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FAQs About Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 2

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner


Goldfish Illness - Need Help Hi, I have a goldfish, his name is 'The Rock' who for the last 4 or five days hasn't been swimming around at all. He just lays on he's left side most of the time motionless except for breathing. I removed him from the tank and kept him on his own for the past 3 days, I cleaned the water each day and I also added some Epsom salts to the water as I'd read on some of the other advice given on your FAQs page. The Epsom salts seemed to stimulate him a little, for the first while and he seemed to have much more movement with his front fins, however still his top fin and two underneath rear fins don't appear to be fanned out as much as healthy fish. When I say much more movement, it is in spurts, It's like he tries like crazy to swim, makes a very small distance and then is to tired to keep going and sinks to the bottom again on his side. My goldfish is spending all it's time at the bottom by the way. I didn't feed it for 2 days, then just gave a very small amount of peas and broccoli, he also doesn't seem that interested in eating.  To help I have attached some photographs I'm hoping you may be able to suggest what I can do to help him get better. < Sounds like his swim bladder has become infected and lost all of his buoyancy. Without it he becomes too tired to swim and stays on the bottom, too tired to move. Usually fish stressed by a history of poor water quality develop these weird internal conditions. I don't think you fish can be saved. Some things you can try, cool clean water can't hurt. The salt will help too. In an isolation tank you could try a shotgun technique with a broad spectrum antibiotic like Kanamycin. The medicine will probably cost more than the fish is worth though. Good luck.-Chuck> Fred Leduc 


Dropsy Hi, Thank you for viewing my enquiry. My fishes are encountering dropsy in my fish tank. I've no possible cure for them and Epsom salt doesn't seem to readily available here in Singapore. I was told, if fishes get dropsy, it's a almost gone case. To cure it is really rare. It's really heart pain to hear that. 1 by 1 they go due to dropsy. Can someone tell me how to see if my tank has some parasites n virus or something like that? I really would like a tank of goldfishes because I really love them. But if by me having them n they go, its seems to me that I'm more like sending them to hell than anything like that. Currently, I've a top filter, but my filter is in a cylindrical shape, is it good? All the sponge everything is kept within the cone. Comparing with what others have, theirs is a open area where they can change the filters as and when they like. Is it possible that the cylindrical filter could have hidden some bacteria due to the fact that it's enclose and not like the others has access to the air that we breathe? Can someone actually advice me to how to keep a tank of healthy goldfishes?  Over here in Singapore, climate are probably different n the available medications for fishes, some to me, seem to be just made to make money as they don't really have effects. I'm on the verge of giving up keeping goldfishes. Can someone please help me? If there's someone from Singapore, all the more I would like to hear from him / her to guide me to keeping goldfishes. Thanks a lot. Thanks, Ivan <<Dear Ivan, yes, dropsy is usually hard to cure. It is much better to prevent this than to have to treat it. The best way to keep goldfishes healthy is to do regular partial water changes, that is, change out 25-50% of the tank water each week, and do NOT put too many fishes in your tank. If you can find a nitrate test kit, you can use that to see how often to change the water. Keep the nitrates at 20-40ppm by doing a water change every time the level gets higher than that. Also, your filter is probably doing a fine job, the problem is most likely due to bad water quality. You must test your water with the test kit regularly. Bad water quality will almost always lead to sick fish. So, the problem is that now the fish are sick, and now the tank needs to be started over. In order to prevent any new fish from dying of the same problems, you need to add something to the tank while there are NO fish in it, to kill off any bad bacteria. Since you don't have access to any medications, you can try to sterilize the tank and filter by pouring a cup of vinegar into the tank, and letting it all run for a day or so...then do a 100% water change to remove the vinegar, and then you can start to add fish SLOWLY. You should take your time when adding new fish, because chances are the tank will need to re-cycle and you don't want ammonia problems. Again, get yourself some test kits, for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Perhaps you can do a search on the Internet to find out how to cycle a tank, maybe even find a website in your language. It would help you if you could do some reading, there are lots of sites out there to help you. Good luck, -Gwen>>


Floaty goldfish, or, "Floaters, not Sinkers" I was just wondering. I have 2 small Fantails and I have a 10 Gallon aquarium. One of my fantails swims and twists around and flops upside down while swimming and sometimes he lays sideways at the top of the water is this normal. I have never had fantails before only regular gold fish. I change my water 50% weekly and I use bottled water distilled is this ok. I live in the country and have well water. Thanks Mike <Hi Mike, sounds like it may be constipation or a swim bladder issue, pretty common in the wide bodied goldfish, check out the link below for more information. Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm >


Upside down goldfish Hi! I don't know if you've addressed this problem in your sight before but my goldfish has been acting very strangely. There are two that are swimming upside down and I don't know why. They always stay at the surface of the tank.  At first we thought it was cold so we put a heating generator in the water for it to warm up because the weather was turning colder.  The fish are literally in a vertical position swimming around the tank as though there was nothing wrong. I'm afraid something may be happening to them.  Could you please tell me what's wrong? Anna Doan. <Yes... this "syndrome" is borne of two circumstances, genetics and diet... some goldfish varieties have been bred over generations such that they easily lose orientation... especially in face of being fed too much in the way of "dried foods"... At any length there is some discussion of this archived on the www.WetWebMedia.com site on the Freshwater subweb, under Goldfish Disease (many FAQs and Disease article on them). Your fish will likely respond positively to being treated with Epsom salt, a change in diet, possibly the addition of some palatable green plants (like Egeria/Anacharis), and maybe the lowering of the water level in their system. Please see WWM re. Bob Fenner>


Goldfish help Hi, my name is William. I'm 13 year old and I've had goldfish for about 2 yrs. I have a problem that my white and red headed fish keeps on staying at the top. I was transporting my fish and I kept him in a container. Then when I got home he was on his side but still alive. so I put my fish in my 10 gallon tank and then he started swimming but then he stayed at the top and is stuck there. sometimes he has air bubbles on his body. <This is a good clue> I know its probably a swim bladder disease. But how do I treat it? He also doesn't eat. Please Help Me!  Thanks. <Not a swimbladder disease, but very likely simply just an "environmental" complaint William... it is hard on fish being transported... and often the water from being moved is very different and adds stress to already stressed fishes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files (above, in blue)... re what you might do at this point... likely adding a bit of salt will help your fish to recover. Bob Fenner>


Bloated Goldie I am desperate. My 5 year old 9 inch goldfish Wiggles is very bloated and has not eaten for about two weeks. I just don't know what is the best thing to do for him. He has always been very active and we feed him goldfish flakes. He has been like this before but never this long. I am really getting worried. I read where one guy fed his fish peas and I've  also heard about putting Epsom salt in the tank. We occasionally give wiggles small pieces of bread. Is this all right or could this be part of  his problem? Please tell me what to do for wiggles, I am desperate. Peggy <Well if he's not eating the peas will not help. If you can get him to take one or two, go for it. Try the Epsom salt at one heaping tbls per 10 gallons. Also, do several large water changes, replacing the salt with each at the same concentration. If this does not help we may have to medicate. Meds are always more effective in pristine water. They will also cause the water to no longer be pristine, so we do that last. I would not feed bread. Sinking pellets and veggies are ideal goldfish foods. Don>


Floating Oranda! My tank is two years old (ten gallon) and contains three goldfish - one black moor, a fantail, and a white and orange Oranda. I just did a 50% water change this morning and ever since my Oranda has been hanging at the top of the tank. It seems like it has to fight to go to the bottom. Plus now my black moor won't leave the Oranda alone.  My black moor was constipated (at least that was what I was told by the pet shop staff) last year and kept on floating to the surface, but that was butt first to it's underside. That was fixed with some vegetables. This one is not flipping to it's stomach though.  Thanks, Jess <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  and the Related Goldfish Disease FAQs (linked, above, in blue). Do any of these folks circumstances... set-ups, histories... seem similar to yours? Perhaps Epsom Salt added to your system, changing foods will help here. Be careful with the amount of water you change... fifty percent is too much... I would not switch out any more than a quarter of your water at a time... and use pre-conditioned and stored water for replacement at that. Bob Fenner>  

Re: Floating Oranda! II Hey, I just want to thank you for responding so quickly. I added a little salt and gave her some peas and now she's doing well!  Thanks again, Jess <Ah, good to read of your success. Bob Fenner> 


Bloated Goldfish Good Day, I have had 3 pond goldfish (2 with fantails) for around 6 years.  They have thrived and are now approx 8 in big (not including tail). I have them in a 55 gallon tank. In the last couple of months one of the fish has become bloated to the point that it looks like it is going to explode. I have not noticed it pooping and there doesn't seem to be a poop hole to speak of. <Mmmm, what do you feed these fish?> I have kept the water clean, and clean it weekly,  all tests are good, temperature is good.  I have chained their diet to Spirulina and put some live plants in the tank. <Ahh, good move> The fish seems to still be active, maybe even a bit slower than the others, and seems to try and eat a bit some times. Is there anything else I can do to eliminate this bloating. thanks so much for any help you can give me. Peg Sulivan <I would try adding Epsom Salt per others experiences related re Goldfish Disease. Our input archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Bob Fenner>


Orandas with impaired equilibrium Dear Mr. Fenner, <Kim> I have had 2 Orandas in a 55 gallon aquarium by themselves for the past 2 years. All has been great with water changes weekly and all ammonia , pH , nitrate levels correct. About one month ago my one large Oranda started swimming upside down and  had trouble righting herself. She now stays at the top of the tank upside down. My second Oranda about 2 weeks ago almost stopped eating entirely and has lost a lot of weight. I have tried an all vegetable diet, peas, green beans, etc. but to no avail there has been no improvement with either one of them. I have tried the over the counter medications from the LFS for swim bladder disease but this has not helped either. <They almost never do> I have also tried the Epsom salts in the tank. Is there anything else I can do? I do not want to lose them and I really need help. Thanks, Kim <This condition is truly a heartbreaker... and all-too-common in "roundish" breeds of goldfishes... The best one can do is to prevent such by good maintenance and avoidance of exclusively dried food diets... once the condition occurs, placing the affected specimens in shallow water (still filtered...) adding Epsom Salt, waiting and keeping trying foods is about all one can do as far as I'm aware. Once the fish/s loose enough body fat, they often do right themselves. Bob Fenner>


Rose the Floaty 01/11/2005 My daughters goldfish, 'Rose', is 8 years old.  Just recently, 'Rose' has developed what looks like a bubble growing out of her side.  The tail is also getting more and more crooked because of the bubble in its side.  It's hard for 'Rose' to swim and it looks like if she stops swimming, she starts floating little.  Is she sick, is there anything I can do or is this it for 'Rose'?   <The deformation of the tail may be normal, and just a result of old age, but the bubble as you describe sounds like fish/carp pox.  This is a viral illness, and is not curable, but may go away on its own if the fish is provided with pristine water conditions.  Almost invariably, this issue is linked with high nitrates please test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and let us know the results.  If you do not have test kits, you can bring a sample of water to most any fish store, and they will likely be willing to test it for you.  The floating may be related to a nitrate issue, as well, but is more likely linked with dietary issues be sure to offer her lots of vegetable matter for munching.  Plants like anacharis/elodea are excellent for goldfish to just have on hand to eat as they like.  Also, feeding things like thawed frozen peas (squeeze the shell off first) are excellent dietary supplements.  Other human-consumption veggies, like fresh spinach, can be blanched and then offered as food.  There are some good frozen foods available, as well, like Ocean Nutritions Formula Two.> She is approx 7 inches long, in a 10 gallon tank by herself, she is a dirty fish and we change her tank's water approx every other month.   <Mm, Im almost convinced that there is probably a nitrate issue at play, here; I would strongly urge you to do water changes much more often monthly at the very least, preferably every couple of weeks.  If at all possible, this fish really ought to be in a larger tank.... as you pointed out, goldfish are very messy critters.  If you were to aim for something as large as 30-40 gallons or larger, Rose would be able to have a friend or two goldfish are very social animals.  If a larger tank is simply not possible, do most definitely start changing the water more often....  50% every two weeks would be a good idea.> She loves to eat but is not eating as much as usual.  We do have a carbon filter attached to the tank that hangs on the side.  Can you tell me if there is anything I can do for 'Rose'. <Just as above.  Sounds like youve been doing very well to get Rose this far with proper care and a little luck, you should have many years left to spend with her!> Thanks,  Karen <Any time, Karen.  Wishing you, your daughter, and Rose good health and long life,  -Sabrina>


Fantail goldfish I have had Jaws (our goldfish) for 13 years. He was a bully, but recently has allowed 2 other fish in his 100 gallon tank. They both recently died of dropsy. <What do you think the cause of this condition was?> He has quit eating on top of the water like he use to. And his eyes are a little cloudy. My husband said they always looked like that, I don't agree. He has hurt his fins 2 different times. Which he has never done before. I thought he may be lonely since he liked the other fish I got him a new friend white Koi. He finally decided it could stay in the tank. He only picks up rocks now instead of coming to the top to eat. For 13 years he has ate on top of the water. Could he be blind ?? <Is possible> I thought maybe he couldn't see the food or objects in tank anymore , and that could be the cause of his eating and wounds lately. How do you tell if your fish is blind.       Mechelle <By observing its behavior, and lack of response to usual stimuli as you state... Do you check water quality? Do regular water changes? I would vacuum the bottom (gravel) and replace a good twenty percent of the water, daily, for the next week or so... and do look into improving the diet of your fishes... Perhaps a better brand with more nutrition will provide needed vitamins, restoring the goldfish's sight. I do hope so. Bob Fenner>

Re: fantail goldfish I check the water quality , everything is showing up normal .I recently did a cleaning of rocks sides and over half of his water. Our electric was off for 8 days because of ice storm. I hooked his tank to the generator for about an hour or more a day. But he was sick before then. I have only fed him Wardley goldfish pellets and Wardley Tubifex worms. What is the best food to feed goldfish? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm> Thank you for your quick reply, Jaws is part of our family and we want to help him feel better as quick as possible. <Bob Fenner>


Fantail Goldfish - red rash on belly I have had two Fantail Goldfish for almost 3 years.  One is orange and one is white with red & orange spots.  The orange one has never had a problem. The other spotty one has had the bladder problem on and off for almost 1 ½ years. <A too-common complaint... almost always nutritionally related> I change tank, add salt, and change his diet (to peas) and it corrects the problem for months at a time.  For a couple of weeks now, the spotty fish has been swimming upside down and I just saw a red rash with bubbles on his belly. Attached is a picture of the rash.  Would like to help the fish.  Thanks for any help you can give me. <Good photo... likely your fish has scraped its underside and this has become infected... with the salt treatments, regular water changes, and improved nutrition, this should go away on its own. Bob Fenner> Mary Rose


Upside down goldfish after a move Today I transported my goldfish to a new apartment.  Prior to moving them they were fine; they were swimming and eating.  To move them (I am relocating and they came with me) I placed them in a bucket of tank water (they were in there for only about 2 hours.)  When I got them to new the place I set up the tank (29 gallons.) I used the same filter and then filled up the tank. <Hopefully you moved a good deal of their old water with them as well...> It has been about 4 hours since they have been in the tank (there are only two of them) and they are not doing well.  Neither one will eat, and the larger one is floating upside down.  I read your website and I am getting ready to go out and buy some peas. <Not useful here... your fish have been poisoned by the new water. You did treat it I hope>   But I am wondering if the move could have done something to them, and if there is anything I can do for them?  I moved them three years ago and nothing like this happened. Thanks for taking the time to read this and to answer it. Ana Zelia <Look for "Prime", "Amquel", or "StressCoat"... and apply liberally. Bob Fenner>


Sick Fantail I purchased a 10 gallon aquarium last July.  It was the home for a small celestial goldfish and a fantail goldfish.  The aquarium was originally housed at the office I worked at but in October, I decided to move the aquarium home, as the building does not provide heat on the weekends and the aquarium does not have a heater.   <Okay... a heater may not be necessary if this tank is in part of your home where the temperature is pretty stable (not near an outside door, window, close to an outside wall)> I ran into some rather substantial problems when I moved the tank home, as when I went to purchase some new floss for my filter I received some rather unfortunate advice at the pet store.  They advised me that I had to replace all the rocks in the tank, the vegetation and the water <What?> as I should not have an algae problem and should not need to clean my filter floss in such a short period of time.  Although I was skeptical (I know goldfish produce a lot of waste) I followed the advice given and this dramatic step sent my poor fish into shock and weakened their immune systems as they developed a rather nasty white infection.  I was able to successfully treat the infection with one cycle of Nitrofura-G antibiotics and managed to stabilize the aquarium water.  The fish both recovered beautifully.   <Great! Well done> At the beginning of December I purchased a small algae eater to prevent over-tampering with the aquatic environment - I figured it would be a natural way to keep the tank clean.  Within a week, of his introduction to the tank my fantail goldfish developed a swimbladder problem.  He had to be isolated to a hospital tank with shallow water.  I tried feeding him peas and adding aquarium salt to the water.   This was not successful.  I then tried another cycle of the Nitrofura-G antibiotics.  This seemed to be effective again and soon he was swimming much better.   <Good... if there is a next time, try Epsom Salts instead of "aquarium"> Unfortunately by this stage, my celestial goldfish also seemed to be getting ill.  He was forming a white mucous/fuzz around the globes of his beautiful eyes.  I decided to transfer him to the hospital tank.  Unfortunately, he did not survive a full day before he expired.  I am quite confused by his rapid decline and sudden death as I had only noticed the infection the previous day. In the meantime, my fantail goldfish had been returned to the original tank for a week and has now become ill again with swim bladder problems.  He has the same symptoms as before and I am trying to treat him as I had done previously.  However in addition to the swim bladder symptoms (floating on his side near the top, the bloated lower abdomen, the lack of bowel movements, and listlessness) he has developed a large clear bubble over each gill flap. Any idea what could be causing this?  I have found no information on-line or in books.   <Likely environmental... with some influence from nutrition, genetics. This is the time to try the Epsom (one level teaspoon per five gallons> Any help would be appreciated as I suspect he may be suffering.  I am trying to keep him in a quite area and have even tried to intermittently apply air flow to reduce the stress on his body.   I had to see him go through this again... Darlene <I do hope the best for you and your goldfish. Bob Fenner>


Goldfish sudden sideways floatation I have small feeder goldfish that is 7 years old this month. <Still small? This fish could be more than a foot in length by now>   I have had "him" in a round bowl by himself without an air filter for all of this time.  I clean his bowl with a 100% water change every two weeks and feed him tetra flakes.  Today I noticed in the afternoon he suddenly started floating sideways and there seems to be some eye bulge.  When I go over to the tank and tap on it he will respond and move rapidly.  I read in some other entries about your suggestion for Epsom salts, would this apply to my fish or is he dying of old age?  Am worried....Deborah <Might well be this fish's time. Pre-mature though... Comets can live for tens of years given better environments. The Epsom would be worth trying if you had a larger system... the addition in a bowl will likely push this fish over the edge. Bob Fenner>


Fantail gold fish Dear Robert, We have a pond with various cold water fish including a fan tail goldfish who is about 11 years old. It is bloated up to about treble its size and the scales are protruding out, it also lies upside down at the bottom of the pond. <Yikes... not good... your venerable goldfish displays a condition called dropsy... or pinecone disease (in Japanese)> when we move it swims fine but soon turns over again. We have read your site and are going to try and the Epsom salts as it sounds like dropsy. <Yes, this is about the only practical course. Your fish is quite old and likely its age is a factor here.> we have also read about the frozen peas bit but are not sure what to do with the peas, therefore please could you tell us. Thanks Jean and Dave Walker. <The peas are best blanched... either parboiled or lightly microwaved, cooled, offered pinched (the skin broken) right in front of the fish. Bob Fenner>


Help for my beloved goldfish!!!! Dear Bob, <You've got Jorie here, actually> Hello.  I found your website, and you seemed like you know so much about fish!! <Bob's the best...we all pretty much agree!> I was wondering if you might be so kind as to advise me about my goldfish, Shakespeare.  We've had him for six years and he is a wonderful and beautiful fish that is almost like a puppy, he swims up to you to say hello.  Recently I had to change the rocks in his tank because I accidentally spilled the charcoal into the rocks.  Since he got the new rocks his eyes have started bulging out a bit and if I feed him even a little he starts floating belly up. <What kind of charcoal did you spill? The filtration media kind? I would suggest doing several large water changes to make sure you got everything out of the water...I suspect it isn't the rocks causing problems, but rather the charcoal you spilled.> He was floating belly up a few months ago and stopped after I bought sinking pellets.  I really thought he would be one of those special goldfish who lived a long time, and now I think I've hurt him by changing the tank rocks.  When I added the new rocks I rinsed them and added all new water and put in the drops to the water.... I haven't fed him anything today because I thought maybe he just needed to swim around a bit.  He has a pretty huge belly.  He's gotten very, very big over the past six years - about four inches with his beautiful fins... Oh what should I do?  Poor Shakey. <First off, increase water changes.  Secondly, sounds as though Shakey may be constipated...try feeding him a couple of halved frozen, then thawed and shelled peas.  Have you seen him pooping at all lately? If he is constipation, this can affect his balance.  If it isn't constipation, it could be that he's developed some sort of swim bladder disorder...again, water changes  are in order if this is the case.  Just take some extra good care of the tank water over the next week or so and keep an eye on your Goldie...see if the combination of water changes and fasting/feeding a couple of peas might do the trick.  Keep me posted!> Sincerely, KT <Sounds like you take great care of your fish to have had him for 6 years! Let's try the above and go from there...best of luck, Jorie.>


Oranda Troubles Hello, I hope you can help me. I have 2 Orandas in a 65 gal. Aquarium. I have had them for 2 years. About 2 weeks ago, 1 of them started to stay upside down. He cannot stay right side up. I thought it was swim bladder infection so I treated the tank with Maracyn 2. That did not work. After waiting my local fish store suggested Maracyn plus. So I did that treatment. It did not work. I went on your site 5 days ago and read, not to feed them for 3 days, and then feed peas ( With no skin). I have now completed that and there is no sign of improvement what so ever. It has a hard time eating because it is upside down. I have no clue what to do next and I am afraid I am going to loose her. Water & pH is fine. I do a large water change every week from some advice from your site I got a while back ago. I do my water changes religiously. Can you please, please help, Thanks Scott <Hi Scott, Don here. There are a few causes of swim bladder problems. If it is from an injury or genetic, there is little that can be done. If from an infection we have a chance. Quinine Sulfate is suggested as a cure by fishyfarmacy.com. This will kill off your Bio filtration, so you will have to test for ammonia and nitrite and do large water changes to control any spikes. Good luck>

Oranda Troubles - II - 12/13/2004 Thanks for the quick response, I was wondering if it could be anything else though. <Very often, this condition in goldfish can be related to ongoing dietary issues....  Keep going with the peas, also offer blanched zucchini, cucumber, or spinach, possibly adult freeze-dried brine shrimp or daphnia, or other foods of high roughage content.  A goldfish's diet should consist mainly of plant material anyway, and often the pellet and flake food sold for them is too high in protein.  Use pellet and flake foods only as supplements, not as their staple diet.  Offer Spirulina, unflavored sushi Nori seaweed, and veggies like those mentioned above (remember to squeeze the pea out of the shell and discard the shell).> I did notice her belly Is hard and huge. I noticed that she seems to always have a little poo hanging out of her. <I'm leaning more toward a dietary problem, but this might in fact be bacterial.  To immediately help to alleviate some of the swelling and possible constipation, I would add Epsom salts to the water at a rate of one or two tablespoons per ten gallons of water.  Repeat this dose in a few days, if necessary.  And as always, be sure to keep water quality pristine - be testing your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate!> I am not sure if this matters but I also see it is always floating and she seems to have a lot of poo lately. <Again, makes me think nutrition.> When I turn her right side up she always goes to the top and gasps for air. She seems more content floating upside down. Is this definitely swim bladder trouble? <Not definitely, no, but that is a distinct possibility.  And, as Don said, if it is, there really isn't much you can do.  If it is damage to the swimbladder due to a bacterial issue, you might find some success with feeding the fish food medicated with an antibiotic like Oxytetracycline....  I believe Jungle has begun offering a product you might try, but I am still inclined to suggest that you try offering the foods mentioned exclusively for a while.  Also, I strongly urge you to avoid flake and pelleted foods as a main staple from here on - goldies need their greens!> Thanks, Scott <Wishing you and your bloaty goldie well,  -Sabrina>


Floating Goldfish Dear Crew, I recently found your website and have found it to be extremely helpful. I have checked all the links and whilst some of the problems my fish are displaying have been answered - some of the factors I have ruled out. I currently have 3 goldfish in a 5 gallon tank.  The water quality is good -we test regularly for ammonia, nitrates and PH - not a problem there. We do regular 30-40% water changes on a weekly basis and are feeding them a varied diet (flake food and granular). We also strip the tank down every 3 months (under gravel filtration) to clear out any debris before doing a partial water change and rehousing the fish. We also add aquarium salt (to the instructions) only replacing it to the appropriate amount of water when doing a water change. 2 of the goldfish we have had for about 5 months.  Others that have been introduced last only about 2-3 weeks before getting swim bladder disease (floating on their side) before lying on the bottom, curling up entirely, and within 4-6 days are usually knocking on those pearly gates.  Other than the buoyancy issues - there are no other outward appearances of being sick. Now one of the originals - Mr. Silverman - has started with buoyancy problems. He kept flipping on to his side for a couple of days when at the top of the tank.  I fed him peas as was suggested and he seems to have perked up a little and his buoyancy is now OK.  However, he is now hiding under leaves and in a log we have. He is feeding fine but once fed goes back to hiding.  His poo is not the same as it used to be (he used to do a lot of fishy farts with the silver casing!) I have tried putting some Melafix into the tank (also with the introduction of the new one) to see if this may help any. <If the peas helped he did not have a swim bladder problem. Moe likely he was constipated and had gas build up. Try switching to sinking foods so they do not gulp air while feeding. Continue with the peas. I'm a little concerned about the timing, right after the new additions. The underlying cause may be an infection. Melafix will not help. Please do not use it. Medicated flake would be far better>    Whilst Mr. Silverman has been a little unwell, we introduced a new fish to the tank (not the best idea I know) but someone at work was going overseas and it needed a home. It too is a fantail. Since being introduced to the tank, he is a little more active than the others and tends to nip a little bit at one of the other fish (not at Mr. Silverman fortunately).  All the other readers have found that the new fish is bullied not the other way round. How can we counteract this?? <I have to suggest finding him a new home. A 5 gallon tank is too small for a single goldfish. Overcrowding leads to aggression and health problems. Add a heater and it would be a great home for a Betta> We really love our fish - and are concerned that may be we are loving them a little too much - hence some of the problems we are having with fish mortality.  Could we be cleaning the tank too much and clearing out too much of the healthy bacteria - how can we test for this? <With the ammonia test. If you remove too much bacteria you will get a spike. You should also check for nitrite. If you see either spike do water changes to get at zero. If both stay at zero, you're OK. Adjust your water change schedule to keep nitrate below 20ppm> I am writing from Australia so some of the cures you suggest are not available out here - so any tips you can give me would be much appreciated. I look forward to hearing from you. Melanie <Good luck with them, Don>


Goldfish problems :( Hi, <Hello...Jorie here> I've had a goldfish for a few years now, and he seems to be having a few problems. He tries to swims and moves his fins frantically. He gets off the bottom but when he stops he just goes straight to the bottom, and can't seem to get to the top. <Hmmm, could be swim bladder disorder or constipation.  The former is a condition that can be caused from various things, ranging from bacterial to viral.  You need to make sure your water conditions are near-perfect - what is your water change schedule like? How big is the tank he lives in, and how many other fish are in there?  If adding more water changes to your regular schedule doesn't help, you could start a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics (only in a separate hospital tank, of course) in case the culprit is a bacterial infection.  As for constipation, if that's what we are up against, you'll know because you won't see any feces from the fish.  If this is the case, try adding Epsom salt to the tank and/or feeding a few frozen, then thawed peas.> He'll be alright won't he? Thanks for the help. Dan <I certainly hope your fish will be OK.  Start off by doing some additional water changes, observe your fish closely, and progress from there.  In any event, I would suggest separating him into his own tank for the time being, just in case this is something communicable.  Best of luck...Jorie> P.S apart from that he seems fine.


Floating Fungused Fish I have a black (I think telescope eyed) fancy fan tailed goldfish that has been floating for at least 1 yr. I know that it probably has a swim-bladder problem but he now is growing a fungus that is slowly eating away his fins. I had 2 bubbled cheek fancy fan tailed goldfish a while ago that died from that same stuff (or symptoms) and I'm afraid he's not going 2 last much longer. He's about 4 yrs old and he seems happy. He eats well but I don't want him to die over night. What medications or procedures should I attempt to keep him alive. He doesn't move much and floats on his side but really struggles more than normal to make any kind of movement. PLEASE HELP ME AS FAST AS U CAN! I appreciate it very much greatly. Thank you <The best thing for right now is a large water change, about 50%. Make sure you match temps and dechlorinate. Do them daily for a week or two. Add about 1 tbls of aquarium salt for every 2 to 3 gallons of water. Mix the same concentration (half dose for a 50% WC) in the new water before adding. Many times this is all that is needed. When the fungus is gone reduce the water changes to about once a week and stop the salt. For the floating, try feeding shelled peas and switch to a sinking food if you are using floating flake or pellets. This will not help if it is a swim bladder problem, but sometimes air in his gut is the problem. I'd give it a shot. Good luck with him. Don>  


Confuddeled New Owner Hi have just I have just inherited two goldfish from my nephew. Unfortunately they were kept in a very small tank about 2 liters. So have invested in a nice bigger 15 liter, about 4 gal, with undergravel filter/air pump, stone. The fish seem happier in this tank but there is one thing that concerns me. The first think is that the smallest of the 2 seems to tilt towards 11 o'clock when it swims. <AM or PM?> It also seems to repeatedly go to the side of the tank and rush to the surface then floats back to the bottom. Is this usual or is there something wrong. <Could be a swim bladder problem. Not treatable if genetic, hard to treat if from injury. Can be from infection. If so, try a medicated flake for bacterial infections. Could also be from gulping air as he eats. Feed sinking, rather than floating, food>   Also I am a bit confuddled about how big my tank should be. I would like to keep more than 2 fish but am getting conflicting info with regards to tank sizes. Do I need a 50 gal tank or am I OK with 1 gal per fish. I have even read on a site that you can keep 10 goldfish in the tank that I have. It's all getting very confuddling??? <You will need a bigger tank for just the two. In a 50 you could keep these two for life. Even one or two more. But you will need better filtration than a UGF can provide. I would remove it completely and upgrade to a good power filer. Don> Andy

Confuddeled New Owner Hi, thanks for the info. How big is a 50 gal tank, 3ft or 6ft? And the fish that swims lopsided mainly does this during the day. Andy <Hi Andy, Don again. A "standard" 55 gallon is 48"x12"x18", at least on this side of the pond. The listing goldfish may be gulping air if only swimming that way part of the time. Could also be constipation. Try feeding him a few shelled peas>

Re: Confuddeled New Owner, lopsided gold fish + behavior. Hi, Thanks again for the info will try the shelled peas to see if that does any good. Also I have been to my local pet shop in town an have seen some fish that I like. They are little black fish about 1 inch or so, roughly half the sizes of the two fan tails that I have at present. Have been thinking of getting one to keep the other two company as the tank kind of looks bare. Also they sell these long fish called loaches and I have been told that they clean the gravel in the tank. Would this be a good investment, or could I just save up for a nice big 50 gal tank? Both the loach and the little black fish are kept in cold water tanks at the shop. Thanks again. (I think I've got the bug) Andy <Hi Andy, Don again. I'm not sure what the little black fish may be, (Black Neon maybe?) but the loach is a tropical fish that would do much better in warmer water than your goldfish. They may be in cooler temps in the fish store, but should not be kept that way for life. I would wait and enjoy the fish you have. Then upgrade them to a larger home when you can. When you do get that big tank make sure you set it all up and "cycle" the tank before adding your fish. If that bug you got forces you to add a fish, look for White Clouds. Pretty, active and they like cooler temps. But your goldfish will not be lonely. It is always better to under, rather than over, stock any size tank>   


Another Bloaty Goldfish - 10/30/2004 Hi     <Hi, Julie!  Sabrina here, this afternoon> I have a calico fan tail gold fish, about 3 mo.s ago he started  floating upside down a lot.  He can swim right side up but only for a little while.   <More than likely this is a very simple dietary issue, but may possibly be the result of damage/disease of the swim bladder....  My bet is on the former, as a swim bladder issue won't usually cause the fish to float *upside-down*.  What are you feeding him?> He has all of his fins and there is no ick in the tank.   <Good, and good.  How large is the tank?  Any tankmates?  Are you testing ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  What are the results of those tests?> I  don't know what to do to help him stay right side up.  If you have any ideas or answers PLEASE pass it on to me. <Glad to do so.  "Fancy" goldfish (fantails, Orandas, etc., etc.) have pretty deformed innards from having been so selectively bred for so very long; these genetic issues are not curable.  The result of this is that too much of the wrong kinds of food will very easily make them constipated - Bloaty, floaty goldfish.  The very best thing you can do for this is to stop feeding him flaked and pelletted foods exclusively, and instead use those items as a much smaller part of his diet.  For now, offer him some thawed frozen pea (squeeze the shell off of the pea), put a few stems of Anacharis/elodea/egeria (a water plant, available at most fish stores) in his tank (he'll happily graze on these).  You can blanch veggies (drop into boiling water for a few seconds) like cucumber, zucchini, squash, romaine lettuce, spinach, and more to give to him as regular foods, too - he'll love these.  I remember my goldfish when I was a kid - they were always rescuing me from my asparagus at dinner time!  If you offer canned veggies, make sure there are no "weird" ingredients on the label, and rinse them thoroughly before offering them to the fish.  Also, it is very easy to overfeed goldfish, so be careful only to feed him every other day or so; even just a few times a week, if he has some plants in the tank to munch on.  Keep doing this, and he should soon make a recovery, provided the tank is a good size, and his water quality is good!> Thank you very much. <Any time.> Juile Casman <Good luck with him, Juile!  Wishing you and your Bloaty pal well,  -Sabrina>


Upside down Goldfish Hi, I have had my goldfish (which I think is a Chinese goldfish) for about 3-4 years now. for the past few months it had been floating on its back, but after reading your website questions and answers I now know what that is. It seems pretty healthy though swimming around because its not always on its back. But this past week it got a huge lump on its hind tail. It is round and is pretty much the same color as its fin but it has a hint of grey tint. I'm not really sure exactly what it is, but I didn't think fish could get cancer or tumors but maybe I'm wrong. Could you give me some advice? < Fish do get tumors, but there is not much you can do about them. more likely I would guess that it is a bacterial infection so I would treat it with Nitrofuranace. It may be an internal parasite too so Pepso food would take care of that. If it turns out to be an internal bacterial infection then I would treat it with Metronidazole.-Chuck>              Thanks A lot                    Jenny


Swimbladder problem Hello Jorie, Mary here,<Hi Mary, MacL here with you this time.>  Well lets see he was fine all last winter, and when spring came I put  my comet into our water feature outside. He even spawned with the other comet that I saved. Two weeks ago he came back inside and was put into my aquarium. I did a water change before he was brought in, about halve. All of the other koi and goldfish are doing fine. He will stand on his head, swim sideways swim upside down, swim in circles very fast. He makes frequent trips to get air and belches large amounts of air bubbles. Once in awhile he will right himself. Like I said all of the other fish are doing fine. I hope this helps in your diagnosis. He is three years old and I hate to loose him now. <I bet he sure sounds lovely.> <Mary, I'm sure you have already tried the frozen pea remedy to be found on the site and possibly salt. The other option is to try to try feeding your goldfish sinking foods rather than floating types.  They won't inhale so much air this way.   The pellets if soaked in water before feeding will expand before the fish eats them and this has helped a lot for some fish I have seen> Thank you so much for writing me back, can you help? Again thank you,    Mary.


Goldfish with swimbladder problem <Hey Ally, MacL here with you tonight.> My boss has gone away (overseas) and left me in charge of her fish and one of her goldfish (don't know what type) red and white and feathery tail, was floating near the top of the pond. Brought it home and put it in fresh tank water.  fish happy to eat all the wrigglers in it and moving quite well but rests sideways at top of bowl. <Sounds like a swimbladder problem to me.> Read all the FAQs, body looks a little distorted and can see dark round spots in rear end and protruding.  Is it constipated, pregnant or/and sick.  Epsom salts or green peas. Bowl is small punch bowl, plenty big enough for 1 fish but not a lot of water.  How much of anything should I put in. <Below I've given you the amount per ten gallons, you'll need to cut that back to the size of your bowl> Please help before fish dies. <Its possibly a dietary/constipation issue.  I'd recommend adding Epsom salt to the water, at a rate of one tablespoon per ten gallons of water (so one half tablespoon for his 5g tank) as this will help relieve pressure on him, help him pass any blockage in his gut. Peas will certainly help, yes.  Keep it up with 'em, use frozen (thawed) peas if possible, also romaine lettuce, unflavored sushi Nori (that's the seaweed wrapper on sushi, you can get it at Asian markets), blanched zucchini or cucumber, aquatic plants like anacharis/elodea, as well.  Might want to try adult brine shrimp or daphnia, too, as these are very high in "roughage" content, will also (hopefully) help him pass any blockage  Good luck Ally, MacL> Ally


Problem for about 6 months goldfish I have been to the WetWeb website. Unfortunately, I did not find anything on there like how my goldfish is. I found some things you could try like peas, Epsom salt, and medication. I have tried those things and they haven't worked. Did you download my pictures to see what he looks like? Please let me know. < Sorry didn't get the picture. But I sense that your goldfish may be bloated or look like it is ready to pop. If this assessment is correct then you need to treat your fish with Metronidazole for internal bacterial infections. Follow the directions on the package. If you fish is eating then you have a better chance of saving it. -Chuck> Thank you.


Goldfish with swimbladder problem Hello. <HI Gina, MacL here with you today.> I have read everything I can on goldfish, been in chat rooms, etc to try and help my goldfish. I have read your website and I hear the same thing over and over. I have tried all of these things for my goldfish. He is having a problem with his swimbladder I am guessing. He's been upside down for about 6 months. I have to hand feed him in order to make sure he gets enough food. He stays at the surface. I have a large aquarium. 150 gallons. a 400 emperor filter, a powerhead with a sponge filter, and a large canister filter that filters 300 gph. I have fed peas, places him in a hospital tank, tried 2 different types of medication for swimbladder disease, changed his eating habits, soaked his food before feeding, feeding sinking pellets but I have to soak them then feed him by hand, bloodworms, lettuce, shrimp, etc. All of my efforts have not paid off for him at all. I love him very much. <I can imagine that you most certainly do Gina to have gone to this much trouble so far.  Let me suggest you take a look at this link, its the most thorough summary of swimbladder disease in goldfish and offers multiple options for treatment. http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/4468/swmbldr.html> I have tested my water for ammonia levels, nitrite, nitrate, hardness. Everything comes out normal. My tank is immaculate and no other fish have this problem. There are some pictures attached. I don't know what else I can do for him. I have thought of making a device for him so that he can swim normally like the other fish. I Just don't know how I would make one. He seems happy as well. I just don't know. Please help me. My tanks temp is level at 72*. Goldfish breeders say to keep your fancy goldfish at a temp of 70-78*. He is an Oranda. Here are some pictures. Please write me back. There also seems to be a slight protrusion in his stomach. I thought it might be something like an internal tumor. <It might be a tumor or might be that his swimbladder needs to be aspirated.  Do you have a local vet that is familiar with fish?> I do not know. His spine also seems to have bent strange. Most likely from being inverted upside down so long. Please write back. Thank you. <Please let me know if the link was helpful to you at all.  MacL>


Re: Swim Bladder Problems Dear WetWebMedia Crew, I was reading the email that Gina submitted re her goldfish's swim bladder problem and thought I would email you with a suggestion that worked for my goldfish when it had a similar problem which was suggested by my local aquarium: Give the little guy a salt bath (1 teaspoon of salt for every 1 litre of water) for around 6-8 hrs. It worked for us so I just thought I would pass on the info. Cheers, Kate <<Thank you, we will pass it along :) -Gwen>>  



Ryukin Problem I hope you can help - I have seen similar postings but couldn't find the answer. We have two Ryukins in an unheated 14 gallon tank with a bio-filter wheel.  Their only tank mates are two snails.  About two weeks ago, they started acting listless, just sitting at the bottom of the tank.  They had white spots so we treated them for Ich.  They seemed to get better but now they then they took a severe turn for the worse.  Three days ago - one of them started swimming/floating upside down.  He would turn himself right side up when I approached him but I also noticed his fins were straggly and starting to disappear.  At that point, we started treating with Melafix.  Now, both fish are floating upside down in the corner.  We have had the water tested by the fish store. It was fine.  We added some salt tonight.   The fish store didn't have any suggestions other than to stop feeding them (which we had two days ago because they weren't eating anyway) and turn off their lights for a couple of days.  I feel like am giving up on them.  Do you have any suggestions about what could be wrong? Thank you so much, Kimberly <<Hello. I am sorry, you will need to give me more information. This sounds like a water quality problem, and an LFS that tells you that your water is "fine" needs to be asked for more specifics. What is fine? Did they test ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, or just pH? Please find out what they are telling you. Your ammonia should be zero, your nitrites should be zero, and your nitrates should be low, between 20-40ppm is a good level. In the meantime, you need to do a couple of water changes, it is better to be safe than sorry, and your fish sound like they need them. Here is a link for you to read, please read it, it will help you understand your fishes problem: http://www.netpets.com/fish/reference/freshref/swimbldr.html -Gwen>>

Re: Ryukin Problem <<Hello. I am sorry, you will need to give me more information. This sounds like a water quality problem, and an LFS that tells you that your water is "fine" needs to be asked for more specifics. What is fine? Did they test ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, or just pH?>> Yes, they tested all of the above. <<Please find out what they are telling you. Your ammonia should be zero, your nitrites should be zero, and your nitrates should be low, between 20-40ppm is a good level.>>  My nitrites were a little high but nothing that would cause the fish any problems.  We do regular water changes and gravel cleaning. Since the first email I sent - I have done a 20% water change as well.  <<In the meantime, you need to do a couple of water changes, it is better to be safe than sorry, and your fish sound like they need them. Here is a link for you to read, please read it, it will help you understand your fishes problem: http://www.netpets.com/fish/reference/freshref/swimbldr.html -Gwen>> I read the swim bladder article - thank you for sending it to me.  I tried to feed them peas but the peas sank and the fish couldn't get to it.  The fish haven't eaten anything in 4 days now. Any further advice would be appreciated.  One of our Ryukins died last night and the second appears to be barely hanging on.  I'm not sure what to do next and just feel helpless. Thanks. Kimberly <<Kimberly, where are your nitrites at, exactly? You mention they are high, but not high enough to cause problems, however, ANY level of nitrite is toxic and WILL cause problems. You need to test it regularly, and keep the level of nitrite at .25 by doing water changes. In fact, this is most likely the cause of your current problem. Did you mean nitrates? Nitrates can be high and cause problems, too. Depends on many factors, including the individual health of your fishes. Your biological filtration could have been affected by the Ich meds you used earlier. Could be that the Ich meds killed some (or most) of your bacteria, which led to an ammonia spike, which in turn became a nitrite spike, very toxic. Your problem is water quality, and all you can do now is continue to do water changes and monitor the water test results. You may continue to add salt if you wish. You may even add Nitra-Sorb, an exchange resin, to help reduce ammonia and nitrite levels, but unfortunately your tank needs to re-cycle, and there is nothing else you can do in the meantime but water changes. I'm sorry. -Gwen>>


Goldfish help Hello, I hope you can help me with my goldfish. I had him now for about (12) years. Everything was going fine until a short time ago when he started floating upside down at the top of his tank. He still eats but upside down and also his stomach is real bloated. What should I do? I know he is old but I want to try to help him if I can. One pet shop thought he had "swim bladder infection" and told me to get Maracyn 2 and put in his water. But on your web you talk about salt water and frozen peas. What shall I do? Any help you can give me, being the experts, would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks so much for your time!  Jan < Your fish has an internal bacterial infection and needs to be treated with Metronidazole. The medication is more effective if the fish is eating but it is the only thing I know of that works.-Chuck>


Regarding Fantails I was just wondering is it normal for my Fantails to lay upside down. I find them like that once in a while and when I get close they take off. Thanks Mike <<Dear Mike; It is not normal, but it happens quite a lot with fantails and other fancy goldfish. I highly recommend doing some reading up on goldfish care. Use your search engine to look up "goldfish constipation" and "swim bladder disease" because these are things they are most prone to getting sick with internally. External problems are usually finrot (due to bad water quality) and bacterial infections. Every goldfish owner should be aware of the symptoms for these problems, so you can see them coming and head them off with the proper care. One thing I will tell you is to TEST your water with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits on a weekly basis, until you are confident that your water quality is consistently excellent. This is THE most important thing when it comes to keeping fish healthy...all fish! :) -Gwen>>


Goldfish Emergency I have a goldfish I have had for a very long time but just recently it has started to get very bloated and all of his scales have fallen of in that area please help. Thank you   <<Hello. I will repeat to you something I just told another person: I highly recommend that you do some reading up on goldfish care. Use your search engine to look up "goldfish constipation" and "swim bladder disease" because these are things they are most prone to getting sick with internally. External problems are usually finrot (due to bad water quality) and bacterial infections. Every goldfish owner should be aware of the symptoms for these problems, so you can see them coming and head them off with the proper care. One thing I will tell you is to TEST your water with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits on a weekly basis, until you are confident that your water quality is consistently excellent. This is THE most important thing when it comes to keeping fish healthy. :) Best of luck. -Gwen>> 


Goldfish Problems Hi again Gwen, Still need your opinion. Well I have to tell you my fishy (Stripes) is not doing very well.  His body has bloated so bad, it looks like it is about to explode (still upside-down).  Sometimes in the morning his body is so skinny, it looks like he's waste finally came out of his little body and he becomes a sinker instead (but that only happened a few times).  So I put him in a small floating container tonight, in the tank, so he can still see the other fishies and to keep in the good water.  I read in a book not to feed him for four whole days because it would clean his whole system.  So I decided to feed him peas maybe just once a day for four days to try to help him, or maybe every two days.  Nothing else worked.  Would this kill my fishy if I didn't feed him at all for four days?  I'm so heart broken for him, he's just a baby.  I really want him to get better, do you think this would work? W.Leger <<Hi Wanda, I'm sorry to hear about Stripes. I assume he is eating still? As long as he is eating, there is hope. Keep his water clean, as you know. Not feeding him for four days at this point seems cruel, this is NOT an ordinary constipation problem, so the "normal" rules (like withholding food for four days) don't apply. Instead, I would feed him some frozen daphnia, but I don't recall if you had trouble finding this at your LFS. The problem with being on vacation (as I am at this moment) is that I am using someone else's computer, and don't have access to my previous emails with you. At any rate, keep up the struggle, and hopefully he will show improvement soon. Hang in there! You are doing a great job so far; sometimes though, it is up to nature and sheer luck...-Gwen>>


Bloaty Goldie - More Info, Please - 08/19/2004 I have a goldfish that we have had for a long time but just recently its started to get very bloated and its scales have come off in that area.   <We'll need more info to be able to be of much help - how big is his tank?  Any other fish with him (how many, what are they)?  Do you test for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  If so, what are the readings?  What have you been feeding the fish?  When you say he's gotten very bloated, is he just very, very fat looking, or are his scales sticking out, like a pinecone?  Has he been pooping?  If so, what color is it?> I will do any thing to sort this out.  Please help, thank you. <Without details, the best I can do is recommend that you make sure his diet is appropriate (lots of greens - anacharis/elodea/Egeria or other water plants available for him to munch on, blanched zucchini/cucumber, frozen/thawed peas with the shell removed, spinach....) and be VERY cautious NOT to overfeed him.  Offer him only foods of high roughage content while he's bloated; peas, daphnia, and adult brine shrimp are some options, here.  Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) added to the water at 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons will help him pass any blockage in his gut.  Wishing you and your goldfish well,  -Sabrina>


Another Bloaty Goldie? - 08/10/2004 Hi Crew. <Ahoy thar!  Sabrina with you, this evening.> I  recently adopted a friend's Black Moor and 38 gallon tank.  "Blackie" is a fairly big fish, and seems to be an awkward swimmer (I'm not that familiar with how a fish like this should look in the water - all my other fish, in a separate tank, are tropicals, and good swimmers). <"Fancy" goldfish are most all funky swimmers.  If you're concerned about the fish's behaviour, I urge you to observe the fancy goldies at any local fish stores - look for healthy specimens, and watch their movements; it'll help to familiarize yourself with what's normal and not.> Anyways, sometimes, Blackie seems to get turned over when he's grazing on the bottom of the tank. He usually rights himself eventually, but a couple of times I've found him in the corner, nose down, or upside-down, and I have to move his plant or decorative rock out of the way so that he can turn around.  Is he just getting stuck, or is he sick? <Upside down doesn't really sound good....  Do you find the fish to be "floaty"?  What is its diet?  If he's on strictly dry prepared foods, I'd recommend giving him some good greens (blanched zucchini, cucumber, peas, also a hearty offering of live anacharis/elodea/egeria plants available in the tank).  It could be that the fish is constipated.  Getting him on a better diet will help to clear him of any blockage and will prevent him getting in this state again.  There are other possibilities here, as well....  I'm assuming you know what to look for in generally 'sick-looking' fish?> Another thing, yesterday I added our other goldfish (a common goldfish that we purchased when we were cycling our first aquarium a couple of years ago) <Might want to look into some fishless cycling options, if you haven't already.> to the 38 gallon tank as a companion for Blackie.  But "Goldie" seems aggressive towards Blackie - he chases him around, and looks like he's trying to nibble on him.   <The fact that regular/common/comet goldfish are not malformed makes them poor candidates for tankmates with "fancy" goldies; the comets tend to outcompete the fancies for food, and can tend to pick on their more cumbersome counterparts.> Is he trying to mate?   <I somewhat doubt this, but it is possible.> How can I tell their sex? <During breeding season, mature males will develop small whitish bumps on the operculum.> Or is he picking on Blackie because he's sick? <Entirely possible - but I'm not completely convinced that Blackie's sick, yet.  Can you describe Blackie's condition in a little greater detail?  Is the fish very lethargic?  Clamping its fins?  Exhibit any abnormalities (red streaks, eroded fins, strange bumps/lumps/marks, anything at all out of the norm)?  Are you keeping an eye on ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?> I'd appreciate any insights you can offer into the behaviour of these goldfish. <Again, fancy goldies are very much poor swimmers in general, but I urge you to go observe lots of others so you have a base to compare Blackie's actions to.> Thanks! <You bet!  Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.  Wishing you and Blackie well,  -Sabrina>


Bloated comet Hi Bob I have a comet that is approx. six years old about seven inches long in my garden pond. It is quite bloated. Could this fish be egg bound, as I've had happen with aquarium fish or could it be dropsy. The fish is quite active, eating ok and otherwise appears to be healthy. Is there anything I should do? < If the fish is eating then it is not dropsy but it still could an internal bacterial infection. I would isolate the fish and treat with Metronidazole as per the recommendations on the package.-Chuck> Bernie


Fantail Help Hi Mike! <<Gwen will do nicely :)>> I need some desperate advice.  I've had my 4 fantail gold fish for 2 1/2 months now.  They are fine except for one.  He has been floating a lot at the top of the water and ending up upside down.  Lately it has been more frequent.  I know that it is caused by his swim bladder.  I have quarantined him, I give them peas every night and vegetable flakes, check there water quality regularly and water change when time is due.  Everything is good except him.  I have tried everything.  The pet store said that there was no cure for this.  Is it true?  If not, what else can I do?  It is heartbreaking to see him like that.  When he does get a little better, he gets so excited that he can swim with the other fishies.  Please help. Thanks, W. Leger <<Is this fish still eating? You can feed him a medicated flake food, which you may or may not find at your LFS...they seem to think he is beyond help at this point, so maybe they do not know about or do not stock medicated flake food, or any medication for Internal bacterial infections. Ask them, anyways. If they have it, use it, follow directions on the package. Do so for a good three weeks. As long as the fish doesn't exhibit signs of dropsy, there is a chance to help him. Dropsy is when the scales stick out, and the fish resembles a pine cone. Usually fatal, but can be cured if caught at the beginning and treated for a few weeks. Best luck, Gwen>> 

Fantail Help III Thanks for the tip.  What do you think about Maracyn-two? <<Go for it. Should help, it's a good product. Just follow the instructions to the letter, as with all medications, they are only as good as their user :) Make sure you buy the freshwater version. -Gwen>>

Fantail Help IV Thanks Gwen, I have started treatment today.  The fish that is the floater (I call him stripes) has a lump on his right side on his buttocks.  It is round and seams like it is were his waste goes because when he eats you can see thru the skin the color of the food or peas.  I bought him that way. Would you know what that could be.  At the pet store they said it could be an accident that happened when he was a baby (when being shipped). I have to tell you it sure is great to have someone to talk to who knows what they are talking about.  Thanks a lot.  I'm trying to learn more about them as much as I can to keep them well.  Thanks again for the great help. I am little bit less apprehensive. PS:  I gave your e-mail address to my brothers fiancé, she has two tanks (20 and 25).  She is having problems lately with her fish to.  I'm not sure if she will e-mail you but I thought I'd let you know that I gave it to her.  I told her that you were a lot more help than the pet store.  Thanks a million. W. Leger <<Wanda, it's a pleasure:) and you are most welcome. Your bumpy fish could have been that way from birth, yes. It's hard to say without seeing the fishes growth over time. At any rate, I'm sure he will be just fine. IF he is eating well, you can also supplement the Maracyn II with Pepso Food (from Jungle), this should help his little insides, too. I hope your fishy recuperates soon. Let me know how it's going. Tell your brothers fiancé to mention my name in her email, otherwise her email will be put into someone else's inbox here at WWM. -Gwen>>

Fantail Help V Hey Gwen, I have another kinda silly question.  What about bran cereal (the kind that are like string).  Would that be bad for the gold fish.  I would pre-soak them to make them soft.  They say Goldfish eat anything.  So would this be a bad idea?  He still is not better, the medicine did not work. <<Wanda, sorry to hear. This could take some time, patience is required. Don't forget, he was pretty much near death, it will be something indeed if he recuperates at all, never mind quickly. Please keep up with water changes, and hopefully he will pull through. It could take a couple more weeks, and as long as he is alive, there is a chance. Good luck. -Gwen>>

Fantail Help VI Hey Gwen, But what do you think of bran cereal.  Is it a bad idea? <<Ah, sorry I forgot to answer that part! I'm not sure about bran cereal...I don't see a problem as long as the flakes do not turn to mush and deteriorate the water quality. Why would you use them? They can not be considered a food staple, but perhaps as temporary attempt at treating minor constipation. I've no idea if they would even work for that. One thing I do know is that it can take WEEKS for a medication to completely cure a fish, and in NO way can bran flakes replace an antibiotic as an effective treatment for an internal bacterial infection. -Gwen>>

Fantail Help Thanks VII Cool, thanks again and I will tell her to put her name and  I will certainly let you know how my fishy is doing.  Wish me luck and take care. PS:  I put you in my address book, just incase, LOL. W. Leger <<Wanda, it's always a pleasure to help. Tank care! :P Gwen>>

Fantail Help VIII Thanks Gwen, I just needed to know if it could be a good thing.  well my little guy is always upside down now, I guess I'll just have to wait it out.  Thanks again for all your help and tips.  I'll keep in touch.  Take care. W.Leger <<Anytime :) -Gwen>


Goldfish Query Hello, I am not sure if my Oranda has got dropsy or egg compaction. I'm not sure of its sex. It's got a swollen abdomen (it has always been slightly rounder than my other fish but not so much as it is now) and its scales are protruding a little also its eyes are a little bulged, this concerns me because I know its a symptom of dropsy. It's behaviour seems normal, maybe a little quiet and lethargic and its vent seems a tad more noticeable than usual. I'd be very grateful for your reply. Thank you, Justine <<Justine; Raised scales always signify dropsy. If it has just started, you might save the fish. If the fish is still eating, you can go to your LFS and buy some medicated food for internal bacterial infections. It might take a few weeks to recover. If he recuperates, make sure you feed your goldfish a high fibre diet: a good quality Spirulina flake, frozen daphnia, and skinned peas. Also, keep the water clean with regular partial waterchanges. Nitrates should be as low as possible, 20ppm is a good level to aim for. -Gwen>>


Goldfish Rupture We have a 3 year old comet goldfish that has been healthy until a couple of weeks ago.  After a tank water change, he became very inactive and stayed on the bottom of the tank.  At that time, I noticed that his abdomen had become a little swollen.  I read that they can sometimes have constipation or indigestion which makes them inactive, so we did not give him any food (fish flakes) for a few days.   <<After a few days of not-feeding, you need to give the fish some help in the form of a high-fibre diet. Goldfish are herbivores and need a good Spirulina flake on a daily basis, some frozen peas that you cook for 5 minutes and remove the skins on a bi-weekly basis, and the occasional frozen daphnia, to help keep the intestines clear.>> However, that didn't improve the situation, a few days later, we noticed that something white was protruding out from his bottom right side, which was more swollen than before, with the scales being raised a little.  The next morning, we saw a brown trail about an inch long coming out from that spot.  It didn't look like a parasite, as it was about a millimeter in width, and an inch long, but we tried the salt bath to try and get it off, in case it was a worm.  It did come off, but it looked more like fish poop than anything else. <<Yep. Indicating intestinal constipation problems.>> Anyway, since then, the fish is back in his tank, and the side has reduced in swelling somewhat, but it's still raised a little and you can see it's a little brown underneath.  He's more active, swimming around the tank, but he doesn't use his tail fins, and it looks like he's being pulled up by his tail, and he seems to be struggling against floating to the top. We haven't really tried to feed him too much since the rupture, although he seems a little hungry, picking things off the gravel and, and acting a little more normally.  I haven't seen him poop either. <<Not much will come out if you are not feeding him. Start feeding the fish! Make sure it is in the form of peas ONLY for the first few days. Goldfish are sensitive to changes in their diets, so be careful in the future when changing foods, and don't feed the wrong foods..>> What could be the matter with him, as I can't find anything online that remotely sounds like what he's gone through?   <<Intestinal blockage, leading to swim bladder disorder, which you will find information on in any decent goldfish website. Here are a couple of links for you to read: http://www.petlibrary.com/goldfish/symptoms.htm , http://www.goldfishconnection.com/articles/details.php?articleId=83&parentId=8  http://www.netpets.com/fish/reference/freshref/swimbldr.html >> Thank you for your advice!  This fish is special because he was a prize to my son for getting potty-trained!  We hate the thought of putting him out of his misery, but also don't want him to suffer! Esther <<Please do regular partial water changes to prevent this problem from worsening. Buy yourself some test kits for ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero) and nitrates (keep nitrates at a low level, between 20ppm and 60ppm). And do some more reading! -Gwen>>

Goldfish Rupture II Thank you for your response!  I will try the peas diet right away.  The goldfish did have some more stuff coming out from the side a few days ago (second time), and we fed him a couple of times with the same fish flakes (couldn't bear the thought of starving him), and now he's a little inactive again.  Do fish ever have intestinal ruptures like that and still survive?  Is it worth trying to prolong his life? Thanks again, Esther <<Esther; He should be fine, as long as you can get him onto a high fibre diet, and keep his water quality as good as possible. Buy him some peas, get those test kits, and do some water changes, and he should start to perk up within a few days :) -Gwen>>


Swimbladder Problems Hello can anyone offer advice, we have two pearlscale which we've had for 2 weeks, today the fatter and less active of the two started swimming on one side and may have a possible swimbladder problem to add to this he appears to have a small gash on his side and is being chased and nipped at by our two small fancy fantails who nip his bottom and fins. Would it be best to treat him in the tank which he shares with our other pearlscale ,two small fancy fantails, and two small telescopic fish? Or to separate & treat him? What is the best treatment for swimbladder problems. Many thanks, Jenny <<Dear Jenny; You may remove him to another bowl or small tank for treatment. Make sure to test your water frequently, both in a hospital tank and in the main tank. Water quality can deteriorate quickly when keeping goldfish, it's important to have your own test kits and use them to keep your water quality top notch: Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits are all available at your LFS. Sometimes swimbladder can be cured by simply improving water quality, and by changing the fishes diet to spirulina flake, shelled green peas (buy frozen ones, but cook them for a few minutes to soften them) frozen daphnia, and pre-soaked Hikari pellets. More advanced cases may require medicated food. Here is a link to a website that can give you some good info on goldfish diseases: http://www.goldfishinfo.com/diagram.htm and another: http://www.bristol-aquarists.org.uk/goldfish/info/diseases.htm also, if you need more info, do an Internet search for swimbladder disease. -Gwen>>


Goldfish on Tank Bottom <Hi Kim>   I am hoping you can help me.  <I'll give it a shot.> I have a 55 Gallon tank. It has an Emperor filtration system and I also have a large airstone on the opposite side of the tank. I have one (3 inch) orange fan tail gold fish, one small pearl scale (2 inches) and one 3-4 inch gold, egg shaped (I don't know the name) goldfish that has the beginning of a lion style head. And, one apple snail. All of the fish get along. I have live plants in the tank and have tested the water.  The water quality is good with no ammonia.   I have been feeding the fish floating pellets, but have now replaced them with peas for about 1 1/2 weeks.  <Why did you switch to the peas? Because of the sick fish?  Do you mind me asking how long since you checked the ammonia?  Do you have any bottom feeders to clean up what the fish don't eat besides the snail?> Here is my problem: For the past three weeks, my largest egg-shaped fish has been laying on the bottom.  He swims when he wants, but always retreats back to the bottom.  He seems to have something in his belly that weighs him down. <Sounds like a possible swim bladder problem.>   He can swim, but if he tries to float, he sinks.  He sinks slowly and evenly.  I have tested the water and it is fine.  I have replaced his food with peas. <Actually very smart.  Either him eating the peas or possibly having him go without food for two or three days.>  The other fish are swimming around fine and healthy.  There are no outward signs of distress or illness.  He seems to be breathing ok, but I have noticed that after he swims, his breathing is more rapid as soon as he retreats/falls to the bottom and then it slows to a regular pace.  He does eat, but he cannot eat well from the bottom, because it seems that his belly is too heavy to give him the buoyancy he needs.  I have also added salt and done a water change (not in that order).  He's a pretty wide and fat looking fish with a short tail. <Unfortunately the ornate goldfish, as I understand it have a predisposition to this problem.  No one really knows what causes it.  There are several different possibilities.  Viruses, bacteria (like in an infection, body shape, and or what's he's eating.> Before, he enjoyed eating everything and swimming. <Sounds like a lovely fish.  Might I ask? Do you soak your food before you feed it?  This can be helpful as it prevents the food from swelling up within him.  Very helpful for this type of fish.>  Could he be constipated?  <Its a possibility.> And, wouldn't the peas have helped that by now?  <Depends on how fast he is digesting and if he has any other problems going on.> Or, has he grown too big and his short tail can't support him?  He used to have long trails of poop following him.  I haven't seen that in awhile. <Sounds like he might have a problem.  In all honesty I believe it is with his swim bladder.  I would suggest not feeding the tank for a few days and seeing if it resolves itself on its own.  Very difficult I know for a lovely caretaker.  There is another method that can be done where you basically stick a pin in the swim bladder but since you are new at this I would not recommend that you do this.  If he doesn't get better in a few days you might consult a knowledgeable vet who knows how to do this.>   <I'm so sorry he's not well.  I wish I had more answers for you on this.  His particular body shape does make him more prone to this type of thing happening.  Keeping his tank as clean as you have been doing, helps more than anything. Please keep me updated and let me know how he is doing.  The only thing you might try is an antibiotic that's gentle on the chance that the swimbladder problem is an infection of some sort.  Should you try this,  you'll need to watch your tank closely to make sure it doesn't affect your good bacteria in your filter system.  Please keep me up-to-date Kim.  Mac> Thank you, Kim


Swollen Shubunkin Hi I have a goldfish and a shubunkin in a 10 gallon tank with an under gravel filter. They are about 9 years old, and until now have never had any problems. They are fed on flake food, aquarium weeds and thawed bloodworms/brine shrimps/etc. During the last few weeks the shubunkin has become bloated, slightly more on the right side than the left. At first I convinced myself it was the colour (it is partly black on one side) that made it look lopsided. I have occasionally thought that in the past, but suddenly, about 10 days ago, it got very much worse. It is still feeding normally, swimming normally despite its shape, and is its usual cheerful self. No scales are sticking up, there is no redness, its fins are fine and the goldfish is not hounding it. I wondered if it could be: a. egg bound (I don't know if it is a female) b. constipation, although I wouldn't be so cheerful if I were that constipated! c. parasites, but there's nothing visible externally, and I did a general parasite treatment when I first suspected a problem d. dropsy, although no scales are raised, e. a tumour (but would it be behaving normally with a tumour that big?) or f. something completely different. Can you suggest anything? I'd like to anything I reasonably can for it! Eliza. <<Dear Eliza; Please read any FAQ's you can find here that deal with goldfish. I will repeat what I tell everyone who has goldfish in too small a tank: test your water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Ammonia should be zero, nitrites should be zero, nitrates should be low, say between 20-40ppm. Higher means doing water changes until it reaches that reading. Vacuum and do twice-weekly partial water changes. Please let me know your water test results. Two goldfish in a 10g for nine years means these fish are stunted, unless you have been doing daily 50% water changes... Goldfish require at LEAST 10g per fish in order to grow to their full adult size: 12 inches long for shubunkins, and baseball-sized for fancies. They may not survive much longer unless you move them into a larger tank and improve the water quality. -Gwen>> 

Swollen Shubunkin II  Hi Gwen Sorry - I got the tank size wrong. It's 24x12x15, so it's still too small but not that bad! I think that makes it somewhere between 15 and 18 gallons, allowing for gravel and filter which take up about 2.5 inches.  There's not much in it apart from some plastic plants, fresh weeds which they eat, and 2 smallish, bottomless pots which they seem to like sleeping in.  Having read your other advice sections, I have given them each the middles of a couple of small peas (thawed and squashed) and some Epsom salts. There is some Aqualibrium in the tank, about 1g per litre. Bearing this in mind, how much Epsom salt can I use? I have erred on the side of caution, I hope, with 1.5 tablespoons so far. I found some pea-coloured poos; I think they came from the goldfish but there was a bit of something stringy from the shubunkin as well, so something's moving!  I have tested occasionally for nitrites, and never had a problem. The testing kit is ancient now, so I don't trust it any more. I assumed that if nitrites were OK, and the fish were OK, and the tank was clean, things couldn't be too far out - they're hardly exotic, after all! I also use Safe Guard and Safe Water.  What suitable (i.e. hardy, attractive and not too big) cold water fish would you recommend for a tank of this size?  If I were to go up to a 30x12x16 tank (there's no space for anything bigger), I think the pump would cope, but what about the filter? Does it have to be the same size as the tank floor, or could I get away with using the same one - 6 inches short? Eliza <<Dear Eliza, the first thing I need to mention is that nitrites should always be zero, as I already mentioned. Because they are being converted to nitrates. You really need to test for NITRATES in your tank water in order to know the level of fish waste. You should prolly buy a new test kit, and start using it to ascertain how often to do water changes. Keep the nitrate level at 20-40ppm...higher means water changes! Your tank sounds like it could easily house some white clouds, platies, maybe some nice tetras if you add a heater. Move your goldfish into a 33g or 40g, they will be happy there for a while. Water testing will let you know when they are too big for a tank. Also, be careful with the undergravel filter. They do require being maintained properly. That means tearing the damn tank down and cleaning beneath the filter plates every 3-6 months. A pain to do, perhaps your budget will allow you to purchase an HOB filter such as an AquaClear, Penguin or Whisper. Easier to maintain by a long shot, with the added bonus that you can change out carbon and cartridges in seconds. You should look into that. IF you decide to remove your undergravel filter, or clean it, PLEASE re-email me regarding precautions to follow so your fish survive the ordeal. UG filters can harbor some nasty stuff. Removing the fish while you clean the tank may be in order. I can explain the why's and how's if you need me to.. -Gwen>>


Sick fantail Dear WWM crew, My fantail is sick. He was lying on the bottom, not moving very much and not going after food as usual. I think it could be swim bladder disease, but I'm not sure. Constipation? Now he is just floating around. I think it may be too late. I gave him floating flakes and more recently some bloodworms, which also floated.  Hence the swim bladder disease conclusion. Any advice/medication or is it too late? I isolated him in a shallow tank. All water chemistry is good.  Thanks for your help < Wow, It seems like we have gotten a lot of questions on this problem lately. Two common problems occur when the water quality declines and fish get either overfed or fed the wrong foods. If your fish is floating it usually means that a bacterial infection that has infected the gut. As the bacteria increase they produce gas and this causes the fish to bloat and float to the surface. The other problem is when the disease attracts the swim bladder and the fish cannot get up off the bottom of the tank because it is no longer buoyant. It is probably too late but you can try metronidazole according to the directions on the package. A 30% water change every other day and a teaspoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water might help too.-Chuck> Scott 

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