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FAQs About Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 3

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner


Help with a Constipated Gold Fish Hi Robert, <<Not actually Robert, but Jason filling in while Bob is away diving.>> Mike Kobert recommended I contact you as I seem to have a problem with one of my goldfish. I have a 50 gallon hex tank with a split tail fancy gold fish, a red cap and a junior black moor. The gold fish and red cap are very large. A couple of months ago I changed food and my very large black moor started to swell up. I discontinued food and researched problem. He apparently was constipated or had dropsy (sp?) Anyway, I se up a hospital tank with the Epsom salt treatment per the book recommendations. The moor eventually died.  <<I am sorry to hear this.>> Now my Gold fish (very large) is swollen and I haven't seen him poop for weeks.  <<uh oh...>> Do you recommend any other course of action besides he Epsom salt treatment.  <<have a recent account from another reason who had a similar problem with his clownfish. His solution was to add fish-oil to the food. You might want to try this.>>  It didn't seem to work for the moor.  <<No, it didn't did it, but unfortunately this type of problem can only go on for so long before it will kill the fish, so the Epsom salts may have come a little too late.>>  Do you think I should try to manipulate (squeeze) the blockage out?  <<not unless you are very familiar with the fish's physiology - no guarantee you won't squeeze something in the wrong direction.>>  I am at a loss and we have had him for a few years - hate to see him go to fish heaven!  <<It would be unfortunate to be certain. Do try the fish-oil.>> Mike says your the man when it comes to goldfish. I'd really appreciate any advise you can give me.  <<hope that's helpful.>> Thanks! Ted Burgess <<You are welcome - Cheers, J -- >>


Re: feeding peas to fantails Hello!  I recently found your website and have found it to be very informative! Thank you! In browsing your site I read that I should be feeding my goldfish peas. I have started doing so and they LOVE them. I have one that will actually eat them from my fingertips! Now for my questions...how often should I feed them peas? <Daily if possible> I also feed them Tetra Fin flake food and a floating pellet that my sister feeds to her pond goldfish. Is there other food products that I should be feeding them? <Yes, items that are more "meaty" (like frozen/defrosted Mysids, Brine Shrimp), and even rice (cooked), other green vegetables (better blanched or microwaved than fresh). To take care to not feed dried-prepared foods to heavily to "round-shaped" goldfish varieties... as there is a "positive correlation" between this practice and developmental disorders ("gas-bladder disease", "fatty infiltration disease")> I have 7 in a 55 gallon tank ( I know, I know! I am 2 over what you recommend for that size tank but they are small fish right now.) I also have 3 snails, 1 frog and 2 live plants. Thanks for any info you can provide! Keep up the great service.....greatly appreciated!!! <Will endeavor to do so. Bob Fenner> Kerry


Ribbontail swim bladder... goldfish travails (a sinker, not a floater?) 10/7/05 We have contacted you in the past about our poor floor-bound Ribbontail, but we have been able to re-diagnose our fish with the help of a pet store owner. As it turns out, what we previously thought were blood streaks from septicemia in the fins, turned out to be bulging veins from stress. We thought she had gotten dropsy from the septicemia, but now we think she may only have swim bladder disease. What follows is a revised timeline of the illness; <Mmm, be aware of the difference/similarity between "causes" and symptoms... what you list above are both... related... akin to "having a cold", influenza> June 19, 2005 - 1 week after initial week of treatment. We bought her an Oranda companion (now 7 cm w/o tail). <... you placed a new fish with a sick one?> Ribbontail (now 4cm w/o tail) had few red streaks in tailfin. August 12-14 - Ribbontail stopped swimming higher than 5cm off the bottom of the tank. Red streaks got darker and more noticeable. She seems a little fat'¦ September 8 - can barely get off the bottom of tank. Swims up an inch; falls back down. A tiny bit of fraying on her tailfin. We restarted her on Maracyn-two, this time with 4-5gallon water changes every day. We gave her bits of cooked peas with a turkey baster (This worked surprisingly well).  Week later - She got better in a week, so we stopped for a few days. September 9 - We have 2 plants. She can't get up at all, she sits on the bottom trying to get up, the joints of her front fins are red, her chin is pink, and her tailfin is covered in streaks and is frayed and torn-looking. The spot underneath her tail (right where it connects to her) is very pink.  She's been on the Maracyn-two for about a week or more, as well as Stress Coat and Melafix, and we've started putting 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt in the water at each water change and doubling her medication, but she's still getting worse. We're only changing the water every 3 days or so now. We just changed 8½ gallons today. The temperature is 74 degrees F. The pH is about 7.5. The water is a little bit hard but I just added salt. <Ammonia, nitrite?> October 5 - She seems slightly bent, but it's hardly noticeable. We have resorted to making her a harness to keep her afloat just above the bottom of the tank. (Cloth 'vest' held onto a cork by a clip suspended from a string. Unclip-able so she can sleep inside her 'cave'). We will probably finish the harness later today. Could this be a food or egg-impaction? <Doubtful... much more likely environment/genetic> She's passing feces, though not much. No bubbles. Is she a 'sinker', if so, will this be permanent? Anything you can tell us would help. I haven't been able to find much on sinkers online. This is very confusing, as she did not have a floating problem before she sank. We bought her with a clamped top fin, but this may just be bent rather than clamped. No expense is too great for our poor little fish. <Perhaps has damaged its swimbladder... and is a "sinker", could indeed be permanent. Bob Fenner>


Dropsical Goldfish - 10/06/2005 Hey Crew. Thanks so much for all the help you've given myself and others. <And thank you very much for these kind words - means a lot to us, really.> Once again I've come to seek your advice. Nova, my 1" Pearlscale goldfish, has come down with dropsy. Water parameters in his main tank have always been good (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates consistently in the 15-20 range), so I'm not sure what the cause of this was. <Possibly/likely dietary....  What do you feed him?  Prepared dry foods like pellets and flakes are often a cause for concern in fancy goldfish....  A diet of aquatic plants and blanched human-consumption greens (peas, cucumber, spinach, zucchini....), supplemented with occasional dry or frozen fish foods often "cures" this condition and prevents its return.> As I write this he's been in a 3 gallon hospital tank for two days. I've medicated with Maracyn Plus, added  1 tbsp of Epsom salt, and raised the temperature to 27c. He's still gamely swimming around, and even still has his appetite, and this has inspired me to leave no stone unturned in trying to save this little guy. So far he's not getting any better or any worse. I know dropsy is almost always fatal, but is there anything else you can suggest that might help this fish? <"Dropsy" us just a term applied to a set of symptoms, just like "sneezing" can be related to an allergy, the flu, or an irritant in the air, there are many causes for dropsical symptoms.  I suspect what your fish is experiencing is dietary.  If, however, it is from a bacterial infection, foods medicated with Oxytetracycline would be my treatment of choice.  For now, I would get some frozen peas (thaw, and squeeze the inside out of the shell, discard the shell) and feed him a couple.  Discontinue all other foods for now, apart from possibly aquatic plants like anacharis/elodea/Egeria.  Hopefully a good diet will help this fish recover.> JM <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Goldfish question, health... really nutrition  9/23/05 I've been reading a lot about constipation in goldfish and actually had to deal with it last week.  That fish had a trail of brown feces trailing from it.  I tried the pea remedy and she was fine the next day.  Now, however, I have one with white stuff trailing from it .  What is that?   <Fecal material> He's acting OK right now.  I have been feeding flakes, which they love , but recently got some Spring and Autumn pellets that have lots of veggies and will probably be better for them. <Please read on WWM re Goldfish, Pondfish Feeding> The pkg said they soften quickly and even small fish can eat them.  These guys are still small,  only a few wks out of the petstore, and they tried so hard to eat the things.  I don't know if they sank or what, but went back to the flakes.  These fish are in a small garden pond with filter and fountain.  Anyway, my real question is about this white stuff.  Thanks for your help.  Chris <Look into blending in some fresh foods... not dried alone. Bob Fenner>


Another Floaty Bloaty Goldfish - 09/20/2005 My black Moor fish is swimming upside down. He's been like this for weeks. I don't know what to do for him. And he stays in the corner of the fish tank too. Is he dying?  Thank you <This is more than likely an nutritional and/or environmental issue; please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm  and here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Goldfish Losing Scales? - 09/19/2005 I have three comet goldfish in a 50-gallon tank. <Great size tank for these fish!  Just had to say that.> I did look through your FAQs but didn't find the answer I was looking for even though many of the scenarios were similar. One of the fish has lost a few scales on one side of his body. <Goldfish do tend to drop scales when stressed; check your water quality, first and foremost.  I did have a comet once that would drop scales despite pristine water quality; never really learned why.  I think to an extent this is normal.> Now it appears as though he is losing color (around the gills and on his face in addition to his body). <Goldfish do change color....  perhaps attributable to age, pH or other water parameters.  As long as the fish is otherwise well, and your water quality is perfect, I would not worry.> He appears to have a normal appetite and is very active. <Good signs.> I removed the charcoal filter and started to medicate the tank with Melafix tonight because it is natural and probably couldn't hurt. <Mm, actually, some folks think that Melaleuca extract actually *can* hurt....  perhaps irritate skin and gills.  I'm on the fence on this; I feel the stuff is more of a human placebo than a fish medicine.  Just my opinion, though.  Furthermore, I don't think you need to medicate this condition; sounds like normal goldfish goings-on.  Just maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO and nitrate less than 20ppm with water changes, and observe this fish for any signs of illness (lethargy, clamped fins, etc.).> Should I also add aquarium salt and if so, how much? <You can if you wish; I think it unnecessary.  No more than 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, perhaps more like 1 tablespoon per ten gallons.> Thanks!  T. Barcroft <You bet!  Wishing you and your goldie guys well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Goldfish Losing Scales? - 09/20/2005 Thank you SO much for your response!  I have given three doses of Melafix and I will stop at that, check the water quality, and replace the filter.   <Sounds like a plan.> Can you help me with my problem of overfeeding? I can't resist although I am trying (they are such darlings and they do beg)! I was  surprised to see that the fish only need about their eye volume two or three times a day. <Actually, that's more than I would offer.  My pond goldfish have to "fend for themselves", the best diet you can offer your goldies is a slim one based mostly on veggie matter.  Read here for some ideas:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm .> Thanks again!  -T. Barcroft <Any time.  Take care,  -Sabrina>


Goldfish Population, Size, Variety.... - 09/10/2005 Good morning!! <Good morning to you, as well!> I have a 30 gal tank with 2 fantails and 1 black moor goldfish.   <Sounds good.> The first black moor we put in the tank with the others, started swimming sideways and eventually died.  We got another black moor and the same thing happened.  I read an article that they have an eye impairment and might not be getting food.   <Actually, though this is perhaps possible, I would suspect a nutritional disease....  If you're feeding only with pellets and/or flakes, please consider offering human-consumption veggies like frozen peas (squeeze the shells off), blanched zucchini, cucumber, spinach....  and add some plants like Egeria/elodea/anacharis to munch.> The other two fish are very fast and I am not sure the black moor fish were getting enough food.  Water tested fine so I can't imagine what it could be?  Also, we would like to add a fish now that we've lost the other black moor.  We've cleaned the tank and did a water change. <Mm, honestly, I'd keep your system as-is.  Let these guys grow out some; they'll need the space as they grow.> We are interested in getting a fantail the same as we currently have, only these two fantails are about 2 ½ in long.  We'd like to get a larger one, maybe 5 ½ in long.  Will this be a problem and will the large fish pick on our smaller fish? <It could, yes.  Keeping fish of roughly the same size is a better idea to prevent aggression.> Help!  -Anne <Anne, if you haven't yet, please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .  Wishing you and your goldies well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish Population, Size, Variety....  II - 09/10/2005 Thank you for the advice for my goldfish.  I've added some plants and have been feeding cucumbers <Err, just pieces, right? (grin)> by dropping them in the tank, letting the fish chew on them for awhile, then removing them so they don't leave waste in the tank. <Beautiful.> I find your site extremely helpful.  I've searched through the FAQ's on ammonia but can't find a complete answer to my question, so I want to be absolutely sure before I do anything. <Okay.> Nitrates are at zero, so I tested for ammonia right after I cleaned the tank.  To refresh, I have 3 goldfish and two snails in a 30 gal tank.  I change out 10 gal of water, twice per week.  I use a vacuum to clean the bottom, rocks, ornaments, etc.  I do not currently have any algae so I do not use an algae scrubber yet.  I changed the water last Thursday, all was well.  I changed last night and the ammonia readings were high.   <Test your tapwater, too, just to be sure.> The ammonia levels tested between a .25 and .50 so my question is, do I change the water daily to get the ammonia levels down or do I add something to the tank to combat the ammonia?   <Don't add stuff to remove stuff; go for the water changes.  You'll probably only need to do one or two, as the levels aren't terrible, just disconcerting.  You might want to remove the cucumber bits after a shorter amount of time.> I do not want my fish to get sick and I can't find anywhere that says these readings are acceptable, so I am assuming they are high and should read at zero.  And after I do daily water changes, do I check for ammonia or do I wait a day or two after daily water changes and then test? <You can test right after the water change, if you like.> Thanks for your wisdom!   <And thank you for your obvious care for your fish!> Anne <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Lethargic Black Moor Bloating Up  9/28/05 Hello, I mailed you several months ago about a sick black moor, but unfortunately the illness, which couldn't really be diagnosed, progressed and she died. The male (Einstein) now seems to be dying of it too now, so please try to help me save him......He is lying constantly on the floor upside down, (now that the illness has progressed, before he only did this occasionally,) but he can swim round for food if he wishes. With the female this got worse to the point she couldn't swim round at all and died. These are the facts of the case; I've had him a while - he's 4 years old, but this problem has developed very slowly over this time, He's in a 60 gallon tank, so plenty of space, I do a water change regularly, and had my water tested on everything at a fish shop, and they say it's perfect, He is fed on soaked flakes, once to twice a day, and cooked shelled peas once a week, He has been treated for swimbladder with no effect, He's been treated for internal bacterial problem, with no effect, His abdomen is looking slightly enlarged, and if he's feeding from the bottom (in a vertical position) his back end will go over his head (like a weight) until he is lying upside down on the floor. Any suggestions will be greatly received - please hurry though!! < Advanced cases of internal bacterial infections can be difficult to treat. They should have been treated as soon as any abnormality was noticed. This disease is initially brought on by stress (temp too high, dirty water, old  food, etc....). Now your only chance is to place him in a hospital tank with lots of aeration, clean cool water, tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons, Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. You will need some luck too.-Chuck>


Goldfish Nutritional/Environmental Disease - 09/02/2005 Dear WWM, My fantail goldfish is acting abnormal. First off her belly seems a little swollen and she is most of the time hiding in a corner. <First indications of nutritional or environmental disease....  Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm....> The only time she seems active is when I tap on the glass to get her attention <I would urge against this....  can actually be harmful.  Water carries sound much easier than air; what is a gentle tap to you might be like a whack with a baseball bat to the fish.> or when I feed them. <As for feeding.... and the bloating....  Please consider feeding a lot of veggie matter (thawed frozen peas, with the shell squeezed off, blanched cucumber or zucchini, etc....) and offer plants like anacharis/elodea/Egeria for them to graze.  A constant diet of pellet or flake food with too much protein content can cause gut blockages (bloating, constipation) in goldfish.> If you could help to see what's wrong with her that would be great. Also, another one of my goldfish seems to be having trouble swimming.  Well, not really swimming but sometimes she seems to be falling to her right side and having trouble getting straight. <Also likely environmental and/or nutritional.> If you could help me with that too it would be great. <Please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> Thank You! <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Wanda the carp in too small a tank  8/25/05 Good Morning, We have a 9" carp (I assume at that size that she is not a goldfish); <Could be> anyway, for months she has had intermittent long stringy white feces. <Might be food, the environment...> We bought anti-parasite food (didn't work), we bought "Clout" (didn't work), we bought garlic (didn't work).  All of a sudden she had diarrhea (very long lite brown feces, but normal diameter) and has not felt good since. <Could be resultant from the "medicines">   In fact she has quit eating.  In addition, the nitrates in the tank are very high. <How high is this? More than twenty ppm?> We have added "Fritz-zyme", <Won't change nitrate...> done three 1/3 water changes, added salt, stress coat and more plants.  The nitrates will NOT come down!  Nitrites are fine, ammonia is fine.  She does cruise around her 37 gallon tank a little, <Too small a volume...> nothing like before-she has been a very active fish.  She has eaten one pea a day for the last three days. This has been going on for about 8 days now and we are at a loss as to how to help her get better? <Better environment...> What can we do? <Learn re the nitrogen/biological cycle... fix this animal's world> How will she get better?  I'm worried sick about her!! Please help.  (There are no other fish in the tank-she is an only child!!) Thanks in advance for any advise you can offer. Lucinda Sanchez <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm and the linked files above... You will see there are a few ways to ameliorate the present condition... larger volumes, anaerobic digestion... Bob Fenner>


FW maint. 9" goldfish, Wanda 8/26/05 Thank you so much for your response. . .I do however have 3 more questions/comments and then I hope to not have to bother you again. 1)  Yes, the Nitrates are higher than 20; they are at the highest level on the color coded card. 2)  I read thru' some of the info on your web site but could not find a definition of "anaerobic digestion"--is there a food that you sell or that I can purchase somewhere that will help her with these dastardly pesty parasites? <Mmm, no... we sell very little... one book that we produce, have written> We are presently using Koi food that is higher in protein than goldfish food. <Mmm, please read re nutrition of your species... don't need, want high/er protein in cooler water...> 3)  You say her environment is too small.  I thought I read that one should consider 3 gallons of water per inch of fish; <Mmm, a fallacy... better to use volume per volume as a guide... a cubic inch of fish per... five gallons let's say> we therefore "assumed" that 9" of fish X 3 gallons of water = 27 gallons, so that she/we had some time before buying her a new aquarium. Is there a rule of thumb as to size of tank that is needed as we were obviously misinformed. Thanks sooooooooo much for your help!  I look forward to your response. Lucinda <Happy to render it. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish in a tiny world, Wanda  8/27/05 Two more things before you respond if I may: 1) Now her swim bladder is off--she is floating vertically--is there anything I can add to the water like Fritzyme except for Nitrates? <Mmm, no... water changes...> 2) Ever since the diarrhea last week, her little anus has been very red--like she has hemorrhoids??  Anything I can do?  Still the long white feces, although not too much cause she is not eating at all. <Improve the environment, have time go by. Bob Fenner>


Black Moor - illness 8/24/05 Dear Bob, <Actually, Sabrina with you today.> Please could you give me some advice for my black moor. He is approx 6 yrs old, and lives with another tri coloured goldfish. About 6 weeks ago the black moor started to become lethargic and kept sinking to the bottom of his tank, he could swim but it was a real effort for him. I went to my local aquarium centre and was told that the fish was probably constipated? <Mm, possible, but there are other possibilities, as well.> I have since changed his diet to live food/veggies etc that they recommended, <Ah, good.  You might also consider adding Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the water, at a rate of one tablespoon per five gallons; this will help him to pass any blockage.> I also have been changing the water twice a week (60%) for the first three weeks, then every week thereafter (40%). I have been checking the nitrate levels and they are now returning to an acceptable level. <Do please test, and keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm.> However the fish is no better, in fact he seems to be getting worse, he sits on the floor of the tank all day, and only comes to the surface to feed (I have to hand feed him most days as he is blind in one eye, and cannot compete for his food). <You may need to give him a tank of his own so he won't have any food competition.> More worryingly now, his fins and tail seem to be rotting; he has lost quite a lot of both. He has always fed well, and his appetite seems normal. My Local aquarist has told me again that this must be due to water quality. Given the changes I have/and am making should I be seeing an improvement? <Depends upon those ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels....  If all are *perfect*, yes, you may see improvement.  There may also be a bacterial infection in play, in which case medication such as Kanamycin sulfate or Nitrofurazone may be necessary....  but only if you can keep those ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels in check.  Medicating will have little to no effect if the water quality is poor.> I think this slowly dying, and I feel powerless to stop it happening. <You obviously are doing quite a bit already; don't be disheartened just yet!  Goldfish are tough.> Do you have any recommendations? Medicine's that I should be looking for etc??  Please help! I hate to see him in this state, He was such a beautiful specimen and now it seems I will loose him. <Just as above....  And we will be keeping our fingers crossed.> Rachel Brown <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Sick Lionhead 8/15/05 Hello I have a small lionhead that has a bloated stomach area.  He also sits vertical with his nose touching the gravel and stays in this position almost frozen.  I have placed him in a separate tank by himself, added Epsom salts and fed him peas.  When we get well and should I get some sort of medication for him? <No> His scales are normal, when he swims he is active and horizontal and he is eating well so I have ruled out dropsy. Please help Willy Thanks <Likely environmental, nutritional... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Goldfish Dilemma - 08/11/2005 We recently moved into a house with a goldfish pond in the garden. We just left the pond because it was filthy and not clear at all. <Can be fixed/redone....> It's been 5 weeks and we decided to clean it out. <Ahh, fun!> Half way from draining the water, we found a live goldfish.   <Great surprise!> The fish is has a bloated/swollen belly and it has a yellowish white growth on the side of its belly.  About 5 millimeters in diameter. It also has a little white dot/growth thing just above its rectum. It still disposes of waste though. And it has another white dot by it's gill. It looks like a growth will start growing there. <The bloated/swollen belly is concerning.  The growths are, I'll wager, "carp pox" or "fish pox" - an untreatable, usually non-fatal viral infection that can/will go away on its own, with improved water quality.  Seems to be some connection between this disease and high nitrate levels.> The fish itself is about 5-6 centimetres. We have only just found it, if it is just fat then we don't see what it could have eaten to get that big!! <Algae, plant matter....  A "filthy" pond to us may be a smorgasbord to a goldfish!> There was no other fish in the pond where it was.  It only swims round the bowl vertically with it's tail closer to the surface. It never swims up.   <Definitely a concern.  This fish either has "gas"/constipation of a sort, or (more likely) damage to its swim bladder from a possible bacterial infection....  This may also explain the swollen belly.> We have put it in about a 4 litre bowl for now. We bought a bottle of water ager neutralizer and some fish food flakes.  We are wondering if it is worth taking to the vet or getting a bigger bowl or anything else.   <"Worth" it?  In my opinion, yes, it is worth making the animal comfortable and hoping for the best - and a swift return to a cleaner pond, I hope.  Sadly, though, I do not have many treatment suggestions for you....  There are things you can do, but most will very likely be unsuccessful and may actually make his condition worse....  Were he in my care, I would perhaps feed exclusively with medicated food (Jungle brand makes a pelleted antibacterial food available in Petsmart and other stores), and if you keep him in this tiny bowl, change most of his water daily or every other day....  Be sure to use water of the same temperature when you replace water, and be sure to treat it for chlorine/chloramine.  I would also add something for him to feel protected - live or fake plants, perhaps - and place this bowl in a very dim location (an unlit bathroom, dark countertop, etc.) where he can calm down some.> What should we do to help it get better and be a happy healthy goldfish?!  Please reply as soon as possible! We don't know what to do! Or if it'll die soon before you reply!!! <Hopefully not dead at this time!  Please read here for more:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm > PLEASE REPLY SOON!!!  From Cheryl <Wishing you and your newfound friend well,  -Sabrina>


Face down goldfish 7/27/05 WetWebMedia crew-- <Jason>      About 3 weeks ago my wife and became the owners of 2 fantail goldfish, Walter and Nigel.  We first put them in a 5.5 gallon tank, and then after a bit of reading, upgraded them to a 10 gallon tank. As soon as we can afford it, (2 or 3 weeks) will get them a proper tank of at least 10 gallons per fish. <Ah, good>      I have watched Ammonia levels since we first got the fish, and have done daily water  changes (~50%). <Yikes... try to limit these changes... no more than about a quarter of the water at a time... unless ammonia, nitrite are creeping up toward/beyond 1.0 ppm...> Last Friday, Ammonia levels registered below the level of our tap water for the fist time.  The only changes to the tap water that I make is to add a dechlorinator.      Cutting to the chase, Walter has some sort of swim bladder problems.  As well, he and Nigel both had trouble shaking their stool, so I figured he/they were constipated. <Mmm, actually... very related to poor environment...> I gave them a few days off of eating and added Epsom Salt.  After that, I started feeding them shelled peas as per previous WWM FAQs.  Walter has had less floating problems, however his tail seems to want to turn upward when he swims. He also still seems to have trouble shaking his stool.      The big problem has been in the last two or three days, Walter has taken to sitting in the corner perpendicular to the ground with his nose down and tail up.  He floats just above the bottom of the tank.  Both fish have seemed a little bit lethargic lately, but they both still eat.  Also, if Walter notices someone is at the tank, he will come out of his corner and start to beg like a good goldfish.      What's wrong with him?  What should I do? Jason <"It's the environment"... Please read here re means to establish nutrient cycling: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above, and re Goldfish Systems... Bob Fenner>


Sick goldfish... actually crowding, mistreatment/poisoning, mis-feeding... 7/26/05 Hi All, I am writing from Australia. <I'm responding from Hawaii, where the "discoverer" of both countries, James Cook, was murdered in 1793> I have a 110 litre tank, in which I have recently tested my water quality. Ammonia 0 and nitrate 0. Our Ph is usually a little low between 6.6 and 7.0. This tank has been setup for over 18 months. I have 7 goldfish and 6 clouds in the tank. <... this tank is too small for this much, type life> A few months ago after some research on the net we treated them for what we thought were flukes. We were recommended Cupramine. <Not what I would have used on trematodes...> This appeared to work on some but during this course we lost 2 fish. We have since replaced one of the deceased, now 6 of the fish are laying on the bottom of the tank for most of the day and the remaining fish is near the top. They are very active in the morning at feeding time, however, soon after they lay around. I am feeding them Nutrafin sinking pellets for the goldfish and a small amount of flakes for the clouds. <... there are better foods> Occasionally a couple of them make some strange fast jerking movements through the tank. They also have there fins clamped. The sites I have looked at describe some symptoms but I cannot see any clear symptoms on my fish aside from the listlessness and clamped fins. Can you give me some answers please. <Likely what you are seeing is resultant from the copper, directly and not... the system and your fishes are being poisoned, their systems biological filtration being subtended. Please read (this will take a while) re Goldfish Systems, Disease, Flukes, Cupramine... on WWM... I would execute a few successive daily water changes (25% or so), stop the copper use, switch foods... test for ammonia, nitrite... Bob Fenner> Nichole


Goldfish swimming upside down 7/17/05 We have a comet (feeder fish) that we've kept in a bowl for several years (I didn't realize that was wrong until today when I ready this website). Over the years, the fish has grown bigger and it's always been healthy. But two weeks ago we noticed it was kind of listless, just floating toward the bottom of the bowl. Then it got better and everything was fine. <Temperature change...> We recently went away for a four-day trip out of town, and had a friend check on the fish and feed him. When we got back last night, the fish was floating upside down at the top of the bowl. He's never done that before. After we changed the water, he seemed to be doing a little better, but still spends most of his time upside down and has some severe buoyancy problems. The friend who watched the fish doesn't remember how much food she gave him, so it's possible the fish was overfed. The fish is usually fed a pinch of TetraFin goldfish flakes. Reading other postings on this site, I'm unclear whether the problem is genetic, or was the result of overfeeding, or the result of feeding him the wrong kind of food. <Mmm, the food is fine for small goldfish... the fish likely has little wrong with it genetically... it's just in an inappropriate environment mostly> Can you give me some advice? Also, while we were gone, the air conditioning in the house malfunctioned, and it was 87 degrees inside the house when we got home. <Yikes!> I don't know how long it was that hot inside (or it could have gotten hotter), although the water seemed pretty cool. Could the fish's problem have been the result of the heat, presuming the water temp increased to, say, 85 degrees? <Yes, for sure> Please advise. Thank you very much. David <Upgrade this fish's world. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Bob Fenner>


Bloated Pogo - 07/14/2005 Hello Gwen, <Actually, Sabrina with you today - I'm uncertain, but I believe Gwen is no longer volunteering with our crew.> My compliments to the efforts and dedication of the WWW crew... <Many thanks for these very kind words!> Hi I am Priyanka, I hail from New Delhi, India. <A long-distance "Hello!" from California, USA!  Glad to hear from you.> My Oranda, POGO, seems to have contracted dropsy. (I have scanned a number of related websites including the health FAQ section in your website and found symptoms matching to swollen belly, pinecone like scales and red-rashes on its body). <I do want to quickly clear up some confusion - "dropsy" is not a disease, but a collection of symptoms that are caused by any of a number of different diseases....  Just like coughing - a person can cough because they have a cold, or emphysema, or even just because they breathed in some smoke from a campfire.  I know that's not the greatest of analogies, but I hope it kinda makes my point.  The detailed description - especially the red rashes on its body - lead me to believe your fish *might* have a bacterial disease that can cause dropsical symptoms.  His condition might also have environmental or dietary causes.> I bought POGO from a pet-store 2 months ago and she is approx. 4 inches in length. I tried to consult a few-pet stores, but I am not convinced if they are giving me the correct information or whether they are altogether aware of this condition. <Alas, many fish store folks really aren't extensively learned on all types of fish or all fish diseases....  That's just too much to expect of any person.> In desperation, I thought the best way to seek help was from you. To start with I have isolated POGO in to a separate fish bowl (with approx 2L of water). The normal room temperature is around 30-32 degree Celsius (it's been raining and humid). <WOW.  This temperature is *way* too high for goldfish.  I would suggest immediately aiming a fan at the surface of the water, and try to get that temperature down some. Goldfish do better in temperatures of about 18 to 24 degrees Celsius.  In all honesty, you might in the future want to consider switching to tropical types of fish that prefer warmer water.> I am not able to get hold of any medicated feed and therefore I am feeding it with pellets/shelled peas. <I suggest you omit the pellets for now, and just stick with the shelled peas or other vegetable matter.  If the fish is still interested in food, this is a good sign.> I figured out from your website that antibiotics like Nitrofuran <Nitrofurazone?  A good option.> or Kanamycin Sulfate could provide some relief. <Kanamycin is also a great choice.> I am able to procure Kanamycin Sulphate (in powered form) but I am not clear on how to administer the same and in what quantity. <Added to the water, you could use 2.0-4.0g/100L of water.  I have used significantly smaller quantities with good effects.  You might want to check dosage with a vet.> Further, I was suggested by a Vet that Epsom salt/Nitrofurazone bath would help too. <Yes....  this may be the best option - especially considering that you have a vet that can help tell you what to do.> I would be highly obliged If you would kindly advice me the dosage and how to administer the suggested medication. <You might find further dosing information at http://www.fishdisease.net > P.S : I did a 50% water change on the 9th July, which is when I observed these symptoms in POGO. My other 2 fishes (small black moor and a redcap ) in the fish tank (10 gallon) seemed fine and chirpy after the water change.   <Water changes are quite important - have you been testing your water?  Do you know the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the water?  Please understand that goldfish are very good at fouling the water (err, simply put, they poop a lot), so please keep this in mind and do frequent water changes.> On the 11th, I saw the water had turned foggy and I found my black moor dead. Following this I changed the water in the tank and isolated POGO. <The fogginess is likely from an increase in bacteria in the water from the dead fish....  A big water change was definitely the best thing you could have done.> Please let me know, if I need to provide some other info. Thanking you in anticipation. <....and it continues....> Sorry, I forgot to mention a point which I have a query about. Yesterday morning I had fed some pellets to POGO, which she ate without any problem. In the afternoon, I saw some mass of whitish fibrous substance floating in the fish bowl (apart from its excreta) in to which I have shifted my fishie POGO. What could this be...?? <Sounds very likely to be fungus growing on a bit of leftover food or excreta.  Probably nothing to be grossly concerned over - just remove it.> Many Thanks for your guidance.  Regards/Priyanka <Wishing you and Pogo well,  -Sabrina>

Bloated Pogo - II - 07/16/2005 Hi Sabrina : ) <Hello again, Priyanka!> Thank you so much for your guidance. <Glad to be of service.> 1) Would it be advisable that I administer Kanamycin Sulfate in the feed (shelled peas). <Possible, but likely difficult.> What would be the suggested dosage..? I referred to the website http://www.fishdisease.net suggested by you. In the treatment for dropsy like condition, they had suggested giving dosage of Ciprofloxacin 250mg-500mg/100gms of feed...should I use the same suggested dosage for Kanamycin Sulfate.... <No.  Well, not necessarily, anyway.  Kanamycin sulfate, administered orally, should be about 50mg per kg of body weight of the fish per day....  A little more difficult to figure, but more accurate than adding a certain amount in relation to the amount of feed.> 2) Any suggestions on frequency and amount of water change of the fish bowl in which POGO is living. <Depending on the size....  Daily?  Every third day?  Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, and nitrate at 20ppm or less.> 3)The live plants in my fish tank have been rotting very fast. I was suggested by a friend to make a sand bed in the aquarium for the plants and then cover it will gravel. so that the sand does not mix with the water and make it dirty. Two issues...1) is it advisable... <Well....  yes and no.  Err, that is to say, unless you plan to plant the tank very, very heavily, and have proper lighting, etc., the sand may actually make it more difficult to care for the tank.  Please read more about caring for planted tanks here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/AquariumGardenSubWebIndex.html > 2) Could sand me a source of bacterial infection in the tank (which POGO seems to have contracted). <Possibly, yes.  But only if not properly cleaned, or if it does not have a great deal of plant life in it.> And Yes, I have a snail in the fish tank too...and my plants continue to rot. : ( <Many snails will eat/kill plants, so keep this in mind.> Many thanks and fond regards/Priyanka <My fingers are crossed for your dear Pogo.  Hope everything turns out okay.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Bloated Pogo - III - 07/21/2005 Dear Sabrina, <Hello, Priyanka.> Greetings! I am happy to hear from you! <Likewise, I am glad to hear from you!> It is unfortunate, POGO is no more. I was besides her when she breathed her last... <I am so sorry for your loss; poor Pogo.  I am confidant you did all you could for her.> I buried her in a big pot in my backward garden and have planted a white-rose sapling in it. <A very kind memorial for her, indeed.> I miss her. it was POGO, who brought out my hidden passion for animals. My Husband is very fond of pets and I had brought POGO as a wedding gift to him. <How sweet - may she always live on as a kind memory.> I am contemplating now, whether keeping goldfishes would be advisable with the kind of temp. in Delhi (32-35 degrees Celsius on an average for 7-8 months). kindly advise. <I would advise against keeping goldfish in water that warm - you might want to see if you can find out what temperatures your aquarium reaches during these hot days.  Many tropical fish will tolerate high water temperatures....  Fish like guppies and other livebearers, tetras and characins, maybe even a Betta, are all fish you might consider.  If you're looking for a fish that might have quite a personality, a single Betta would do great in a small tank, or any of the South American or African cichlids would be great options for larger tanks.> It was wonderful interacting with you. <Thank you for writing to us, Priyanka> Thank you and take care. <You too.> Priyanka New Delhi/ India <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Golden orfe floating upside down 7/14/05 Hi Do you know of any problems with orfe with these symptoms? floats upside down, seems otherwise healthy, sometimes turns right side up and swims down but as soon as it stops swimming rolls over and floats back to the top. <Yes... either fatty degeneration or gas bladder ailment of some sort... poor orientation...> I have had a good look at the fish but it looks in great shape, it is around 6 inches long and has been in the pond for around 18 months. None of the other orfe or Koi seem affected and they too are in good nick, any answers would be appreciated Kindest Regards Roland <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the many Related FAQs files linked above... till you understand. You may need to change foods, perhaps add Epsom... Bob Fenner>


Goldfish question 7/9/05 I've been searching around the site trying to diagnose what's wrong with my Ryukin, Nemo.. He seems to swim funny. He'll float to the top of the tank (sometimes sideways) stay there for a few moments then swim really fast to about half way to the bottom...then float to the top again. I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with his swimbladder. <Good guess> I'm going to try feeding him peas tomorrow, as suggested on the site. I was just wondering if the floating/swimming behavior was normal? He was doing it for a while before he started floating sideways. <Is very likely a genetic, feeding, developmental problem... Please read on WWM re "swimbladder disease in goldfish". Bob Fenner>


Bloated or Pearlscale goldfish 7/6/05 I am looking for a goldfish that looks like a puffer that is extended all the time. <Is this a particular breed?> saw one in a mans pond, but all he knew was Chinese goldfish.  The fish looked like a water balloon, and was about 8in. long.  I have looked at pictures on the net and have been unable to find it,  any help you could give me would be appreciated.  Thanks, Vicki <Mmm, rare they get this big, but it sounds like you're referring to a type of Pearlscale: http://www.bristol-aquarists.org.uk/goldfish/pearlscl/pearlscale-fi.htm Is this it? Bob Fenner>


Goldfish upside down  07/02/05 Just recently I've noticed that my black moor has taken to swimming upside down at the surface of the tank. Naturally I find this disconcerting to see in the morning when sleep blurred eyes give me a moment of panic in thinking Maxwell Hall (his/her name) has died.  And no Maxwell is most assuredly not dead, in fact he is the most lively fish I think I ever had. He/she has grown at least an inch and a half since I got him (under a year) and his underbelly has started to go goldish but I read that's normal. I know that Maxwell LOVES to eat and very much enjoys surface feeding. At this point I'm wondering if he/she is doing this in anticipation of the next meal. I have cleaned the tank just in case that was the issue, but he/she still likes to be upside-down. Is this the sign of something serious? <Is indicative of both the problems with "roundish" breeds of goldfish and "swim bladder disease", a condition brought about mainly from mis-feeding of high protein flake foods. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above till you know what you're doing, how to help your fish. Bob Fenner>


Bloated Goldfish Hi, Don't know if you can offer us any advice - we've got two pretty normal goldfish. One has always had a bit of a swim bladder problem but we got him back to normal. Suddenly - like in half a day - his eyes have popped right out and he's a bit bloated. His spine also looks a bit crooked towards his tail. The other fish appears fine. Both are in a BiOrb with pump and filter. They get a partial water change every two weeks and the tank is pretty clean. They normally get dry pellet food with occasional live and peas. I've seen on the web that pop eyes and bent spine may be tuberculosis but he hasn't lost weight rather bloated out? thanks Joff and Alison UK < Your goldfish has been stressed and has an internal bacterial infection. Metronidazole or Flagyl will cure this if treated quickly.-Chuck>


Crazy Goldfish 6.11.05 I have four goldfish in my 20 litre aquarium. <This tank is too small for this many fish, a good rule is 10 gallons, ~37litres, per goldfish> Since 2 days ago one of my comets started to dash back and fourth in up and down around the tank. I called the pet shop today and they said to feed it the inside of frozen peas, but I did and its not eating. <Peas are good for Goldfish with digestion issues.> It seems to be stressing out my other goldfish and it also is banging into the side walls of the tank and the filter. PLEASE I need your advice! What should I do?? Is quite urgent!! thank you <The first thing I would do is add some hiding places, it sounds like your fish are stressing out.  Ensure good water quality, have your local pets store test your water.  Get a larger tank as soon as possible, goldfish foul their water very quickly.  Best Regards, Gage>


Flaming Goldfish? I recently had a goldfish that just combusted can you tell me why this is so. <?!> Every now and then it would swim on its side.  I thought that maybe it was getting ready to lay eggs so I moved it to another tank by itself.  I kept close watch and then it got really depressed and thin.  I was afraid it would die so I put it back with the others.  It's symptoms returned and the other night it just combusted.  I don't want this to happen to the others so can you give me any idea as to why this happened.  Thanks Elizabeth <... perhaps nutritional... environmental... Maybe your fish is becoming egg-bound? Please read on WWM re Goldfish foods/feeding, systems, disease... Bob Fenner>  

Pregnant goldfish My white goldfish is pregnant, going on two weeks, and she looks like she¹s going to explode (about 5² long).  Today, I noticed that there are now large red areas on both sides, kind of like blood inside.  She has continued to get bigger and bigger.  Is something wrong? <Sounds/reads like it> Prior to becoming pregnant, the male was riding her side.  I have 4 gold fish in a 100 gallon outdoor pond, plenty of foliage, water well kept/clear, oxygenating plants, etc. Reesa Doebbler <This fish could be egg-bound... might be diseased otherwise... I would treat it, and probably the other fish in this size system, with Epsom Salt... as gone over and over on our Freshwater and Pond Subweb sites. Bob Fenner>


Floating Goldfish Hi, I have 2 comets and I've had them for about 4 months now, but every time after I feed them (once every 2 days) one of them bloats up and floats around just under the surface of the water and has bad balance and turns upside down. When it tries to swim deeper it just floats to the top again. This lasts for about a day. I'm quite worried about this. My other fish seems quite happy. Please help me. Thanks, Sarah < Buy sinking goldfish pellets and only feed them once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes.-Chuck>


Goldfish-- treating dropsy  Hi there-I have read many of your articles and advice on how to treat dropsy-so here goes another! I am pretty certain one of my Orandas has dropsy. This fish is constantly battling swim bladder problems, but now his scales are sticking out too. <Not fun> I have 7 4-5" goldfish in a 55 gallon tank. <Crowded... by about double> One of the others has frequent swimming/floating problems as well. And now a third has decided to hide out at the bottom a lot. I'm starting to get worried! I guess my main question is-should I add Epsom salts to the entire tank, or should I separate out my guy with the dropsy and treat him alone?  <I would treat all... and switch out all dried foods... Not use them> I do weekly water/filtration changes. I even have two separate filters to keep the tank as clean as possible. Any help or recommendations are much appreciated. Thanks a lot-- Kari <There are folks who tout the use of various anti-microbials for such situations... What you really need is a larger system, and to switch out all dried food. Bob Fenner> 


Is this normal, or will they all die? <No, but if you write to us in HTML any more, Marina and I may croak!> Hey WWM, I'm having an issue with my goldfishes! I had 12 goldfishes (11 small ones and 1 big one) in a 25G tank. <Yikes... too much!> One of my other goldfishes are eating up the other goldfishes tail.. I really don't understand why. <Happens... environmental stress mainly> And for a fact I know its not love!! Eventually my goldfish died with almost no tail! After that happened, 2 days after all the other goldfish started to act weird! Another one died by "Dropsy", but that disease weren't in the others! The other had red lines in the fins, and tails! They always stayed at the bottom.. and later on the fish that bites the tails, got infected too. They didn't have fin rot disease or anything. (also they were FINE, health wise). After three days 3 died, after that we spent all they cleaning the tank top to bottom, thinking that they're were parasite. That night 2 died (I was really, really disappointed, I loved them all) and not 5 are surviving, they are acting normal, but one of my long goldfish (which is Actually gold) as a big black spot on the head, and other part of the body... is this fish changing color or does it have fungus? <... not likely a fungus> Moving on to the other problem, another fish is now starting to bite off the Big ones tail.. I'm afraid that, the disease would start all over and kill them all. I separated that fish a day ago, but then again I see another fantail biting off the Big ones tail. I really don't want ANYTHING to happen to them! We have even treated them with medication! Please Help me before all 5 dies!!! Thanks WWM Yash <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the section on Goldfish... Read about Systems, Disease... your system is overcrowded, insufficiently filtered... perhaps there are nutritional deficiencies here as well... Read, think, act. Bob Fenner> 


21 into 20 = Sick Fish (Goldfish) Hi, I have been reading all the fantastic answers that you guys give regarding goldfish. Please send me an answer also as I am really confused about the disease my black coloured goldfish is having. My tank size is 2 Ft by 1 Ft and I have 21 goldfishes in it. They get diet of peas, cucumber, pallets (soaked), Tubifex worms, tomato, bananas (once in 2 weeks) on rotation basis. I keep changing my tank water every week, around 25 to 30% of it. All of them are well except one black goldfish. The problem symptoms: 1)The fish sometime swims upside down. And has become pretty little lethargic. 2)I find that the fish has trouble moving some of the fins. And keeps on resting at the bottom or at the top of the tank near the surface of water. 3) Some scales are protruded and the body has become a little bit spongy. 4) Today I removed a white slimy substance from his body. The fish started showing good movements after that for a while. I have isolated the fish in another tank and have been giving him daily dosage of peas. After eating the fish would move around normally for sometime and then it would come back to its resting or upside down position. I have added aquarium salt (as per dosage listed, around one tablespoon) but this had very little help. I am really confused as to what could have happened to my fish as the symptoms are matching with lots of fish diseases but am unable to diagnose any specific one. Please suggest as to what should I do to cure my fish. Please send me a urgent reply as his condition is kind a serious. Thanks a lot in advance for your quick response. Regards, Sud. <First I have to be the bad guy. That this is just the first of many problems you are going to have unless you find new homes for most of your fish. Your tank is around 15 to 20 gallons and you have 21 goldfish in it. Each goldfish will need at least 20 gallons to live a full, healthy life. So pick your favorite PAIR and give the others away. Then plan on a bigger tank in the future. Better yet for this tank would be a school of White Clouds. Now, as to your sick fish. The protruding scales points to an internal infection. Best treated with medicated flake food. I would not remove the slime layer again. It is likely there was a difference in the pH between the two waters. The production of the slime is the fish's defense. Don> 

21 into 20 = Sick Fish (Goldfish) pt2 Hi, Thanks a lot for your suggestion. My fish have been floating on the surface and is tilted on one side. I will give him flake food as instructed by you. Please can you suggest the size of the tank I should have to accommodate all of the 21 goldfishes. They are all precious to me and I would prefer to go for a larger tank than giving them away. Thanking you again for your reply in advance. Regards, Sud. <I do understand your attachment to your fish. But there few tanks that can handle 21 goldfish for life. Goldfish are carp. Carp get big. Over 2 foot in the wild. Over a foot in captivity is common if the fish is given the room it needs to live to its full potential. At least 20 gallons per fish. That would work out to over 400 gallons with incredibly good filtration. An impressive tank if you can swing it. And no insult to your choice of species, but if I had such a tank I would not fill it with goldfish. I really think it is better to give great care to a few fish than inadequate care to many fish. I strongly suggest you upgrade to at least a 55 gallon (much bigger is much better) and find new homes for most of your fish. I think you will find their activity level and growth rate quite shocking when given enough room to do so. Don>


Black Moor Goldfish question urgent Hi, My name is Tara and I have a 33 gallon tank with a Fluval filter system with one fancy orange goldfish, 2 smaller calico colored goldfish and a black moor goldfish. We had a problem with the water always turning green so we got a UV sterilizer and solved that problem. Since then my Black Moor has been swimming really funny, like he has no control and spends a lot of time lying on the bottom of the tank. <Mmm, I think the addition of the sterilizer is just coincidental here> His fins had looked really shabby for a few days but then they seemed to grow back and look almost brand new again. There are no other visible marks on him, he looks fine in color. I added some salt to the water (a small scoop of water from our marine aquarium) <Good move> Any ideas on what I can do for him. Is there vitamins or something I can add to the water? My other fish in the tank are all fine. I thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. Tara Forbister <The most likely root of the difficulty here is actually nutritional. Do read over our Goldfish Feeding/Nutrition archives on WWM, and look to adding more natural, whole foods and less dried, flake, pellets... Bob Fenner>


Goldfish at top of tank I read a lot of FAQ's and I couldn't find my problem exactly so thanks for any help you can give. First, I made a lot of mistakes about 6 weeks ago with feeding and my tank got very dirty. I spent much time rehabilitating the water quality and just had it tested for the nth time two days ago and the quality was very good. I had 2 danio fish and 2 3" goldfish in the tank at that time. The two goldies were at the bottom with red in their tails which I know is not good. <Correct... due to poor water quality likely... this system is big enough, filtered? Some water changed out weekly?> I was advised to move the danios as they are (and I have noticed it lately) aggressive and was told perhaps they were bothering the goldies. I saw some improvement in my goldies within a day but noticed that one of them is now seemingly stuck at the top almost in a trance. He eats when I feed them and does move at times but he's been at the top for quite a while. I have nursed these fish quite diligently and don't want to lose them. Any ideas? Thanks again, Jen. <Do you feed just dried food? Please go back and re-read on WWM re goldfish systems, foods/feeding/nutrition, and disease... Bob Fenner> 


Swim bladder damage in a goldfish May I ask about another question? I have another fish that I believe has something called swim-bladder disorder. What is the best treatment for that if there is one? I got him last spring and he has had it since then, but I thought he was just a little retarded or something. He stays mostly under the plants but when he does come up he floats over backwards. <Depends on the root cause, but at this time, the damage is irreversible. Bob Fenner>


Sick red cap Oranda Hello my name is Nicole. I have a Problem with my Red Cap Oranda. I was wondering if you could help me. I noticed he has been losing his scales on his tummy and is starting to go bottom up. I didn't think nothing of it because when I first got him over a year ago some of his scales were gone. It has gotten a lot worst now. So if you can help me out that be great. Sincerely, Nicole <Please help yourself. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  Scroll down to the Goldfish area... read re their systems, disease... Bob Fenner>


Floating goldfish, sigh... hi wondering if you can help ... my daughter has got 4 fantail goldfish that have been healthy for about 6 months but now one of them floats around the top of the tank on its side and tries to swim down but keep floating back up again .. it has done this now for 24 hours.. can you please tell us if there is anything we can do to help this fish .. thanks  Megan <Sounds like the age-old problem of too much in the way of a dried food diet. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the goldfish area, read re disease, nutrition. Bob Fenner>  

Dropsical or Swim Bladder Damage, or Too Much Dry Food Goldfish My grandmother has two goldfish. One of her fish has gotten this huge stomach and now floats upside down but she's still alive and eats like nothing bothers her. We had her since she was young and after a while (about November) it looked like she gained a little weight, so we called her Nibbler playfully. But now, she looks HUGE. My family has had goldfish before many times, but this has never happened before. What can we do? I've attached a picture if that helps any. Thank you, Daniele <It looks like one of three possibilities here... as I've named them in the subject title. Please read over here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and on to the Related FAQs (linked above) re these issues, causes... I would add a teaspoon per five gallons of Epsom Salt to the fish's system, lower the water level if this is practical, cease feeding any/all dried food... Bob Fenner> 


Spinning Goldfish, Sabrina's Take  - 03/31/2005 Thanks for your advice but it came when I did something else.  <Hi, there! Sabrina here. Don passed this one on to me. I don't have the history of the situation; next time, please try to include previous correspondences at the bottom of your email, that way anyone who answers will be better equipped to help you. Usually, we stick with correspondences that we've started, but in some cases, we feel that another crewmember might have a different idea on a situation and might be able to give some insight, so it makes it much easier if all the correspondence is available. Not trying to chastise you here, just trying to let you (and all our other readers!) know how to make our lives just a little bit easier. At this point, I have no information on your tank size or inhabitants, or anything further. I'll do my best to give you some ideas of where to look, but feel free to write back in with more information - just put "attn: Sabrina" or "attn: Don" in the subject line.> I did not remove it from the tank. I put 11 tablespoons of salt in the water as they said that will kill bacteria and prevent it.  <Depends entirely upon what you're dealing with. Is the goldfish spinning like a top, like its nose is the point on which it is spinning? If so, I would suspect whirling disease, a condition caused by the parasitic protozoa Myxobolus cerebralis. Sadly, this is not curable. If this is not the manner in which the goldfish is spinning, please get back to us with a very detailed description of the goldfish's behaviour so we can help with a better diagnosis.> Shortly after that I put about 1 heaping tablespoon of charcoal powder and another table spoon of charcoal powder slurry in the water.  <This really won't have effect on disease-causing organisms, be they bacterial or parasitic in nature.> The filter was still going. There was no sign of improvement but I watch the charcoal took effect. The next day I remove 1/2 of the water from the tank and put clean water in. Now it is doing much much better. Not very much spinning. It is like it is fighting to have control over it. <Again, please describe this in greater detail - how is the fish spinning? Is it chasing its tail, like a bored puppy? Is it spinning like it's floating upside down, then swimming again? Or is it spinning like a top?> I am planning on changing the entire water tomorrow. When they were much smaller I usually change the water more frequently.  <As goldfish grow, they become much more hefty waste-producers, and need more frequent water changes. Please be testing form ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - ammonia and nitrate must be maintained at ZERO, nitrate at 20ppm or less, for the water quality to be acceptable for them.> Once when it had the mouth problem I separated it and treated it in the 10 gallon tank at one time and the fish literally bang itself against the tank until it lose 2 scales, so I put it outside in a pond where some other fishes are for a little over a month until it was well. <Good water quality alone is often a cure in and of itself. I imagine this is what happened at that time.> Then I put it back in the tank. This use to be my prize fish and I cannot really part with it. I will keep on trying with it.  <I urge you to keep on trying - in a quarantine tank. Should it turn out to have whirling disease, you do NOT want it to pass to your other fish, I assure you. You can find more information on this malady at http://www.fishdisease.net , just type "whirling disease" into the search line and hit Search. Lots of information available on this illness.> When it is completely better I will let you know. It made about a 75% change. <I do wish your fish a swift recovery - and I dearly hope it is NOT afflicted with whirling disease. I can safely say I've never seen a goldfish with this illness, and I hope it's just a communication malfunction between us on what's going on with the fish. As above, if you write back in with more, please put "attn: Sabrina or Don" in the subject line, and include all previous correspondence that you can. I hope very much to be of service to you. Wishing you and your goldfish well, -Sabrina> 

Spinning Goldfish, Sabrina's Take - II - 04/05/2005 Sabrina, sorry for the misunderstanding.  <No worries!> When I replied to the letter I just clicked on reply to so the person who sent it will get the reply. <Yeah, no worries. Just to give you an idea of what happens to an email when it comes to us, all the emails sent to the crew kinda land in a general inbox, then we sort through them and the ones that are replies usually get sent to the person who answered the initial question. It makes things MUCH easier if the crewmember's name is in the subject, as we get dozens and dozens of emails daily, sometimes. If the crewmember that answered before simply can't get to the reply email, sometimes they will try to pass it on to someone else in the crew who can help. That's why it's so important to attach any previous correspondence. But enough of that, on to your questions!> I will try to go in detail.  <Thanks kindly.> I started out with 10 goldfishes that were very very small in a 10 gallon tank. Two died at that small size. Long after I rescued another one from my brother's tank that another of his fish was trying to kill (my brother had a mixture of different fishes that do not like one another). Now I had 9 goldfishes. I went on holiday and one jumped from the tank under the person's care who did not notice. So now I have 8.  <This really is way to many fish - especially goldfish - in a ten gallon tank....> I trained them to come up and eat from my hand. They are great pets. <Agreed. Goldfish are one of the neatest fish out there!> I used to change their entire water every two weeks.  <For that many fish in such a small tank, that's good. Smaller changes more often is perhaps better.> These fishes would eat more than 3 times a day sometimes. <Woah, WAY too much food!> I also did not see it as a problem because the feed label said feed them several time a day of what they can consume in 5 minutes.  <The label probably says this so that you will run out of food faster and be parted with more money. Goldfish will do fine on one feeding every two or three days; just be sure to provide them with edible plants, as well, like anacharis/elodea/egeria.> My fishes grew and I bought a 29 gallon tank for them. <Better.> On one of my favourite fish, which I call Bigger (it was the biggest one), I saw something on its mouth. I did not know that it was a fish disease but had thought that it got tore on a stone in the tank. Therefore, I use a fingernail clip and cut off the thing. It took so long to heal that I went to the pet shop and there I found out that it was a disease. Regardless of what I bought and put on it could not heal. I kept it alone and was treating it. At one point I put it back in the 10 gallon tank and it began to hurt itself by banging on the tank. I even tried to treat it naturally.  <By "naturally", what do you mean?> I put the fish outside in a pond for over a month with some other fishes and it got better. <I very much suspect that Bigger had what we call "fish pox" or "carp pox" - this is a viral illness that cannot be medicated, is usually not fatal, and will go away with improving water quality. I would hazard a guess that the pond has much better water quality than the 29g tank. Eight goldfish can make a very serious mess of the water. Are you testing regularly for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?> In trying to catch if from the pond it got some bruises I thought it would die. However, it lived through the bruises.  <Have you considered leaving Bigger, and perhaps some of the other fish, in the pond?> The fishes got bigger and I bought a 55gallon tank. With this tank it is very hard to clean that often. (I bought it last December.) So I tried to clean half of the water according to the booklet. One day when I was putting in the clean water I noticed that Bigger started spinning. It seems worst after a time so I put it outside back in the pond. But it cannot eat in the pond as at times it grab to the feed and misses so because of this I think many days it is hungry. I then put it back in the tank inside. (you know the rest of the story).  <Gotcha.> It is spinning as if it is floating upside down. <Ahh, a good clue, here. Does the fish actually float?> Sometimes as it stops spinning it began to eat as nothing happen. Most times it spins in trying to get the feed at the top and sometimes it gets the feed normally, that is without spinning. If the other fishes have too much quick and fast movement it triggers its spinning too, sometimes.  <It may be that an inadequate diet has led the fish to have a bit of a gut blockage, or be a bit "gassy", for lack of a better term. This can cause the fish to float uncontrollably. PLEASE test your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite must be maintained at zero, nitrate ideally less than 20ppm. More on dietary needs in a moment....> But, while eating on the bottom it is o.k. I bought bottom feed for it but it does not eat it. It might sound funny but the fishes spit out the feed when they do not like it. <I don't like cauliflower. If I find cauliflower in my mouth, I'll spit it out. Makes sense to me!> Bigger spit out the bottom feed. Now and again it might keep it in its mouth. I just change 1/2 of the water yesterday instead of all. <Alrighty, now to address some dietary concerns. As above, I fear that you may be seriously overfeeding the fish. I urge you to try to get some plants for the goldies to munch on, like Egeria/elodea/anacharis, or other stem plants like that. Goldfish need more greens in their diet than you might expect, and too much of the "wrong" foods will cause some goldfish to float or bloat. You can offer Bigger (he's the floaty one, right?) bits of thawed frozen peas, just squeeze them from the shell first. Please withhold other foods for a while - maybe a week or so. The plants, some thawed frozen peas, and perhaps some thawed frozen spinach, will tide them over beautifully. If Bigger is still floaty after that, add some Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the water. Use one to two tablespoons per ten gallons. This, along with the peas, will help him to pass any blockage in his gut. If after a few days of Epsom salt he's still floaty, do a 50% water change and dose Epsom salt in the water again. If he's STILL not recovered after that, I would urge you to consider moving him to the pond on a permanent basis. Don't worry about him not getting food, as long as he has plants to munch, he'll be just fine. Also, plenty of bugs and other goodies get into ponds all the time, and he'll nibble those, too. A more natural environment may be what he needs to recover. How large is the pond? Are there any fish living in it right now?> Thank you. <You bet. Wishing Bigger a swift recovery, -Sabrina>  

Bigger is Better - (Spinning Goldfish) - III - 08/04/2005 Hi Sabrina! <Well hello, Keva!  Good to hear from you!> How are you doing? <Quite well - I hope you are well, also.> I have not forgotten to reply. But, my hands are full. <Understandable.> Bigger is alive and doing well. <Ahh, such good news!> He is still spinning but not as much or as often.  They do not like the frozen spinach but they love the frozen sweet peas and I also try frozen sweet corn and they love it also.   <Go light on the corn - this is probably a perfectly safe food for them, but "greens" are more "natural" for goldfish.  I would urge you to try blanched cucumber, zucchini, and other blanched green veggies.  And, if you haven't yet, please do consider adding some live aquarium plants like anacharis for them to eat - basically, the idea is to provide them with a diet as close to natural as possible.  Especially for the rather delicate-tummied Bigger.> I tried to change half or more of their water on Fridays. I try to let the water be clean as possible. <Glad go hear it - do please start testing your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate if you haven't yet; sounds like you're doing great!!> Someone was telling me to get 2 filter for the tank seen as they are so big.  So I am thinking of that. <A very good plan; if you have trouble maintaining nitrate below 20ppm, this may help.> You had ask me about natural things that I tried on them.  Well, I would scrape fresh aloe vera from the leaf into a little container and use a dropper to put it in its mouth. When I am doing that I do not take it fully from the water and I immerse it to breath, while still holding it. (sometimes 2 times daily I gave which ever one is sick) Sometimes I add water to the aloe vera. <In all honesty, I would not do this.  Aside from the fact that Aloe vera tends to make me break out in hives <grin>, I am not at all confidant of what it could/would do to a fish's digestive system.  I suppose it might not be harmful, and may even be beneficial, but I really don't know.> At one point I did put Bigger in a 10 gallon tank and put it in the sun with aloe vera in the water. But, with that I should have changed the water daily and that did not come to my mind so it was very uncomfortable and starting to beat itself against the tank. I did that for about a week with out changing the water. That was when I removed it and put it shortly in the pond. <Yeah....  honestly, the pond is a more natural and healthier place for him.> However, now they are for the most part O.K.  If it is possible I will one day send a photo of them to you.   <That would be a delight!> They do not like their feed anymore. They prefer the corn and peas. My fishes are very big and healthy, for the most part. <Hee hee!  That's not a bad thing, at all.> I still have a special love for Bigger because that is the most sickly one.  Oh! I for get to tell you that they love sweet orange but that causes me to clean the water quicker. The filter does not handle the particles from the orange very well. So I would prefer to give them the orange the day before I clean the tank or give them in the morning if I am cleaning it in the evening. I peel and cut the orange in thin pieces.  One orange can do for two or three meals depending on the size of the orange. (One of my friend got the orange information from a petshop. They fed their goldfishes on it) They had different fishes with different type of fruits. My friend fishes, which I do not remember what kind she had, was eating Kiwi fruit. My friend had a mixture of different fishes. She is no longer living here to ask her.  I also tried them with very sweet pear.  They will eat it but it takes long for them to recognize it. May be if I had continue that would be on of their favourite too. <Heh, fish sure are peculiar critters, aren't they?  Do please be very sparing with fruits, especially citrus fruits, and offer more in the way of green veggies....  natural food to them is algae and aquatic plants, so think green :) > Thank you Keva <Thanks for updating me, Keva!  Let Bigger know we're thinking of him!  Wishing you and your fishes well,  -Sabrina>  


VERTICAL GOLDFISH We have a goldfish that has been very healthy and happy. Lately she seems to hang around the top, swimming vertically. If you go over to pay attention to her, she will act herself and swim around, as she does when she gets fed, but a lot of the other time she is just moving about the top in a vertical position.  It is a one gallon tank with undergravel filter and aeration. We do about a quarter water change (with water treated to remove chlorine and such) twice a week. Thanks < If the goldfish is eating and there are no signs of disease then it may be that the water current is too strong and you fish is just resting out of the way. If the fish is not eating then it could be signs of a bacterial infection and may need to be treated.-Chuck>  

FLOATING GOLDFISH - Follow-up Yes I have had the fish for 4 years, and they have always done this 'floating' after eating, hence I thought it was normal. I feed them flakes that I first soak so that they sink to the bottom of their tank - but the fish float after eating. And also cooked shelled peas once a week. I only have the 2 black moors in a 60 litre tank, so they have plenty of space and water is changed regularly. What food do you suggest trying ? (They wont touch Daphnia.) < Since your fish is doing well I would not do anything different, except make sure that all the food is gone in two minutes.> Since I wrote the first mail I went out and bought 'Interpet - No. 9 - Anti internal bacteria', and have started treatment. Will this do the same job for the blister ? Many thanks for your reply. < I do not have any experience with this medication. If it looks like it is getting worse then I would change to Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>

BLOATED GOLDFISH Hi I have 2 calico Oranda fancy that are about 4 months old and share a Hexafun 4 gallon/15 litre tank. One of the fish yesterday was a little quiet first thing so I gave them some blood worms as this usually causes great excitement!! The fish picked up throughout the day and seemed his usual self pigging out on one flake of Nutrafin Max goldfish food between the two this morning. When I got home one of the fish (the quiet one from yesterday) was having some swimming problems, he floats to the top of the tank on one side every time he rests. He is still making the effort to swim and his breathing seems ok. I have tried giving them bloodworm tonight as advised by the aquatics center when I bought the fish but he is still floating and as yet has had no bowel movements. Is he constipated? The aquatics center told me that fancies are renowned for having small float bladders and therefore problems if they eat too much flake food, is this true and what can I do to help him feel better? PLEASE HELP Rachel, Bob and Jim (the two fish!!) < Your fish should be feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is consumed in a couple of minutes. Fish that are overfed can become ill due to intestinal blockages that eventually become infected and need to be treated. Change 30% of the water and vacuum the gravel. Clean the filter too. If your fish is eating then feed them as previously recommended. If they are not eating then they need to be treated with Metronidazole. I personally don't feed bloodworms because they have caused problems with my fish in the past.-Chuck>

GOLDFISH WITH DROPSY? Hi! I first want to thank you for all of the wonderful help you have given me. I have a small red cap goldfish in a 5 gallon tank. Ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, nitrate levels are low - my tank finally finished cycling about a week ago. (I used to have another fish and had to medicate the tank, but that was about 4 months ago.) I change about 40% of the water once a week. I have had Harry for almost 5 months now. He is doing great.  There is something I have always wondered about though. Ever since I got him, he has had a somewhat funny-shaped body. It looks sort of like he may have dropsy, but when I look at pictures of other redcap goldfish, most of them have this similar body shape as well. His entire body isn't swollen like the pictures I have seen of dropsy. It is sort of like a big bump in his body.  I included 2 pictures. One is a shot of him from the front - you can really see how his sides are protruding out. And it is a little bit uneven too. One side seems as though it is almost pointy. The other picture is a side view of the pointy side - the side that is more swollen. The pictures make it look worse than it actually looks because of the shadows.  <Photos not clear/posted - of a perfectly normal Redcap Oranda.> The thing is, he seems to be in great health and always has been for the 5 months that I have known him. As for the pinecone-like scales, maybe there is a tiny bit of that, but I don't think there is a much of that. Please help- if it is dropsy, I want to help him, but I know that antibiotics can hurt the fish unless absolutely needed. And I think dropsy is just a symptom of another disease that causes that look. And since there aren't any other symptoms, I don't feel like he has a disease. What should I do? Maybe he is fine and I am just paranoid? Thank you for your help! -Jessica < Your goldfish is a man made fish that has developed certain physical characteristics. These characteristics may mimic some diseases like black moors with Popeye. If your fish is eating and acting normal then I would not treat it with anything at this time.-Chuck> 


SICK GOLDFISH I have had my goldfish for 1yr. Poor Lino has started to float around on his side. This looks to be freaky his pal Wendy out. He swims around the tank on his side, sometimes appears to be swimming good but then floats or sinks to the bottom. I have read over some of your letters and suspect that maybe this is swim belly? Is this right do you think? What should I do, this is upsetting my 4yr old seeing him like this everyday. I keep telling her that he might be in heaven the next day and he is still hanging on. Worried mum. < Your goldfish seems to have developed an internal bacterial infection if indeed he is floating around. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel then clean the filter. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be down to 25 ppm or less. Treat the tank with Metronidazole for the infection.-Chuck> 


Goldfish about to blow Hi, I have a fish whose stomach has gotten larger over the last week or two and I think it's on the verge of dying. I don't know if it has swallowed a pebble in the tank and can't pass it or what's going on. If there is a stuck pebble, is there anything I can do to move it through? And, is there any other possibility of a hugely bloated stomach?  Thanks a bunch!  Sarah < More than likely you goldfish has contracted and internal bacterial infection. It is caused by stress of some sort. I recommend that you clean the filter and do a 50% water change. Vacuum the gravel while doing the water change and treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck> 


Odd goldfish behavior Hope you can answer my question please....is it normal for goldfish to sleep on their backs? <No... have seen some individuals with apparently damaged gas bladders that "slept on their sides" though> Mine does it all the time, often when I walk into the room he is on his back, scares me to death and then I tap on his bowl and he starts swimming around happy as can be...thoughts?  I have had him for 4 years now and we all love him.... <I hope you have him for many more years to come. If this behavior doesn't seem to harm the fish, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>


Ammonia level and floating goldfish I have 1 Red Cap Goldfish. I used to have 2 and I got them in the beginning of November, but I got them from a very bad place (Petland Discounts - will never do it again, I know I should not have) and they had a disease when I got them. I gave them an antibiotic (Myacin - you guys had recommended it for them) during the last week of November. Harry pulled through and got better and is the goldfish I have now, but unfortunately, Sally did not make it. It has now been 3 months since I gave them the antibiotic. I know that at the time it killed whatever bacteria was developing on the filter. <It's long since come back> I have a 5 gallon tank and I have a wet-dry filter. I change the water twice a week and change from 30% - 50% each water change. I only change it so often because the ammonia levels are fairly high. I do not overfeed my fish - I give him one flake and wait until he finishes it before I give him another one, so none falls to the bottom. (By the way, exactly how many flakes should I feed him a day?  Assuming one flake is about 1 centimeter in diameter? I give him, maybe like 7 a day spread out throughout the day...should it be more? Less?) <Sounds about right... could be more... if you want the fish to grow... and I would mix in some other foods... even a few grains of cooked rice and a pea or two... when you're having them... and look into pelleted formats of foods...> The ammonia levels are around 1 - 2 ppm and doesn't decrease.  <Mmm, you need a better filter... look into an inexpensive "sponge media" type... like an inside airlift or submersible... or even a hang-on... you shouldn't have detectable ammonia> There are still no traces of nitrate, maybe a tiny bit, but the level is not increasing, so I don't think the water has cycled yet. <I agree with you> I am wondering why it has not. <Me too... mainly the filter, or should I state, the lack of filtration> I also use Cycle with each water change to help speed up the process. <Sometimes this product works, sometimes not. I'd look into Marineland's BioSpira... it almost always works> I have changed the water so many times since the antibiotic, I am sure there are no traces, so why do I still have ammonia and no nitrate? And what should I do about this? <The bacteria you want have just not "settled in"... in part due to the water changes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > Another problem - Harry seems to be in great health, but sometimes he floats up to the surface. He tries to swim down, but has a hard time, and just pops back up to the surface. However, this isn't all the time, because sometimes I come home to find him sleeping at the bottom of the tank when it is dark. I read that if he eats food floating at the top, he may be getting too much air into his body which makes him float?  <Much more likely this is from the all-flake diet... as stated, I would give up the flakes> I don't think he has swim-bladder disorder because he doesn't seem to be spiraling or floating on his side. But he has such a hard time swimming because something is causing him to bounce back up to the surface. Should I switch foods to one that does not float? <Do switch foods> I don't think he is very good at eating from the bottom of the tank, so I'm worried that he will not get any of the food. Or does he have a disease? Please help! I am concerned about the floating and the presence of ammonia in the tank. Thank you! -Jessica <Your fish's problems are due to diet and environment... having a real filter that's established and better food will solve its current problems. Going forward, when the opportunity can be made, I would move this fish into larger quarters... this will solve many problems by itself. Bob Fenner>



Sick Goldfish Hi! My mum bought this goldfish for my little sister 11 months ago, called Pepper. Some months ago, we returned home from eating out to find him?/her on his side, floating at the top of the tank. I ran to your site, thanks to Google, and we fed him a couple of frozen peas, changed the water 3-4 times that night, and starved him for 3 days. He recovered. <Good> We keep the fish in a little glass bowl - like you see in picture books. I don't know much about types of fish, but Pepper looks JUST like those classic goldfish you see talk about as in 'goldfish in a bowl'. CLASSIC. Tonight, we were watching American Idol when we suddenly noticed that the fish was gasping at the surface, on his side, almost upside down. Immediately changed his water - He had wasted his food all at the bottom of the bowl, and my Mum said he had been pooping a lot - almost like diarrhea. He sank to the bottom, upside-down, but then floated to the top, and slowly went on his side, then righted himself. 1 hour later, still continuously talking to him, and feeding him with thawed frozen peas he hardly touched as they'd sink to the bottom. During this time, the fish kept making bubbles at the surface, and blowing (?) air. <Either too little oxygen, too much carbon dioxide... or nitrogenous waste products (ammonia, nitrite) likely> After coming to this site, I checked him - and his abdomen was swollen, fins protruding - and towards the tail end, most alarmingly, were like, spots or mini-lines of red - like BLOOD!!! - the red spot-lines and protruding fins NEVER occurred last time. 1 1/2 hour later, suddenly, the fish again turned upside-down. Immediately panicking, Mum changed the water again. She is TERRIBLY attached to the fish, as are the whole family including me. Please tell me what to do. I have no access to a fish-vet here, or antibiotics, or complex water testers etc, so a home remedy would be greatly appreciated. I read about dropsy, swim bladder disease, parasitic infections, septicemia - how do I know what's wrong with my fish? <Very likely none of the above... but simply the trials of being a fish in a bowl... in a small volume that is very changeable... What you really need is a fish tank... and filter> He actually tried to swim down to get the peas 3 times, but couldn't reach them at the bottom of the bowl. My questions are -  1) What's wrong with my fish? <Almost certainly the environment> 2) How do I get him well? <Improve... the environment... Please do keep reading... as you have been doing... you will come to understand the need for a "cycle" in captive aquatic systems... the need for space... to prevent wide and sudden swings in temperature, pH, other aspects of water chemistry> 3) What is the red in the tail area? <A reaction to poor, diminishing water quality... much the same as if you washed your hands in cold or hard water for a long time> 4) Is he going to be ok? I've tried to be as specific as possible, I hope it's enough. PLEASE PLEASE respond as soon as possible!  From Thea <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... does the issue of the bowl, water quality and their relation to fish health make sense to you? Bob Fenner> 
Re: Thea's sick goldfish Hi Again! <Hello> Thanks for answering so soon. I read the article on goldfish care - it really was very informative. We're wondering whether to get a bigger bowl for him. <Yes! Definitely larger than the one shown in your photo> About 7 months ago, we actually got him a mini-tank - about 1 1/2feet long, 1/2foot wide and 1 foot deep, with a bubbler - when we went away on holiday, so the neighbour who took care of him only had to change the water once a week. But, when we got back, Pepper was hardly eating, he had completely stopped begging for food and seemed sick. All he would do was mope about near the bubbles, and it would draw away 1/2 the food so we had to put his food only on the opposite side, and still he would hardly eat. So, we put him back in the bowl and slowly he got back to being himself. <Mmm, I would definitely move him/her back into this tank> One end of the tank was a mirror - do fish get scare of seeing their own reflection? <Yes, this can happen> I do remember that once, when we put a small mirror in front of the bowl, he kept darting to the opposite side and looking away till we removed it. Needless to say, we threw the tank out. <Ohh> I'm sending a few pictures of my fish (Pepper). From this morning, he has been remaining at the surface mostly, but he starts moving around a little when we play music. Otherwise, he remains still or moves backwards around the bowl slowly. He's stopped begging for food, and has hardly even touched the peas we gave him. He only pooped once this morning - it was just a thin trailing transparent line. Do you think we should start feeding him his flakes again? How do I check if his eyes are protruding?  <Do mix the diet up... the eyes are hard to gauge... all fishes stick out a bit... only by having images, memories of your specific fish...> The red spots near his scales towards the rear end haven't gone. Are they anything to worry about? <Mmm, only in so much as they indicate trouble with water quality. Akin to a canary in a cave... with miners> We changed the water once this morning, and again in the night. I really think your site is wonderful. Thanks for all the info. Thea <Do scrounge about for larger quarters... Bob Fenner>

Thea's goldfish Hello - I just sent you another email but I forgot to ask one thing - Since the rear end of my fish (Pepper) is more swollen, (even though the scales all over are sticking out a bit) I was just wondering.. could it be that 'he' is a 'she' suffering from egg impaction? Thanks so much for your help.  From Thea <Not necessarily... could be a type of "bloat" or gut back-up... Bob Fenner>

Re: Thea's Goldfish, lack of improved conditions for it Hi! I actually emailed this to you earlier, but didn't get a reply - maybe the attached images were too big - 566K. So, I'm reducing the image size - I just read on your site that attachments can only be up to 300k - and resending it:  So sorry to disturb you again.. but I'm still worried about my fish Pepper and you seem to be the only one who can help. 1) From yesterday I noticed a kind of ulcer on his right side - it's like an inverted scale. It's slightly bigger today. I hope you can see it in the pictures - the first 2- its towards the upper rear end, on his right. <I do see it... looks like a "scale out of place" to me> 2) Also, the fin on the same side (his right) is much smaller than the other side, and has dark red streaks. I've sent 1 picture showing it. This morning, the fin on the other side also has 1-2 faint red streaks, but hardly noticeable. You said that it's due to the water, but why only one side? I honestly don't know if the affected fin was always smaller. Maybe it was... I'm not sure. 3) The scales all seem to be sticking out, making him seem ACTUALLY gold. I read about 'pinecone' appearance - please tell me it isn't dropsy!  I hope you can judge from the 2nd & 3rd pictures. <Does look like a dropsical condition> And.. I haven't been feeding him anything since day before yesterday except crushed thawed frozen peas, and this afternoon I gave him a few flakes, which he just picked at, and then I changed the water after 15 minutes because I read that a fish is only supposed to eat what it can in the first 5 minutes. I think he's moving a little more now, but he doesn't have much of an appetite at all. Do you think it's safe to feed him flakes again? We don't really get all those varied foods I read about - gel based, pellets, etc; the only thing the shop we bought him from sells are flakes. No one knows much about fish, either. Any suggestions? And he doesn't like lettuce. We used to have another fish 'Bravo', when we bought Pepper a year ago - we bought a pair - but the shop guy told us only to feed the goldfish once a month, a bit of lettuce. Naturally, the other one died and we rushed off to another shop and started with the flakes, feeding twice a day. Pepper never touched lettuce again. Thanks again for all your help.   From Thea <All of these issues are unimportant. What is the water quality here? What tests do you have? Have you moved this fish to better quarters? Bob Fenner>

<Classic "pine cone" appearance. Poor fish!>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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