Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs About Goldfish Systems: Troubleshooting/Fixing

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease, Goldfish Nutrition, GoldfishGoldfish VarietiesGoldfish Mal-Nutrition,

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Systems 1, Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish System: Tanks (Size, Shape...), Lighting/Tops, Decor, Gravel, Plantings, Heating/Temperature, Aeration/Circulation, Filtration, Water Quality (Algae, Smell, Cloudiness... Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling), Maintenance, & Goldfish 1, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Feeding, Goldfish DiseaseGoldfish Breeding/Reproduction

Shall we make a checklist?:
Tank: Large enough?
Water: Cycled, stable?
Aerated: Is it?
Plants: Established?
Filter: Adequate?

Goldfish with swim bladder <All have them>  12/15/11
Me and my other half had four goldfish in a tank which I think is 54 litres,
<Too small a volume for goldfish...>

 two were mine and are about four to six months older than his two. The tank has been set up for about two to three months now and we've never had any problems before, nor have we done anything different than usual to the tank in the way of water changes (a 50% change once a week). 
They were all fine until we got back to his one Sunday evening and one of mine, Harry, was unusually lethargic, just sitting on the bottom of the tank not really swimming around. The next day my other half went to work so I was keeping an eye on the fish, Harry was still very much the same for most of the day. I did a partial water change of 12 litres as I knew this might help alleviate whatever was causing him to be lethargic.
<Likely metabolite poisoning... too much stress from living in their own accumulated waste. What re testing for such?>
 However, as it got later into the afternoon he began to get worse, progressing to lying down on the gravel and eventually beginning to hang sideways.  We searched the symptoms on the internet and it seemed he had swim bladder,
<... there is no such disease>
so we isolated him in water that was partially from the old tank and partially clean as we didn't want to shock him too much with a sudden change and went to a petstore to buy Interpet swim bladder treatment and some aquarium salt as we had read this helps, but when we got back we discovered he had died. It was a real shock considering we'd only seen this come about in the past day and both of us were distraught.
The other fish were fine initially but two of them- his fish- began showing early signs, such as periods of lethargy broken up by swimming around normally, so we treated the main tank with the Interpet and aquarium salt. We also bought a test kit and everything was fine except the nitrates, which were around 40ppm, so we did another partial water change before treating the tank. We have also been fasting both the fish in case there has been a food blockage; we've done everything we can think of.
Now it's Thursday and one of his fish is slightly arched over but still trying to swim around. The other one, which is the smallest and probably my favourite besides my own, has just been laying at the bottom of the tank barely moving, but now she seems to have stopped breathing too but I haven't been able to bring myself to take her out the tank in case she is still alive. I know my other half is fond of her too and I don't how I'm going to tell him, but I'm absolutely distraught and I don't know what to do  please help! I told myself we weren't going to lose any more fish after Harry but it looks like we have and I really don't know what to do.
As a side note the fourth fish, my goldfish Ron, has been completely fine throughout, swimming around happily and feeding as normal and he still is fine.
Thanks very much,
<They'll all eventually succumb to this poor environment. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ammonia Woes...   8/1/11
Hello! I am so glad to have found your website!
<Glad to help.>
I am a new fancy goldfish owner, nearing a month now with 3 in a 29 high tank.
<Just about adequate here, so you really do need to [a] minimise feeding and [b] ensure you have a very generous (preferably external) filter.>
I have terrible ammonia levels and the guys at the fish store say it is pretty normal because the tank is establishing itself-growing bacteria- and also these chubby fishies are big waste producers ...etc. '¦
Anyway, they had been doing quite well, despite it all but today one of them was quite suddenly acting dropsy!
Now I have read all the great info you have on these guys, I think he might have had signs of constipation perhaps or the swim bladder issue!
<The "swim bladder disease" thing is reported by aquarists far more often than it actually occurs. Constipation and systemic bacterial infections are far more probable.>
Not having read about these issues until an hour ago, I did a 50% water change and the fish has regained it's upright position & seems much better.
Also I think the water temp went up over the last few days, because I decided to open the windows and give the AC a break-I just read on your site, the summer heat can give them problems
<Wouldn't worry too much about this, provided the water is well-circulated around the tank.>
I was only feeding them the pellets, twice a day so I bet they really could use some peas and various veggies so I am not sure what the big & sudden problem was!
<Cut back the use of pellets and/or flake to once per day. If they need more food, offer either cooked peas, cooked spinach, or dump some cheap aquarium plants in there for them to graze. Indeed, while ammonia isn't zero, don't feed them at all.>
All the fish now and especially the one who was dropsy earlier seem to be chillin under the "waterfall" of the filter...and closer to the surface than normal. The tank has an air stone& a much larger filter than needed!
<Yes, they're swimming towards the oxygenated part of the tank, which will be closest to the bubbles and waterfall. This could mean that your filter isn't big enough.>
I have an ammonia sponge in my filter ,add "nite-out" to the water every few days, change the water 1/4 every week....
Since I am not sure what made my fish swim so poorly earlier today, I am trying to consider all the various things that may have gone awry! But should I be doing more water changes? Perhaps everyday? at least until my ammonia levels improve? Thanking You for your time & wisdom!
<Do read:
Hope this helps, Neale.>

Ammonia problems! Five gallon, goldfish...  -- 08/31/07 Hi! <<Hi, Danielle. (My daughter's name by the way.) Tom here.>> First off, I want to say that this is a great site! <<Thanks, Danielle. Glad you like it!>> We bought a 5 gallon mini bow tank back in May from the LFS. Picked up 2 gold fish and a little frog. <<Danielle, I can't begin to tell you how much too small a five-gallon tank is for ANY Goldfish. 25-30 gallons is more appropriate for the fancy varieties and figure 50+ gallons for Commons, Comets, and Shubunkins. (Now, after you've caught your breath, picked yourself up off the floor and stopped disparaging the parents of the individual that allowed you to buy Goldfish for a five-gallon container, we can get to the details.)>> Everyone was great for about a week and then the fish started dying. <<Not unexpected though I'm sorry to hear this.>> Took a water sample to the LFS and they said to do a 50% water change, that the ammonia was high (2.5), but the nitrates and nitrites were 0. <<Not that your fish stood a chance, Danielle, but a 95%-100% change would have been my recommendation'¦daily. The tank hadn't 'cycled'.>> Bought my own test kit and kept an eye on all readings. <<Excellent.>> After 4 more fish died, I realized that my LFS was missing something so I did some research and learned all about cycling a tank. <<Something the folks at the LFS apparently had never heard about?>> Wish I would've known about that first! <<Indeed.>> Anyway, went to a Petco and they gave me some gravel from an established tank. I placed it evenly throughout the bottom of my tank and let it stay there for about 2 months. <<A good move. Not optimal but still good thinking on your part.>> Reading on 8/10 showed nitrite 2.0, nitrate 10., ammonia 1.0 and ph 6. I assumed my tank was cycled. <<Nope.>> We took our sons to a county fair and they won 2 goldfish. One is small about one inch and the other is about <<?>> inches. Well, I placed them in the (I thought) cycled tank. The next day I tested the water and now the readings are nitrite 0, nitrate 5., ammonia 2.0 and the ph is 7.5! <<They won't make it, Danielle. Even trace amounts, say 0.25 ppm of ammonia, is deadly. You can't possibly keep Goldfish alive in a five-gallon tank. They produce too much ammonia/waste for a five-gallon tank to sustain.>> I did a 50% water change. I'm guessing that I put in too much for the tank and that it wasn't fully cycled. <<Correct on both counts.>> How can I not lose these fish? <<Realistically? You can't keep from losing them. (Don't get me wrong. We've worked folks through worse but, the bottom line is that they had far bigger tanks.) A five-gallon tank has virtually no stability. Conditions can 'go south' in a few hours with a tank this small. That said, and given the fact that you've written to us (which indicates to me that you care), no more fish until we work out what you need to keep your pets healthy and thriving. Okay?>> Would doing 50% water changes daily be okay? <<I don't like coming off like a horse's patootie, Danielle, but you'd need to do 100% changes perhaps three times a day to stand a chance. Beside their waste products, Goldfish (like other fish) excrete ammonia from their systems through their gills -- very specialized gill filaments called lamellae. Without proper cycling for beneficial bacterial growth, room for dispersion/dilution and adequate filtration, your Goldfish might as well be living (?) in a septic tank -- with about the same chance for survival.>> Yesterday was the last time that I fed them. I read that I should wait a couple of days. Is this okay? <<Less feeding is better given the situation, Danielle. Not 'the' solution but a good idea nevertheless.>> Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated! <<Inclined to take a shot at it, Danielle? Get a large Tupperware-style storage bin, or something similar, and fill it with dechlorinated, i.e. conditioned, water. Move the fish to it. They'll be better off than they are now and you won't have quite as many headaches. :) Purchase an aquarium of about 30-gallons, or larger, and start the cycling process. (I'll tell you of another 'trick' in a moment.) Goldfish won't need a heater but they will need lots of filtration. Double or triple the size of the filter that the manufacturer claims it will serve. Goldfish need 7-12 water exchanges per hour. GPH is what you want to look at, not tank size. So, for a 30-gallon tank, figure on a filter that handles, minimally, 230 gph. (There's about a 10%-15% loss from the manufacturer's claims.) Decorate the tank as you'd like but use a dark (black?) substrate. (There's a reason for this.) Once the tank is up and running, the 'trick' I suggested is BIO-Spira from Marineland. It's somewhat pricey but you can -- in fact, must -- add the fish to the tank within hours to preserve the live bacteria the product contains. (Should be added to the filter chamber versus the tank.) A long-winded description that I'll be happy to go over with you in shorter 'bursts', Danielle, but that's what you need to do. (Save the five-gallon tank for a Betta. Wonderful size but he'll need a heater (Hydor 'Theo' -- 25 watts) and a sponge filter (quite inexpensive).)>> Thanks, Danielle <<'Information overload'-time, Danielle. I realize this, which is why I'd like you to write back with specific questions you might have, if any. A lot to digest, certainly, but Goldfish can live for 20 years, or more, in the right environment. Best regards. Tom>>

Re: ammonia problems! (follow-up)   9/1/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Danielle!>> Thanks for the fast reply! Maybe having your daughter's name got me faster service, lol! <<It didn't hurt! :) >> It would be nice if the LFS gave accurate info. <<In a 'touch' of fairness, Danielle, solving problems with fish/aquariums isn't the main thrust of their jobs. They're there to move merchandise, period. A shame, really.>> After I wrote to you, I did some more reading on the site and started doing 95% water changes. I have done 2 so far in the past 4 hours. Ammonia went down to .25 but from what you've told me, I'll be doing this everyday for the rest of the goldfishes' lives! Not fair to them and too much work for me! <<Good to hear about the decreased ammonia levels, Danielle. As you now know, even .25 ppm can be/is deadly but it's a far cry from 2.0! Good job and I certainly do agree that both you and your Goldfish will need relief from the water changes. A larger, cycled aquarium will do just that.>> I actually went out and bought a 92 quart plastic tub the day the kids won them to get them home from the fair (was 3 hours from our house, didn't want them to not make the ride home). Is it okay if I keep them in there for a day or two until I can get to the store to get all my supplies? <<Absolutely! Nearly tripling the size of the container they're in now will help a lot. You don't want to get lax about their care, obviously, but you'll certainly be giving yourself and your pets a 'leg up' on the situation.>> Again, thank you so much! Danielle <<You're most welcome. If you have any more issues/questions prior to making any substantial purchases, please get back to me/us. Hopefully, I've given you -- along with the information you've found here at WWM -- plenty to make an informed decision on how to go about this. No need for 'guesswork'. The better informed you are, the less chance that someone will pass off 'bum' information on you once you're in the store. Lastly (?), if you're in doubt about ANYTHING, don't make the move! From here on in, informed choices/decisions are going to be the key to success in our hobby. My best to you and your family'¦and fish! Tom>>

Very weird goldfish behavior ... actually quite normal poisoned env. resp.    4/20/06 Hello!  I've read a lot of the FAQ's on the website and their are a lot of circumstances that describe my fish's behavior but none of them happen all at the same time like is happening with my fish.  I've had a fantail for about six months.  It was in a small 2 gallon tank and just recently moved it into a 20 gallon tank. <Much better> I left it there for about a week before I added a black moor and a calico moor to the tank. <Better to quarantine for a few weeks...> The fantail has always been active and both of the moors were very active at the petstore, but now none of them are.  They all sit at the bottom of the tank  and most of the time they are all huddled in a corner together. <Water quality measures?> If they aren't all together, two of them are and the other is at the other corner.  The groupings rotate sometimes the two moors are together and sometimes the fantail and one of the moors is together. One of the pair will sometimes swim away, but it is always joined by one or both of the other fish.  My fantail is also missing a couple of its scales near its tail.  In between sitting at the bottom of the tank it will have "frantic" moments where it will wiz to the other side of the tank and back and then just go back to sitting on the bottom of the tank. <Something amiss with the environment> I don't know the sex to any of the fish and I don't know if this is some kind of mating thing or if they're sick or what.  Although it is very "cute" to see all of them piled up together, I'm still worried just because this is so out of my fantails character. <Me too> The water is also kinda foamy, <A good clue here> but bubbles have always gathered around where the water pours back into the tank from the filter so I don't know if its air bubbles or foam... Any advice?   Thanks!! (I've also attached some pics) <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... and soon. Your fish are suffering from a type of environmental poisoning. Bob Fenner>

Flicky goldfish 10/3/05 Hi, I would firstly like to say what a fantastic web site this is, so glad I found it, it gives more info than you could ever know! Keep up the good work!  <Thanks!> I have been having a few problems with my goldfish, he is in a 23 liter tank <6 gallons> (sorry don't know measurements in gallons. got an F in math's exam lol!) and is aprox 3 ½ inches long, he lives with 1 white cloud and a small fantail, the only way I can describe the problem is his fins flick, when he has been resting on the bottom of the tank, or normally swimming around, his front fins flick and go into a sort a spasm, this lasts for a couple of seconds, but can result in him swimming violently round the tank and swimming into the gravel, face or even side first. It can be really distressing to watch! This doesn't happen all the time, the last time this happed was round about 6 months ago, I have been treating him with a blue chemical PROTOZIN that I got from my local pet shop, I don't really think this is helping a lot. <Your fish are too crowded.  Goldfish are really messy fish.  These three fish need at least a 20 gallon tank and a 30 or 40 would be much better.  White clouds also like a bit of same species company.  Basically, your fish is probably being poisoned by fish poop (ammonia).  There is just not enough room in the tank to break it down.  I suggest large water changes (50% daily) with dechlorinated, temperature matched tap water until you can get a bigger system.  A filter for the tank would also help.  I would discontinue use of the medication, as the problem is environmental.  Read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm for more information.> I really hope you can help. Many thanks, Sue <Anytime, Catherine>

Goldfish killing. Urgent help please please please Dear crew, 2 years ago I bought three Goldfish (common goldfish, Sarasa comet, and a shubunkin) and a "Hexafun" fish tank. <Too small... no "fun" for your livestock> About seven days later the shubunkin died. To replace this loss I bought another shubunkin and another comet. A few weeks later these new fish both died. Then I tried another comet and a black moor. The black moor and the old comet goldfish died. A few months ago I bought 2 common goldfish as I discovered these to be the most hardy of the goldfish right? Wrong! These both died and so did my comet so I was left with just my original common goldfish. A few months ago I bought some more goldfish with the theory that if I bought 2 goldfish, 2 would die so I bought four goldfish (two calico fantails, a red cap Oranda, and a Shubunkin). It has been a while but I am back down to 2 again. the last fish to die was a redcap Oranda who died of fin rot despite treatments. (now down to the problem at last!) My common goldfish appears to have black marks upon the leading fin rays of the double ventral/pelvic fins. I have been treating her (wide bodied and concave anal opening) and the other fantail with fin rot and fungus control (active ingredient= Phenoxyethanol) but it has not got any better. Am I just overreacting to a common colour change or is it fin rot, because it only started when the red cap Oranda got fin rot. I carry out weekly water changes with fresh water so it cannot be water quality problems. <Bingo... the real problem here is environmental... not pathogens...> Please, please help me with my dilemma, as I have become quite emotionally attached to this goldfish. Best regards Martin Slough <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the goldfish files... READ the set-up and disease articles and FAQs... Get a real tank... and you will stop killing these fish. Bob Fenner>   

Sucking air at top of tank.. I just recently purchased a black moor from a local store. He is in a three gallon Eclipse tank with one snail. <A three gallon tank will be to small for this fish.  Goldfish are very messy and need lots of water to balance out the amount of waste they produce.> For the past five minutes he has been sucking air of the water surface. <This is a sign that the fish isn't getting enough oxygen.  The water at the surface of the tank is higher in oxygen, because that is where the gas exchange happens.> Do I need to put a bubbler in the tank? I thought the filter system was sufficient. It looks like he is dying... <Adding an Airstone (with air pump) will definitely help increase the gas exchange in the tank, and help raise the O2 levels.  But the problem will become worse as the fish becomes older.  As the fish ages and becomes larger the three gallons will not be able to support the fish. Sickness can occur and low oxygen conditions will start to show up (like red streaks on the fishes tail).  I usually say that a 10 gallon is needed for young goldfish then as they become older 20-30 gallon tanks should be used.  They might survive for quite a long time in small tanks, but the problem is that you will have to do many more water changes to keep up with the fishes waste production.  This is just a headache, and will really take away from enjoyment of the fish.  The large the tank, the easier it is to care for these fish. Good luck -Magnus.>  

Re: Sucking air at top of tank.. Thank you! I am disappointed that the pet store did not tell me that he would be too big for my tank. I DID tell them how small it was. For his sake, I will take him back..... Thanks, Steph <Sadly that is the way of most fish stores.  Either they don't say something and rather make a sale, or they hire kids at minimum wage that don't know how to care for the animals.  With a 3 gallon tank you could look at getting a Betta fish!  Sometimes referred to as Siamese fighting fish.  These guys will thrive in a 3 gallon tank, as many times they are doomed to live their life in a cup of water.  They are very beautiful fish and will quickly become one of the family.  They are air breathers so the water quality doesn't have to be as exact as other fish.  They make for a beautiful addition to any small tank.  If you would like to raise goldfish try a larger tank.  They are very fun fish, but the joy of fish is quickly taken away when you have to constantly be changing the water and bothering with the tank to keep it clean.  Good luck and I hope I didn't sound to harsh before. -Magnus>  

Goldfish Tank Trouble 3/31/04  <Hi, Pufferpunk here tonight>  Hi. I'm a beginner and did not realize how uneducated (or misinformed I should say) I was until I found your site.  <A little of both probably.>  It's helped out a lot.  <Great!>  I have a 10g with one black moor goldfish. Topfin filter and tank. It's been set up for almost three months. The water kept getting REALLY cloudy, so going on the advice of the people at PetSmart, I did massive water changes (50% or more) every week.  <Actually, unlike most large chain pet stores, I have found most PetSmart employees to be fairly well trained in fishkeeping. I even heard a girl explaining to a customer about cycling a tank! The girl's advice wasn't far from the truth. Most long time goldfish keepers swear by 90% weekly water changes, as do some discus breeders. They are very messy fish, producing large amounts of waste & ammonia. I myself, do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks (no goldfish here though). That 50% you were doing was probably keeping the ammonia & nitrites down to non toxic levels, but your tank had never fully cycled.>  I have since found your site and have let the water go, just doing 10% water changes. It's been about five weeks now and the water is crystal clear. I have been taking the water to PetSmart to have it tested and the ammonia keeps coming up high.  <See, I was right--not cycled yet.>  So I bought the freshwater Master Test Kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.  <Good test kit, I have the same one.>  I have been adding Ammo-Lock and Stress Coat every week when I do the water change. I did the tests on this past Sunday (21st) and these are the results:  High Range pH (suggested for goldfish?): 7.8  Ammonia: off the chart (greater than 8.0 ppm)  Nitrite: somewhere between 0-.25 ppm  General Hardness: 7dgh or 125 ppm  <pH is easily acclimated for most fish & isn't much concern. It's the ammonia & nitrite (& nitrates over 50, best kept <20) that are toxic to fish.>  My assumption is that the tank has not cycled because of the massive water changes.  <I don't believe that to be true. The cloudy water & ammonia spikes are part of the process of cycling with fish. Next time you should do a fishless cycle, if you don't want your fish to suffer. See: http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Fishlesscycle.htm >  The booklet for the test kit says that even if you use Ammo Lock and your ammonia is "non-toxic" the kit will still pick it up. Is it really non-toxic?  <Yes, Ammo-Lock will break down toxic ammonia into non-toxic ammonia, so it will test positive on the ammonia test.>  I'm wondering how often I should add the Ammo Lock and what else I should do? Stress Zyme?  <Stress-zyme won't do anything & is a waste of $$$. See if you can find Bio-Spira. Stocks are extremely low for this product right now. It is the ONLY real source of live nitrifying bacteria for your tank. You will need to do a big water change to remove the Ammo-Lock from your tank before adding Bio-Spira, or the bacteria will have nothing to feed on & it won't work.>  Also is there any way too cool down a tank without doing large water changes? For some reason the temperature keeps creeping up to about 74 degrees.  <Other than floating bags of ice in there consistently or buying a chiller, you fish will have to acclimate to that temp.>  Sorry so long winded. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. Tara  <Good luck with your fish. ~PP> 

Keeps Killing Biological Filter I have a ten gallon tank containing three average size goldfish, one large goldfish and an average black moor. For the past several weeks I've found that they've been gasping for air at the top of the tank. Several times, the goldfish have developed red marks on their faces. Each time I've done either a partial or total water change and cleaned the sides of the tank. Afterwards, the gasping stops for two to three days and then continues with a transparent brown film on the sides of the tank and gravel. I've tried parasite treatment, ick treatment, algae treatment and anything else I've come by. Any advice at all would be appreciated. I can't stand seeing my fish like this. < Check the nitrates. Your filter should be turning the water over at least 3 times an hour. Goldfish in general are pretty messy so you may need more, especially in a ten gallon tank. I suspect that the biological filter is having a tough time keeping up and is slowly converting the ammonia to nitrites. A slow conversion may have led to elevated levels of ammonia and have started burning the gills, thus the red on the face. I would recommend a filter that you can easily service, make sure there is no left over food after every feeding. and to check the nitrates so you can establish a regular water changing schedule and not have to wait until the fish are so stressed that they are gathering at the surface of the water.-Chuck> 

Strange behavior Hi, We bought 2 goldfish to go in a 48 liter tank with pump - had all the levels checked out at the local aquarium before we introduced the fish. They have been fine - eating really well etc... However I have noticed that the black moor keeps going to the top of the tank and wedging himself above the filter, sitting there for hours.  He is perfectly upright, and comes down every now and again and swims around the tank and then eventually goes back.  He looks healthy and as soon as I put his food in (flakes) he charges out and eats loads. He seems to get on with the other fish and swims round with him. I have turned down the filter in case he does not like this up too high and he does have stuff in there to hide under.  Should I be worried or is this just something he likes doing? Karen << Dear Karen. Please forgive my frustration, but it never fails to amaze me how much misinformation is still being handed out regarding the cycling of new tanks. I hear this a great deal, and I feel sorry for folks like you who have been given false information by inexperienced store personnel. Quite frankly, it depresses me. What levels did they tell you to have to have checked "before" adding your fish? There is nothing to check, except pH, which is great but it's not even pertinent to the cycling process. You need to add fish, and THEN start testing your water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, in that order, over the next month. It is the fish that produce the ammonia, which is converted to nitrite, and then converted again to nitrate. In other words, you are growing nitrifying bacteria and until you have enough, your tank will need to be tested weekly, if not more often. Right now your black moor is probably suffering ammonia toxicity, and you should go back to your LFS and ask them what they felt they needed to test BEFORE the fish were added. Ask them to explain cycling to you, and ask them to test the water for ammonia now that the fish are in it. I hope they have an intelligent answer. Sorry, this is a sore spot for me. It drives me nuts, this complete lack of training being given to supposed "expert" store employees. Black moors especially are pretty sensitive fish, and should not even be used to cycle a tank with...he may develop ich, or a bacterial eye infection from the stress. If he does, please email me back and I will tell you how to treat him. It is a good sign that he is eating. In the meantime, get your water tested, do some water changes to keep the levels as low as possible, and cross your fingers. And tell your store guy to read this website. -Gwen>>  

Strange Behavior II Hi there Gwen Thank you for your reply. Eventually they did advise us to take some water in for a test and you were quite right, the nitrite level was high. We did a water change - put some tonic in the water and he seemed really fine and was swimming around for about a week and then suddenly we found he had passed away - I had only looked at him that morning and he looked happy and healthy and was quite shocked when I found him dead. It is such a shame and we were gutted. The other fish, a fantail goldfish, has been really fine throughout all of this and seems to have adapted really well. Do they prefer to be on their own or should we get another one like him for company as I am worried that he may be a bit lonely? Kind regards, Karen <<Hello again. Chances are that the one water change you did was not sufficient to reduce the ongoing nitrites...keep in mind that these toxins are being produced by the fish each day, all day long, as waste. You would have had to test the water more often, and do water changes every other day to reduce that high level. I would recommend buying your own test kits (ammonia, nitrite, nitrates) and testing the water yourself until your ammonia is ZERO and nitrites are ZERO. Nitrates should be kept low, around 20-60ppm, by doing regular partial water changes. Do not add another fish until your ammonia and nitrites are zero. Might take a few weeks! -Gwen>>

Goldfish has to deal Hello again! I have asked a couple questions in here before. I thought I had my cycle down and over - guess again! History - 10 gal office tank, 1 Red Cap Oranda, aeration, Eclipse hood and (just replaced the old Whisper filter today) Penguin BioWheel 125. Added Bio Spira with fish, never saw any nitrites, always had nitrate (using treated city water). Now on day 23.  I have been seeing ammonia creep up since the beginning - have not let it get above 1ppm, and I have .25 nitrites. These values are with regular 2 gallon detoxed water exchanges about 1-2 X a wk, with a gravel vac. I added Fritz Turbo 700 the other day when the ammonia was up to 1ppm, this dropped it down to 0 within a couple days, made the water super cloudy. Then over the weekend the ammonia went right back up... I have now resigned myself to the fact that I will have to put the fish thru a complete cycle. I have stopped gravel vacuuming, and am feeding sparingly. I will continue with the water changes if the ammonia gets to 1.5ppm (treating with Bio-safe), but I have a couple questions: Will lowering the ammonia stall the cycle? If yes- how high is safe for my fish? Nitrites- how toxic are they- and at what level should I take action-? I do not want to slow the cycle down by diluting them too far, but don't want to put the fish in any danger as I really am attached to the little bugger! I do not have the tank heated, the office is about 68 degrees, and the hood gives a little heat to the system during the 12 hrs it is on. I will be leaving for a vacation in 9 weeks and need to get this stable before then so I don't come back to a dead fish. Someone will feed him 1-2 times while I am gone for 12 days, but I don't want them to have to trouble over the water! Thanks again for all your info!! Jo <<Dear Jo; Are you saying this tank has an Eclipse hood AND a Penguin BioWheel filter? Why? And what is Fritz Turbo 700? I will agree with you that you need to properly cycle this tank. The Bio-Spira should help, it's a good product but be aware that it has an expiration date...as I recall, it has to be added more than once to be effective. As for the toxicity, do water changes when ammonia reaches 1ppm, and when nitrite reaches the same level. Ideally, .50ppm would be a better target range for both (ammonia and nitrite are pretty much equally toxic), but yes, you will slow the cycle if you do that. Thing is, it depends on the fish...if the fish seems to handle the higher level, then go for it. If the fish seems to rest more at the bottom of the tank, breathe too fast, or in any way show discomfort (not easy to tell, but try your best) then upgrade to doing the water changes at .50, so as to keep the levels at .25ppm. Nine weeks gives you ample time to cycle this tank. Aside from the Bio-Spira and a good dechlorinator, please do not add any more additives, and let the tank be! Do not rinse your BioWheels, advice which might sound redundant, but some people actually do! -Gwen>>  

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: