each other. In fact they are sociable animals. But that said, many fish will attempt to nibble on dying or otherwise injured fish. Perhaps when fish become sick, they stop exhibiting the "I'm a friend" behaviours that hold the group together? Whatever the explanation, such fish stop being viewed as companions, and the other fish may molest them, perhaps by nibbling on mucous or loose skin tissue. In any case, what you need to do first is review environmental conditions and make sure they're all appropriate; for Goldfish, that means 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, medium to high water hardness, and a pH around 7.5 to 8. Examine the fish carefully, and look for the tell-tale signs of Finrot (bloody sores on the fins and scales; frayed fin edges) and Fungus (cotton wool-like patches). If either of these seem to be the case, treat accordingly (though avoid Melafix/Pimafix, as these aren't reliable). Do also look for signs of Dropsy, usually revealed as not just swelling but also the way body scales lift up, so when viewed from above, the fish looks like a pine cone. There is a troubleshooting chart at the link below that helps you diagnose most of the common problems:
When you've narrowed things down, choose a medication:
If worst comes to the worst, there are some ways to euthanise fish humanely; for most folks, Clove Oil is the easiest, and I find 30 drops stirred into a litre of aquarium water (not in the aquarium, obviously!)
does the trick.
Please any advice so he doesn't suffer if there is something I can do,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick fish (need more information!) 5/11/09

Hi You can't imagine how much I thank you for this help. First off I did wrong I moved him in a newly set up tank and from what you are saying I really messed up.
<Quite possibly, but don't feel bad; many people would have done the same thing in the same situation.>
I just panicked the black fish was hurting him and the big goldfish moved on in too. He was in the new tank and clearly not doing well and got progressively worse he was half out of the water and couldn't move he had really no tail left he was pretty beat up.
<Oh dear.>
I was going to church but I couldn't look at him like that anymore I can't take someone suffering I am a single parent with two children I adopted from suffering and I couldn't look at him and just leave.
<Woo-hoo, let's hear it for parents who adopt! This is a big thing in my family, with at least six children adopted from around the world. As a zoologist, it's also obvious to me as one of the ways we fix overpopulation: instead of making new babies all the time, why not find loving families for the babies who has the misfortune to be born at the wrong time and in the wrong place? Perhaps I'm getting a little too
political here...>
I am not the strongest person in the world believe me but I used the clove oil and vodka and it was awful but he passed.
<He passed painlessly. The Clove Oil induces hypoxia by slowing down breathing, which has been demonstrated (via human volunteers) to bring on unconsciousness in a totally painless and stress-free way. Obviously with the human volunteers they bring them out of it quickly, but with animals, death soon follows. I'm not sure about the use of vodka though, and I'd note that the scientific studies on clove oil as a means of euthanasia specifically do not mention vodka.
Some have argued the vodka might actually have a reverse effect, but that's chit-chat among aquarists, and I'm not aware of any science that argues either way. Personally, I simply use clove oil by itself.>
He will have a funeral tomorrow with my 3 year old. lol but not. I myself went to my parents where there was steak and lobster and I myself had a few coronas. This was very depressing I am not cut out for fish I am 50 years old and this was heartbreaking everyone says "flush it" What will that teach my son about the value of a pets life?
<It teaches your son that part of the *responsibility* of owning animals is relieving pain, and sometimes that means easing their death. I'm not a bunny-hugger or a vegetarian, but I do believe that killing animals
humanely is one of the best things humans can do. There's a difference between people who think about animal suffering and the people who do not, and hopefully your son will learn that kindness to animals -- whether pets or food animals -- is morally the right thing to do. As a zoologist, I can see there really isn't much difference between humans and apes (and the chimps, to be honest, are pretty brutal animals). But what does separate us from mere predators is that we can make choices about whether or not the
animals we use suffer, whether pets or livestock. Your parish priest would perhaps call that part of the "knowledge of good and evil".>
My little guy loves his fish and he's not the kind of kid who taps on the glass he just sits and watches and moves his finger for the goldfish. I know I sound strange but that's how I feel I guess I have nothing else to
ask my big tank is ok But THANK YOU so much for everything. Donna
<Good luck to you all! Neale.>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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