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FAQs About Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish 1

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner


Oranda swim bladder and/or worms <Hi there Magnus here to help> I have had an Oranda for 3 years and he was a year or two old when and older gentleman gave him to me as a gift for my new fish pond.  I thought it not a good place for him to live, but had to so as not to offend my elderly friend. <I have seen Orandas live quite a long life in out door ponds.  Provided that you makes sure they get the food they need.  Comets and Sarasa goldfish are faster and often times get to the food before the slower large bodied Orandas.> As he has gotten older, he stays to himself and not with other goldfish. <I have found that true with some of my larger Orandas.> I've saved him several times due to his equilibrium being off as he was caught in plants several times each time caught standing on his head in the water. He is also HUGE in the backend & his back is VERY arched...more than normal. so much so that he stays slanted downhill and has done so for the last year. <having an increased/swelling of the backend and an issue with his buoyancy is kind of unusual. If it has been a gradual process it might just be that the fish had poor genetics to start with and it's his natural body frame.  Many goldfish have poor genetics due to the sure number of goldfish breed to meet the pet trade demand. The buoyancy might simply be the fish had swallowed air and can't expel it, though this wouldn't explain the swelling. If his whole body had begun to get larger it might be an issue of dropsy.  His scales would be protruding all over his body due to the internal swelling.  But, worst case scenario is, it might be that your goldfish has an internal tumor that is now pressing on his swim bladder and causing him to loose balance.> Could he have some kind of worms that would make his backend so overly large? <I have never heard of a worm that will do this in fish.> I have a red cap that is about his age, but doesn't have the bloated look or swim bladder problem.  How can I correct BOTH problems? <You can try and add medicine to the water, but if it's dropsy it's a hard condition to cure.  If it's cancer then there isn't anything you can do.  I would start off with simple changes, such as feeding the fish with sinking pellets.  feeding the fish with floating foods allows them to gulp in air that many fish are not able to expel.  This might help the fish slightly with it's buoyancy problem, but as for the swelling it's another matter.  I'm not sure what sort of medicine to be used that would make any difference, I don't feel like the swelling you described is treatable.> The Oranda is my most prized fish and would hate to loose him.  Thanks. <You might want to visit the site www.goldfishinfo.com  You can look at their info, and visit their links. They not only offer info, but many of their links show pictures of illnesses and methods to cure them.  Best of luck with your fish. -Magnus.>


Goldfish Bloat Hi, We have a large goldfish (at least 10 inches) who is in trouble. She is extremely bloated. She has been like this for several months. Her symptoms are very similar to a letter that you have on your site called "Constipated Goldfish?" from someone named Paul. We have had her in a separate tank now for a couple of weeks using Epsom salts (2 Tbls. per 10 gallons) and changing the water frequently as you suggested. She is being feed the inside of peas mixed with salmon oil. She is still defecating, but she continues to grow larger. Her scales are beginning to pop out a bit in the last couple of days, but this may be because her skin is stretched so tight. If she had dropsy, wouldn't she have died by now? She is still fairly active, swimming around the tank. Any suggestions where to go from here? Thanks for your help. Doug & Janis <<Dear Doug and Janis; I am sorry to say that once the scales start to protrude, the fish is near the end. Although as long as she is eating, you may be able to feed her goldfish pellets soaked in medication, which may help save her. You need to buy some metronidazole from your LFS. For each feeding, you take 1/2 a tablet, crush it with a mortar and pestle, stir the powder into a few tablespoons of tank water until it's dissolved, add pellets and let them absorb the medicated water for about 10 minutes (until they expand) then feed to your goldfish as usual. Do this for two weeks. You should begin to see signs of her improvement after a week. You may need to treat her this way for up to three weeks. Sounds long, but if you stop too soon, you may not have eradicated all the infection inside her. Also, there is no guarantee that her internal organs are still undamaged. Usually protruding scales signify internal pressure which can cause irreversible damage. Still, you can try and see if you can save her. Good luck. -Gwen>>


Goldfish Swimming Trouble I have a Orange Oranda Goldfish. The fish has been around for about 5 years and I know she has swim Bladder because she swims upside down. (not all the time) Now the goldfish is upside down and on her underneath there is a red streak. Is the goldfish bleeding inside. What can I do???? There has to be a treatment. PLEASE HELP MAMA FISH. Please email me back ASAP!!! I do not have much time. Thank you for your Time. Christine <<Dear Christine; you need to get your water tested at your LFS for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. In the meantime, do a waterchange. You may need to do quite a few more. Also, you will need to buy and feed your goldfish some medicated food. I hope she is still able to eat. If not, it may be too late. Goldfish need to be fed a high fibre diet to prevent problems such as this. Unfortunately, when internal infection sets in, like in your fishes case, it is hard to predict whether she will make it or not. Feeding her food with an antibiotic or antibacterial ingredient will help. A high fibre diet will also help. And try giving her some chopped, cooked and skinned frozen peas. Ask at your LFS what medications they have available for internal infections. And get your water quality under control with those waterchanges! Good luck- Gwen>>

Goldfish Swimming Trouble II Gwen, I took you advise in trying to feed the fish peas. The peas sink to the bottom of the tank. What should I do??/ I also tested for ammonia and test showed safe zone. (medium yellow). Do you have any other suggestions. Thank you, Christine <<Christine, did you test nitrite and nitrate? Equally important! Also, did you do a waterchange? Don't worry about the peas, just use a net to scoop them back out. You may have to keep trying until goldie understands that peas are food. Generally that isn't a problem with goldfish, they consume anything ravenously. I must assume her appetite isn't up to par. Please, do some waterchanges, test the nitrites and nitrates, and get to the store for an antibiotic. Trust me, your fish will not heal by itself, not at this point. You need to do something. -Gwen>> >Goldfish Swimming Trouble >I have a Orange Oranda Goldfish. The fish has been around for about 5 years >and I know she has swim Bladder because she swims upside down. (not all the >time) Now the goldfish is upside down and on her underneath there is a red >streak. Is the goldfish bleeding inside. What can I do???? >There has to be a treatment. PLEASE HELP MAMA FISH. Please email me back >ASAP!!! >I do not have much time. Thank you for your Time. Christine ><<Dear Christine; you need to get your water tested at your LFS for >ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. In the meantime, do a waterchange. You may >need to do quite a few more. Also, you will need to buy and feed your >goldfish some medicated food. I hope she is still able to eat. If not, it >may be too late. Goldfish need to be fed a high fibre diet to prevent >problems such as this. Unfortunately, when internal infection sets in, like >in your fishes case, it is hard to predict whether she will make it or not. >Feeding her food with an antibiotic or antibacterial ingredient will help. >A high fibre diet will also help. And try giving her some chopped, cooked >and skinned frozen peas. Ask at your LFS what medications they have >available for internal infections. And get your water quality under control >with those waterchanges! Good luck. -Gwen>>

Goldfish Swimming Trouble - III? Gwen, Thank you so much for helping me with "Mama Fish". I have treated the 30 gallon tank twice now with an antibiotic called KANACYN. Have you had of it?  On the box it says for hemorrhage, red body patches, internal infection, bacterial infections, protruding or loss of scales, and furunculosis. Would you suggest another antibiotic or is this one ok???  I have also done a 25% water change on Friday. She is still upside down, but the red spot on her stomach is fading a little. She is not eating the small pellets I am feeding her (she ate them on Thursday). What do you suggest I feed her something else and please supply the name of the food and possible medicated food for her. Thank you for your help. Christine <<Christine, you are most welcome. Yes, I have heard of Kanacyn, it's a good medication. I hope it will help clear up your problem. I would try to do some more water changes, since clean water is half the battle. Do your 25% water changes before you add each dose of meds. It will help. As she heals, her appetite should start to come back. If you notice her interest in food, pick up some medicated food from your LFS, they will be able to show you what they have in store that you can buy. If they have no medicated food, email me back and I will try to help you further. -Gwen>>

Goldfish Swimming Trouble IV Gwen, I know I emailed you earlier.  She has these black patches, not very big (its looks like mold). The black is on her sides.  The red spot has almost gone away, very little there.  She is still not eating. Will this hurt the fish not eating?  She is also still upside on the top of the water. (10:00am)  Now Mama Fish is on the Bottom, still breathing (2:00pm)  What should I do? I do not want her to die. But it might be her time. Thank you for all your help.  Christine <<Christine, from the pic it looks like she may not make it. I would be surprised if she pulls through. I'm sorry, but I think the treatment was not started quickly enough, the disease may have progressed too far for you to save her now. There is a small chance she could still make it, if you do DAILY 50% water changes and re-medicate every second day, but it's a long shot. Worth a try, IME. -Gwen>>

Goldfish Swimming Trouble - V Dear Gwen, I wanted to let you know that "Mama Fish" did not make it. She die Saturday morning. We have cleaned the tank and buried the Mama fish in my flower bed.  Now, we are going to taking a break from having fish probably until the Fall.  Just to let you know I started the treatment before I contacted you. the total number of treatment was three. I wanted to thank you for all your help during the past week. Have a great summer and try not to work too hard. Thank you again !! Christine <<Christine; Sorry to hear about Mama fish. You did the best you could, though it's too bad it ended this way. I hope you will continue to try your hand at fishkeeping, it can be great fun. Normally I would advise you to start again right away, but summertime can be difficult to keep up with the maintenance since we are generally much busier, so starting again in the fall may be the best idea. I hope you will email me back to let me know all about your new set-up :) Have a great summer. -Gwen>>


URGENT FISH EMERGENCY!!!! my goldfish is floating he cant swim down easy and when he does he floats right back up!!! he was my first fish and i don't want him to die, he's is just under 1 year old, what can i do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <The fish has a swim bladder imbalance.  It's not something that is really treatable, but you can ease the problem.  First I would offer the fish sinking pellets as food.  When feeding flake food at the surface the goldfish will eat them and suck in air into the stomach making the problem that much worse.  Also stress is another factor that compounds swim bladder problems.  So, make sure you keep up on the water changes, clean filters and don't over feed the fish or allow food to rot in the tank.  These factors play into the over all health of the fish.  Sadly there isn't much else to do with goldfish with swim bladder problems.  The problem is due to breeding.  The fish's body is no longer what it once was, the swim bladder often times isn't proportional to the fishes body structure.  But, I do wish you the best of luck.-Magnus>


Upty Down Goldfish Hi there. We have a 20 gal. tank with a very large goldfish among others. (only 3 fish and two suckers). Tonight we noticed the very large goldfish swimming upside down at the top of the tank.  We got real worried and put him in a separate bowl and changed out half the water. Does this mean that he is dying? Please help. Thank you!  <it doesn't mean that he is dying, most likely this is due to fish having swim bladder problems. he might simply be having difficulties keeping his buoyancy neutral in the water. You should first start by feeding this goldfish sinking food pellets, many times the larger fish  will gulp air as they feed an then it's hard for them to bring it back up. If it does continue though, the fish will eventually be stressed so much that it might die. Separating it was a good idea, but you will have to make sure that the water parameters don't get to bad, or the fish can become sick due to high ammonia/nitrite levels. Good luck with the fish and I do hope it improves in health. -Magnus.>


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>


Sick Goldfish... environmental/nutritional We have two Lion Head Goldfish.  One is white with a red head, and the other is all red.  We noticed odd behavior in the white one, when it would float belly up all the time. <This is a problem with it's swim bladder.  The fish can not keep neutrally buoyant.> We cleaned the aquarium, fed it peas, and gave it medicine.  That problem seems to have ceased, but now, the same fish will just kind of lay on the bottom of the tank in a corner. <A fish with swim bladder problems will either be floating or sitting at the bottom since it has difficulty keeping himself even.  With a fish like this It's best to feed it sinking pellets so that it will not swim to the surface and ingest air... Which will only hinder it's buoyancy more.  The problem is most likely a physical one rather than medical.  Goldfish have been breed with such unnatural body shapes that many fish have swim bladders that are not balanced with it's bodies shape.  This fish will most likely need extra attention all it's life.> We have other fish in the aquarium, and whenever the white one goes to the corner, the other fish will kind of check it out to see what it is doing. <That's a goldfish trait... They always swim over and inspect fish that are floating or sinking.  Sadly the fish do it to see if the other fish is edible. goldfish have no problems eating other dead goldfish.> I don't know if it is laying eggs or what.  Also, it looks as though one of its tail fins is bent.  What is going on with this fish??? <You would see male goldfish chasing female goldfish before the fish would be laying eggs.  It's quite noticeable action.  If you would like to learn more on breeding goldfish there are many sites and books devoted to it.  A good starting point is www.goldfishinfo.com.  As well as going to you local bookstore/library and looking through the books. The bend fine is most likely from the fish bumping into things.  If it's not to badly damaged the fin might regrow back to what it was before.> Blessings, Lee Butler-Brown <Good luck with the fish -Magnus>


Buoyant Goldfish Hi- I have recently acquired a 29 gallon tank and put 3 goldfish in it. One of which is an Oranda. He has had problems for a few weeks now with floating. He gets better and then I will see him belly up at the top of the tank. I have fed them peas. Even if it helps he goes back to floating. <These problems can take a long time to fix, and sometimes cannot be fixed.> None of the three excrete much like I feel they should. <Yes, seems my Oranda never stops, its like a built in leash.> Could I be underfeeding them? <How often and what type of food are you feeding them?> I am so worried about not wanting to overfeed them. <I'd go with underfeeding rather than over feeding.  Add some live plants to your tank, specifically Anacharis, usually only 1$ a bunch, plant it or let if float.  Your goldfish will graze on this (like the little cows that they are) so you do not need to worry about them starving.  The greens will also be good for their digestion.  I feed my Oranda once a day either frozen goldfish food or sinking pellets.> Also, when they do excrete waste I see mostly air bubbles in the string instead of waste. <I do not know for certain why this is caused (I am just a hobbyist like the rest of you), but I have seen it, and it seems to me those bubbles must be coming from somewhere, and bubbles float, and so is your fish.  Try feeding them food that they will not need to gulp from the surface, sinking pellets, or submerge the flakes before you release them.  You can also try treating with Epsom salt, you should be able to find info on that at the link below and the related links at the top of the page. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm Best of luck, Gage> Please help. I don't know what to do. Thank you in advance. Kim


Swimbladderitis typicus Since  June last year,  we have realized that our Goldfish started behaving  strangely, he is living upside down since then. We have fed him once a day only because he is fat for his size and also his flipper  got smaller and smaller. We don't know if he is sick  or if a kind of fungus attacked him. <This is most likely swim bladder problem, but it might be as simple a problem with his eating habits.  You might be able to help him by changing his diet.  Some of the larger bodied goldfish, like Ryukins, have problems with their swim bladders, which causes them to be either to buoyant or sink to the bottom.  Before jumping directly to bad problems with swim bladder, The fish might be swallowing air when it's feeding.  When some of the larger bodied goldfish grab flake foods from the surface they suck in air, which gets trapped in their stomachs.  Which in turn flips them over.  Try feeding sinking pellets and hopefully the goldfish will be able to expel the air.  As for the Flipper shrinking, I'm not sure what you mean by that.  Their flippers don't reduce in size as the fish gets older.  But, they can get something called Fin Rot which is a fungus that eats away at the fins of fish.  That is treatable with Tetracycline (from Mardel Labs).  If your goldfish is being housed with other goldfish, it's best that you move him to a quarantine tank, as many goldfish will pick at one that is floating or upside down.  That maybe the cause for the fins getting smaller.  One of my large Orandas had swim bladder problems, and it's tankmates actually nipped off it's fins before I found it in the morning.> We have treated the water accordingly but even though we have no idea what's happening. Please, if you had an experience like this, let us know how to treat him. <There isn't really to many medicines that can help the fish being upside down.   It's something the fish will have to work out on it's own.  Just be sure to keep the water clean and fresh.  You can add medicines to the water if you feel that the fish is suffering from fin rot.  Good luck. -Magnus> Thanks, Family Alves

Struggling Goldfish I still have my cuter than Nemo fish who has had trouble swimming upright for a couple of months.

 <This is a fantail goldfish, if I recall correctly, yes?> I have done the aquarium salt and Epsom salt. Have added fiber to diet. He has not been eating a lot, but has eaten. He's not pooping any amount at all. His sides are very tight and distended looking and he can no longer keep upright or swim at all. <I'm so sorry to hear that!> There has to be an obstruction of some kind <Agreed....  I would possibly suspect internal parasites, except that he's floaty/gassy, and has been for so long....> but I don't know what else to do and he is just going from bad to worse in the last few days.   <It seems to me that you've done the best that you can do....  usually, Epsom and foods high in roughage content will do the trick; but every now and then, there just isn't anything you can do.  You've done well to help him as much as you have.> He has been a little fighter and I just hate it that I can't help him in any way.  In going through all the questions and answers I saw "gas bladder" mentioned.  What is this and is there anything to do for that?   <I assume this was in reference to a swim bladder disorder.  Usually the result of injury, sometimes the result of bacterial infection, and rarely repairable.  If bacterial in nature, it can sometimes be treated with medicated antibacterial foods.  Your goldie's lack of poop and "floatiness" pretty much convinces me that this his is a case of constipation though, for which you have done all you can.> Hate to give up, but he is now very listless and not responding to me at all. Anything else I can do? <I'm afraid I can't think of anything further that you haven't already tried....  I would continue with Epsom and foods like adult brine shrimp, daphnia and shelled peas, and just hope for the best.  I'm sorry I don't have any better news....  I know this must be difficult for you.> Thank you--LAG <Any time.  I wish you and your Cuter than Nemo pal the very best.  -Sabrina>


Sick goldfish I've recently been on your website and you seem to know a lot about fish so I was hoping you could help me.  <Hope that I can help you as well.> I have a goldfish which has got a swollen belly, its happened over the last couple of weeks.  it has the odd scale which is lifted up slightly and one scale has come off and has a white wound in its place.  I was told that it could be dropsy and was told to add tonic salt, half an ounce for every gallon, for three days then change 50% of the water for three days then add a Octozin tablet.  I am on day 2 of this process and I have now noticed that the fishs swelling has become more on one side and most of the scales are lifted on that side too.  it was also pooing red poo with a whitish skin like poo at the end.   < That sounds exactly what happens to goldfish when suffering from dropsy. Symptoms would be a swollen abdomen and scales sticking out. This is most commonly seen in gold fish, though it does happen to other fish as well.  Actually, Dropsy is not really a disease, but a disorder caused by internal bacterial infections. It manifests itself in three forms:         (a) Acute Dropsy (internal bacterial infection)         (b) Chronic Dropsy (cancer) - The internal organs swell up in this type of Dropsy.   Try and isolate the fish at an early stage of the disease.       (c) Chronic Dropsy (parasites) - In this type of dropsy the abdomen swells up   due to the parasites. Again, remember to isolate the fish to prevent infecting the entire tank.  Maracyn-Two (which is made by Mardel) is said to cure some forms of dropsy.  Also, there has been recent results from Jungle Labs product called "Fungus Eliminator".  But, the sad fact is that many goldfish that get Dropsy never really recover from it.  I had a goldfish that was in a Quarantine tank for over two months (with constant medications) and it still never recovered.> can you please tell me if I am doing the right thing with the salt etc and if you think it is dropsy too. <I do believe that the fish has dropsy.  And sadly there isn't a lot you can do for it.  Make sure the separate the fish from the others.  Then try to medicate it using  one of the two products I listed above.  Hopefully the fish will be able to recover. thanks,  Jo  <Good luck. -Magnus>


Dinner-plate Size Redcapped Oranda  HELLO : <Hi Magnus to help> I have read most of the Q&A and it has been very helpful as far as making me feel as if I were doing the best possible for our fish. <That is what we hope our FAQs can do.> I have even called emergency vets to get suggestions. Believe it or not I have even given her an enema (don't ask). <I won't... though, I'm struggling not to get a bad mental image.> Now we find our self's wondering if we are doing the right thing by trying so hard to keep her going. She seems to be suffering from swim bladder probs. SHE has stopped eating unless hand fed and is not pooping, along with floating upside down at the top of the single fish 40 gal. home. <At least she is not in with other fish that can pester her. if she were with other goldfish I doubt she would have made it this far.> We have been using the salt baths, Epsom salt tank water, brine shrimp, aquatic plants, and the peas. She seemed to have tried to poop yesterday, but it was a hollow tube with very little noticeable food partials in it. We believe she has possibly swallowed a rock and is unable to pass it. <If that is the case then there is very little you can do for a goldfish, aside from surgery. They really aren't able to pass stones, some goldfish can bring the stones back up their throats, but I have never seen this happen, and only heard about it from unverified sources.  The sad fact is that if the fish has swallowed a stone, and hasn't passed it already, it most likely has an intestinal blockage.  And an intestinal blockage is not something that can be fixed (without surgery).  You can give it a little more time, but I'm sad to say that I'm not sure if there is anything you can do to help your fish.> My wife and I and the kids have all cried, been angry, and stressed. We want to know if "FANCY" is suffering even though I could not bring myself to putting her out of her misery without feeling terrible for the next year or so. <That is quite understandable, but remember that if the fish is starving or having toxins build up in her system then it can't be called a good life.> The reason we are having so much difficulty is because we have had FANCY for almost three years and she talks to us and has a lot of personality. <I know exactly what you mean, my oldest goldfish has been with me for years.  I can't imagine not having him great me in the morning (his tank is in my room).> From tip to tip she is approx. 8 inches. <wow, for an Oranda she is pretty big.  It seems you have taken the best care of her to get so big!> The cable guy say's she would be good on a shish kabob. <sounds like a nice guy... so nice that I would probably switch over to DirecTV...> The heart wrenching thing is that she still try's to swim around and is very much wanting to live! We hope you might have a suggestion since this has been going on for nearly three weeks. PLEASE HELP! SINCERELY FANCY & FAMILY <You can give it more time and try to feed her by hand, but it's only prolonging the problem.  You are probably right that she has a blockage in there, and trying to get the blockage out (aka squeeze her or try to force the stone free) will more than likely damage her internal organs.   If this persists you will more than likely see a decline in her health.  Floating and unable to right herself will slowly work away on her, and she will most likely succumb to a secondary infection or worse case she has a rupture in her digestive system.  Either way, it will not be a good thing.  I wish there was something I could tell you to fix the problem.  But what you have told me seems to point towards something that isn't fixable.  You can give in a few more days and see if she does pass it, or that she does expel waste then it might show signs of hope... but please don't hold out to long for that.  If you really want to spend the money, you can look around for a vet that specializes in fish and aquatic life (talk to your local zoo or aquarium they might know of one) and see what they think.  Perhaps they can get an x-ray of the fish and determine the problem.  But, this is not going to be a cheap endeavor, it will most likely cost way more than the fish was initially worth (as for the emotional worth, that is up to you.)  If you don't feel that the fish is getting better then you should bring yourself to think about euthanize the fish.  There are many methods, the method that I had found to work the best, with the least amount of pain was to place the fish and a comfortable amount of water into a plastic bag then place the entire bag into the freezer.  The fish will slowly slip away as the water gets cold.  The fish is gone long before the water freezes and any sort of ice can form (in or on the fish).  I do hope that the fish does somehow recover.  I'll be wishing for it.  I would hate to loose any of my goldfish, let alone my large ones I have had for a while.   Good luck.  -Magnus>


Floating Fantail And Friends I have 2 fantails and a black moor in a ten gallon tank. <You might want to think about upgrading to a larger tank down the road... My goldfish would make a quick mess of 10 gallon tanks.  It was infinitely easier for me when they were moved to larger tanks.> I was doing a routine water change today when I noticed one of my fantails began swimming upside down.  After reading some of the frequently asked questions, I found a few things to try to right this problem.  I'm feeding him peas and I'm going to try adding Epsom salt to his water. <since your fish is floating at the surface rather than sinking I think that your problem is more in the food that you are giving the fish.  If I had to wager a guess I would say that you are giving him flakes and other food that are floating at the surface.  If so, then the chances are high that the goldfish are sucking in air as they feed and it's throwing their balance way off.  Before adding any sort of salt (which you have to be careful with cause to much salt will kill your goldfish!) start feeding your goldfish sinking foods.  Less likely that they will get air in their system.  And hopefully you don't have to revert to medicines or salting the tank.> But first, I was wondering if I should separate him from my other fish, who, by the way, seem to be perfectly okay.  Or will it be fine for them to have a dose of Epsom too? <like stated above hold on the Epsom salt.  I rarely use that on my goldfish tanks.  But, I would think about separating the goldfish if it stays floating on the surface.  The reason is not for spreading of any sort of bacteria, but that floating goldfish can/will be pestered by other goldfish.  And I've seen many goldfish had all their fins nibbled off by their tankmates as they lay helpless at the surface of the water.> Please respond  as soon as possible.  I'm worried he may not have long. Heather <I don't think you should be worrying that much.  I think that it is simply a change in diet that is needed.  Get rid of the chances of sucking in air when feeding and I think you guy will be fine!  Good luck! -Magnus>


Upside down goldfish I have recently discovered your site and I love it. It's very informative and interesting. Unfortunately, I have a very sick fancy goldfish (State is his name) and have been trying to "fix" him for months. He and another fancy goldfish (Blacklip) live in a 20 gallon long tank with a canister filter that pumps 180 gallons/hour. <glad you like the site!  and thanks for giving me filtration info, Goldfish really need heavy filtration to combat their mess.> I have not really had any water quality problems for years and siphon the gravel and change the water once per month. <I would think about doing smaller ones more frequently.  Like once every two weeks.  I actually do mine weekly on my goldfish tank. > In between changes, I check the pH, ammonia, and nitrite levels and have not had any problems. <good procedure!  wish there were more aquarists like you out there.> Normally, they eat flake food, some floating and sinking pellets, peas and occasionally some spinach (spinach usually 3X/week). They have been eating several thawed peas (pulled out of their skins) each at night in addition to their flake and pellets for a couple years now. How many peas should they really eat--is this too much? <feed them only what they can eat in a couple of minutes, it's hard to give an exact number of how many they should eat, just feed a few at a time, and work your way to higher numbers if you feel they can handle it.> Many questions on your website have been similar to State's problems, but many remedies you suggested I have tried with no success. He has been upside down on the bottom of the tank and swollen (he has "dropsied " twice, but after a few days or weeks of treatment, his scales have gone down but not the swelling) for several months now( he also breathes much faster than his tankmate). <Dropsy is extremely difficult for fish goldfish to get over... many experts euthanize their goldfish once they discover the fish has dropsy.  I myself had a goldfish that was sick for 3 months straight (and heavily medicated the entire time) and I still ended up loosing the poor thing.  Having the scales go back down is a feat in it's self.  If you wish to continue medicating the fish you can do so, but sadly if the fish does have dropsy it's outlook is not good.> He started out occasionally flipping over in September. Around the first week of October, he was spending most of his time upside down on the bottom of the tank, occasionally swimming to the top and spitting water. <Being upside down on the bottom is not a sign of dropsy, the protruding scales are really the clue to saying the fish has dropsy.  Upside is actually a swim bladder problem.  larger bodied goldfish like the Ryukins have been bred with such large bodies, (compared to their ancestral long bodied carp) that the swim bladders don't fit the body right anymore.  The fish have difficulty keeping themselves righted, and their buoyancy is way off.  Sadly the problem is genetic.  Like if  a person has a left foot that is bigger than the right, the swim bladder is wrong for the fish.  many times the problem comes about as the fish gets older and larger.  The balance between body and swim bladder drift farther apart. Their really isn't anyway to cure that.  > Mid-October, he went to a 10 gallon tank with Epsom salts, a small filter, and a heater (I read somewhere to increase the temp to 85 F and add Epsom salts (heat supposed to kill bacteria and Epsom salts to draw toxins out. For about a week, I had to change the water 2X/day to keep the ammonia and nitrites from getting too high (ammonia would spike up to 3ppm or so and NO2 to 2-3 ppm). When he started dropping scales and fins started fraying, I started putting him in a new clean tank each day--that helped, but he still stays upside down. First week in November, I did a hydrogen peroxide dip (for possible parasites) and treated water with Kanacyn. After the first treatment, he was upright on his own for a short time (a few hours here and there), then he flipped back over and has been that way since. Mid-November I put him back in the main tank with Blacklip ( I just couldn't keep water quality acceptable in hospital tank), treated with Kanacyn again and started him on Romet-B (antibiotic goldfish food) and there is still no change. In the main tank, the water quality is fine--no ammonia, nitrites, pH 7.3 or so. <Sounds like you have done just about everything I would think of doing for a goldfish in his situation> I also tried Aquatronics Nitrofura-G in a hospital tank with no luck. Although I did find that the ammonia removing zeolite removed the color of the medicine (blue) right out of the tank, so I took out the zeolite for the rest of the treatment and had to move him to new tank for each dose to keep ahead of the ammonia buildup. <that ammonia build up is scary fast in goldfish.  I remember my first medicine tank for goldfish, I was amazed that it could possibly build up as it does from just one little fish... Mine even started to get ammonia burn before I realized it was getting so far out of whack.> Through all this, he has never lost his appetite. I have to pick him up off the bottom, flip him upright and hold him while I feed him. He does seem to have trouble swallowing, though--sometimes, he even spits his food out and will grab it and try again. What may this mean? <If he is eating then he must not be that deathly sick, I had an Oranda that was very similar... had swim bladder problems, was upside down and still would eat like a horse.  Spitting food out isn't that uncommon.. goldfish have something like 32 bones small bones in their face to help them suck food in... Many times in nature they suck stuff in smash it up and spit it back out... it helps them digest the food better.  (like your mother telling you to chew your food plenty of times before swallowing).  As long as the fish is interested in food then the spitting out isn't that bad.  the difficulty in swallowing is another bred trait.  Their faces have changed slightly through selective breeding.. their mouths are smaller for their body size.  and as they age and grow sometimes their ability to snag the food is less.> He has had problems swallowing for months now--I haven't seen anything that looks like it's stuck in his throat and he usually gets most of his food down. He also seems to be pooping just like he should. He still occasionally scoots around the tank, but as soon as he stops moving, he sinks like a rock to the bottom and lays over. I should also mention, about two weeks ago, he started laying on his side more than on his back on the bottom. Most of the time, he's on his left side, but sometimes, he's on his right side. <that is a swim bladder issue, they seem to sit themselves differently as they issue persists.  Luckily (if you want to call it that) that your fish sinks rather than floats, I've seen many large goldfish that float die from the stress.  It's a very sad scene.> Is there any hope for him? What else can I try? Should I get rid of the Epsom salts and try regular aquarium salt in addition to another medicine? How about the heat? If it hasn't helped by now, should I get the tank back down to 76 F or so like normal? I am thinking of trying Spectrogram which you suggested for another sick fish. Also, should I continue with the antibiotic food and some "normal' pellets and peas as I have been doing? The first few weeks of antibiotic food, he got only that food nothing else as suggested by the manufacturer. The past few weeks, I've been giving him both antibiotic and regular food and peas. <Sadly I'm not sure there is anything else you can do to help the fish.  I think you have done quite a bit more than the average goldfish owner would do.  You might want to contact goldfish breeders to see what their thoughts are.  You can find them online by doing a search in google.> Lastly, if I do have to euthanize him, what's the best way? I've read in the freezer, clove oil, and what about MS-222? <All three of those options are good.  I've never done it with the MS-222, but have used it for shipping large fish.  If given enough it will put them to sleep humanely.   I've done the freezer method with seemingly no problems.  But with goldfish it does take a while.   I have found that it is a bit easier on me placing them out of sight in a freezer...  just hard to put any animal to sleep, but it will be for the best if the fish is going to be suffering.> I appreciate any advice you can give and will definitely continue to read your site. I have two other tanks (one tropical fish and another with frogs).  Sincerely, Georgi <I do hope the fish will get better!  if not, they you surely can say you have tried!  -Magnus>


Goldfish Buoyancy I have this cute and beautiful goldfish--don't know if an Oranda or Lionhead, but looks like one or the other.   <Well, either way, that won't affect treatment, at least.  All "fancy" goldfish stem from the same basic critter, just selectively bred for shape, etc.> I have been doctoring this little fish for over a month as he is not able to swim much topside up.  He can float on his back for a while and then struggles upright.  He looks healthy, maybe a little bloaty looking, but he has always been chubby.   <Probably ultimately a dietary issue.  Most goldfish don't get enough veggies in their diet.  Mine *always* used to get my asparagus when I was younger....  oh, how I *hated* asparagus....> I have dunked him in a high aquarium salt water bath, I have added Epsom salts, have used a Fungus Eliminator for Dropsy, but its scales are normal.   <The meds probably won't do anything for your goldfish's condition (if it is dietary), nor does it sound like dropsy.> I was treating him in about a gallon bowl as he seemed to be able to control himself better.  He has eaten the whole time, but now I got him his own 5 gal. aquarium as he seemed to be doing better, <Ahh, wonderful - goldfish are very messy fish (they poop a lot, essentially), and larger volumes of water are always recommended.  The larger, the better.> but is now floating on his back a lot.  When he goes down to eat headfirst, he kind of does a somersault and is on his back again.  I will admit, I have never tested ph et al--the 2 other goldfish he was with are fine.   <Woah - that's a *lot* of goldfish in a little space!  You might want to consider a larger aquarium to house them in, perhaps along the lines of 30 gallons or so.  Could make a nice display for the whole family in the living room, perhaps> He feeds from my hand and now lets me guide his body down to feed and hold him down and help him graze along the bottom.  He had not been pooping for the month even though he was eating all the time.   <!!  Yikes, very likely a dietary/constipation issue - almost certainly.  I'd recommend adding Epsom salt to the water, at a rate of one tablespoon per ten gallons of water (so one half tablespoon for his 5g tank) as this will help relieve pressure on him, help him pass any blockage in his gut.> Read to feed him peas and they seemed to do the trick.   <Peas will certainly help, yes.  Keep it up with 'em, use frozen (thawed) peas if possible, also romaine lettuce, unflavored sushi nori (that's the seaweed wrapper on sushi, you can get it at Asian markets), blanched zucchini or cucumber, aquatic plants like anacharis/elodea, as well.  Might want to try adult brine shrimp or daphnia, too, as these are very high in "roughage" content, will also (hopefully) help him pass any blockage.> He is just cuter than Nemo and I am so frustrated as to know what else to do for him.  Any advise???  Lag <Ultimately, a change in diet for him (and the other goldfish, as well) is in order, here.  Pelleted and other dry foods seem to cause these problems in goldfish.  I wouldn't cut flake and pelleted foods out of their diet entirely, just cut back some (or a lot) and give 'em lots of greens.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Sick Oranda Help... I have had an my Oranda, Bubba, for about 2 months now. In the beginning he was fine, he had such an appetite and continuously swam around the tank. Within the last two weeks I had noticed he was staying in one corner of the tank, wedged in-between plants. He comes out to eat and eats a good portion but then returns back to the plants once all the food is gone. This past week I noticed his one eye has a is cloudy and protruding outward. <Sounds like a reaction to water quality issues.  What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  If you don't have test kits, your fish store should be willing to test a sample of your water for you.  I would strongly recommend a hefty water change or two.  I would also add Epsom salt to the water, at a rate of one tablespoon per ten gallons; this will help relieve pressure on his eye.> I have done a water change, <Excellent.> check the PH daily and have been giving him Maracyn 2. I thought that he might have swimbladder or Bloat because of the way he positions himself in the tank at the top with the plants. He does not float to the top when he is swimming or gliding through the water. <If he's not floating to the top, I very much doubt he's got a problem with his swimbladder, or that he's bloated.  It is always a good idea, though, to be sure that you're feeding him plenty of good quality foods, not just flake food.  You might want to try feeding him frozen peas (thaw them, squeeze the inside out of the shell for him) and blanched zucchini.  This will help prevent him from getting bloated.> Is there any advice???? <Do please test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, be sure those are not out of whack, my first best guess is that his condition is related to water quality.  If this is the case, he may very well not need to be medicated.> Thank You  -Carly <Wishing you and Bubba well,  -Sabrina>


Goldfish Issues Hi, <Hello, Sabrina here, today> My black-bubble-eyed goldfish is acting very weird. He's floating around pretending to be dead or something. Now he's not eating either and now he's floating really weirdly he's just letting himself glide and he looks dead. WHAT'S WRONG!!!!!!!!! <This could very likely be related to a water quality problem; I strongly recommend you check your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, or take a water sample to the fish store and have them test it for you.  Definitely do a major water change - be sure to use a dechlorinator and make sure the temperature of the new water is the same as the water in his tank.  Unfortunately, with so little information to go off, I can't really give you a definitive idea of what's wrong with your fish.  If you give us more information, we may be able to help you more.  Please tell us how big the goldfish's tank is, what other fish are in with him, any filtration used, how often/how much water you change, what kind of food he's eating, and any other details - this will help us be better able to help you.  Wishing you and your goldfish well,  -Sabrina>


Goldfish W/Dropsy 11/21/03 Hi Hi, Pufferpunk here> my dad has about 5 fish. <What kinds are they & how big is the tank?> 1 of these fish has been bloated for the last month and a half or so.  at first we thought it was pregnant because it got fat mainly on 1 side before evening out. however because of the amount of time that it has been bloated we are not so sure. <Constipated?> recently the fish (which is quite plain with an reddish orange head and mainly golden scales) has been swimming upside down, belly towards the surface.  today it has suddenly gone more bloated and is almost (if not) as wide as it is long and there are large spaces between its scales in with there are some red lines (maybe cuts). <At 1st you described the fish to maybe having some swim bladder problems (upside-down), but w/the scales sticking out, it sounds like dropsy.  That disease is very hard to treat, once the fish has it.  You can try some of the meds recommended for this, (I believe Kanacyn is good), but it is best not to treat the whole tank, as you will mess with the biological balance of the tank.  If you have a separate tank, or even a large plastic container you could put a cheap sponge filter into, it would be better.  +Dropsy & swim bladder problems are usually contracted because of poor water conditions.  W/goldfish, the best way to keep them healthy is not to overstock (smaller fish, <3"/10g, larger fish >3", need at least 20g/fish).  Also, goldfish are huge waste producers & are best  kept healthy by 80-90% weekly water changes, even w/good filtration.   Another way to prevent swim bladder problems & keep their digestive tract healthy is to feed them shelled peas, zucchini, or algae wafers.> I do not know much about fish and have not found anything to help me on this site which I have found only today. any ideas about what it might be would be welcomed as would any ideas on what we can do. thanks - Sarah    I hope this helps--Pufferpunk>


Floaty Goldfish Hi I bought 2 goldfish about 2 months bk. They seem to be doing fine most of the time except that about 10 days back one of them was not looking too good. He was unable to stay at the bottom of the tank and was looking as if he was being pulled to the top of the tank. I fed him with soaked "Topfin" pellets that morning and he was behaving like this in the evening. He was alright by the next morn and I did not feed both of them that day. <Pretty common problem with fancy goldfish, check out our goldfish disease section for more information. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaq2.htm  > Again we changed the water yesterday (we change about 90% or a complete change of water once every week) <I would not change more than 50%> and changed the position of the tank to a corner of a room (right beside the TV). They were fine at the feeding time but have been acting the same way since this morning. Does changing the tank position have anything to do with this? <I doubt it, but the noise from the TV could stress them a little.> we have a 2 gallon tank and the goldfish we have is Oranda I believe but am not sure of it. <Long term you are going to want about 10gallons of water per fish.  Orandas are the chubby ones with the cool growth on their head, and a fan tail.> They are small as compared to many other varieties of goldfish and have an orange cap kind of thing on their heads. <They will grow to about the size of a softball if given the opportunity.  White with an orange cap? probably a Red Cap Oranda.> I have read that some of the symptoms maybe of Air bladder disease and they 'll stay throughout their life. is it true?? <Possibly> R they going to be like that all through?? <Possibly, but maybe not read through the goldfish disease FAQs for possible solutions.> How can I be so sure they have that disease? and is there any cure for it? Of late we have been feeding them once a day with either mashed peas or soaked pellets and sometimes when we feel they overate the previous day don't feed them at all the next day. Is this a good practice? <soaked pellets are a lot better than dry pellets, the peas are great to get the digestive track flowing in the right direction.  Goldfish are grazers, skipping  a day of food is not going to hurt them, but I would add some live plants for them to munch on when they feel the need, specifically Anacharis.> Please let me know any further details that maybe necessary to keep the fish healthy and safe from diseases. <A bigger tank is a good place to start, it will not fix the swimming problems directly, but will make the water quality more stable and promote long term health.  Best Regards, Gage> thank you


Uhm, the *history* of algae control?! (and what to do with bloated goldfishes) Now, this is one I'd have never seen coming - a question about how algae has been controlled through the ages. In my box is a question forwarded to WWM from Ms. Steele at FAMA, requesting information on the history of algae control. Google searches have yielded nothing. I have absolutely no clue whatsoever where to direct this fellow. <Wowzah... could be done... by reading the "history" of aquarium magazines, books... or being a REAL old-timer!> Do you know of any publications, articles, anything whatsoever to tell him? <Please send the query over to me... sigh... though I know naught> Thanks a million. While I'm writing, another thing I'd like to bring up.... Gage and I were talking a week or two ago about the proliferation of bloaty goldfish questions, and idly, he suggested someone should just write an article about common goldfish illnesses, so we don't have to type "Epsom salts" a million times. This struck me as a novel idea - and since *someone* ought to do it, and I'm bringing it up now, I figure that means I'm volunteering myself for the task. Would this be something that would be of use to WWM? <A very good idea. Back in the mid-80's I had the great pleasure of meeting a young fellow who worked with our fish shop (Wet Pets I) and who had a keen interest in goldfish, had investigated the propensity for especially roundish varieties (ranchus, lionheads et al.) to develop fatty degeneration, "gas bladder" problems (flipping over ultimately) and his postulations that much of this had to do with "dried food diets"... and some cures from keeping afflicted specimens in very shallow water, feeding them peas, other low fat and protein items... using Epsom...> Ahh.... back to answering the emails.... -Sabrina <And so it goes... BTW, how goes your scuba lessons? Bob Fenner> <<And hey folks, guess what?  I finally did key the article....  yesterday.... which can be found here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .  It took me long enough, eh?  Whew....  -Sabrina>>


Upside-Down Goldfish 11/02/03  Hello!  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  My fantail goldfish is swimming upside down. I thought at first that it was dead but it is still alive but acts like it is dying. It swims normal for a minute then goes upside down again. Please help!!!  <You're goldfish is having swim bladder problems. The swim bladder helps keep a fish upright. Try feeding it a strict diet of shelled fresh/frozen (thawed) peas until it's better & then 2x/week after that. Make sure you soak all dried foods you feed it in the future. Check your water parameters. A goldfish needs lots of room. 10gal/inch. They produce a lot of wastes. The best way to keep a goldfish healthy is to do 90% weekly water changes.>  Mandy  <I hope this helps--Pufferpunk> 


Goldfish problems Hello, I have a Oranda gold fish, pleco and a black moor.  I just recently moved an took the fish which I have had for about 6 months now.  I believe I stressed them in the move, because now, the Oranda sits on the bottom and is extremely skittish and has some swelling in his abdomen.  I think this might be dropsy.   <Are the scales sticking out, pinecone fashion?  If not, the fish may be simply bloated.  Try adding Epsom salts to the water (1 to 2 tablespoons per ten gallons) and feed very sparingly with things like brine shrimp or daphnia with high roughage content.> The black moor has white spots that resemble ich and both fish are rather lethargic. <That certainly doesn't sound good.> I am treating with Maracyn Two and Maracide.   <If the scales on the Oranda are not sticking out like a pinecone, skip the Maracyn two completely.  As for treating the ich, please read this article to help you out:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> Should I raise the water temperature and do partial water changes in addition to what I am doing now?   <I would, absolutely, yes.> Nitrate levels are 0, nitrite levels are 0, hardness of the water is 75ppm, alkalinity is 80ppm and pH is 6.8?   <All sounds good - but do be certain to check ammonia, make sure that it's 0 as well.  Also, how big is the tank?> any other suggestions would be great.  Thank you so much.  Sarah <Do please read that article on ich - it'll really help you get a handle on what's going on.  Feel free to ask any further questions, as well.  Wishing your fish a swift recovery,  -Sabrina.>


Goldfish with dropsy Hi, My name is Carson. <Hi Carson, Sabrina with you tonight - uh, make that this morning.... getting sleepy.> I have a goldfish who is very bloated and scales are sticking out. I think it could be dropsy, <If the scales are sticking out, pinecone fashion, I think there is little doubt - very likely dropsy, indeed.> but He just stays at the bottom of the tank in the corner and does not move. He will only move when I put the net in, but then he just falls back to the bottom. It's like he has no strength. <At this point, best not to stress him; don't force him to move.> He also is missing some scales though. I don't know if this is goes with the symptoms of dropsy, but I would really appreciate it if you could answer. <This does sound consistent with dropsy.> Is he suffering? <That's an especially tough question - I am not in contact with the fish, am not seeing what he's going through, how he's acting; only you can really make that determination.> and what should I do? <Unfortunately, dropsy is very difficult to fix; I'd recommend treating with erythromycin, preferably in medicated food, and do some serious water changes as well.  More treatment info can be found here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm  scroll down, you'll find it under the heading, well, "DROPSY".  Wishing you and your goldfish well,  -Sabrina>


Bloated fantail Hi guys <Hi, Shelley, Sabrina here tonight> Thanks for being there to answer our questions. <You're welcome, of course!  We love being able to help.> My fantail Co (yes I have names for them all: Mo, Co and Calico) has gradually become bloated underneath and to the sides, but more on one side than the other.  The skin appears paler and stretched.  This has been happening for a month or so.  Just the last week he has taken to "swimming" upside down at the surface of the tank.  I usually feed dry flakes, with frozen bloodworms once a week.  Co is greediest of all, and chief beggar of food.  I assume from reading your other website answers today (I only found your site today) <Well hey, then, welcome!  Enjoy!> that he has become constipated from eating the dry food and this has resulted in a swim bladder problem.   <Sounds quite possible.> I will definitely change their food when they are back on it. <Great!  More greens, less dry stuff.> I read another website, and stopped feeding them all four days ago, and fed some green peas (but they don't seem keen on them, and they took days to disappear.)   <Try frozen peas (thaw them) and squeeze the 'guts' of the pea out of the shell (discard the shell), they might be more apt to eat them if you prepare them so (don't know how/what you used before).  Failing that, try canned peas (try to get 'em without salt, or if not, then rinse thoroughly) and again, squeeze the 'guts' out of the shell.  I'd be impressed if a goldfish refused that!  You can try brine shrimp (frozen or live), as well, as that may help some, too.  And please do not leave the peas in for more than a few hours - if they don't eat 'em by then, assume they won't be eaten.> Also I don't know whether Co ate any or whether it was the others.  I also checked water quality etc so no issues there. <Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH?> Co seems to be a little thinner, and "floating" less then he was, but I'm worried about the other fish (who now also haven't been fed for 4 days).   <They're probably fine.  Try the brine shrimp if the peas fail again, and they'll probably all accept that quite readily.> Do I need to set up a QT tank to isolate Co?  All I have is an old goldfish bowl, which doesn't have any filtration, aeration etc - would this do?  If I do separate him, should I add Epsom salts or anything else?  How long should he be without food, if he stays swelled up? <If you can isolate him yes, but he'd need aeration.  Even a small-ish Rubbermaid container or bucket (or the fish bowl, if the goldfish isn't too big) would do the trick in a pinch, and an inexpensive aerator will be an invaluable device if you ever have to quarantine again, certainly worth the low expense.  Epsom salts at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoons per 10 gallons of water will help, and keep trying the peas and brine shrimp.  He should accept them, if he's hungry.> How long does it take a fantail to recover from swim bladder problems?   <Well, that's tough to say.  Sometimes a fish recovers from problems like this completely, and is healthy and happily-ever-after-the-end.  Some fish never fully recover, and float (or sink) for the rest of their (often short) lives.> Does one bout of it mean he will have a tendency for the rest of his life (that's if we pull him through this time)? <Quite possible.  Feed a better diet, and you'll be on safer ground.> Sorry for the million questions, <Don't be!  This is why we're here!> but I'm fond of the little guy and would like to fix him up.  Shelley from Sydney <Completely understandable.  Try all the above, and also take a gander through some other goldfish FAQs to read of similar instances:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm  Wishing you and Co well,  -Sabrina>


Gassy goldfish I have a red-capped Oranda, chuck, who has the largest head growth I have EVER seen on an Oranda.. he had started floating.. (I did not know about the gas then - it thought it might be because his head was so HUUUGEEE) and a fair fish brutally attacked him.. after disposing of curly.. I realized the gas was the float problem.. <Could be gas, could be a swim bladder issue; especially if he was attacked by, um, *what* kind of fish?  In any case, if he was brutally attacked, he could have suffered damage to his swim bladder.  The floating issue may not be reversible.> anyway.. even after peas.. chuck would spend most of his time hiding in his cup (I put cups in there.. all the Orandas I have love to snuggle.. strange.. comfort in cramming in small spaces together..)  but still standing on his head.. <Swimming head down?  Is it more like his back end is floating up, or his front end is sinking down?  I suppose it is possible that he's got a piece of rock or some such stuck in his mouth, if he's sinking.> I put him in another wee tank with a lion head ranchu (Lionel) because they both tend to float.. and feed them peas.. but.. chuck has been floating now for nearly 2 weeks.. I see him poop, I feed him peas.. but.. the anti-gas peas aren't working anymore.. <He's still pooping, though?  Normally?> he wont eat green beans.. or earthworms..  just peas.. (and the sinking pellets that I soak for hours before I give em..) <Well, if it is a swim bladder issue, the fact that he's eating speaks well for him; although if this is a swim bladder injury, he may never recover, but if he eats, seems happy, he might be able to live just fine.> but.. the floating continues.. any other ideas???? <Perhaps try feeding some frozen brine shrimp; the high roughage content might help him pass whatever's trapping gas, if it is in fact a gas problem.> Mother of mutant floaty fish.. Brandi <Wishing you, and your mutant floaty fish, well....  -Sabrina>

Gassy Goldfish, Fart two - Er... Make that 'Part' Two.... Chuck was attacked by a "sorry you didn't win the real prize at the fair" goldfish, after that tiny goldfish grew large...... <Aha!  NOW I get it, a fish FROM the fair!  I've been envisioning little judge fish with little jury fish trying to be fair....> but... that was months and months ago.. when the floating first began.. and he has had periods of time with no floating.. I mean.. he still stood on his head.. but not just "belly to the sky" floating like now...  He doesn't swim head down.. he swims regular forward.. but.. when he is "resting" (and not belly up floating) he rests on his great big fishy forehead..  <Try feeding more veggie matter more often, and perhaps occasional frozen meaty foods (bloodworms, brine shrimp) once in a while.  A diet consisting of too much flake or pelleted foods can cause gas/constipation issues, sometimes.> when he makes fishy mouth, its just pink and fishy in there.. no fluorescent rocks I see.. and he doesn't seem to be in distress.. just head standing..  He is still pooping, normal thick caliber regular fishy stools.. not stringy sick looking poops..   <Good sign, at least.  As I said, he may have some issues with his swimbladder, so it may be beyond your control.  Another thing - what are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH)?> I will get him some frozen brines.. weird though huh?  ah well..  Thanks Sabrina!!! <Any time.  Good luck to you.  -Sabrina>


Goldfish with Swim Bladder Problems I don't really know where to start. <How about the beginning, he he he.> Since I've never had this problem before with any fish I've ever had. I also read your FAQ's section and really didn't see anything in it that would help me out. I didn't know goldfish could have so many diseases though. <Especially the fancy variety, they a predisposition for problems.> Here's my problem. I just noticed this problem yesterday morning when I was going to bed. I have 2 fantail goldfish and 1 regular goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. With a few fake plants in it. <Maybe add some anacharis for them to munch on, a little greens in the diet help to keep things moving in the right direction.> My regular goldfish is 3 years old and my fantails are 2 years old. Well 1 of my fantails stays up at the right back corner of the tank. He/she I don't really know its sex. Has been doing this for about 3 or 4 months. <Sounds like a swim bladder problem, or some sort of blockage.> I never noticed any change in his behavior so I thought it was natural. Well yesterday morning he/she gave me a big scare. He was upside down!!! My first thought was that it was dead. Well I got up went over to the tank and it started swimming normally. <A tell tale sign.> Needless to say that took a lot of stress off of my mind. At least it was still alive. <Phew!> They've all been eating normally and everything. They always get very active and stuff when I approach the tank cause they think its feeding time. But after I leave and he/she swims around for about 5-10 minutes or so. It goes back to that top corner and turns upside down and that's pretty much how it stays until someone approaches the tank. <Like a buoy.> Can you please tell me what is causing this problem? I've never had any other problems with them before. Also my girlfriend says he's gotten bigger almost like its pregnant or something. <Sounds like it could be diet related, too much dry food for too long, he may be constipated.> My other fantail sits at the same corner but the bottom. <The lethargy could be related to water quality, have your water tested for ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.  Goldfish are messy, and a 10gal tank is small for these 3 fish.> This just started happening and its got me very worried. I love my fish dearly. I lost a regular goldfish 3 years ago to ich. Since then I've upgraded my tanks from a 2 gallon to 5 gallon to the 10 gallon that I have now. <A 29-50gal would be really nice for them.> My regular goldfish is still acting normal but he's use to swimming around with my fantails. <Much tougher than the fancy guys.>  So now all he does is swim around in circles while the other 2 stay in the corners. I feed them goldfish pellets. Have so ever since I've had them. <Ah Ha!> Whenever I change their water I use store bought spring water. <May not be necessary, dechlorinated tap water should be fine, but I do not think this is causing the problem.> I've never had a problem with that before either. I just want to keep my fish healthy and happy. Any help on products or what I have to do would be very much appreciated. <For starters I would try to change their diet, pick up some frozen goldfish food (thaw before feeding), and some frozen peas (thaw and squeeze the outer shell off before feeding).  You could also try adding some Epsom Salt to the water, about 1 tablespoon per 10gallons.  For more information take a look at the FAQs located here http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm Best of luck, Gage> A Very Concerned Fish Owner


- Goldfish Problems - Hi I have a problem with my goldfish. I have a 60 gallon tank containing 4 goldfish. One of the goldfish has developed a distended abdomen (I have bred goldfish and know its not carrying). It also has scales missing they drop off at a rate of app 3 a day. I thought of bacterial infection but I have tried various control remedies. <Sounds like dropsy to me.> It looks so poorly. I have taken the remaining fish out of the tank to clean it. The goldfish in question is in quarantine. <Ahh, very good.> Would it be better all round for me to destroy the poor thing. <It's worth trying to save it... you need a good antibiotic like erythromycin and administer this every day, along with very frequent water changes and medicated foods.> It began looking unwell 2 weeks prior. Any help would be appreciated Thanks, Andrea <Cheers, J -- >


Swollen Goldfish >I have a garden pond with plenty of plant material in it and about 100 goldfish (we started with 24 four years ago, so presumably they are quite happy).    >>Indeed!  And with sufficient volume and cover, as well. >In the past few weeks, one of the fish has developed a huge, balloon-like swelling underneath.   It seems quite happy, moves quite quickly, does not appear to be discomfited and feeds greedily.   I feed all the fish once a day with fish pellets (as much as they will eat immediately).   I even gave them some peas the other day which they loved, including the swollen fish.   Could the problem be constipation despite all the plant material in the pond?    >>My goodness, that is very unlikely.  However, I have a few things turning in my mind, one -- bacterial infection (would be evidenced by the fish having a porcupine appearance when viewed from above, scales sticking out), the other -- internal parasite, the third, practically unheard of -- could it be a tumor? >If so, can you please tell me what quantity of Epsom Salts I should use (if I can catch the fish)?    >>You can use Epsom, though I generally recommend Kosher or sea salts instead.  The initial ratio for long term stay is 1 teaspoon/gallon, and for dips you would 1 tablespoon, for as long as the fish could take it.  I suggest going the "pickling" (long-term) route, and if its scales are sticking out then DEFINITELY get it out (though it should be lethargic and behaving oddly otherwise as well) and treat with Spectrogram. >There is no apparent sign of any problems with its scales.    >>There goes THAT idea.   >I should be most grateful for your advice.   Thank you. Georgina >>Well, Georgina, as there appear to be no signs of bacterial infection, I would treat it as a parasite.  However, with most internal parasites the fish should lose weight.  This is puzzling, also because if the fish were constipated (so common in fancy goldies) the animal would often show trouble with swim bladder control.  You might consider watching the other fish closely, if any others show signs that would indicate something.. fishy (parasitic trouble).  Otherwise, feed the peas and greens for a week or so, and see if that makes him eliminate more aggressively.  If you can catch him, then you might be able to get a closer look at him and might find his trouble to be parasitic.  If so, we'll have to look at antiparasitic medications, not just for this animal, but the rest as well.  Marina


Sick and Tired of It All -- Poor Goldfishes! >Hi Marina, >>Hello Leticia. >I did as you said and got some salt. I could not get marine salt, however, all I could find was Epsom salt. So I did not how much to mix for the dip you advised to take off the equilibrium. >>We do make use of Epsom salts for some treatments (exopthalmia in saltwater fish), but I haven't used it for fresh.  Another option is Kosher salt, but I see no problem with the Epsom salts. >The fish were getting worse and worse, so I mixed one tablespoon per gallon and dipped my original fish in it. Then as I saw him up close I noticed he was much worse than I thought: he had dropsy. I have not done anything for the last 6 days but eat and take care of fish, except when I am researching fish diseases. >>Oh my goodness, I am so sorry you're not seeing good results. >My book said the best thing with dropsy was to destroy the fish, and since I can't seem to handle even the simpler problems, I did. >>That's too bad, the only thing I could have offered for dropsy is that it is often a sign of a RAGING bacterial infection, which could only respond (assuming it will) to strong antibiotic treatments.  I think you may have done the most humane thing for the fish, though. >That's the second one down. Then I dipped my favorite fish (a new demekin) in the Epsom salt (1 tbsp per gallon) for about three minutes. He swam in very fast, erratic outbursts. >>Yes, I would expect that. >I added Epsom salt to the main tank (1 tsp per gallon) and put him back. For a while he swam in the main tank like he did in the dip, then slowly progressed to his old way of sinking to the bottom corner and swimming at a 45-90 angle. >>It seems he's quite ill, but ich isn't his problem at this point is my guess. >Now he spends all the time in the bottom of the very corner. He was flapping his fins to keep hovering above the gravel, but now he just lays there with his mouth resting at an angle on the gravel.  I fed them peas for two days, and they've all pooped green, so I gathered he must not be constipated. I bought them baby shrimp and dried Tubifex, but they ate none. Today I fed them the regular flakes they love, they chew them and spit them right out, like they can't swallow it. >>At this point a good water change is in order, and I would substitute the Epsom salts for any UNiodized salt (it's the iodine that's the issue).  I would also like you to try Spectrogram or Melafix, two broad-spectrum antibiotics.  The salt and salt dips will help deal with the parasite (ich), and the antibiotic will help with what appears to be secondary infection (VERY common).  While treating, it's best to actually keep the tank bare, or put them in a bare container (anything watertight and inert--non-metallic--is perfectly acceptable) so that you can both be precise in your dosing, and have fewer problems performing water changes.  There are many other reasons for treating in this manner as well, but I won't trouble your mind with those, you've had ENOUGH on your plate, thank you very much. >They are both occasionally rubbing themselves on objects.  I have no idea what to do. I am so tired and so sad. Please help me. >>Let's keep up with the salt--1 tsp/gallon, and try the antibiotic along with water changes.  Do be sure that ammonia readings don't get too high, this will further stress them and can cause behavior quite similar to what you've described, same with nitrite but it's not *quite* as imperative. >Thank you so much, Leticia >>We'll do our best to help you, and I'll suggest adding some methylene blue (follow bottle directions) or hydrogen peroxide to the tank (still looking for usage on that).  Ah, here we go, gleaned from the forums of http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk: >>Methylene blue is an anti-protozoan, as well as a bactericide and fungicide. It is an oxygen transporter, so, while most other meds remove oxygen from the water, the M. blue enables more oxygen to be absorbed into the fish's gills than normal. I'm not quite sure how it works, but it is definitely good for situations where the fish isn't breathing well. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to add oxygen to the water, though it is not without risk. You can get it at the grocery store in the med section in a brown bottle, already as a 3% solution. A quote from the Tropical Fishlopaedia (this book is an indispensable wealth of information): "Hydrogen peroxide can be used as an 'oxygen donor', for rapid emergency rectification of hypoxic conditions, in the aquarium. Dosage is at the rate of 5-10ml of 3% solution per 10 gallons of aquarium water. The hydrogen peroxide stock solution should be partially diluted before it is added to the aquarium - that is to say, mix the required amount of stock solution with approximately 10 times as much aquarium water. The resulting solution should ideally be poured in front of the filter outlet to ensure rapid dispersal throughout the tank, failing which manual stirring of the aquarium is suggested. The tank should be aerated during treatment. Overdosing will cause further stress and possibly serious physical harm to the fish and *must* be avoided." >>Ok, I am really keeping my fingers crossed for you and your fish, Leticia!  Marina


Goldfish Swollen behind its Gills What a truly amazing site you have!  I'm overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge here, but in all my efforts, I was unable to find anything describing the problem with one of my goldfish, so I thought I'd write and see what you have to say. <Okay> I have eight fancy goldfish in a 55 gallon tank.  One is about five inches in length, one about four inches, and the other six range from two to three inches.  I maintain a clean environment for the fish, and feed them pellet food, according to the recommendations at the pet store. <Not to exclusion I trust. Dried foods are problematical with fancy goldfish... and I hope you do sizable weekly water changes...> First, some of my fish tend to float after they eat.  It doesn't happen right away, but a couple hours after they eat, they float.  They're still upright, not sideways, or upside down, as I've read in many other cases.  They don't have a problem swimming, or eating, and they do return to their normal buoyancy after a few hours.  I've seen this come and go with several of them.  Is there a swim bladder problem here, or is this something different? <Something different. The food> Finally, one of my fish, a blue fantail about 2 1/2 inches long is not well.  Immediately behind the gills on both sides, is a small oval shaped swollen area, the length of the gill, and about 1/4 inch wide. The fish seems to be breathing okay, however, I would imagine it's a bit labored.  He's still just as friendly, active, and hungry as the others. Whatever is swollen is under the scales, though they don't seem to stand out much.  I do believe one of the scales was lost on one side as that side appears bruised.  Is this related to gill disease? <Maybe, maybe not. I would not be concerned with this being a problem, but I would "do something" in the way of adding fresh and frozen foods in place of the all-dry regimen> I don't believe dropsy is involved, because the rest of the fish seems to be normal. <Not dropsy, but the current feeding practice will lead to other maladies> Any ideas, and suggestions for treatment would be greatly appreciated. I have a hospital tank I use to treat sick fish, so that's not an issue. I just need to know how to treat it.  Better to know, than to use a random medication hoping it works. Thank you for your assistance. David C. Ware Professional Computer Nerd <Ha! No worries. The "floating" and likely the swollen area issue will be "solved" soon by feeding frozen/defrosted foods, par-boiled vegetables, cooked rice, frozen/defrosted peas... Feed the dried-food at most every third day or so. Bob Fenner>


Floating Goldfish My son's goldfish seems sick.  We have been out of town for 1 month, during this time we used an automatic feeder and had someone check on the fish twice a week.  When we returned 3 days ago, I noticed that the goldfish was staying near the top of the tank.  Yesterday I noticed a few scales were missing on his upper back, today he has developed a line of dots  from his gills to his tail on both sides.  We have a 20 gallon tank, Whisper Power Filter for 20-60 gallon tank, besides the goldfish we have a sucker fish.  The goldfish is about 3 inches long, we have had him about a year.  He always seems hungry and I normally feed him once a day.  I checked the water yesterday, ph was 7, ammonia was 0.  I did a partial water change and added some aquarium salt. When I put the Spirulina disc in last night for the sucker fish, the goldfish went to the bottom after it, this is normal behavior for him.  I feed the goldfish Wardley Total Goldfish Gourmet Flake Blend.  After I put the Spirulina disc in I fed the goldfish, he ate some food, but shortly after went back to the top of the tank.  He is so close to the top, his top fin and back actually stay out of the water.  I am not sure what is wrong, searched your site and still not sure what to do.  I don't know what type of goldfish he is, he is white with an orange stripe on his back and he is the type that looks like he has a bubble on the top of his head.  I don't know whether to quarantine him, or what type of medicine to use.  I don't want to risk having the sucker fish get sick.  Additional information, when I took the automatic feeder off the tank, 2 days ago,  I noticed that the food was clogged up at the opening and appeared to be moldy,  I threw all that out and removed the feeder.  Also when I got back my air pump was not working, I fixed that yesterday.  The filter has been working great, before we went on vacation, I did a partial water change and replaced the charcoal in the filter.  Any information or thoughts will help.  Thank you very much.  Dorie <Hi Dorie, this sounds like it could be a combination of things.  In my experience goldfish usually float because of swim bladder disorders or diet related problems.  A steady diet of dry flake food, coupled with possible degrading water quality can cause a good amount of stress.  When he swims down to the bottom and then stops swimming, is this when he floats up to the top?  Does it look like he is having problems maintaining equilibrium?  I would start by adding Epsom Salt to the water about 1tablespoon per 10 gallons and weekly water changes.  You should also look into varying his diet, the addition of frozen goldfish food, and peas on occasion would be good.  Thaw out some frozen peas and pinch them out of the outer shell.  If your goldfish is like mine he will love them.  There is more information on goldfish ailments at the link below.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm  >


Goldfish Sick Hi <Hi! Ryan with you this morning!> I have three goldfish, all are well except one.  These are his symptoms: 1. Floating at surface of tank 2.loss of scales only on one side 3.isolates himself from the other fish 4.a small black almost splinter like mark on his tail. It seems to be protruding I have treated the water with multi cure and done a partial change once a week.  he is eating ok and I have now varied their diet. Can you please help   Should I remove him from the other fish?? Thanks Mardi <Mardi- Remove him, but be very careful not to introduce new stress (i.e. change in water chemistry, temp).  This doesn't sound good, but there's always hope with fish.  Try not to medicate your 2 healthy fish!  Do you test your water?  If so, some test results may be helpful in isolating the cause of this. Ryan>


Tilting Goldfish Hi, <Hello> I have a 55 gallon tank with two power filers and an undergravel filter.  I have four fancy goldfish - fairly big - had them all for a year (one Black Moor, one Blue Oranda, one Fantail, and one Red Oranda).   <OK> Two or three weeks ago, we lost power for two days in very cold weather.  Before I could get an airstone going, all the fish looked dead and the tank got pretty cold.  I started an airstone, and they all "came back to life" except for a big lionhead which died. it was very disturbing. So, anyhow, my Red Oranda now seems to have swim bladder disease as he seems very healthily no other problems yet he hangs out in upper corner of tank unless eating as it seem to keep him from completing flipping over.   <If it is actually swim bladder disease it might help to treat him with Epsom salts in a separate tank.> I'm trying fasting and feeding peas which I was feeding anyhow.   I feel bad as he/she seems to be getting worse in terms of keeping upright.  However, since I see no other symptoms, I don't know if worth trying an antibiotic... <Take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm to see if any of those fit his problems. If not, try the Epsom salts to see if they help.> As long as keeps moving, swims fairly normal, when resting, kinda tilts until vertical.   I'd hate to do more harm then good <It's hard to say exactly what is causing this.> My other question is whether I could put 3 blueberry tetras into the goldfish tank.  I guess I can't. <Not really. The tetras need warmer water than your goldfish.> I just removed these tetras from a small 10 gallon tropical tank that I have that houses my two dwarf African frogs and a Betta.  I felt that the tetras were being too nasty to my favorite frogs.  Now, I wish I didn't have them.  I have them in a little 2 gallon tank - and they don't seem happy.   <See if your LFS will let you trade them back in. Many places will. Ronni>


Re: Sick lionhead fish - HELP I have a lionhead goldfish that is sick - she is six years old.  She has had continual bladder infections for a few months that, up until now, I have been able to treat successfully with Maracyn-Two tablets.  This fish has been on its side for 4 days now and not eating.  The pet store told me to try adding 1 teaspoon of iodized salt to her 10 gallon tank and wait 24 hours.  I have done that and she has shown NO improvement.  She is still on her side, not eating, has strings floating off of her fins, & is now looking bloated.  I called back there today and they told me to do a 1/4 to a 1/2 water tank change and try adding a Neomycin tablet to her 10 gallon tank.  Which I have just done.  Will this help her?  Is there anything else I can do?  I feel so terrible - she looks awful.  Help!! <It sounds as if she may be getting Dropsy. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for recommended treatments. Ronni>


Fantail goldfish Greetings! <Hello!> I have 2 fantail goldfish, Walter and Pearl. Eddie who was the oldest died last week. <Last week was a bad week for goldfish, I lost an Oranda, and my dad lost a couple of fantails.> He had been swimming upside down for months and I was told by people at my local PetSmart that was normal. <common, maybe, but not normal. could be diet related, or a problem with the swim bladder.> Anyway, after Eddie died I did a 50% water change and put in a new filter. <replacing the filter could have removed a lot of the beneficial bacteria and your tank may be going through a cycle, you will want to test your water for ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite to be sure.  The local fish store should be able to test your water for you.> Now Walter and Pearl are behaving very unusually. They are swimming very erratically, i.e. upside down, nose down, spinning, etc. They seem to be gasping for air and won't eat. I did read several of the FAQ's and tried feeding peas. No luck. I changed the water adding conditioner. The tank is 10 gallon and I don't know the pH. I didn't know I should be watching that in a freshwater tank. <ph is important, but so is ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite.> Anyway, I also read about adding Epsom salt.  I could only glean that the reasoning was to treat constipation. Again, I didn't know I needed to watch for that although as the mother of a two year old I have discussed BM's more in the last 2 years than in my entire life! :) <thanks for reminding me to call my Mom and thank her.> I feel like they are suffering and I hate seeing that. Thanks for your help. Trudy <The first thing I would do is get my water tested. The behavior could be related to water quality or diet.  Several small water changes over a few days/weeks should help with the water quality. If you are feeding only dry foods you might consider adding some frozen food to the diet as well as peas.  If the problem is diet/digestion related some Epsom salts will be helpful to get things moving in the right direction.  Check out the link below for some more information.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm  >


Fat Gold Fish Hi, <Hello> In the last few days my goldfish has bloated almost double its size.  Someone said it could be constipated or pregnant.  What would you suggest I do? Thanks, Joan <Constipation is possible but it's more likely to be Dropsy. Are the scales on it's side sticking straight out? If so, it's definitely dropsy and needs to be medicated immediately. Check your LFS for medication, one of the Maracyns treats this. Ronni>

Re: fat gold fish Ronni, thank you so much for responding to my question. I have put the antibiotic in.  The fish seems to be losing its scales almost like shedding.  Is this normal? <If it's just a couple I wouldn't worry much about it, if it's very many though then something is seriously wrong although it could be a side effect of the dropsy.> Also, the tank has turned really brown, could this be the medication and should I wait to change it until the five days of meds have passed? <The brown color is definitely not normal. I would do a very large water change and then retreat. Make sure to remove any carbon or PolyFilter before medicating again. These will remove all of the medication and defeat the purpose of adding the meds.> Thanks for your help.  Joan <Glad to be of service. Ronni>


Upside-Down Goldfish? My friend has a fantail goldfish, and all he does is float upside down. We were kinda worried know because he has a red like bump on his belly, and the place were the bump is stays out of the water. Does that mean that he is sick or that he just likes to swim upside down? Please let me know what you think. Thanks. Melissa. <Well, Melissa, it's certainly abnormal for a goldfish to float upside down! The malady causing this condition can be anything from swim bladder damage to an equilibrium problem. As for the red bump- hard to say...could be the result of a parasite, injury, or some kind of other disease. I never recommend giving up on a fish, but you may need to try some heroic actions here. I don't like indiscriminately medicating when a condition cannot be ascertained, but I think that you may want to try some type of broad-spectrum antibiotic. perhaps, if the condition was brought about by an internal infection, this may alleviate the condition. Please do a search on the "Freshwater" section of the wetwebmedia.com site under "diseases" to see if you can find information on an affliction which appears to be similar to what you're dealing with. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>


Orange and White Ryukin. I bought my Orange and White Ryukin from PETsMART on Saturday evening, and tonight around twelve when I walked into my room I discovered my fish, Tropicana, "belly up." I thought he was dead, but when I looked closer he was still moving and breathing, but on his side. I searched around the web looking for answers, and found your FAQ page, and from comparing the symptoms of my fish to the fish of previous enquirers' had, I'm thinking he has swim bladder. <Swim bladder disorders are unfortunately all too common in fancy goldfish...> My question is this: when feeding him peas, how many do I need to feed him, and is it okay if they're canned peas with salt in them, or do they need to be the frozen kind with nothing added? <The frozen peas are much better for your fish, and for you... thaw them before feeding them to your goldfish. The size of your fish will help determine how many peas to feed him; generally, only feed him as many as he will eat in a minute or two.> And how much Epsom salt do I need to put in his bowl when its about 2 gallons? <Anthony suggests 1 tablespoon for 10 gallons, so I would go with about 3/4 of a teaspoon for 2 gallons.> Any advice you can give me on how to help my fish would be great. I could use advice on everything from how to get a tank's pH level just right so my fish is most comfortable, <Maintaining a steady pH is more important than getting to a specific pH.> all the way to what size tank I need to have for my Ryukin. <You could start with a 10 gallon tank and a basic power filter.> I'm a beginner, and I just have this one fish, so I need help and lots of it! <Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm> Thanks in advance! <You are quite welcome. --Ananda>


Fantail goldfish sick? I have a large fantail goldfish (about 3" body and about 3 years old) in an outdoors ponds (about 300 gallons) and he frequently floats upside down in the pond.  Sometimes he is lying upside down between stalks of the plants.  Sometimes I am sure he is dead but when I put food in he rights himself enough to eat.  Is he injured and should I try to do anything to correct this odd behavior?    <Sounds like a swim bladder disorder, very common with the wide bodied gold fish.  Cannot always be cured, but it is worth a shot, checkout the link below for more info.  Let us know if you have any further questions.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm


Urgent advice needed (goldfish bloat "disease") Dear Robert I have a black Ryukin, less than a year old. About 3 weeks ago, it started swimming sideways, I changed the water, tried feeding it peas. But the condition remained the same. I have used fin rot medicine for treating its fin which was looked like it was having fish rot. The fin improved, but he remained bloated. Lately I noticed there was a small white spot on its bloated belly (exposed to the air), and a red spot beneath scales. I was prescribed Azoo, an anti bacterial powder, by the fish hobbyist shops. My Ryukin's condition did not improve, but lately I noticed the red spots looked like internal bleeding under the scales. What should I do? I am really desperate, as I am new in this. Thanks. Adeline <Thank you for writing. It is likely that the prima facie cause of all the other symptoms you list is a "swim bladder disorder"... all-too common in "rounder" breeds of Goldfish. Your step to intervene with feeding peas is a good strategy, as over time, consumption of less "fat" prone/storage foods allows for a better balance/orientation. I would move this specimen to a shallow system (A handful of inches deep) w/o rocks, other sharp decor, no lighting, feed it very sparingly, and perhaps add a level teaspoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) per ten net/actual gallons (no need to re-new unless you change out water). Over a period of a few weeks it should "right" itself. The other suggested medicines won't hurt, but the sores should clear on their own. Bob Fenner>


Fantail Goldfish Problem Dear Bob: <Steven Pro pulling my shift this evening.> Something is wrong with my one-and a half year old goldfish, Cleo. She is exhibiting behavior that doesn't seem normal to me. Most of the time she is either perpendicular or in a belly-up pose. She is eating O.K. and I have put her on antibiotics thinking she had something wrong with her swim fins. This behavior was also exhibited in a 5 gallon tank with filter and I thought a larger tank would be in order. I purchased a 12 gallon Eclipse but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. The filter and water are clean. Do you have any ideas what may be wrong? <Yes, sounds like a swim bladder disorder. Very common problem with many of the fancy goldfish. There are several Q&A's about this problem here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm -Steven Pro>

Re: Fantail goldfish behavior Dear Bob: Thanks for replying to my dilemma on my fantail goldfish, Cleo's swim bladder disorder. I have put her on Maracyn-Two, but, that doesn't seem to help. Also, she will not go for the peas, romaine lettuce and spinach. Any other suggestions? How fatal is this disorder? Should I prepare for the worst? Paula Simmons.  <Please do read over the FAQs where Steven referred you to (below) earlier. There is some hope of resolution with time, perhaps Epsom salt baths might alleviate the problem... but generally (more often than not by the vast majority of cases) the damage here is irreversible. With weight loss/change in body chemistry make-up, the fish may "right itself"... and live years more... Not good odds, but it can/does happen. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fantail goldfish behavior Dear Bob:  <Anthony Calfo in your service> Thanks again for your time and efforts on Cleo's behalf AND mine too. I think with more diligence on my part, Cleo, may have a chance. Did give her the Epson salt treatment this morning after cleaning out 20 percent of her old water and then treating the new water which had been standing 48 hours.  <excellent> I have also been removing the stones on the bottom so she won't bottom feed so much per FAQ. Another tip on FAQ was soaking her food for 15 minutes before feeding it to her. <yes... very helpful with greedy feeders> She seems a little bit more lively this afternoon, and hopefully with changes in the water twice or three times a week may make a difference.  <agreed> I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all your input. Paula Simmons <always welcome. Anthony>


Sick Black Moor Can you help a really sick Black Moor? I am new to the fish stuff. <I shall do my best> I really like this little fish and would love to save him. I have had him for two weeks, which is how long I have been at this. He appears to have Ich and I started treating him for it yesterday. Today, he stopped eating and transferred him to another bowl. Don't have two tanks so he is in a big measuring cup.  <hmmm... do change water carefully and every day... it sure is a tough life to have a fish living in such a small vessel> He looks like he has little bubbles, not salt, all over him. Is this Ich?  <sounds quite possible... especially in an unheated cup/aquarium subject to daily temp fluctuation> Also, the whites of his eyes have become very noticeable. Does he have pop-eye, too? <not likely... pop-eye is exopthalmia...protruding/swollen eyes> We have three other goldfish in the tank, but there does not appear to be anything wrong with them. They are quite happy. Last night I noticed the big Fantail either knocking or biting at the sick Moor. Is this normal when a fish is sick? <alas, yes... they may try to take advantage of the sick or dying. Do look into getting another larger vessel to keep the fish in and some ich medicine> Thanks so much. Sue P.S. Do you have any idea how to tell the sex of a goldfish? <males will have pimply like tubercles on the forward surface of the ventral fins (coating the first few hard rays) when in spawning mood. Females are simply better rounded/stout. Best regards, Anthony>

Follow-up: Can you help a really sick Black Moor? <Steven Pro in now.> Thank you so much for your reply. It wasn't long after I sent the note that he died. sniff, sniff. What a lovely little fish he was. He was only in the other container for a short while. <Sorry to hear that.> Would you mind if I asked a couple more questions? <Go ahead.> The other fish seem fine, but should I continue with changing the water and adding medication for Ich? <The changing water daily recommendation had to do with being in a bowl, not really about the possible Ich infestation. Monitor their health closely and be prepared to medicate if you see anything.> If so, for how long? <Follow the manufacturer's directions.> How long do you think I should wait to see if the other fish get sick before I get another moor? Two weeks? <More like one month.> I have this other fish that is perfectly healthy, but swims and sleeps upside down, we call him Bottom-up. It is kind of hard for him to get to the bottom, but he does so in circles. He has even grown in the past two weeks. It's amusing to watch, but what's up with that? <Common affliction for fancy goldfish. There are several Q&A's on this topic in the goldfish FAQ found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm> Again, thank you so much for your kind reply. I had no idea fish could be so interesting. Sue <More interesting with every time you observe them. -Steven Pro>

Follow-up: Can you help a really sick Black Moor?  Thank you! You guys are really super!!!! Do you sell something or just answer questions all day? Thanks again, Sue <absolutely nothing to sell... heehee... that's why you get good service. Bob has assembled a gaggle of dedicated industry professionals, aquarists and friends to support this enormous site full of free (all and only) content: pics, articles, FAQs, now movies/video coming online (yippee!). A little advertising money trickles in from merchants... but this enormous site (and expense to operate it) is the product of Bob's vision for supporting and promoting conscientious aquarium keeping by aquarists and dealers alike. Thanks kindly for the recognition though! Best regards, Anthony>


Goldfish swimming upside down? Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have 4 Goldfish, where one of the goldfish is swimming upside down. <a common malady/behavior with goldfish... many reasons for it> Its not large, doesn't have an oversized tail, still feeds actually it is the first one to feed. <still... congenital defects run rampant with highly inbred fishes such as goldfish> My little friend has been like this for six days now. We had another one doing the same thing and it died after a day. I immediately cleaned out the water and de-chlorinated it, we have an under-gravel filter covered with pebbles & some seaweed for them to munch on. <if not a defect that manifests with age/development... often an internal blockage from these greedy feeders (consume a lot of dry food and become impacted). If that is the case, adding 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons can relive the blockage> What is going on? Do you think there is something wrong with it, or with the way I maintain the water, could it be a disease...If so what can I do to eliminate it so that the other fish don't get contaminated. <unlikely disease or water quality... more likely a defect or blockage> Margo <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>


Goldfish health Hello! I just found your (absolutely terrific) website online and I am going to write to you and ask for help. I have done a lot of research and I'm really confused because it seems my goldfish is exhibiting symptoms of one thing, according to one site, and a completely different malady according to another site. <Ok...> He's tired of my experimenting! A word about me first: I'm a first-year graduate student and flat-out broke. This goldfish is the only pet I am legally allowed to have and I'm very fond of him, but if the repairs are going to cost more than $10 it's going to be a real decision between saving him and eating for the week. So I am NOT able to tell you about my pH levels or ammonia or anything. <Ok, but this will severely limit the possibility of an accurate diagnosis and therefore accurate advice.> I bought this goldfish six months ago, and I change his water approximately every 7 days. He is in a 2.5-gallon tank with a fake plant and a 10-gallon-capable Whisper filter which I turn off at night so he can sleep without the updraft (I change the filter every month or so). When I do a water change I take out a little less than a gallon and put a gallon in; the difference is the water that's evaporated over the course of the week. So that's all I can tell you about water quality, unfortunately. <Ok...> Prior to all this chaos I fed the goldfish one pinch of flakes every night just before I went to bed. Sometimes after I turned out the light I'd hear him "gulping," but he always quit after a few minutes so I figured he was just being silly or blowing bubbles (hence my belief that he's a he). So about two weeks ago I noticed that he was kind of panicky and floating, he seemed to be struggling to stay at the bottom (normally he sleeps all day on the gravel). <Swim bladder disorders are all too common in fancy type goldfish.> I logged on and did all the research and went out and bought him some peas, which I thawed and peeled and fed him. <A good move> The next day he was all better so I fed him, using a new procedure and soaking the flakes first (and using a new canister of flakes). The next day he was floating, so I repeated the pea procedure. Then I abstained from feeding him for 3 days (I found several web sites that said you could not feed a goldfish for a month without harming him). <Correct, but losing ballast weight may make his problems more pronounced.> But he's a cutie and every evening he starts swimming pointedly around in the "food" spot so I finally gave in and fed him three days ago, and the next morning he was floating a little bit again! <Perhaps try sinking pellets> I thawed and peeled some more peas and fed them to him. For three days I fed him only peas (approximately 1 pea a day). On the second day, I observed that he was not floating as much and that his poop was pea-colored (normally it's grey-brown if I see it at all). So I thought good, it's cleaning out whatever's wrong in there. Then yesterday I came home and found him with a long poop still attached, perfectly clear with bubbles trapped in it. I don't know if the poop was strong enough but it seemed to be pulling him up, so he was kind of half-head standing for a while until it came out. I logged on again and several different sources said that clear/bubbly poop means he's malnourished. So I fed him flakes again, but I tried doing it well before I went to bed in case the gulping is him stupidly searching for more food in the dark. He didn't gulp last night and he wasn't floating this morning, but right now he's having another long, clear, bubble-filled poop. He seems fairly worked up about it (he's a pretty placid fish) and is swimming as if he wanted to detach the poop from himself ASAP. Once again the poop seems to be dragging him upwards a little. At no point has he exhibited swelling, discoloration, or other signs of distress. He did have a fairly stressful move from Michigan to Georgia earlier this month, but I kept him as climate-controlled as possible and changed his water and it was only 2 nights before he was back in his tank. So one site I found tonight suggested that clear, bubbly poop and head standing are actually symptoms of SPAWNING. And now I'm all confused. <Me too and mildly amused that I am discussing the finer points of fish feces with someone.> Is this a swim bladder disease or something else entirely, or is it just that my he is actually a she? <I would guess a swim bladder problem.> That would be kind of cool -- I could use some sisterly solidarity. Does spawning take two weeks? I'd love it if you could help, but even if you can't I appreciate your contribution to the general body of goldfish knowledge. <Do read at your leisure the information regarding this problem and general goldfish husbandry on www.WetWebMedia.com. I would be inclined to change to a goldfish formula sinking pellet along with occasion feedings of the peas. Do be aware that goldfish get rather large. You may want to consider finding him a new home. Bettas/Siamese fighting fish and various Killifish will be much happier and healthier in such a small tank.> Thank you! Alden <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>


Bloating goldfish I recently (four months ago) moved to a new house that has a lovely pond in the backyard, complete with about 30 goldfish and 2 koi. <Size of fishes, system? Shape, depth, types of filtration, circulation information?> We had a problem with the filter and pump and replaced them about a month ago. The fish have all been healthy until about three weeks ago when I noticed that one of the goldfish was quite bloated and subsequently it began swimming upside down. <A bad sign.> It died within about a week. Now two more fish are bloated in the same manner and one is also swimming upside down. Neither were in distress yesterday. I've checked the pH balance and for toxic waste - the nitrates - and both are acceptable. <Good checking.> I've done a search in the web for what could be the cause and it sounds like dropsy to me. <Mmm, well, dropsy is a "condition"... w/ a few possible contributing causes... genetic propensity ("fat" varieties of goldfish get it more easily), often nutritionally related (foods w/ too much protein, fat content), and water quality most commonly cited... Could be the change in gear, seasons triggered the start of something here... Perhaps biological, likely more environmentally related> Do you think it is from my description? Could it be that with the new pump, the water is flowing more quickly and this is causing the problem? Should I be adding some non-iodized salt to the pond? <The salt is a good idea... at least what I would do... Again, please send along the requested information (above)> I'd appreciate any advice you could provide. I'm new to this and just hate to see the fish suffering. Thanks, Esther Christopher <We're very glad to try help. If you have a means of adding aeration (a bubbler of sorts or a pump that adds circulation) I would do this as well for now. Sorry for the delay in response. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bloating goldfish You asked for some additional info. The 2 Koi are each about a foot long. The goldfish vary in size between 4 and 10 inches. The pond is round with a 12 foot diameter and about 3 feet deep in the middle tapering up on all sides.  <Quite crowded... a factor> The pump is 3500 gal. rated resting on an inverted plant container about 1 foot off the bottom. The pump feeds into a 3,500 gal. rated Nursery Pro pressure filter (a series of round sponges in a closed container) which then feeds into a waterfall which is about 20 feet from the pond. <Pressurized filters can be trouble. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pndfiltrovr.htm and the linked files beyond> The pond is replenished by a lined creek from the waterfall pond ( creek is about 20 feet). Any further advice you can offer is much appreciated.  Esther Christopher & Lance Nater <I would give away about half the goldfish... do you have oxygenating grasses (live plants)? What do you feed? Bob Fenner>

Re: Bloating goldfish Yes, we have grass and water lilies in both the waterfall basin and the pond. These plants take up about 30% of the surface areas. <A "good" percentage> Re the pressurized filter, we have been turning the pump off for 8 to 10 hours each evening. We tested for pH and nitrates but not ammonia. <Ohh... dangerous to shut these units down... do check the initial discharge water... I strongly suggest leaving on 24 h/day> Should we run the pump continuously?  <Emphatically yes!> Do we shut it down during the winter (we live in the middle of Vancouver Island where coldest night temp. would be freezing or slightly below)?  <If freezing you should turn off the pump, remove it... if freezing to more than an inch or permanently, remove the livestock (including plants) to elsewhere during the cold season... Please, PLEASE read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdwintmaint.htm> We're feeding a handful of pellet type food daily. Thanks again, Lance and Esther <Please read over the WWM site re temperature relations and feeding. Bob Fenner


Very Sick Goldfish Hi I have a goldfish, its been floating around in the tank for many days I think its going 2 die. What should I do? How do I  know that the fishes are sick? Please help. ahana <I would start with a partial water change, remove approx 25% of the old water, replace with clean/dechlorinated water that is the same temperature as the main tank.  Take a sample of your water to the local fish store, have them test if for PH, ammonia, and nitrate.  Are we dealing with a fancy goldfish (wide body) or a common gold fish?  What type of filtration do you have on this tank?  You can usually tell that your fish are sick by abnormal behavior, and/or noticeably signs of disease like spots, or open wounds.  Please get your water tested and get back to us.  Check out the links below for some good reading.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm>


Old Goldfish New Troubles Please can you help? We have a 10year old goldfish in a tank. I have just walked into the kitchen and noticed he is floating on the surface of the water and appeared to be "gasping". I immediately changed the water (it is less than a week since I did so). Is there anything else I can do before the little one comes home from school? <Yes... first, please tell us what size the fish and tank are...do you have a mechanical aerator/bubbler? Any filtration at all? How did you treat the water you used in the change? Any ideas on the cause of the behavior? What do you feed this fish? Are there other livestock, plants in the system? What sorts of foods do you offer? I would test your water for whatever parameters you have gear for... possibly add/change the carbon (if used) in your filter/s. Bob Fenner>


Oranda Emergency I've got real problems with my Oranda.  I'm afraid that he might be very sick. The first difficulty was with the water filter's pump:  it failed, and the water became very, very dirty. <time for a water change> During this time, I had bought another type of Goldfish food which was not the Yardley's Flakes that had been his diet exclusively before.  His feces were darker and slower to pass. I went to the pet store and bought a new filtration device <what kind?> and after consulting with a rather knowledgeable person there about the fish's diet and his resistance to a eating the new kind of fish flake, I decided to take some advice and buy pellet-food to help build his ability to scavenge. <Scavenging is not terribly important, better to get him eating first.> The fish took slowly to the pellets, but then after a couple of weeks began to decline eating them as I fed him.  He had several very long, dark feces which passed very slowly.  I don't know much from experience how much slower they were than before, but the change was very noticeable. After one more week passed, the fish began to swim off-kilter, that is *parallel to the ground*. This went on for over a week, and then I decided that it was real trouble. I called the pet store, and the same person listened to my description of the problem and diagnosed it as swim bladder's disorder.  She recommended *  to starve the fish for 2-4 days and then *  begin feeding him frozen food I began feeding him the frozen food a couple of days ago. <what kind of frozen food?> He has not begun to improve.  I cannot ascertain whether or not he is really eating the frozen food.  He is remaining in the same spot -sideways- on the floor of the tank.  His breathing is more rapid than I have ever seen it before.  The area around his eyes seem swollen, although I can see no discoloration anywhere.  He still doesn't seem to be defecating very much, although he has darker feces than I've seen since he got sick. Please help me.  I'm very worried.  Should I take this fish to get direct professional attention?  What else can I do for him? <Evenin' David, what size tank is this Oranda in?  What type of filtration is on the tank?  Are there any plants in the tank?  If you do not have test kits, take a sample of your water down to the fish store and have them test it for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and ph. I'm guessing that this was brought on by a water quality issue.  I'd start with a water change and let us know the specifics about your tank and water quality, then we can go from there.  Best Regards, Gage> David Freeman

Re: Oranda Emergency I changed the water immediately upon installing >the new filtration device.  I conditioned it with the Cycle brand and a couple of others that, being complementary to it, were recommended by the woman at the pet store.  I also put in a multi-mineral (salt) combination that she advised me to use. <sounds good> <what kind?> [of filtration device] It's a Penguin Bio-Wheel Mini (100gph) .  It has *  a carbon filter that seems to be cleaning fairly well.  I just put in a new filter on the day I first wrote to you. *  a helpful-bacteria friendly wheel <I'd like to see bigger on a 20gal goldfish tank.> He wasn't really having a problem eating until after the idea of better scavenging made me want to buy the pellets on her advice.  Believe me, getting him to eat normally and swim like a man is what I'm concerned about. <the frozen food was a good choice.> I  have been feeding him a brand called "Fish Gum Drops Floating Fish Food Variety Pack" (San Francisco Bay Brand, Inc. 8329 Enterprise Drive, Newark, CA 94560) that has separate packets for : *  Bloodworms, *  Brine Shrimp and *  "Vegetable Diet (Squash, Spinach, Romaine, and vitamins)" The size of the tank is 20 Gallons.  There are no plants in the tank.  I don't think that the fish has ever lived with a plant (I inherited him from the previous renter of my apartment, who was a friend of mine). I will take a sample to the pet store tomorrow --sounds like good advice that I didn't get from the pet store woman when I told her all of what I'm telling you and asked if there was anything else that I could do for the fish. <Its best to get opinions from multiple sources.  If I recall, you have some good stores in your area.> I did replace the water almost completely two weeks ago when I observed how filthy the stones were.  I don't think that the fish's previous parent had assiduously cleaned the stones, so I removed the fish to temporary house with a gallon of the water for about 1 hour, where he swam sideways too. I cleaned the rocks, put in newly conditioned water and then replaced him along with the gallon of old water.  I don't know if that was the correct procedure.  Was it?  Since then, I have been replacing about 2 gallons (conditioned) per week.  The water is not murky and hasn't been for awhile.  I get worried when replacing the water.  I don't want to shock the fish. However, if you think that I should do so, then I shall.   I just replaced 2 gallons on Wednesday. <I would use a gravel vacuum to get into the gravel and replace 1/3 of the water weekly, if this is the only fish in the tank.> Are you thinking that this is bacterial in character and *not* regular swim bladder's disorder?  I guess that the water tests will yield the salient facts, huh? <I'm not convinced on what it is just yet.> More about his symptoms: *  The area around his eyes seems swollen, and therefore the eyes appear to be set back, even though they are open. *  Perhaps only because of his current posture, I have noticed an area below his chin that is whitish that I never saw before.  It seems to be a flexible organic structure and doesn't look odd all on its own.  It concerns me, though. Do you have any good web links for me, particularly if you think that this might be bacterial and not the normal Swim bladder's disorder? <We've got some good goldfish FAQs: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm Thanks for your help, Gage.  The fish and I really need it.  If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to ask me for return favors in Database, programming, DNS or Network administration.  I'd like to be of some use to you. <Yes, please hire me. Ha.> --David


Swim Bladder Problem Dear Dr. Fenner <Just Bob, please> Thanks so much to you and your crew for a wonderful site - it is most informative. <Glad to be of service> I have been researching information for my sick shubunkin and came across your FAQs on Fresh Water Diseases section - in particular, your responses to Jeremy and his Ryukin with a Swim bladder problem.  I believe my shubunkin has this problem, although your advice as to whether this is really the case would be appreciated as well. <Okay> I had been feeding flake food intermittently (I had switched to the frozen foods - Daphnia, Blood Worms, Veggie Diet, Brine Shrimp over the last six months, but had some flake food left over and decided to finish off the supply not realizing the damage that it can cause).  My shubunkin started to hang vertically from the surface water in the tank occasionally about two weeks ago (still feeding and moving around), then started to get progressively worse - floating on his side, usually sitting up on the top of the weed for support.  He didn't appear to be excreting, so I started to give green peas to the whole fish community (which they all love!) but this did not seem to help my shubunkin with his problem, although he was eating.   Over the next few days, I tried the advice you gave to Jeremy, and gave my shubunkin the Epsom salt baths (3 days and then a rest).  For one day, he appeared to be a little better (in the morning - night was back to floating on side).  I had left him in the tank with the other fish, but as he was getting worse, I thought it might be best to remove him to a hospital tank which I did two days ago.  I followed your advice to Jeremy and placed him in enough water to cover him, and also keep the tank dark, with no gravel on the bottom, just a little bit of weed for cover, and an airstone for oxygenation; check the ammonia, nitrate, and pH levels (pH is about 7.4).  He now lies on his side on the bottom of the tank and doesn't really do anything at all.  I started to administer the Epsom salt baths again today (second session) and noticed that he is now excreting (not a lot, but with form and color.  The little I noticed before was clear and fine).  I did not feed him for a couple of days to hopefully give his bladder a chance to rest, and started again last night (Daphnia).  He is certainly hungry and happy to eat, and generally looks well with his fins up (although horizontal!). <All sounds good thus far> Have I managed to save my fish now that he is excreting a little or is he still going to die? <I have hope s/he will not> And if I have managed to save him, will he ever be able to swim horizontally again?  Is there anything else that I can do for him? <Just keep on with your good husbandry> I would really appreciate any further advice that you could give me.   With thanks, Besharl   PS:  I'm from Australia. <No worries mate. Bob Fenner>


Chocolate Oranda problem Hello, <Hi Todd> I've had a Chocolate Oranda goldfish for roughly 6 months now.  From the day I bought him (PetSmart), he's had a tendency to float to a vertical position- enough so that I actually named him "Vert". <I had one named Vertigo.> He was a baby when I bought him, very much black and has since lost most of the black for the regular gold color.  The reason I'm emailing is his long back tail fins are deteriorating to the point of almost to the stalk of his tail.  His left swimming fin also has a "slice" in it that renders it nearly useless. Tank specs: 20 gallons, two Whisper filters spec.ed at 10-20 gallons. Two large fantails, one black moor, one comet goldfish, and one blue-fin catfish (and then the Oranda).  The tank is pretty much at capacity. Regular water changes (once a week, down to about 4-5 gallons remaining with a good filter scrubbing about every month. The two fantails and black moor are over 2 years old, with the remaining 3 fish about the same age. (All bought as babies) <The tank may be getting a little crowded, you want to shoot for 10gal per goldfish.  I would change a little less water weekly, around 50%.  Do you ever see the catfish going after the Oranda, he could be the cause of the fin damage.  Goldfish are better kept with other goldfish, catfish are not to be trusted.> My dad and I have concluded it is some form of tail rot <possible> and my dad even treated the Oranda separately with some antibiotics about a month ago.  He eats fine- flakes and floating pellets (I have read a little about peas.. don't know what to do though).  If you think a picture of the fish would help diagnosis, I can send you one.  Finally, he's somewhat overweight <that's pretty normal with these wide bodied fellas> (my mother loves to feed them. "they look hungry", I tell her once a day but that never happens). <two to three times per day is ok as long as the meals are small.> Thanks in advance! -Todd Derrenbacker <A picture would be great.  I would move the Oranda to a separate tank and try a one time dose of Epsom salt at 1 Tablespoon per 10 gallons of tank water and feed high moisture green foods including thawed frozen peas and spinach.  Feel free to browse our Goldfish FAQs for more info. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm Send that picture along, and the results of some water tests would be good as well.  Best Regards, Gage >


Dropsical Goldfish Please let me know if you can help.  I have a comet goldfish that is about 11 years old.  He's a great bud.  He got sick with something that is making him swell up and I can't seem to help.  I did 2 wks of tetracycline in the H2O and medicated food.  He now is floating upside down, but can still manage to turn over when he swims, but not for long.  I don't want to lose him if there is any hope.  I'll enclose pics of him that was a month or so ago. He's 2x that size now.  PLEASE help me save him.  Email me ASAP with some suggestions.  I tried the frozen pea thing already. <There may be some chance of alleviating the symptoms (edema, "pine-cone scale disease", dropsy...) by administering Epsom Salt (MgS04) baths or at this point, if this is the only livestock in the tank, adding the Epsom directly to the water (about a teaspoon per two gallons). Do keep trying to feed the peas (no dried food) or even brine shrimp if the fish will take it (frozen/defrosted or live). Bob Fenner>

Re: Oranda swimming vertically hi I've just bought 3 new goldfish...and got a new tank setup.1 of them is an Oranda.. after 1 day...it has started swimming weird. its tail would float upwards...sometimes leaving the fish floating in a vertical position. have checked ph levels.. pls advise... <Please read here re Goldfish swim bladder disorders: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm You need to be careful about the kinds, amounts of foods offered with this sort of goldfish breed... as it is susceptible to this disorder. Bob Fenner>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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