Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 4

Related Articles: Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Goldfish Nutrition, GoldfishGoldfish Varieties Goldfish Systems, Goldfish DiseaseBasic Fish Nutrition by Pablo Tepoot

Related FAQs:  Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish 2, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 3, Bloaty/Floaty Goldfish 5, & Goldfish in General, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish DiseaseGoldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Goldfish Success
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Pearlscale with dropsy?  9/4/17
To start, my aquarium parameters are 0 nitrate, and 0 nitrite (I'm not sure about ammonia, since I've been dosing with prime I know that can change results/ give false positives) I detected a presence of ammonia a week ago (0.25 ppm) , which alerted me that my cycle had crashed.
<I see>
For reference, this is a 55 gallon I just set up a few weeks ago with four goldfish; however, both canister filters were moved from previous aquariums the fish lived in (which led me to incorrectly believe my cycle would be fine in the upgraded aquarium).
<Should have been... if the canisters didn't "go anaerobic", and water conditions were similar>
Since detecting the ammonia I'm now doing 45% water changes every two days (before that I was doing water changes biweekly).
My Pearlscale has what I assume are ammonia burns (red areas, which later started to turn black); however, in the last two days she has lost two scales and the red areas are spreading. (Pics included show both sides of her) I am the most concerned about her scales beginning to pinecone out (she's had it for a little longer than a week), obviously my main concern at this point is dropsy. She isn't floating or having any trouble swimming, her gills are red, and I haven't detected any 'air bubbles' underneath her scales.
She's eating fine, but I'm not sure that she's pooping as much as she should (she normally has long, dark poops, but hasn't recently).
<What are you feeding? Some greens I hope/trust, and not much protein>
Her behavior is okay, she's resting near the bottom/in plants more, but I'm not sure if it's because she's sick or because one of the other fish (a larger Oranda) seems to get agitated when the tank light is on and nips at her; which causes her to stay hidden more often (This Oranda and Pearlscale got along fine previously to them moving to the new tank)
I was going to leave her in the main tank and continue to do water changes; but would it be better to set up a ten gallon quarantine tank for her?
<Not move>
If so, would you recommend that I begin treating her with antibiotics? Or should I do salt baths?
<I would leave all fish where they are and cut back your water changes to no more than 25% at a time; AND pre-treat and store change water if you can... ahead of use>
Thank you so much for your assistance,
<Time alone should see these fish improving here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pearlscale with dropsy?       9/5/17
Hello again,
<"Little sweet one">
Thanks so much for your quick reply!
The condition of my pearl scale hasn't really changed, her scales are still sticking out, there are also increasing red areas around her bottom, and she is continuing to lose scales (I suspect more will fall off). (I have included another picture of her below)
I fed her peas, and she did end up pooping (normally I feed Repashy Soilent green fish food daily or every other day, and then feed peas once a week) her behavior is still fairly normal, she swims around the tank and isn't sitting with her fins clamped.
My next concern is my largest Oranda has developed fin rot, I have included two pictures I took yesterday; what concerns me most is that her tail has gotten even worse since I took these pictures (I'll try to get more pictures later today), as there are now red sections along the edge of her fin.
Is it safe to treat the entire tank for fin rot while it's still cycling?
<Not really; and the principal reason for my previous suggestion NOT to treat. The toxicity of such is far greater concern>
I would like to treat the entire tank in this case because my other Oranda and black moor have tears in their fins and white spots along the edges.
(although not nearly as severe as the fish I've pictured, I'm still a bit concerned about them both)
<I would still hold off till the system is thoroughly cycled. There are means of advancing such, mostly via the use of exogenous bacterial culture products; ala "Dr. Tim's One and Only">
What's especially bizarre is I noticed a white fuzz on one of the Anubias nana plants I have in the aquarium (once again I'll try to get a picture later today); it's coming from the stalk and from some of the ends of the roots, it looks like some sort of fungus. Should I remove the plant from the aquarium or is it safe to keep it in?
<I would leave all as is. The fuzz is simple decomposition from excess food. You can remove when doing partial water changes>
Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated!
<Mmm; IF I was going to add anything... it might be simple NaCl and/or Epsom Salt. Please read through Neale's piece here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm

Re: Pearlscale with dropsy?      9/8/17
Hi again,
<Hey Melissa>
If I were to treat with salt, would you recommend doing a salt dip or to treat the entire aquarium?
<The whole tank. Dips/baths in whatever salt/s employed would do very little here>

I moved the pearl scale to a ten gallon a few days ago; normally, I wouldn't, but the Oranda was nipping/chasing her so much I was scared that it would continue stressing her. I've included two pictures that show how red her stomach/behind has gotten (the reddest portion is where she is missing a scale that fell off, and the red is around her scales in case it isn't clear in the photos)
I'm cleaning her tank everyday with 70% water changes, and she has an air pump and sponge filter set up with her.
<... is it cycled. Id est, there is NO nitrite or ammonia present? If not...>

She isn't bottom sitting or hiding in this tank, and she eats (I'm only feeding her a few peas every couple of days now). She is a very social, good natured little fish (which hasn't changed since she became sick).
At this point should I be concerned about septicemia? Or would you say the red is ammonia burns/poisoning?
<The latter, perhaps aiding in the former>
Another note, one of her scales fell off but is still attached to her (just by a little bit), it's become 'fuzzy' looking, I figured I would leave it be and let it fall off on its own, but would it be better to cut it off?
The other fish (in the main tank) are doing better, the fin rot on my larger Oranda looks about the same (barring a few tiny red patches that I couldn't quite photograph).
I've been putting Tetra Safe Start in the tank (definitely not my first choice, but the only thing locally available), so far ammonia levels seem lower than they were originally, but I haven't detected any nitrite or nitrate.
<Not cycled, cycling unless nitrate is accumulating... AND this likely will NOT occur due to the too-large too-frequent water changes. SEE our prev. corr. and where I've referred you to re cycling freshwater systems.>
I will continue doing small water changes with the hope that it will cycle.

and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thanks again for all your help!

gold fish feeding       8/21/17
Just want to thank you for helping me save my large Ranchu . been floaty every time I fed him pellets lately so when I saw this site and followed your directions for fasting & Epsom salting in a quarantine tank & A FEW PEAS ...back to normal again. I will now feed mostly veg. stuff. I’m fine grating zucchini & they love it. Since I have an assortment of young fancies I now know how to hopefully avoid swim bladder issues. Again thanks Deb
<Deb, thanks for sharing this, and we're so pleased to know that you were able to treat your pet successfully. Prevention is better than cure, and with Goldfish, it's really so easy to get them to "eat their greens" and stay healthy. Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: gold fish feeding     8/23/17

Thanks for responding & since you did I have a ?.
If I feed mostly veg as suggested will my fancy gold fish be getting all those vitamins they need ?
<Yes. In the wild, carp are herbivores more than anything else, consuming plants and shoveling up sediment to extract decaying organic material and small invertebrates like insect larvae. So a combo of fresh greens and some
brine shrimp, bloodworms, and a bit of flake is perfect.>
I will be feeding some brine shrimp along with peas lettuce chard zucchini water cress & seaweed.
<All sounds good. Cheers, Neale.>

I was wondering if you could help me please with a few queries I have about a sick goldfish.        8/14/16
I have two goldfish a comet and a fantail, both purchased from the pet store, in a marina 30 or 60 litre aquarium which was set up in 2009. I have had the fantail for eight years and the comet for five. The tank has a proper filter system and only has two plants in it, so there is lots of room.
<Mmm; no; need more room than this. Even if being "bonsai'ed" from being reared in too small volume, metabolite poisoning feedback causes 'problems'.>
It gets cleaned out once a week and one of the filter cartridges is taken out and replaced each month along with the filter sponge.
However, the fantail has had what we believe to be swim bladder
<Actually; "swim bladder" is like having a "cold" in humans... A symptom, not a specific disease... with a few etilogies (causes); environmental, nutritional, genetic....
for a number of years now and we have thought about euthanasia but then when we said we would he would be fine the next day so he has good days and bad days. He eats well,
<What foods? Please read here:
very well I fact so he is a little on the large side maybe compared to the other one and they have been on fish food flakes
<Ahh; here is the likely second issue... DO read the citation above>
their whole life and there use to be snails in the tank which we fed algae pellets but the fish use to eat them as well but this was a few years ago.
We fed them twice a day 7am and 6pm and that is the period their light is on for. We use to fed them at lunch time so three times a day but it meant
they ate less and was making the tank dirty. I have researched swim bladder and it says it doesn't cause the fish any suffering.
<Not so>

However, over the past year he has developed a lump on the side, which I now believe might be what is causing his balancing problems however, I am unsure.
<I am very sure>
I just don't want him to suffer and just wanted to hear your opinion of what it might be and how to help him in the kindest way.
<Feeding different foods as you'll see in your reading, and getting these fish into a larger world; perhaps with added filtration>
I will send a separate email with some pictures.
Kind regards
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Hi here is a picture        8/14/16
<Ah yes; please see the linked files above in the link I sent you... for hundreds of examples of the same. Or my book on Amazon on Goldfish care.
Bob Fenner>

Goldfish pet dropsy? anything else we can do?   8/16/11
Hi team/fish family!
I've read lots of the info on dropsy and still need help. I'm including photo and video rejoice44@mac.com if will help our kind pet goldie "Its history is that of a feeder fish bought over 3 yrs ago for pond area testing. Only one of 3 that survived by putting its mouth to air bubble tube when it appeared dead!
Was fine in 65 gal tank w/two fair-mates <Like this term!> (goldfish) for over 3 years.
This past 3 mo noticed getting really big and thought she was just a good eater or pregnant. Water changes consistent q two weeks with 2 of those $50-70 Fluval filter pumps and good bio filtrations. Tank has always been stable in parameters.
Last week looked like golfball in back of her left side.
<Note, on one side>
Then I noticed the pine-coning so I thought it may be dropsy
<A symptom... like sneezing in humans... NOT a disease itself borne of one mechanism>
but weirdly in seemed mostly on her left side (even only the left eye) though whole body quite bloated left was worse. I QT'd 20 gal with 1 tsp Epsom salt per 5 gal., water temp increased slowly to 78 , + air bubbles, and non charcoal pump. Next day started Kanamycin dosing as per label q two days NTE 3 doses. She wont eat medicated food (tried MetroMeds powder mix to pellets per their instructions as no one carried metro med food. or other med food). Still quite bloated... poops some long stringy white (parasite)?
<Not likely, no. Where would this come from in such a long-established system?>
some brown and long w/ string on end. Tried feeding peas. Appetite poor.
Been cleaning tank small tube getting all junk out of bottom. Have done a couple water changes about 5 gal then adding back appropriate meds/Epsom.
Tried increasing temp to 82 /84.
Another thing went terribly wrong when I was suctioning I noticed her huge soft boggy side and had read that the pinecones were really blisters of pus and I touched her side with the tube looked like long strings coming out.
I thought perhaps may help get the infection out but really I think it made it worse (see her side) as the scales popped off leaving a space between the outer scale layer and inside layer. Ugh it looks horrible.
I think the right side is better after Kanamycin yet fish still really bloated. I don't really see much improvement. So after a pwc (25% we started Maracyn + (today was second dose of q other day).
Question add more Epsom?
<I would, yes>
(have read 1/8 tsp to 1 tablesp. advice so perhaps under dosed).
Should I increase temp?
<Mmm, no... not warmer than where you have it presently>
...I read that 86 degrees has helped some with dropsy. Find a vet (perhaps she just needs fluid removed off that one side or Baytril injections)?
<IF paying, do seek out Chloromycetin/Chloramphenicol (in a succinic acid base, IP)>
Im hoping you don't say we need to euthanize her:(
<Am not a fan of giving up... though such dropsical conditions/Ascites are almost always fatal>
On the positive side, she's never been ill and has been a great pet. She is swimming fairly well. Always comes to the corner when I enter the room.
Its seems one side of her looks fine...et the other is pine-coned and now injured. Also I noticed some black marks around scales read this may be indicative of healing response. Also I noticed a bit of whitish very slight coat on head.
PS We are changing all the big golds diet from pellets to alternate peas q day (read your dietary guidelines).
<Do look into the Spectrum line of pelleted foods... Is what I feed my fancy goldfish almost exclusively>
Any help is greatly appreciated! And so sorry to bother you knowing how busy you are...I'm just so desperate to help her.
God bless,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Goldfish pet dropsy? anything else we can do?   8/16/11
Addendum: so sorry!
Goldie's vital signs;
T 84
pH 7.6
Nitrates 0
Nitrites 0
NH3/NH4 4.0
<?! Have seen your next email>
(also have been adding some Kent Garlic Extreme drops (2 drops per day)
Goldfish pet dropsy? anything else we can do?   8/16/11
Hi again (sorry)
My husband said to disregard the test results as the test kit is way beyond expiration. Also since the QT is newly made up with 1/2 new water and 1/2 old (but changed regularly water) it cannot be correct.
<DO check that ammonia. Deadly toxic. BobF>
So we are out to get another kit and Ill get back to you on this! PS have been adding stability with water changes. Did 1/3 change just in case her condition has caused her to put out a lot of ammonia. Thanks again for your help and bearing with me. God bless, Teresa

Re: Goldfish pet dropsy? anything else we can do?   8/16/11
Thanks so much Bob..The Spectrum line of pelleted foods is what we use also:) I doubt there's much else I can do now as today she is laying on her side and back and breathing funny. The bloat is still considerable and perhaps her body cant continue in this state.
I know this and the others (fair mates) have had a bad start. All the more reason to be hyper vigilant on water quality. The tank has been no problem for over 3 years. With this fish I noticed she was getting bigger and growing more than the other two but then it seemed to suddenly bloat up over 24 hours.
Curious...could a renal issue cause the ammonia to spike?
<How so?>
She left us with about 10 fry that have made it to about 2 inches long.
Guess we will call one little goldie".
Sorry for the scattered email. And thanks for bearing with us...we are very informed now about this particular symptom and have learned a lot so I guess Ill try to focus on that and that she had a happy life.
<Sounds good>
<And you. BobF>

goldfish with dropsy, no apparent cause, would you try Epsom salt or anything else?   3/8/11
Dear WetWebMedia crew,
One of my goldfish, the little guy, is sick. He (of course I don't know if he's a he, but still...) has been tending to hang about on the bottom of the tank for a few weeks that I've noticed, but he swims almost constantly, like the others, and I have only today seen any further suggestions that there is a real problem.
Today he has obvious "dropsy" with slight pineconing evident when viewed from above, and I think his eyes are also bulging a bit too much.
<Good observations, bad conditions...>
This is a 1 inch "pet shop cheapy" fantail goldfish that I've had about 6 months now. The other goldfish I bought at the same time, at the same size, is now 2-2.5 inches long, so I have been wondering for a long time if the little guy has some problem that is slowing his growth and causing illness or a vulnerability to illness.
The tank statistics are as follows:
220l "cool water community" tank with 3 fantail goldfish (1 inch, 2 inches and 4 inches), 5 Crossocheilus siamensis, a handful of wild-type guppies, 5 Corydoras trilineatus and a breeding population of cherry shrimp. Nobody is aggressive to anyone else, as far as I can tell.
Tank is heavily planted, mostly with fast-growing stem plants, moderate lighting, filtered by a Fluval 305 and lit with T5 lights, has been running for over 2 years with few problems (but I have lost 3 other goldfish in that time, maybe some subtle systemic problem?).
<Unfortunately; many such common problems are inherent in dealing w/ "cheapy" goldfish nowayears...>
Water parameters are:
temperature 23 degrees,
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 10ppm
PH 7.2
KH 6
GH 8
I feed the fish twice daily, a mixture of Hikari goldfish pellets (goldfish and Crossocheilus siamensis go for these) and sinking small community pellets (everyone else goes for those), or a pinch of spirulina-based flake. Some days I leave them without food, not often.
Since I don't know what has caused this fish to be sick, I don't know what to do about it. Is it worth isolating it and treating with Epsom salt?
<Mmm... possibly>
Or with antibiotics (not much in the way of good medication is available here in Australia, unfortunately, I can get things like Methylene blue and tetracycline)? Do you have other suggestions other than waiting and seeing?
<I do not... and would not use the TC...>
Thanks very much!
<The fact that your SAEs, Corydoras are doing well points to good water quality, care on your part... I would just try to be patient and hope for the best here. Life to you, Bob Fenner>

Shub Poo!    3/29/06 Greetings and Salutations fishy experts! I have a problem with my Shubunkin, and despite searching on Google (and your site) as suggested, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for! Basic background - he's adopted from a friend's son, about 2 years old (or thereabouts) in a 30 litre tank with 2 other very small goldfish. <They need more room than this...> Had him in my care for about 3 months and to be honest, he doesn't seem to poo! When  he does, its a very thin white/silver strand which floats after being excreted.   <What are you feeding?> (Have checked to see if its any kind of worm, but doesn't move at all once its left his body). Over the past two weeks he's become very miserable, rarely leaving the bottom of the tank and when he swims, he leans to one side (Think   his swim bladder has perhaps been affected?) <Perhaps so> I've done the following, based on the advise of the  internet/pet shop (not all in one go - didn't want to kill the little guy  with shock!) Done a water test (all results were normal according to pet shop assistant!)-Full water change (treated with tap-safe)- Added Aquarium Salts to  the tank - Added Oxygenating tablets to the water (to make sure he was  getting enough o2 at the bottom of the tank) - Fed him shelled peas  (which the other fish love but he spits out is disgust!) - Fed him live daphnia  - given him a salt bath with Epsom salts. The only other remedy I can seem  to find involves dripping a few drops of Cod Liver Oil into his mouth, which  I'll gladly try if nothing else can be suggested. I refuse to let this  little guy die on me, so all help gladly received (and I'll provide any more  info you need)- you guys seem to know what you're talking about!  Sam-x <Well... you've about gone the course in treatments... I would try the Cod Liver Oil... and a level teaspoon of Epsom per this size/volume of water... But really... these fish need about three times this sized system... now, and ten times ultimately. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant goldfish in winter? Not likely   - 03/26/2006 Stumbled across your site...very informative! Did a search but could not find an answer to my question... perhaps you can help? <Maybe> We have four goldfish in a 100 gallon horse trough, regularly cleaned and heated during the winter to the 40's degrees. These fish are about 4-5 years old, and one has developed bulging sides, and has stayed this way for three weeks. One of the other three seems more interested in the bulging one, at times. The bulging one appears healthy and eats well (not overeats.) Could this  be pregnancy? <Mmm... not likely> It is still winter weather with snow here, on and off...would the weather affect this? <Yes... but almost assuredly not w/o the temperature rising, staying in the 60's F. at least for days, weeks...> Thanks for any help you may offer. <What you're observing is far more likely some sort of tumorous growth anomaly... you could add Epsom and/or aquarium salt here... or just let time go by and see if this fish self-cures. I do hope/trust you are not actually feeding these fish at this temperature/season. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Swims Weird After Eating    3/17/06 Hi, I have a 3 year old black moor that has swimbladders. < Most fish have only one.> It started  about a year ago.  He would swim upside down, sideways, and sink to the  bottom - almost always after eating.  I learned that the 5 gallon tank  needed to be larger for Fishy and a fast growing sucker fish.   This was only after Fishy sank to the bottom and the sucker attached to his  side!  Got rid of sucker, increased to a 30 gallon tank with better  lighting, filter, and air stone.  There are a few artificial plants and a  stone deco.  Fishy improved within days with a mild salt treatment.   Soon after I added another goldfish and a different variety of sucker  (supposedly smaller).  And, here we are about 10 months later.   Fishy  and Phoenix love thawed peas but, nobody every told me to not feed flakes.   And 2 days ago, he sank again!  Fed him flakes in the am, within a short time his butt sank and his head was up high, kind of floating around.  When   I got home from work, he had sank to the bottom.  The following am the   sucker fish had attached to him talking off most of his black coloring on both   side and tail fins.  I thought that the larger tank and peas were  enough.  His appearance was good, no signs of anything else until the  sucker fish got him.   Water quality is good.  I have done partial  water changes since the first sign of trouble, in the am and pm with aquarium  salt added.  Now Phoenix is "spooning" on the bottom with him.  She  will get up and swim around without thought when I walk to them but, when they  are alone, she is nestled up beside him in the corner.  Please help.   Fishy looks like he is wasting away.  His eye movements and breathing seem  to be ok, but, he is suffering otherwise. Tammie <Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Feed your fish once a day and make sure all the food is eaten after two minutes. Remove any uneaten food. Large feedings put undo stress on the fish. If your fish do not recover then treat with Metronidazole. Flake food that is made for goldfish is fine but is very nutritious and too much is not good for them.-Chuck>

More Bloaty Goldies  12/15/05 We have three larger Orandas in a 29 gallon tank and two males one female. I noticed last week that the female was getting larger, now her body is wider than her head and her scales are popping out. I was wondering if the fish is sick or if she could be pregnant? Is this normal for a fish that is gravid or not? (sorry for the reptile term) <See if this pertains to your situation: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thanks John Victorino <Welcome, Adam J.>

Popeye the (orange) black moor Hi There! <Hi, Teri!  Sabrina here this gorgeous afternoon> I have a few questions for ya'll. I have a Black Moor (about 3 years, 6 inches), a Blue Scale Oranda (2 years 8 inches), a Red and White Oranda? (Not sure what type it is, it was in a tank with BS Orandas when we bought it but it is all white with some orangish/red on top, about 1 year 6 inches) <Likely a redcap Oranda> and a Plecostomus (3 years, 10 inches) and a small Red Platy (1 month 1 1/2 to 2 inches). We have a nice sized 30 gallon tank (I know we are a bit over stocked, in the process of looking for a larger tank to accommodate everyone.) <Yes, and great to hear about the upgrade - which will be much fun, I'm sure!> and the Red Platy seems to be doing great in the colder water. <It would do even better in a warmer tank.> We use an AquaTech 20 to 40 gallon filter and use a bubble wall but no under gravel filter. I test the water weekly, change 20% of the water monthly, <It might be a good idea to increase the frequency of your water changes - maybe 20% twice monthly.> clean the filter weekly and replace it with a new one once a month. We feed them dry floating pond pellets for the Orandas and the Moor, <A constant diet of dry foods may cause problems for the goldfish; please try to incorporate more veggie matter into their diet (blanched zucchini, prepared frozen veggie fish foods, etc.) and plants like anacharis/elodea.> and algae disks for the Plecostomus (since algae seems not to grow in my tank), <blanched zucchini will be an excellent food for this guy, too, along with the occasional frozen meaty food.  It'd also be a good idea to get a piece of driftwood or bogwood in there for him to nibble on.> and very small dry tropical pellets for the Red Platy, and for a nice treat every now and then a slice cucumber. <Cucumber's excellent, too.  Do please blanch this before using (drop it into a pot of boiling water very shortly, let it cool).  You can blanch a whole sliced up zucchini or cucumber, then freeze the slices for later use.> Now for the questions.  My Black Moor has one eye that is larger then the other. It was like this when we purchased it about 3 years ago. It wasn't as noticeable as it has gotten recently. In fact, in the last 2 months it has become A LOT larger then the other eye. I gather from the site that he might have Pop eye. Is it possible that they can live 3 years with this problem, or is that the problem? <This does sound like pop eye.  Usually, this is an indicator of water quality issues.  Please check your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and do water changes to bring anything too high back down.  You may want to consider treating him with Epsom salts at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per ten gallons of water - best to do this in a hospital tank.> Also he has remained very active and still has a good appetite. He has started to change colors (from all black to clear tail fins on the ends that fade to orange and then back to black closer to the body, and his tummy has turned completely orange. It is rather pretty this way, but it's a Black Moor not a Changing Color Moor, so something is wrong.) <This is perfectly normal, no need to worry.  Color change in goldfish may possibly be attributable to temperature changes, pH changes, or maybe even age.  It is certainly not unheard of for black moors to gain some gold color.> so I'm assuming I need to change his diet also?   <I would, but only to get them onto a better diet of veggie stuff for health reasons; this won't affect coloration.> Secondly, I tried to introduce live plants about a month back and I woke up the other morning and the fish seemed to have had a night on the town with my plant. It was a very lush Ivy (tons of leaves) <I trust you mean 'Ivy' descriptively, and that this was an aquatic plant, not really an ivy?> that by the morning had nothing but 2 leaves, a stem and a few roots. My fish had devoured the whole plant. Is that a bad thing? <As long as this was an aquatic plant, nope, no problemo.  It's a very good idea for them to have a bit of aquatic plants in their diet; as above, anacharis/elodea will be the cheapest, best bet to feed them.  If you want plants in the tank for aesthetic purposes, though, there are a few plants that the goldfish *won't* eat - Anubias sp., java fern, and java moss are all very easy to grow and will be safe from your little herbivores.> They haven't seemed to act odd, but that was a lot of plant to eat. <It was probably yummy ;) > Should I cut back on their food for a few days? Or try and feed them more so they don't starve? I know it's an odd question but I'm afraid of over feed.   <Just modify their diet to include more green goodies.> Third, with this many fish should I look into getting an under gravel filter or is it just an optional thing? <I wouldn't.  But I'm rather opinionated on this.  I usually don't recommend them for the reason that it's very difficult to keep the space under the filter plates free of debris, which will rot and cause nitrate problems.  Some folks use and love UGFs, though.> What should I be doing to help keep the rocks clean? I have a gravel vacuum that I use once every 6 or 7 months but other then that I don't do anything to the rocks. <Oh my....  vacuum the gravel more like monthly....  Better yet, increase your 20% water changes to be twice a month, and do part of the gravel on each water change.  I would imagine you currently have a rather high amount of nitrate in the tank - possibly contributing to the pop eye in the moor.> I was told you should never disturb/clean the rocks so what good does a under gravel filter do? <Undergravel filters turn your entire substrate into biological filter media.  They can be really Good Things, but again, in your case especially, I wouldn't recommend it.  And whoever told you not to clean your gravel.... well, I don't know what they were smoking, but I don't want any.> Also are my water changing techniques alright or should I be changing more then 20% every month? <As above.> Why wont algae grow? We leave the light on during the day, but there isn't in any natural daylight. I figured that the artificial light would create enough light to grow enough for my Plecostomus, but he doesn't seem to be getting any bigger. Lack of algae or to small of a tank?   <The goldfish and the plec are probably eating it before it has a chance to be seen.  Again, more veggies in their diet....> Any help would be great and I appreciate it. Love the site, very helpful!  Teri <Thanks, Teri!  Hope all goes well with your tank, and I wish your moor a speedy recovery!  -Sabrina>

Goldfish A' Floatin' - 11/22/2005 Hi. <Hello. Sabrina with you, today.> I've read the FAQ pages <Really? All of them, on every topic? I assume you mean a specific set of FAQs on a specific topic - in the years that I've been with WWM, I *still* haven't gotten through all of even just the freshwater FAQs files....> <<Pff!  You and me BOTH!  Marina>> but still would like some more info. I have 4 different fancy goldfish in a 55 gal tank, 2 air bubblers, and a penguin bio wheel 170 filter. <So far, so good - but you might want to upgrade that filtration; the Penguin 330 would be a better option, instead of or in addition to the 170. Just something to think about.> I feed them Tetra sinking mini sticks for ornamental goldfish every other day. <Ahhhh.....> The concern in my calico Ryukin (Juno) that I've had for a year now. He's close to 4" long with his tail. He seems to be floating to the top, and is struggling to keep himself from doing so. <Ah-HA!> I did a 50% water change, but then put him into a small 2gal tank (same water temp) with a 1/2 tsp Epsom salt. <Good.> I also plan to buy some peas tomorrow. <Also good.> There are no signs of spots or disease on him. Is there anything I can do? <Read our article on goldfish mal-nutrition, which explains this condition and offers suggestions for fixing, and meeting the long-term nutritional needs of goldfish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > Should I medicate him? <Nope, highly unlikely that this is caused by something that needs to be medicated.> Put it back in the 55 gal with the other fish? <Mm, possibly, depending upon the severity of the condition and how much "trouble" it's giving him.> I can't bear to see my 4 year old daughter cry if he dies (which happened with her white and orange Oranda 6 months ago). I'll be sad too. <Completely understandable. It's so easy to fall in love with these animals....> Can you help? <Hopefully we have, in the article linked above. It should answer your questions in great detail.> Also Pet store said to give them frozen blood worms once in a while; is that true? <Mm, you *can*, as a treat, yes; but this high-protein food should not be a "regular" offering. Be extremely sparing with it, and look to other "greener" goodies for regular meals and for treats for your goldies.> Thank you, -Nichole <Glad to be of service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

New Goldfish With Swimming Problems  11/15/05 Hi, first I would like to say thank you for your website you probably saved my goldfish! A quick question for you if you have time. I have two fantail goldfish one is approx 3/4 of an inch and one is barely half an inch in an eight gallon tank (I know they need a bigger tank, I bought the tank and fish before I found your website). The tank is roughly 1 month old and the fish have been in the tank for about 3 weeks, it has both aeration and a filter.  For the first two weeks I was changing 25% of the water daily. The LFS tested the water last weekend and Ammonia was 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates were 20, PH is 8 (same as local water supply), GH is 20+ and KH is 8. I was advised to cut back on the water changes to once every 2 or 3 days by the fish store. I fed them sinking pellets for the first day, then due to spiking ammonia didn't feed them for five days.  Since then they have been fed sparingly cucumbers, peas and corgettes (zucchini in the US. And frozen bloodworms as a treat just once. My little fish is having buoyancy trouble he floats (about an inch down from the surface), he is having a bit of trouble getting around and struggles to stay at the bottom of the tank.  I tried adding 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts twice (second time after four water changes / days) but he is still having trouble, is there anything else I can do for him... he is quite round, but not any more than he was when I bought him, his scales don't appear to be sticking out. Any suggestions? After swimming around he can go a bit pink, he is white with a red head, is this normal? I will happily buy them a bigger tank but I don't want to stress them out right now, so maybe in a couple of months when they are settled, if you think its best to wait? Thank you for your help - SH < Goldfish are little pigs and will eat all day if you feed them. Unfortunately in some cases the food is not completely digested and the internal bacteria start to break down the food instead of the fish and this causes gas problems and affects the buoyancy of the fish. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes once each day. stay away from the meaty foods like worms and feed veggie flakes to increase the fiber and move the blockage out of the way.,-Chuck> 

Swollen goldfish  November 12, 2005 Dear WWM crew, <J.R.> I have a 6 year old common goldfish that has never been ill until 2 weeks ago. I noticed some swelling after I increased the water temperature. I have 29-gallon tank with a total of five fish. I immediately started treating with MelaFix. <Not worthwhile> The swelling continued. I set up a ten gallon hospital tank and treated with antibacterial food, triple sulfur medication and Epsom salts, thinking that perhaps it has dropsy. After one week, I had no results. It is still eating and passing feces. It also does not seem to have any trouble swimming. I have changed from the sulfur medication to Maracyn-Two. Today is the third day of the Maracyn-two treatment. The fish is still swollen from right under the gills to right before the tail. I'd like to know what is causing this swelling and what I can do about it. The local pet shops haven't been able to help. PLEASE HELP!!!!! Thanks, Worried <Could be a few "things", but almost certainly at least the typical "floaty, bloaty goldfish syndrome" from mis-feeding. Please read Sabrina's piece re here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm.  Bob Fenner>

Sick black moor? Floaty, bloaty goldfish  11/9/05 Hi I noticed you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about all types of fish issues, so I thought maybe you could help me. <Will try> We've owned a black moor goldfish for just under a month. He was a happy little guy when we got him, swimming all over the place. Just recently (in the last week) I've noticed that he floats at the top, with no movement, a lot (kinda like he's playing dead). <Mmm, not good... oh, I see below you are aware of the cause> I've noticed this happens most after he has just eaten. <Bingo> If I put my hand up to the tank (not banging it, just touching) he will swim away. After an hour or two he seems to be okay until the next feeding (or water changing). It appears that maybe he gets a lot of air bubbles in him and gravity works against him. Is this possible? <Definitely> Am I doing something wrong, or is this normal behavior for a black moor. <Are doing something wrong... mis-feeding> I am very inexperienced with goldfish - they always seem to die on me. This fish belongs to my 5 yr old son and would like to break my "dying fish" cycle. I would appreciate any help you can give. Thank you Prudence Cooper <Ah, you've come to the "right place/time"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm.  Bob Fenner> 

Floating Goldfish - 11/08/2005 Hello, My name is Anam. <Hello. Sabrina with you, today.> My goldfish is ill. I don't know what happened. It is lying horizontally on the surface of water. Its breathing rate has slowed down. It is unable to swim. There are no signs of any possible injury. No bleeding. It is not eating anything. I fed it with my own hands with force. Its fins are not fresh. Seems to be as if cut with blade. I have isolated it. Rest of them are completely fine and active. What should I do? Thanks. <First, I would urge you to test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - ammonia and nitrite should be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm. If any of these are not correct, fix them with water changes. Secondly, I would urge you to read the following three articles:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm , and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm . You should find some good information to help you there. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Floating Fish - 11/08/2005
Hello doctor, <Whups, no doctors here, just fish geeks. Oh, I think Crewmember Steve is a doctor of humans.  <<He is, of small humans, but not currently practicing.  Hello Dr. Sabrina!  Marina>> < Sabrina with you, today.> My fish is sick. Yesterday it spontaneously float to top and then swim back. This activity went on for quite some time. Now it is just floating on top of water and is tilted. It is not taking any food either and is gasping. Kindly help me. <There's some crucial information missing here.... like what kind of fish is this? In how large a tank? What other fish are with it? What is the water quality (readings on ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate)? And so forth. I would recommend that you start reading here, in hopes that I've made a correct guess that this might be a goldfish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm , and if not, then start reading in the Freshwater section of WetWebMedia. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Bloaty Goldie - 11/07/2005 My fish is an orange fantail <Goldfish> and he has a bloated tummy, lying upside down at the bottom of the tank for the past ten days; however, I can see he is breathing and he is moving his fins and mouth.... Help, what's wrong!!?? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm , and the files linked in blue at the tops of those pages.> From Lucy <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Black Moor Death 11/6/05 Hi. My Black moor just recently died and I was wondering if you could tell me what happened? His color had changed from black to gold. also he began to stay at the bottom of the tank but strangely it look as if he was trying to have a bowel movement but it never came all the way out. The next morning he was upside down in the tank. If you would be so kind in telling me what I did wrong please do so it won't happen again. Thank you Mallorie from Chattanooga. <It is hard to say what caused your fish to die without more information about your aquarium, feeding, water quality, maintenance schedule, etc. But from your description I would be willing to bet it was diet related. Incorrect diet is one of the number one killers of wide bodied goldfish; please see the following article on gold fish nutrition for more information. Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm

Long-Term Goldfish Nutritional Disease - 10/31/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have a fantail goldfish, which I've had for at least six years now. He has several issues. He's been lying on the bottom of the tank upside down for about a year or so (except for when he wants to eat, at which point he'll flip back over).  <A symptom of nutritional disease.... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> He's also been losing his scales, losing his color, and seems to have fin rot.  <Possibly related to the nutritional disease - but I'd also be concerned about his environment. Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> He has what seems to be a tumor growing on his forehead, which has been there for about a year. It has been gradually getting bigger as time goes on.  <Possibly related, or entirely unrelated, to the other issues - again, I'd look to water quality first.> Do all of these symptoms sound like they are from one illness or do you think they're separate and need to be treated individually? I have another fantail goldfish, which I've had for about eight years, and he's fine. I've been doing partial water changes every one to two weeks. I've given him Maracyn several times over the last year or so.  <I would not use this.... nothing here indicates bacterial infection aside from the fin rot, which is more likely environmental than bacterial in any case.> I've also tried Epson salt. Nothing seems to be working. He doesn't act sick, but he obviously is. Please help me. I don't want him to continue to suffer. Any help would be much appreciated. <Again, do please check out the article above - should find some useful info there.> Kris from Washington, DC <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Long-Term Goldfish Nutritional Disease - II - 11/02/2005
Thank you so much for your quick response. I've cleaned out the fish tank and put in some Epsom salt.  <I do hope you're testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, as well....> I went to Petsmart today and bought the type of plant suggested by the website link for them to eat.  <Ahh, excellent.> The one healthy fish is absolutely loving it, but the sick fantail doesn't seem to want any of it--at least not yet. I'm going to get some vegetables for him tonight. I'll keep you posted. <Sounds like you're on the right track.> Kris, Washington, DC <All the best, -Sabrina, currently in a nifty little coffee shop in San Jose....>

Another Bloaty Goldfish? --I'm Glad she wrote that article! 10/30/05 Now at least I know goldfish don't get "pregnant."  <If you mean pregnant as in live-bearing then no.>  How long to they carry the eggs for? <A female always has eggs (much like human females always have eggs in their ovaries) she just doesn't deposit them unless she is attempting to mate.> Mine has been looking big for about a week. <How big, does she look swollen? Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thank you Angela <Welcome, Adam J.> 

Goldfish Mal-Nutrition: Another Floaty Goldfish - 10/28/2005 Hi Crew, <Hi, Kim.> I had written a while ago about my Oranda. She was having trouble and had some white matter oozing out of her side. Well she made it through that and now I just have a problem with her occasionally swimming upside down.  <Common.... usually nutritional.> Since the problem seemed to be getting worse (she would be more upside down than right side up) I made a gel fish food with flakes and (1) Ampicillin pill and have been feeding them both that for (4) days. She seems to be doing better again. At the time of my last email I was told maybe I was trying to keep the water too clean. Well now my nitrites are 0, ammonia is 0 but my nitrates are very high - it looks to me like 160 ppm, the highest on the card.  <WOW. Far too high.> I have tried frequent water changes, I am limiting my gravel vacuuming to twice a month, thinking that I may be disturbing the good bacteria.  <Mm, the bacteria are doing their job - oxidizing ammonia and nitrite. Nitrate is the end product of your nitrifying bacteria.... There is something amiss - undergravel filter, dead/decaying organic material, filter overdue for a cleaning - for nitrate to be this high.> After doing all of this for about 3 weeks my nitrates still remain high. I wonder if my smaller Oranda is feeling this imbalance.  <Entirely possible that this is contributing.> How can I safely lower these numbers?  <Find the cause (overstocked tank? dirty substrate? filter? undergravel filter plates?) and remedy. Uh, and lots of big water changes.> I have a packet or Algone in my tank.  <I, personally, don't know that this will help in any way.> I also have a lot of brown algae. When I clean the waterfall filter I just rinse the filter media in aquarium water, I have charcoal in the filter, <Have you changed this recently? Its efficacy does not last long....> I use a conditioner that removes chemicals when I change the water in the tank. Any ideas how I can lower my nitrates?  <As above.... and do please check out our FAQs on nitrate.> I am worried for my fish, I have 2 Orandas. Tank is a 30 gallon, waterfall Jebo filter, gravel bottom, no plants just a lot of brown algae, which I have been leaving lately thinking it may lower the nitrates. I would really appreciate any help.  <Uhh, also, of great importance - PLEASE read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thanks, -Kim Spurling <All the best, -Sabrina>

Bloaty Goldfish and the English Language 10/27/05 Okay hi,  <Hello.> I don't know if this is even where I'm supposed to ask questions, but I couldn't find anywhere else so I thought I'd give it a try. <You're in the right place.> I have a 30 gallon tank. I have a black moor who is great :) a pleco who is also spectacular :) and a calico oranda. probably a bit overstocked I know lol.  <Well yes eventually the pleco, assuming it's a common, will eventually need larger quarters.>  But I noticed two days ago my oranda was swollen up and sitting on the bottom. plus its scales are kinda bulging out. it can swim up higher but it chooses not to. It just stays in the corner of the tank. I change my water regularly and the other fish are perfectly fine. When it swims it swims perfectly fine, no dropsy symptoms, or anything, just blowing up and scales looking rather funny. do you have any idea what could be causing this? <Sounds as if he may be bloaty, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm. Since this is your first time writing in I will be nice but in the future please use capitalization and correct punctuation as we post these queries on our website for others to read, learn from. Hoping everything works out for your fish, AdamJ> <<Adam, even better, in the future please refer folks who send in queries like this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QueryCorrsRefPg.htm.  Marina>> <<<Yes.  Please.  I just spent some precious time fixing all those 'I'-s and contractions.  Haven't much time to spend, either.  -SCF>>>

Goldfish Nutritional Disease - 10/21/2005 I have spent every evening this week surfing the internet, trying to figure out how to save my fish. You're my best hope. <We'll try to help.> I have three Black Moors in a 46-gallon bowfront tank. They will be six years old in February. They have been together their whole life with no other additions of other fish or natural plants. They have grown large enough that their current tank is the fourth one I had to buy them. It has one lift tube and one large AquaClear power filter. I do a 60-75% water change every 21 days exactly and at that time, I change either the carbon or the sponge filter in the power filter (I then change the other filter the next time).  <So far, so good....> I feed them Wardley Ten Pond flakes, <Uh-oh.> because I have tried just about every food ever manufactured and they won't eat anything else. This is not an exaggeration. They won't eat pellets or tablets or even peas or other vegetation. <I assure you, they will eat vegetable matter.... at the very least, aquatic plants.... The diet they are currently on is (not kidding here) hazardous to their health. Admittedly, though, the Wardley Ten Pond Flakes are not by far the worst goldfish food available - but they still require more vegetable matter in their diet. If you have to fast them for a week offering them only vegetable matter to get them to accept it, then do so.> The current water temp is 67 degrees. I have tested for nitrates (20), nitrites (0), ammonia (ideal), <Mm, "ideal"? Please note that only ZERO is truthfully "ideal"....> alkalinity (ideal), and pH (neutral). On Sunday of this week, I noticed one of the Black Moors swimming upside down.  <A bad sign.... of nutritional disease....> I proceeded to clean the aquarium as scheduled. I thought it was a problem with swim bladder, as one of the other fish had that a few years ago.  <A damaged swim bladder typically is entirely unfixable (though some fish can survive with loss of equilibrium). Your fish a few years ago likely also suffered from nutritional disease.> A two-day fast cured it the other time, <Yes, was definitely a nutritional disorder, then. Fasting a fish will have no effect on a damaged or diseased swim bladder.> so I fasted all three fish Sunday night. On Monday night, the ill fish was upside down on the bottom of the aquarium and he was bent into an L-shape. It was too late in the evening to do anything, so the following day, I purchased Melafix and Gel-Tek Ultra Cure BX at the recommendation of the pet store in my town. I administered both.  <In all honesty, there is nothing you describe that would warrant the use of MelaFix (which really only has mild antibacterial/antiseptic properties, to my understanding, and is of little to no value whatsoever in my opinion).  The gel bacterial remedy contains Nitrofurazone and Sulfa drugs - good stuff for a bacterial infection, really. But I think not helpful in your fish's case at all, if it is indeed a nutritional problem, and I do believe it is.> The next morning, he appeared to be almost normal for several hours, but then flipped over again and has regressed. He is lying on the rocks all the time, perhaps half the time on his back, the other half on his side. Sometimes his breathing appears labored, but mostly he is breathing normally.  He has short bursts of manic swimming, but then settles back down. The L-shape he was in isn't as exaggerated, now it's more of a crescent shape. He has no external indications of illness. He had a bowel movement on Tuesday which contained a small air bubble, nothing since. <This also makes me think nutritional disease.> The other two fish are not going anywhere near him, so he isn't getting picked on. I did purchase a dividing wall and placed it in the tank so he would be safe, just in case. The pet store had told me to hand feed him the Gel-Tek product if he isn't eating properly. He almost "nursed" from the dropper tip, so I believe he did consume some. On Thursday night, I fed the other two fish the flake food and the ill fish did become animated and did eat some of the flakes.  <Stop feeding him the flakes. No more flakes. Not for quite a while.> Since this was Day 5 of him not feeling well, I wasn't sure if I should allow him to eat or not. Tonight, I decided to dose the tank with Epsom salt (I used 1Tbls to 5 gallons water).  <Ah, good.> I don't know what else to do. I live in a small town in Minnesota; there are no fish vets and our pet stores have only products to treat external disorders. I am more than willing to order off the internet, but I am just at a loss at to what I should be buying.  <Sushi nori, peas, and aquatic plants! I'm serious. These guys need a change of diet.> I am very attached to these fish and I want to be able to know that I did everything I could for him. I would be so grateful for any advice you could give. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm . Hopefully that will shed some light for you. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish losing scales - bad water levels  10/19/05 Hi,   I am having a little bit of  trouble with my goldfish and I would love any help that you can give me.  I have had Harry, a Red Cap Oranda for  almost a year.  He is about 2 inches  long, (just body, without tail) and he lives alone in a 5 gallon tank. <Too small...> I change 50% of the tank water once a  week. <Too much...> I switched from flake food to  pellet or stick food a few months ago because I found that I am able to make  sure that there is no uneaten food left on the bottom of the tank to  decompose. <Good>   However, I am wondering  if the food may not be so good for him, because it almost looks as if it doesn't get digested and just goes through him and stays practically whole.  I feed him Tetra brand food Tetra Exotic sinking mini sticks for ornamental goldfish. <A very good food> My main problem is this recently, I  have noticed that he is missing some scales. I see missing spots on his body,  and I see scales floating in the water.   <Not good> Sometimes there is just one floating scale but sometimes there are a few  stuck together a big chunk of scales.  At first I didn't think much of it- that they would just grow back.  But he keeps losing them; there are a  couple patches missing on each side.  Doesn't look like there is anything on his body besides missing scales nothing growing out of them or any other colored spots on him.  He sometimes scratches against things like the airstone at the bottom of the tank, or the plant in the middle of the  tank. <Mmm, what type of plant?> I took out an ornamental rock <Could be a/the source of trouble here...> when he got bigger so he would have a lot of room to swim and left one plant in  the middle so he has a hiding place.  I recently moved (little over a month ago) to a new place.  Since moving, I haven't checked the  levels of water (until today) because at my old place, they had always been fine  Ã¢'¬' the pH used to be around 7.2, no ammonia, and very low levels of nitrate.  I checked the levels today and even went  out and bought new test kits in case they had expired.  The pH is about 6.0 <Too low... would keep neutral (7) or higher...> the lowest the  test kit will read, the ammonia is about 4.0, <...?! More than 1.0 is deadly toxic> and the nitrate is between  20-40. <I'd keep below twenty ppm>   I was really surprised,  because like I said, I change half the water twice a week.  I was also surprised that both ammonia  and nitrate existed at the same time in the tank. <Not I... your system is so/too small... the water changes too large... your biological cycling microbes are checked or bumped off too easily...>   I have been freaking out a little  because I have no idea how these levels got like this.  I changed the water last 2 days  ago.  After reading the levels, I  just now changed half of the water again and tested again, but there was no  change in results.  Also I checked  the level of the tap water and it is 6.8 so I think I will have to start using  pH up is that correct? <Yes... or just small amounts of baking soda, sodium bicarbonate... to the water that is to be added after changes> I don't  like the idea of using it, but I think I will have to.  I add some salt to the water when I change it about a tsp, because I am afraid of using more, even though I think  I should be adding more like a tbsp.  I am wondering if maybe the pH test kit is inaccurate because my water  isn't exactly freshwater anymore.  If there is a little salt, like a tbsp per 5 gallons, will the pH test  kit for freshwater not be accurate and will I need a saltwater test kit? <The kit is accurate for both likely... no worries> Harry seems to be acting great energetic, loves to eat.  I am  wondering if maybe when I switched the food, I may be feeding him too much now,  and maybe there is more waste and that is making more ammonia? <Maybe... Sabrina has just looked up the composition of this food... it's a bit high (42%) protein... from fishmeal... I would only feed this half the time... using greens et al. listed on WWM on Goldfish Nutrition the other half> I don't know,  just a guess.  About how many   pellets should he eat a day?  He can  eat about 10 in a min.  I would  guess that I give him around 20 a day, which seems like so much, but they say to feed what he can eat in 2 min. I feed him throughout the day.  Like 4 pellets every few hours or  so.  (And he is still always looking for  more food!) <Don't use this as an indication... I would not feed period if the ammonia is over one ppm... and would NOT adjust the pH till the ammonia is below one ppm (these two coupled together, high pH and ammonia presence, are much more toxic>   I bought a new plant today, one that is softer so in  case it scratches against him, it won't hurt him. <A live plant?> So what should I do at this point?  I am hesitant about using Amquel or any  of that stuff, because I don't like not knowing the levels of harmful  ammonia.  Should I just keep  changing the water every day about 50% until the levels improve and maybe use pH  up? <Do keep changing the water... but no more than 25% in one day, cut back/out feeding to an absolute minimum, don't change the pH... and do look into getting a larger system... at least twenty gallons>   And I'm also confused about why  the water is so acidic when the excess ammonia in the water should, in theory,  make it more alkaline.  Any  ideas? <The concentration of ammonia is too low to affect pH> Any advice or help you could   give me would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you so much! -Jessica <Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Swimming Erratically - Nutritional Disease? - 10/17/2005 Just recently my goldfish has been acting in a very peculiar way. It now swims on it's side and stays at the bottom of the tank for long periods of time and then starts to swim back on it's side again. I have found this very strange and was wondering if you could write back and tell me what is wrong with him and if there is anything I can do about it. <There is too little information here to go off, but start reading here, about nutritional disease of goldfish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and here, about goldfish systems/care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> Thank You <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish Nutritional Disease, Mouth Damage - 10/17/2005 I have a 7 year old Oranda with health problems. He always has been a swimmer at the top, but never seemed to bother him.  <More damaging/telling of his health than you might suspect....> For the past year he seemed to have an on/off swim bladder problem (couldn't get to the water surface). When on the bottom of tank, I hand fed him with Aquarian Tropical Flakes because they stuck together well enough to get them to his mouth.  <Really, flaked and pelleted foods are not adequate nutrition for goldfish.... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> He has been on the bottom of the tank now for about 2 months. Three weeks ago, I noticed he started breathing harder with his mouth always open. He never closes his mouth. I took him to the fish store where I got him and they looked into his mouth to see if anything was obstructing his throat. They saw nothing, but I see that his throat looks partially closed and he has raised worm-like areas and a few thick thread-like (maybe 1/4 inch) areas on both sides of his interior mouth/cheek area.  <Sounds like he may have physically damaged his mouth somehow.> A week ago I finished 2 treatments of Jungle Laboratories Fungus Clear tablets, but he is not any better. He still has a good appetite, but has to be hand fed and remains on the bottom of the tank, sometimes leaning to the right side or totally on his side. He is in a 10 gal. tank with only about 5 gals. in it because I thought the shallower water would help the swim bladder problem.  <This is far too small a system for him - but you are correct about maintaining a shallower water level for this fish.> The tank has a Whisper Internal Filter and a sponge filter. Do you have any advise on how I could improve his health?  <Sounds like you are doing well so far aside from too small a tank, and could learn a bit about goldfish nutrition from the link above.... also here, about systems/care of goldfish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> Vicki C. <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Goldfish Nutritional/Environmental Disease - 10/17/2005 Help! One of my two goldfish is floating on his side, and curled over into a C-shape. Their color is fine, and their scales look normal. Yesterday, both fish seemed fine, so I was quite shocked to find this one in such a bad way. He (or she, maybe) is still alive, but very lethargic. His top fin looks droopy, and he's not really trying to swim. I tried feeding them peas, but the sick one won't or can't eat. Normally I feed them TetraFin Goldfish flakes every day.  <Please read here on goldfish nutrition: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> After reading some of the other letters on this website, I went to the pet store and bought a water testing kit. I have a small tank (bad, I know) <Mm, small is subjective, and does not help me help you.... How small is 'small', in other words....?> with a bubbler and a live plant. Most of the readings were within normal range, according to the packaging (nitrite, 0 ppm; hardness, 120; alkalinity, 0; pH, 7; total ammonia, .25 ppm), <Ammonia should be zero> but the nitrate reading was way high, at 80 ppm.  <Dangerous.> I changed about 25% of the water in the tank.  <Need to do more of a water change than that, I fear. And keep doing, daily, until you have less than 20ppm nitrate.> Tomorrow I'm going to the pet store again to buy another plant and some water treatments (recommendations?) <Mm, no medications - just be sure you use a conditioner that neutralizes chlorine and chloramine.> Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I hope I can save this fish, but if I can't I would at least like to keep the other one healthy. They're just feeder fish, but I've grown quite attached to them. I've had them since July and they were doing so well! <Please also read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .> Thanks for your advice, -Caitlin <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Note the small "lesions" at the base of this animal's tail.

Another Bloaty Goldfish Question.... 10/12/05 I really enjoy your website and have learned a lot by reading it. Unfortunately, my goldfish, Blacklip, has been having problems off and on for about a year or so now. She started out going upside down periodically, then almost all of the time. She could right herself long enough to eat and then would flip back over and stay that way.  I tried no food for a few days then peas only; Epsom salts, Maracyn 2, Medigold goldfish food, homemade gel food, and Progold food. She improved some after a couple months of the Medigold, and she is better since I've switched to the Progold. But, she still goes upside down occasionally. Mostly, it happens when she eats and only lasts a few minutes. Is there anything else I should try, or just not worry about it--at least she is better than she was several months ago. <Really just needs a better diet - please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm  .... these animals need more veggies, less protein, in their diets. Blanched human consumption greens and live aquatic plants are the best foods to use.> Also, in the last couple of months, she started getting small "blisters" on her tail. They are opaque and sort of have a gel-like feel--like squeezing a jellyfish. They'll pop up, sometimes turn sort of reddish and then "burst" and disappear after a few weeks. <Sounds like "fish pox" or "carp pox" - a viral infection, rarely if ever fatal.... usually goes away on its own as you have seen. Can perhaps be affected by high nitrate. Try a search on our site and elsewhere on these keywords.> Her tail is left ragged and slightly red where the larger blisters have burst. I have done all sorts of research and have yet to come across anything like this. Could it be some sort of parasite?? <Unlikely.> She also has a black dot on her belly that's been around for months. It appeared about the same time as the blisters did. <Possibly the very same.> In addition, she has started losing some scales. They turn a little red, then seem to almost peel off-it often takes several days for the scale to fall off. She has just started losing scales a few weeks ago. I'm sending some pictures--They're not great, but maybe they will help. I've tried adding salt to the water in case it's a parasite, but it didn't seem to help much. Do you have any other ideas? <It does indeed look like "carp pox" to me.... Maintain optimal water quality, nutrition - looks like this is a very old fish, yes?> She and another goldfish, Streak (and a couple minnows) are in a 30 gallon tank with a Whisper over the back filter, a Fluval 204 canister filter, and a 'homemade" cartridge filter that pumps 250 gallons/hour through a 50 micron cartridge and a sponge. <All good> The goldfish eat ¼ teaspoon Progold morning and evening. In the morning, they also get 6-8 Spirulina flakes <Check the ingredients on these.... see if the primary ingredient is a fish or shrimp meal, or other high protein food.... and turn more toward veggie matter, if so.> and at night they share 3 peas in addition to the Progold. A couple times a week, they also get some spinach and occasionally munch on live Daphnia (maybe once a month--whenever I have extras from my work). <In all honesty, I would make vegetable matter (including live aquatic plants) the primary food of these fish.> The tank has been set up for a little more than a year (they were in a 20 gallon and when I moved them to the 30, I transferred a lot of their old water and filter material with them so as not to disrupt the biofilter). Ammonia and nitrites are not detectable, <Good.> pH=7.0, nitrates are high--40-60. <Ahh, very suspect. This is often so in cases of lymphocystis and "carp pox" in my experience.> I can't seem to get the nitrates down--I've tried Nitra-Sorb, ChemiPure, various additives and nothing works. Any suggestions?? <Water changes.... big ones.> My tap water does not have nitrates and neither do my other two aquaria. I've thought about adding plants. <A good plan. Genera Anubias, Microsorium, and Vesicularia will hold up against goldfish and grow in low-light conditions, and anacharis/elodea/Egeria will be happily consumed by the goldies - a good food for them.> I change 25-30% of the water once per week, unless the nitrates get above 60, then I add in another water change. Right now I'm using Easy Balance by Tetra for the nitrates, but it doesn't seem to help. <Don't add stuff to take away stuff - do some very large water changes, make sure your filters are not harboring large amounts of organic material.> I don't use any other water additives--I have well water, so there is no chlorine, etc. <Does the well water have detectable nitrate?> The well water goes through a carbon filter before going into the tank. I have also thought about putting them in my 55 gallon tank along with 2 adult African clawed frogs. They don't have any water quality problems and I'm sure they'd get along fine. But, if Blacklip may have some sort of parasite or something the frogs could "catch", I don't want to house them together. <I don't think this is "catchy", except insofar as the parameters of the water that help to encourage this viral disease to occur might affect the other fish similarly.> I've read conflicting opinions about housing them together on various websites? <The frogs do prefer warmer water than goldfish prefer. Better to isolate and fix the problem with the goldfish tank in my opinion.> Speaking of food earlier, the goldfish eat ¼ teaspoon Progold morning and evening. In the morning, they also get 6-8 Spirulina flakes and at night they share 3 peas in addition to the Progold. A couple times a week, they also get some spinach and occasionally munch on live Daphnia (maybe once a month - whenever I have extras from my work). The goldfish are bigger than the frogs, so the frogs couldn't possibly eat them. The frogs are hand fed, so food shouldn't be an issue--the goldfish would eat on the opposite side of the tank than the frogs usually do anyway. If one got sick, I would probably treat in a separate tank, although there are a few medicines that frogs can tolerate and respond to. Do you know if there are any other reasons they wouldn't do well in the same tank? <Mostly just temperature, and I don't think it's a necessary move.> Thanks for any suggestions you may have for my goldfish. <Glad to be of service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets....  10/10/2005 Hi <Hello.> I wrote a while ago about my large (body is 3.5") fantail, Lola, who was just staring off into space all the time. <Sabrina with you, today - please for future reference include previous correspondences when possible, as there are a number of us answering questions, and plenty of questions being answered; without the name of the crewmember or the previous correspondence, we have no idea where to route replies or continued correspondences.> Everything checked out OK with water quality and Lola's health. I started feeding peas and she gradually became more active -- and obsessed with eating. <Sounds like a goldfish!> You guys suggested I get her a dither fish. Today I put a medium (body 2") fantail goldfish in with Lola. Lola immediately started chasing the new fish. So I fed them both peas --at the same time. Lola chased the new fish aggressively until it barfed up the food it had just eaten.  <Mm, it probably didn't actually regurgitate, just spat it out.> Lola immediately ate the barf.  <My guess is the new fish did not know quite what to do with the peas yet, and Lola just relished this uncertainty. Give it some time.> Now Lola is only mildly annoyed with the new fish. The aggressive chasing has stopped; more like a moderate teasing now. The new fish is not happy.  <Give it some time.> The dorsal fin is not clamped however. Is this aggression about not feeding them enough?  <Possibly, but could just be even friendly. Or stranger yet, the newcomer may be female, and Lola may be a mature male. Again, give it some time.> I give the larger Lola 3 peas a day. Is it about territory?  <Unlikely.... goldfish don't tend to be territorial.> They are in a 20 gallon tank with filter. Is the tank too small? <Will be in the long run.> Is this just "getting to know you" behavior? <Likely.> Is Lola afraid she will not get enough food with a new friend in the tank? <Perhaps.> Would a munchie plant help the situation? If so what kind? <An excellent idea. I would recommend Egeria/elodea/anacharis.... A few species of plants fall under these names; all grow similarly and goldfish love to eat 'em.> Should I separate them permanently if it continues? <Again, give it some time.> Should I also feed them frozen brine shrimp? <If you like.> Besides green veggies and rice, what else would round out their diet well? I read so much about their digestive problems and have eliminated the dry food (even soaked dry food). <Sounds like you're doing great so far. Some frozen brine would be okay to add to this, or frozen bloodworms once in a while.> Do they need protein from other than plant sources? Can they eat Abelmoschus manihot leaves? (It's a human food crop in the tropics and loaded with protein.) <I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. I thank you for mentioning this plant, though; I just had an opportunity to learn about Abelmoschus - apparently okra is in this genus! How neat! But, again, I have no idea whatsoever if A. manihot leaves can be eaten by fish.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Tell me what to do and I will do it!  <Lola is indeed a lucky fish to have you as a pal.> Lola is a family pet and I hate to see her being so mean to her new friend--such as it is. <Give it some time; hopefully this will sort itself out in a week or two.> As usual I thank you for your valuable advice and for your incredible web site! <And thank you very much for these kind words, Steve! I do hope all goes well with this.> Steve Erickson <Wishing you, Lola, and the newcomer well, -Sabrina>
Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.... - II - 10/12/05
Hi, Sabrina <Hello, again.> Thanks again for your advice. As you said, the situation is quieting down.  <Ah, good.> In fact, Lola is back to staring off into space, motionless. The new fish, Golda, doesn't understand Lola's behavior and tries to rouse Lola into swimming around. I expect she'll be back to her old self soon.  <Yes, they will sort things out with time.> It's amazing that she has these emotional phases. But that's why we all care for her so much!  <And a good reason, too.> Regarding A. manihot: I can send you some seeds to grow the plant. It's very easy to grow in any climate.  <If this can be done legally, I'd absolutely love to do so. Where are you from?> Right now most of the garden is fading but the 7 foot Abelmoschus is still blooming.  <Wow!> Perhaps you guys could experiment with feeding the leaves and flowers--which taste like lettuce-- to goldfish. With its high protein content, I suspect that it would be an excellent food source for them. <Certainly a worthwhile idea!!> Thanks again. <And thank you, as well.> Steve <All the best, -Sabrina>
Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.... - III - 10/12/2005
Hi Sabrina <Aloha, Steve.> I live in New England and I am sure there are no restrictions on Abelmoschus manihot.  <Ah, very good. I thought you were outside the US for some reason.> I originally bought the plant at a local garden center. I start the seeds in the early spring and mid-June (for a later crop like now). I'm not sure if there are restrictions in your area. You can check on Google. Let me know--I have lots of seeds! <I will find out, and let you know - I am indeed very interested now.> Steve <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Great Start On Goldfish - 10/09/2005 Hello! <Good morning! Sabrina with you today, on holiday in Hawai'i> Wonderful site, I've been searching and reading for a while now. <Ahh, good. That's the best start you can give your fish.> I have a 29g tank set up for a young calico lionhead (who I do not have yet, he is on hold). <Beeeee-autiful! I'm assuming you plan to set up and cycle this tank first, eh? SO glad to read this. You're off to a great start.> I was originally going to fall into the "goldfish/ Pleco " trap, but knew I should wait until I had done more research. <I'm smiling bigger with every sentence!> I plan on just the one lionhead, and then upping to a 55g when he is bigger. (Unless you suggest making the switch now.)  <Ahh, wonderful!! Unless he's already *massive*, the 29 will be a fine home for a long while. Do consider getting him a couple pals when he's into the 55 (or sooner, if they're all quite small), as goldfish seem more comfortable with conspecifics around.> Since the Pleco route can be dangerous, <Mm, I wouldn't say so much 'dangerous' as 'undesirable'.... Common plecs grow to be massive.... 18" or so.... and prefer somewhat warmer temps than are ideal for goldfish. If you want tankmates of a different species, look to the weather/dojo loach.> I'd still be interested in another bottom algae eater "fish". <Mm.... Some of the smaller plecs might be of consideration, here; but you'll still have the temperature preference issue.... I know clown plecs can hail from surprising cold waters, but they're more of a wood and meat eater, if I recall correctly (no guarantee of that!).> In addition to the best filtration I can find, I also plan to vacuum and water change once a week, so I thought a snail might be a good choice. <Sure, if you like snails.> I've done some reading on the apple snails, but can't seem to find a lot of info on snails AND goldfish in the same tank. Will one snail/one goldfish get along? <I'm sure.> What extra food/attention will I need to give the snail? <Plant matter.... Likely same fare as what you will be offering the goldfish.... Blanched human consumption greens (spinach, cucumber, zucchini....), live aquatic plants like Egeria/elodea/anacharis....> In a 29 or 55, is more than one snail necessary? <Mm, 'necessary'? Depends upon what you wish the snails to do.... Be pets? Eat algae? Eat plants?> How big will the snails get? <They do call them 'apple' snails for a reason.... Make a fist. Imagine it's a snail. There ya go!> Will our heroes make it through the treacherous mines?? (It's Friday. I'm giddy) <Heh!! It's Sunday morning (wow, sorry for the delay in response time!) and I'm almost giddy, too. Quite an ocean view here for answering fish questions!!> Thanks so much for the help. :)  <You bet.> P.S. If you know of any definitive resources on the differences (if any) between ranchu and lionheads I'd be interested. It's a neat subject matter! <In all honesty, I do not. If you do come across any, send some links my way; I'd like to take a look. Also, I'd like to touch a bit on the algae janitorial work you expect of the snail(s).... There are other methods of algae control; perhaps the best/most efficient is by outcompeting the algae for nutrients with other (vascular) plants. Plants like Anubias sp., java fern (Microsorium pteropus) and java moss (Vesicularia dubyana) will hold up to most plant eaters, goldfish and snails included. Do please take a look through our Aquatic Plants articles, about fighting algae and such.... You may find that you don't need an algae consumer, and can stock more around what you like than what you think your system might (or might not) need. I'm not at all trying to discourage you from an applesnail, mind you! They're pretty cool animals. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 
Great Start On Goldfish - II - 10/10/2005
Thank you so much for the reply! <Oh, sure thing!> I was looking for the snail as algae control/pet. I decided on a golden apple snail, since according to applesnail.net http://applesnail.net , the Pomacea bridgesii prefers and does well on artificial fish food, along with dead and rotting plants. So, another question to come to mind would be- What types of artificial foods (in addition to peas, blanched greens, and eventually possibly live Water Sprite) would be good for both lionhead and snail? <Anything primarily vegetable in nature.... Spirulina flakes/pellets/wafers, frozen prepared vegetable fish foods (like Ocean Nutrition's "Formula Two").... Plenty of options. Sushi Nori is an easy option.> I was recommended gel, and I'm not sure if there's a brand preference. <In all honesty, I'm not familiar with gel fish foods.> I have floating pellets and flakes, but after reading more, I'd really like to avoid that swim bladder problem!  <A very good problem to avoid.> I pick up Charlie (the lionhead) this evening, and am waiting until my LFS gets some golden apple snails in. Any advice is appreciated!  <I imagine the snail will enjoy any of the same veggie matter you offer the goldfish.> Thank you again!! <Any time, my friend. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Great Start On Goldfish - III - 10/12/2005
Ok, last question, I swear! My lionhead is now happy in his new tank! <Ah, good.> He's very friendly, and even comes to the front of the tank (when I was expecting a much longer adjusting period). He does spend some time in his chosen "spot" tucked behind a bit of rock, and on the gravel, but it doesn't seem like a sick or unhappy habit. I feel he's just settling in.  <Likely so.> Now Charlie is a small fellow, about 1 1/2", and the bubbler I have in there is pretty big- a flat round disc about 2 inches across, placed under the gravel. I was concerned that he wasn't "enjoying" the bubbles, and felt trapped on the "quiet" side of the tank. I just turned it off briefly, to see if he prefers the lessened agitation. Should I hold off on the bubbler until he's a bit bigger, or is his aversion to swimming the whole tank just due to him settling in? <Could be. You could get a valve for the airline to shut off some of the flow so it would be less intense, if you like. These are usually sold at large/r fish stores, in packages of things like "T" splitters and such, near the air pumps and air tubing. There are brass ones, and clear or green plastic ones.> I searched "goldfish" and "bubbler" and "small", but didn't find anything related to the goldfish size. (Or lack thereof). Your site has been SO very helpful, and I appreciate the patience for my multiple questions. <Glad to be of service.> Can't I send a box of cookies to the Crew or something? <<A box of See's dark chocolates are always a good way to go.  Marina>> <Mmmm, peanut butter with chocolate chips? Just kidding.... your thanks and the fact that you have learned something that you can now pass on to others is more than thanks enough!> :) Julie <Wishing you the best, -Sabrina>

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>

Re: Peas?! & Goldfish  9/29/05 Hi, <Hi again - I am so sorry that I didn't see this e-mail until so much after you sent it...it somehow got lost in the shuffle!> I emailed couple of wks ago (amateur with fish here) and Jorie (lovely) gave me loads of useful information. <I'm glad I could help.> I just wanted to quickly ask about...peas. I bought some frozen peas and put them in the tank - the fish pecked at them so to speak but didn't eat them, following day I decided I would squash them so they would be smaller and maybe they would eat them (thought they don't have teeth to break the pea so I would help out?!) They seemed to suck the bits of pea in their mouths then spit it back out!! How rude - they were birds eye as well not some cheap rubbish brand! Should I try sweet corn, my fish obviously don't like peas (neither do I though) and I had to pick the peas outta the tank as they weren't having any of it! Any advice?? <Although I don't have goldfish, I've tried feeding small bits of peas to constipated Bettas - some will take the peas, others won't.  I think it's just a matter of taste.  One thing you can try is soaking the pea (I wouldn't "squash" it, but maybe cut it into 3-4 smaller pieces, if the whole pea is too large) in garlic extract, something like Kent's Garlic Xtreme (or I'm told that pure garlic oil that comes in capsules in the grocery store spice aisle will work also)...couple of drops in a cup of water to thaw the peas in, and this may enhance the taste enough for the fish to show some interest.  You certainly can try corn, but I don't know how well that would go over either.  Basically, you are trying to get some "roughage" in the fish's diet...if you can't get the fish to accept peas, corn, other veggies, you could try an herbivore flake or pellet food as a supplement to the fish's normal diet.> Thanks in advance - Cheryl. <Again, so sorry this response is so late, but I certainly hope this helps you!  Best, Jorie>

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>

Goldfish And Food Aggression? - 09/20/2005 Hi! <Ahoy thar, matey!> I was wondering what to do about one of my black moors: he fights with the other one in my tank over food and actually pushes the other one away with his nose (there are only 2 fish in the tank). As a result, the other fish gets less food. Should I feed more? Separate?  Please advise. <I would recommend that you try offering live plants like Egeria/anacharis/elodea that can just be left in for them to munch; also, blanched human-consumption veggies like zucchini and cucumber also are a good plan.  See here for more:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm .  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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>

Goldfish Won't Eat I have checked and checked the internet for help with my goldfish but cannot find my situation anywhere. I have 3 goldfish in a 55 gallon tank (also 2 algae eaters...1 large and 1 small...and 1 other little white bottom feeder who never bothers anyone ever).  They are almost 4 years old and have been together since they were babies. I have tested the water (pH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia) and everything is perfect. One has suddenly stopped eating.  The other 2 are as active as ever.  The troubled one has always seemed a bit more susceptible to stress than the other 2. There are no visible signs of disease or infection.  He just suddenly will not eat.  I feed my fish by hand a lot and he won't even eat if I force the food to his mouth.  He closes his mouth tight and turns away.  I know he's hungry because at first he goes to the top to eat, then it's almost like he smells the food to figure out what it is and decides to eat nothing. I feed them flakes, floating pellets, sinking pellets, krill, blood worms, Tubifex worms and brine shrimp.  I don't think he's even eating the sinking pellets...I can't wait forever to watch after I feed them, but I think the other 2 fish may be the ones eating the pellets that fall to the gravel. When I first noticed a problem developing, he would only eat blood worms, now nothing at all. Since he hasn't eaten for 6 days now, I am really scared for him.  Again, he is under no signs of stress, no gasping for air, no flying around the tank or against anything, he just won't eat. I do water changes daily, anywhere from 5 to 10 gallons and I use a water conditioner to get rid of the chlorine from the tap.  The filter is undergravel with 3 bubble stones and a power head that I use only during daytime hours to get as much oxygen in there as possible. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  If you need any more information about my tank or the inhabitants, please let me know and I will respond immediately. Thank you so much! Kim <<Dear Kim; Goldfish are herbivores. It seems to me you are feeding them quite a bit of protein! It may be wise to feed some Spirulina flake, buy a high quality food with Spirulina as the FIRST ingredient listed on the label. Also you can try to feed your goldfish some shelled peas (buy frozen and cook them for 5 minutes), even broccoli heads (blanched to soften). Your fish may be suffering from vitamin deficiencies. There are liquid fish vitamins available at most decent pet stores, you can soak your goldfish pellets once or twice a week, also, to ensure good health. The other thing that caught my attention was the undergravel filter. These do need proper maintenance. In other words, you should be tearing your tank down every three months or so to completely clean beneath the plastic grating, as this is where all the crud gets trapped. This crud will break down organically, and add toxins to your water. There are no test kits for these toxic gases (e.g. hydrogen sulfide!). I generally try to talk people out of buying undergravels, unless they are using reverse-flow powerheads on them, but even still, they can give you headaches. There are SO many efficient, easy to maintain hang-on advanced filters on the market nowadays that undergravels are not necessary. If you have not cleaned the undergravel filter in your tank, it is probably time to do so. There are precautions to take, however. You can't remove the UG plate when the fish are in the tank because if you disturb the substrate, you can possibly release gases and instantly kill all the fish in the tank. Yes, it happens! The best method is as follows: Carefully siphon 50% of the tank water into a Rubbermaid bin on the floor. Catch all the fish in the tank and transfer them to the bin. Try not to disturb any plants or decor while you catch them. Transfer the heater, and put in an airstone or secondary filter for aeration while you work on the tank. Once the fish are removed, you can then remove all the decorations. Live plants can be gently placed into another bucket, and covered with damp paper towels or a bit more tank water. Remove the UG plate. Now comes the tricky part...you need to clean the gravel without harming the beneficial bacteria. NOT an easy chore, and the reason why UG filters are so annoying. If you DON'T clean the UG filter, you risk poisoning your fish, and if you DO clean the UG filter, you risk ammonia spikes. At any rate, you should still have half a tank full of water, so siphoning the gravel should be easy. If you run out of water (siphons work fast...) just add a bit of new water, DE-chlorinated. If you would prefer to remove the gravel and rinse it in a bucket, do so, but again, use DE-chlorinated water, so you can try to preserve as much bacteria as possible. You may still have an ammonia spike, but just test the water and do the water changes accordingly. You can also add Bio-Spira, found at your LFS. It is the ONLY biological support product that I have found to actually work as it's supposed to. As you can see, an undergravel filter can be a bit of work to have. You might want to at least add additional filtration, like a Penguin BioWheel, so when you DO have to clean your UG, you don't have to rely on it as the sole provider of biological filtration. Or run your UG in reverse-flow. Your LFS will have reverse-flow powerheads that you can buy for this purpose. Best of luck! -Gwen>>
Goldfish Won't Eat II
He finally started showing signs of ick...small white raised spots on his head.  The other 2 goldfish seem pretty close to normal. I know that UG filters are difficult to maintain but that's all I've ever known and used.  I've had this tank with these fish for 4 years now with no problems.  I do every step of cleaning on a very regular basis and my fish are always wonderfully happy...they're actually pretty spoiled. Anyway, I bought Quick Cure and have been treating with 55 drops once a day (I have a 55 gallon tank) for the last 5 days.  My fish with ick spots just seems to be getting worse...has about 10 spots on his head, some bigger than others, and most disturbing to me is that he now appears to have big swollen blisters on his gills.  I've never seen anything like it before so I don't know if it's related to the ick thing or if it's an entirely different thing. My other 2 goldfish eat pretty normally and regular, but the one sick fish doesn't eat AT ALL and he hasn't that I've seen for probably about 10 days now.  He's starting to thin out, he pretty much has no energy, just breathes pretty labored, stays around the middle of the tank, not at the top where the oxygen is. I just want to make sure I can treat with Quick Cure for more than the 5 days it says on the bottle.  I know these white nodules need to fall off his head before I can get anywhere with this but they take so long to fall off.  I tried raising the water temperature by about 2-3 degrees but haven't noticed any improvement yet. Also, can I administer Aquarium Salt in the tank at the same time I'm treating with Quick Cure? I just don't want to overwhelm my fish with so many new things in their tank that they're not used to. I am just so frustrated, I don't know what else to do.  I love my fish like I would my own children and I'm watching Forrest (the sick one) aging by about 50 years every single day.  It's all on his head, the spots, the blisters, everything.  I believe I am following all of the suggested treatments listed on your website but my one fish remains sick and actually looks sicker than before I started treating it.  He eats NOTHING but just hangs around.  No fin rot, no drooping fins...everything about him looks okay except his poor little old man head.  All wrinkled with spots and big fat raised blisters on his gills.  Is it maybe too late for him now?  Or should I be more patient?  I just don't want him to suffer unnecessarily. Also, I administer the Quick Cure at night right before I turn their lights out, then the next day, when they're read to wake up and (hopefully) eat, I do a partial water change just to remove the floating debris and the debris resting in the gravel.  I replace it with tap water with Tetra AquaSafe added.  After doing a water change like this the morning after medicine has been put into the tank, do I need to add more medicine to compensate for the amount of water I just replaced?  Or, do I strictly stick to administering the Quick Cure just once a day with one drop per gallon of water? Please help!!! Thanks so much for your previous response!!!  I appreciate it more than you know! Kim <<Kim; I advise you to try removing the sick fish to a hospital tank, and start using an antibiotic on him. It may not seem like it to you, but the fish could have ich as a secondary infection due to some internal problem. See if your LFS carries Metronidazole, or Internal Parasite Guard by Jungle: http://www.junglelabs.com/pages/details.phtml?item=NJ054 which is added to the water, great for fish that are not eating. Yes, you can treat with Quick Cure for up to 5 days, but then switch over to the antibiotic with a bit of SALT in the water (one teaspoon per 3 gallons). Also, I honestly believe your UG filter is causing the fish to become sick...Hydrogen sulfide is a nasty gas that can be very slowly released into your tank water without you knowing, EXCEPT by the response of your fish. Sick fish for no reason could very well be related to your UG filter. Testing the water, as you have done, is all we can do, but there are no tests at the LFS for hydrogen sulfide. I do realize you have been using this filter for years with no previous problems, but I honestly believe it is time for you to remove the UG and advance to a better form of filtration. My recommendation is an Eheim 2217, or even an Eheim Pro. No, I don't work for Eheim :P They are just the best filters available to us average fishkeepers, and worth every cent. In any case, all you can do now is treat the fish and keep testing the water. -Gwen>>

Feeding Mishap My Goldfish Lucky is 8 years old. I have had him since he was a little grey fish. I won him at a carnival tossing balls into fishbowls. Anyways, my little cousin tried to feed him and poured a whole lot of food flakes in the tank. BY the time I realized it the food had been there some time. He was fine earlier but now he is floating upside down. I figure this is that bladder disease but I am concerned on what I should do first and if he will make it. He is strong, orange and about the size of my palm. He is not moving much and popping a little but still upside down. What steps should I take now to help him. Fasting...peas? I did change his water to get out the debris in his tank. Help!!-R <<Dear R, Is he a fantail or regular comet? How big is the tank, and what size water change did you do? How often do you normally do water changes? If possible, test the water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, this will help us understand things better. Basically, he should not be floating. If you dump an entire container of food into a healthy tank, usually a few simple water changes are enough to save the day. This sounds more like a combination of not enough regular water changes followed by too much food being dumped and decaying over time, followed by a lack of oxygen, high ammonia, and who knows what else...how long was the food in the tank before you did the water change? Something tells me you will need to do quite a few more water changes before your fish will improve. I hope you can do so in time. -Gwen>>

Goldfish and Pleco nutrition Hello- <Hello.> Right off hand id like to thank you for taking the time to read my message. <Glad to have the opportunity to help.> There area few things I'm am concerned about.  Firstly, I'm worried that my goldfish are getting too much protein, and I had read that it is good to give them vegetables to balance out their system, but they wont eat anything except their fish food, and blood worms. They're completely uninterested in spinach, lettuce, nor will they eat tiny pieces of cut up carrots.  They spit them right back out...  I cant seem to find anything they like! <Try frozen/thawed peas (just squeeze the shell off), blanched zucchini or cucumber, and offer them some anacharis/elodea/Egeria plants to eat - these plants should be quite inexpensive at your local fish or pond store.> Also, I just bought a gold nugget plec. <Oh, one of my favorites!> I purchased algae wafers to drop in after my goldfish are fed for him to eat, because I don't recognize any significant amounts of algae... the goldfish are eating these.  I'm worried he may not be getting the nutrition he needs either. <Well, to be honest, this plec (L-018/L-085, L-081, or L-177, all Baryancistrus sp.), is actually a meat eater.  I doubt that he'll ever accept algae wafers, but he would benefit from a bit of blanched cucumber or zucchini once in a while.  Offer him meaty foods, like frozen raw shrimp (just like you would eat), frozen bloodworms (from the fish store), or frozen prepared foods like Ocean Nutrition's "Formula One" (my meat-eatin' Hypancistrus plecs LOVE this).> Please help.  I don't want my plec to starve or my fish to get sick or die!! <Try the above suggestions, I'm sure they'll take some of those offerings.  The plec may be a bit tough to feed at first, as they're a bit skittish during the day, so you might try using a veggie-clip (like the ones for saltwater fish feeding) to get a piece of shrimp near him just after lights-out.> Thanks,  -Shiga Ryukin <Wishing you and your fishes well,  -Sabrina>

Constipated Goldfish?  3/16/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here tonight> Dear Crew, I have two Comet Goldfish.  One silver, the other orange.  I have had them for almost 10 years.   <That's great, you must be doing something right!> They are in a 30 gallon rectangular tank with a box filter an aerator.  The silver one has developed a case of severe bloating in its lower abdomen.  It's blown to almost 3 times its normal size.  Its scales are not popping off, but its skin is becoming very stretched.  This started almost 5 months ago and it only gets worse.  I'm assuming that its constipation because the fish is lively and still eats.  Also, I've read that fish usually die of parasites and whatnot within a few weeks.  It does not hide in the corner and it seems to have its bearings correct.  It does not float upside down.  It still can dart very quickly around the tank. From what I understand about dropsy it does not exhibit any signs of it (scales normal, fins normal, behavior normal).  There are no outward signs of infection of any kind.  Only the silver fish has this condition.  The orange fish is still lively as ever.  At the start, I believed it to be some sort of bacterial infection.  So, on the advice of the pet store guy I changed the water completely and treated the tank and fish with broad spectrum antibiotics.   <Water changes are always good.  I do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks.  Some say that on a goldfish tank, 90% weekly water changes is not considered too aggressive.> I followed the directions on the box for the full two weeks.  No change in the fish.  Then I suspected it to be constipation so I tried boiled and skinned peas for an entire week.  I gave up on that when the fish exhibited no change except for a more bloated abdomen.  I went back to the pet store.  The guy told me to try internal parasite meds (I don't recall the name).  That didn't work.  A month after that, I heard about giving the fish some peas AND spinach.  I tried that, no change.  I've been going on and off of peas for the remainder of the time. <Peas certainly can't hurt & are a good addition to any GF's diet.> I read in an email answer (archived on your website) that sometimes the intestine is obstructed and there is nothing that can be done.  However, for the past 5 months the fish has been--albeit slowly--defecating.  This morning I saw it expel some fibrous green stuff (I'm assuming its peas/spinach) along with what appeared to be two air bubbles in the "sausage casing." <That's normal.  I'm glad it's still defecating.> I don't want it to die because of something like constipation. <I'd like to see you try adding Epsom salt to it's tank (or a quarantine tank, if you have one). 1tbsp/5gal for 2 weeks.  Do 50% water changes every other day adding whatever salt you have removed.  See if that helps.  If not, write again & we'll see what else we can come up with.>     Please give me your advice.  Thanks. - Paul P.S. I read somewhere that giving the fish some cod liver oil via a dropper in its mouth will relieve constipation, but it sounds risky and I'm a little skeptical. <Please capitalize your "I"s next time, I have to fix all of them before posting your question on our site.  Try the Epsom salt 1st--PP>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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