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FAQs on Goldfish Disease Diagnostics 1

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antibiotics (e.g. Maracyn, Tetracycline), Organophosphates (e.g. Fluke Tabs, Dylox), Anthelminthics (de-wormers), Salts, eSHa, Copper Compounds, Formalin, Malachite Green, Mela & Pima(not)Fix, Metronidazole (Flagyl), Sulfa Drugs, All Others...

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease, GoldfishGoldfish Varieties Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment System Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHPHole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis,

Related Goldfish Disease FAQs:  Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3Environmental 4, & Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, 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 Disease 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 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38, Goldfish Disease 39 & Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling, Koi/Pondfish Disease Goldfish in General, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish FeedingBloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction 

Goldfish Bubbles-Scales        12/13/18
My goldfish summer in a 100+ gal ornamental pond, and winter in a 55 gal aquarium.
I have 4 fish about 4" long body.
In Oct. I brought them in - one was bloated and had several clear bubbles on each side the size of a small pea. The bubbles could be a puffed out scale - hard to tell.
He did not get better, so I isolated him in a 5 gal bucket and added 1/8 tablespoon of Epsom salt.
Anything else i can do?
Thanks! Scot
<At this juncture, no... best to keep up water quality by frequent partial water changes (a couple times weekly), with pre-stored water. The bubbles?
Perhaps Emphysematosis, gas-bubble disease... environmental. Do use the search tool on WWM to read a bit about. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Bubbles-Scales       1/25/19

Just wanted to thank you for your site!
I put the fish back in with his mates in the aquarium after several days after in the quarantine Epsom-salt bucket. He's much happier there.
Bubbles are gone and he looks normal.
<Ah good. Thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish mystery illness (RMF, anything else?)<Just to agree w/ you B>    3/13/16
Hello! I am truly hoping you can help me to solve the mystery illness of my beloved goldfish, Clementine and Jujuby. I've read through all the boards and previously answered questions, and can't seem to find a case like mine.
My goldfish are two fantails in a 29-gallon-long tank.
<Just about big enough.>
Water parameters are consistently ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates between 0-20, pH 7.2, gH between 75 and 150, kH around 40.
<All sounds fine. Would also check temperature though. Fancy Goldfish truly appreciate a bit of warmth, certainly not less than 18C/64F, and ideally around 22C/72F.>
I do a 20-25% water change once a week. I feed Spectrum small sinking pellet goldfish food, plus shelled peas about twice per week.
<Sounds good.>
Jujuby has been ill for a couple of years at this point- she has always had trouble with keeping herself upright, and always has clamped fins.
<Clamped fins unusually indicate stress in fish, whether psychological or physiological. To be fair, fancy Goldfish are sometimes so deformed (their funny shapes are deformities, if you think about it) that they sometimes unable to swim properly. This is usually down to a problem with the relative positions of their swim bladders and guts, so when they become constipated, which happens easily on flake alone, they start listing like an unstable boat.>
Other than that, she eats well, and does not gasp at the surface or flash.
I almost never see her poop, which troubles me- I suspect she has fishy diarrhea.
<Constipation. Diarrhoea is when the faeces are loose and copious, relatively unlikely to be noticed in fish given their aquatic environment. Constipation is where the faeces are slow to emerge, and often (in fish) take the form of long brown strings hanging from the vent of the fish.>
Clementine was the healthy one until this past fall, when she developed white bumps on her fins- several on her tail, a few on her dorsal fin, and even a couple on her body near her dorsal fin. I noticed Jujuby seems to have these spots, too. They are definitely not ich (though I did treat for ich just to be safe)- they don't resemble salt crystals, they almost look like they're growing out from the inside of her tail.
<Curious. My gut feeling is something viral, like Fish Pox. Not treatable, but usually goes away when the source of stress is removed. Some vets suggest Fish Pox is extremely rarely seen in fish, others that it's pretty common and latent in most specimens! There's also Coldwater Ick, which looks very like Fish Pox and completely unlikely the Ick seen in tropical fish. It can be treated in the same way as regular Ick though, but with the proviso you MUST warm the aquarium up to at least 20C, ideally 22C, before treating. That's because the Coldwater Ick cysts will take a long time to burst at cold temperatures, and they must burst if the Ick/Whitespot medication is going to kill the free-living stage in the parasite's life cycle. If you don't warm the water, it'll take weeks for the cysts to burst, by which time the active chemicals in the medication will have been metabolised by the fish filter bacteria. Make sense?>
Clementine's poops are often stringy or zigzaggy, or both, suggesting an internal infection.
<See above; this symptom could be constipation. Would make the usual reminder: all-brown faeces are constipation, but if the faeces are pale, even glassy in places, then that indicates the gut is shedding a lot of mucous. That in turn tends to mean there's a parasitic infection of the gut, because the parasites irritate the gut causing it to secrete the
mucous. Such parasites might be worms, might be Hexamita-type Protozoans.
Difficult to diagnose without examining the faeces, so one option is to medicate for both.><<Agreed. B>>
I have tried EVERYTHING- Kanamycin, Erythromycin, Ich Cure, everything.
<Understood. But this sort of scattergun approach is rarely effective (or economical).>
The thing that worked best was putting both fish in a hospital tank. First, I treated with Methylene Blue for 10 days. Then, I treated with MetroPlex, both in the water and food, for 10 days. Though Jujuby was still her clamped-fin self, I noticed that Clementine's white spots disappeared, and both fish seemed to have actual normal poops (a first in a long time).
While the fish were in the hospital tank, I did a 90% water change in their regular tank, and allowed it to fully cycle before reintroducing C & J. I also added a Hydro-Sponge filter to supplement their hang-on-back filter.
Within days of returning to their regular tank, Clementine's spots reappeared- in the EXACT same locations where they had been before! And both fish no longer have normal poops. I am so sad and baffled.
I know this is a lot to read and take in, but I really need an expert's help. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my message.
<Do hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: goldfish mystery illness (RMF, anything else?)<Nada; thanks>     3/15/16

Hello, Neale! I truly appreciate your quick response, and am off to make a donation to WetWebMedia!
<Ah, that's kind of you. Be sure it goes towards keeping the site on the web; we're all volunteers here.>
You're right, I forgot to mention the temperature of my tank- it's always around 68 degrees F/ 20 degrees Celsius right now, and goes to a maximum of 75 degrees F/ 23 degrees Celsius in the summertime- I am careful to use a fan or air conditioning to keep the water temp from going much higher.
<Sounds fine.>
I realize that constipation is the issue most often seen in goldfish, but I never see Jujuby poop, ever. Never any trailing poop- just nothing. I did see a little explosion of feces from her anal area one day, which makes me think diarrhoea. By contrast, Clementine (the healthier fish) usually has good poops- food-coloured on pellet days, and pea-coloured on green days.
But sometimes she produces poop that looks exactly like a knotted thin white thread. Based on my research, of course I was thinking re-absorbed eggs or a parasitic infection, but my Prazi-Quel treatment did not seem to help.
<Agreed. Does sound at least in part as if this fish isn't eating much/enough. Even with worms, something should come out of the vent! Would make the observation that Prazi-Pro isn't the most effective dewormer in
all course. I'm going to direct you to some reading, here:
Loaches are commonly "wormy" when imported, and in some cases deworming is essential. Loaches.com is a great website, and very reliable, and even if you aren't keeping loaches there's much of value there.>
About all that medication, I agree- constantly medicating is probably not the best course of action, but it is difficult to watch them suffer, so I end up trying everything.
<Totally understood.>
I've done a full course of each type of medicine, taking care to follow instructions and remove all traces of medication and let the bacteria in the tank return to normal before beginning another treatment. As I
mentioned, the Methylene Blue followed by the Metro-Plex seemed to work best, but what really baffled me is how quickly the spots returned, and that they were in the EXACT same place as before.
<Odd, but does make them sound more viral than anything else.>
This leads me to agree that you're right in thinking fish pox might be the culprit? You've also got me thinking that Coldwater Ick may be a possibility, too (I didn't know that existed before!). But would an infection like Ick return to the exact same locations on a fish's body?
<Could do. The infective free-living stages will favour damaged or thin skin, where the mucous is lacking or whatever. But agreed, if all the "cysts" are in the same place, it does sound unlikely. In any event, since
Ick is relatively easily treated with a combo of heat and salt, and Goldfish have a high tolerance for brackish water, going nuclear on this fish for a couple months might the way forward. Something around 2-3 gram/litre isn't unreasonable, and should kill off most external parasites, let alone Ick.>
Not the same general area, but the same exact spots, as if I had marked them with a pen and they re-appeared right there? What do you think?
<Much as you do. Most curious. Leaning towards the virus, which isn't treatable. Or even some sort of unusual tumour (hardly rare among Goldfish). Neither treatable beyond waiting for nature to take its course.
Provided the Goldfish is active and feeding, these sorts of cysts or tumours are a cosmetic issue rather than anything else.>
I really appreciate your help, Neale- it is difficult to speak to someone who actually knows what they're talking about, versus online speculators who, even with the best intentions, may just be re-cycling what they've read or mixing up information.
<Thanks for the kind words. Sorry can't be more categorical though. Good luck going forwards, and if anything changes/improves, be sure to let us know.
Re: goldfish mystery illness (RMF, anything else?)

Thank you so much, Neale- the symptoms of nematode infection as listed on the Loaches site match my fish's symptoms almost exactly- bloody streaks in fins, nodules, white stringy feces, and a bloated vent area. It looks like Levamisole Hydrochloride is difficult to come by here in the US, but I just ordered what I could find, and I hope that it will all work out. Please cross your fingers for me! I will let you know how it goes, in case your other readers are struggling with the same problem one day.
With much gratitude,
<Definitely an excellent website and I'm pleased you've got a direction to work in now. Good luck! Neale.>

Ventral Fins of Small Ranchu Goldfish       2/11/16
I have three small Ranchu goldfish whose ventral fins appear to have a form of fin rot. (I say "form" because it doesn't look like classic fin rot .)
The water perimeters are perfect
<Some numbers please! To recap: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH between 7 and 8, and hardness rated something like "medium hard" to "very hard" is ideal for Goldfish.>

and other than this issue, the fish are healthy, active and thriving. The condition also fluctuates a bit; the fins begin to regenerate and then I notice it is happening again. I have mixed up their diet and at one point I thought maybe the weekly water changes were creating the stress. (Tried a dose of Maracyn Plus and later Melafix with mixed results. Recently added small dose of salt)
<The salt won't do much. The Melafix may even be harmful. Certainly not particularly reliable. Antibiotics usually work nicely, but only if the underlying issue is fixed. You can add all the medication you want but if the fish is somehow stressed or damaged, the Finrot will recur.>
I have kept goldfish for many, many years with success, but this is my first experience with Ranchus (and Lionheads) and this type of targeted issue.
Why just the Ranchus, why just the ventral fins, and what can i do to this address this? (They are in a 60 gallon tank running an Eheim canister with filtration at 176 gal an hour, with two other goldfish.)
<Little pink patches in the fins is the commonest prelude to Finrot. So did you see this? It's often a good way to distinguish Finrot from physical damage (such as tears or bites). Goldfish can be physically damaged by sharp ornaments as well as over-powerful filtration or even (more) boisterous tankmates. Be careful mixing different varieties of Goldfish, especially How cold is the water? Finrot can be caused by chilling. Fancy goldfish are much more sensitive to cold than traditional single-tail varieties. Indeed, a heater keeping the tank around 22C/72F is well worth using. Given that fin material is being lost, you do need to review the possible causes as well as choose the right treatment.>
Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ventral Fins of Small Ranchu Goldfish       2/13/16

Hi Neale,
Thanks for the prompt reply. A few follow-ups to your responses:
Regarding the numbers, everything is at 0 with PH at 7.6/High range PH @ 7.8 (hardness?) around 7.8.
<All sounds fine.>
Agree with you about using a heater with goldfish; they seem to be happier and stay healthier at 72-74.
<Quite so.>
Just an FYI I am very conservative adding medications, etc. to the water; after not adding salt to the water for a few years, It was recommend to add some as a prophylactic measure.
<For which, so far as the fish health books go, there isn't any evidence for. There are specific uses of aquarium salt, but the old "tonic" idea really harkens back to the dark ages of the hobby.>
Curious why the Melafix could be harmful (I did notice is that if taken in full dosage it compromises my bio filter more than any antibiotic!)
<Bob F. is probably the best person to comment on this. My opinion is a bit more moderate than his, though based on far less experience than he has!
I'd say that the biggest issue is that it's an unreliable cure, and in the time people spend using it, the "window of opportunity" for successful medication with antibiotics or antibacterials will pass. So by the time the person notices the Melafix isn't doing the trick, it's too late for an easy cure with standard medications like Maracyn, Kanaplex, eSHa 2000, etc.>
For fin rot, what do you recommend as the most effective antibiotic if I decide to go that route?
<In the US, I'd suggest something like Kanaplex as a good first pass medication, though the old Maracyn 1 + Maracyn 2 combo is tried and trusted. In the UK and Europe, where antibiotics are prescription-only, I personally like eSHa 2000, which works very well if bacterial infections are caught early.>
Regarding the "fin rot" I see no pink (or white) patches. The damage seems more "corrosive" or bite-like, but this is definitely not happening (no aggression from other tank mates). I think there is something stressing the fish and will revisit the water conditioner I am using, hardness and the rate of filtration.
<If the holes in the fin come out of nowhere, without any evidence of congested blood vessels (the pink or orange specks) or slowly dying fin tissue (grey patches between the fin rays) then classic Finrot is less likely. Instead, physical damage literally tearing out chunks of fin tissue is more probable. This isn't to say Finrot can't set in after the fin is damaged. Review rockwork, filter speed, tankmates, etc... and act accordingly.>
Thanks again, PAT
<Welcome, Neale.>

Goldfish; troubling behavior... cause/s?       1/26/16
Hi, my largest goldfish has found a spot in the tank that he continues to go to, he buries his face between two rocks and just sits there, he is still active and feeds well, he will come out if we go near the tank, we have taken his spots away but after a couple days he finds a new spot.
<Mmm; well; I am convinced that even though they're lowly minnows (Cyprinids), goldfish DO get "bummed out"... from the same sorts of influences that stress them. High nitrate, any ammonia or nitrite presence; getting "ridden" by algae eaters; harassed by....>
I have not introduced new fish and the water is kept cycled, clean and conditions seem to b good, temperature is also good. The tank is 140litre, has a pump and lights. all the other fish are doing well. Why does it do this?
<Something amiss here. Do you have water test kits? What other life is present here? Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Problems - please help /Neale       7/5/15
HI crew, I've had a long look around your site and it's very clear that you know your stuff, but I couldn't find an answer to my problem...
I work at a garden centre and, like many garden centres, we stock fish. We recently got a few new fish in (about 30) and I've noticed on a few of the fish that it almost looks like their scales and skin is falling off (I'll attach an image of the most serious case in a following email). I was just wondering if there's anything we can do? (We've not had this problem with
any of the other fish in the system or with the fish from the same tank before)
[Attached] is the image of the goldfish with the most serious case of the problem we have,
<Can't be sure but my money would be on a viral infection... especially if multiple specimens are suffering. Do read:
There are number of Goldfish and Koi specific viruses out there, some merely unsightly, others quickly fatal. No treatment exists. They don't seem to be transferrable to other types of fish, but in a commercial situation you obviously want to isolate infected fish from healthy livestock, and more than likely, euthanise humanely any infected specimens and consult with your supplier before buying more. I'm going to ask BobF for his input here as well. Cheers, Neale.>
Goldfish Problems - please help /RMF      7/5/15

HI crew, I've had a long look around your site and it's very clear that you know your stuff, but I couldn't find an answer to my problem...
I work at a garden centre and, like many garden centres, we stock fish. We recently got a few new fish in (about 30) and I've noticed on a few of the fish that it almost looks like their scales and skin is falling off (I'll attach an image of the most serious case in a following email). I was just wondering if there's anything we can do? (We've not had this problem with
any of the other fish in the system or with the fish from the same tank before)
<Have looked at your pic... This condition could be due to environmental stress (shipping, handling) or might be pathogenic (bacterial on up!)...
Other than assuring these fish are kept in a system with no ammonia, nitrite, and little (under 10 ppm) nitrate, I'd likely treat with a Sulfa drug and a teaspoon per five gallons of "aquarium salt".
Bob Fenner>

Seeking Goldfish Help; scam 'Fix"es       4/6/15
Hello Wet Web Media!
<Lady S>
I hope you can help me decipher what has gone wrong.
<Me too>
Back in 2011 I "rescued" 3 goldfish from my aunts house. There were 3 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank, and no one was feeding them. One of them had no fins. I don't know if the others ate them off or they just wasted away, but he had no fins! The other fish was very tiny and missing one of his rear fins (not the tail fin, one of the underside fins but not the front ones). The third fish was I think female and larger and had all of her fins. Keep in mind I found these fish neglected, water seemed clear and pristine, but I have no idea about their history or age. Before I rescued them, Id like to point out that a red semi protruding sore seemed to develop on the largest fish' chest. It went away a day later.
I adopted them and drove them across half of the United States to my new home. I kept them in bags with a little water and a lot of air. They made it. When I reached Missouri, I bought a 60 gallon tank and threw them in.
They took to it right away and grew grew grew. Mr. No-Fin thrived. He grew very big and ate and foraged in the gravel and seemed okay. But he slowly developed a lump where his dorsal fin had been. The lump grew bigger and bigger but never seemed to interfere with his mood or eating habits. The tiniest fish with 1 missing fin grew also and remains with me today. And the biggest fish grew HUGE as well.
Well this was in 2013. After a year, the biggest fish started to puff up on one side. I didn't understand anything about it so hit the forums and internet. Her scales started to pine-cone a little also. I bought PimaFix and MelaFix
<These are scam products. Try searching WWM w/ their names>
and tried that, and it didn't seem to do a damn thing. Now I didn't know this at the time, but apparently those products trash the water parameters.

This great big fat fish ended up laying on her side, breathing very faintly. I moved her to a bucket with an airstone but she just kept breathing more and more faintly until she was still for a day.
Then about 5 months after she died, No-Fin died. It seemed to be the same thing. Despite his large dorsal tumor-fin, he started to puff up on the side. Oh shit here we go again, I thought. I ordered some Maracyn Two, but unlike the large fish, No-Fin didn't last but a few days after this big budge appeared. I looked over at him and as if on cue, he suddenly started to thrash and swim violently and then turn upside down and go dead limp, as if his gills weren't even moving. Then a few seconds and he'd thrash and zip all around again, and again, belly up and dead like. It kept going on until he ended up in my quarantine bucket on his side, breathing really shallow, and dying much the same way the first fish did.
That tiny fish with only 1 limb is still here and acting perky and normal.
Bought a new comet goldfish, Soliel, it thrived. All well, and then again, about a year later, this new fish, Soliel, ends up the same way. I noticed that budge on his one side. and some red streaks in the tail...so I treated the tank with Maracyn Plus. The budge went away!!!!!! YAY! The budge NEVER came back... HOWEVER, about 5 months after the incident, Soliel
suddenly ignored her food one morning and started bumping into things,
<Mmm; what are you; were you feeding?>
drifting around slowly with tail fin drooping. I did an immediate 50% water change.
Still drifted around listlessly, bumping into stuff
as if he wasn't even watching where he was drifting toward. But no budge and no pineconed scales....eyes clear. I figured I just changed the water so Ill give it the night. Then BANG it started thrashing around all of sudden and slamming itself into everything and going belly up, like it was dead, just the way no fin did. Then a few seconds later another thrashing that was SO HARD that it knocked its gills loose. Its gills protruded from its body after this thrashing and I quickly removed it from the tank to the bucket.
In the bucket it continued to thrash here and there, then roll over with its eyes derped outward like it was dead. The gills were a deep red color (not bright, not pale, but deep reddish purple.) Meanwhile the remaining survivor fish from my aunt's continues to seem dandy.
<What did you treat the new water with to remove sanitizer?>
I feel awful, this whole fish keeping thing started because I wanted to rescue those guys from my aunt. Based on these symptoms and the way they thrashed and seemed to die over and over, what do you think happened!?!?!!! Please help!
<Well, the initial tumour issues are likely resultant from poor genetic constitution coupled with environmental, nutritional neglect by the previous owner/s... the thrashing death... from poisoning via the water change or ammonia released by the change, stirring of the substrate (?)... food issues. Need to have real data... water quality test results and products used to remove chloramine, food brands. Bob Fenner> 

goldfish spots.... no data       4/1/15
Hello, I have a problem with my goldfish. When I Google under Google images "white spots on goldfish tail" I see an image of the problem I am talking about., that connects back to your website, with a response. My goldfish have had these for years. Two gold ,small Veiltails have it pretty severely on all fins--one large white veil in another tank has one area on its tail with a few spots and a split and is developing others, and a large Ryukin calico has an area on it's tail that has remained stable for about a year. Your website response to this was that it is some kind of fin rot.
<Maybe.... but could be one of a few types of worms; even just resultant from environmental insult, physical trauma...>

I have tried two different antibiotic treatments for Finrot with no change at all. It continues to slowly spread. At times it seems on the gold veils that it goes away, but then it comes back. It gets worse if a fish is on the bottom for any length of time. Any ideas on this much appreciated.
Rick Burt
<Please send data and good pix.... water quality test results, system details, maintenance routine.... foods/feeding.
Nature abhors a vacuum like we dislike a lack of useful information. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish problems       3/5/15
Dear WWM,
I have a couple of long term problems with my goldfish that I have been unable to solve. I am hoping you can help.
This is my current setup:
55(+/-) gallon tank; 48"x16"x18"306 Fluval canister and a 406 Fluval canister, both running 24/7 and agitating the surface UV sterilizer
PH: 7.6 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 5-10ppm
1 Black Moor; 7"1 Fantail; 2"1 Fantail; 3"1 fantail; 6"2 Ranchu; each 5" 5 Apple snails 7 Nerite snails various plants
A few large river rocks from Lake Superior Pool filter sand substrate
I know I am a bit crowded so I do 50% water changes every other day to assure pristine water conditions. I am upgrading to a 120 gallon tank this summer.
<Mmm; how is this water treated, and hopefully stored, ahead of use?>

Problem #1: My 6" calico fantail (more of a veil tail cross breed) has a ragged/frayed tail (see attachment #1). At first I believed it was fin rot so I treated it with every manner of medication on the market to no avail.
All of my fish are wonderful tank mates and prefer to be together rather than apart so there is no nipping going on. I have even stayed up all night watching them, in the dark, to be sure. Recently, someone at the fish store said it was due to my pool sand. He said my fish was dragging his tail on the sand and the sand was tearing it up.

My fish does take naps throughout the day (see attachment #2) and his tail does drag most of the time. For this reason, I recently switched to a "softer and smoother" sand. That being a combination of "Eko Terra River Bed Sand" and "CaribSea Super Naturals, premium aquarium substrate". So far there has been no change in the tail and my tank is a mess. The
particles are so fine that my fish throw it all over the place as they play...most of it resting on the plants and the wens of my Ranchu and stuck to the slime coat of the rest...not a good look.
<This should abate in time>
And I am a bit concerned that they may be ingesting more of it than the pool sand and not knowing if that is a problem or not. So, I would like to go back to the pool sand (unless you can recommend something better and darker) but I don't want my poor fish to constantly be dealing with a ripped up tail. I can only imagine that it doesn't feel good. Do you have any ideas what might be causing this problem and what I can do to remedy it?
<I would leave the (new) substrate in... but would not have switched the old out>
Problem #2: I feed my fish "Repashy Soilent Green and Repashy Super Green" along with chopped spinach, shelled peas, bananas and other fruits/veggies, dried seaweed, frozen brine shrimp and frozen blood worms
<Drop these.... sewer worm larvae. Implicated in disease>

on occasion. My 3" fantail (see attachment #3) loves the food, eats well and seems healthy...except that he spends most of his time upside down (see attachment #4).
<Too much dried food; and the breed/genetics. See Sabrina's article on "Floaty, bloaty goldfish" on WWM
It doesn't really matter what I feed him, every time he eats, he goes upside down for quite awhile and he sleeps upside down every night. I am thinking the humane thing to do is to euthanize him, but I cannot bring myself to do this unless I know for sure that he is suffering because of this condition. If it is something I am doing wrong and can correct, please advise.
<The foods as already mentioned>
I have had some success with changing the size of the feedings/particles, but it's not consistent success. Also, I was hoping you could explain why several of my fish sort of gulp at the surface after feedings (see attachment #5) and whether this can be contributing to the problem.
<There may be a low DO, and/or high CO2 issue here; otherwise, this is something goldfish do... food, feeding related>
I cannot believe the gulping can be an oxygen situation because the surface agitation from my filters is more than adequate. Do you have any ideas?
Thank you very much for your time, Lorrie Nesbitt
PS: Do you think that having light (from a glass door as seen in attachments 2-4 or a window) coming in from various angles could cause them stress and that it is contributing to the problem?
<Not much; no>
I read from you that the light should come from the top rather than the bottom (the reason for dark sand) and it made me think about the light coming in from windows etc. I know that sounds silly, but I am desperate at this point and thinking about everything and anything that could possibly be the cause of my issues.
HELP! <smile>
<The water, foods.... Bob Fenner>
Goldfish problems #2       3/5/15

Dear WWM,
In addition, you should know that attachment #1 (below) is not the worse his tail has looked. He has one 1/2" tear that will not heal and the rest of the shredding changes from day to day.
<Perhaps the other fish... should improve w/ the move to the larger system>
Also, do you think the light colored pool sand or the new sand as described below could be causing stress and that stress is leading to my problems?
Thanks again, Lorrie
<Same ole BobF>

Re: Goldfish problems, att: Bob Fenner       3/5/15
Dear Bob,
<Mmm; how is this water treated, and hopefully stored, ahead of use?>
My water is from the tap, treated with "Seachem Prime." Does Seachem Prime not take out the chlorine well?
<Ah yes; chloramine>
Is that the reason you want me to store?
<Mmm; no; not really. There are other issues. You can search, read re on WWM under Water Changes>
Given the amount of water I change, storing is really not an option. With my new tank I would need to store 50 gallons at a time...hmmm...I don't have the space for that.
<Too much dried food; and the breed/genetics. See Sabrina's article on "Floaty, bloaty goldfish" on WWM>
I will drop the blood worms/brine shrimp/seaweed as you suggested.
Is gel food considered dry food?
<No; flakes, pellets, extruded sticks are>
Other than that I am doing as Sabrina suggested.
Thank you, Lorrie
<Welcome. BobF>

Fantail Goldfish lurking at top of his tank
Dear Crew,
Thank you for your great site as usual. I have spent some time reading FAQs recently and it's always helpful and you have all been of great help in the past.
<Ah, good>
I have a fantail goldfish that is probably around 10 years old (had him for 8 years and he was an adult when I got him, so that's just a guess really. He's about 4 inches long plus tail. He is on his own in a 120l tank. He is fed one pea in the evening and three Spectrum New Life sinkers in the morning. I do two 25% water changes per week and his tank chemistry seems fine (Last week. he tested at PH 7.9, Ammonia and Nitrite 0 and
Nitrate 10. The nitrate amount has more than doubled, but I haven't changed anything recently, so I'm puzzled by that. It's still within reasonable parameters according to here and I'm changing regularly.
<Bacteria come, go metabolically, population wise with small, subtle changes>
I have two filters, which I change every month or so in rotation (although probably not as regularly as I should and the media is old). The only thing I don't do that I probably should is vacuum the gravel, but I considered
that because the gravel layer is quite minimal it's not as vital here.
There has been algae growth recently because of the sunshine, but I have been removing this.
I noticed over the last couple of weeks he has been hanging around at the top of his tank a lot more than usual. He has always done it to some degree, but he's doing it to a more worrying extent now. About a week ago
he was sitting on the gravel for a while a few times, but I haven't caught him doing that over the last week. He also seems very easily buffeted by the current and when I pour water in during a water change and has a
slight lilt, like swimming is a bit of a struggle for him. When the filter etc. is off if I'm changing him, he's very still. and just hangs there.
He's perky around feeding time, but his active times seem to be reduced. I recently added an airstone to see if oxygen quality could be an issue, but that seems to have made no difference.
<Do "wick off" the surface water... by dipping a pitcher... perhaps a thin oil film (very common from indoors sources) is coating the tank top>
I haven't got any Elodea or similar in there for him, as I have been concerned about it reducing the Oxygen content in the water, although I read some FAQs on here which suggest if a fish is doing this, boredom
could be a factor.
I also thought perhaps I'm not feeding him enough, or feeding him badly, which is giving digestion issues (another thing suggested on here that could be an issue)
<Could try increasing... perhaps some pellets in the AM>
I can't find anything in the archives that really could be a cause here that I haven't already thought of, any suggestions? Any help or suggestions
would be appreciated.
Kind regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Fantail Goldfish lurking at top of his tank

Hi Bob,
Thanks very much for your assistance with this. I'm going to do as you say with the clearing of the water around the tank top (any recommendation on frequency for this?), increase his feeding gradually and get some Elodea in there for him to forage in etc.
<Sounds/reads good>
I use Aquamel dechlorinator, which I've seen Neale recommend on here a dozen times and I'm very paranoid about hygiene/chemicals around him, so I would struggle to see it's to do with anything untoward getting in the
water that way. K/H is fine as we're on limestone round here. The other thing I thought of might be to do with the temperature. It's dropped a few degrees here in England since October's kicked in and although his heater
is working fine and keeping him to a steady 18 degrees, it may be affecting him or the water in some way.
<Yes; should make more sluggish>
I know this goldfish behaviour stuff is pot luck sometimes and I have enough experience to know that even if everything chemically is right, then sometimes they can have periods of odd behaviour for their own reasons or
for other issues we can't test or really prepare for like genetics. Like I always say, fish first, ask questions later and hope it goes OK.
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>
Fantail Goldfish lurking at top of his tank /Neale

Dear Crew,
Thank you for your great site as usual. I have spent some time reading FAQs
recently and it's always helpful and you have all been of great help in the
I have a fantail goldfish that is probably around 10 years old (had him for
8 years and he was an adult when I got him, so that's just a guess really.
He's about 4 inches long plus tail. He is on his own in a 120l tank. He is
fed one pea in the evening and three Spectrum New Life sinkers in the
morning. I do two 25% water changes per week and his tank chemistry seems
fine (Last week. he tested at PH 7.9, Ammonia and Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 10.
The nitrate amount has more than doubled, but I haven't changed anything
recently, so I'm puzzled by that. It's still within reasonable parameters
according to here and I'm changing regularly. I have two filters, which I
change every month or so in rotation (although probably not as regularly as
I should and the media is old). The only thing I don't do that I probably
should is vacuum the gravel, but I considered that because the gravel layer
is quite minimal it's not as vital here. There has been algae growth
recently because of the sunshine, but I have been removing this.
I noticed over the last couple of weeks he has been hanging around at the
top of his tank a lot more than usual. He has always done it to some
degree, but he's doing it to a more worrying extent now. About a week ago
he was sitting on the gravel for a while a few times, but I haven't caught
him doing that over the last week. He also seems very easily buffeted by
the current and when I pour water in during a water change and has a slight
lilt, like swimming is a bit of a struggle for him. When the filter etc. is
off if I'm changing him, he's very still. and just hangs there.
He's perky around feeding time, but his active times seem to be reduced. I
recently added an airstone to see if oxygen quality could be an issue, but
that seems to have made no difference.
I haven't got any Elodea or similar in there for him, as I have been
concerned about it reducing the Oxygen content in the water, although I
read some FAQs on here which suggest if a fish is doing this, boredom could
be a factor.
I also thought perhaps I'm not feeding him enough, or feeding him badly,
which is giving digestion issues (another thing suggested on here that
could be an issue)
I can't find anything in the archives that really could be a cause here
that I haven't already thought of, any suggestions? Any help or suggestions
would be appreciated.
Kind regards,
<Bob seems to have covered the basics in his reply. I do agree with him that boredom, or rather, lack of social interaction, could be a factor. Do bear in mind Goldfish are gregarious, and though they don't necessarily
need to be kept in schools like, say, Neons, they do appreciate company.
Sometimes adding dissimilar fish with similar requirements can work, such as Weather Loaches or even Variatus Platies (these latter assuming the water isn't too cold, 18-22 C being ideal for them). Of course you can't add more fish if the size of the tank and water quality don't allow it. On the other hand, adding just one other Goldfish might not work if they don't get along -- to some degree they're hierarchical animals, and if both want to be top dog, some chasing may occur. Adding two additional fish, smaller specimens though not too small, would be a better tack. 120 litres is 30 US gallons, just about adequate for 3 fancy Goldfish. I recommend choosing the same or similar varieties because stronger varieties can bully weaker ones (mixing Standards with Celestials for example is asking for trouble!). But plain vanilla Fantails should mix with Moors quite well, if you wanted some variety. Moors are often a bit bullish, so getting youngsters about half the size of the Fantail should balance out nicely. Secondly, I'd also consider adding some heat to the tank. Fantails, like the other fancy varieties from Asia, are best treated as subtropicals. Contrast this with Standards and things like Comets and Shubunkins that were specifically bred within the coldwater (unheated) hobby in Europe and the US. You don't need a lot of heat, but 22 C/72 F is ideal for them, particularly if you balance warmth with oxygenation (i.e., filter-drive circulation of water all around the tank, supplemented by splashing at the surface). If kept too cold, fancy varieties can become lethargic and even more prone to things like Finrot as their immune system works less well. Likewise, lack of warmth slows down digestion and metabolism, which will mostly manifest itself as a general lack of vitality rather than specific disease-like symptoms. In short, adding a heater and reviewing water circulation could make all the difference here, and if it does, you then have the option of adding some dither fish such as Variatus Platies to help a singleton Goldfish feel more
at-ease. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Fantail Goldfish lurking at top of his tank (RMF, anything else?)<<Mmm; no>>      10/27/14

Hi Neale,
<Hello Oliver,>
Thanks for getting back to me also. The tank is heated, as the filter and heater combination was part of the tank. I may look at increasing his temperature gradually though. It's currently at 19 degrees C. Maybe it is a
metabolism issue as the thing I have noticed more today is the amount of effort it's taking him to move down his tank. He's having to use his tail muscle more powerfully when he's swimming normally. If he wasn't almost
exclusively confined to the top 10% of his tank, 90% of the time, I would think he was being a bit quiet, but wouldn't really get worked up about it.
I don't know if not feeding him for a day or two might be worth a try?
Could it be a digestive/swim bladder issue? I'm not sure if it's better to feed him more peas to try and help or if it's just better to give his digestive system a break for a couple of days.
<For sure worth a shot. Up the temperature, switch to an all-greens diet, see what happens.>
He has come down for a little while from time to time, but it seems like it's an effort and he sort of drifts back up quickly. It's just odd as he's acting fairly normally today (not in one place like he was yesterday) but is still stuck right at the top. He's still eating, which is good, and still active, just in a very restricted area.
Incidentally, he used to be in with two others, a Black Moor and a Veiltail, but I eventually had to separate them after they wouldn't leave each other alone, leading to the smaller fish being very stressed. Once I have sorted this issue out, it's something I would consider again as both other fish have passed away since.
Thanks again,
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Goldfish Belly Turning Yellow     8/15/14
I was hoping you could help me. I have 2 Comet Goldfish that are all white except gold spots near their head ( about 5" long) and 1 Pleco (about 3") in a 75 gallon tank.
<Do keep an eye on the Pleco... they do go after goldfish at times...
sucking on their body slime and more>

I have had my gold fish about 8 months now and recently got Pleco around 3 weeks ago. I do regular water changes/gravel vacuum every 5-6 days, have a great filer system, etc. and my fish eat a veggie and flake verity diet (feeding them once every 2-3 days).
<Do read on WWM re GF feeding... I'd switch to pelleted; feed twice daily>

Recently in the past 2 weeks i noticed that both of my goldfish's undersides have been turning more and more yellow, they have had slight scale loss,
<... this is trouble>

and they have been swimming on an angle and sometimes dart around. I had my water check and everything was fine. Is it because i introduced the new fish? I also changed their flake food and the yellow color on their underside is the exact same color; could it be something in that? How can i help them? Or am i just looking into this too much? ( sorry for so many questions) I really hope you can help! -Samantha
<Well... goldfish do change color at times... But don't lose scales. I suspect the Suckermouth cat... Would remove it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish bloated, possibly dropsy.    8/7/14
Hell again, I wanted to provide an update on my sick goldfish situation. I went ahead and placed him in a hospital tank and started treating him with Epsom salt. I dosed 1tsp per 5 gallon as instructed on your Epsom salt faq page. After being placed in this salt solution the goldfish pooped A LOT. More than I even thought he could hold really. I removed all the poop and did a water change after words and in the hospital tank is where he remains.
He seemed slimmer after emptying out but the swelling around his vent area still remains although it's less than before. I took him out of the hospital tank and put him in a glass tank to get a good look at
him and noticed his tail fin has developed slightly bloody edges to it as though fin rot is getting started. I really don't want to lose this fish so I called around all my local vet clinics to see if any would treat fish and they all said no. One said he'd treat koi but 'he didn't feel comfortable treating anything smaller.'
Should I try to treat him with any antibiotics?
<I would not; no use>
If so, which one would be the best? I can't find seems to find Furan or maracyn locally so I may have to order the medicine online (my antibiotic fish medicine stash seems to be all expired, serves me right for not keeping up with it better).
<Cheers, BobF>

Oranda owner problem; hlth... salt? Dechloraminator product? Env. stress?      7/8/14
Hello crew. This is the 2nd time I've ever written you guys in 13 years.
I spend countless hours reading and rereading the information already available. The first time I wrote was when I was just entering the saltwater hobby. That has turned out to be an amazingly rewarding and
successful pastime due in large part to the wonderful resource you all have provided on the site and in the many books I've acquired on your recommendations. I have a thriving 75 gallon mostly fish and soft coral
tank along with a stable and contented 180 gallon SPS tank both of which are nearly on auto pilot at this point. All this to say, I've recently had the wind taken from my sails by Oranda goldfish.
I do know some about freshwater since I have a very long lived tiger Oscar in another 55 gallon tank. I wanted to start a 55 gallon Oranda tank. I had begun the normal month to 6 week cycle and started a quarantine of 3 specimens during this process. There were 2 small fish about 2" and one bigger one maybe 3 or 4". I originally had all three in a 20 gallon quarantine tank with extra bubblers and a Tetra 30-40 gallon power filter.
I realize in hindsight that my water change regimen was lacking, not neglected by any means, but within a week, all three developed a BAD case of Ich. I immediately separated the 2 smaller fish into their own 10
gallon tank and began adding salt and raising the temperature on both tanks.
After a week and a half of intense (2 times a day, every day) water testing and daily water changes at the first sign of ammonia (the quarantine tanks had been newly set up for these fish), the 3 had totally recovered and were visually Ich free, active, interactive with me and eating well. I kept feeding to a minimum this entire time (every other day) alternating between high quality pellet food and Life Line enriched herbivore food which I feed my saltwater fish. The salt level had been ramped up to 3% and all the water was aged 2 days in advanced, PH equalized to 7.6 and heated to 81 degrees
<I'd raise to 85 F.>
to match the tank temperature. Additionally, I added recommended doses of API Quick Start bacterial cultures and API stress coat with each change of water.
After 10 days, I began to slowly reduce the salt content and gradually lower the water temperature (about 3 degrees a day). All was well until things slowly began to collapse. Over the course of the next 4 days, I
lost all 3 fish all of whom became lethargic and began lying on the tank bottom in an upright position until their demise. Water parameters were as close to pristine as uncycled quarantine tanks with daily 50% water changes could be. Ammonia registered zero in both tanks at the time of mortality.
The fish didn't appear to have irregular respiratory rhythm or inordinate trips to the surface.
<Mmm; cumulative stress? Can only speculate as to cause of their demise>
Upon disassembling the 2 tanks, everything in them was slimy to the point of being disgusting, presumably from the Stress Coat.
<Yes; likely this, the salt... brought on excess mucus production of the GFs>
The tank glass was coated, intakes were coated and every surface felt "gelled over". I can't imagine that gills would be immune to this coating although, as I said, the fish never seemed to be at an oxygen deficit. It just felt "wrong" however.
I feel TERRIBLE about letting these fish down. I feel a huge responsibility to the critters in my care and will spare no investment of time or dollars in doing what is necessary for their well-being. I have
never been involved in such a catastrophic loss such as this and what makes it worse is that I have no idea what I must've done wrong. I have saltwater fish in my 75 gallon tank I've had since its inception and with
very few exceptions, little loss of life in any of my fresh or saltwater tanks. My Oranda tank is now on hold until I'm confident I know what happened regardless of if they will do well, now, in a completely cycled
55. Thanks for any insights you can offer.
<Well... I don't use dechloraminators; opting instead to pre-prepare change out water by storing ahead of use for a week or so... I might encourage; I do encourage you to consider adopting the same S.O.P. Bob Fenner>
e: Oranda owner problem   7/9/14
Good morning Bob, thank you for your nearly immediate response. As I recall, you were the one who answered my query years ago as well.
<...."not dead yet!">
I am a big proponent of pre stored water. I have two 160 gallon R/O storage vessels one salt and one fresh for my marine tanks, but have read that R/O isn't the best option for freshwater tanks.
That being said, the water used is well water with no chlorine.
<Ahh, I see... I might still store it, aerate it...>

I mixed 3 5 gallon buckets each 2 days before use and rotated buckets on 2 day cycles to maintain this regimen (I have PLENTY of empty salt buckets after so many years). Chlorine wasn't on my radar since it's a non issue with the well. I used the Stress Coat for its purported slime coat producing benefits making Ich reinfestation through attachment less likely and the Quick Start to try to even out, albeit temporarily between water changes, beneficial bacteria in both the water and filter media.
<I see>
There seems to have been some variable that's eluding me that reached critical mass around day 12 to 14. The fish never seemed "disturbed" by the water changes either physically or psychologically, and went on about their day in normal fashion thereafter. . . .until they didn't. At this point, I'm wary of quarantine procedures with these fish and think I will end up releasing 3 (in total) into the display tank at the same time once it's cycled. If issues arise, I can always treat the tank with salt and temperature which seemed to work wonders in quarantine until the mystery ended the success.
<You mentioned low dissolved oxygen... a very common factor...>
Still, though, if I were to lose one of the 3 in the future, I'd be hesitant to quarantine a replacement based on this unsavory experience although having a supply of display water and cultured media at the ready
would likely change the dynamics in quarantine considerably.
I am suspect of the Stress Coat although I've read nothing about issues with this product. I think, too, it was the genesis of most of the slimy tank coating although I'm sure excess mucous production was a contributor too. The product is slimy to the touch even.
<Yes... the PVP>
It's the single largest "cumulative" variable I think could negatively affect the quarantine tanks, especially after I inspected them upon disassembly. I don't know.
I have always been able to follow the logic of my past failures and made the necessary changes to remedy them - almost always before loss of aquatic life. This time, I'm just at a total loss as to what happened - all within a 2 day time-frame on a regimen that had been working fine. . . from happy fish to dead fish.
I realize you're trying to analyze this event from afar and that you can only speculate and I understand that. I also understand your knowledge base and welcome any other speculation you can offer which may head me down an avenue I've overlooked entirely.
<Mmm; nothing at this juncture "jumps out">

I see you have a book on fancy goldfish which I will likely end up purchasing along with other goldfish specialty books to add to all the other volumes on marine displays I have by you, Calfo, Sprung, Paletta and
Borneman. I am obsessive and I have to know.
<Obsessiveness pays often... I too tend towards "being systematically inclined". Cheers, BobF>

Mysterious death and odd behavior  (12/14/13)... GF introduced trouble?
I have a 75 gallon freshwater tank I have had running for a month in a half. I went cheap on the heater and got one for a 60 gallon and do plan to buy another. The filter is a Marineland penguin 350 with the bio wheels 60 pounds of pond pea pebble. Current chemical balance 7.8 p.h, ammonia at 0 all levels are good. The cycling process I used was the quick start tablets
and fish food let cycle for 2 days tested water all levels good 3 day added 2 liters of used Betta water for bacteria reasons. On the 4th day I added 3 comet goldfish.
<... Am hoping, REALLY hoping these were goldfish you "already had".
That is, not ones just purchased from a shop. These invariably have parasite and infectious disease issues. Have used "feeder/comets" dozens of times for
fish pathology exercises/demonstrations>
 Water levels still good. 11 days  total so far. On the 11 day I moved my tiger barbs all 6 into the tank. Day 13  I added an
electric blue cichlid. Day 15 ammonia levels at 0.05 I rehomed the goldfish did a 25 percent water change. The water levels regulated day 17 added  a sunshine peacock cichlid. ay 36  I added another peacock cichlid and a molird moori cichlid. Day 38 the food I fed them is frozen brine shrimp omega one tropical fish flakes and didn't add the cichlid pellets like I usually do
instead I put 3 tetra vegetable algae wafers in there at 1 p.m  at 12 a.m everything seemed normal levels are still fine then all the sudden my electric blue cichlid starts swimming crazy dives into the rocks real fast all around the tank  through the gravel  and then calmed down. Day 39 the electric blue cichlid died and the tiger barbs are fine the tank
temperature is at 73 f and the peacock cichlids are hiding even though they are free swimmers and now we are at day 40 and the fish activity is the same but I noticed the wafers had a white silky fuss on them I am baffled on what is happening
<... well; the white fuzz could be just fungused food (no big deal)... I don't know re the hiding; and the one cichlid loss could be an anomaly (genetic, something else internal... a bug it ate that fell into the tank...). I'd do the usual water changing, addition of activated carbon, AND keep a sharp eye on the remaining livestock. You may have inadvertently added something with the goldfish... e.g. Chilodonella... That may prove hard to diagnose (need to sample, look at body slime et al. under a microscope...) and treat. Bob Fenner>

sick Oranda.. & repro. f'      9/20/13
I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my female Oranda,.. I have had her for 9 years,, She as been well up to about 4 days ago..  I noticed she shed some eggs, then after that day she hasn't eaten  and has this long white stringy looking skin type of poo tube.. But with no poo in it......The stringy thing releases after a day or so then it starts to come out again.........
<Part of the egg shedding; not to worry>

 I took her out of the tank to see if she had anyhting stuck in her throat.
But there is nothing....She is swimming and breathing Ok. But my worry  is she is not eating...... it has now been five days.... As I picked her up I noticed a creamy white substance coming out of her bottom..........
<Nor re this>
 I have spoken to  two different people at different fish stores. One said she may have a tumour and I should euthanise her............
<What? No>

The other said she could be going through a healing process after spawning because of her age...... and  If  she's not eating in  7 days use salt....
Which he didn't really recommend''..
<Perhaps a modicum of Epsom. Please read here:
I hope you can help me I don't really want to lose her.........
Thank you Jan Barker..........
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: sick Oranda..   9/22/13

Dear Bob.
I want to thank you for your very useful information.. It's nice to know there are people like you out there.
If I had taken notice of my so called fish expert friend at  the pond shop... My lovely girl would be dead now. She has started to eat a little thank goodness I have been putting fry food in the  water and she must have
been getting some goodness from it.. The pooless tube is still coming out of
her bottom... Do you have any idea how long this can go on for ??? and is it
doing her harm.......
<A few more days and no harm whatsoever. There are some folks (even here) that might suggest using a modicum of salt/s; but I would do nothing here period>
Thank you again, I am most grateful..
Jan Barker.
<Glad to set your mind to ease. Cheers, BobF>

Re My fish     9/30/13
Dear Bob
<Hey Jan>
I wanted to send you  a picture  of my now  well, lovely Oranda... At least I think she is  an Oranda I got her in a mixed bunch 9 years ago as a baby....
I was very grateful for your useful information..
Imagine putting that lovely face in the freezer as,,, My so called expert fish keeper suggested.
Thank you again .Jan Barker..........
<Life to you my friend. BobF>

goldfish clamped fins    7/19/13
Hi Bob Fenner , I wrote to you about a week ago about my goldfish at the bottom of the tank with clamped fins. Since then I took my water to be tested at a lf store and they tested the water and said no nitrates,
<No; as in zero? Not likely... I'd get your own test kit>

no amm or nitrites. I threw out all my kits, some were three years old some 4 years, Some place had told me they were good forever. Anyway, my fish is still at the bottom. I just wanted to go over a few things with you. He has been losing scales once a week for a few months now.
<Something wrong here; likely environmental. When, where in doubt, do sequential water changes>
 Two days ago he lost one and yesterday he lost 2. I don't know if is from hitting the filter tubing When he flies around for a quick minute and then goes head first to the bottom or they are just falling off. Also, I don't know what other tank I could get him if I have stunted his growth, which makes me feel terrible by the way. I thought 55 gallons was okay for one goldfish.
<Should be fine here for many years... with water changes weekly... good food; regular filter maintenance>
They don't seem to make one that would be good for goldfish! I know it is hard to make a diagnosis with out testing (wish I knew where I could go to do that or someone made house calls.), but I wonder if he could have tb or a hardened bladder. He lays in the corner with his top fin down and butt up a little and has a curved back and his tail is curved. e only comes out when I feed him and goes right back to his corner. He also goes to the bathroom fine.
The one thing that concerns me too is that the gH  in the tank is 9 and the tap water which I let sit for 24 hours first before treating with AmQuel  plus is 7. Also kH is 6, the ph is 8.0 or 8.2 hard to tell.
<These values are fine; about what we have here for tap/mains water in San Diego, CA>
I use API kits. What did you mean by inadequate filtration? I use 2 filters and a pump. Also, my oxygen kit is at 8, and it says that's just right for goldfish.
<Yes; excellent. Near saturation>
How can I test for microbial levels in the water and metabolites.
<Not possible for hobbyists; but you can send water samples out to be tested. Use your search tool for aquarium water testing services,
 I don't want to put any substrate in till I know if I have to change the tank.
<I would... have you read on WWM re?>
 Sorry to be asking so many questions, but desperately trying to save my little guy. He is depending on me. Thanks again for your time and help. You have no idea how much it is appreciated.
<Oh yes; I do. Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish health question - 11/13/12
My family and I recently won two gorgeous goldfish this year from the fair called Flipper and Goldie. We won Flipper in June and Goldie in August. We noticed Flipper had started to lose a couple scales but we thought it was because we had just moved Goldie into the tank.
But last night we noticed Flipper had lost his beautiful long back tail.
Well the top half of it anyway. A couple scales has increased to a two centimetre area patch of scales on both sides of his body. We saw it had gone a bit black. The other half of his Beautiful long tail looks like it's going moldy because around the edges it is black. He seems listless. It seems he has lost a lot of weight as well. He is putting a little amount of food in his mouth but doesn't swallow.
Goldie on the other hand is restless and agitated. She isn't in as bad shape as Flipper but her front left fin is a minute bit shredded. She also has a couple scales missing but only about five.
I think it sounds a bit like fin rot. What do you think it is? What's the solution for our two gorgeous one tailed goldfish.
Yours Sincerely,                                         
Caitriona Dixon.
<Hello Caitriona. It sounds very much like a bacterial infection, but you haven't really provided much detail to help suss out what's really going on here. How large are the fish? What kind of container are they being kept inside, and under what conditions?  Details like gallons/liters, temperature, filtration or lack thereof, pH, ammonia/nitrite/nitrate content. These are things that are easily tested and can help a great deal in understanding problems. Without that, we're just taking blind shots, and that's not a good practice with medications.  Wish I could help more, but without a little more detail, that's about all I can say about it. - Rick>

sick goldfish    9/17/12
I have a goldfish that has suddenly become lethargic and listless.  He just seems to want to sit on the bottom of the aquarium and I see no signs of his eating at feeding time.  It also seems like one gill is open (out) all the time.  What can I do to help him?
<Need more information than this, Ed. Start by reading here:
Spot the stuff you aren't doing (aquarium size, filtration, etc) and that's probably the problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Chakotay, veil tail goldfish, swollen, not eating, floating, or swimming.    8/27/12
Hi, my veil tail goldfish, Chakotay, has been listing on the bottom of the tank for some time, and has had Ich in the past couple of weeks, which we were able to get rid of, but today I looked at him, and his face is swollen, restricting mouth movement, and he's also gasping, not eating, and he's not floating.
<Do check water quality first, and also medicate as per Finrot; one of the big dangers with Whitespot/Ick is that when the cysts burst (and they do, even when medicated) the wounds allow secondary infections to set in. This is often why fish with Ick die rather than anything else. Skip the mild (and often ineffective) meds like Melafix, and instead focus on either antibiotics (a combination of Maracyn 1 and 2 works well) or else a good quality anti-Finrot treatment like API Triple Sulfa.>
He swims infrequently, and my other fish, Garak,
<Plain, simple Garak?>
keeps nudging him, seeming to be trying to get him to move, but it's just stressing him out. He also has a yellow tinted coat on the bottom of his face. I'm very worried, and can't find anything on his condition. He's in a 30 gallon tank, with a filter, and it is cycled, and there's also a heater.
He's about three, maybe four years old, and 12 cm long including his tail.
(6 cm not including.) I've tried feeding him peas in the past, and we've just done a 50% change this morning for the tank, and we've also recently taken out the carbon filters,
<Carbon removes medications, so shouldn't be used with sick fish. Not much point using it generally, either.>
and about a month ago we did a check for nitrites and ammonia. There's was no traces of either. What should I do?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Chakotay, veil tail goldfish, swollen, not eating, floating, or swimming.    8/27/12

Thank you. I will try that.
And yes, "Plain Simple Garak." I'm glad you got that, as so few people do these days.
<Oh boy, I thought Garak (and Dukat, too) were the best characters Star Trek ever came up with. Lots of great lines, loads of character development.>
Chakotay is also a Star Trek name, only he's Voyager's first officer.
Yeah, that's why we removed the carbon, was because we gave them the Ich antibiotics. It only took one round of them because we nipped it in the bud. My Mom was thinking allergic reaction, <Unlikely.> and my Grandpa (after seeing a picture, which I forgot to send you guys) thinks an infection in the gill.
<Again, because Whitespot/Ick breaks the skin surface, infections can set in; the gills are normally parasitised with Ick parasites, so yes, secondary infections within the gill cavity are common. Treatment is the same though.>
Thank you again, I appreciate your taking the time to give me advice. I will follow it carefully, and try my best to make my fish better. Couldn't stand to lose another one. (14 neon tetras, 3 rosy red minnows, and one other veil tail.) I'll be sure to inform you of my results. :)
<Real good.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Chakotay, veil tail goldfish, swollen, not eating, floating, or swimming.     8/29/12

He's dead. :( Woke up this morning and he was listing on his side, unable to swim at all. Went out with a friend to try and cheer up, and the first thing I heard when I got home was "He's dead." My poor, dear Chakotay… Is gone.
<Ah, too bad. Good luck with the remaining fish. Do read, implement ideas on good fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>

Help me find a reason why my goldfish died   2/28/12
One of my four goldfish (common variety)
<A comet... get/grow to very large; given sufficient space, time>

 died on Friday. I am trying to
find a reason so the same doesn't happen to my other goldfish.
Jerry, the goldfish who died, was one of two i bought from the fish store just under 4 years ago. Ben, his brother, died in May last year.
Since then, Jerry has been quite listless, spending a lot of the day at the top of tank (240 Fluval).
<Mmm, yours have been "bonsai 'ed", lives and bodies shortened by cramping>

 I bought 3 new goldfish a couple of months after Ben died to keep Jerry company. However, Jerry never really chased them like he used to chase Ben and stayed out of their way for most of the day (though he would swim around with them sometimes).
Ben and Jerry used to suffer from constipation in their first year as i fed them flake foods. However, after researching after one incident where Jerry was on the bottom of the tank for nearly a week, with a bulge in his side which looked like it might burst his scales, I switched him onto eating peas almost exclusively. Once or twice a week i would feed him and ben  fish pellets for fancy goldfish or some JML flakes but literally only enough for them to eat in a few mouthfuls.
Jerry was fine after a few days but i kept up the feeding pattern as i was scared he would get ill again if i fed him pellets, sticks or flakes all the time.
For months, Jerry has spent most of his time at the top of the tank, not moving much. He never seemed in pain or ill, just quite listless.
However, whenever i came home from work, he would do a fish dance and swim around getting my attention. He also used to swim around during feeding time and water changes and if i put the filter bubbles on (in addition to the airstones which were on for most of the day).
On Wednesday evening, i tried to hand feed jerry peas but he wouldn't open his mouth wide enough to take them, so i put him in a couple of fish pellets which he ate. On Thursday i put them in a few flakes. In the evening, Jerry was at the top of the tank again but he spends most his time there so i didn't think anything of it. I woke up on Friday morning and he had his head down and in an upside down u -shape, with his tail out to the side, clearly distressed.
I immediately put him into a quarantine tank, half filled with water from the main aquarium which i added swim bladder treatment to. This was at 8.30am. I also put him in an airstone so he could breathe without coming up to the top (in addition to the filter). He spent most of the next hour opening and closing his mouth, looked like he was trying to Hoover up food from the bottom (there was none). He was still in the upside down u shape. Then he spent from about 11am just upside down next to the air filter, barely moving. I checked on him every half hour or so. Then about 1pm i went to check and saw he wasn't breathing anymore and had died.
I am so desperately sad that I have probably caused my fish's death either by feeding him the flakes or doing something else wrong. There was an ammonia spike on Monday of 0.5 (it's a tank nearly a year old and has always been at 0).
<From stress...>
 I did a water change that day. The day before he died, the ammonia was down to 0. His tail had a rip in it for about a week and his top fin also had gotten a rip a few days before he died. I don't know if it was the water quality that killed him (the other water readings were fine, e.g. nitrite, nitrate at 0, ph at 7.4 as usual) or the couple of days of flake/pellet food or something longer.
The other three goldfish have shown no signs of illness - no ripped fins, have a healthy appetite, are swimming around with great energy, no constipation etc.
Having scoured the internet for hours to find information, i am hoping that you can help me understand what caused Jerry to die and if I'm doing something wrong can fix it so i don't harm my other 3 goldfish.
Please help me.
<Could be something else at play... genetic, a bug that flew in, got eaten by Jerry... but I suspect the crowding is most likely, generally the cause of loss here. "Fancy" varieties of goldfish are more suitable for your size/shape system than comets... these really only do well long term in ponds or VERY large aquariums. Please read on WWM re GF systems... Bob Fenner>
Re: Help me find a reason why my goldfish died    2/28/12

Hi again
My fish wasn't a comet. He was just a common goldfish.
<... there is no such animal. In the US, THE common goldfish IS the comet... READ before writing>

Is 240 Fluval too small then as this is really quite a large tank.
<READ on WWM re. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshTksF.htm
and the linked files above>
Jerry has had plenty of room to swim or so i thought. Looking back at old photos yesterday, he had a lump protruding from his side a year or so ago but this had since gone. i wonder if overfeeding a year or so ago had caused him internal damage.
<Would have been long-since dead. BobF>
Thanks for your help.

goldfish nose down    11/27/11
I am very concerned about my 2.5 inch Ryukin. He is spending most of his time on the bottom of the tank with his nose angled down.
<Not good>
He will swim happily when disturbed, however, but return to his head down position within a few minutes.
First, here are my system parameters: Ammonia = 0; Nitrites = 0; Nitrate = 0;
<? Mmm, how is this being measured... accomplished?>
pH = 7.0; alkalinity = 100-120; chlorine = 0; Temp = 74 degrees F. I have a 46 gallon aquarium, and my Ryukin is the only fish in the tank. I have a Marineland double bio-wheel filter, and an aa-aquarium UV sterilizer. I have been feeding my fish (Ravioli is his name) blanched, shelled peas (with 1-2 granules of Epsom salt).
<Leave the salt out of the food>
I recently completed a treatment of Praziquantel in case the problem was caused by flukes or intestinal worms. However, he is still "yawning" and sitting on the bottom. I am concerned about adding aquarium salt
<Don't do this>
to address possible ciliated protozoon parasites, because I think constipation might be a potential cause of these symptoms. I have also held off on feeding him Medi-Gold for a bacterial infection - for the same reason (possible constipation). Any advice would be very appreciated.
<Mmm, well, nothing other than the Epsom "jumps out" as a probable cause here. You've had this fish for months? Longer? Not likely a biological (vectored) disease here... Perhaps nothing at all... This may seem an odd suggestion, but I'd get another goldfish, or something else that goes w/
them (Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshcompfaqs.htm
to add a bit of social dynamic here. Could be your Ravioli is simply bored.
Bob Fenner> 
Re: goldfish nose down   12/3/11

Hi Bob,
Thank you so much for responding to my email. Ravioli seems to be doing better. I think constipation was the cause. He loves those peas! By the way, I took your suggestion. Ravioli is going to get a pretty tank mate in a few weeks. Linguini is currently in a quarantine take undergoing prophylactic treatment for any potential flukes or other parasites before she joins Ravioli.
Thanks Again!
<Reads/sounds like a fab pasta-fest! Cheers, BobF>

My pop eye goldfish is sideways on the bottom of the tank!!!!!!
Goldfish health/Zero information 10/25/11

Please help me. <Beth, I would love to help you but you have given me no information at all to work with. The only thing I can tell is that the fish is in quite a bad state but I need to know more about water conditions, tank size, other fish in the tank etc. to even start to guess what might be wrong. Do write back with more information. Read here in the meantime -
Cheers, Sugam>

Goldfish - Tail Veins     10/24/11
Hi there!
I've found your website really useful with some previous questions about snails and was wondering if you could help me out, with something about my goldfish.
Okay so the current situation is this;
1 Common Goldfish, named Lucky (she's around 2 inches)
21 litre tank that has been set up for 8 weeks now (I know this is too small, I am getting a 125 litre tank in December/January, so right now this small tank is a temporary home)
Water parameters today (before I did my usual weekly partial water change)
- Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm. Nitrates 20ppm (probably lower now, since the water change).
The PH is around 7.4
Around 10 days ago, I noticed in Lucky's tail fin, that 3 veins had appeared and I cannot seem to find the cause.
It is not water quality as you can see from the readings, I do a gravel clean and water change twice a week and I also add Stress Zyme to the tank weekly.
Lucky hasn't been showing any further symptoms, she did lose quite a few scales a while ago, what I suspect was due to a Nitrite spike, as the tank was cycling then, it has since completed cycling, so water parameters have been fine for some time.
I'm just not sure why the veins are there? From what I've researched nothing seems to fit the situation.
I don't believe it's her natural colouration, it only seems to be white or pale fish that have visible veins in their tails (and if natural colouration was the case, wouldn't all the veins be visible and not just 3?).
I've also read possibilities of the 02 level being low, but aeration in the tank is fine as I have an air stone in the tank.
It could potentially be haemorrhaging, but I thought this would be a symptom of something and not something that would occur on its own?
The worst case scenario is Septicaemia, but she hasn't shown any other signs to indicate it is in fact this illness, no further veins or any red streaks have appeared in the 10 days.
I've read in several FAQ's where the use of Kanacyn has been mentioned, but I've found this medication hard to find on the internet and I don't have a quarantine tank yet, so wouldn't like to use something that could potentially upset the balance of the bacteria in the tank.
I was considering using Melafix or Pimafix, but I'm a bit hesitant about sticking medications into the tank, when I'm not sure what I'm dealing with.
Thank you for your time and any advice is really appreciated!
From Aimee
<Hello Aimee. The red veins in the fins are likely congested blood vessels, caused by a build-up of bacteria in the blood vessels slowing down the flow of blood. This is a classic symptom of impending Finrot, and needs to be fixed quickly. At this point a mild antibacterial like Melafix might well have some use, but the bigger picture is that something is "wrong" with this fish's world. You're aware that the size of the aquarium is one factor, and water quality is another (do be open minded about water quality even if your most recent tests suggested zero ammonia and nitrite -- try again, an hour or two after feeding). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish - Tail Veins  10/25/11

Thank you for your quick response!
I have tested the water before and 2 hours after feeding Lucky, with the following results:
Before- Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Nitrates 5 ppm.
2 hours 30 minutes later - Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Nitrates So no change there... Which I kind of expected as I hand feed her fish flakes, so un-eaten food is minimal and I regularly give her veg; broccoli, carrots and peas (again I hand feed or simply put on the veggie clip, so not very much is left in the tank).
She's been okay, acting up a little this evening, swimming up into the filter current, swimming a little erratically, so I know there's something bothering her.
I am intending to get some Melafix this weekend, to help her out. But this still doesn't signify the cause to this problem.
<And may never be known precisely. Finrot is opportunistic, and the bacteria are present in all tanks, they just don't normally cause any harm.
When Finrot does start, you need to be open minded about the various things that might have been the trigger.>
I've been thinking that perhaps this illness has been brought on due to the stress she had when the Nitrites spiked (she displayed flashing behaviour during this period). Could it be a potential trigger?
The only other possibility I can think of is a plant I brought at the beginning of October (7th to be precise!). What happened is that the plant was added immediately to the tank, but 5 hours later when I arrived home, I removed it due to snails, had the plant in a salt bath and quarantined it for a week, it was then added back into the tank on the 12th.
Then 2 days later (on the 14th) was when I first noticed the veins in her tail.
But I wonder if the plant was to blame, surely she would have shown symptoms sooner, as the plant was in the tank for 5 hours?
<Don't think this is related.>
That would have been plenty of time for bacteria to affect her and symptoms would have shown up during the plants quarantine period?
Or unless it's the tank's size, causing this?
<Yes, very likely.>
Or the last possible explanation, Lucky was a fish won at a fair (the child who won her left her behind where I work, so I adopted her and Star -who is sadly no longer with us-) so it could be that she's been carrying something all along, as you never know what conditions she was kept in before I got her?
<Quite so.>
Do you think if I treat with Melafix (following the label of course) and then just keep a close eye on her until I can move her to the bigger tank when I get it?
<Should help, though it isn't a medication I recommend or trust. In the UK, eSHa 2000 is an infinitely better, and better value, product. Treats Finrot and Fungus, and doesn't seem to stress fish or filter bacteria.>
Of course if any other symptoms occur to treat them accordingly, but right now there doesn't seem to be a lot I can do =/
I must admit fin rot did cross my mind, but because all 3 of the veins are towards the base of her tail, near her body, I didn't think it would be that as a lot of what I've read with regards to fin rot state that the edges of the fins are affected?
<Ah, that's confusing two things. Yes, erosion (i.e., decay) of fin membranes happens from the edges inwards. But the congested blood vessels can be anywhere on the fin.>
But I was suspecting it was bacteria at work here... just not sure which one!
<That's the tricky part.>
Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it, I just want to do the best for little Lucky!
From Aimee
<Glad to help, and good luck, Neale.>

Scales falling off whole side of goldfish    10/2/11
Hi I have three panda goldfish in a four foot tank, one recently came down with Ick, I treated it
<... with what? How?>
and cleared up fine. However about two weeks later another one of them started to change scale colour (orange to black) along its sides and belly.
<Likely related to the treatment>
The other two fish started attacking this one so have removed it and put into a smaller tank on its own. Over the last week the scales that changed colour have gone flakey (kind of like dandruff looking) and fallen off leaving a translucent looking surface.
The other fish are fine.
What is wrong with him how can I make him better?
<Mmmm, need to know a bit more... particularly re water chemistry test results. What gear do you have? Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Question   8/22/11
Hi there,
I've got an Oranda goldfish which is at the top of the tank (upright, not upside down like swimbladder disease). All my other goldfish that lives with it does not do this. She or he's done this for a few days, and I've done a water change, but she/he still does it... What's wrong?
I've also got an air stone in the tank, so I don't think it's anything to do with the air.
<Hello Jenny. Most people with Goldfish problems cause these problems either through poor housing or poor diet. So let's review the basics.
Goldfish need at least 30 gallons of water for the first one or two specimens, and 10 gallons for each additional specimen. You need a biological filter of some sort. You cannot keep Goldfish in a tank without a filter and expect them to stay healthy. Systemic bacterial infections that cause them to lose the ability to swim properly are a common symptom of environmental stress. Finally, you need to provide a fibre-rich diet.
That's one that includes some fresh greens, for example ordinary pondweed or cooked peas. Do read:
Nine times out of ten, Goldfish get sick or cannot swim properly because their owners try to keep them in bowls, unfiltered tanks, or feed them just dried food. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish Question   8/22/11

I do have a filter, sorry for not mentioning all the things.
<No problem. But without these pieces of data, it's hard to say what's going on. Many folks with Goldfish keep them either in tanks that are too small even for one, or else overstock the ones they have in what would be an okay tank if there weren't so many Goldfish.>
Filter & air stone.
<Can you tell me anything about water quality and chemistry? At the very least, the nitrite (with an "I", not nitrate with an "a") and the pH. These give me a snapshot that can reveal obvious problems.>
She/he hasn't done it before, and I haven't changed anything I do with changing the water etc.
<Meaning what? With Goldfish, let's say you have 4 adult specimens in a 55-gallon tank, which would be about right. I'd expect a 20-25% water change every week.>
I also do feed them green peas every now and again (we grow them in the garden).
So could you suggest a way to help the goldfish?
<If you read that Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish piece, you'll see reference to a treatment that uses peas and Epsom salts. The peas are high in fibre and the Epsom salt is a muscle relaxant, and together they help cure constipation, a very common problem with fancy Goldfish. Don't feed anything else but peas, pondweed, and possibly live brine shrimp and/or live daphnia as these are good laxatives too. The good news is that this approach is fine for healthy fish too, and going on a greens-only course like this for a couple weeks, even with Epsom salt, does no harm at all to healthy Goldfish.>
She/he is just at the top of the tank, not moving at all, and moves her/his gills every now and again'¦
<Ah, now, this sounds more serious that constipation. Do review water quality. Check the nitrite level. If it isn't zero, then that's your problem, and your fish is likely suffering either directly from chemical stress, or else from a bacterial infection brought about by less-than-perfect living conditions.>
I've placed her/him in a hospital tank.
<Won't help if conditions if the hospital tank are worse than the main tank. Do bear that in mind! If your hospital tank is too small (realistically, less than 10 gallons for specimens up to 10 cm/4 inches, or 20 gallons for bigger specimens) then water quality won't be good enough to allow healing or treatment. Plus, you need a mature biological filter, otherwise you'll be exposing the Goldfish to high levels of ammonia and nitrite, both of which are lethal.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help ASAP please... GF, no data of use, reading    7/13/11
Hi my name is rosemary n I'm in need for some good advice please, I just recently purchased my first 3 gold fish one died yesterday :( but I just bought a larger gold fish over the weekend n ever I got him his not so active like the other ones or like how he was when I first bought him, the big problem is that he hasn't eaten and his always lying on the rocks when he does swim a little he swims normal and everything, I'm so attached to them that I don't want to see another one go please help.
I could send u a photo of him if u like?
Rosemary Boutros
<Mmm... need more info. Rose.. Best for right now to send you here:
After reading this article, maybe Neale's linked above... Can you tell us, is this system cycled? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Help ASAP please... GF/ayer    7/14/11

Sorry his not so active and just sits at the bottom of the tank all day and doesn't move and when I throw In food he doesn't eat I haven't seen him not once eating anything I'm so worried and I don't know him that well to see if his like this always but when I did see him when I first bought him he was racing around the tank.
Rosemary Boutros
<... have you read where you were referred? Do so. B>

Goldfish parasites? My 5-inch long goldfish has been having spasms. he might have parasites. how many teaspoons of salt should I add to my 5-gallon tank to treat her? <Hello...Jorie here.  Do you see any visible signs of parasites attached to the fish? Otherwise, I wouldn't necessarily be so hasty in diagnosing parasites.  First off, how often do you do water changes? How many other fish live in this 5 gal. tank? In reality, 1 5" fish is too big for a tank this size...my hunch is that some sort of water poisoning is going on.  Do you have readings for the water's ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels? I'd suggest taking some readings immediately.  If any of those above mentioned toxins are present in any amount, you need to change the water immediately. (Actually, I'd suggest doing a 75% water change right away - it can't hurt). With regards to salt treatment in a 5 gal. tank, 1-2 teaspoons of aquarium salt would be appropriate.  Keep in mind that salt doesn't evaporate, so unless you are doing a large water change, you don't need to add any more. And in all reality, I'm not a fan of the "teaspoon" measurements, but rather suggest you purchase an inexpensive plastic box type hydrometer...you want the salinity to be somewhere around 1.001 - 1.002. Please consider getting a bigger tank for your fish also, as it really will only be a matter of time before she's too big to even turn around in the tank.>

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