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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 37

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease, GoldfishGoldfish Varieties Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment SystemBloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHPHole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis,

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Disease 1, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish Health 22, Goldfish Health 23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25, Goldfish Disease 26, Goldfish Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30, Goldfish Disease 31, Goldfish Disease 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 38, Goldfish Disease 39, Goldfish Disease 40, Goldfish Disease 41,

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antifungals, Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals ( Copper, eSHa, Metronidazole, Formalin, Copper, Malachite Green), Dewormers, Organophosphates, Salts, Mela- et al. non-fixes, Misc. Med.s,

Goldfish Disease by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4Environmental 5,  Environmental ,  (Absolutely the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Eye Troubles
Lumps/Bumps/Growths (including idiopathic tumors)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal Infectious
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans, Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/ Anchorworms/Lernaeids, ) Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder Problems
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Mystery bumps on edges of Pleco fins (plus some other random questions involving goldfish)  12/30/07 Happy holidays to the WWM crew! <Thanks!> Thanks again to Neale for the helpful responses a few weeks ago -- Ginger the goldfish seems to have more or less recovered from the whole ordeal and has been back in the main [35g] tank for a couple weeks - Fancy (the little Ryukin) seemed quite happy to have Ginger back, if that's possible... though I'm wondering if Ginger is really male and Fancy a female, after reading the FAQs on fish sexing? <Goldfish are difficult to sex outside of breeding condition; in breeding condition, males develop very obvious white spots (tubercles) on their heads.> There was quite a bit of "tail bumping" and not-overly-intense chasing of Fancy by Ginger yesterday, which seems to have resulted in a tail tasting -- I assume the small 'ribbon' of missing tail will heal up uneventfully, but will it regrow? <Fin should grow back, though possibly a different colour.> I'll keep an eye on the tear to make sure no infection/fungus takes hold, and continue to maintain the water change/testing schedule for now. Fancy seems otherwise content and isn't having any trouble swimming. A photo of the 2 (Ginger's the orange one, Fancy's the calico; the arrows point to the tear in Fancy's tail, and what I suspect are 'breeding stars' on Ginger?): http://appj.com/photos/fish/gingerfancy.jpg <Looks like Ginger is indeed a male. The give-away is if the pattern of white spots on each side of the head looks about the same. Ick (Whitespot) never does.> [Grr... my stupid webmail client just ate the detailed paragraph I wrote on my Pleco... for lack of energy, here's an abbreviated version, below] <Oh dear.> My Pleco (Hypostomus sp?) has some strange, whitish-clearish-fleshy, gelatinous growths on the edge of the left ventral fin and the top of the caudal fin. The small bump on the tail fin appeared several days ago, but seemed smaller the last couple days and hasn't really changed much. The pleco's still eating/moving normally, but was cleaning the front glass this evening despite the aquarium light being on -- not completely normal for him. That's when I noticed that a much bigger cauliflower bump had appeared on the edge/underside of another fin in the last day. There's no apparent injury underlying these bumps, which "saddle" the outer edge of a fin. There had been a bit of a spat between the Pleco and Fancy over a particular algae wafer last night (despite the other 2 identical wafers next to it in the tank!), so maybe the stress of that exacerbated whatever condition this is: http://appj.com/photos/fish/plecobump.jpg <Hmm... could be Lymphocystis, a viral disease with no cure other than time. Rarely fatal, but does take a long time (potentially many months to a couple years) to clear up. Fairly convincingly ascribed to less than perfect water quality issues. Lympho tends to be an issue with "advanced" fish, so this may in fact be more akin to Fish Pox, an equivalent disease found on carps.> Currently, there are no bumps quite like this on any other fish, though Ginger has had a small whitish bump/discoloration "in" her/his tail for several weeks now. I'm guessing it's unrelated, unless it's some sort of viral thing? I'm hoping the Crew may have a potential diagnosis / treatment recommendation. <Does sound similar. Either way, these sorts of cysts/tumours/warts can't be treated directly except by improving water quality. Do make sure conditions are otherwise optimal. Since Plecs are tropical fish, do make sure the temperature is adequate.> Thanks in advance :) - Jen [p.s. see "goldfish 911 (lethargic, anorexic)" FAQ thread from a couple weeks ago, for more setup/background info] [p.p.s. I'll be writing again soon with some questions on the new 125g tank I just purchased for my aquatic critters - too exciting!] <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Devastating Ich outbreak, 2 fish down, please help.  Goldfish 12/28/07 Hello there, <Ave!> Please help, we've had a dreadful week. <Oh?> On Dec 21st our beloved goldfish (Jasper the black moor, Oscar the comet, and Daphne the Oranda) developed what we believe to be Ich. Lots of tiny spots that attract tiny oxygen bubbles, particularly around the gills and under the chin, but also on the body. Dorsal fins went flaccid, and the fish seemed itchy and weak. They continued to feed well, but otherwise a very distressing turnaround for otherwise healthy, happy fish. No obvious reason for the outbreak -water quality good, no new plants, stock or live food in the last 6 weeks, no changes we can think of. <Hmm... as you realise already, Ick tends to follow on from specific things rather than coming out of the blue. But it may happen.> We immediately did a water change (around 40%) and started treating with Interpet Anti-Whitespot (formaldehyde and malachite green oxalate). As our tank tends to be a bit on the warm side anyway (the built-in light and filter warm the surface, but the fishies are happy with it), we couldn't really raise the temperature much, but we turned on a second pump for extra aeration (we are in the process of switching from the old one to the new one as the motor is dying so have both in the tank to get the cycling right) but neither of them are carbon or Zeolite, so no contraindication for the medication. <In terms of conditions, all sounds good. I will admit though that I've not found Interpet Anti-Whitespot completely effective in all situations. I prefer to use eSHa EXIT, an alternative product widely sold in the UK and Europe. For whatever reason, it seems to deal with the "super" Whitespot strain rather more effectively than Interpet Anti-Whitespot. You may also be dealing with Velvet rather than Ick/Whitespot. Here's the difference: Whitespot cysts look like salt grains, but Velvet cysts are more like icing sugar. Velvet also sometimes has a yellowy or golden sheen rather than plain white and is almost always associated with heavy or rapid breathing. Interpet Anti-Whitespot doesn't treat Velvet, but eSHa EXIT does, which is another reason I prefer it. It is also cheaper!> In the early hours of December 24th our little black moor died. It was a horrible death, covered in spots (little bubbles you could see clearer with the lights off), and total paralysis as his fins clamped. We were devastated, but it seemed the other two were perking up. We redosed (I think we did a 25% water change at some point during this process to date, which may have been a mistake, but we were responding to the fish looking distressed, and getting so much conflicting advice looking online) and waited. Throughout the day the other two improved, but just before bed I thought I saw more spots on the comet's back. By Christmas morning he was dead. <Hmm... does sound more like Velvet than Ick. Because Velvet attacks the gills before anything else, by the time you see any cysts on the body, fatal damage may have been done to the gills already. Ick doesn't normally kill fish very quickly, so while it certainly is fatal in the long term, you should have a safe zone of a couple of weeks to spot and treat the disease reliably.> Daphne, our remaining baby, has been up and down since. On Boxing Day she looked a bit better, yesterday morning she had a massive reinfection, with lots of the tiny spots/bubbles all over her face and gills. We again changed water (50%) and redosed, and by evening the spots were gone, and she looked much better, if slightly puffy and discoloured around the gills and dorsal fin. This morning the puffiness on the gills looked like a large blister, and in the last hour one has filled with blood. She was having trouble swimming against the current of 2 pumps, so turned one off so she can move more easily, but is swimming in circles close to the surface and is not well at all. We're desperate to save her, but don't know what to do. She's still feeding fine (they've always had a varied diet, peas, frozen daphnia, pellets, flakes, cucumber, p etc), but she's been doing long white stringy poos for a couple of days (seem to have firmed up a bit today actually). <May be unrelated; her diet sounds excellent.> We're about to do start doing salt baths -we were going to start this earlier, but what with the chemicals in the water we didn't want to distress her more. We were thinking of doing a 100% water change tomorrow and start again using a different medicine, as this clearly hasn't been effective -what do you think? <Yes; for now, assume it might be either Velvet or Ick, and use a medication that treats both equally well. eSHa EXIT is one such brand, and there may be others.> Other than the huge amounts of formaldehyde and malachite in the water, the pH and nitrates have stayed constant, and no nitrate. Not able to test ammonia till tonight as we picked up the wrong kit and the shops have been closed, but with the water changes and everything else being the same I'm not overly worried. <Medications shouldn't harm to filter, so assuming you're keeping up with water changes, all should be fine there.> Please help us save Daphne, we really couldn't bear to lose her now. Many thanks for your time on this, and happy holidays. Sara and Jonn (London, England) <Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Devastating Ich outbreak, 2 fish down, please help. 12/28/07
Hello Neale, thanks so much for the quick reply. <No problems.> Will do some med shopping in the morning. We considered that it might be something other than Ick, but that was the closest symptom match, and it looks more white spotty and velvety.... hard to say, but happy to go on to a treatment that will kill both. <My thoughts exactly.> She seems to have responded well to the salt bath (30mins at 0.3%) so was thinking of doing that again every 6 hours or so. What do you think? Also, our big concern right now is the big blood blister that accounts for most of her right gill -can't find many accounts of this. <Hmm... likely a secondary infection. Salt water dips will certainly help. Goldfish have a high salt tolerance and generally respond well to this sort of therapy. Having said that, if the blister doesn't clear up, then do use a general purpose Finrot/fungus medication. Again, I've found the eSHa variety, eSHa 2000, to be cheap and effective against a wide variety of infections.> Is this a sign of final throws of a infestation, or is this the sort of thing that looks worse than it is (it looks dreadful)? <When Ick or Velvet cysts "burst", they release free living "spores" that eventually multiply up to form the next generation of parasites. In breaking the skin, this bursting of the cysts can allow secondary infections to develop because the integument between the fish and the water is broken. In this instance, if the blister isn't obviously clearing up, I'd break the habit of a lifetime and use both eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT at the same time. According to the manufacturer, they are safe to use together. http://www.eshalabs.com/exit.htm Such a combo should fix just about anything.> Thanks so much for the back-up on this, is so hard to know if we're doing the right thing. xxx <Treat quickly, and be careful to follow the instructions, and you should be fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Filter accident, Oranda   12/28/07 Hi everyone, I greatly value your opinion as you have helped me out in other situations and I hope that you can help me out again in a filter accident with my young black and orange Oranda. Tonight I came home and found it sucked into the intake portion of my Fluval filter, fortunately it hadn't died. The crown portion of its head was just shredded like it had gone through a wood chipper, I took it out and now have it in a "hospital tank". It seems to be doing ok, it ate the food I gave it, but I want to know if it's crown will grow back? <The Wen may well grow back in time... months...> It has a sm. portion of the crown left, but most of the frontal portion is just hanging off like it has feathers hanging in front of it. Is there any fish medication I should add to the tank to prevent it getting sick? <Mmm, no, not likely of more use than harm> I don't plan on putting it back in the large tank until I see some serious improvement to the crown. Thank you for your help Sharon Headrick <There are some other instances of this trauma posted on WWM... Do a search with the tool outside the site selecting the cached view (to highlight the search terms), using Goldfish, Wen, Hood, damage. Bob Fenner>

Swimbladder... reading   12/24/07 Hello one of my fancy goldfish has swimbladder. <Mmm, all goldfishes have a swimbladder...> been about 1 month I have try salts and Interpet treatment. But with no help I am thinking of using King British. swimbladder treatment. Any ideals? I was checking on YouTube someone make a fish belt with bits, of cork help to keep the fish a upright. willing to try anything.Anyhelp please.ThankyouDave <... Uhh, ummm... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above... till you understand what you're doing... And fix your English before ever writing us. BobF>
Re: Swimbladder... idiocy?    12/25/07
I do understand, what I am doing I am asking you for help there no need to be like that with me That what your there for? <Greetings. I think you are missing the point of Wet Web Media. We run a voluntary service, and everyone here helps out because they enjoy fishkeeping and not because they get paid (which they don't). All we ask in return is that people send their messages in a clear, properly written form. Since we archive the messages on the site, the clearer the message, the more easily they can be read by the thousands of visitors who come here each day. Since we get literally dozens of messages every day, and many take a long time to research and answer properly, anything you can do to help us is also appreciated. Writing your message clearly is one way to help, but so is explaining things like the size of the tank, water chemistry, diet, and so on. All these things are explained on the page where you got out e-mail address, so there really isn't any reason to ignore our few, simple, easy expectations. In any case, as Bob said, your fish almost certainly has a swim bladder problem cause by malnutrition; exceedingly common among Goldfish because so few people research their needs before buying them. So read this article: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Once you're done following the recommendations there, your fish should recover. If not, get back in touch, but this time a little more clearly. Cheers, Neale.>

Do I need to do any more? Goldfish going to a better world   12/24/07 Hi guys, <Howzit?> I recently inherited 2 goldfish in a small bowl. Being new to fishkeeping, I got on the net to learn. <Yay!> Our local shop only sells water test kits for ph. The bowl water was very high and acidic, so when I did a water change, I added part rainwater which was more alkaline, and it neutralised the tanks ph. One of the fish spent a lot of time near the top, so I bought some gravel and live plant. Stupid me didn't rinse the gravel. Eventually both were spending all the time up the top. 4 days ago, I went and purchased a 10 gallon tank, filter, air pump, silk plants, ornament, lights and thermometer. I was advised by the guy at the shop to not stress about using our tap water - the minerals are good, just fill the tank, use conditioner, and don't worry about water testing for anything unless there are problems. He reckons although the Ph is high, he doesn't add ph down, and I wouldn't need to either. <Likely not a good idea... captive systems tend to "go acid" over time... the alkalinity helps slow this process, along with frequent partial water changes> He also said to let the water sit for and hour with the filter running, then float the fish in a bag in the tank, in their original water for 10 minutes. <Well... there's more to this... as posted on WWM> Having done all this we released the fish into the tank, and they seem to be loving it. <Uhh, this system is not cycled... Do you know what this is?> It's like 100% improvement. However, the white fish has a few scales missing, and slight red streaks in its tail, which it had in the bowl. One of its eyes appears to be partly cloudy. Aside from this, it eats well (blood worms, peas, flakes) and is very active most of the time. The orange fish is slightly more sedate, isn't as aggressive when it comes to eating, but seems to get more later (leftovers). The orange fish also has slight white patches on its tail. They both have stringy white poos, which take awhile to break away. The orange ones poos sometimes have dark brown/red in them. I feed them 1/2 a block of bloodworms every 2nd day, 2 peas every couple of days, a very small amount of flakes every day or two. I watch the bottom of the tank to see if they are cleaning up the scraps, so as not to over feed. Both fish have adapted very well to the new tank and seem perfectly happy. Should I be worried, and doing any more? <Mmm, you should read. Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... re the Systems aspects... Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, Lisa Okay, I don't think you received the above email, and I need to add some more. The conditions I described above had remained the same for about 2 weeks. Since I first emailed you, they have deteriorated quickly. I did a 25% water change 2 days ago, and added a broad spectrum medicine to the tank which was recommended by local shop. He also told me I don't need to remove the carbon filter but I chose to for a day, anyway. I did another 25%water change yesterday, and added another 1/2 dose of medicine. I haven't been able to purchase a water testing kit for anything other than Ph, locally. The fish are hanging around on the bottom of the tank, not feeding. Again, thanks in advance. <Same answer>

Goldfish turned upside down... searching/using WWM... reading   12/23/07 Hello guys pls help me my one small goldfish has turned upside down. Till yesterday night she was fine. But now in morning she is invested. Any remedy for it. -- Shadab Khan Mumbai <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. RMF>

Goldfish Sick  12/23/07 To Whom It May Concern~ <That would be me.> I have a 55 gallon tank that has two fancy goldfish. The water levels are all correct, I tested and retested them over the last two weeks, and I have a Fluval filtration system in my tank. <All sounds good. But it helps to say what you mean by "water levels all correct". In the case of Goldfish, that's the following: pH 7-8; hardness 10 degrees dH upwards; 0 ammonia; 0 nitrite; less than 50 mg/l nitrate; temperature around 15-20 C/60-68 F> My one fancy goldfish has a 7 inch long body and has been very healthy for the last 6 months. <Good.> Now the goldfish is laying on it's side and has not moved off the bottom of the tank for the last two weeks. <Hmm... do check water parameters. Also review feeding: Goldfish are herbivores in the wild, and need substantial amounts of plant material/algae to stay healthy. Constipation will quickly reduce a Goldfish to a lethargic, bloated lump. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm If necessary, change diet and use the Epsom salt treatment described therein.> He has no visible parasites and the other fancy goldfish in the tank is doing fine. There are no sores and he is able to move all fins. I have brought my water into a fish store and had them test it. They said that my ammonia is a little high but everything else in my tank was perfect. <You can't have "a little ammonia" and still have otherwise perfect conditions. That's like saying there's a little rat poison in the food but it's otherwise fine! Ammonia is the number-1 way to make fish sick, and probably accounts for more fish deaths than anything else in the hobby. So make sure you aren't overfeeding and also that your filter is adequate to the job. Goldfish want a filter that provides at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So a 55 gallon tank needs a filter around 300 gallons per hour in turnover rating. Water changes are also critical: 50% per week, minimum.> I have no clue why my beloved goldfish is sick and what I can or should do to help him.? I am at a loss and really want to save my fish. PLEASE HELP! Sincerely Kristy <I hope this helps, Neale.>

Ryukin is sick, really need advice! D: 12/20/07 First of all, I'd like to thank you all for having this free help service... Now here is my problem: So, I first noticed that my Ryukin had Ich only on her tail and was missing a scale. I treated with Mardel Maracide and it went away almost completely by the next day. I also added 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons, however I normally do this. <Goldfish don't need salt. Salt is mostly sold as a way to extract cash from unsuspecting aquarists. Far more important are the basics: swimming space, filtration, regular water changes, and above all water quality and water chemistry. In the case of Goldfish, you need hard water with a pH of at least 7.5, and water changes need to be 50% per week. Minimum tank size is 30 gallons... seriously. We say this from years and years of experience. So, before worrying too much about adding salt, run through this list of requirements and check you have them covered.> The area with the missing scale healed up fine. Though, now she has bloody streaks throughout her tail and tiny red pin-pricks near the base of her tail and on her abdomen. <Finrot and/or Fungus. Almost always caused by water quality/chemistry problems. The first thing to test is nitrite. If you register anything other than 0 mg/l nitrite, you have a problem with water quality. After than, check pH. if the pH is too low, then you have a problem with water chemistry.> She is fairly active, though occasionally I'll look over and she'll be resting in the leaves of her Amazon sword plant. I've been doing water changes frequently, too, always replacing the salt I took out. <Regular water changes are good. The salt is immaterial, but the water changes are good. 50% per week. No less. Always using a good dechlorinator. If your water supplier uses Chloramine (many do) then check the dechlorinator removes it as well as plain vanilla chlorine.> Ammonia: 0 <Good.> Nitrate: Read under 20 ppm, it was somewhere above 0 though. <Fine. Zero nitrate is the best, but realistically anything up to 20 mg/l is more than acceptable.> Nitrite: Read at 0 <Good.> Ph: 6.8 <Way too low for Goldfish! This may well be the problem. Goldfish hate acidic conditions. You MUST fix this. Salt has zero effect on pH. Instead, look to hardening the water with something calcareous to raise the carbonate hardness (KH). I'd recommend nothing more complicated than making up a DIY Malawi salt mix, and using it at a 25-50% dose with each bucket of water to get the right water chemistry. One recipe is at the link below (under "Very soft water and Neutral Regulator?") but you'll find other recipes elsewhere. This stuff is very VERY cheap and easy to make. You can but the stuff ready made from aquarium shops, too. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhardnessfaqs.htm Alternatively, you could put some crushed oyster shell in the filter, if you have space.> My tank is 20 gallons and has been running for a little over 5 months I change the filter in one of the power filters every 3 to 4 weeks. I do water changes of 15% every day but lately I've been doing 25% and about two days ago I siphoned the substrate and did a 50% water change. I feed my fish sinking goldfish pellets which are soaked for around 2 minutes before, peas every few days, pieces of orange, and kale. <The diet is great, but the tank is likely too small for anything other than a very young Goldfish.> It has been three days now, since I first noticed the Ich. Her tail is more red, and the Ich is still present. I fed peas today and she took them quickly, doing as she always does before feeding time, swimming to the top and showing off at the front until I drop them in. She seems to "yawn" now though. No gasping for air at the top. <I'd look at water chemistry first. Do also remember Goldfish are social. A bigger tank will let you buy your fishy friend a couple of pals, and they will dramatically more active and happier.> Thank you for your time and help, Kelly <Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Ryukin is sick, really need advice! D:  12/29/07
Hey, Neale! I just wanted to update you on my Ryukin progress. <Hello Kelly,> I took your advice and upped her PH with a store bought solution. She seems much happier. <Do bear in mind that pH itself isn't the key; hardness is. Given the choice, concentrate on raising the carbonate hardness. The pH will go up by itself. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm A low-tech option is to add some crushed coral or crushed oyster shell to the filter. As it dissolves, it raises the carbonate hardness (KH) and the pH goes up with it.> The Ich is currently gone, I did a salt dip in attempt to rid her of parasites as she had begun flashing. The red on her tail is gone as well, she is not bloated, and she had fin rot, though that is now gone as well! <Very good!> I also set up a new 40 gallon for her, though she is still in QT, and will probably be there until the 40 cycles out completely. I'm going out to the store today for crushed oyster shells to add in instead of using that mixture. <Brilliant. That'll help. Works best added to the filter. Smash up with a mallet if you need to, and place in a media bag (or the "foot" of an old pair of nylon stockings). Works to a degree just mixed into the substrate in the tank, but never as well because of the lack of water flow.> Thank you so much for the advice, it is really appreciated. <Happy to help.> - Kelly <Cheers, Neale.>

Worried about our fantail... env. dis., no reading  12/20/07 Hello, Sorry to bother you as I can see you get lots of messages, but I have searched over the internet and now think my fantail has more problems than I could of imagined, or I could be just worrying over nothing I am not sure. We have a tank that is 2ft x 1ft x 1ft. I am not sure how many gallons that makes <Easy enough to calculate... there are about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... you have two...> it as it was given to us. We have purchased 4 fantails and a Shubunkin (the poor little guy was the last in the shop). <... this system is way overcrowded...> Recently one of the fan tails has been finding it difficult to stay at the bottom of the tank. He struggles to reach the bottom and then once there he floats back very quickly and easily. He spends most of his time at the top of the tank swimming on his side. He is still eating ok and looks healthy with shiny scales and bright eyes. There is also a small black mark near one of his gills although we cannot be sure that it was not like that when we bought him. We are very concerned about the floating on the side business and would be very grateful if you could offer some suggestion as to why? Thank you Matt <... Please... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Your fish are dying from env. pollution... You should read, act... soon. Bob Fenner>
Re: Worried about our fantail, more reading  12/20/07
Hi Bob, thanks for the quick response. would be grateful if you could check that we have done the correct things. We were very saddened to hear that we were killing our fish through not knowing the correct info before hand. After seeing your reply we have now moved three fish into a new tank the same size. So there is now 2 fish in 1 tank and 3 in another. Is this enough room for them? <Mmm, not ultimately... but may work for a short while... given careful feeding, regular/weekly water changes (partial) and good filtration> We have done some nitrate tests and the level has risen, so we did some water changes, we have also added new cotton to the filter to try and help. <... keep NO3 under 20 ppm> We also got some Tetra Aqua Aqua Safe. is there anything we have missed and should be doing. Thank you Matt <Read on my friend, read on. BobF>

Sick fantails... mixed in with tropicals   12/18/07 Hi there, <Kiersten> I've had a mixed tank with tropical fish and fantail goldfish for over a year. I've lost the odd fish here and there, but overall it's been pretty good and all fish have lived harmoniously until now. A couple of weeks ago, I got a new Otocinclus and a Bristlenose. I'm not sure if one brought a disease, or if my actions over this weekend affected my fish. My tank was dirty on Saturday, so I cleaned it ? about a 50% water change with a siphon and I cleaned the fake plant and the aquarium ornaments, as well as the filter etc. I added the Geo Liquid I've used since the beginning and really like. I unfortunately forgot to turn everything off during this process, and when I went to refill the tank, the heater exploded! <Have done this myself... way more times than I'd like to admit> There was a little steam from the water, and about the bottom ¼ of the heater glass was left in the tank. It didn't appear that any mercury was left in the tank. <Have no mercury> It all still looked ok and after turning everything off, removing the heater and immediately going to buy a replacement one, everything appeared ok. As we have very hot weather where I live at the moment, I figured the 25-26 degrees the heater was pre-set on would be okay. The next morning, however, one of my Neons and the clown loach were dead, and the water did feel a little chilly. I turned the heater up a bit, but still lost a rummy nose by that evening, and the next morning, another neon and my gold honey Gourami were dead. Later the same day, yet another neon and my new Otocinclus were dead. All that is remaining today are my three fantails <... are these goldfish? Should not be in with tropicals. See WWM re Goldfish Compatibility> and a Bristlenose. All fish seem extremely lethargic, and are lying on the bottom, breathing heavily (as most of the fish that already died did). The top fins on the fantails are also down, and their poop is quite long, thin and milky-coloured. The largest fantail also appears to have extremely tiny white spots on its side and fin, but he's had a few of those for a while and having tackled white spot disease previously, I'm pretty certain it's not that ? but just to be on the safe side, I added the correct dosage of Multi Cure <... Malachite, Methylene Blue, Acriflavine...> last night after giving the tank another 15-20% clean (I didn't want to over clean it, having just cleaned it a couple of days before). I also added some dissolved salt last night ? about a tablespoon. I really don't want to lose any more fish ? particularly my largest fantail, George, who I've had for over a year, and I'm at a complete loss! Thank you so much for your help! Kiersten <Much to state... please read here first: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Coldwater fish... hlth.   12/18/07 Hello I have One Cold water fish I am unsure what kind of fish it is but its white with a fan tail and we have had him for about 2 years, My brother initially had it I have rehomed the poor guy, I've upgraded his tank to a 14 litre with filtration system, but for some time now he hasn't been happy he doesn't swim around very much and although I no he must be eating I've never witnessed it whereas my other two fish (which are in a separate tank) dart to the top as soon as I approach the tank ready to feast. He has a cloudy mark starting from the base of his tail which is about 1cm long with red streaks, he's about 2.5 inch long and has a very dull colouring I've also noticed he seems to have a noticeable gap in his fins where as with my other fish they are un-noticeable unless they are opened to breathe. I've bought aquarium salt and used the stated dosage and his water is crystal clear due to the filtration system. Please help as its depressing me watching him and being helpless thank you Bea <Hello Bea! Hmm... your coldwater fish is presumably some type of Goldfish. Now, the disease you are describing is either Finrot or Fungus, or possibly both. This is EXTREMELY common when fish are kept in dirty water. By "dirty" we don't mean the water is cloudy or silty, but that the water is filled with dissolved chemicals such as nitrite and ammonia. These essentially burn sensitive tissues and allow secondary infections to set in. Your immediate problem is that the tank is too small: Goldfish are BIG fish, and need a lot of space simply to have clean water to live in. We normally recommend 30 gallons (about 110 litres) for even a single Goldfish. This might seem a lot to you, but we base this on experience: fish kept in smaller tanks very, VERY commonly get sick and die. The fact you appear to have 3 fish in a 14 litre aquarium makes the chances of illness extremely high. Aquarium salt is of no particular value in this situation. Much better you save the money and invest in a bigger aquarium. I'd recommend something around the 150 litre mark for three Goldfish. As you say, watching a fish slowly dying because of poor water quality is very depressing. Cheers, Neale.>

Oranda Distress, tiny tank, reading   12/12/07 My 12 yr. old daughter's Oranda is experiencing some distress and we are not sure as to why. We have a 4 gallon tank <Stop! This is the/a root of the health of this animal... this is too small a volume... Can't fit the needs of diluting waste, allowing for time to filter...> with an air filter that the Oranda shares with a smaller Fantail goldfish. <Worse> They have lived happily together for the last 9 months. They are fed pellet food four times a week, dried brine shrimp once a week, and mashed green peas once a week. There is one day a week they do not get fed at all. Before we had the Oranda we had a black Moor with the Fantail and it died from swim bladder disease <Environmental> and that is when we began the aforementioned diet to, hopefully, prevent the swim bladder disease. The last water change was made eleven days ago. It was done just the way we also do it with approx. 25 percent water change with bottled distilled water with some conditioners that we have always used. I checked the water with a Mardel all in one test kit and it all tested fine. The tank temperature is 66 degrees. We do not know whether the fish are male or female so I can't rule out that the Oranda is pregnant. The kids say she looks more round. Anyway, it has been lying on the bottom of the tank, sometimes with its nose downward toward the small building structure in the tank. This has only been going on for three days. Last night she did not come up to the top to eat. The Fantail is an intense eater and I'm pretty sure the Oranda did not get any food. I waited until a while after that feeding to drop in some of the shrimp and it made it to the bottom where I did see the Oranda eat it. It sometimes moves around the tank a little but always returns to the bottom and definitely does not have the life and spirit that it had four days ago. Sometimes it looks like it is just floating to the top and bobbles from side to side but does not struggle to return to the bottom. The Fantail is just fine and just as active and crazy as ever. They have always seemed to enjoy each other and it is hard to see the Oranda like this and not know what to do for it. Please let me know as soon as possible if you have any suggestions as to what this may be or what we can do for our Speranza. Thanks! Jennifer Yaciw <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Your goldfish are living in an untenable condition. They need a larger world. Bob Fenner>

Just Looking for a reason... Goldfish, hlth.    12/11/07 I just lost the last of three gold fish I purchased about 14 days ago. One black moor, one telescope eyed calico, and an orange. It was the start of a new tank- before purchasing the fish I had the water tested and it passed with flying colors. <Ah, but meaning what precisely. An empty tank of water just sitting there doing nothing will of course be pollutant-free, in just the same way an empty road doesn't have traffic jams. Doesn't mean much. To make a tank "safe" you need to cycle it, and that means provide a source of ammonia that the filter bacteria will use as food. The old school approach was to use a few small, hardy fish (such as Danios), while modern aquarists will often use various ammonia/bacteria potions to achieve the same thing. Either way, just setting a tank up and leaving it empty of fish for a few days but not providing any source of ammonia achieves precisely nothing.> The fish became lethargic , bottom sitting, within the first day with what I took to be Ick spots appearing on the second. <Almost certainly you didn't cycle the tank, and the poor water quality in the tank has reduces the immunity of your fish to ambient infections. Whitespot/Ick, fungal infections, and Finrot are all absolutely typical of tanks that have had too many fish added too quickly. "Too many" fish doesn't necessarily mean just numbers of fish. One big, messy fish like a Goldfish will pump out more waste than a whole school of Danios.> I immediately began treatment with a Jungle Ick tab and turned the heater on low- around 72 degrees. I repeated the treatment for three days- following guidelines on the package, water change etc. . On the third day I went back to the pet store told the clerk the information and was told to buy different Ick treatment- Rid Ick. I began using Rid Ick that night along with salt treatment - 1 level tsp. per gallon every 12 hrs. <Ick is generally easy to cure. If you're finding a medication isn't working, make sure you read the supplies instructions. One of the most common mistakes is to leave carbon in the filter. Carbon has exactly NO useful functions in the average freshwater tank, and one of its HUGE disadvantages (other than being a waste of money) is it removes medications from the aquarium. You could treat your fish for months, but if there's carbon in the filter, the fish won't get better!> I started with half the recommended salt amount and worked up to the full amount by the third day. So on day seven, all three fish showed Ick spots- the initial fish showed some lessening- but after a full week of Ick treatment and salt they were all still showing the small white crystallized looking spots. I contacted the pet store again and they suggested to up the Ick treatment to every 12 hrs. with appropriate water changes. The Moor initially showed signs of improvement began swimming around actively- all three still ate heartily- although the spots were increasing on all three fish. On day 9 he began turning gold on his sides and stomache and was dead by the next morning. <At which point here did you do a water test? If the answer is: "I didn't do any water tests", that's not good. Whitespot/Ick rarely kills fish outright. It can, to be sure, when left untreated, but more often than not its a signal of more serious problems, such as elevated ammonia and nitrite levels. Do also consider what Goldfish need in terms of water chemistry. They HATE soft, acid water, and essentially the harder and more alkaline, the better.> The two remaining fish would swim very well when eating but otherwise would huddle together in a corner heads down- bottom sitting. The calico died shortly after- with the worst case of Ick I have ever seen- he even had spots on his eyes. The orange died just now- his Ick had seemed to consolidate on his flukes and at the base of his dorsal fin. He had rubbed off a large patch of scales on both sides of his body- however, the scales weren't raised like dropsy. He lost his appetite at on the last day and when I removed him from the tank his gills bled-something I didn't see while he was alive. I have asked several sources during this ordeal and received the same pat answer- sometimes you can't save them- but I've never heard or read about something like this before. Did my fish have a super Ick that resisted treatment for 2 weeks? What other possibilities could there have been? I had the water tested throughout and it was always of good quality. All three fish were small. I know it may be too much to ask for an answer but even some ideas would be really helpful- this has been a real battle. Thank you in advance, Heather <Well Heather, I think the basic problem was you stuck too many fish into (quite possibly) too small a tank too quickly. Goldfish need aquaria upwards of 30 gallons in size. This can't be stressed strongly enough: they are massively messy fish, comparable to Plecs and Oscars that no-one in their right mind would keep in a small aquarium. And yet people assume that because shops sell Goldfish bowls, they only need small tanks. They don't. Anyway, once you have your 30 gallon tank, you need to cycle it. You can certainly use Goldfish for this, but add only a small (i.e., young) specimen of a hardy variety (such as plain vanilla Goldfish or something like a Comet or Shubunkin) rather than a twin-tailed fancy Goldfish. Monitor ammonia and nitrite levels at least every other day, doing 50% water changes every day or two for the first 2-3 weeks, at least. After one month you should find ammonia is zero and nitrite close to zero, and by the end of the second month your aquarium will be completely cycled. You can now add new fish, one every couple of weeks, each time checking the nitrite level and doing water changes at least once a week of not less than 50%. Once you have the tank populated with a nice school of fish, you likely won't need to do water tests any more often than once a month, and the water changes alone, plus periodic filter cleaning, should keep your pets in A-1 condition. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Moor... FW algicide poisoned, in salted water, poor nutrition...    12/11/07 Hi, <Hello Krysty> We have a Moor (originally all black, now mostly orange w/some black) that is about 4 years old. For the past few weeks, she has been sitting on the bottom of the tank pretty regularly. <No other symptoms?> She swims around when there is food (and still eats enthusiastically), but that's about it. She is in an 80 gallon tank with 5 other fish - 2 large (a Ryukin & a Panda that are just a little smaller than her) and 3 small (offspring of the Moor and the Ryukin). We regularly test the water for ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, pH, etc. (seem to always be fine), use aquarium salt, <Mmm, I do not encourage continuous exposure of goldfish to salt/s> stress coat, do weekly water changes (50-75%), feed mostly brine shrimp <Not really a good idea... too much a laxative, too little food value> and peas twice daily (only occasional dry food), and we add algae control solution <What chemical/s? Most of these are outright toxic> which doesn't seem to work because the algae grows so fast the water is cloudy within 2-3 days of changing the water. <I wonder why? Is the tank in a window/sunny location?> We moved the Moor to a 10-gallon treatment tank and put in some Clout, <Of no use here... and poisonous> which seemed to help because she was swimming around. We left her in there for a few days but when we put her back into the big tank she started sitting on the bottom again. Also, few years back she apparently bumped one of her telescope eyes, injuring it. It has gone through a few stages - first, filling with blood, then turning completely black, and just the other day I noticed there is a small white bubble type growth right in the middle of it. Any suggestions? Thanks, Krystina Bair <Yes... discontinue the salt, any algicide and the Clout use (see WWM re...), improve these fish's diets (ditto), return the Moor to the main system, and read re algae control in FW systems: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Bloated fancy large goldfish   12/11/07 Hi, I have a large fancy goldfish who out of nowhere is bloated and his scales are lifted off his body, kinda pointed outward. I have no idea what to do. He seems a little listless but not too bad. He is still eating and swimming around. What can I do to help save this fish? Thanks, Kim <Ave, Kim! Assuming this isn't dropsy (oedema) which combines swelling of the abdomen with sticking-out scales, this is more than likely to be a constipation issue. Extremely common with Goldfish, and almost always down to diet. Contrary to myth, Goldfish won't do well on "fish food". They'd do better on greens from your kitchen, to be honest. Do have a read on this excellent article on floaty, bloaty Goldfish, and act accordingly. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Cut out regular food, switch to greens, add Epsom salt as instructed, and wait for things to get better. Once they are, make sure you alternate green foods with flake foods throughout the week. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish 911 (anorexic, lethargic), Otocinclus gen.  12/7/07 Oh, my. I wish I had found this wonderful site earlier, before being driven to frantically searching the web due to a critically ill (and declining) goldfish named Ginger. I tried to find a vet who does fish, only to discover that none did (at least the 2 dozen offices I talked to, even the vet-vet referrals) - very frustrating. The [reasonable-proximity] pet/fish store people didn't seem to know quite what they were doing, either. I'm not an experienced fishkeeper, but I'm trying to do the right thing; I've learned there's more I should/shouldn't have done with my current tank. I'm just hoping there's still a chance to save my goldfish Ginger, who is currently lethargic, anorexic, and sitting on the bottom of the tank. <Oh dear.> Observations & chain of events, starting with the last 'normal' day (aquarium parameters listed at bottom of this message): - Friday night, all fish in the tank seemed fine. I believe I had done a partial (25%) water change the preceding Tues, after noticing one Oto Cat missing. Still didn't see him. <Otocinclus are "miner's canaries" -- they're among the first fish to die when things go bad. They are exceeding sensitive to poor water quality.> - On Saturday morning feeding time, Ginger seemed to be "resting" on the bottom. She came up quite excitedly to feed, but I couldn't tell if she consumed much (if anything) of the food - she definitely nibbled on it but a lot seemed to get spat back out into the water. Seemed a bit lazier by that evening, and less reactive to my presence outside the tank. Thought she might be a bit constipated/full still from the eaten tail of the Oto Cat (see precursor events below). Ginger was possibly flashing/glancing, but maybe that was just clumsy turning around in tight spaces? <Hmm... unlikely.> - Sunday, seemed like more resting on the bottom and less swimming again for Ginger. Not really any appetite at morning feeding - pretty much ignored the food completely. Mostly swam to the surface, then would swim back to the bottom and "land" like a plane on the gravel. Sometimes would partially "jump" to break the surface. Didn't really rest for more than 10-20 seconds at a time at this point. Seemed more oxygen-starved within the next few hours, too -- and was occasionally blowing air through her gills. Sometimes her dorsal fin would "twitch" while sitting on the bottom. <Alarm bells. Do water change. 50%, STAT!> - Sunday morning, the little GF in the tank seemed a little bit bloated (hard to tell with a Ryukin) and was hanging out at the top. Likely sucking in a little air, too, though I didn't notice right away. The little GF had an appetite but I switched to a skinned pea for this feeding (suspecting 'tummy' issues with both goldfish, and hoping Ginger would eat one, but she didn't). <When fish get sick, food is the last thing to worry about. Fish can go weeks without food. When fish lose their appetite, it's likely something is very wrong with them or the tank.> - Sunday midday, the little GF was sucking more air from the surface of the water. The Oto Cat had also moved to the water line and was hanging out there while sucking on the glass, soon nudging his nose above the water line, and his gills appeared to go from pink to pale... <Crisis!> - Sunday early afternoon, the Oto Cat was now sideways at the water line, sucking on the glass, but not terribly reactive. Gills turning violet :( <Hypoxia of the blood, haemoglobin goes from red to blue, and in this case tends to imply manor problems with the aquarium.> - Pleco didn't seem to be showing issues <Plecs are fairly robust animals that can survive for weeks in muddy burrows even when the river has dried up. So you wouldn't expect them to be as unhappy as Otocinclus, which live in clean, cool rainforest streams.> *** Tested the water at this point, and though ammonia was 0, nitrites were at the 5.0ppm+ level (nitrates at 40ppm). pH/alkalinity OK. Very bad on the nitrites -- appears my nitrite-reducing bacteria up and died/disappeared. (See suspected events below). <Nitrites at 5 is beyond bad. It's about as healthy as me sticking my head into a gas oven.> *** did a ~60% water change and added bubble bar, neutralizers to water [for ammonia, chlorine/Chloramine & such] - I think I may have added some nitro bacteria culture to the water then. <Water changes always good. With problems like this you have to do two things: 50% water changes daily until things settle down, and then figure out the source of the crisis, for example a broken filter or dead fish rotting somewhere.> - the Oto did not make it :( Too little, too late. Ended up with a swollen belly upside down on the surface, it was slightly reddish/streaked. Internal bleeding? <No, just dead from poor water.> *** I have been closely monitoring the water since and have been doing 1+ daily changes, trying not to stress the fish but needing to drop the toxic levels fast. <Forget about not stressing the fish. That's re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. Concentrate on bringing the Nitrite level down. Big water changes, daily, plus examination of stocking density and filter function.> - was told to treat for Ick, though I didn't see any outward symptoms, and I don't know if it did anything except stress the fish further, esp. with carbon temporarily out of the filter. <Throw the carbon away, it's pointless for this type of aquarium. Replace its space in the filter with more biological media, such as filter floss or ceramic noodles.> - next, treated for parasites, with me coming to about the same conclusion as the Ick... <Pointless. Finrot/fungus is more likely going to be a problem in the future, but right now water changes are the essential thing.> *** Pleco and little GF seemed far more normal post-treatment, esp. after yet another water change putting readings in the "safe-stress" zone, but nothing off-the-charts <Good.> - Ginger, however, seems to not be progressing. The last 2 days, she's been lying on the bottom (still upright, but occasionally leaning slightly to one side or leaning against the glass). Dorsal fin still clamped. Sometimes breathing really slowly, but not always. Seems like as of Weds. evening, she was moving "more" - but only to go gulp air from the surface, and it seemed like a bit more effort than normal to swim around and to the surface. Breathing slower again, and gill covers not opening all the way, but still upright wren resting. *** the tank is now at ~ 80% water level to make it easier on Ginger (less volume => scary, but it seemed to help her very slightly, and there's water ready to go for a partial change again in the morning) <No, fill to 100%. The more clean water you add, the more you dilute the nitrite. Reducing the water level by 20% is making the nitrite concentration that bit more dangerous. "The solution to pollution is dilution." - As of Weds. morning, I'm now suspecting Ginger has an internal infection, as she's getting worse despite increasingly-better water conditions, while the other fish are acting normally. This is 4 full days of definitely not eating. I think I may see the beginning of faint red streaking at the base of Ginger's tailfin - septicemia? Of course, nothing I can do until stores open Thurs, and _if_ Ginger makes it through the night. I'm surprised that the 4+ days of not eating while being sick and stressed haven't done her in yet, but I keep telling her to rest and hang on :) <No, Ginger isn't "sick". She's stressed and poisoned. Clean the tank, get the water healthy, check the filter is mature and working properly. She'll recover.> ??? If Ginger makes it, should she be moved to an "emergency" quarantine tank in the morning (I don't have one set up yet, but do have some Rubbermaid tubs, and could possibly get another small filter), or would the stress of the move tip her over the edge to fishy heaven? Should the whole tank be treated instead? Seems a bit risky given that the tank hasn't finished nitrogen [re)cycling yet, too. ??? <No, just leave her be.> Suspected precursor events: - The "missing" Oto Cat disappeared on Tues. Didn't see him stuck to/in the filter (...) <Too small to be the problem here, assuming this tank isn't ridiculously small.> - Found a suspicious poop from Ginger that appeared to be Oto scales on Thursday. <Nope.> - Found out that the 'screen' for the filter intake was missing [previous owner left it like that - great], and looked in the intake tube more closely this time. 2/3 of a (dead) Oto. Looks like Ginger got 1/3 of the tail. <Filter will suck up corpses, yes. But not the immediate problem or cause of death.> - Took out the Oto from the filter intake on Friday, put the intake guard back on, rinsed & replaced the filter <When you say "replaced", please tell me you didn't throw away the mature filter media. Cleaning a filter is this: rinse all filter media in bucket of aquarium water, and replace no more than 50% of the media at any one time within a three month period.> - I think the filter spit out a bit of crud when it was put back on & restarted, but the particulates seemed to clear up quickly... <Normal.> - I'm afraid that the "missing" Oto got caught in the filter and "snacked" on, and could have been sick to start with. Probably shedding lots of gut bacteria into the water/filter until found... <One Otocinclus shouldn't make a blind bit of difference. Too small, too little protein.> - The nitrite spike and fish stress started not too long after the filter disturbance (first signs Sat. morning, the next day). <What caused the nitrite...? I'd be looking at the filter being clogged, the pump not working properly, and other things like that.> Here's their current environment/background: - 35 gallon hexagon tank - Cascade power filter - with sponge insert for biofiltering - Ginger, a 4.5-5 inch (not inc. tail) calico Shubunkin - gravel/sand substrate - a few aquarium-safe decorations (stone arches & plants) <Not a great fan of hexagon tanks but at least the volume of water is sensible for the fish.> I "inherited" all the above from the previous owner of the house I bought. Don't know the prior care/maintenance routine given, but I suspect it was at least OK. I started a 2x week partial water change schedule, had been doing that for a few months, and water was nice and clear, with a bit of algae easily sponged off the sides. <Agreed. 50% water changes per week, with light cleaning of the filter once every month to 6 weeks should be suffice for this sort of tank.> I recently had added a small Pleco, maybe 2-2.5 inches w/ tail (yes, I know he'll get quite big eventually/soon and I may want to exchange him, even when [not if] upsize to a bigger tank. See pet store comment, up top). The only other fish in the tank, added after the Pleco, and about a week before all the mayhem started, is a 1.5-2 inch (w/o tail) calico Ryukin. 2 now-deceased Oto Cats were added at that time too, but retrospectively that was probably too many fish to add at once, and they never went through "real" quarantine. The Pleco and small GF seem to be doing fine now and have been eating the whole time, even through the biofilter "crash" when the little GF was sucking a lot of air at the surface. The nitrogen cycle seems to be starting to come around slowly again, but isn't all the way settled yet. <OK, here's your problem. Too many new fish added too quickly without consideration of the nitrogen cycle. The high temperature required by the tropical fish will be reducing the oxygen concentration in the water while raising the metabolism of the Goldfish. So those factors will result in more ammonia and nitrite in the water, but less oxygen for the bacteria in the filter. A bad mix.> There's also a bubble bar in the tank to help w/ aeration & circulation, added Sunday (the day after Ginger's first 'off' behavior). My test kit isn't super-accurate, but from what I can tell from the last reading on the color strips (Weds. evening): - ammonia: 0ppm or darn close - nitrate: 20ppm - nitrite: 1.0ppm or slightly below (still stressful, but much lower than a couple days ago) - hardness (GH): ~150-200 ppm - alkalinity (KH): ~180-250 ppm - pH: somewhere in that 7.2-7.8 range -- somewhat alkaline, so is my tap water - temp: 75 degrees F <Apart from the Nitrite, which is still lethal, and ammonia, which has to be zero, not "almost" zero, the rest is fine.> Fish fed in the morning; I try not to overdo it. Fish previously were just getting pelleted (floating & sinking) food, with a Hikari(?) algae wafer thrown in occasionally. Currently I'm just letting the non-ill fish munch on the occasional skinned pea or algae wafer. Seems better/safer for them and for the water condition. <Stop feeding for the time being. Don't add any food until the nitrite and ammonia are ZERO. Then add small amounts of food.> Crossing my fingers hoping that Ginger will pull through tonight, despite here severely stressed/weakened state, and that you guys might have an answer awaiting me in the morning. Thanks for any help. Again, wish I had found WetWebMedia sooner for Ginger's sake, and also wish there hadn't been 2 major snowstorms that prevented me from addressing some of my aquarium issues more expediently (things always go 'boom' when least convenient)! Let me know if there's any more info that would be helpful. I'll try to keep you guys posted on Ginger's condition if she's still hanging on in the morning. Take care, - Jen <Hope this helps, Neale.> P.S. I couldn't register to post to the 911 forums due to recurring server errors. Might want to check out the server logs. <Not my department, as they say, but I'll pass the message on!>
Re: Goldfish 911 (anorexic, lethargic) 12/7/07
This morning's update: - Ginger resting on bottom, breathing really slowly, and leaning against aquarium wall. Not much life in her, but still definitely alive. Still looking around with her eyes occasionally, and was still doing the rare swim to the top for more air, or occasionally scooted forward a few inches on the bottom. <OK.> - I set up a 5.5 gallon hospital tank ASAP w/ an in-tank filter [carbon removed temporarily] and airstone this morning. Checked water chem/temp, added Maracyn 2, then transferred Ginger. She did thrash around a bit when being transported in the net to the hospital tank, but went back to her lethargic self once in the water. Seems like it's easier for her to get to the surface here, though (the hexagonal 35 gal tank is about 2 feet deep, after all), and I do see her breathing occasionally when resting (sometimes not). <Ah, the reason I don't like hexagonal tanks. The surface area to volume ratio isn't good, and they house fewer fish than tanks of similar volume but traditional shape.> Still sometimes lists to one side when sitting on the bottom of the tank, but will right herself before she falls onto her side (it might be a little more difficult for her not to slide around when leaning, since there's no gravel in the hospital tank). Saw Ginger's dorsal fin "twitch" one while resting on the bottom. She has her nose poked into one corner of the aquarium (maybe as a way to wedge herself upright easily?) <Perhaps.> - Did another partial water change in the main tank, and filled it back to full volume as the other 2 fish are still OK. Chemistry still slowly coming around, but _much_ improved over Weds. night; I'm guessing the frequent/emergency water changes are causing the nitrite-eating bacteria to be reestablished a bit more slowly than normal. <Water changes don't make any difference to filter maturing rate. What they do is save your fish's lives!> So now, I guess I sit and wait for a while and cross my fingers, hoping she'll come around. Anything else I could/should be doing to minimize Ginger's stress and give her the best chance of recovery while she's in the hospital tank? She still, obviously, has no interest in food. <Don't feed her.> Here are a couple links to a few pictures I took this morning of Ginger, once in the fish hospital, in case that's useful. The 2 missing scales near the base of her tail happened a full week before she started acting sick -- Ginger had gone after some falling food a bit too rapidly, and made a sharp turn, whapping that part of her tail against a rock (not sharp but still hard)! Saw 2 scales go flying off into the water. <I see. She's a cute Goldfish. Nice colours.> http://www.appj.com/photos/fish/ (http://appj.com/photos/fish/DSC00678.JPG is pretty decent) Thanks for your time, Jen <I suspect only time, water changes will help here. Do monitor water quality, and don't feed the fish too much, if at all. Once things have settled, review stocking density and whether the existing filter is truly up to the job. You want something with around 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Anything less is often inadequate for Goldfish and you get cloudy water and ammonia/nitrite issues. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish 911 (anorexic, lethargic) 12/07/2007
Hello Neale (or whoever's reading this!) - <It would indeed be the Nealster this evening.> Ginger's still in her plain hospital tank, and still doing the Maracyn 2. Ginger seems to be perking up more and more, though still mainly sits on the bottom - I generally get a raised dorsal fin when I go attend to the hospital tank. Not a single tipping episode all evening (yes, I do check on the fish frequently!) Pectoral fins unclamped, slightly more swimming, and swimming style is much more energetic/normal. As a result of that, I was able to see what looks like a pinkish, slightly raw, but apparently healing area slightly off-center right between/behind her dorsal fins (sorry, haven't been able to get a picture because of the awkward angle and her still infrequent swimming). <All sounds promising. Dead flesh is white, but new growth will indeed be pink. Coldwater fish do heal slowly, but Goldfish generally do heal well provided acute infections are avoided.> Perhaps she irritated or scraped her belly from all that crash-landing on the gravel, as that spot is basically the "low point" on her body when she sits on the bottom (and for the last few hours before I had the hospital tank set up, she had been even been 'landing' on the highest stone arch, which is why I had made the "another massive water change and lower the water level despite reduced volume just until I can get her into a shallow tank" split decision. Here's one case in life where being wider than taller is definitely better, at least if you're a [fish]tank. <Indeed. The depth of an aquarium is almost never that important. Many of the fish we keep come from streams. In the case of things like Danios and Corydoras, the water may only be a few inches deep. Fish often appreciate resting places close to the surface, such as plants or stone ledges. In any case, you seem to have a good sense of what's going on.> A day ago, I did notice a couple red spots/splotches (pinhead-sized) near Ginger's head and a couple on her body at the base of/under a scale or two, that have now disappeared (they were 'reduced' this morning). Seems plausible that the antibiotics might actually be helping, or maybe they're just giving her a boost in recovery. Not because of any superior knowledge of mine [read: fairly random other treatments I tried first, and have not cultured anything], and there's always the infamous "healing in spite of" - but I maybe got lucky this time. I think there's a good chance Ginger is going to pull through. <Yes, a scatter-gun approach can work, provided at least one of the treatments was relevant.> About filter turnover: looks like my main tank (35 gallon) only has a 35-gal max rating on its filter, with a 150 gal/hour turnover rate. Do the math, and that's much closer to 4x than the 6x turnover you guys recommended for goldfish. <Quite. You also need to bear in mind that the turnover quoted on the filter is WITHOUT media. As soon as you add media, it goes down quite a bit (say, 10-15% while the media is clean). A really dirty filter can have as little as HALF the quoted turnover. You can observe this by watching how the amount of splashing or current from a filter goes down over time. So how do the manufacturers get away with quoting these unrealistic numbers? Simple marketing. A bit like cans of fruit and vegetables that say 500 grammes in big letters, but 350 grammes "after draining", i.e., with the salt water removed. So when someone like me says get a filter with 6x the turnover, what we're really saying is get a filter that will always produce well over the required amount of filtration, even when it's filled with media and a bit dirty.> Time to go spend more $$$ on more power. Wheee! <Don't forget there's nothing to stop you having two filters on a tank. In fact it's a good idea. So all you need is something to supplement the existing one. If you have an unplanted tank, then combining an undergravel filter with a canister or hang-on-the-back filter can work really well and at low cost.> Makes me glad I got the 10 gal-rated filter for the 5.5-gal hospital tank... the day I bought that tank [PetCo was nearest], there was, this time, (surprise!) a young employee working who actually knew what a hospital tank was and recommended the bigger filter, along with an undecorated environment and airstone. <Sounds a useful clerk. As and when you come across such people, it's always nice to tell their managers you were impressed by them. Positive feedback like that is probably better than negative feedback from people slating chain-store pet shops on internet bulletin boards.> Time to buy more test strips (or perhaps a more accurate kit) soon - getting a bit low. <I use the test strips all the time. I'm not convinced they're less accurate than liquid test kits, and they're certainly cheaper and easier, which means people test their water more often. Here's a tip: slice each longitudinally, to make two strips from each one! Double your money!> ~Jen <Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish 911 (anorexic, lethargic) -- the recovery phase!   12/11/07
Hello again! Most excellent news, and mainly due to WWM (of course, there's always being observant of changes your fish's behavior and attempting to figure out why - I stumbled across your site in the nick of time, I do believe)! <Hello Jen,> First, the update; then, a couple questions: <Indeed...?> Ginger the goldfish seems to be feeling better and acting more fish-like each day. We're on the last half day of the 5-day antibiotics course in the hospital tank and Ginger's belly scrape seems to be just about healed. Yesterday she got super-excited when I dumped in the antibiotic powder and tried to eat a clump of it (not too tasty, apparently), and I decided to see if she was interested in food - if y'all remember, she hadn't eaten anything for 7-8 days at this point; even a few days prior, despite all the good water levels, you could literally drop food right in front of her nose and she wouldn't take notice - so back out of the tank it would go. So, she got one shelled pea, and vacuumed it up nearly instantaneously. I've been managing to keep the ammonia down to 0 w/ twice daily close-to-100% water changes despite the QT still cycling [it would only "just barely register" if I tested immediately before the water change]; medication was re-added to keep the concentration consistent when I did this. It's only a 5.5 gal tank, so not a whole lot wasted, I guess - and I think the extra-frequent introductions of new, clear (conditioned) water were probably beneficial. This morning, she got 1/4 Hikari wafer and 2 mini sinking pellets (yeah, keeping it _really_ light right now!), again eaten immediately; I fed right before the water change so I'd get any stray bits in the water. I repeated the feed-then-change-water-shortly-after with half a piece of shelled corn this evening. Ginger's digestion seems to be good - things are moving again :) Tomorrow, maybe 2-3 pellets total, at most? Not sure if I'm reintroducing food too quickly or in too much volume or not. <All sounds promising. "Too much food" is basically anything more than the fish needs, but in practical terms its the food that pollutes the aquarium. So broadly speaking, if the fish has a nice slightly rounded belly it has eaten enough, and what you don't want is so much food that you detect ammonia or nitrite 30-60 minutes after feeding.> So, all being said and done, I'm not sure what the best procedure for Ginger's "return back home [to the 35-gal with Ryukin and Pleco]" is, and how soon that should happen after the antibiotics are complete. I think I'll make sure that the pink belly spot is basically healed first; however, Ginger seems to be getting a little bit annoyed at the small tank, now that she's more herself. I just don't want to do anything too stressful too soon, nor do I want to cause her undue stress from being in a small, barren environment for too long. <I would agree with your thoughts here. These are social fish, and while isolation is sometimes required, it's also something to minimise as far as practical. Once she's healthy, move her back.> The big tank has been quite stable for a few days; nitrates are at 10ppm, I'm not having to mess much with water changes, and all the other vital water stats are exactly as they should be (ammonia/nitrites 0, and slightly alkaline, matching the tap water). It seems the hospital tank has perhaps stayed a couple degrees cooler than the main tank, given its shape/size (I don't have heaters on the tanks). <Sounds fine. Put Ginger in a bucket, half-filled with hospital tank water. Over the next half hour or so, add a cup of water from the main tank every 5 minutes or so. By the time the bucket is full, she'll have acclimated pretty well, and can be lifted out with a net and put into the big tank.> I won't have a chance to go buy the supplemental filter for the 35-gal tank until tomorrow or the next day; with close water monitoring, is it better to get Ginger back in the big tank even if I don't yet have the additional filter, or to keep her isolated with massive frequent water changes for a bit longer? Should I be worried about potential reinfection or her getting sick from something in the big tank? <Provided the big tank has good water quality, she'll be fine. Sickness tends to come on from water quality rather than the size of the tank _per se_.> Oh, and for posterity, I snapped photos of the 3 fish today (feel free to copy/post 'em, though I didn't attach them to this email): http://appj.com/photos/fish/ginger.jpg - Ginger acting a lot more like a goldfish http://appj.com/photos/fish/fancy.jpg - Fancy, the cartoon-esque, punk-ish calico Ryukin (I love her 'black lipstick') http://appj.com/photos/fish/pleco.jpg - The unnamed Pleco, doing typical Pleco things <All look very cute. The Pleco is Pterygoplichthys sp., probably Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus. A nice -- but big -- fish well suited to Goldfish aquaria when given sufficient space and heat.> Thanks again, and hopefully all my future correspondence will happen under less dire circumstances! <Very good!> - Jen P.S. Thanks for the "cut the test strips in half" tip -- now I can be twice as paranoid about water testing! <Exactly so. Glad we could help, Neale.>

Fantail goldfish upside down... env. dis., no reading  -- 12/6/07 Hi there! I bought 3 fantail goldfish a couple months ago to keep at work. They've been doing well until this week. I have them in a 2.5 gallon tank <... much too small> with a filter and a plant. On Tuesday, they were all fine. When I got to work Wednesday, one of them was swimming around like a drunk. It was okay as long as it was going somewhere, but as soon as it stopped moving, it's tail would slowly go up so that the fish was face down, and then it would start swimming again. As the day went on, it got worse and eventually it would end up completely upside down. I read through much of your site trying to find an answer, but I just didn't know where to start. I ended up going to PetSmart (where I bought them) yesterday afternoon, and there was one guy working there who seemed to know more than the lady that told us it was a good idea to put 3 of them in a tank that small. He tested our water and said the nitrite level was getting a little high, so we should just change the water and maybe that would help, then just wait and see. So I came back to work and changed out probably 75% of the water. (I have one of those tubes that will filter the gravel and everything.) I left the filter on for a little bit after the water change to settle things down a bit, but it produces quite a current so I turned it off for the rest of the day. I stayed at work late and kept checking on the fish because I just feel so bad that it's suffering. I also noticed that it wasn't using one of its fins, and I saw that it had a red spot on it. I finally called a local fish store which I recently discovered, and the man said the problem is most likely poor water quality and it has septicemia. He said he was sorry but it probably wouldn't make it through the night. Well, it did, but basically today the fish is breathing heavily but upside down on the bottom of the tank. The fin looks slightly more red-streaked, but none of the other fins show any signs. Also, the other 2 fish are perfectly fine. What should I do?? I just feel like the fish is suffering. Should I change the water again today? Is there anything else I can do to help? Or am I going to have to just euthanize, and if so, how does one go about that?? I am going to get a bigger tank for them, but I would like them all to be healthy before I move them. Please help!! Sincerely, Stephanie Jones <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Very sick Lionhead   12/5/07 Dear WWM Crew, I've searched your site for hours today and learned a lot. Foremost, I won't be feeding my goldfish flake or pelleted food as a staple anymore. I can't believe with all the fish sites on the web, yours is the only one I've seen that explains that this is bad and why. But on to my problem. During a very busy period at work, I neglected my fish tank's water quality for about 3 weeks and ph levels skyrocketed. I discovered this last week and spent the last week correcting the situation. All water levels now test normally. I have one large Lionhead, another smallish goldfish (I have no idea what kind... not fancy but calico colored), a couple of bronze Corys and a Pleco in a 25 gallon tank with a power filter and an under gravel filtration system. The Lionhead is the only fish with any symptoms. It started with a little blackening on the edges of the tail fin and one small black spot on his side - this is what alerted me that there was a problem. Pretty quickly he began swelling up with his fins protruding. In the last 2 days since the water correction (that took 3 days) the swelling is gone but he is now very lethargic and sits at the bottom of the tank. I put him in a hospital tank (filled with the same aquarium water) and added some stress coat and some Melafix hoping this would help. I also gave him a few skinned pees, hoping it was (only?) a constipation problem but he refuses to eat. This is really disturbing because although he has no official name, we often call him Piggy because he will anything or anyone small enough to fit in his mouth. I just checked on him and now he has these long bloody red streaks from the base to the end of his tail and has very labored slow respirations. Did I do something wrong? Was the water correction too fast for him? And most importantly, is there anything I can do to help him? I tried to register on your chat forum (in the emergency thread) but was unable to register and kept getting error messages. Please help. Thank you for your time and your very informative website. Trish <Hello Trish. The bloody streaks on your fish are caused by Finrot, a bacterial infections almost always brought on by poor water quality. Melafix is not, in my opinion, an adequate cure. You need to use something with a proper antibacterial or antibiotic action. Ask your retailer for some combination Finrot/Fungus medication and use as instructed, always taking care to remove carbon from the aquarium while the medication is being used. All this said, your tank is hopelessly overstocked and no amount of medication is really going to help. Common Plecs need around 50 gallons, and Goldfish 30 gallons. So right there you have two fish that cannot possibly be expected to stay healthy in something as small as a 25 gallon tank even by themselves, let alone together! Do please remember that fish couldn't care less about having names; what they DO care about is physical, practical things you do to keep them healthy. Diet, as you've noted, is one thing. But so is space. Consider either buying a bigger aquarium or else switching to species more suitable for the tank you have to hand. Trying to keep all these fish healthy in a 25 gallon tank will be a labour of Sisyphus. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Very sick Lionhead   12/5/07
Hi Neale, <Trish,> Thank you very much for your help. I feel so guilty, I had no idea the tank was too small. (My husband says its a 35 gallon, but that's still too small) I mean, it *looks* roomy enough and they've been quite healthy, and I'm guessing happy, for the last year but that would explain why things got so bad so fast when I couldn't do the water testing/change every week. They were probably just hanging on and of course, they have grown. <Indeed. A couple of two-inch Goldfish in a 20 gallon tank are fine, but those Goldfish grow... All may be fine for a while, but then you get to a point where the amount of toxins in the water reaches a critical threshold where the health gets compromised.> I've found a 55 gallon tank on Craigslist I'll be picking up this afternoon to keep the healthy(-ier) fish in. I've been wanting a much larger tank so I think that will be my Christmas gift request to my husband. <Very good!> Could you tell me some basic medications and/or antibiotics I should keep on hand so I can treat things early and as quickly as possible when they happen? We have a few local pet stores but none with a comprehensive fish department and I often order my supplies online. <Hmm... I'm not a big fan of "laying in" medications, partly because it encourages a mindset of cure rather than prevention. Medications also have shelf-lives, after which point they don't really work so well. Much better to buy things as and when (and if!) you need them. In the meantime, simply buy something like Maracyn (in the US), eSHa 2000 (in Europe) or whatever to treat the Finrot/fungal infection you have to deal with right now.> I do understand what you say about providing an adequate environment for my fish and even though I don't name them, I do love them very much and take their care seriously. I had a beautiful black moor I kept for 5 years that grew to enormous proportions (almost 10" body) with the most beautiful long fins you've ever seen. People were honestly amazed when they met Sushi and everyone said they'd never seen a fish like him. He would eat from my hand and "talk" to me by smacking the top of the water with his lips when it was feeding time and I was out of the room. He had me well trained! <He does indeed sound a lovely fish.> When he died (he was killed by a catfish I was pet sitting - another hard lesson learned), I was devastated and cried for days and I haven't named a fish since then. But every time I interact with my fish, I do think about the fact that I hold their lives in my hands. I mean, my dog or my cat could get lost and most likely survive until they were rescued but my fish depend on me for even the air they breathe. I just don't want you to think that I consider them just "throw away" pets like so many people seem to act like they are. That attitude is very upsetting to me. <Upsetting to us all...> Thank you again and I really love your website. I thought I knew a bit about goldfish, not an expert, but pretty knowledgeable. But in the last 2 days I've learned amazing things. Keep up the wonderful work. <Thank you.> Trish <Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Very sick Lionhead
12/5/07 Unfortunately, my fish died yesterday afternoon. The local pet store doesn't carry any of the medications you mentioned so I had to order it online. It should get here day after tomorrow. They don't keep much more than Melafix and water conditioners on hand at the store here, which is why I asked about some basics to keep at home. I live in Alaska and it can be very hit and miss on what is kept in stock in the local stores and shipping generally takes 3 to 5 days unless you pay an additional $35 for overnight shipping. Even then, overnight shipping isn't overnight and takes 2 days. I have a meeting today with a client that is a veterinarian. I'll ask her about a medications I can keep on hand and how to best store them to keep them fresh as possible in case of emergency. Thanks for your help. Trish <Hello Trish. Sorry about the death of your fish. In terms of medications, plain salt is one of the most useful, especially as a stop-gap. You can also use things like Malachite Green and Methylene Blue which you can obtain from drugstores. Aquarium books on fish health will give you the concentrations required for different sicknesses. I happen to like the 'Interpet Manual of Fish Health' which you can get second-hand on places like Amazon for very little. Most of the commercial medications are based on these chemicals, though perhaps supplemented with other chemicals and drugs. All this said, if your fish are healthy and the aquarium is properly maintained (and sufficiently big!) sickness really shouldn't be an issue. Experienced aquarists will often go for many years without ever having to treat their livestock. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Goldfish 12/3/07 Dear WetWebMedia, My goldfish, Tuna, is really sick. She's a fantail without the googly eyes, she's orange with black spots, but she's had the black spots since we got her. I've looked at all of the diseases I could find and they don't fit. Tuna isn't picked on by Fish, they get along rather nicely. Tuna has no red, no stripes, no lumps, isn't losing scales, and Fish seems to be fine and dandy. Tuna is usually laying at the bottom of the tank or floating an inch or so above it, mostly sideways or upside down. When she floats like this her tail is usually crooked, when she tries to swim she's usually unsuccessful and runs into the bottom of the tank or runs out of energy. She really doesn't look well and I don't know how she'll be able to get food or any fish meds we give her. Please help us out. Thank you for reading my letter, Julia <Hello Julia. When it comes to Goldfish losing their balance, the first thing to check is diet. Most folks feed their Goldfish pellets or flake, but these are incredibly bad for them if used exclusively. Goldfish are largely herbivorous and need to have lots of greens in their diet. Pond fish simply eat algae, but indoor Goldfish don't have that option. So have a read of the article on floaty, bloaty goldfish at the link below, and act accordingly: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm The black spots on Goldfish are commonly parasitic worms (flukes) of some type. They don't do any harm unless in plague numbers. Eventually they die out because they cannot complete their life cycle in aquaria. Anyway, it's called "Black Spot Disease" and I'm not aware of any sure-fire cures on the market. Since it rarely causes problems, it's one of those things (like the Common Cold in humans) that's simply best treated by letting it run its course. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Goldfish 12/10/07
Thank you, but we found out what was wrong, Tuna had ammonia poisoning and unfortunately passed away a few days ago, the spots were natural, I think. Thank you so much for taking your time in reading my letter and replying Sincerely, Julia <Hi Julia. Sorry about your loss. Do take care that every time you keep fish, you monitor the ammonia and/or nitrite levels in the tank. What you describe is a common problem, almost always caused by overstocking, overfeeding, and/or under-filtering. Cheers, Neale.>

FW Ich/Whitespot that will not respond to treatment? Goldfish pre-nuptial tubercles...  12/3/07 I have just recently acquired my second aquarium. I've been keeping fish for going on 4 years now and this is something I've never experienced. This newest addition is 125 gallons and came stocked with 3 Oranda goldfish and a handful of angels. <An odd selection of fish! Do bear in mind that Goldfish and Angelfish have little overlap in terms of environmental demands. Goldfish want hard, alkaline water ideally at subtropical temperatures, while Angelfish prefer water that is somewhat soft, slightly acidic, and quite warm. Realistically, you probably want to aim for around 15 degrees dH hardness, a pH around 7.5, and a temperature of 25 C, no higher. Angelfish are notoriously sensitive to poor water quality, while Goldfish are infamously dirty animals that put a huge stress on any filtration system. Large-scale water changes will probably be essentially, certainly not less than 25% per week, and ideally around 50% per week. Nitrate is something to watch for, because it's an insidious problem with cichlids, bringing out things like Hole-in-the-Head if you aren't careful. Again, water changes are the key preventative.> I am new to goldfish but I cant seem to find a recurring problem similar to mine. Each goldfish is about 7" not including their tails. Their behavior is normal, they are active all day, they constantly root through the gravel for food and are seemingly playful. <OK.> The one in question has Ich/Whitespot, it only appears on his face. I've been treating the tank now for going on 10 days and am running out of patience. With my older tank I only saw a breakout twice in the 4 years of owning it. It was in the first year, the first breakout I treated with medication, the second breakout I treated with a temp of 88F and 2 Tablespoons of salt per 5 gallons. After this final treatment I never saw a breakout of Ich again. <Ah, with Goldfish I'd tend to go with the standard medications rather than salt/temperature. Goldfish tolerate the copper- and formalin-based medications very well, and these are very effective.> I'm now using the same treatment, temp of 88F and 2 tablespoons of salt per 5 gallons. No other fish have become infected but the Ich WILL NOT fall off the goldfish in question, am beginning to wonder if its Ich at all. Water levels are all proper and filtration is adequate. Have you ever seen or heard of anything like this? <Are you sure these aren't the tubercles adult (male) Goldfish develop when sexually mature? These look like small pinkish-white or off-white "spots" on the face.> P.S. In the past 2 days I've started treating with malachite green and 25% water changes but still with no progress. They will simply not detach themselves to be killed *sigh* I hope you have some good advice, id hate to euthanize this fish his color pattern is phenomenal. <Do also remember to remove carbon when using medications. I'd recommend not bothering with carbon, but some people still use the stuff. It will remove medications neutralising any therapeutic effects. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Ich/Whitespot that will not respond to treatment? 12/3/07
You hit the nail on the head with tubercles. Thank you very much! I can finally stop cooking the poor guys. <Well we try! Do make sure that you reduce the salinity/temperature slowly, ideally across a few days via water changes. Nothing upsets fish more than sudden changes, even towards the better. Cheers, Neale.>

Air Pockets coming out of my Oranda Pearlfish   12/2/07 Hello, A couple of weeks ago my Oranda Pearlfish stared getting these little air pockets coming out of her scales mainly around the bottom of her tail). But now they seem to be spreading, and she just sits at the bottom of the tank. Now I have to confess I have been really slacking on the maintenance of the tank. I went out today and got new filters and will give it a proper cleaning. I would appreciate some help as to what else can be done to help her. Regards, Joe P.S There is a black Moor in the same tank as her <Hello Joe. Your fish almost certainly has some sort of fungal and/or bacterial infection brought about by the poor water conditions. It cannot be stated more strongly how letting water quality drop makes fish sick. So, the first thing to do is improve your water quality management. 50% water changes are essential with Goldfish, and you need a good filter turning the volume of the tank over at least 6 times per hour (i.e., in a 30 gallon tank, choose a filter that has 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour turnover). Clean the filter media once a month in a bucket of aquarium water. Clean the gravel each water change by stirring it up and siphoning out the dirt. The other thing to do is treat the tank for fungus/Finrot. There are numerous medications suitable for this: Maracyn or eSHa 2000 or Interpet Anti Fungus and Bacteria for example. Skip Melafix/Pimafix -- they don't work all that well. With luck, she'll fix right up in no time. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Buoyancy difficulties with goldfish.  11/28/2007 Hi there, <Hello> I've just come across your website whilst conducting research into my goldfish's condition; wherein I found articles most interesting, however I have a dilemma that hasn't been answered previously. The goldfish in question is an red Oranda and within the last two months it has had a growth on its belly, or more specifically nearest its anal fin; this is about the size of a small marble (not as small as a pea, yet not the same size as your standard marble) I suppose it could be white, but that could just be the his skin. Since this growth has appeared, it floats 'upside-down' on the top of the tank; rarely moving. <The tumour and floating behavior may not be linked at all> Initially, I was inclined to believe that it had swim bladder, but upon treating the water for several weeks then consulting the pet store to no avail, I presumed the growth was excess fat that was a consequence of its breeding (mutation?). <Well stated, or posited... shades of Margaret Mead... it's the nature vs. nurture conundrum all over again! Sorry re> I hope not, as well as I hope it isn't Lymphocystis or cancerous. <Maybe the latter... and all such uncontrolled growth instances are virally mediated... so I guess a bit of the former as well...> I would really appreciate any advice you have to give me, I have tried everything besides seeing a vet (in fact, I asked and was told the pet store know more than them!!!) Also, I really don't want to get into goldfish ethics, but whatever happens I'm not flushing him! Hope you can help. Alex L <Not much to do re the growth... but the floating can be addressed. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Bloated goldfish 11/25/2007 Hello. After reading as many of the messages on your website as is possible in 3 hours, I decided to write in an email as I'm not totally sure what to do for my poor goldfish. I don't know what sex it is and I have it for 11 years, although it was fairly big when I got it, so I'm guessing it is around 16 years old. Almost over night, it has developed a bulge under its belly (possibly its anus) and it has a swelling to the belly on both sides, although one side is slightly more swollen than the other and has a dent in it. Following your other responses, there are no scales sticking out and none have dropped off, and it is feeding normally. It does seem a bit lethargic, but is staying upright and swimming in the centre of the tank (so not floating or bending or hiding in a corner). There are other fish in the tank (tank three foot) and they are well. I have had no problems from any of my fish in the entire 10 or so years I have had them. I would be really sorry to lose it and really need some ideas. I'm reluctant to remove it from the tank because I don't want to cause it stress. What should I do? Thanks so much. Kind regards, Sasha. <Hello Sasha. It's difficult to say precisely what's going on here without a photo. Given that you say the scales aren't sticking outwards from the body (like a pine cone) we can probably cross off dropsy. So it is most probable that your fish has some sort of constipation, in which case the Epsom salt/tinned peas treatment described at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm is probably the way forward. Certainly stop feeding it anything other than laxative foods, and feed those only sparingly. The goal is to encourage the swelling to go down. Goldfish can last weeks, months without food so don't worry about it starving. At 16 years even, a Goldfish is really only middle aged, so this is probably not a direct factor. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: bloated goldfish 11/25/2007 Thanks for getting back to me so soon! I will take a photo of it and send it if that's ok. <Very good.> It's just staying in the same place which is the middle of the tank. The top fin has gone down today, and I fed the fish peas last night. The other fish gulped them up, but this one wasn't all that interested, although it did have one pea. <Good enough for now.> Have got hold of some Epsom salt and was wondering if it will affect the health of the other fish in anyway? <Nope. They'll be fine. Treat them the same, and give 'em the laxative diet too. That way, everyone will be cleared out nicely!> Apart from acting as a laxative! will forward photo soon. Kind regards, Sasha. <Good luck, Neale.>
Re: bloated goldfish 11/25/2007
Hi again. Have attached photos of poor guy (or gal!) see what you think. He started swimming about when I was snapping! Thanks so much. Will wait for your response. Kind regards, Sasha <Looks constipated to me. Follow the Epsom salt/tinned peas treatment. Takes many days, even weeks to work. But *will* work. Stop feeding other foods altogether except those laxative foods mentioned in the article. Once the fish is healthy once more, you can broaden the diet a bit, but do keep green foods as the majority share of whatever you're offering. You can easily keep Goldfish on nothing but green foods for their entire lives and not have problems. Flake food is best thought of as a treat, not a staple. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: bloated goldfish  11/26/07 Thanks so much. Feel happier for the little fella. Will keep you posted. Kind regards, Sasha. <Cool. Good luck to you both! Neale.>

Very Sick with worry about Hannibal the goldfish 11/25/2007 Hi, I'm in need of some urgent help about my goldfish, whom I've had for seven years. <Ok.> Initially he developed a growth on the outside of his eye which was pinky red in colour, however with each passing day it seemed to swell up, after a few days it was covering most of the eye. <What sort of Goldfish are we talking about here? Bubble-eye goldfish are very prone to secondary infections of the bubble thing. For other Goldfish varieties, this is less common. In either case, the immediate cause is almost certainly water quality. Ammonia and nitrite damage sensitive tissues, such as those of the eye, and secondary infections set in. You need a suitable anti-Finrot/anti-Fungus medication to fix this, plus of course checking water quality and reacting accordingly.> We did a full water change before adding the advised medication Melafix to his water. <In my opinion, Melafix is a waste of time.> However Hannibal is a large goldfish of about 7ins in length, and unfortunately injured himself in the net before being returned to his tank, thus detaching some of this large swelling on the eye. <Yuk!> Earlier today he was at the bottom of the tank and the swelling had a white residue on it, which after a few hours now looks like threads of cotton hanging from it with part of the swelling disintegrating. <The white is likely dead tissue, and the threads are fungal hyphae. You need to get into gear here and use a combination Finrot/fungus medication. I happen to like eSHa 2000, a medication widely sold in the UK and Europe but for some reason not sold in the US. We have a table of possible options here -- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfishmeds.htm -- and just pick something that appears in both the Fungus and Finrot columns.> Sorry if this description is a bit vague but the best I can do at the moment. The books just seems to confuse me even more e.g. fungal, or ulcer. Just wondered if the treatment I am using i.e. Melafix, would cause the wound to disintegrate or is it much worse. <The Melafix didn't make it worse, it simply didn't do anything at all.> Totally confused, would appreciate your help very much, as am unsure of which medication to use next and do not want to lose him. Thanks again Emma <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick Goldfish  11/25/2007 Dear Crew, Please can you help! <Will try.> I have a sick goldfish which I have had for 5 years he is in a 120 litre tank with 6 other goldfish and two zebra Danios. <More than a bit over-crowded, and that's almost certainly a factor. An adult Goldfish needs about 100 litres of tank space, and each additional Goldfish something like 50-100 litres more. The problem is that Goldfish put a big strain on the filter, and without a big tank, ammonia can accumulate causing damage to the fish. While things may be find when the fish are small... as they get bigger, the margin of error gets less and less, until you reach a turning point where the tank can't cope and the fish get sick.> Freckle has not eaten properly for 2 weeks, he was not swimming much either, but was hanging near the top of the tank (but not gasping just a bit motionless). His abdomen looks swollen and so does his head and cheeks (he looks very puffy). <Sounds like a systemic bacterial infection of some sort.> I have tried treating for swim bladder I did two treatments of this, then I did a water change and I treated with salt and I am now treating with anti internal bacteria treatment I have done 2 treatments so far. <Ah, the problem in the UK is we British aquarists don't have access to antibiotics without visiting a vet. Antibacterial drugs tend to be only effective when used very early on, essentially tipping the scales slightly in favour of the fish's own immune system. Once an infection progresses past this early phase, antibacterials aren't able to help much, if at all. Visiting a vet for this sort of thing costs around £20 including the medication.> All my other fish appear to be healthy; I feed them a mixture of peas, and flake and pellet balls and feed them twice daily. <Quite possibly too much food. Goldfish really only need one meal per day, and fewer if they're giving aquatic plants (like Elodea) to graze on.> I recently tested the water for ph, nitrates and nitrites and all was fine. <Check ammonia if you can. But the problem with both ammonia and nitrite is they go up and down. They go up shortly after feeding, then drop down. So sometimes you can get a zero reading and think everything is fine, when in fact for an hour or two things are definitely *not fine*.> Freckle since the treatment will swim around a little bit but still spends time near the top of the tank, or he will rest in a hospital net tank that I have positioned three quarters of the way up in the main tank (he takes himself in there where he will just lie on the bottom of the hospital net). After 2 weeks of eating nothing he is trying to eat but this is only a really small amount. <Don't force things. Do try using the peas/Epsom salt treatment described elsewhere on this site ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm ). Do big, regular water changes for the next few weeks to freshen things up; I'd suggest 50% water changes 2-3 times per week. Always use a good dechlorinator. Do check the filter is working properly and adequate for your needs; Goldfish need a filter with a capacity of around 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. The filters don't need carbon or Zeolite, so throw those out, but they do need to have good biological filtration. Do an ammonia test once in the morning before feeding, and then again an hour after feeding, to see if things are truly stable. If you can, send us a photo so we can try and diagnose the problem.> I have tried to diagnose by reading books and doing fish searches, but I still do not know what is wrong with him. <Remember that 90% of fish health problems come down to water chemistry or water quality. Goldfish are very particular in their needs. Ammonia and nitrite cause health problems including bacterial infections, and low hardness and low pH make them more prone to sickness.> I love all my fish! <Quite right!> Many Thanks! Andrea <Good luck, Neale.>

They are dropping like flies... Koi young in a small aquarium... no data  11/23/07 Hello Robert, <Please send future corr. to Crew@WetWebMedia.com... I delete all unrecognized email generally here> I was wondering if you could shed some light on our situation this fall when we cleaned out our pond and brought the fish in for the winter we were please to see that our Koi spawned and we ended up with 33 young ones all in various sizes largest maybe just over an inch. <Neat> We put them into a 10 gallon aquarium and they seemed to be doing fine we lost a few at first and we thought that was the transfer (survival of the fittest), any way we are now down to six lost many in the last week. They start out with a weak side swim and in about a day they are done. We are not sure if it's the light, water temp (but they are indoors) we even put an agent in the water to help them keep their slim on them to project them from any minerals that might be in our water. Any clues. Cindy Weber <Likely nitrogenous waste poisoning... What do your water quality tests tell you? What re filtration, maintenance, feeding... BobF>

Sick Goldfish... Anchorworm? Using WWM?   11/22/07 I just want to know how to cure this disease in my goldfish. Thanks <Please put the terms: Anchorworm, goldfish in the search tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm and read the cached views as instructed. Bob Fenner>

Sick Black Moor Goldfish, env., iatrogenic   11/21/07 Hi, I recently purchased a black moor goldfish, a 5 gallon tank, a power filter rated for a 10 gallon tank, and an air pump and air stone as well as other aquarium supplies. <What made you think a Goldfish can survive in a 5 gallon tank? It can't. It will die. End of story really. All the other problems stem from this single mistake. A Goldfish needs a tank of not less than 30 gallons in size; if you don't have space of money for such a tank, don't keep Goldfish. It really is this simple. A 5-gallon tank isn't big enough for any sort of fish at all except maybe a single Betta.> About a week after owning my fish (Reggie) I noticed that he was developing a white cloudy coating on patches of his skin as well as being lethargic and clamping his fins. <Secondary infections directly caused by improper care.> After some research I concluded that he could be suffering from a bacterial or fungal disease. I went to the pet store an purchased Jungle Lab's Lifeguard tablets which are designed to treat fungal bacterial and parasitic type diseases. <Never used this medication so can't comment on its efficacy. I'm leery of these "we cure everything" medications because, on the whole, they don't work. If they did, drugstores would only sell one medicine. In any case, while treating for Finrot and Fungus is required here (for which I would use specific medications rather than cure-alls) the basic cause is a too-small tank.> I followed through with the recommended treatment hoping that they would work. After the treatment was through I changed the water and re-set up the tank and waited a day or two but Reggie didn't seem to be doing any better. <He won't. As soon as one batch of pathogens are killed, another batch will take over. This is a labour of Sisyphus because of the environmental conditions. Work as hard as you want, and nothing will get achieved.> I researched a bit more and though he might have a bacterial infection that the lifeguard tablets weren't strong enough to fix. Concluding that he had Columnaris (gram negative bacterial infection) I purchased some Maracyn 2 and followed the treatment instructions. After the treatment was through he didn't seem to be doing any better and had lost his appetite. On top of that the Maracyn 2 had no effect on the cloudy coating which looked to be about the same or maybe even a little worse. <Have you done a water chemistry test yet? I assume not. The problem with your approach is that it is uninformed, so I'm not sure what sort of "research" you've actually done. Any and all aquarium books will tell you that your fish cannot be kept in a 5 gallon tank. A book will also tell you water quality is almost always the thing to check before treating the tank. In your case, I can be fairly sure that the ammonia and nitrite levels are high. In addition, you likely haven't checked water chemistry, and if you have soft/acid water, that'll be making your Goldfish more vulnerable to illness. Small tanks acidify rapidly, and Goldfish hate acid water. You don't tell me anything about water changes. Goldfish need 50% water changes per week even under optimal conditions, and you set-up is so bad and so hostile to Goldfish life that nothing less than 2-3 50% water changes per week will keep your fish alive for any length of time.> Following the treatment I re-set up his tank changed the water and added water conditioner like always. I was stumped. <No idea why you are stumped. Did you read a book about Goldfish? Where did you get the idea that a fish that can get to over 12 inches in length and live for 30 years would be happy in a 5 gallon tank? Every article about Goldfish in this web site states and re-states this point: these fish need space or they die. If you want to keep something in a 5 gallon tank, go buy some cut flowers. They'll do fine.> A few days later I noticed that all of his fins were starting to fray or be eaten away. I ruled out that it couldn't be fin rot because there were no white edges or blood where the fins were deteriorating and if it were the Maracyn 2 should have cured it. <Finrot. No doubt about this at all. Never mind the white edges. The fins are eroding away, and that's all there is to it. Classic poor water symptom.> On a good note he seemed to have his appetite back. On a bad note he seems to be gasping at the surface a lot; despite there being an air bubbler in the tank and plenty of open surface area at the top of the tank. <He's gasping because the water is toxic sludge. He can't breathe. He's crying out for a bigger tank.> I read more online about more causes for frayed fins and whitish coatings on fish and found that it could also be Chilodonella or Costia which can be treated with a salt bath. So I went and purchased aquarium salt and added 2 teaspoons of salt per gallon to create a the recommended salt bath in Reggie's tank. I kept the salt solution in the tank for 48 hours then did a 50% water change with fresh unsalted water and then performed another 50% change 12 hours later. Its now a few days later and I am quite worried about Reggie. <Please understand that giving a fish a cute name is no substitute for giving it what it needs to survive. Animals don't care about what you call them. But they do notice if they're dying.> Is there anything I could have Missed. <Many, many things.> I know his tank is small but I try to do a water change every couple of days to make up for that fact. <It won't. Doesn't work that way.> The white coating is a tad bit smaller but still pretty prominent. <Your fish is doomed without a bigger tank.> I am attaching two pictures. the first, reggie1.jpg is kind of blurry but you can clearly see the whit coating I am talking about as well as the clamped fins and the fraying of the fins. the second picture, reggie2.jpg is much more clear but it shows him gasping at the tanks surface as well as more whit coating clamped dorsal fin and his frayed damaged fins. <That poor fish. If I was into reincarnation, I'd be wondering what terrible thing that Goldfish had done in a past life to get introduced into such a hostile aquarium. You are doing everything wrong, and I can tell you your fish will be dead in months, maybe weeks, if you don't fix things. I know that's harsh, but since your Goldfish can't tell you to buck up your ideas, I'm doing it for him. He needs a 20 gallon tank now, and a 30 gallon tank within the next couple of years. Filtration needs to be massively improved, and not less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and ideally 6 times because Goldfish are schooling animals and should only ever be kept in groups, not alone (i.e., for a 30 gallon tank, get a filter with a turnover of 120-180 gallons per hour). Please do read some of the many articles we have about Goldfish here at WWM. The mistakes you make are common, and we spend a lot of time explaining the basics. Goldfish need big tanks, friends to swim about with, and a diet based on vegetables not flake. It's because people choose to remain ignorant about their needs that Goldfish have such an abysmal survival record in captivity, despite being fundamentally hardy animals. Start off at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish.htm then have a read of the "related articles" linked at the top of that page.> Thanks for any advice you can give me. <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Bubble cheek goldfish problems..... No data of use  11/19/07 Hi, I have a 5 year old bubble cheek goldfish named sparkey hat has had some problems but a newly clear bubble has formed near his back tail. <Does happen...> I checked on the web and can not find any information on this condition.... My fish is also very obese and can not get off the bottom of the tank... <Bad... nutritional, environmental, genetic...> can you help us....sparkey looks so sad and tired..in the past one of his cheeks has popped and healed, now the other cheek has popped...this pop may be more problematic with all th View full size <No pix came through> e other things going on...please help.... <No useful info. re the system, maint., foods/feeding... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Constipated Comet?  -- 11/17/07 Thanks for the reply Bob. Much appreciated. <Welcome Paul> To answer your question...The outside temp was about 40-55F during the day and about 32-35F at night. It was about 65F in the house when I brought them in, but because I brought the water in from outside, the water and the fish gradually warmed up together. <Ahh... this is a very large temp. variation. Could well account for the current behavior.> The fish in question is still spending nearly all his time at the bottom. When I approach the tank, he kind of wiggles to launch himself off the bottom and looks for food. In the five days since my last email, I have fed them only twice, both times thawed peas and limited quantities at that. He ate both times and actually searched the bottom for about five minutes looking for more, before literally sinking back to the bottom. None of the other fish act this way. All levels are same as before; salt treatment is at day 10. Would you suggest leaving the salt for much longer (.3%)? I understand that at some point I should start to dilute it. <I would dilute it over time with regular water changes> Maybe it is psychological as you'd mentioned. It just seems to be very suspicious behavior, given that my previous comet that died a year ago seemed to develop the same pattern about 3-4 weeks before perishing. Mind you, he never ate much in the last few weeks. Anyhow, I have attached two pictures this time. The gills on the left appear "silver" while the ones the right appear quite red (although no ammonia/nitrite levels are present). Do these photos provide any clues and would you suggest anything else at this point? Should I perhaps re-introduce pellets or flakes soon? <Pellets... but not much... a few, and none if not being eaten> Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate your website. Paul <I want to try and impress on you something re this minnow-species physiology, adaptability. Goldfish can "do" a huge amount of changing of biochemical pathways (much more impressive than human "back up" contingency plans... for software, spaceships) in utilizing a given scenario for energetics purposes (to stay alive let's say)... Your goldfish looks fine, will alter its biochem. to "get used to" the present conditions... Will take a few weeks, to a couple of months... just be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Constipated Comet?  11/21/07 Thanks again Bob. I appreciate the advice. I'll give it a few weeks and see what happens. <Real good. BobF>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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