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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 48

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, GoldfishGoldfish VarietiesKoi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment SystemBloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHPHole 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 47, Goldfish Disease 49, Goldfish Disease 50, Goldfish Disease 51,

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 4Environmental 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

Sick goldfish 10/20/2009
Dear crew, I have two goldfish in a 36 gal tank. I monitor the water water es). The oldest fish is 12 years old.
<Just entering middle age by Goldfish standards!>
My problem is with the 4 year old fish. I recently went on vacation and when I returned the 4 year old was not eating as usual. I checked the water and did my regular water change. Now the 4 year old is not eating at all (for 4-5 days) looks bloated/ swollen. The rectum area is very enlarged and four days ago scales loosened on each side of the rectum (1/2 inch are on each side) and two days age those scales fell off exposing the white skin underneath.
<Sounds like a bacterial infection, probably opportunistic, and brought on by a water quality problem. Might conceivably be related to constipation, but this doesn't usually lead to scale loss or an anal prolapse.
So while I would certainly use the standard Epsom salt/cooked peas treatment as per constipation, I'd also be treating with an antibiotic (such as KanaPlex or Maracyn). Outside of the US these are available only from a vet.>
No more scales have loosened or fallen of since then. He swims near the top, kind of floats but is stable and swim normal when he wants. I had not seen him poop 3-5 days. Three days ago I did another water change 60% and added mineral sea salts 2 tablespoons per 10 gallon. The next day he started excreting a long thin algae colored poop. He has done this several times that I have seen. My best guess is that he was over feed while I was gone and has become constipated and swollen to the point that he loosen some scales.
- should I just continue the salt treatment till better? - will the scales grow back? - how long can a 10 inch goldfish live without eating?
<Tonic/aquarium salt will have no benefit here. It's very important to understand salt isn't a cure-all -- if it was, healthcare provision for people, let alone fish, would be very cheap! In fact salt fixes almost nothing, and it's pushed by retailers more because it's profitable than anything else. It can be used for saltwater dips in a bucket, which shift things like fish lice and flukes, and at lower doses in the aquarium to combat Ick/Whitespot. Very low concentrations offer some benefit in badly maintained/immature tanks by reducing (though not eliminating) the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate. But that's it. It doesn't cure anything else.
There's no need to add salt to any freshwater aquarium except for those very specific reasons. Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) is something else entirely, and while it doesn't cure anything either, it does help reduce swelling and acts as a muscle relaxant, and it's this latter benefit that makes it useful for combating constipation. A dosage of 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons should do the tick. By feeding the fish high-fibre foods like peas, and providing the muscle relaxant, blockages in the gut can be cleared. But as I say, I don't think this is the prime issue here, given the other symptoms. I'd treat with Epsom salt and peas anyway, just in case (it won't do any harm) but I'd also treat with an antibiotic, since this sounds like a bacterial infection of the gut.>
Any help would greatly be appreciated.
<Cheers, Neale.>

... GF    8/30/2009
I bought a bubble eyed gold fish for my nephew (he is 3)...
<Hmm... lesson learned, I suspect, judging by the rest of your missive. But for everyone else out there: never, ever buy an animal for a child too young to accept full responsibility. Buy the animal for yourself, and let children share the pleasure. Few children make sensible decisions about pets, though we'd certainly encourage adults to introduce children to pet ownership, teaching them the responsibilities alongside the fun.>
He insisted on putting in the tank with his dragon fish and it bit one of the bubbles and the bubble is completely torn and ripped and basically gone completely except for a few shreds here and there...
<No real surprise. I assume a "Dragon Fish" is some sort Asian Arowana?
Scleropages spp.? In any event, fancy Goldfish are ALWAYS to be kept among their own kind, other fancy Goldfish, and ideally (and in the case of Bubble-eyes, certainly) with their own breed. Fancy Goldfish are so easily damaged and bullied that doing anything else is cruel and irresponsible.>
I have separated the fish and put the bubble eyed gold fish in a bare bottom tank and all alone...
<Do make sure you read up on what Goldfish need. Lots of people labour under the misconception they can be kept in bowls, without filters, etc. A single Goldfish (heaven forbid, since they're social fish!) would need 20 gallons, at least, once mature, and realistically 30 gallons for two specimens so they'd be happy. Bear in mind how big Goldfish get (20 cm/8 inches, at least) and that they live for 30 years when kept properly. See here:
my question is what else should I do... and is it going to live?
<Yes, it should live, though the "bubbles" won't grow back. The risk of secondary infection is significant though, and pro-active use of an antibiotic such as Maracyn would be important. Obviously, water conditions need to be perfect, otherwise the risk of infection dramatically increases.
Bubble-eye Goldfish are hideously prone to bacterial infections because of their extreme breeding, and can't be kept in anything less than ideal conditions for long. The majority of specimens likely die grim deaths at
the hands of inexpert aquarists who buy them on a whim... you have been warned! Cheers, Neale>

goldfish has bulged eyes 8/30/2009
Hey I have had help with my fish so I was wondering about some goldfish that we have gotten & 1 has its eyes bulged out of his head. The rest of the goldfish do not have this. Is this a disease that I need to get taken care of?
<Mmm, likely not... Most probably an expression of genetic variability... IF pathogenic, likely all others would be similarly afflicted>
& do I need to separate it form the others.
Thanks Judy
<No need to separate, but would like you to review the needs, esp. environment and nutrition of this animal. Read here:
and the linked files above. Plus, do send along a clear image if you can>
Angels on your pillows, Judy
<Maybe if they're cute. Bob Fenner>

GF... hlth., no data, image...  8/30/2009
I have a 5 year old goldfish about 1 and a half lbs.
<A comet variety>
about a month ago I noticed on top of his head he has growth
<Can you send along a clear photo?>
It is orange in color , the same as the fish. it starts above its eyes and goes across top from left to right. A little history, all the fish were wounded badly by a heron that found the pond. most had holes and gashes
pretty bad but all survived, that was a few months ago. All wounds were on the sides of fish not around the head though. A pet store employee, they said possible tumor. Did notice color a little lighter than usual too. Can you help? Bonnie
<... likely this is a tumorous growth... Not much to state w/o an image...
But most of these are not directly treat-able... But instead held in check with good nutrition and husbandry (e.g. water quality). Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Help! Sick goldfish! A joke? Env....   8/29/2009
Hello, please help! I have searched your site and have found that my 2 large goldfish have symptoms which may be attributed to septicemia, fungus, and perhaps parasites as well. I am writing because I don't know if it's safe to treat for all these things at the same time, if the product "Pimafix
<Pimafix? Worthless>
" which I have already added once to the water is a good product, and because of the appearance of two symptoms which I don't recognize: swimming backwards and long feces which is light brown in color and suddenly floating to the top of the tank (100 gallons). I am very worried and am hoping your expert advice will help my poor guys. Here goes:
The red streaking throughout their scales, the red splotches at the base of a fin, and the sort of strange orange tint (they are mostly white) sounds like it could be septicemia (I read this on your website). Few small white tufts/bumps on fins and tail sound like they could be due to fungus. I saw one fish one time scrape/rub his body along the gravel. Parasites? How would I tell what kind? They are resting on
the bottom of the tank and their dorsal fins are not erect. They are still eating but the zeal is gone. I am very worried.
The ammonia is 1.0,
<... deadly toxic>
nitrites are zero but nitrates very high,
along with pH of 6.4
<Too low for goldfish>
, water tested hard. I have added "Prime", which is supposed to reduce ammonia and nitrates
<... see WWM re>
and add slime,
<So will vinegar>
and the "Pimafix" which is for fungus and I think bacteria. What about Ick? I'm very, very worried. Please help! Thank you very much.
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. This system, water is un-live-able. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish with Dropsy  8/25/09
Hi Crew at WetWebMedia,
<Hello Martin,>
I am writing from UK and have a 7 year old goldfish which, 16 days ago, started to show the symptoms of dropsy ( swollen belly and raised scales).
<Oh dear.>
I immediately added a 0.3% concentration of aquarium salt and put her on a course of 'Interpet' Anti Internal Bacteria Treatment for 8 days.
<Have to say, this is a medication for which I've yet found no use. It's pretty hopeless, really.>
The condition did not improve and so after a 50% water change and insertion of a carbon filter for 24 hours to remove residual treatment I put her on a course of 'Waterlife' Myxazin using the recommended dose for 5 days. This did not appear to improve the condition.
<Again, a limited use medication unlikely to fix systemic infections. The problem for UK fishkeepers is that bacterial infections inside the body need to be treated with antibiotics. Americans aquarists can get some of these over the counter, for example Maracyn, which contains erythromycin. British aquarists, and indeed aquarists in most other countries, live in places where antibiotics are only sold with a prescription, and so to use erythromycin, you will need to ask your vet. This isn't expensive, but it is another step, and for that reason, tends to be something aquarists don't do. Last time I checked, erythromycin from the vet cost £20 including the consultation. That sounds a lot, but each of the medications you bought probably cost £5-6, and achieved precisely nothing, so coupled with the reassurance that a vet provides in selecting the right medication for the particular complaint, it's not a bad deal. Not all vets treat fish as such, but those that handle "exotics" such as reptiles will prescribe the necessary medications fishkeepers need as well.>
I have read on web sites that Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) can be beneficial and so I added this yesterday. The concentration of the aquarium salt is now approximately 0.13% due to water changes throughout treatment.
<Epsom salt can moderate swelling by drawing out fluid. It is also acts as a muscle relaxant, making constipation easier to deal with. Do read here:
Constipation is very common among Goldfish, and the symptoms are strikingly similar to Dropsy.>
I have re-commenced treatment with Myxazin on the assumption that it may take a long time for it to destroy the internal bacteria.
<Are there other symptoms that suggest bacterial infections?>
The fish is strong in itself and still has a hearty appetite but is obviously weakening because of its swollen abdomen.
<Sounds more like constipation than Dropsy; when fish develop Dropsy, it's because certain organs have failed and fluids are building up inside their bodies. Such fish have little interest in food, swimming, or interacting with other fish.>
I am feeding daphnia and shelled peas because I strongly suspect that she is constipated.
One unusual symptom is that dark patches have become apparent on some of her scales.
<Well, sometimes Goldfish "change colour" with age. This is normal. Provide the scales look normal and there's no sign of bleeding or dead tissue around them, I wouldn't worry.>
Nitrate, nitrite and Ph level are within normal tolerances and the tank capacity is approximately 65 litres although currently less than this because I have lowered the depth of water by about 1/3 to reduce stress on the fish.
<Fill the tank back up! Now, 65 litres is way too small for Goldfish, and your problems are certainly in part caused by this. I wouldn't keep Goldfish in less than 110 litres/30 gallons for the first pair (they're social) and another 30-40 litres per additional Goldfish. Do read here:
Your advice would be very much appreciated.
Yours sincerely,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish with Dropsy  8/29/2009

Hello Neale,
Thanks very much for your reply to my goldfish query.
<Happy to help.>
I have now contacted a local vet who specialises in fish and he has prescribed antibiotics.
<Very good.>
Initially, we are giving her a daily bath for just over an hour in an antibiotic solution to the vets recommendation and if that is ineffective then, after 5 days, she is to be injected with an antibiotic.
<Sounds about right.>
However, I must say that we believe that the condition is starting to improve at least in terms of the swelling which appears to have reduced. I guess that this could well be due to the Epsom salts drawing out fluid and acting as a muscle relaxant.
<Can work well, though does depend (as you'd expect) on the fish otherwise recovering so that fluid accumulation stops.>
I have dosed with Epsom salts at one and a half tablespoons per ten gallons as recommended in the article you referred me to. My only query is whether I am correct in assuming that the Epsom salts will, apart from the effects of water changes, remain at the applied concentration and not therefore need topping up?
<Correct; add the dose mentioned, and similarly to each new bucket of water during water changes (i.e., if you remove 5 gallons, add another 5 gallons with one-quarter teaspoon Epsom salt added). Evaporation is added with plain water, no Epsom salt.>
She still has an excellent appetite and is decidedly more active!
Many thanks again for the help you have provided - very much appreciated!
<Good luck, Neale.>

Blind goldfish tilts to the side when not swimming   8/24/09
My almost two year old goldie has been having problems with buoyancy. He swims normal but when he isn't swimming he will either tilt to one side or end up with his nose pointing down. He's eating fine and other than that looks healthy. He's in a 40 gallon tank that's been up & running for 1 year with two hobs (BioWheel 350 & an Aquaclear 70) and a 23" bubble wand. Ammonia & nitrites are at 0. Nitrates are between 5-10. PH is 8.0. I do monthly water changes of 25 % water with a gravel vac.
<I would (and do) these sorts of percentage change outs weekly (part of my Sunday routine)>
He shares the tank with another comet that is a year old.
<Mmm, this variety of goldfish (all are the same species, actually dihybrid cross) gets too big for this volume>
About 3 months ago I noticed goldie bumping into everything and swimming past his food (omega one flakes. Pre-soaked) so I started feeding him omega one sinking pellets.
<More of the pellets are better... more substantial than flake food (the analogy of you or I trying to live on corn flakes alone)... Adding some purposeful "greenery" (e.g. Egeria/Anacharis, or such) would be greatly beneficial in many ways as well; including nutritionally>
After a month I noticed his balance issues. He swims around normal it's just when he stops. I thought he might be constipated, so I added Epsom salt(1/8tsp per 5 gallons)on Friday but I can't tell any difference. I tried peas but his tank mate gobbles it up before it has a chance to sink. I don't want to lose him as my family has gotten very attached.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give.
<Try the changes mentioned above... and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above for background. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Blind goldfish tilts to the side when not swimming   8/24/09

Mr. Bob,
Thank you so much for such a speedy reply. I have one more question. I spoke to someone at the LFS yesterday and they said Goldie's problems were due to two things, over filtration & the bubblewand.
<Mmm, nah>
I didn't think you could over filer with goldfish. What are your thoughts on that?
<Ludicrous... unless the water movement from same is buffeting the fish about...>
Then the owner informed me I was cruel for keeping a blind fish alive because he'll eventually starve to death.
<Not so either. I have had/kept quite a few blind goldfish and Koi... They have sharpened "other senses" that help them get by>
As I said in previous email he eats fine. Also, I'm planning on upgrading to 100 gallons.
<Ah good>
Would this be a good size?
<Yes... your comets will grow to about a foot long t/here... and not be "too" stunted to live long, happy lives>
I ask because my wonderful(not)LFS says 40 gallons is plenty big for just the two goldfish.
<Not for this American variety of GF, no>
Thanks again for all your help & all of your team for providing such wonderful info.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Help! My Lionhead has hemorrhaging around its mouth and under its chin 8/23/2009
My little Lionhead has what I can only describe as hemorrhaging around its mouth and under its chin.
<Very likely Finrot, in other words, an opportunistic bacterial infection almost always caused by poor water quality (i.e., nitrite and ammonia levels that aren't zero) or physical damage (e.g., by clumsy netting or
sharp gravel). Fix the background problem to prevent reoccurrence, and treat against Finrot using some appropriate medication, e.g., in the UK, products such as eSHa 2000 or Interpet No. 8. Don't bother with tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) as these don't work reliably.>
I only got him the other day with another little Oranda to go with my larger Oranda and Lionhead that are in a 60lt tank.
<Sixty litres is adequate as a quarantine tank for a few weeks, but simply isn't close to viable in the long term. For three Goldfish, you're looking at 110 litres (30 US gallons) minimum. Anything less, and you'll be
constantly fighting against sickness, and your Goldfish will "enjoy" short, sickly lives. Do bear in mind your Goldfish will get to some 20 cm/8 inches in length, and they are big, messy fish.
They all get along fine and the newbies were fine being introduced and everything. But this morning I noticed it on the Lionhead and now the other little Oranda has a small red patch starting to show around its mouth. What could it be? They both seem happy and are eating.
<Almost certainly you don't have good water quality, in part because the tank is too small, and likely also served with an inadequate filter.
Upgrade to a sensible tank, treat against Finrot, and enjoy your fish.
Cheers, Neale.>

SOS...Goldfish Disease...Pls Help... 8/22/09
Dear Crew,
today morning my 5 goldfishes were fine when I went to work..in the evening they have developed some white granular spots all over the body, specially visible in the long fins. Is this some fungal disease?
<Possibly, or else Finrot. Do see here to try and identify the problem:
Note than Fungus tends to be thread-like, often appearing as cotton wool patches. Finrot is more like specks of dead white tissue, often associated with bloody or pink patches, as well as frayed fins. When you're done with that, have a look at the possible options in terms of medications.
Some work on both Fungus and Finrot, for example eSHa 2000 and Seachem Paraguard, and these can be useful if you aren't sure which disease you're dealing with. Although Maracyn is listed as doing both, it's actually more for Finrot than Fungus. Similarly, while Melafix seems like an option, it's a mild remedy at best, and you may find it better to use a stronger remedy straight away.>
please tell me how ro cure them. I also have 3 white Cory catfish who seems unaffected (but I'm not sure because of their white colour).
Thanking you
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help with a worm issue please   8/22/09
My Husband went home today and found our Goldfish dead. There was a worm that was working it's way out from inside of the gill. It was as wide as a pencil eraser, It was white with reddish orange, maybe an inch long but it was coming out of the gill and then going back into the fish through his side. VERY nasty!!! What is this? I have 3 other fish in the tank. A catfish and 2 black goldfish. Do you think they are infected???
<Possibly. You will need to use a proprietary anti-Helminth medication since there's a chance the other fish are carrying worms as well.
Medications that contain Levamisole, Piperazine and Praziquantel are often recommended, but they don't work reliably, so if you can, use medications with Fenbendazole or Flubendazole instead. Do also be aware that some crustacean parasites, such as Anchor Worms and Gill Lice can look worm-like at first glance, and nothing you have said here helps me identify the problem either way, so you should use a search engine of your choice to find photos of these, and then act accordingly, since different medications will be required. Do be aware that some medications can be toxic to catfish, and do also remember that parasites often become problematic only when the fish are stressed, so review environmental conditions. Three Goldfish would need 40 gallons or more, and big catfish, such as "Plecs" (usually Pterygoplichthys species) can't be kept safely in tanks less than 55 gallons in size. So if you have a small tank, less than 55 gallons, poor
environmental conditions could easily be part of the problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Comet Goldfish Death  8/21/09
Good Evening Crew,
I have just lost my largest comet goldfish of 4 years tonight. It onset quickly and I'm at a loss to explain it.
Last night I fed the fish their normal feed (Algae wafers - they love these things and avoid their other food for them). The fish in question had no problems and was swimming around perfectly.
However, this morning I woke up to find him resting on the bottom of the tank and one side was completely puffed up. I feared the worst, and didn't know what to do as I was off to work and he was sort of floating around and stuff, but kept listing to the side that wasn't puffy.
Tonight, I thought it might be dropsy (although there was no porcupine effect) so I immediately set up my hospital tank and got water, Prime, some ParaGuard, a power filter, a heater, and a table spoon of Epsom salts going in a 10G tank.
<Too small a volume>
When I took the fish out of the main tank (I have another comet and a Pleco) there was a bit of red, round things that came out of the fish.
I thought they might be eggs,
<Mmm, no... Cyprinid eggs are small, not red>
but I couldn't tell for sure. I was reading and eggs should be clear/white from what I have seen, so I didn't know what it was. I thought perhaps the fish was backed up or something.
I'm not sure at all what's wrong, and sadly as I was out tonight to try to find medicated food, I came home to it dead.
Does any of this ring a bell? Can a fish die from being full of eggs if that's what it is?
<Can die from consequences of being egg-bound... but usually resorb...>
The other fish appear fine in the tank, though the other comet is swimming around a lot (not flashing, but very active and digging for food/substrate) more than usual.
I'm wondering, could an internal injury overnight have caused this?
<Could; yes... but the largest source of goldfish mortality is "environmental"... poor water quality, crowding...>
There appears to be no trauma on the surface of the fish - but a blunt blow might have ruptured something?
<Unlikely, but a small possibility>
Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Hard to believe a fish can go from fine to dead in less than 24 hours...
Thank you,
<...? What re the system, chemical and physical test results? Please read
here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>
Re: Comet Goldfish Death  8/22/09

Apologize for the lack of system information. Was a bit distracted last night writing that e-mail.
<I see>
The system is a 75 gallon FW tank with a HOB overflow into a 20G sump with a 6" Fluorite Black Sand bed for Anacharis plants.
<Ahh, good>
I have all T5 lighting (4x54W up top and 4x24W on refugium). The pump is an Eheim 1262 back into the tank through a 1/5HP chiller from JBJ. Temp is constant at 75F as I have a Pleco in the tank. I have attached postmortem pictures for you detailing the size of the fish and the area near the back where there were red liquids coming out.
<Nice pix>
I'm beginning to think something ruptured inside the poor fish as it was "bleeding" on the plate in the pictures. Very sad.
I will do tests tonight as I did recently (on the 12th of August) have to tear down the tank for a move and reset it up again. Water shouldn't have affected as I just moved next door but who knows.
Again, other two fish show no signs of stress, and they are the weaker fish. The fish that died was the biggest and strongest I have ever seen/had.
As for the hospital tank being too small... it was all I had at the time and I used what I could at the time hoping that the smaller volume would be okay for the fish and that I would be able to use less medicine as it would be more potent for the fish at that volume.
<John, what do you feed these fish? And, if you're not too squeamish re, would you open this fish up ( a single edged razor blade will do), abdominally... from the vent to the isthmus (the area at the apex of the
gills underneath) and upward of the gill openings, to reveal the coelomic area? We should be able to see grossly if there is egg accumulation, fatty degeneration... Bob Fenner>

I have a goldfish problem. No data or reading   8/20/09
I have searched on several sites on fish disease and I can not for the life of me figure out what is going on with my fish. I have a 75 gallon tank with an assortment of 6 goldfish. One has recently developed some dark green spots on his left gill and on his fins, he also appears to look like some of his scales are missing on one of his sides, and I'm not entirely sure but his body looks a tad swollen.
I also have another on that has a bump on his tail. (It is a yellowish gold color with black dots on it) I am having problems figuring out if it is a tumorous growth or a parasite.
<Highly unlikely either.>
All of the other fish are doing well and I have confined the two of those to a separate 20 gallon hospital tank. I will try to upload some pictures so you can help me decipher exactly what these sicknesses are and help me figure out what treatments will be necessary to get these guys back to good health. Thank you in advance for you help. (sorry the fish did not want to cooperate on the pictures so these are the best I could do.
Stacey =0)
<Uhh... need information re water quality, foods/feeding, maintenance...
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm
and the linked files above till you have a gist of what we're looking for.
Bob Fenner>

diseased tank... goldfish, learning    8/14/09
Hi, after several goldfish died in my tank with Ick, fin rot and red spot, I cannot keep new fish live for long.
<No, you are not seeing the big picture. When fish persistently die from a variety of causes it is almost always because you, the fishkeeper, have given them the wrong conditions. In the case of Goldfish, there are a bunch of things you need to get right. The starting point is a big tank (realistically, 20 gallons for juveniles up to 10 cm/4 inches, but 30+ gallons for adults). They also need a strong filter, regular water changes, and the right water chemistry: pH 7-8, 10+ degrees dH. Common mistakes include keeping them in soft water and not providing sufficient filtration, such that ammonia and nitrite are not zero. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
Can I let the tank be dry for certain period and get rid of all the disease causing germ?
<No, that's a terrible idea, and not scientific either. If you leave the tank empty of fish, let alone dry, the filter bacteria will all die.>
If yes, how long should I keep the tank dry? Thanks.
Ying Wang
<Read and learn, spend the money on the right equipment, and act accordingly before you kill any more fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: diseased tank  8/18/09

Neal, Thank you for your help.
<You are welcome.>
I find two flaws in the water. One is I use Prime to get rid of Chloramines. Right after I apply it the free ammonia is 0. But after a half day I tested for ammonia, free ammonia showed up.
<Find a water conditioner that explicitly states it treats ammonia, chlorine, and Chloramine.>
I don't know exactly how long can Prime keep the water ammonia free.
<Doesn't work like this. Ammonia is either [a] present in the water as soon as you draw it from the tap; or is [b] produced when Chloramine reacts with a dechlorinator not designed to safely neutralise it. Of course, ammonia will be produced by your fish, but if we're talking about a cup of water sitting on a table, these are the two sources of ammonia.>
Before I use to add Prime than wait for half day to a few days to use the water. And the water already has about 1ppm total ammonia in it!
<That's a lot, far beyond the safe level, which in the UK at least is 0.5 mg/l (0.5 ppt).>
Should we always use water conditioner right before we use the water?
<Yes. Look for a brand that treats ammonia, chlorine, and Chloramine.>
The other flaw is our water is very soft. GH 1 and KH 1. I got Seachem Livebearer Salt to raise GH. Do you think this is suitable?
<No, not really. Expensive for one thing, and doesn't really change the hardness much. As you'd expect, a product that is mostly cooking salt raises salinity more than anything else. Take a look at this article:
If you scroll about halfway down, there's a "Rift Valley Cichlid Salt Mix" that uses baking soda, Epsom salt, and marine salt mix. Instead of marine salt mix, you could use your Livebearer Salt, but when it's finished, go buy some proper marine salt mix instead -- it's better. Anyway, use about one-quarter to one-half the dosage on that recipe. Start off with one-quarter teaspoon baking soda, one-quarter tablespoon Epsom salt, and one-quarter marine salt mix (or Livebearer Salt) per 5 US gallons. See how that works. If needs be, use twice that much.>
I use to only add it until GH reach 4. Now I am try to reach at least GH 10 like you suggested. I also have Seachem Gold Buffer to raise KH. Which is said to buffer between 7.2 to 7.8. How much KH should I try to reach? Thank you! Ying.
<Cheers, Neale.>

GF Qs 08/02/09
> Bob, Neale- As I'm going through the GF disease FAQs ("summarizing" and sorting), I have few questions... 1) a lot of the early crew members frequently recommend Melafix. Does this work for goldfish?
<Marginally in some types of circumstances (my best attempt at a fair assessment)... Really, more a hindrance, obstacle to folks further investigating, seeking real cures in many more percentage cases>
> 2) There seems to be some disagreement over the use of "freshwater" salt to ease water quality issues and stress on the fish. What is the > logic behind the use of this salt? ...and do you two recommend it?
<The change in osmotic pressure is more easily tolerated than some ext. complaints... and the placebo effect, granted... getting folks to not do more harm>
3) Is it not a "myth" that goldfish will only grow as large as their home will provide?
<Sigh... absolutely>
...do they just grow very slowly in small containers?
<They stunt, suffer and die prematurely... Thank you for asking. BobF, who would include this corr... so he's going to.>
> Thanks,
> Sara M.
Re: GF Qs 08/02/09

> Hi Sara,
> I tend to agree with Bob the Melafix is of little to no value. It's an antiseptic at best, and consequently best considered a preventative, to keep minor wounds from becoming infected. I'd never recommend it as something to use once fish have obvious signs of Finrot or fungus.
> Sodium chloride is known to reduce the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate. As such, it can be used at low doses (1-3 grammes/litre) to help fish tolerate periods of poor water quality. Sodium chloride can also be used to treat a variety of external parasites including Whitespot (Ick) and leeches. On the other hand, what sodium chloride won't do is raise pH or increase hardness. It's therefore of no value in aquaria where the main problems are to do with water chemistry.
> Goldfish have a very high tolerance for brackish water, so the use of salt at low doses on a continual basis won't do any harm, but on the flip side, it won't do any good either, if other issues, particularly water chemistry, aren't fixed first.
> Carp, including goldfish, are known to stunt in the wild as well as in captivity. I disagree with Bob with regard to the potential for harm; there's no clear evidence that stunting causes any problems at all.
> However, having said that, keeping fish in tanks that are too small for them -- and thereby causing stunting -- also tends to imply the fish is being exposed to poor water quality, unstable water chemistry, and low levels of dissolved oxygen. All of these things are liable to reduce overall health and disease resistance. So while stunting _per se_ probably doesn't cause problems, the conditions that promote stunting almost certainly do.
> It's worth mentioning fish grow their entire lives, as you probably know, and once a stunted fish is removed to bigger quarters, it will begin growing again. Of course, the rate of growth decreases with age, so a fish that was stunted when young will not get dramatically larger if moved into a big tank as an adult.
> Cheers, Neale

Goldfish stung by a bee...? 7/31/09
Afternoon folks....I have a Shubunkin..that I think may have been stung by a bee or maybe bitten by a dragon/damsel fly nymph.
He was fine first thing in the am.....I ran back in the house to get my morning boiled peas...and upon my return....he was struggling to swim and unable to stay on the
bottom of my pond. He has no marks on him...his fins are all perfect, no red steaks or any tell-tale signs. And...this seems strange to say...but his pupils look way too dilated (I spend a lot of time watching them).
<Most teleost (bony) fish cannot change the size of their pupils. Some catfish can, but that's exceptional. So whatever else is happening, I doubt your Goldfish has "dilated" pupils. A photo would help.>
Everyone else is fine. Any suggestions or thoughts?....thank you ever so much Laurie
<Fish don't normally get stung by bees, and unless these fish are tiny, and I mean minnow-sized, a Dragonfly nymph isn't going to cause them any harm at all. Same for water beetles. Most bites/cuts on Goldfish are from water birds (particularly Herons) and of course housecats. As for what makes a Goldfish go loopy, the most common reason is a dietary issue, essentially constipation.
But this is very uncommon in pond specimens because Goldfish in ponds usually have access to lots of algae, plants, and organic detritus, so they aren't likely to be lacking fibre. Still, if the fish is otherwise healthy, and doesn't, for example, show signs of Dropsy (raises scales, like a pine cone) or bacterial infection (bloody patches, tattered fins) then do think about constipation and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

What is this white stuff on my black moor   7/30/09
Hi, my name is Betty. We purchased 2 Black Mohr's about 2 years ago.
<It's 'Moor' as in the Moor of Venice. It's a pejorative term taken from an old word used for the North African Moslems, and some publishers now actually won't use the word 'Moor' to describe these fish because, when you think about it, it really isn't nice.>
There is also 1 Shubunkin living in an outside pond with them. One of the Black Moor's is turning white around his eyes and about half way down on both sides. He acts fine, eats good, but doesn't look normal.
<It's not normal as such. Moors, being black, show up excessive amounts of mucous more easily than other Goldfish. When Goldfish are stressed or irritated, they produce extra mucous. Therefore, if your Goldfish have been stressed or irritated about something, you're more likely to notice your Moors developing this off-white slime on their bodies than other types of Goldfish. It's very different from Finrot, which looks like what it is, dead white tissue, often associated with patches of blood and shredded fins. It's also different to eye damage, which usually looks like white "scuffing" on the cornea of one or both eyes.>
We have 2 pumps with filters, water lilies and water iris in the pond. Is this Ich?
<No. Ick looks like grains of salt.>
The only thing we have done differently recently is clean the statue with a little vinegar water.
<In itself, should be harmless, and acetic acid will be quickly metabolised by the filter bacteria anyway.>
The pond is about 900 gallons. What do you suggest.
<Review basic conditions in the pond first: at minimum, check pH and nitrite. Goldfish are acutely sensitive to acidic conditions, and if the pH is below 7, they will get stressed. Check the nitrite is 0. If it isn't, then your filter may need cleaning and/or upgrading.>
Thank you Betty.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Injured goldfish   7/30/09
I changed my goldfish bowl today, and as I poured the new water in the force of it squashed him against the gravel at the bottom of the bowl.
<I see.>
He ended up with a cut tail and red dots on his body from the gravel. I'm really worried that he won't survive, I've had him 13 years and he has always been healthy before, no problems and now I go and injure him like this!
<How big is this Goldfish? At 13 years old, he should be a good 20 cm/8 inches in length, so I'm surprised he even fits into a bowl!>
I kept him in the same water because I always leave new water 24 hours before I put him in it to settle chlorine, but I've been told to change his water ASAP because their blood poisons them, is this true?
<No, it's not true. Anyway, you should be using water conditioner in each new batch of water. While "standing" the water overnight will remove chlorine, it won't remove Chloramine or copper from the water, and won't necessarily remove ammonia from the water either, if there's ammonia present.>
Also, I know it causes them stress moving them.
<Well, yes.>
He has no pump or anything, just a bowl.
<Don't approve of this at all. Honestly, if your fish has lived 13 years, it's a miracle; the vast majority, and I mean 99 out of a 100 Goldfish, kept in bowls die within a short period of time, months at most. Now, while I'm sure you're fond of your fish and treat it very well, for everyone else reading this reply, please understand that BOWLS ARE CRUEL. Do please see here:
At the minute he is in the dark, nice and quiet and he is foraging for food, which is promising, but he keeps floating sideways to the surface and trying to swim against it to the bottom again. Is there anything I'm doing wrong, also do I feed him?
<If the fish has signs of blood or dead tissue, then treat for Finrot; I'd recommend eSHa 2000 as the most reliable medication available in the UK without visiting a vet.>
I give him dry food,
<Do also read here:
I don't know if it will get into his cuts.
<Not sure what you mean here. If the bowl has no filter, water quality will be dire, and the bacteria can, will infect the wounds. Adding food will make things worse, so don't feed until you're happy the fish is healing properly.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Our beloved Goldfish: Goldfish Health\Disease No useful information 7/22/2009
<Hi Jessica.>
I'm in a panic.
<I'm sure there is no reason to panic.>
My Goldfish has suddenly stopped eating and is hovering towards back of the
aquarium and occasionally will tilt to the side.
<Ok, could be a number of causes. How big of a tank is he in, what are the water's parameters, what is the goldfish fed?>
This little guy has been through a lot, he is disfigured, but it has never affected his swimming before.
<I see. What is the fish's disfigurement?>
I am very worried about him.
<Understandingly so, but unfortunately, you haven't given me any information to be able to help you. Information such as tank size and water tests can tell me if this is a water quality issue, what you are
feeding can tell me if this is simple constipation or something more>
<I suggest you start reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshdisease.htm  as well as the linked articles on the top of that page. Do get back to me with the data I've requested.>

diseased fish w/ picture (Goldfish; the usual) 7/21/2009
I have a goldfish that my daughter won at a fair 2 weeks ago.
<Be sure to read up on what Goldfish need; although cheap enough to obtain, Goldfish are very demanding pets to keep, and the vast majority have short, unpleasant lives. I'm glad to say Goldfish-as-prizes is steadily being outlawed in Europe, and perhaps one day the idea you can give away a living animal as a gift will die a death! In any case, read here:
Virtually all problems with Goldfish come down to inadequate care: not enough living space and poor water quality being the prime issues. Goldfish need to be kept in groups, and two or three specimens will need a 30 gallon tank, and that tank will need a filter adequate to the size of the tank, such that ammonia and nitrite levels stay consistently at zero. On top of these demands, you'll need to change 25% of the water per week.>
It was one of two goldfish, but the second one died a day or two after we got it. He seemed really stressed. The one we have left is turning black from the front the back.
<This happens sometimes; it's genetic, and there's nothing "wrong" as such. Where Goldfish have been accidentally or otherwise released into the wild, over the generations they return to the dark green colour their ancestors were.>
It started just at the head and now it's moved towards the body and the top fin. There are also a couple places where there is a small white pussy looking spot.
<That's more serious. I'm guessing this is early Finrot or Fungus, the former tends to look bloody while the second usually has fluffy white threads. Some medications, such as eSHa 200 and Seachem Paraguard will treat both complaints. Avoid bogus cures like salt and tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) as these have little/no useful effect.>
I looked through all the pictures on your website and I didn't find anything that looked quite like this. We have had other fish in this tank before but none ever had this condition.
<Goldfish should live 20-30 years; if your previous Goldfish didn't live that long, I'd be very suspicious of the aquarium being adequate! I mention this because plastic theme tanks with cartoon characters are largely gimmicks designed to extract cash from pressurized parents. Their value for keeping fish is almost nil. Unless the tank has 20 gallons capacity while the Goldfish are juveniles (to 3 inches/10 cm) and 30 gallons for adults above that size, it's worthless, and anything I say about fixing this poor Goldfish is whistling into the wind: the Goldfish will never be healthy.>
For the first couple days we fed the goldfish bread because we didn't have any fish food. Then I bought tropical fish food because the store was out of goldfish food. I read on your website that they need goldfish food rather than tropical fish food so I bought some about four days ago hoping it would help.
<We don't actually recommend Goldfish Food, so I'm not sure where you read this. In fact Goldfish are classic herbivores and you likely have many foods they enjoy in the fresh salads and vegetables section of your fridge!
Do read here:
Pellet/flake foods are fine 3-4 times a week, but otherwise use cooked peas, cheap aquarium plants, and other similar green foods.>
We also did a couple partial water refills with tap water that we left in a pan overnight, which is what I have always thought was good enough but now don't know if it is.
<It isn't. Water companies nowadays add various chemicals, not just chlorine, so you need to add a proper water conditioner. Also check your water is hard and alkaline, since that's what Goldfish need.>
About five days ago we did a full water change and cleaned everything in the tank because there was a lot of bread, food, etc., on the bottom. The water didn't look too bad, but the bottom was really full of gunk.
<Then you're overfeeding and/or under-filtering.>
So far it doesn't seem to have helped because the black has moved farther back and onto it's fin. Can you tell me if there is something I can put in the water to help him?
Thank you for your help.
Beth Anderson
<Read, understand the needs of these demanding fish, and act accordingly. I simply don't recommend people buy Goldfish without first reviewing what they require to do well: they're expensive animals, and not at all easy to keep. Ideas they can live in bowls are outdated and misleading. Cheers, Neale.>

Ho buoy...

My Black Moor seems to be dying. 7/19/09
I have searched this website and have found multiple explanations of the different symptoms my Black Moor is expressing, but haven't found a case yet where one fish had all of these problems: My black moor is in a 40 gal tank with another black moor, and two Pearlscales.
<Do be careful mixing the rather boisterous Moor with varieties as delicate as Pearlscales; the latter are easily damaged, and best kept among their own kind.>
They are all about two inches. A few days ago I noticed my guy (or gal) was not being as active as usual, and seemed to be hanging out around the bottom a lot. Upon further inspection, I noticed what almost looked like a white tubular-ish, fuzzy, cotton-ish protrusion from right behind his gill (about a half inch long and a quarter inch wide), and was also slightly red around the edge of the 'hole'.
<Is this protrusion coming out from the gill opening itself, or is it
coming from a patch of skin somewhere behind the gill opening?>
I thought it might be an organ or tissue coming out of a hole in his body, but nothing in my tank is sharp and he doesn't fight with the other fish.
My husband thought it might be a fungus so we treated it with Anti-Fungus with Malachite Green and Acriflavine Hydrochloride, as directed. Almost immediately the white stuff lessened until it finally went away, leaving a small dent in it's side, which looks like a small puncture wound that is healing.
<Good; fungal infections often get into wounds, and so it's entirely likely your diagnosis here is accurate.>
We thought he was getting better and seemed to be more active until yesterday, when we noticed it was back on the bottom again. Now he won't eat, his color appears to be lightening on most of his body, his scales seem a little puffy, he has one patch of about 5 dark black scales on one side, and one remaining black scale on the other side, and the rest of him is mostly gold. Also, this morning he developed a white film on his head, and we treated him for Ich, with CopperSafe. His dorsal fin is rapidly deteriorating, and his anal fins are getting more transparent in places. I should point out that none of the other fish have ANY of these problems.
<These are all fairly generic, "I'm stressed" symptoms caused by poor water quality or inappropriate water chemistry. Black Moors often show excess mucous patches as white patches because they're black fish; other varieties of Goldfish may be reacting in a similar way, but because they aren't black, the white mucous isn't so obvious. In any case, unless this fish was recently purchased, in which case it might have come into the tank infected with a bacterial infection, I'd assume water quality or water chemistry.
Just to recap, Goldfish need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH between 7.5 to 8, and fairly hard water, ideally 10-20 degrees dH. What they don't like is soft, acidic water; dirty water with ammonia and nitrite; or poor water circulation.>
We are completely baffled, please help, I love my fish and would hate to lose any of them. The tank is 2 years old, with an under gravel filter, a Top Fin filter, we do bi-weekly water changes, the last one was today.
Thank you in advance!
<Do need some water quality/chemistry statistics to offer more help, and a photograph of the sick fish would really help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish vs. child -- 07/17/09
Hello! I just found out that yesterday my child's friend was �playing� with our 5 -6 inch, 8 year old goldfish. Basically, she thought it would be fun to transfer the poor fish back and forth from the tank to the bucket of water that she filled up.
Upon inspection, the once beautiful fail tail looks like it's been plucked off leaving behind ½ inch nubs and the tail is visibly bruised and swollen.
<Should grow back, you'll be pleased to know.>
I'm feeling just sick about what's happened to her. I know 8 years is a pretty good lifespan for a tank gold fish, but is there anything I can do to help her tail mend and will the fan tail ever grow back?
<Eight years is still but a youngster in Goldfish terms; the record is some 30 odd years. Anyway, yes, you can do a lot to help. The main thing is to provide good water quality, i.e., zero ammonia and zero nitrite. I'm assuming this tank has a filter and you do regular water changes, so that shouldn't be too difficult. The next thing is to treat the aquarium with a suitable medication to prevent Finrot and Fungus. In the UK the medication I recommend is eSHa 2000, while in the US you'll find things like Seachem Paraguard and Mardel Maracyn should do the trick nicely. Similar products should be available in other parts of the world. Your pet shop might recommend something called Melafix based on tea-tree oil; while a fair antiseptic, it isn't terribly reliable. If you happen to have this stuff lying around by all means use it and see what happens, but I wouldn't go out and buy any, and I certainly wouldn't use it if there are obvious signs of fungus or Finrot (white threads, inflammation, dead white tissue, etc.).>
<Good luck, Neale.>

Question RE Shubunkin clamping 7/12/09
I hope you can help me as I'm concerned about my little Shubunkin, Molly. I have searched extensively on the Web, and have not been able to find an answer.
We have a 70 liter tank, which was inhabited by three young fish - a fantail named Felix, a calico fantail named Wilbur, and Molly the Shubunkin.
<Far, far too small for Goldfish. Three juvenile Goldfish could be kept in 20 US gallons/75 litres, but once they're above 3 inches/8 cm in length, they will need a 30-40 gallon/115-150 litre tank. They also need a filter, preferably a reasonably robust one, rated at not less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and preferably 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour; in other words, for a 150 litre tank, you'd choose a filter rated at 4 x 150 = 600 litres per hour, minimum. I mention these issues because they're often ignored, with the result that the VAST majority of Goldfish deaths come down to inadequate environmental (housing) conditions.>
As recently as three or four days ago, I found Wilbur entangled in some grass and after freeing him, it appeared that he had somehow damaged his swim bladder - he was swimming side-on, and trying to reach the surface, then sinking repeatedly.
<Somehow, I doubt "swim bladder disease" was the issue. When fish are sick, they lose the ability to swim properly; the result is that many aquarists see a fish that can't swim, and assume the swim bladder is infected or damaged. In fact all they're looking at is a symptom of an underlying problem, the VAST majority of the time issues with water quality, water chemistry, and diet, in that order of precedence.>
After seeking advice from the local pet store, we relocated him to a makeshift hospital tank, where his condition seemed to deteriorate. he began lying on his side and contorting himself so that his tail was
oriented at 90 degrees to his body. We tried feeding him shelled peas, but to no avail. We even tried reintroducing him to the tank, as the hospital tank was quite shallow, and we wanted to see if he would at least try to swim in the deeper water. When he sank and sat gasping at the bottom of the tank, we removed him again.
Unfortunately, despite our efforts he died after two days in isolation, just as we began trying to face the unpleasant prospect of euthanizing the poor little guy, and researching humane methods.
<I see.>
Meanwhile, the Shubunkin Molly has began acting strangely - hiding in the corner of the tank, acting unresponsive, and clamping her fins. Suspecting that perhaps a water quality issue may be the cause, we took a sample of the water to the local pet store, and had them test the sample. They told us that the various levels were all in the "good" range, and it appears our water quality is not the cause of the problem.
<I'd put money on this being a FALSE statement. For a start, your use of the word "range" is worrying; there are no safe "ranges" for ammonia and nitrite; these should be ZERO. If you detect any ammonia or any nitrite, even small amounts, then at least one of your problems is poor water quality. This in turn usually comes about from overstocking the aquarium, overfeeding the fish, or under-filtering the water. Goldfish specifically need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH between 7.5 and 8, and a hardness level above 10 degrees dH (i.e., "hard, alkaline water"). Aquarium shops are notoriously unreliable when it comes to giving shoppers advice about water quality; instead, ask them to write down the specific values, including the units where relevant, and then e-mail me back with them, and *I'll* tell you whether the water is safe or dangerous.>
Is it possible that the Shubunkin is simply stressed?
<Why would it be?>
No discoloration is apparent, and Felix the fantail appears to be in excellent health.
<Often, after some of the fish have died, an overstocked tank now becomes properly stocked. The aquarium conditions improve, and the remaining fish seem fine. The mistake people make is that they view things as having "got better" and go buy some more fish. This instantly overstocks the aquarium again, the fish get sick, and the cycle starts over.>
As strange as it may sound although the fish are new additions to the family, we have become very fond of them in a short period of time, and are already very sad over the loss of the little Calico fantail, Wilbur. We
would like to do whatever we can to ensure the Shubunkin, whom we have named Molly, survives, but are at a loss as to what to do next.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this question, and for any advice you can give us.
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

White lump, GF, reading  7/13/09
I recently got two fish from a coworker who no longer wanted them. Both goldfish are a bit large, but young. They look like fantail goldfish, but I am not sure of the breed.
<A pic please>
I got the fish on Thursday (today is Sunday) and the tank is new, about 2 weeks old.
<... is it cycled? Do you know what this is? Please read here:
The fish were bought anywhere from two weeks ago to two months ago. We are unsure of the purchase date. There is a filter in the tank along with some fake plants and gravel. They eat Goldfish Floating Pellets.
<And read the linked files above>
The larger one of the two seems relatively healthy as far as I can tell. The smaller goldfish has a bump on its side that at first looked like a scar. It looks smooth and is a lighter orange color, but not white. It also looks like there is a smaller version of this on its top fin
(dorsal fin, correct?).
Anyways, I have tried looking it up on the internet and there is no luck in finding an answer. It looks like an irritation but I'm not sure. Do you have any idea of what it could be?
<Likely "environmental"...>
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
Bob Fenner>

Help my poor fat goldfish! 7/9/09
First I want to thank you and the whole crew for having such a wonderful site. I have used it on many occasions and told others about it.
<Glad to have helped.>
My problem is that a couple of weeks ago I was given 3 long tailed goldfish to go in a outdoor pond of approx. 350-400 gallons. One of the goldfish appeared to be ready to spawn. She is a beautiful fish but she is not spawning. One day she spawned some eggs that was in the water hyacinths, but she still looks like she is full of eggs. She now stays to herself in the corner of the pond and has begun to lean to one side. I am not sure if I have males that are ready to help her in the process.
<Sounds more like constipation than anything else; there's nothing to stop a female Goldfish being both ripe with eggs *and* constipated, all at the same time! Do see here for proper feeding of Goldfish:
Constipation is very common when Goldfish are fed pellet foods only.>
I have held her and in the beginning her abdomen was tight, it is not tight now but she is so swollen. Her eyes are clear and she still has the slimy feeling coat but she is not eating like she was. The water tests out to Nitrate is 5, Nitrite is zero, Hardness is 150, Alkalinity is 180 and the ph is 7.5.
<All sounds fine.>
I have done partial water changes thinking that my water might be different from the one she came from. My pond is about 2-3 months old and just getting started. I want to know if there is anything I can do to help her out. And should she have been moved this close to her laying eggs?
<Shouldn't make a huge difference either way, but move her using a container (like an plastic carton) rather than a net, so she's lifted out in a "bath" of water that supports her body, rather than without any water, as would be the case if you used a net. It is possible, though uncommon, for fish to become egg-bound, the causes for which are unknown. Certainly, rough handling could be one possibility though.>
About half the time when she is in the corner there is one other one there with her just being so still I have to check to make sure she is still alive. Help!
Thank you so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the usual)  7/5/09
I am truly a novice.
<Luckily, there are lots of good books for beginners to read *before* they buy their first fish.>
I have a 5 gal. tank which previously had a Black Moor in it.
<Too small for Goldfish.>
Learned the Black Moor needed a bigger tank (even though I was told when we bought it that the 5 gal. was fine).
<Don't trust everything someone says when they're trying to sell you something...>
So got a bigger tank for it (10 gal.)
<Wasted your money right there. Let's be crystal clear on something: you cannot keep Goldfish in 5 or 10 gallon tanks, end of story. Even 20 gallon tanks are too small in the long term, though they'd be fine for juveniles across perhaps the first 12-18 months. Adult Goldfish will need 30 gallons or more, and certainly more than that if you want more than two specimens (or for that matter other species, such as Weather Loaches, alongside them).>
I thought, since I had this 5 gal. tank, I'd put some smaller more colorful fish in it.
<No; a 5-gallon tank is basically a bucket. With the best will in the world, you can't keep much in them beyond Bettas, and in the hands of "novice" fishkeepers they're death traps. Do read here:
Sales people will tell you anything can live in very small tanks; they are wrong, as the endless chain of people asking for help at this web site should make abundantly clear. For novice fishkeepers, the single best thing they can do is not waste their money on anything less than a 20-gallon "long" tank (avoid "deep" tanks for now).>
I changed out about 75% of the water (learned that Black Moors are quite dirty), put in Stress Coat+ and waited a week and then put 2 male guppies and 1 catfish in.
<No, no, no... male Guppies are aggressive and will need 20+ gallons to get along; "catfish" covers a lot of ground, but assuming these are Corydoras, then you'd need to keep them in a group of 5+ specimens in a 20+ gallon tank. Even if you bought the other popular catfish, the Plec, while fine on its own, that's a fish that needs 55+ gallons once it matures to its full size of 18+ inches, which will happen within 1-2 years, assuming you don't kill it first.>
The salesperson at the fish store said I'd be able to have up to five guppies and 1 catfish in the tank but to start with the three, wait a week and then add the other 3.
<Idiot salesperson.>
It's been three days with the 2 guppies and 1 catfish. I've noticed the 2 guppies seem to be fighting.
<What a total surprise (irony).>
Both are aggressive towards each other.
<Of course. Any aquarium book would have told you this.>
I don't have a way to separate them. I've read all the posts and I think I'm getting that I should put female guppies in but I really don't want to breed them.
<No, you don't have to keep them with females. But if you do keep females with them, the females need to outnumber the males by 2 to 1.>
What do you suggest?
On another note...the Black Moor developed a white spot on it's eye.
<Another total surprise (irony as well). You can't keep a Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank and then expect it to stay healthy. It's like feeding someone fried foods every meal and then being surprised that they have a heart
attack. Your Goldfish likely has an opportunistic bacterial infection caused by poor water quality. The cure? Move to a 30 gallon tank, install an adequate filter (at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per
hour, i.e., 120-180 gallons per hour for a 30 gallon tank) and then treat with a reliable Finrot antibacterial or antibiotic, such as eSHa 2000 or Maracyn.>
First several weeks ago, it lasted three days and then it disappeared. It came back about 2 weeks later.
<May simply be mucous production; when fish are irritated by poor conditions, they produce more mucous, and in the case of black fish, the mucous appears as white patches. These are a good sign the fish is
stressed, and quite possibly suffering a bacterial "assault" for want of a better term.>
After consulting a staff person at the local pet store, I treated it with Furan-2. I did two cycles with no improvement.
<Antibiotics will cure the bacterial infection, but they won't stop excess mucous production if living conditions are bad, and without fixing the environment, such symptoms will keep reappearing until the fish gets something so major it dies.>
After reading the packages at the store I decided to treat with Melafix.
<Totally unreliable; you'd probably have more fun throwing money down the nearest hole.>
I'm on the 2nd cycling of that and still no improvement.
<Quelle surprise.>
The fish seems healthy otherwise and seems also to have adjusted nicely to the larger tank.
<Define "healthy otherwise" and "adjusted nicely".>
I was thinking it's an injury since I had seen the fish bump it's eye on the artificial plant when in the 5 gal. tank.
<Not what happened; wishful thinking on your part.>
I do not have any plants in the new tank, just an artificial coral display.
<Not my cup of tea in terms of decor, but won't cause the symptoms you are describing.>
What are your thoughts on this?
<That you need to read before you spend money.
Hope you don't mind having your advice served "straight up", but you've done practically everything wrong so far, so it's time to buckle down and read about what fish need rather than trusting to luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the usual)  7/7/09

Hi Neale
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my questions. I also really appreciate how quickly you responded.
I've read and re-read your emailed response. I want to do right by the fish I foolishly purchased (the Black Moor, two guppies and one Corydoras). I am totally guilty of believing the store personnel on all accounts.
<Not an uncommon situation. But always remember, they're salesmen first, and their job is to sell you stuff. While some stores certainly do employ people who know the hobby well, not all of them do, and the Big Box stores especially can be very hit-and-miss in this regard.>
Thought they'd be knowledgeable and would want me as a returning customer so I assumed they would have sound advice for a novice. Never thought to research anything as I prefer to speak with people in person and thought I was seeking professional advice.
<Well, lesson learned!>
Anyway, I fell for everything the salespeople at two different stores have told me. Hook, line and sinker. Guilty as charged. So, now I have a Black Moor that has the potential to live 25+ years if I don't inadvertently kill it. AND, I have two adorable guppies and a Corydoras who aren't happy in their current environment.
<Quite so.>
SO, I read the articles you recommended and I hate to ask, but would you let me know if I'm on the right track before I go and spend more money and screw things up even further I mean how many tanks can I purchase before getting this right, huh Maybe that's why the store personnel ill advised me. I am a repeat customer after all.
<An old friend of mine used to comment that Medical Doctors don't particularly want people to be healthy, they want them to simply not die, because the longer they're ill, the more medication and medical treatment they'll buy. While that's perhaps a bit cynical, there's always good sense at seeing where the money goes. If your fish keep dying, so you keep needing to buy more fish, that's good for business. Likewise medications and bolt-on goodies supposed to fix all your woes. A pet shop that sells you a Goldfish with a good-sized tank and filter isn't going to see you for maybe another twenty years! Much less good for business. I simplify a bit, but you can see my point. So, to be a sensible shopper, it's a good idea to research precisely what you need for the maximum odds of success, and take it from there.>
I get that I need to purchase yet another tank of at least 30 gallons for the Black Moor. If I want the Black Moor to have company, I need to get one even larger. Yes If so, how much larger
<Thirty gallons should be fine for 2 adult specimens at least, perhaps 3 if you have a really good, strong filter. Bear in mind an adult Goldfish is bigger than a man's hand, so while a 30-gallon tank might look huge, it's actually perfectly in order for such big fish.>
And, I get that not only do I need to get a larger tank for the two guppies and the one Corydoras (at least 20 gallons) but I also need to get at least another 4 Corydoras.
So, how big of a tank do I get for these guys Guppies.com says "A maximum of 1" of fish per gallon of water is a good rule of thumb for beginners."
Yet, it also states that a 10 gallon tank is fine for the guppies but I'm pretty sure I read in the articles you recommended that the guppies needed no less than a 20 gallon tank.
<You certainly could keep a few male Guppies in a 10-gallon tank, but if you review other people's experiences of that, you'll see things like aggression are much more serious, and that means stress and possibly Finrot when fins get nipped. You certainly couldn't keep females with males in a 10-gallon tank because they'd be harassed. Hence, my advice is to go for 20 gallons when male and females are being kept, or where you want to keep a few male Guppies peacefully alongside some other fish.>
I would love to have a half dozen guppies and the 5 Corydoras. Perhaps some other fish too later on down the road after I do much more research.
<So 20 gallons makes much more sense. There's really no point choosing a 10 gallon tank: price and the space the tank takes up is very similar to the 20 gallon one, and yet a 10 gallon tank is much less stable and much less useful.>
Perhaps this is a stupid question but hey, evidently, I've done everything wrong so far and probably seem like an idiot to you anyway...any chance the guppies, Corydoras and Black Moor could live in the same tank Is there any size tank big enough to keep the Goldfish from eating the little guys
<You certainly *can* keep Corydoras and Goldfish together. The trick is to choose the low-end tropical Corydoras species (Peppered Corydoras, Bronze Corydoras, and Albino Corydoras) and then use a heater to take the tank to about 24 degrees C. This will suit both Corydoras and Goldfish perfectly well. Goldfish are messy fish, so you do need to watch water quality and install a strong filter, but apart from that, the two species get along fine. Guppies are less of an option; Fancy Guppies are delicate and need warm water, around 26-28 C, to do well; so even if they weren't eaten, I'd not expect them to thrive in the conditions Goldfish need. As it happens, I'd sooner keep Corydoras with the Goldfish than the Guppies; partly because Corydoras don't like the very warm water Fancy Guppies need, and partly because without Corydoras, you have the option to add a little salt to the water, which does make keeping Guppies a little easier.>
Didn't think so. Stupid question, right
<The stupid questions are the ones not asked.>
Thank you again, for taking the time to answer my questions. I honestly do want to do right by the fish. Any living thing deserves the best of care.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the usual) 7/19/09

Hi Neale
I tried to find this email exchange on the wetwebmedia.com but to no avail.
Anyway, wanted to give you an update and get your take on what I should do next.
<Fire away.>
I moved our Black Moor into a 30 gallon tank with a great filter, and treated the tank with Maracyn per your recommendation. The tank set up (had to get a table for it as well) was a very expensive task and so my guppies are having to make due in the Black Moor's previous 10 gallon tank. Can't afford the 20 gallon tank yet but may soon get one from a friend.
<I'm sure they'll be fine for now.>
Anyway, guppies seem much happier and I got a couple of friends for the Corydoras. All seems well so far in the 10 gallon tank.
My Black Moor however, even after the treatment with Maracyn hasn't improved. To help you recall the situation, my Black Moor has a white dot on it's eyeball.
<I see.>
It's very pronounced and perfectly round, not like Ick. I'm familiar with Ick.
<It isn't Ick.>
Before counseling from you, I did two treatments of Furan-2. No change. Did two treatment of Melafix. No change. Then consulted with you and did as you recommended. Got the 30 gallon tank and treated with Maracyn. Her other "normal" eye developed cloudiness. Did another treatment with Maracyn and saw some improvement in the cloudy eye but no change in the eye with the white dot. Did another treatment with Furan-2 and saw additional improvement with the cloudy eye but still no improvement with the eye with the white dot.
<It actually looks like your Black Moor has much more "googly" eyes than usual, and I'm concerned you're dealing with Pop-eye. The white layer on the outside of the eye is essentially irritated or dead tissue on the cornea; it will eventually heal by itself given good water quality. It's a reaction to things like elevate levels of ammonia and nitrite, inadequate use of dechlorinator, or overdosed medications. Poor diet, specifically a vitamin deficiency, can also cause this problem; Goldfish, being herbivores, need lots of greens to get the vitamins they need, with bunches of cheap aquarium plants like Elodea probably being the easiest approach. The Pop-eye will usually go away by itself given time, and assuming optimal water conditions. Epsom salt can be beneficial by "drawing out" some of the fluid; a dose of a teaspoon or two per 10 gallons should do the trick.>
So, now, what to do I've attached a couple of pictures, and a short video, hoping this will help you help me. Although, must admit, just looks like flash is kicking back. I took the picture w/o a flash though.
Thanks again for all your help and interest in helping me help my daughter's fish.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the usual) 7/19/09
Thank you, Neale. You've given me direction and that means a lot.
<My pleasure.>
I've been checking the Ammonia since we first corresponded. It's been zero all along.
Don't know about the Nitrite but will look into it. It's possible I've overdone the dechlorinator but not likely that I've underdone it. I did put the salt in when I first set up the 30 gallon tank which was about 2 weeks ago. I've done at least 2 water changes since then. Is it okay to add 3 tsp of salt again now
<I'd only add Epsom Salt for now, not regular salt (sodium chloride). To be honest the addition of regular salt to freshwater aquaria isn't terribly useful in most situations. Epsom Salt (magnesium sulphate) is the thing you want when treating swellings and constipation; it's a mild laxative and also tweaks the osmotic balance between the fish and its environment. For reasons not entirely clear to me, it does seem to work wonders. It's also very cheap, and most drug stores and pharmacies have the stuff. It's used for all sorts of household medical purposes.>
I will purchase the Elodea today. Do I just put it in the tank and let it float or should it be planted in the gravel.
<Either; it's probably easiest to leave the lead weight on the bunch, and just let the thing float about. The Goldfish will happily eat the stuff *if you don't feed them too much*. It's a good idea to feed them flake/pellets 3-4 times per week, and let them eat plants the rest of the time. If you're on a holiday, just stick a couple of bunches in, and they can eat the Elodea and be happy for weeks on end.>
Do I need to do anything special to care for the plant.
Will it need replacing every now and then or should it just grow.
<Unless you have bright lights it probably won' grow, so just replace it periodically.>
We've been feeding the Black Moor TetraFin Goldfish Flakes. Glad to supplement her diet with the Elodea. Is there anything else to use as a supplement.
<Other, alternative greens include cooked peas, blanched lettuce leaves, cooked spinach, Sushi Nori, sliced cucumber... really anything soft and green will do. Some Goldfish enjoy rice and even bits of boiled potato, but I wouldn't use these starchy foods too often. There's an excellent article on the topic, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
If so, should we feed alternate what we feed her
Sorry to continue to bombard you with so many questions. I just really want to do right by this fish.
<Happy to help. Good luck! Neale.>

Fantail goldfish, nasal growth, no data -- 07/01/09
Hi I have a fan tail goldfish about 6 inches long in the body not including head and tail. I have noticed in the last 2 months that a vein behind his eye is clotted or blocked as it seems to be getting bigger and his eye is
starting to pop out (see photo).
What can I do to help him. He can still see through the eye but I fear that this clot is going to get bigger and bigger.
Please can you give me some advice.
<Nothing you can really do re such growths... They often resolve on their own... I would not try surgery at this juncture... There is a bit of bleeding in this fish's caudal... likely environmental, for which you proffer no info. Read here:
and the linked files above... Need data re NH3, NO2, NO3.... and much more.
Bob Fenner>

Black Moor very sick... reading  -- 07/01/09
I have a black moor that about 7in "BUGS". I have noticed that in the last wk he has been a little lethargic. He was in a 14 gal tank,
<Way too small... Read here:
I have been so worried about him losing an eye because he could barely make a u-turn. I set up a 32 gal tank. He injured an eye last wk and I have been in panic mode every since along with other symptoms.
<Likely residual from environmental damage in the previous system>
I have put him and another black moor 1/3 his size and an algae eater in the tank.
<What type of algae eater? See here:
These 3 have been together from the beginning. He is swimming sideways, laying on the bottom.
Seems so not in control of himself and movements. Almost gets turned upside down.
<... what are you feeding?>
Checked the ammonia levels and they were .05 and yesterday 1.0
<Deadly toxic>
I used the Ammo Lock and it is still .05
<Can't be chemically ameliorated... See here:
and the pH is 7.5.
I am so worried about him, I want have any funds till tomorrow and it want be much. Single mom, recently laid off. Please help me to help "BUGS"
I so love him ..
<Our definitions are different>
When the electricity cuts off in storms I always pull my jeep up to the apt and run him elec from my inverter. Thanks for listening
Holly & Hunter
<See, read the above references and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Two cases of fantail dropsy? (Goldfish, plural; 10 gallons; sickness; the usual...)   6/29/09
Hi, I have two calico fantail goldfish. I got the first one a week ago and got the second one 2 days ago (both from the same store, even the same tank, they know each other from before). They live in a 10 gallon tank with a Whisper internal filter and (because 10 gallons for 2 fish is a bit small) I do a 25% water change every couple days and a "poop scoop" once a week.
<A ten gallon tank really isn't going to work in the long term. Your Goldfish will get to about 20 cm/8 inches in length when mature, and it doesn't take much imagination to realise that big, solid fish that size will barely FIT into a 10 gallon tank, let alone be healthy in one! So before you do anything else, start saving up for a 30 gallon tank. Believe me, the money spent on a bigger tank will be more than earned back in terms of time wasted, medications bought, and fish lives saved. If you don't have space for more than 10 gallons, then don't keep Goldfish. It's really as simple as that.>
I had pellets to feed them, but they do not seem interested in eating them.
The pellets usually just end up sinking to the bottom un-eaten.
<And, I trust, promptly removed; all uneaten food must be removed after 5 minutes, tops.>
The water in the tank is well water (I drink it straight from the tap, so I'm hoping it's ok for fish), I'm wondering if they eat stuff that's in the water.
I have natural rocks in the tank as well. Perhaps they're eating algae off the rocks.
<Unlikely you'd have enough in a 10 gallon tank. It's much more probably water quality is SO POOR that the fish are stressed, and consequently not interested in food. Remember how your appetite fades to nothing when you're sick? That's what's happening here. Do start by reading what Goldfish need:
Then move on to understand what they need in terms of food:
Virtually everything you think you know about Goldfish is wrong. They can't live in bowls. They can't live in small tanks. They won't survive on pellets or flake. They aren't cheap or easy to keep. If you are stuck with 10 gallons, then there surely are some great options in terms of tropical fish; see here:
But Goldfish are not an option!>
Anyway, I was reading around on the site and came across some cases that sound similar to mine. The fish are in-active (sitting on the bottom of the tank) and a little bloated looking and not eating (this is why I am wondering if maybe they're eating what might be in the water). I'm wondering if my little guys have dropsy.
<Dropsy is a symptom, most commonly of systemic bacterial infection brought about by chronically poor water conditions. It's the way fish say "you kept us badly, and now we're going to die, and nothing you can do will save us".
Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that's almost always what's going when Dropsy appears.>
As a precaution, I started doing 25% water changes daily and keeping an eye that their scales aren't sticking out. So far, they're not. I don't have any Epsom salts right now, but would 1 or 2 table spoons mixed in the water help?
<Not in itself. Epsom Salt at a dose of around 1 teaspoon per 5-10 gallons will help WHEN USED ALONGSIDE suitable antibiotics, typically Erythromycin or Minocycline. But in itself, no, it won't cure Dropsy. And even when used with antibiotics, this all depends on water quality being extremely good:
zero ammonia, zero nitrite, a stable pH, and preferably low levels of nitrate (sub-20 mg/l).>
I'm new to having fish. Help is much appreciated!
<Read, understand, act accordingly.>
Hi, so, the one fantail now is looking a little bit scaly, but not fully pine-coned yet. Since the last e-mail I have moved both fish into a 'hospital tank', but do not have any medicine or Epsom salts yet (it is late, and everything is already closed).
<How is the "hospital tank" any better? Is it smaller? I assume so, and that means it's only going to make things worse. It's amusing (in a grim sort of way) you have two aquaria, but neither of them big enough for the fish you have. Just one tank the right size is much, much better than a whole battery of undersized tanks.>
I thought at least the water in the hospital tank is clean, and there is nothing else in the tank but some pebbles on the bottom. Both fish seem to be moving around much more than before though.
<Likely because the water is cleaner, in terms of not having any ammonia or nitrite in it... yet. Give it 24 hours, and they'll be miserable again, unless by some miracle the hospital tank is 30 gallons in size, equipped with a robust and fully matured filter.>
<The outlook for your fish is extremely bleak without a bigger tank.
Cheers, Neale.>

Floaty Belly Up Goldfish 6/27/09
Good Morning!
A few things I should mention or backtrack from this point:
- Fed them around the afternoon, turned off the filter in our 10 gallon tank to let them eat.
<10 gallons isn't nearly enough space for Goldfish; they need a minimum of thirty gallons for 1-3 specimens. Also, you shouldn't ever turn a filter off except for maintenance; when you switch a filter off, the bacteria within are starved of oxygen, and the end result is poor water quality.>
- I accidentally left the filter off for about five hours....
<Oh dear...>
- A week ago, I did a 45% change of water
<Aim for 25% per week.>
I arrived home to find my female fantail goldfish (Vivi) belly-up! I immediately freaked out thinking she was a goner, but came to realize that she was still alive (gills still moving, and she slightly moves her side fins from time to time). Her fishbowl mate, a Oranda, seems to be doing well.
<So far...>
Her underside seems a bit bloated and I've just noticed her anus is opened and something is protruding outwards (nothing that resembles poop). I've attached pictures of her. Please let me know as soon as possible if you're able to diagnose anything or possibly anything that I could do to get her back to normal and swimming happily.
<If you're lucky, this is "merely" constipation, and switching to an entirely greens-based diet (cooked peas and soft aquarium plants such as Elodea) may do the trick. Don't use any flake or dried foods until this fish is healthy.
If you're unlucky, then you're looking at a negative reaction to poor water quality. At minimum, check the nitrite level in the aquarium (your tropical fish shop may do this if you don't have a kit). Goldfish need 0 nitrite and 0 ammonia, and one of the common mistakes people make is to under-filter and over-stock their tanks, exposing their pets to high levels of both these highly toxic chemicals.
Goldfish need a reasonably big tank with a strong filter: they are, after all, pond fish that get to 30+ cm in length and live for 20-30 years, so it doesn't take much imagination to see that they aren't going to do well in a 10 gallon tank (let alone a bowl!). The vast majority of Goldfish that die prematurely do so because people don't keep them correctly.>
Thank you (:
<You're welcome.>
- Vivienne
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish death and strange markings 6/27/09
Hello Guys. I have recently (last 2 weeks) started up my second goldfish tank. I am very impressed with your website and would therefore like to ask for your advice/experiences on a subject.
<Fire away.>
I am running a Fluval 2 filter (about 8 inches in length) with separate air pump on a fairly vigorous setting. The tank is a hex fronted, 120 gal (I think: W=44', H=32', D=16').
<The easy way to estimate how much water is in an odd-shaped aquarium is this: take out 25% or 50% of the water, and then count how many buckets you need to fill the tank again. If you remove 50% of the water, and it takes five 5-gallon buckets to fill the tank (i.e., 25 gallons) then the aquarium holds 50 gallons altogether. It's not 100% accurate, but it's "good enough for government work".>
after running the filter for a week I introduced 5 goldfish all very small.
1x fantail, 2x common, and 2x comet (one black, one red and white). All fish have been swimming freely and eating well (Aquarian advanced nutrition goldfish flake food). After a few days the fantail was sitting on the bottom in a little "cave" of stones I had made in the tank. I thought this may have been a water current issue (as there was no evidence of bullying) as when I turned the filter off she generally came out. She has since made a complete recovery.
<I will make a general warning here: Goldfish with two tail fins (i.e., Fancy Goldfish) don't mix well with Goldfish with normal fins (i.e., Commons, Shubunkins and Comets). There's a little wiggle room here to be sure, Black Moors and Fantails generally working better than the other, less robust, varieties. But you should still look out for signs of bullying or inability to compete for food.>
However the red and white comet has unexpectedly died. He was one of bigger fish and was a very vigorant, playful swimmer. He showed signs of illness about a day before he died by sitting on the bottom of the cave. I didn't act as I thought it may have been a water current issue again.
<While Fancy Goldfish don't like very strong water currents, Comets and Standards do, so water current shouldn't be an issue for them. Regardless, you want a filter offering around 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Anything less than this and you're going to have three problems: lack of circulation (meaning poor oxygen distribution); lack of mechanical filtration (meaning cloudy water); and lack of biological filtration (meaning levels of ammonia and nitrite that aren't zero). I mention this because the Fluval 2 is rated at about 100 gallons per hour, so your turnover is a bit less than once per hour (i.e., 100 divided by 120). Now, you do have a big tank to be sure, and that will make a difference in terms of how quickly water quality problems cause sickness.
But still, I'd reflect on this, and consider adding a big external canister filter or undergravel filter, either of which would supplement things nicely. Undergravels have the benefit of not producing excessively turbulent water currents, but you can mitigate this issue with canisters by adding a spray-bar.>
He subsequently lost the ability to swim correctly and was seen breathing very heavily. After I came home from work he was dead.
Upon fishing him out I noticed a large green stain on his belly. Does this mean he was diseased? Should I be concerned about my other fish who are all acting normally?
<It's impossible to say for sure, but I'd be looking at environmental issues more than anything else. Goldfish like hard, basic water (pH 7.5-8, 10-25 degrees dH) with zero ammonia and zero nitrite. Grab a test kits or two, or have your local pet store test your nitrite and pH levels at minimum.>
Thanks, keep up the good work
<We plan to!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Jaws... GF hlth.    6/21/09
We have a Veiltail Goldfish that is about 3 years old. Don't know how you tell if the 'fish child' is a boy or girl?
<Sexually mature Goldfish, which are typically around 10 cm/4 inches in length, can be sexed most readily in spring, when males develop "spawning tubercles" on the their heads. These look a bit like small white pimples, but unlike, say, Ick, they are arranged more or less symmetrically on either side of the face.>
The question I have is.... Jaws has been losing scales. He will scrap the rocks on his side at the bottom of the tank. Then will stay in one corner and kind of sit upright where he is looking at the top of his tank, that's where the filtered water comes out of and goes back into the tank.
<Fish will, occasionally, lose the odd scale. That's quite normal. So if we're talking about a missing scale every six months, don't lose any sleep.
But if the fish is losing scales on a regular basis, then you might have a more serious problem. Infections of the skin can cause problems that mean the tissue that attaches the scale to the body, so one possible problem is environmental stress or physical damage, either of which can allow bacterial infections to get started. In terms of environmental factors, review what Goldfish generally need: clean water (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite); a fair amount of space (30 gallons for a single goldfish, another 10-15 gallons for each extra specimen); moderate temperature (for fancy varieties, 15-24 degrees C is ideal); and water that is moderately hard and alkaline (10+ degrees dH, 5+ degrees KH, pH 7.5-8.0). Now, while Goldfish are very definitely gregarious fish that aren't happy kept singly, in very small groups, say, 2-3 specimens, bullying can occur. This will evidence itself as chasing, nuzzling and other such behaviours. In the process the fish can damage themselves, especially if the tank is on the small side.>
However, I did notice that on his tail on the right side and 'only' on his tail, I can see round white spots. Does this mean he has Ick?
<Ick looks like salt grains and is usually very distinctively pure white in colour. Velvet is similar, but looks finer, more like confectioners/icing sugar, and often has a golden tint. Finally, there's Finrot, which initially looks like white speckles where blood vessels become clogged and the skin around them dies. These are often off-white in colour, since it's necrotic tissue we're looking at. Eventually the dead skin falls away and you seen bloody patches. Again, Finrot is very closely related to environmental stress, and could easily be related to the falling scales.>
If so, what is the best medication to treat him with.
<For Finrot, antibiotics such as Maracyn (in the US) or antibacterials like eSHa 2000 (in Europe) are essential. Ick may be treated with either commercial Ick medicine or with a combination of aquarium salt and heat; in that case, a brine solution containing 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon of aquarium water needs to be added to the tank, and the temperature raised to around 28 or even 30 C if your Goldfish will tolerate it. Leave thus for at least 2 weeks, and at least 4 weeks if the tank is unheated. However, I'd think about Finrot rather than Ick first, since the loss of scales is much more consistent with Finrot, and that in turn is an issue to do with environmental quality, indicating you may (probably) have some work to do in that regard. Be under no illusions: without fixing the environment, curing Finrot becomes a constant battle.>
Take care,
Fishchild's Mom
(Elandrea, Fountain, CO )
<Cheers, Neale.>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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