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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 38

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease, GoldfishGoldfish VarietiesKoi/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 37, 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

I need your assistance... GF, no useful data... READING   3/30/08 Hello, I need some help with my Black Moor fish. It seems that he's getting sick. He was with a fantail goldfish who passed away last week with the bloating condition (the fantail goldfish was placed in a sick tank prior to his passing so it wasn't dead in the same bowl). <.......> It looks like he's gotten some red marks on the gills, and a little of cloudiness around the tops of his eyes. I thought it was Ick so I put a solution that will aid him, <...> and get rid of that. I just don't know what to do about the red gills, he does eat (I feed him once a day), he usually swims in the morning and at night he usually tends to move the rocks very strongly, but at times he does stay at the bottom of his fish bowl. Any suggestions? Enclosed is a before picture and two present pictures. thank you very much for your time. Jackie Padilla <... what re the system, maintenance, water quality... tests? Foods/feeding... a bowl? You wrote us w/o reading... Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

please help -03/28/08 Hi really having a problem with my fish Have increased salt concentration, and also completed partial water changes. However, one of the fish grows what looks like white lumps which grow for a day and then fall off! Goldfish seems ok? We have treated it with a parasite solution. My other fish doesn't seem to be able to open its mouth? really hope you can help mairi <Do need a photo here. "White lumps" doesn't really help much. Are we talking white specks that look like granulated sugar? That's Ick/Whitespot. If it's fine powder with a slight golden hue and an appearance like confectioner's sugar, that's Velvet. Dead grey-white patches can be Finrot or perhaps Mouth Fungus (both bacterial infections, despite the name). White fluffy threads like cotton are Fungus. Then there's Fish Lice and Flukes, and even viral infections like Fish Pox and Lymphocystis. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfishmeds.htm Each needs its own particular treatment. Do also provide some more information about the aquarium: how big it is, what the water chemistry is, what the nitrite concentration is. Are there other fish in the aquarium? Do they show symptoms? Do always remember most fish sickness comes down to poor water quality, so above all else review environmental conditions. See here: Cheers, Neale.>
Re: please help
will take a photo the next time, it kind of buds out of it and falls off, maybe thought nematodes worms <Unlikely nematode worms. Photo will help. Neale.>

Goldfish issue - fused mouth? FAQ  3/26/08 Hi Guys... I am stumped! I rescued a couple goldfish from a wedding centerpiece several months ago. They had been doing well, growing and seemingly happy, or so I thought. <Nice work.> A couple weeks ago, or more, I noticed one fish, the larger one (3", they are still small) was not eating. At this time I also noticed that he would not open his mouth. During feeding, he would swim up to the food, attempt to eat, and it would simply bounce off his mouth. He wouldn't, or couldn't, open his mouth to eat it. I tried several flaked foods, peas, spinach, and some medicated food. All with the same results. The fish has begun to shrink in size, and now at times he appears a little lethargic - but all in all he is still active, just not as much so. I have not noticed him going to the bathroom either. <Going to the bathroom? You mean defecating I assume. I have visions of your pet fish sitting on the loo flipping through golfing magazines.> I pulled him up out of the tank after reading a post on Koivet, to see if I could take a look into his mouth. I could not get him to open his mouth as I pulled him up out of the water. I did notice at this time two things. 1) there was no discernable line where his lower and upper jaw meets, and it seems to be sealed with a light, milky colored skin. 2) I noticed a small slit on the underside of his lower jaw that seems to open when he is pulling water into his gills. Not sure if this is pertinent, but I noticed it. <Quite possibly Mouth Fungus; certainly worth treating proactively with suitable medication. Mouth Fungus is of course a bacterial infection not a fungal infection. Maracyn Plus or eSHa 2000 should do the trick.> At this time I thought he may have a fungal or bacterial infection, and began treating the water with Mela and pima - fix. I have not noticed a change and I am 5 days into the treatment. <Because neither have much efficacy against bacterial infections. Indeed, many would say that neither are much good at anything.> My tank is 28 gallons with two small goldies. I have a filter, 2 airstones, and a heater that kicks on to keep the water temperature between 65-67 degrees. My levels are good, my water is and has always been pretty good. I did have a slight ammonia spike last month, but quickly resolved this. My PH is a touch low, maybe, at around 6.0, although I think this is acceptable. <It's not; Goldfish like nice hard and basic water. Think what you'd do for livebearers or Mbuna: that's what Goldfish want. So find a way to raise the carbonate hardness, and the pH should go upwards as well. Don't go dumping "pH up" products in the water UNLESS you modify the carbonate hardness as well.> I have now moved the afflicted fish to a hospital tank, and all water checks out okay there as well. <I'd leave 'em together to be honest. Whatever the issue is, it isn't likely to be contagious. Moreover, Goldfish like company. I'd keep them together and treat the entire tank.> These are not my first fish and I have seen a multitude of problems, but this is confusing. It appears like his mouth is fused shut. Searching the web, the only info I could find was on cutting the fishes mouth open. This is something that is a little troubling to me! <Indeed. Surgery on fish is very tricky. I'd sooner you try force feeding first. A small plastic pipette can be used to push a mixture of water and flake into the gullet of the fish. Use the pipette to wiggle the jaws open gentle. You could also use plastic forceps of suitable size. The main thing is to work gently, and to always keep your hands as well as the fish wet. You can also push water through the gills forwards, and that *should* force the mouth open. This is a trick used to separate mouthbrooding fish from their fry and is much less alarming than it sounds!> Any info would be great, I'm not sure if you have ever seen something like this, but it is upsetting, because he really wants to eat, but can't, or won't. Thanks a bunch for any help! Mick <Cheers, Neale.>

What is best treatment for flukes in goldfish?  3/26/08 Hello, I was wondering what your recommendations are for treating body flukes in goldfish at least I think that's what they are. I have noticed from time to time that my goldfish will quickly rub themselves on aquarium decorations. <This could be a variety of things, not just flukes. Whitespot/Ick often manifests itself as scratching behaviour. Rapid changes in pH will also cause this behaviour. So you need to be a bit more open minded, or at least look for other symptoms that might pin down the problem> At one time I put in Live Bearer by Aquarium Products and that seemed to stop their behavior, but unfortunately I can't find it anymore in the local pet stores. <Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm > I mainly want something that I can use as a preventative and not have to take out the carbon in my filter, etc. <Treating with a "preventative" is counter productive, and says more about how we sometimes view healthcare than what is actually useful. Most medications cause some degree of stress or harm to fish, and in some cases some fish simply get killed by them (loaches and copper-based medication is the classic example). So you need to use medications only when absolutely necessary. Instead focus on REAL preventative medicine, i.e., quarantining new livestock, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring good water quality. As for removing carbon, you need to replace carbon every month for it to do any good, so removing it for treatment purposes shouldn't be a chore. I don't feel that carbon serves ANY useful purpose in a freshwater tank; 50% weekly water changes will do a much better job of removing those pesky dissolved organics, and will also keep the nitrate down and prevent pH swings! Just say NO to carbon!> Thanks Sharon <Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Fancytail... no reading... Jewel Is Not Felling Well... Been Mick Jaggered, silver daggered...  -- 03/20/08 Hi! I have a silver fancy-tail goldfish. Recently, she seems to be feeling sick. She has lost some scales on both sides of her body. <Bad> The skin underneath is white. My water is often slightly low on pH but I have boosted it back up. <...? How?> The water quality in my 38 gallon tank is usually great and it is well maintained. <?> She has been in the tank with the same fish for about two years. I do not know about the salt percentage - <... but not our instructions before writing us... Am not a fan of salting goldfish> I just follow the directions on the container. I have Quick Cure, <Toxic> Melafix, <Worthless> Antibacterial food pellets, and Neomycin gel on hand (I have attempted to treat a separate fancy-tail with acute swim-bladder disease in a ten gallon tank). What all will help the silver fancy-tail and what products can I use together? I am also willing to buy anything that she may need. Thanks so much! I <... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Exploding goldfish? Ana aki poss.  03/19/2008 Hi Crew, <Taylor> I have a question about something I've seen happen with goldfish a few times now, and so far I've been unable to find any explanation for what it is or why it happens, but it's very gruesome. My searches have turned up nothing, and I've seen no pictures of this condition. Right now I've got a 20-gallon tank with 3 small comets and two larger ones. One of the smaller comets has begun to develop a growing bump in his abdomen. It looks almost like he has swallowed a stone and it is beginning to bulge out of his side. Attached are some pictures. <I see... and shudder> I don't know if it's a tumor or a blockage in their digestive system or what. It's definitely not something attached to the fish, but inside it, as it bulges the scales out around it. <Yes> As I said, I've seen this happen a few times before, and this is in its earlier stage. The bump seems to have no effect on its behaviour or swimming - aside from the growth he seems perfectly normal. What happens next is the bump grows and expands outwards, and one day I'll come home and find that my fish has more or less 'exploded' - I think this bump just bursts. The last one this happened to I found his head and spine stuck to the filter intake and the rest of him had been distributed throughout the tank. It was a big mess and very unpleasant for my other fish, I'm sure. I've seen one fish die from this in a matter of days, and I've seen one live almost half a year (in someone else's tank) with this condition before exploding. I have no idea what might be causing this - it seems to happen spontaneously, in some fish but not others, and I don't think it is contagious because the poor fish were unaffected afterwards. I do 10-20% water changes every two weeks, I don't think I feed them too much, and the water quality has been tested and it is fine. I rotate between pellet and flake food. Are they just swallowing stones, or what is going on? Is it treatable, or should I just euthanize the fish before he explodes? <Likely this last> Thanks Taylor <There is likely an enteric or systemic bacteria involved here... Perhaps an Aeromonad... Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>

Very Sick Fantail About 16 Years Old - Weight Loss, Loss of Appetite, Lethargic, Curvature in Tail Area   3/17/08 Hi (all the way from Scotland...) I'm very concerned about my old fellow, he started by being very lethargic and I noticed his eyes (or one) is rather opaque and he was hanging around the top of tank that was about 2 weeks ago (I treated tank for 5 days with a general anti bacterial treatment. He picked up a bit after treatment so I did a large water change 75% and then he was even then interested in food, but the following couple of days he's gone downhill again. Currently he still has an opaque eye, weight loss, curvature in tail area (although swimming appears strong), tiny pin head dark spots at the indent where his tummy curves into tail area, loss of appetite (does take some food but spits it out), and is hanging around the bottom of the tank very close to his friend of 7 years. I did a 50% water change yesterday and a 25% today but I cannot tell you the chemical levels as I never check the tank (I've never checked my tank and in 34 years and I've only had 5 goldfish (always in two's), the tank is 190 litre (approx 42 gal) with only two big fantails in it. I add fresh start to remove impurities from the water and also use pure rock salt for general wellbeing. I would be grateful for any help and suggestions. One thing further I should point out is that his dorsal fin goes straight up when he starts swimming about. Regards and thank you Dawn <Very good descriptions... I too, am a huge fan of goldfish keeping... and will likely state the obvious... that this fish is likely in the throes of "cumulative genetic defect expression..." Senescence... "old age"... Not much you can do for it unfortunately, other than provide the good care you have for all these years. Bob Fenner>

Re: Very Sick Fantail About 16 Years Old - Weight Loss, Loss of Appetite, Lethargic, Curvature in Tail Area -03/17/08 Hi Bob Not much change today - but went out and bought some interesting food so we will see. I too am thinking old age is the issue. Thank you so much for replying. Kind Regards Dawn <Welcome my friend. Have seen 20-25 year old fancies... do sometimes wane/wax... then rally! We'll see. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Ick in an uncycled tank, Oranda treated with heat and salt. acidity in water. Iatrogenic troubles, reading  03/16/08 FW Daily? <? all are posted> Hello. First, thank you for your website, which I have perused many times over the last 2 years while getting interested in keeping fish. I have mainly been interested in the cold water section, as my parents have a pond and I have been helping them with their Shubunkin issues. My interest in their fish led me to get really interested in aquatic life in general, particularly in goldfish. <Ahh!> Now to my current issue which concerns my new fish, and temporary tank. I am building a 55 gallon tank for them next week when I get paid. Last week on Friday, I bought 2 x >1.5" Orandas and placed in a 20L tank with filter (un-primed, but dosed with Stress-Zyme) <Mmmm, this won't work... the system needs to be cycled> and an air-stone, and thermometer. The filter has a heater, so I switched it to minimum (18C), for a stable temp <Good> (it can get cold in our house at night). They were acclimatised to the temp for one hour in the bag and then I mixed tank water into the bag three times over the next hour, then released them (with the water which I now regret). I added dissolved rock salt to 0.1ppm, to help them settle down. I kept the tank light off until day 2. Their daily routine is (and has been since): curtains open, 30 minutes before tank light which is on for 8 hours, then tank light off while room light on for an hour, then room light off; and darkness until morning. I didn't feed until following day and gave them cucumber. Next day, a part of a pea, next day a blanched leaf of romaine lettuce and dried blood-worm, next day some dried Nori which I soaked first. I noticed red-cap fish flashing against the airline tube on the 2nd day. The other is an orange Oranda. From the outset, I checked parameters 3 times a day (pH, ammonia, nitrite, salt level, occasionally checking nitrate). Their water was always conditioned with dechloraminator at water-change time (and upon the first tank-fill). I changed 25% per day. On the 4th day I started to see ammonia, so I did PWC partial water change, and added a drop of ammo-lock. <This is only a temporary fix...> I used Stress-Zyme to help prime the filter. <Won't do this> The red-cap was flashing still. I was still feeding lightly with greens as above, including blanched spinach. Back to the 3rd day, I was shocked to see my red-cap covered in white spots. I Googled, diagnosed Ich, and Googled some more. I added more salt up to 0.2ppm. <Not an effective cure...> The feeding continued, very lightly, with different greens. On 4th day, added more salt up to 0.3ppm and increased the temperature slowly. Following days; I kept up with parameter tests, increasing temperature until 29C over two days. The water was going more and more acid, down to between 6.5/7.0 (my tap water comes out at 7.5). I also noticed fluctuation in temperature, so bought a second heater, and installed it too. I set it to 29.5C, <!> and bought another thermometer. The temp in the tank was stable at 30C on the thermometers and the salinity was stable at 0.3ppm. Both fish seemed fine, no gasping for oxygen, I was watching them day-in, day-out. Plenty of aeration, filter making a waterfall, bubbles breaking the surface well. On the 5th day, the infected fish started losing its spots, and on the 7th they were all gone (so I am timing 70 hours until I turn the heat down gradually, or earlier if necessary, or later if possible). Also, the few black coloured ammonia burns that only the red-cap had, started to go away. Both their appetites are great, they try to eat my fingers when I put them on the surface. <A good sign> The water was beginning to smell a bit rich, I thought it must be the heat. Not bad smelling, but rich. Organic and a bit fishy. Some slight foaming around the tank corners. Last night (day 8), the pH was down to 6 (yellow on test card) with only another 2 days to go before I start to lower the heat over a period of days. So I tried not to panic, and decided to do an immediate PWC. I looked at my change-water, already heated to the correct temperature and matched in salinity, and decided to throw it, and get some fresh. The reason being, I used the hot tap to fill it, and let it cool rather than use the cold tap, just for convenience. I panicked that the carbonates were being depleted with this method, <You are wise here> and I didn't want to add more acid water, or rather water which wouldn't buffer. So, I mixed fresh cold and warm water together, aware that I should err on the side of caution with pH, and added the salt as before, and heat, and dechlored it. Meanwhile, still panicking, I thought I would add the tiniest pinch of bicarb, premixed with a little water. Well, I tested the tank 5 minutes later and the result was a little more green, but still green-yellow 6.5. This could have been a whole .5 raise, and of course I felt terrible that I could have altered it too much, too fast. I kept the lights dimmed in the room the whole time to keep the fish calm. But I think I saw one of them go upside down in the bubble stream (the orange one who didn't get the Ich). The red-cap seemed fine. I regret adding it, because I read afterwards on the net, that goldfish will tolerate a pH down to 6 if it was gradual, but on the other hand, I heard that Orandas were more sensitive than other goldfish. I learned about panicking after I did this. I kept the lights dimmed, but sat and watched for a while. Only the orange fish was acting abnormally, although I could have been imagining it. It seemed to be dazed, and rather than resting, it was just glass-staring and going to the corner and back, and repeating. The red-cap seemed fine, perusing the gravel looking for things, like he does at night, in dim light. After a while, I put a bit more light on and approached the tank. They were both full of life, and excited to see me. I talked to them a while, then checked the temperature of my change-over water. It was matched, so I did a 25% change, checked the pH again, it was still green-yellow 6.5. <No worries> My plan for the next day (now this morning), was to do 4 or 5 small small water changes throughout the day. I want to reduce any DOC (concerned about the smell and acids) and get any poop from the bottom before it goes acid. I will continue with this the following days, and see if the pH rises any. Otherwise, it must be my DeChlor, or ammo-remover, or bio-load turning the water acid. I was leaning toward ammo-lock and bio-load. The fish will have to fast until I've worked it out. This morning at 8 am, checked the pH and its more orange-yellow!!! I panic again. I don't think under 6 is going to be good for my fish. I added the tiniest pinch of bicarb this time, more diluted in filtered water, and dripped half the mix in the water, then a 25% water change too. I added some activated carbon but there is no room in my filter because I put a lot of filter wool in it, so I placed 3 pieces in the various currents in the tank. It then occurred to me to flush the filter media with temperature-matched salinity-matched dechlored water. Having done that into a waste bucket, I now know where most of the problem was coming from. There was a green leaf salad and waste in there (the Nori, and possibly bits of cucumber, and green poo), so I flushed it out of the media, and replaced the filter. The foaming on the water has reduced, as has the smell. Just more water changes today are planned and panic over, I'm sure. I also stood by with the net, because my fish were pooing spinach like machines. Any more pH rises when I change water should be gentle with smaller / more frequent water changes, and any acids in the water are now minimised I hope - wouldn't you say? <Mmm, no... see below> The carbonates in the water won't be eaten so quickly too, but I don't want the pH to get too far back to neutral until the ammonia phase is over. An hour later (now), tested for ammonia and it was up to 0.25. <... toxic...> My change-water Isn't heated yet, so added a drop of ammo-lock. Not worried too much as the pH is still 6.5. ; then dosed the filter with Stress-Zyme. In another hour, will do a 25% change, and test the ammonia and pH. if the pH is still 6.5, I will do another 25% (or less) a bit later ??, and remove the carbon. Update: have done the above water change, pH 6.5, ammonia between 0 and 0.25 - slightly green coloured. This is all notes as I've gone along, from about day 5, written up to give to you for help. If you can offer me any advice on how to get through the next days, and help me out with this fear that it's all going to go wrong, I'd really appreciate it. My fish seem perfectly well, I just want them to stay that way. Thanks very much, David. <Troubles... initially... This volume is too small for these fish... it wasn't, isn't cycled... Your reliance on chemical treatments won't work to adjust for nitrogenous accumulation... the Salt... I'd be setting up the 55 gallon, using a bacterial prep. to cycle it stat.! And moving these goldfish ASAP. Bob Fenner>

Sick Oranda!! :( No reading......  -- 03/10/08 Hi, <Howzit Damian?> I've searched your FAQ and I can't quite diagnose my Oranda's problem, he is acting very strange! I am a raw newbie to fish keeping, so please excuse my ignorance. <Ignorance is excusable... will gladly help you> He is only brand new, I purchased him yesterday. He is living in a smallish tank <... Goldfish need volume...> with another fish (of which breed I'm not sure, he's black with googly eyes! - similar in size to Oranda, quite large fins - he's much active than the Oranda, especially at the moment!) The water in the tank is slightly murky since the 2 fish were added, <Mmmm, not completely cycled, perhaps not filtered sufficiently> though I do have an AquaOne 100 Clearview hang-on filter attached to the tank, which doesn't seem to be doing much in the way of clearing the water.. <Bingo> My Oranda first starting showing sign of distress when it hovered around the bottom of the tank, a few hours after being introduced to it. (note: they both had a 2 hour car trip from the Aquarium! Might've caused some stress..) The next day I noticed he had some scales missing from his side and was leaning to one side, hiding at the bottom of the tank. I also noticed the left side of his tail is much shorter than his right? I thought the other fish may have attacked it, so I moved him to a small bowl with conditioned water, <...> where he continued to float on his side - still breathing, and occasionally swim around before stopping to slowly lean to his side for a while. He seems a little better, and is sitting upright more often, so I tried moving him back to the main tank, where he quickly retreated to the bottom again to lay on his side! I've moved him back to his little bowl where he seems to be ok - but not 100% Please advise me what I should do! The Aquarium is closed today so I can't purchase a water testing kit, though I will endeavour to tomorrow morning. Thanks! Warm Regards Damian G <Start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... Your problems roots are/will become obvious... their solutions, simple. Bob Fenner>

Help with goldfish -- 03/10/08 I have two goldfish, I am not sure what kind they are. My two children had gotten about six of them at a school carnival about three or four years ago, some of them died right away and three we alive for awhile then one died, so now we have two. They have been relatively healthy until recently. I keep them in a ten gallon tank and change the water once or twice a month. I used to do total break down of the tank, but stopped and just change some of the water. <Ah, here's part of the problem. The tank is far too small. As the Goldfish grow, they produce more waste, and eventually there gets a tipping point where the tank was adequate but now becomes dangerous. Upgrade to at least a 30 gallon system. Non negotiable. If you don't want to do that, then don't keep Goldfish. Can't be any more clear than that. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm > We have hard water where we live so I use both tap water with water conditioners and spring water to fill the tank. They have done pretty well with this. <Hard water is fine for Goldfish. Spring water is a waste of your money. Use that money for a bigger tank already!> This week I noticed one of the goldfish started to get some black stuff growing on its fins. I had another goldfish with this before, I did not treat because I was a broke college student, that fish eventually died after it started floating on its side. <Finrot. Look, deciding not to treat and animal because you are too poor is animal cruelty. Period. Your local animal shelter could provide you with assistance here if you really didn't have the $5 to buy Finrot/Fungus treatment. But honestly, I can't be very sympathetic about this -- the cost of medication is minimal, the suffering caused on the fish is huge, and the bad karma incurred on the pet owner substantial! Unless you want to come back as a slug next time, I suggest responding to signs of sickness in your pets quickly!> This fish was in the tank with the two that I have now and these were fine. With this fish I thought it was Ick so I bought some Ick remover. I followed the instructions and the black stuff went away. This morning both of the fish seemed to be breathing heavy and I changed some water and put in more water conditioner. <Hmm... water changes are always a good idea but when fish are breathing heavily but otherwise look fine, the odds are either the water is polluted or too warm. You can check both easily, using a nitrite test kit for the former and a thermometer for the latter.> I also heard about putting baking soda in the water to level the ph so I put in a teaspoon for the ten gallons. <Pointless. Again, stop, save the pennies, and buy a bigger fish tank.> I removed the fish from the tank so that it could settle and now one of the fish is floating on its side and still breathing heavy. I put some peas in the water and it has not done anything. <Why would it? You're doing random things without thinking about what's truly wrong. Have you *done* a nitrite test yet? If not, you're missing one of the key steps to finding out what is wrong with an aquarium. In any case, the problem is the tank is too small.> My kids like these fish and I don't want it to die. What should I do? <Buy a 30 gallon tank together with a decent filter. Problem solved. Nothing NOTHING else is acceptable here. If you decide you don't have space or money for a 30 gallon tank, that's fine -- but you can't keep Goldfish either. It's essential your children learn that keeping animals is a responsibility not just a pleasure. Switch on Animal Planet and watch those shows of people keeping 150 cats locked in a trailer home or feeding their dogs nothing but paper and dirt... cruel, yes, but just the same as keeping Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish, env. dis., no reading  -- 03/07/08 Hi all, I'm a bit new to fish ownership but have followed the basic rules etc... set up the tank about a week before introducing any fish and then went about slowly stocking my goldfish tank. I have 2 fantail gold fish, a loach and 4 tiny minnows. All was going well until recently when I noticed Dave, my first fantail becoming a bit lethargic. I asked the assistants in the fish department if this was normal they told me it was quite normal for them to rest like that so I thought there was nothing to worry about. But he is starting to move less and less and his fin always seems to be down (its like having a dog that isn't wagging his tail anymore) <A good comparison> I've also started to notice brown marks on the underside of him mainly near his anal spot but also by his chin - I don't really know how to describe it- it looks almost like bruising of some kind. He sometimes floats vertically, but at the moment he is on the bottom of the tank looking very poorly. I thought maybe he had that bladder thing as I have been Googling all night and read about the disease so I haven't fed the usual pellet/flake tonight I have given him peeled peas as suggested by several sources. <Good> I haven't seen him eat anything though - mind you the peas have vanished. Dave and my other fishes live in a BiOrb aquarium and I feed both pellet and flake food and as a treat a little daphnia now and again. <BiOrbs are notorious for being unstable, too small for goldfish of any type> I do a partial water change every week to fortnight use AquaSafe and I never leave the filter in for more that 6 weeks at a time. I really don't know what else to do... the water is clean, I feed 6-8 small pellets and a small pinch of flake, the tank has 3 live plants. Dave is fab and I'm really worried he wont make it to the morning now, please help PS also I think my Loach my have mould, he has small patch of fine whispy white attached to him which I noticed this evening while desperately willing Dave to start swimming about again. How is this treated and how can I confirm if my suspicions are correct? <... environmental... Need larger quarters. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick goldfish, CAEs  - 3/5/08 Hi, I have a question and wondering if you can help. I have a big goldfish that is 4+ years old. We got him at a carnival. He lives in a 20 gallon tank with two mollies and an algae eater. He has been sick for over a week. Usually I can get him better, but this time looks bad. He has been swimming upside down and sideways, and now his eye is bloody and clouded. He is also missing scales. I'm thinking maybe the other fish "picked on him" when he was sick? Now he is laying on his side at the bottom of his "sick tank". He is barely moving. Is there anything I can do? thanks Rachel <Hello Rachel. First, tell me what the "Algae Eater" is. The common or Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) is a fish that becomes increasingly aggressive with age. Adults often attack their tankmates, and many specimens have been observed to scrape the scales and skin from slow moving fish. They are simply not acceptable tankmates for community fish. I'm concerned because the missing scales could easily be caused by this. In any case, whatever you do, you will need to do the following: - Check water quality (a 20 gallon tank is too small for Goldfish once they get above about 8 cm/3", so I'm guessing that's at least one factor). - Use a combination Finrot/Fungus medication such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. When you use medications, be sure and remove carbon from the filter if you've been suckered into using this stuff. Do read the article linked below for more Goldfish basics; if you're not doing everything outlined therein, that's probably where you're going wrong. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moor problems   3/5/08 About a month ago I purchased a Black Moor. He's been really healthy, swims around a lot and eats fine. Two days ago I noticed that his left eye was looking strange and a little discolored. The next day I went to feed him and his eye was gone. He seemed a little sluggish at the time, but now he seems to be back to normal. I'm worried now because his other eye is starting to look like what happened to the left one. I've cleaned the tank water, filter and the gravel 3 times, and I check the water temperature regularly. If you could let me know what's happening with him, and what I could do to help him I would really appreciate it. <Hello Alison. Lost eyes are usually caused by either water quality problems or physical damage. Since Goldfish don't have teeth in their mouths, they can't bite eyes off one another (not that they'd do that anyway) but certain predatory tropical fish, including cichlids and characins have been known to do so. Sharp rocks and clumsy handling by the fishkeeper can also damage the eye, allowing infections to set in. If you don't treat with a suitable antibacterial or antibiotic, the eye will turn septic and die. But it is much more likely that water quality is the issue. I only say that because the vast majority of Goldfish are kept in quarters entirely unsuitable to their needs in terms of size, filtration, and water chemistry. Please read the article linked below, and if there's something you want to discuss, get in touch. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Ick problems with goldfish   3/5/08 Hello, I have a fantail goldfish that got Ich about a week ago and I have been treating her with Maracide using the directions on the bottle. She did not appear to get any better after the week the bottle advised for treatment, so I bought a heater after reading a website that suggested to do so and also got pure NaCl to create a .3% salt solution in the tank. I have the heater set on about 81 degrees, and I was wondering how long it will take for the Ich to all die, and especially wondering if there is anything I am doing wrong? Thank you, Lindsay <Lindsay, do make sure you have removed carbon from the filter. A very common mistake people make is to leave carbon in the filter, and this simply absorbs any medication before it does any good. You don't really need carbon anyway, so you may as well leave it out completely. Do also remember it takes a while to work: the medication *doesn't* kill the visible parasites on the fish, but the next generation parasites they produce once they leave the host. In a coldwater tank this can take a good couple of weeks. Heating the water speeds things up, and you should see results within 3-5 days. If these aren't the issues here, get back in touch. Cheers, Neale.>

Growth on Tango Jasoshi's (?!) Tail :(   Goldfish hlth.    3/5/08 Hiya guys! have emailed you before concerning my regular old goldfish (that's all they were called at the pet store!) one orange, one yellow. After months of fighting which I think, turned out to be mating, (?!) I separated my fish for fear the orange one would eventually be eaten! Sadly, after all that trauma, I've noticed a little growth developing on the orange one's tail. I had noticed what appeared to be bubbles on or in his tail, but thought nothing more of it. Now, after months of them being there, they seem to have multiplied to form a pinkish-clearish blob on his tail fin. It doesn't seem to be causing him any real discomfort but how can you tell with a fish?! I had a fish with a growth before and he died :( Please help! What could this be and how can I treat it? thanks in advance! Chloe <Hi Chloe. Not quite enough to go on here, but in any event I'd be treating with a broad anti-Finrot/anti-Fungus medication. I happen to like eSHa 2000 which is good value and seems to work well against a variety of infections. Do remember to remove any carbon (if present) from your filter. Goldfish don't really fight, though they do chase one another rather strenuously if feeling the 'joys of spring'. Make sure the tank is big enough for them, and take care to [a] remove anything sharp or scratchy; and [b] provide some nice plastic plants the females can use as hiding places. Cheers, Neale.>

Black Spot on Lionhead goldfish face 03/04/2008 Hi Guys, I am writing post death event to find out if I need to do some preventative something for the rest of my fish. I had a great little Lionhead goldfish, maybe 2 inches including tail. Yesterday he was swimming around and eating normally, though I did not take a really close look at him. This morning I got up and he was floating at the top of the tank....not upside down, just hanging there. At first I thought he was just chillin' but he was actually dead. We have had him for 2 years (very sad). I pulled him out of the tank and saw that he had a black spot on his cheek. It sort of looked like a boil or blister, pretty small (but huge for a tiny fish), maybe an 8th of an inch across or slightly smaller, raised up and rough looking but not red. His eyes were darker than normal sort of like he had been punched in the eyes, also strange black lines around them, almost like traceries on the skull bone lines. His lateral lines were the same weird black color and he had a few small spots of black on his tail. I would have taken a photo, but he was so small it wouldn't have shown up with our equipment. <A photo would have helped. The things described here are somewhat inconclusive. Tiny black spots on Goldfish are typically caused by flukes that, once they mature, cannot complete their life cycle in the aquarium and die off. Blisters can be caused by a variety of things, but typically secondary bacterial infections, much like ulcers. In any case, when fish die unexpectedly, it's important to check the water chemistry and water quality. Even if they are normally fine, certain things can cause sudden changes, and the first thing you might now about them is sick/dead livestock.> Our tank is pretty big, approx 35 gallon, and there were 5 goldfish in it, all under 3 inches. We feed them mainly fresh food from our kitchen, peas, greens etc and blood worms every once in a while. One of our fish has chronic swim bladder disease and if we feed him processed food he becomes very uncomfortable. My husband cleans and conditions the water quite often and there is a good filtration system (filter stuff changed last week). I don't know what the pH is yet but will be testing that later. <Very good: Goldfish are sensitive to pH changes, especially acidification; over time tanks become acidic anyway, and as fish grow they produce more metabolic wastes and these speed up the rate of acidification. So even if the pH is stable when the fish are young, there can come a time when pH instability becomes an issue. Goldfish need hard water with a basic pH and lots of carbonate hardness; essentially what works for African Lake cichlids works great for Goldfish too.> The only addition to the tank are two grass type plants purchased a week ago today and a relatively new goldfish added about 2 months ago. <Hmm... do check the pH/carbonate hardness: Vallisneria extracts bicarbonate from the water as a substrate for photosynthesis; while a useful trick in the wild, in aquaria this can dramatically alter water chemistry if you don't have a high level of carbonate hardness to compensate.> Essentially I would like to make sure that my other fish don't die of whatever this thing is, because it moved fast. I know for a fact that our fish did not have any discoloration as of Friday night, that he was swimming and eating normally the last two days, and this morning he was dead. Suffice to say I am keeping a very close eye on the rest of our little guys. <Good.> Thanks for all your help, you do a great job. Lily <You're welcome, Neale.>

Sick goldfish... and Koi, env.   2/29/08 Dear Bob I had a 15cm Koi and comet in a 1 metre tank. Koi suddenly died for no apparent reason overnight and the comet who was silver started turning pink and the edges of his back and tail seem to have what looks like bleeding veins as though he is bleeding internally. I've had him for 7 years without any problems. Can you please help?? Sincerest and heartfelt thanks Pearl in Australia <Hello Pearl. The problem with the comet is almost certainly Finrot. The symptoms here start with congestion in the veins of the fins as the bacteria set in (that's the pink stuff you see) followed by the tissue dying (goes white) and then eroding (so the fins look ragged). Finrot itself is almost always caused by water quality problems. Perform (at the very least) a nitrite test. Check the filter is working properly, and regardless do two 50% water changes today (a couple hours apart) to flush out some of the pollutants. Stop feeding the fish. Being treating with a reliable anti-Finrot medication (remember to remove carbon if present in the filter). Melafix/Pimafix aren't my recommendation for this, although often sold as such. Use a decent copper-based medication or antibiotic. Koi really aren't indoor fish, and certainly can't be kept in a 1 meter tank -- I'm guessing that's about 180-200 litres/40-50 gallons, which is adequate for Goldfish but not Koi. Koi are simply too sensitive to poor water conditions. Cheers, Neale.>

Fantail Goldfish, hlth. rdg.    2/27/08 Hello! I need some help with my sons fantail goldfish. I have little fish knowledge, I leave that up to my husband, but unfortunately he isn't here and my son is having a meltdown. His fantail is very bloated, sometimes left to swim in a vertical position. But I also noticed a large, red, ring around its anus. I of course have no idea what this may be, that's where you come in! Is there anything we can do to save his fish? I'm willing to try anything! Please help if you can! Thank you so much, Katie (and her very concerned 4 year old) <Greetings. Please read the following articles, in particular references to diet and water quality: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Almost certainly one or both of these are the factors relevant to your situation. Yes you can save the fish, provided you follow up the advice given therein. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish suddenly die, no useful data, reading    2/26/08 Pls help me. I bought a pair of Oranda goldfish 2 weeks before. They both were healthy. But however of which one died after 2 days. <!> Actually what happened is that at night she was fine. She even ate food. But in morning god knows she was lying dead. Can't decide what happened. Now today my other older fish died. She was there with me for 2.5 years. The other fish in that pair is still alive and healthy. Now coming to my that older fish. She was also very healthy. Yesterday night she ate food. She was playing. Absolutely fine. Believe me. And when I got up in morning she was dead. I literally can't understand. After my first fish died I did the full water clean in order to prevent other fishes of infection. Pls reply what is happening to my fishes. Nothing is there on their body. No fin rot. Then what has happened to them. The second fish was around 3 years old -- Shadab Khan Mumbai <Sorry for your losses, but I can't help you at all with the information presented. I need to know about your system... size/shape, how filtered, maintained... What foods you're referring to... if there were any marks, odd behavior... Was this system cycled? You don't generally want to clean a tank out entirely... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish suddenly die   2/26/08 no there were no marks no odd behaviour my tank is 2ftx2ftx2ft there are 8 Oranda and a black moor foods refer to normal pellets of brown and green colour which I am giving them <Water quality tests show what? This is too many goldfish for this volume... I suspect the losses were mostly due to environmental issues... BobF>

Re: Goldfish suddenly die   2/26/08 environmental issues mean <Read where you were referred. B>

Re: Goldfish suddenly die...     2/27/08 Pls help me. <Only you can help yourself... You show no sign of responding to my request for water quality tests/results, nor reading...> My one more fish has died. What is happening. Pls tell. Why all are dying. There is no odd behaviour. Pls tell me. I have changed the food. Can this be the reason. Also I have removed the poster which was stuck from inside. I have stuck outside. Then too they are dying. Now again I am cleaning the whole tank. After cleaning as usual I add anti chlorine then Terramycin, potassium permanganate, <Toxic> sea salt, and a green medicine and Epsom salt all at once. <... see WWM re Salt use... goldfish> Is this fine. Pls pls pls pls why are my fishes are dying. <"Because" you refuse to invest yourself in their welfare. READ, don't write. RMF>

Re: Goldfish suddenly die   2/27/08 I don't have the kits to measure levels. However I have just cleaned my tank twice after my fishes died. So all levels will be normal <... you're writing... stop>

My Orandas are sick! -02/25/08 Hi, About three weeks ago I bought two Orandas and two fan tails. About a week and a half one of the Orandas started hanging out on the bottom of the tank. When I took a good look at him he had white spots all over his body and huge white spots on his head. I asked a friend at work who has a lot of fish and he said it was probably Ich. The pet shop agreed and gave me medication to treat the tank. About a week later his condition worsened and we lost him. Now the other Oranda is getting the same problem, I have still been treating the tank for Ich because I cannot find another symptom that matches there problem. Please help me, I would be heart broken to lose any more of my fish. They have become family! What's wrong with my Orandas???? <Greetings. "White spots" covers quite a bit of ground. As well as Ick there is also Velvet; the former looks like salt grains, the second powdered sugar. Patches of dead skin, Finrot, and Fungus can also be white, and Fancy Goldfish are also prone to develop lumps of mucous on their bodies when water conditions go bad. So, first thing to do is run through our handy dandy freshwater disease troubleshooting chart, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm Second, and before you write back, measure (at minimum) the pH and nitrite; most diseases are associated with water conditions, and without this information, we can't offer much help. Goldfish are quite specific in their needs: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moor, hlth./env., reading...    2/23/08 Hello, I have a black moor that is almost 3 years old. It lives in a 10 gallon tank with another black moor that is 5 years old and has always been very healthy. The water quality is great and both fish seem happy and healthy. As the younger fish grew it had a golden underside but about a year ago it started loosing it's scale and now just has some at the top and kind of looks like it has a mow hawk. It's tail has lost some of its black as well. In the beginning I did everything I could to try to find a solution and even put it in its own 10 gallon tank for a while but no changes. My research on this has come up with nothing. I don't know if this is just a breed of fish or a disease. I have pretty much just given up and accepted that it will always be this way but would like an answer. Got any suggestions? <My prime suggestion would be some proper reading. A ten gallon tank is far to small for even a single Goldfish, let alone two. Your comment that water quality is "fine" doesn't mean much without cold, hard numbers. What's the nitrite concentration? The hardness? The pH? Goldfish need clean water with zero ammonia and nitrite, and the water chemistry must be hard and alkaline (pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH). Adding salt to the water doesn't help them, and may do harm in the long term. When Goldfish are kept improperly, they are likely to get sick as they get older -- the bigger they get, the more ammonia they produce, and the worse their health becomes. We have plenty of articles on Goldfish here at WWM; I'd recommend you start by reading them. If you're not doing everything described in them, then likely that's where your problems are coming about. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm And then follow the links to other articles. Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish with intestines on the outside, using WWM   2/21/08 Hey, I recently noticed that my fancy tail goldfish has a few of his intestines on the outside like he might've exploded. <!> He is still alive and swimming fine as well as eating perfectly fine. I don't want to risk taking a picture <Mmm, not much risk, harm...> and causing undo stress, but this doesn't seem like it is good at all. I was just wondering if there is anything that can be done for him, outside of finding a painless way to put him out of his misery.. I assume it's a him, but I'm not sure he hasn't born any fry but I might have both girls. Anyway, I only noticed this today, and he wasn't like this last night. please help! I've never used this site before, so I'm not sure how the responses work. Sincerely, Kami <Time to introduce you to our search tool, indices... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Try it, you'll like it. Bob Fenner>

My Oranda fish lost it's eyes  -02/20/08 Hi guys, I searched the site but couldn't find my answer. My Oranda fish is the only Oranda in a 55 gallon tank along with 3 goldfish and a Koi. Three weeks ago I noticed one of my Orandas eyes missing and now today another one. I have seen all the fish at one point or another pick at his fins but, HIS EYES? Why do they do this and can he survive like this? Will the others continue to pick at him? So concerned! Thanks Concerned new fish mommy! Have a wonderful day! Jessica <Hello Jessica. Eyes are -- after fins -- the bits on a fish easily damaged by fighting. So the best thing a "concerned fish mom" would do at the first signs of aggression between fish is to separate them so this couldn't happen. It is unusual for goldfish and/or Koi to be aggressive towards one another, but they can be boisterous, and it is ALWAYS recommended that fancy (double-tail) goldfish are kept in different tanks to single-tail goldfish and Koi. In other words: Orandas, moors, Ryukin, etc. should all be kept in different to tanks to plain goldfish, comets, and Shubunkin's. I'm guessing that you didn't do this. If you didn't, you know now! As for therapy: treat with an anti-Finrot/anti-fungus medication first, to prevent a secondary infection. Do also check the water quality, specifically nitrite, to see that there isn't a problem there. It is entirely possible that minor damage (that could have healed) quickly turned bad because of poor water quality. There should be zero ammonia and nitrite in the system. In addition, check water chemistry for the same reasons. Goldfish need hard (10+ degrees dH) and basic (pH 7.5) water conditions. Will the eyes grow back? Obviously not. Can he live without them? Yes, provided he is kept alone. He will navigate using his lateral line and forage for food by touch and olfaction, but the goldfish with eyes will be able to out-compete him at feeding time. The result will be a lot like dinner time at the home of Phineas. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish question, using WWM...    2/17/08 Hello, I found your website as I was researching as to what could be wrong with my goldfish. I currently house him in a 30 gallon tank w/a bullhead caught from a pond at my apartment. <The catfish needs more room than this...> They've lived together over 2 years. I did have one other goldfish, however he recently died about 2 months ago (he was about 3yrs old). I have attached two pics taken today. The goldfish was just a plain comet bought at a pet store. He seems to have a white cloudy haze in his eyes and some sort of white forming on his scales. <I see this> He has stopped eating, however today I am going to try the peas out. Right now he is just sitting on the bottom of the tank not moving at all. I just did a huge water change & still no improvement. Please help, a response asap would be greatly appreciated! Danielle <Mmm, the root cause of this bacterial growth on your goldfish is almost certainly environmental... You don't mention your means of nutrition, filtration, water treatment, maintenance routine, nor any testing of water quality... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... The cause of the trouble here... only you can determine and solve. Bob Fenner>

Poorly goldfish  2/14/08 Hi! Please help! I noticed last week that the edges of my fishes fins had turned black, like a thin, black pencil line around the fin-edge. I kept my eye on it, then, almost overnight, on the tip of the tail fin, the blackness had spread a little into the fin and the tip of the fin frayed. I thought it might be Finrot, but never seen it black before. I immediately did a water change. At this point, my fish was still swimming and feeding well. I also noticed that the bone of his dorsal fin is blacky/red. On his back, towards the top of his body, he has some red marks/spots- almost blood-like. He has definitely not hurt himself though. Today, his fins are clamped- especially the dorsal fin, and he is sat on the bottom of the fish tank. He will swim about when food is on offer, but he is very doddery, he keeps his dorsal fin clamped though. I already have some anti-inner bacterial treatment (No 9) and some Finrot treatment (no 8), but I can't use both together. The rest of my fish are fine (so far). The tail-tip has been frayed and black for about three days now, and no change to it, but the fish itself is out of sorts. I went to the petstore and bought some (no 5), which is 'Liquisil' a general tonic, as recommended by the sales assistant. The PH balance in the water is fine. Which one of those three would it be better to use? Hope you can help. Thanks again, Sasha =) <This is indeed Finrot. Interpet #8 Finrot is one treatment suitable for this illness. Be sure and use precisely as indicated, in particular make sure you [a] use the right dosage and [b] remove any carbon from the filter. You do not need to add salt, general tonic, etc. These things are mostly about pet stores making money. The reason your fish has Finrot has nothing to do with the absence of tonics or salts, but water quality and/or water chemistry. Just to recap: Goldfish need excellent water quality, and they cannot be kept in tanks without filters. A Goldfish in a bowl is a Goldfish doomed to an early death. Minimum is 30 gallons for an adult Goldfish. You need to also check the Nitrite level; almost always when fish get Finrot the problem is poor water quality, specifically ammonia and nitrite in the water. If you can detect either, it means you are [a] overstocked, [b] under-filtering, or [c] over-feeding. Often all three are true. Next up is water chemistry: Goldfish must have hard, alkaline water. There is no such pH as "fine" so that comment doesn't mean anything, and possibly suggests a lack of understanding. What you need to check is that the water has a nice high level of hardness, at least 10 degrees dH, and a carbonate hardness of at least 5 degrees KH. These being so, the pH should be between 7.5 and 8, the optimal range for Goldfish. Please understand adding "pH up" products is pointless if you don't change the hardness of the water as well, and most inexperienced aquarists who buy them have absolutely no idea what they're for. Once you have treated the Finrot and then made sure water chemistry/quality is acceptable, your fish should return to a healthy life; but if you do not correct the water chemistry/quality issues, no amount of treating will help. Cheers, Neale.>

Sad Black Moor... no useful info. or reading  2-12-08 Hey I've had a black moor for almost a year, he's in a 40L tank with 2 comets. <... too crowded> He (I say he though I really don't know what sex he is) <Is this of import?> has been a fairly active fish, he moved around alot <No such word...> and only stopped to sleep. I recently had a small fantail die for unknown reasons. <Uhh> I had that fish isolated and have since changed the water and cleaned the tank. <...?> I have had the water levels checked (pH and ammonia) and they are said to be fine. <Need to be checked by you... do change with time, transporting the water sample> This black moor has recently been acting listless, he sits in the corner of the tank, or floats near the top. He does not seem to have any other symptoms except that today I noticed his eyes are slightly cloudy and he kept running into the tank walls. He still eats normally, I feed him fish flakes and peas a few times a week. The two comets are fine. I really don't want to lose this fish. Is there anything you can recommend for me to do for my black moor? Thanks for your time, Sam <That you read. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm On to the linked files above... Check your nitrates... look into a larger system... Bob Fenner>

Trouble diagnosing/treating a goldfish  2/10/08 I have been struggling sometime with one of my Orandas and have decided to give the internet a shot here. I have found a lot of useful information on this website in the past and hope someone may offer some help. If this issue has been addressed on your website before, my most sincere apologies. *Here are my parameters and tank setup.* Ammonia: 0ppm Nitrate: 0ppm Nitrite: 10-20ppm Ph: 7.5-7.6 Water Temp: 74 F <The above are all fine> Alkalinity and calcium not tested, plan on doing so soon. Tap water readings: New Jersey Ammonia - .25 ppm Nitrites- 0ppm Nitrates - less than 5 ppm Ph- 7.5 These parameters have been consistent since my tank recycled after a move in august, in other words consistent from late august-present, I check them each week before I do a 20% water change. These parameters have also been checked daily for the past week and have remained the same. I have a 3 year old 4" telescopic, 3 year old 4.5" Oranda, 2 year old 4.5" Oranda (the sick one), and a 6 month 3.5" Lionhead in a 75 gallon tank. No observed bullying issues. <Good> Filtration: (2) Emperor 280's and 2 penguin 100's. Carbon and Cartridges are changed once a month on a staggered schedule. <Good> Each water change there is a gravel vacuuming, debris is moderate. Water is aged 3-4 days and conditioned. 20% water changes weekly. The fish are fed Hikari Lionhead and Oranda pellets (soaked) and Spirulina flakes every 4th feeding. No bloating/floating/sinking issues. *The symptoms:* Let me begin by stating that this fish, nor any other fish in the tank, have shown any signs of stress, i.e. not bottom sitting, healthy eating habits, no flashing or clamped fins. Also no other fish has shown similar symptoms as this particular fish. This problem has been occurring over the course of the last 4-5 months so I will try and keep the details informative, yet brief. The problem began in late October with a white/grey discoloration over the Wen. I assumed Wen growth, however, the white growth developed a cotton like appearance and a red spot after about 9 days or so, at this point I brought the water up to a .3% salt level. <Mmm, such Wen growths, colors are "typical"... do occur sans disease issues...> Soon after a very distinct red spot/ulcer appeared under the dorsal fin. I began a Medi-gold treatment. I saw a reduction in the ulcer within hours and after a few days the ulcers were gone, along with the cotton growth. After a 21 day Medi-gold treatment the symptoms appeared to be gone. However, soon after being off the meds the grey/white discoloration came back. I went through this 21 treatment again only I quarantined the fish in a 10 gallon tank with a cycled BioWheel and added PimaFix antifungal to the treatment. Once again I saw the symptoms disappear. When I placed the fish back in the tank I continued the Medi-gold for 7 more days, which ended a 28 day treatment. Three days later I noticed the distinct red ulcer under the dorsal fin once again. I fed Medi-gold in the morning and the ulcer (10 hours later) was reduced to a very faint almost nonexistent mark. The most consistent symptom by far has been the white/grey discolorations. These discolorations tend to stay in a particular spot when not under treatment but in between treatments they appear in new places (unlike the ulcers). I have only observed the discoloration on the Wen, however the fish is a vibrant gold and white which would make it hard to observe elsewhere. The best way to describe the patches would be a concentrated area in which the slime coat is thick. I would also like to note that the original red ulcer on the Wen has not returned, however the area has remained a red dot (not ulcerated) among an otherwise orange Wen. Much thanks to anyone that spares the time to read and respond to this. My local fish store (which is an excellent store) tends to turn its nose up when it comes to goldfish. <I do think/believe this grayish area is mostly genetic/expression... and nothing to really treat... Hopefully the fish will outgrow this marking in time. I would not switch, change anything from what you present above. Cheers, Bob Fenner, who also "keeps" fancy goldfish>

Sick fish? FW, Little Usable Information... goldfish, no reading  2/7/08 Hello- <Hi> We have a tank that's about 12-15 gallons with 8 fish in it. <Seems like a lot of fish for a small tank.> We've had the fish for almost 3 years. They've grown quite a bit since we got them, but there are 3 with some odd quirks. I'm thinking that maybe there's a problem with our tank water, but am having difficulties pinning down exactly what's wrong with them. <Have you tested your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?> Here goes: Speedy, an orange and white fish, is the smallest one in the tank. <Are these goldfish or some sort of tropical? Hard to give much help without this information.> He has a "lucky fin" (a really small one) on one side and is missing his top fin and the fin on the other side (it's just a tiny stub). He swims just fine and is one of our fastest fish (thus the name). The pet store suggested about a year ago that maybe he has fin rot and gave us some fizzy fungal tabs to try. <Fin rot is almost always environmental in nature, how often do you do water changes?> They've made no difference. Great White, a totally white fish, is one of the larger ones with a big fan tail. One day his eyes were really bulgy and looked as though they were full of blood. Then, within a day or two his eyes were both gone. <!> Now they seem to have grown back and are bulgy and bloody again. <Eyes generally do not grow back.> Our last odd fishy, The Sheriff, has what appears to be a brain on the outside of the top of his head. It's grown significantly in the past couple of weeks, but has been there for MANY months. It started off as a couple of bubbly type protrusions but now takes up most of the top of his head. It's almost cauliflowery. <Lymphocystis perhaps, or a tumor. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm .> The other 5 fish have no issues, but these three need SOMETHING and I don't know what. Can you help?? Thanks! CMS <Take a look at our fresh water section and see if you can identify the type of fish you have, goes a long way towards determining what is going on. Also see our fresh water disease section to see if you can figure out what is going on. Many of your problems sound environmental in nature, and I would start there. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm> <Chris>

Re: Sick fish? FW, Little Usable Information 2/7/08 Thank you for getting back to us so quickly! <Welcome> Our fish are all goldfish--the inexpensive Wal-Mart variety. <Ah, then I am guessing the environment is the problem, that is too small of a tank for a single goldfish, let alone 8.> We started out with 13 in a 7 gallon tank so it's seems roomy in there now! <Unfortunately not for them.> What is the optimal amount of space for 8 fish? <Goldfish need about 10 gallons per fish due to size and waste production, so about 80 gallons.> We've talked about breaking up our group into two tanks, but didn't know if they'd miss each other, so we haven't done that. <Will not miss each other, will help them be healthier for a while.> I haven't been very good about changing the water. It gets done pretty infrequently--nowhere NEAR the bi-weekly suggested on your website. <At this stocking level weekly is pretty much the minimum to keep up water quality.> Also, got it tested once but it was during the fin rot time and the tabs (they said) would help with that. If we start caring for the tank the proper way (more water changes, cleaning it the correct way--I was doing that all wrong, too) will the fish maybe restore their good health? <Too some degree, but the crowding will continue to be a problem and cause health issues.> Thanks a lot for your help! There is SO much info out there that I just don't know where to start with it all. <Take a look here for a good start http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm .> We got these as a gift and had NO knowledge about how to care for them, so we've just kind of muddled along with the pet store's advice. <Often sadly seems to not be the best source, fortunately there are many many good books available on the proper care for fish, especially freshwater goldfish, this is probably the best move here.> Thanks for giving me some good leads. Hopefully we can get them up and running again soon. CMS <Welcome> <Chris>

Red eye, Goldfish... infection or genetics?  2/1/08 Wet Web Media Crew. I have a yellow colored two year old goldfish that has red rings around the pupils of both eyes. Fish is otherwise healthy along with 12 other fish in an 80 gal tank. What is causing the red? Bud <Greetings. Almost certainly an opportunistic bacterial infection or irritation caused by something in the water, but bloody eyes are also a symptom of Fish TB. Now, Fish TB is very rare in freshwater aquaria, and almost always goes along with emaciation. Goldfish are one of the species known to contract Fish TB which is why I mention it. Anyway, the much more likely issue is mechanical damage, perhaps caused by rough handling, followed be a secondary infection. While an 80 gallon tank is a nice size, you don't say how big those twelve other fish are, and it would not be impossible for water conditions to be variable or downright poor. So I'd be checking the nitrite level first, and then also the pH to see that water chemistry is stable. Goldfish don't like acidic conditions, and overstocked tanks can be extremely prone to acidification. Under poor/variable water conditions, secondary infections become a problem, and that's likely what's happening here. Cheers, Neale.> <<Might well be just a heritable characteristic... No worries if so. BobF>>
Re: Red Eyed Fish, goldfish... dis. or hereditary characteristic?  2/1/08
Neale: <Bud,> Sorry, should have given you more information. Test the water two times a month for ph, ammonia, nitrites. The water is from a well and passed through a water softener and is alkaline (pH) of 8,0 is common. <I'm dead against domestic water softeners for aquaria. Plain vanilla "liquid rock" a 20 degrees dH and pH 8.2 is pretty common in Southern England, and Goldfish LOVE THE STUFF! Domestic water softeners replace (temporary) hardness with sodium salts, and this creates something few fish encounter in the wild. So while it seems better because it's "soft" it actually isn't like real soft water out of the Amazon, say, but something very different.> Ammonia tests (0) and do Nitrites. <Good.> Change the water 50% every month and every third month 100% to clean the tank. <Odd. I'd go with 25-50% per week, and wouldn't empty the tank at all. Stirring the gravel with a bamboo cane or similar, while trawling about with a siphon, should suck out the detritus perfectly well.> I do save 20 gals of the old water to put into the new water and also add just 1/2 of the recommended salt, one Tbsp. for 10 gals of water. <Irrelevant. Goldfish don't need salt, and I'd HEARTILY recommend you stop creating this weird sodium-rich/mineral-poor water. Instead just use well water, with dechlorinator of course. Salt isn't recommended by me or really anyone else I know who writes about fish professionally. It's Old School. What salt does is mitigate against nitrite and nitrate, and if you don't do enough water changes or have a poor filter, that's useful. But salt also places an abnormal strain on the osmoregulatory system of freshwater fish. Some fish don't care about this (including, as it happens, Goldfish, which are quite tolerant of brackish water) but on the whole it doesn't help. I'd sooner do big water changes with plain vanilla water rather than smaller water changes with stuff like salt and (ever worse) carbon in the filter. Both salt and carbon are more about sending money to salt and carbon manufacturers than actually keeping your fish healthy.> I have super aeration and filtration. <Good.> BioZyme is also added to the new water. <No need for extra bacteria or bacteria "tonics" after water changes. Again, mostly a con.> Size of the fish, All the fish are between 3 and 5 inches. Most are 4 years old or older. I move the fish to an outside 200 gal. pond in mid June and back to the tank in mid October. Have lost only one fish in three years. <Sounds good. Tell me, how similar, or otherwise, is the water in the pond compared to the water in the aquarium.> I have the funny feeling that the red eyed fish may be almost blind or is blind and with the exception of the red eyes is healthy. <If the fish is blind, it will hardly make a difference. Goldfish -- and Carp generally -- live in very cloudy water where they use their lateral line, taste buds, and extremely keen hearing to navigate and find food. Anyway, to test, come down in the night when the lights are out and the room is dark, and shine a light into the tank. Fish should react to this, either being startled or being attracted, depending. But if Ol' Red Eyes does nothing, that might indeed mean he's blind.> Now, if it is (Fish TB) is it contagious? <For a start, it is extremely rare. Probably 1 in a 1000 cases where people *think* their freshwater fish has Fish TB actually turn out to be Fish TB. It's almost always Finrot, Lymphocystis, or something else like that. In theory, yes, it is contagious, and again, in theory even to people. So if suspected, it's something to deal with. But I think it extremely unlikely to be the problem here. You would see noticeable emaciation and very commonly external ulcers. Since you aren't reporting these, I don't think that's what we're dealing with. As Bob says, it may be genetic. In that case, I'd expect both eyes to look similar. Mechanical damage is usually asymmetrical.> If the TB is not a danger to the other fish, I guess I will just live with a Red Eyes Fish. <Indeed.> One other question, are you in the UK? <Yep.> And thank you Neale for your fast response, I did not expect it. <We do try...> Bud...in the U.S. <Good luck, Neale.> <Mmm, I do still suspect this is simple genetic expression... not "cure-able", nor debilitating. BobF>

Black spots on goldfish fins 1/29/08 Hi Crew, We recently got my daughter a couple of goldfish for her birthday, and yes, I have read what you said about fish not being a good present. It's too late for that, though, and now are stuck trying to figure out how to take care of the fish. Since then, I've done a lot of reading up on goldfish, but realize we are still far from giving them an ideal environment. <Oh...?> We had two comets until one died; we now have 1 comet and 1 tinfoil barb. They are still pretty small and live in a 5 gallon tank (I know). <Whoa... apart from the fact goldfish are big fish and need at least a 30 gallon tank long term, tinfoil barbs (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) are just as large and far more active, as well as being schooling fish. A 55 gallon tank would be a squeeze, let along a 5 gallon tank.> I did a water change when the first fish died, and since then, the remaining comet has developed black marks on its fins. I researched it on the internet, and it looks like what's described as black smudge, or healing scars from damage done by ammonia or sharp objects (entirely possible). My research indicates that scars are a good sign, as the danger has been removed and the fish is healing. <Hmm... not sure scars are a *good sign* per se.> However, the black marks seem to be growing daily and is now starting to show up faintly on the underbelly, especially near the anal area. The scale quality seems to be going down as well. I don't think it's scale loss, but it looks sort of like they're fading or developing pale spots. <Black Spot Disease is usually caused by Trematode worms. They have a complex life cycle that can't be completed in the aquarium, so once the black cysts burst, the next stage of parasite life cycle gets messed up, and the disease is finished with.> I recently changed the filter and treated the water for chlorination, but beyond that I'm not sure what to do. I know you'll tell me to get a bigger tank, and believe me, I would if hubby would allow it. Is there anything I can do besides getting a new tank, or should I even be concerned? <Black Spot Disease is not, by itself, a major problem. The main risk is secondary infection, because the burst cysts are effectively openings for bacteria to work their way into the fish. So Finrot, for example, is one possible problem. An excessively small aquarium -- which yours is -- definitely magnifies this problem. I cannot stress this strongly enough: a 5 gallon tank is simply not viable for even one Goldfish, let alone a Goldfish and a Tinfoil Barb. It's like trying to keep a dog in a rabbit hutch.> The fish is behaving normally (as far as I can tell - I don't know much about normal fish behavior); he's a pretty outgoing little fellow and enjoys human company. He's energetic and a good eater. <Goldfish are definitely friendly animals and yes, they do like people. And that's why we should repay that compliment by giving them good living conditions.> Any advice is welcome. Thanks! Amy Kesic <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black spots on goldfish fins 1/31/08
Thank you for your reply. <Happy to help.> I may have convinced my husband to get a new tank (by returning the one we have, if they'll take it). What's the minimum size you recommend for our two fish? They are a comet goldfish and a tinfoil barb. I'm trying to find good deals on Craigslist, and so far have found that 55-75 gallon tanks are generally in our price range. <Either would be ideal. If the price difference is trivial, then obviously the bigger the better, but if money/space are limiting, then the 55 will be perfectly acceptable. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how much easier it is to maintain a big tank compared to a small one, and you'll even be able to add some suitable tankmates. I'd certainly get a couple more Goldfish. The Tinfoil barb would appreciate a pal or two, as well, but oddly enough they seem to do okay when combined with similar-looking fish, and Goldfish should fit the bill. Add a nice Plec or some other peaceful catfish, and off you go!> Additionally, I would appreciate any recommendations on plants/decorations that would be suitable for these fish. <I'd tend to go with plastic plants and ceramic ornaments. Nice big bits of rockery stone from the garden centre always work well with big fish, but check the ones you get are lime-free and don't have any metal seams in them. Granite and slate are two reliable choices. Since these fish are open water animals, what they really want is lots of tall plastic plants around the sides and back, and maybe a few ornaments in the middle to explore. Otherwise, just open water! Some folks like to go "formal" with Goldfish, and choose unusual terracotta urns and ornaments, so that the thing has a more formal look. Oriental stuff like pagodas also look really nice with them. There's lots of options out there.> Our poor Sparky is getting sicker by the day. Are there any medications you recommend in the meantime? <Treat with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. You could also do seawater dips. These are pretty good for cleaning wounds and killing external parasites. Make up a 3% salt solution using aquarium water plus salt (even cooking salt is fine for this). A 3% solution is about 30 grammes per litre (or 4 ounces per US gallon). Dip the fish in there once or twice a day for 2-10 minutes. Dip the fish, watching its behaviour. It'll be unhappy, but it shouldn't keel over. When it keels over, that means you MUST take it out at once. I'd recommend a 2 minute dip to start with, then 4 minutes the next time, 6 the next, and so on. The idea is the salt water dehydrates external parasites before it kills your fish; it's completely safe done properly, but done carelessly you can kill your fish. So you need to whip the fish out the moment it seems to lose balance (or before). This is strictly optional, and you should be fine just using the medications mentioned earlier.> Thanks again for your excellent advice. Amy <Cheers, Neale.>

My yellow goldish, hlth.  -- 1/28/08 Hello, it looks like my yellow goldfish has a bloated stomach. I've been reading you other post and comments but I can't seem to find the right answer to my question. I haven't changed any food. Please keep in mind, this is the first I every take care of goldfish. What is the difference between being pregnant and having a bloated stomach? <Greetings. The main difference is that Goldfish do not get pregnant. They lay eggs. Most of the time that Goldfish look bloated they have constipation. Commonly caused by people feeding them nothing but Goldfish food. Strange but true -- "Goldfish Food" isn't very good for them! At least, not every day. Best used as a treat once or twice a week. Rest of the time use a plant-based diet as well as high-fibre things like Daphnia. Do read this excellent article on floaty, bloaty Goldfish... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish flashing and bruising (?) despite good water and 5 day Prazi treatment  1/26/08 Hi, I have spent so much time on your website and am vastly more informed than I was at the outset of this saga, but still have an issue with my goldfish that I am hoping against hope you can help me with. I am a new goldfish owner and I have one fantail goldfish in a 30 gallon tank. I was told by the petstore to cycle my tank by letting it sit for one week with BioZyme added daily, which I did. <Mmm, not likely effective... did you measure appreciable ammonia, nitrite, nitrate changes?> I now know this is very inadequate but now I have the fish. I am getting zero readings on ammonia but still some nitrite readings (low but measurable). <Toxic> I have been doing daily 25% water changes (recommended for the worm treatment) so I don't see how the water could be too bad. <Polluted in varying degrees is not healthy> My fish started out with the noticeable symptom of an anchor worm hanging off of him. I was advised to take him out and pull of the anchor worm, which I did, and also treated with Maracide, a medicine that supposedly treats anchor worm. <... does not. Only useful against some Protozoans> About a week later he had another anchor worm. Again I pulled it off of him and treated with Maracide for three days of the five recommended. <...> By this time, Jingles was flashing and missing scales. Right after I removed the second worm I noticed a black spot on his gill, but in front of it, like a bruise. After day three of the Maracide treatment I reached the people at the Goldfish Connection, who told me they thought my fish had flukes (because of the flashing) <Quite possibly> and that Prazi was a good and safe treatment for that. <Yes> By this time, he had black spots on his side were the scales were missing. To me it appears to be bruising (don't know if that's what it is because I obviously have no idea what I'm doing but just describing their appearance). The black patch on his gill has not gotten bigger but no gotten better either (after a week). I am on day 5 of 5 of the Prazi treatment and he is still flashing. I've seen no more evidence of the anchor worm. <May well still be there... need to be treated with an effective arthrocide... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustdisfaqs.htm and the linked file above re Organophosphate Use> He is still eating and I've been feeding him Medi-Gold on the advice of the Goldfish Connection in case he has any infection from the flukes. He is eating and seems to have a healthy appetite. He is not laying on the bottom or gulping air and his gills are red inside. He seems slightly more lethargic than when I first got him (late December) and when he does move he flashes a lot. My concern is that if the flashing was caused by flukes, shouldn't he have stopped by now? <Mmm, may take some time to abate. The shorter answer, perhaps not yet> And if it's caused by water (which seems unlikely with the daily 25 percent water changes and all) what should I do? <Maybe BioSpira to speed up (really... the other product may not have worked) the cycling process...> And if it's not caused by either of those things, what could it be? I can't find any information on anything else that could cause it despite countless hours Googling. <The Lernaea/Anchorworm may be present still... I would like to "chat" with whoever sold you this infested specimen, gave you the "crap" advice re the Mardel product...> I should also add that I did not do a water change for the first two weeks I had him, not did I test it, as I was just going by what the PetCo people said (I know now this was stupid and have every test strip on the market practically) so there may have been some damage to him then, although he acted completely normal and did not show symptoms until well after I started doing the water changes more frequently. I also can't find much about the black spots except that it might be bruising, which makes sense because of the flashing. I am so desperate to get him better but I am at a loss what to do next. Can you help me? Rebecca <The black spots are best ignored at this point... Are very likely "simply" symptomatic of the parasite presence and treatments, stress from a not-ready environment... Please read where you were referred to, "listen" only to yourself... Trust the fine folks at Goldfish Connection... Bob Fenner>  

Tuberculosis, FW bacterial and goldfish dis. f's   1/25/08 Hello there, I'm hoping that you can help me with a problem I've been having with my fish tank. I have been keeping a fairly good diary of everything over the past 2 years that I have had the tank so can give you pretty thorough information. <OK.> The tank is 60 gallons with a 60 gallon filter in it. <What in heaven's name is a "60 gallon filter"? If you mean, the manufacturer states the tank is suitable for up to 60 gallons, that's fine. But I will make this point: manufacturers universally give "best case" scenarios when selling filters, for the same reason motor manufacturers quote glowing fuel consumption rates you'll never see in real life. As soon as you put media in a filter, or worse, put the filter under the tank so it has to pump against gravity, your filter's turnover drops. So if you have a 60 gallon tank, you need to be careful. I'd always recommend getting *at least* the next size up in a filter range for a tank of any given size, rather than trying to scrape by on the *absolute upper limit* of one particular filter. In other words, get a filter with not less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. I'd recommend 6x for dirty fish like Goldfish, plecs and cichlids.> H20 measurements have always been good. <Meaning what? Please give us NUMBERS... lots of people thing their water quality or water chemistry is good, and then it turns out it's rubbish. For example: Goldfish need hard, alkaline water, yet lots of people don't know that, and wonder why their little Goldies keep getting sick in apparently clean but soft/acid water!> 25% H20 changes once a week. <Good. More would be better though!> Average number of fish in the tank at any give time is 5 fancy goldfish (average length is about 1.5-2 inches not counting the tail), 3 Cory's and a Pleco. <Odd mix, but what the heck! If they get along, great.> There is also quite a bit of plant life in the tank which all the fish love. <I bet. Goldfish tend to be herbivores when given the chance.> Tried a couple of Apple snails but they didn't do too well - I think the water was a bit too hard for them maybe... they are harder to diagnose than fish. <No, this wasn't the situation here. For a start, Apple Snails want water that is as hard as possible, like snails generally. Usually Apples fail because they get harassed, and can't eat or get damaged in the process. Many fish will nibble on their tentacles, scrape on the shell, or whatever. Best kept in their own tanks, where they're great fun.> I feed the fish almost exclusively peas, and occasionally some soaked fish flakes. <Sounds good, though the Corydoras would doubtless like a bit of protein every day rather than just vegetables. Corydoras do indeed eat a lot of algae and decaying plant matter in the wild, but they're also micro-carnivores, taking insect larvae and worms of various types. Vegetarian flake food (sold for livebearers) and algae wafers (sold for plecs) would work great for ALL your fish.> Temperature is about 78 degrees. <Slightly warmer than I'd go for this collection. Does depend on the Corydoras species being kept though. The genus Corydoras ranges across subtropical to tropical environments. Peppered and Bearded Corydoras for example prefer cooler conditions than most tropical fish, around 20C/68F being just right for them. I'd tend towards the 24C/75F level if keeping Fancy Goldfish with low-end tropicals just to balance warmth and oxygen within a safe zone for all the fish.> Other than that I have had some goldfish live for the whole 2+years I've had the tank with not much in the way of any symptoms, and some live for only a week. before showing distress. I always use the salt quarantine method with in conjunction with Melafix before adding new fish. <Not a big fan of Melafix.> After the quarantine period, I add them to the main tank. Some survive, some die quickly, some last a couple of months. In general, the more exotic the variety, the more unwieldy the body type, the sooner they die... though Plecos and catfish are susceptible as well. <This really isn't normal. If you're losing even 10% of the new fish you're buying, that's a far greater mortality than normal. Goldfish should have, easily, a 95% survival rate within the first year, and Plecs about the same, maybe even better. All else being equal, if you're seeing dramatic losses in fish, then you have to check two things: water chemistry and water quality.> Some will start spending all their time at the top going for the oxygen-rich air; some will hide behind plants or in a corner or sit on the bottom having a hard time breathing; some will develop a fungus or Ich or septicemia. <All consistent with poor water quality.> Some have never shown any symptoms in the 2 years. Many will develop a bent spine in the latter stages of their decline. I used to think that all of these symptoms were the problem and have concentrated on curing these, which is easy enough but the fish themselves never really recovered and eventually died for no outward signs. About a month ago however, one of the fish I've had for 2 years started developing bumps under his scales. He is my biggest fish at 2.5 inches and some of the bumps were as large as a small pea! I would look at him the next day however, and the bump would be gone, but another one or two would have appeared somewhere else! It was very disconcerting to see a rotating series of bumps on him every day when I checked in on him. I have since seen these bumps open up with a type of... I'll say it looks like yellow processed cheese. After the cheesy stuff squishes out at detaches itself (takes about an hour or 2), you would never know there was a problem, though a new bump will quickly start forming if it hasn't before the other one burst. I am able to keep these bumps at bay by feeding all the fish (I no longer bother taking this fish out of the tank into quarantine) an erythromycin based gel that I mix in with their peas. I can feed this to them for 2 weeks, but a day after I stop, the bumps return for the one fish and some of the other fish start showing signs of sickness - breathing at the surface or sitting on the bottom. The fish with the cheesy blisters never seems to be suffering too much - he has always been pretty hardy but you can tell it is getting harder for him to swim and he isn't quite as energetic... though always ready to eat! <Sounds like some sort of systemic bacterial infection... Aeromonas or something similar. That's why the erythromycin is helping. But the bottom line is that these things almost only ever happen in tanks with chronic problems, typically poor, or at least variable, water quality.> After spending a lot of time reading on the net - your site and others - I have decided that it is probably tuberculosis and that treating individual fish is probably not the answer anymore - I have to treat the whole tank. <Unlikely Fish TB; Fish TB is almost entirely an issue in marine aquaria rather than freshwater aquaria, and even then it isn't common. Most of the time people *think* it's Fish TB, it's actually something much more prosaic. Regardless, identifying bacterial infections is virtually impossible for the home aquarist, unless you happen to be a microbiologist as well, in which case take a swab and ID the bacteria under a microscope.> I live in Canada and I know that some medications for fish are no longer available here... I'm not sure which, however. <Can't speak for Canada, but in the UK at least, pet owners can only get antibiotics from the Vet. Not expensive, but it is another step in the chain. In the US, antibiotics have traditionally been more readily available to pet owners under brand names such as Maracyn.> I was hoping you could give me some feedback - do you think that tuberculosis is the problem. <No.> How should I treat the tank? <First tell me something about the water quality and water chemistry. Not what you think the results are (so don't tell me "fine" or "good") but tell me precisely what your test kits report, i.e., the pH, the hardness in degrees dH or KH, the nitrite in mg/l, and (ideally) the ammonia in mg/l as well. Tell me the turnover of the filter in litres/gallons per hour -- this'll be written on the pump somewhere ("gph" or "lph" usually).> Oh, one important note may be that there are only 6 goldfish and 2 Cory's currently in the tank. Thanks, Matt <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tuberculosis (RMF, feel free to comment)  1/25/08
Wow! You guys are fast! <One tries...> I feel like a bad fish keeper now. <We all make mistakes and we all go wrong. What matters is learning and changing.> Here is some more specific data on the aquarium: The filter is an Aquaclear 70 that can filter 300 gallons per hour and hangs on to the back of the tank. I don't have it cranked though as the goldfish are so small that if they swim to near where the water comes in it can throw them to the front of the tank. There are 3 inserts in it - Aquaclear Foam, BioMax, and Ammonia remover. <Not a big fan of Ammonia Remover (i.e., Zeolite). In a proper aquarium, biological filtration is altogether more effective and reliable. Zeolite needs to be replaced as often as once a week! Few people do that, and often tanks with Zeolite in the filter have unsafe levels of ammonia because of it. Mostly, Zeolite is a marketing gimmick: it sounds useful, but outside of a certain set of situations (e.g., hospital tanks) it really isn't useful.> Upon checking my fish diary and in-tank thermometer again the temperature in the tank is actually at 76 degrees. This is the lowest temperature the heater will keep the water. I have the heater set to 72 degrees, which is it's lowest setting, but it doesn't correspond to that temperature in the tank which is always at 76 degrees. It has been stable at that setting since I purchased the heater about 2 years ago. Before that the temperature of the tank always fluctuated and we had constantly spawning goldfish. <OK.> As for the water measurements, here they are and they haven't really fluctuated much from these norms in the past 2 years: pH is 7.6 (though will vary between 7.4 and 7.8 over time) KH is 120mg/L <A little less KH than I'd like with Goldfish, and explains somewhat the fluctuations in pH.> GH is 180 mg/L Ammonia is 0.1-0.2 mg/L Nitrite is less that 0.1 mg/L <Here's your problem: Ammonia and nitrite should both be zero, all the time. "Less than 0.1 mg/l" isn't acceptable. It HAS TO BE zero. No deviations. If it's like this all the time, that's why your fish are so unhealthy. Too many fish, too much food, or inadequate filtration. Pick and choose from those, because they're what's on the table as far as explanation goes. Do read Bob's article on establishing proper Bio filtration, because that's your next job: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm I'd streamline the filter by chunking out any media other than medium to fine sponges or ceramics. What you want is optimal bio filtration.> These are all the measurements I have the ability to take with the test kit I have. I await your further instructions on how to make my fish happier! Cheers, Matt <Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tuberculosis (RMF, feel free to comment)  1/25/08
OK, so I can do more frequent or larger H2O changes and maybe feed the fish a little bit less and add a smaller, 2nd filter perhaps to increase the water quality. <Likely need to do ALL those things. Try them out and see if the nitrite and ammonia drop to zero. If they do, BINGO! You've cracked fishkeeping.> Should I not worry about treating the tank as far as the apparent bacterial infection goes because it should disappear with better water quality? <Need to do both. Without better water quality, the fish won't stay healthy, regardless of how often you treat. Even if you fix the water quality, the bacteria are in your fish now, and need to be dealt with.> Thanks again, Matt <Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish help - 1/24/08 Hello, I'm hoping you can help. 3 days ago my goldfish all of a sudden started swimming strangely. Its like it can't keep control of its right side and has begun swimming on its side, every so often going in to spinning when it tries to swim normal. Its eating habits haven't changed, but it does have problems getting to the food and has to try and come down on top of it to suction it up. I did notice a red line on its right gill, though I don't know if its a scratch. He rests either completely on his side on the bottom of the tank or tries to prop himself up against a plant. The symptoms have gotten progressively worse, where he has very little control of the swimming. And every so often he starts getting a curve in him towards the right. Though the worse symptoms are in between spurts when he has a little more control. So the "bad times" keep getting worse I should say. The tank is a 5 gallon Aqua-Tech 5 with a carbon filter. I tried to doing research and immediately changed out a third of the water and changed the filter. I also stopped feeding him for a day and gave him skinned cooked peas yesterday and today just in case it was constipation. I put in a Mardel LiveNH3 detector yesterday, and its stayed at the safe color. Today I got a Mardel 5 in 1 test strip. Nitrate was at 40, Nitrite was at 0, Hardness was at 250, Alkaline was at 180, Buffering was at 120, and the pH was at 8.0 I also started Jungle Fish Care's Lifeguard All-In-One Treatment for external fish diseases (bacterial, fungal, viral, parasitic). Its a 5 day treatment. I'm attaching a video <<RMF could not open>> I took with my cell phone of the fish, so you can see how it's behaving. Hopefully this is enough info, and I appreciate any help. Marty <Hello Marty. The usual reason Goldfish swim poorly is constipation, caused by poor feeding. When Goldfish are given flake food day-in, day-out, they often become constipated and this messes up their buoyancy. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Looking at the video though, your fish may be constipated, but I suspect something more serious, either poisoning, bad genes, or a systemic bacterial infection. Poisoning is surprisingly easy to do: things like paint fumes, bug sprays, and other organic chemicals we use around the house are toxic to fish, and in small tanks especially they can quickly reach concentrations that harm or kill fish. I've done this myself by accident, and the death-throes of the fish are rather similar to what your Goldfish is doing. Bad genes is something we find difficult to spot when shopping, but suffice it to say that a lot of fish breeding on farms is for quantity rather than quality, and a certain proportion of the fish produced are sub-standard. Swim bladder problems are very common deformities in these fish, and that's what might be going on here. Still, if the fish was deformed in some way, I'd expect it to have always swum badly, rather than suddenly losing swimming ability. The third option is a bacterial infection. Aeromonas and Pseudomonas bacteria are harmless in healthy tanks but in tanks with variable to poor water quality they can cause all sorts of problems, one of which is a systemic infection including the swim bladder. Consequently, I think the 5-in-1 treatment is a waste of time. You need something antibacterial or antibiotic. Maracyn-Two is the usual antibiotic recommended for this, but (as far as I know) it is only traded in the US. If you're outside the US, then you might be able to use an antibacterial such as Interpet #13, but in all honesty these tend only to work with early to mild infections, and your fish is so sick that you'll likely need to get a prescription antibiotic from your vet. I am somewhat concerned that this fish is being kept in a 5 gallon tank -- this is completely inappropriate for Goldfish, and while unlikely the immediate cause of the problem, such a small tank won't be doing anything to help the fish either. Small Goldfish can be kept in 10-20 gallon tanks, but once they get above about 8 cm/3", they really need something around the 30 gallon mark. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish help - 1/24/08
Hi Neale, thanks for the response - Is here anything to be able to tell for sure if its this [chemical fumes, poisoning], or anything that can be done if it is? It has a closed lid and the tank sits on a serving window (that opens from the kitchen in to the living room (we live in an apartment). So it sits elevated with the sink behind it, and doesn't really get anything around it. <No way to test. Cooking smells and steam generally aren't dangerous to fish. But certainly cleaning chemicals might be if they got into the tank. It's really a case of common sense -- is it possible anything got spilled into the tank? Sometimes children and house-mates "accidentally" put things in fish tanks, such as beverages.> Yes, we got him in June and this just started happening a few days ago. >I agree, bad genes doesn't sound likely.> What about something like Fish Mox (Amoxicillin)? <No personal experience. Amoxicillin can be used against Aeromonas, but some strains of Aeromonas are Amoxicillin-resistant, so your results could be less than perfect. Definitely worth a shot though if you have some lying around. But I think Maracyn-Two has a better reputation for Swim Bladder infections, so if you haven't spent the money yet, I'd try that one first.> Well, it doesn't make sense to look in to changing the tank size until I find out what's wrong and treat it. 30-gal tanks are a bit expensive for me (average of $200 on up), especially to spend on a single goldfish that might be dying anyway. Marty <Put simply, in a 5 gallon tank, Goldfish health is never very good. Even if you get the right medications, this fish might not recover when kept in such a tank. Fish kept in such small tanks are always more likely to get sick, and less likely to recover, simply because small volumes of water are less stable and more rapidly polluted than big volumes of water. I agree $200 (US) would be an insane amount of money to spend on a 30 gallon tank. But you should be able to get a basic system for much less than that. If you're saying to me that if this fish dies, you won't ever keep fish again, that's one thing, and I can understand your reticence over spending more money. But if this fish dies and you go straight out and buy another fish, that's not acceptable. It's not fair on the fish, condemning it to a grim life in a stagnant puddle of water; and it's ultimately not fair on you, because you'll sooner or later have to deal with another sick fish. Your move. Cheers, Neale.>

Recurring Septicemia in Goldfish 1/20/08 Dear Crew <Bernadine,> I have 3 small (2 inch long) fantail Goldfish in a 20 gallon tank with 2 Aquaclear 30 filters running on it. I do understand that this is too many goldfish and I will need to get a bigger tank in future when they have grown a little more but I think they are ok for now as they are still small. <OK, but do be aware that there's more to a big tank than "swimming space". Bigger tanks are chemically and physically more stable, so the fish experience a more moderate environment.> I unfortunately bought the tank and fish before I knew anything about cycling, so I'm afraid the fish were in the tank during the whole cycling process. It completed it's cycle approximately 2 months ago though and ever since then the water has always tested 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and less than 5 Nitrate, and pH is 7.0. <The pH is a bit low. Actually, the pH itself isn't critical, but the low pH does suggest to me that the water has a low carbonate hardness. Goldfish appreciate water that is distinctly hard. They really thrive in "liquid rock" environments! So you probably need to add some sort of chemical buffering. Carbonate hardness inhibits pH changes, and that's at least one critical factor for success with Goldfish. The easiest way is to add some Malawi Mix salts to each bucket of water. You can buy these salts (easy), or you can make your own (cheaply) -- whichever you prefer. A standard Malawi salt mix is this: Per 5 gallons/20 litres add * 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) * 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) * 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements) Start off mixing one bucket of this 'Malawi' water to every three buckets of tap water, and then see what the pH is. What you're after is a pH around 7.5-8.0. If the pH is still too low, go for one bucket Malawi salted water to one bucket plain tap water. In theory, you could keep Goldfish happily enough in 100% Malawi salted water, but for the sake of economy, you will likely want to mix plain and salted water. Please do note that "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" DO NOTHING to raise the hardness and are NOT a substitute for this.> I do weekly 30% water changes, treating the water with Seachem Prime, and feed them a variety of foods, a small amount twice daily. <All sounds fine, but do remember Goldfish are herbivores, and at least half their meals should be plants. The easy solution is to add some pondweed to the tank and let them eat that across the weeks. Given adequate green foods, you will only need to provide flake or pellets every other day.> My fish surprisingly didn't ever get sick during the cycling process, but now that the cycle is complete, one fish keeps getting Haemorrhagic Septicemia and I am not sure what I need to do to prevent it coming back. <You really can't. Two things: Haemorrhagic Septicemia is difficult, even impossible, for aquarists to positively identify. Finrot will cause identical symptoms if allowed to progress too far. Secondly, since Haemorrhagic Septicemia is caused by a virus, there's no cure. A fish may get better, but there's no way to make that happen beyond optimising the living conditions.> I think I have probably weakened his immune system during the toxic ups and downs of the cycle, and now he can't seem to shake the illness. He is slightly larger than the other 2 fish and they all get along well, so I don't think it's due to stress from his friends picking on him or anything like that. <Good.> The first time he showed the blood streaks and splotches all over his skin and fins I moved him to a hospital tank (no carbon in the filter of course) and treated him with Furan 2 as directed. By day three he looked completely better but I left him in the medicine for the full 4 days as recommended, then returned him to the main tank. He was fine for 2 weeks and then it happened again, so I put him back in the hospital tank and left him in the medicine for 8 days this time, even though he looked completely better by day 3 of treatment. He was fine for 1 week in the main tank after that, but has just shown symptoms again and is back in the hospital tank on the Furan 2 again. It seems that either the medicine is not quite working, even though it looks like he's cured each time, or there is something else I'm doing wrong that keeps causing it to come back, so I'm unsure what to do. <I'd definitely switch to a reliable antibacterial or antibiotic of a different type. I've had amazing success using eSHa 2000 dealing with unidentified bacterial infections. A lot of people swear by Maracyn and Maracyn 2, so give those a go if they're easier to obtain where you are. If nothing off-the-shelf helps, this is likely a situation where veterinarian help will be required.> Should I leave him in the medicine for even longer (say 12 days) this time, or would that be bad for him? <There's normally no advantage to leaving longer periods for one course of drugs to work, but repeatedly going through the course can help *provided* the fish isn't stressed by the medication and you do decent (50%+) water changes between courses.> I have looked on the website for answers but the other people who have had the same problem didn't seem to know about water chemistry and were advised to simply improve their water quality and it should come right, and my water seems to be perfect so I don't think that's what's causing it for me. If you have any advice for me I would be really grateful for the help. <If this is a viral disease, then there's not really much you can do. Assuming it is viral, it's likely contagious, so take care to isolate the fish and any objects that could move between tanks, such as nets and buckets.> Thank you so much. From Bernadine <Hope this helps, Neale>

Sick black moor 1/18/08 I bought a lovely black moor from the local pet store as a gift for my grandmother after her long time goldfish (who lived well over ten years) passed away. Before I even give it to her, I quarantined it for good measure as I wouldn't want her Cory cats to get ill if there should be something wrong with it. I gave the fish a full inspection: Gills, finnage, appetite etc. ... and have noticed a white film on it's gills (the edges and inside). I've looked around different sites and haven't been able to find anything definite. I'm almost certain it has to be a bacterial infection of some kind, but not exactly sure what. It's a very sweet fish and I'd hate t see it die. Do you have any tips regarding treatment? <Without knowing more, my first guess would be Columnaris (Flavobacterium columnare), a Finrot-like bacterial disease that is often associated with necrosis of the gill filaments. So if the gills look sick, rather than merely covered in extra slime, that would one possibility. Columnaris is normally treated using the same antibiotic/antibacterial medications as Finrot. It might also be Velvet, which irritates the gill tissues, resulting in thicker than normal layers of mucous. Underneath the slime, the gills are (to the naked eye at least) normal. But Velvet is usually associated with fine, shiny, powder-like cysts on the fish, from whence comes the "velvet" name. There are numerous commercial Velvet remedies. You might decide to use both medications, one after the other, separated with a nice big water change to prevent any reactions between the two drugs. Cheers, Neale.>

New Pearlscales in a tizzy 1/17/08 Hi! <Ave!> I'm a new, and nervous, goldfish owner! <Welcome to the hobby!> I set up my 5 gallon aquarium, with and a small layer of gravel from a settled tank underneath the new gravel. <Whoa... 5 gallons for Goldfish!!! Too small, too small! Please understand that Goldfish are big, messy animals that do not do well (usually die) in small tanks. Even a 20 gallon tank is a bit small, and most of us here at WWM will recommend a 30 gallon tank upwards. If that's too big for your budget/house... then don't keep Goldfish. Simple as that. Ever seen Goldfish in a pond? How happy do they look! Yet you're trapping them in the same volume of water as a bucket, and expecting them to do well. They won't. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm And peruse the other articles on the topic. Trust me on this -- keeping Goldfish is NOT EASY. I cannot begin to tell you how many messages we get about sick Goldfish kept in bowls and other inadequately small containers.> Everything seemed wonderful. No odd readings on pH, ammonia, or nitrite/nitrate while it was running for 5 days without fish. It was at around 75F. <A little warm for Goldfish. While they certainly are subtropical in theory, the warmer the water, the less oxygen it contains while the Goldfish's metabolism (their need for oxygen) goes up. So aim for more moderate temperatures; 65-68F/18-20C is perfect.> Today I added two tiny Pearlscales (and an air stone/pump), and after an hour they began gulping at the top while swimming agitatedly. <I bet.> I added some Cycle just in case and moved the air stone to see if it was the current bothering them. They seem to be settling down a little, but I notice that they hang out unusually often at the top, gasping and being nervous. <Too warm, too little oxygen, and likely ammonia/nitrite poisoning. Do remember ammonia comes out of the fish, not nitrite, and you won't see nitrite until the bacteria in the filter start making it. (You do have a filter, right?). So it may be a week before nitrite levels become detectable, while ammonia levels will rocket upwards, stressing/killing the fish.> Temperature is still riding at about 75F. I've read elsewhere about fish behavior during nitrite poisoning being similar, but it hasn't even been 24 hours! <So? The problem is that fish don't read books or web sites. So they don't know the rules and the nice neat numbers and the graphs and whatnot. If there's ammonia or nitrite in the water, or not enough oxygen, they'll gasp for dear life!> Is the tank too hot, is it cycling, or am I doing something very wrong? <You are doing several things very wrong. Keeping Goldfish in a 5 gallon tank for a start. I don't care how small they are now: a year from now they're going to be 15 cm/6" in length, and maybe double that a couple of years later, or at least they should be if they don't die first. And a 5 gallon tank will obviously be grossly inadequate for them. So you may as well start off properly instead of messing about with silly 5 gallon "buckets" that the guy in the store told you is a fish tank. Next up, you cycle tanks BEFORE adding the fish. There's stuff you can buy to do this, or you can do it the old fashioned way by just dumping small pinches of flake food into an empty tank for a few weeks. As the food rots, it produces ammonia, and the bacteria chow down on that, turning themselves into your biological filtration system. Once you detect zero nitrite, then you add some fish, and off you go!> I'd wait longer to ask, but I'd hate to wait too long and end up having dead fish! <Indeed. Glad you asked, and hopefully this information will help you out!> Thanks, Nervous Nettie (aka Alex) <Best of luck, Neale.>

SOS Fantail  unbalanced, curling, hyperventilating, eye paralysis, lying on one side.    01/13/2008 Hello, <Helga> I have a very sick friend that needs help ASAP but I do not know what to do. My little fantail went crazy after a water change I did 2 days ago. <... hence the suggestion to store change water for a week or more ahead of use...> Since then it has been lying on one side at the bottom of the 10g tank that he shares with a black moor. <... need more room> Even though he seems to be agonizing, if disturbed he will suddenly spiral to the top and then again to the bottom. In addition, it seems like he cannot keep his balance, his spine curls to one side, and one of his eyes is currently paralyzed (it bulged out and remained looking down). Its breathing is heavy and fast. The black moor, on the contrary, seems to be doing great. I really want to help this fellow. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Helga <... At this point... need to test the water for ammonia, nitrite... perhaps salt use... a bunch to go over... but you can do so self-directed... Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. I do hope you will be able to aid your goldfish, secure their return to health. Bob Fenner>

Aggressive goldfish... just too crowded, not reading   1/7/08 Hello! I'm KJ! First of all, thank you for having such a helpful site, I have really learned a lot from it! <Ah, am glad KJ> I have a question about my crazy goldfish (they aren't actually crazy, it is probably more that I'm crazy about them). <Insightful> Anyway, I rescued two goldfish, a comet and a fantail, from my swim team's coach's office over the summer. I became very attached to them, and wanted a better home for them than a small bowl. I don't know exactly how many gallons were in the bowl, but I *know* there was no way any number of fish should have been in it. So, for a Christmas present, my parents gave me an Eclipse 12 Gallon tank (Yay!) that I planned on moving my two lovely fishies into. However, a week or so before Christmas, I noticed symptoms in my fantail that resembled dropsy (I've had a beta fish die from it as well). I tried to help him/her, but I think it only extended his life a little. Sadly, he died on Christmas Eve. So I set up my new tank on Christmas morning, and my parents were ready to move my yellow fishy, as I call my comet, into his new home. I made them wait three days to let the tank mature a bit, because that was the time most people suggested. <Need more time than this...> Before I woke up on the 28th, my parents ran out to Petco to surprise me and bought FIVE new fish, 3 more comets (all very small, about 3/4 o f an inch), a red-cap Oranda, and a calico fantail. The largest fish in the tank is yellow fishy, my old comet, but only by about a quarter inch. <Yikes... the 12 gallon isn't large enough for one goldfish in time...> So the whole point of that story is that today, I was procrastinating from my homework and watching my lovely fish when I noticed that the calico fantail had the uppermost right tip of its tail missing. It doesn't look like rot, I already checked that out, but it looks like it was cut off. At first I suspected the pump that draws water into the filter, but I looked into my tank with horror as my beloved yellow fishy was nipping the fantail! <Yes... too crowded> So, I have removed yellow fishy, and put him in his bowl (only temporarily, of course). My main question is, however, even though there are too many fish in one tank, why did my yellow fishy only go after the one fantail? <Crowding... easier target> And he has more room than in the bowl with my old fantail?! How should I deal with my yellow fishy and my calico? He really just ignored the other fish in the tank, but he chased the poor fantail... Oh, and should I treat the calico's tail? <Mmm, indirectly... by making more room...> In some earlier responses, it says to treat for fin rot, but others say just to watch it and keep the water clean. I really hope I haven't wasted your time and I appreciate your response. Why can't we all just get along? :) KJ <For about the same reason/s... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Please follow directions and look before writing us. Bob Fenner>
Re: Aggressive goldfish... lack of values   1/8/08
Thank you for your prompt response, but I believe you misunderstood me. I know and understand that there is not enough room in my tank for so many fish. I guess I did not make that clear. However, I did not buy my fish, my parents bought them for me. <... I understood/stand this... nonetheless... what will you do?> As four of them were apparently only 29 cents, I would feel stupid asking to return them. In addition, I did not buy my tank, it was also a gift, because I only have a summer job as I am still in school. <... impertinent> My question was more along the lines of why my fish disliked only one of his tankmates, not whether my tank was too crowded or not. <It... fishes... don't dislike anything (at least to my perception), but many are rather autistic... do "pick" on things that are "in the way"> I did read your site, I know I have too many fish, but I cannot do anything about it at the moment. <Then your fish will suffer and die> Also, most questions that involved aggressiveness in goldfish involved multi-species tank, and I have only goldfish. In an email dated November 25, 2005, it was the opposite situation, with a fantail bullying a comet, but they did not mention tank size. I find it slightly offensive that by providing more information I received a rude reply with no answer to my question. Again, I still like your site, and maybe you were just in a bad mood. *I really just want to know how to keep my fish safe*. I cannot afford a larger tank, and I do not want to offend my parents by asking them to return my fish. <... then... see the above. RMF>

Goldfish troubles, hlth., sys. Hi, first of all I would like to say thank you all for your hard work on the website, I've been finding it enormously helpful. <Thanks, Adrienne.> I'm sure you guys get a ton of questions, and mine's most certainly not the most pressing so I understand completely if you don't answer it. That said, here's my situation: <Ok...> I have three goldfish (comets) in a 30 gallon tank. Two were won by a friend at a carnival 6-7 years ago, and one is a feeder fish that grew too big for my turtle to eat (he's about 3 years old). <Hmm... most pet turtle/terrapin species shouldn't be fed feeder goldfish, unless you deliberately want to make them sick. Goldfish are not only parasite bombs, they containing a lot of fat and Thiaminase, which lead to severe nutritional problems in excess. The common turtle/terrapin species kept by aquarists, the Red-ear Slider, is more a herbivore than anything else, and NEVER needs to be fed live fish.> All three of them had been living with the turtle until about 2 years ago when I started to feel guilty about letting them get harassed by the turtle. I have 2 AquaClear 30 hang on tank filters running, with foam/carbon/bio rings, and there is aeration. I do about 20% water changes every week. They eat Tetra goldfish crisps and I keep strands of Anacharis in there for them to much on, which they enjoy a great deal. <Sounds fine, but with Goldfish I always recommend [a] skipping carbon in favour of more biological or mechanical filtration; and [b] doing 50% water changes. Why? Well, carbon serves no useful purpose in most freshwater systems, while more mechanical filter media will always make the water clearer, and more biological media will make it cleaner. As for water changes, by the time you have the bucket and hose out, it doesn't really make much difference in time changing 20% or 50%, but a 50% water change will DRAMATICALLY improve water clarity and quality. Goldfish are probably the messiest fish kept by aquarists. They are really pond fish, so anyone keeping them indoors has a big job of work keeping the tank clean.> I have two problems. The feeder fish more often than not has mild to moderate bloody streaks around his fins and belly (hemorrhagic septicemia?). <No, doubtless Finrot. Septicaemia tends to kill fish quickly, so if its a chronic problem, it's much more likely Finrot that comes and goes. Finrot is a bacterial infection that opportunistically invades skin that has been irritated or damaged. Ammonia and nitrite will inflame the skin, and long term, allows the bacterial infection to set in. It is almost never seen in clean aquaria unless the fish have been physically damaged. So, the first thing to do is check the nitrite level in your tank. If it is anything other than ZERO, that's your issue. pH can also be a factor; Goldfish want hard, alkaline water much like that preferred by livebearers and Mbuna. The harder the better in fact. Note than adding salt has zero effect on pH and hardness.> I've medicated him countless times with several different types of medications, both in the tank with the others and in a separate quarantine tank. Nothing seems to help. <If the tank itself is unhealthy, the Finrot may be cleared up by one batch of medication, and simply come back a week later.> He seems fine otherwise, very active and hungry. After spending at least $100 on medicines over the last couple years for this overgrown feeder, I've given up on it for the time being as he seems content with the situation. <Hmm... doubt this is true.> The other problem is affecting one of the carnival fish. I noticed a lump on his side (under the skin) about a year ago, it went away after a couple months. Recently, another lump appeared and it just keeps growing. It looks to be a tumor from pictures I've seen on this site. <Most probably Fish Pox or similar. Viral in origin, goes away by itself eventually. Much like a wart. BUT... Fish Pox and its relative Lymphocystis are triggered by water quality issues. In good conditions and with a healthy diet, should clear up after a period of months.> He seems a little unhappy, he's still swimming and eating normally but he just doesn't seem to have the same zest for life anymore. The third fish is just fine. Any insights? <Yep, as above.> I'm not in a position to spend much money on these guys, but I would like to help them out if I could. <Clean water doesn't cost much. A test kit with dip strips is like $10 for 25 strips, and if you slice them down the middle, you get 50 strips. So that's cheap and easy. Monitor the pH and nitrite especially. Do bigger water changes: nothing you can do in fishkeeping helps as much as this. Since dechlorinator costs very little, especially if you buy the big pond-sized bottles (what I do, and these last a year or so!). So again, low cost, minimal hassle.> I know if it's tumors on the one fish there's nothing I can do, but I wasn't sure about any possible connection with the bloody streaks on the other fish. If it is hemorrhagic septicemia on the feeder fish, why won't it go away, and why hasn't he died? Thanks for any and all advice! -Adrienne <Without photos, can't be 100% sure about my diagnoses, but these are definitely the things I'd be thinking about before anything else. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: goldfish troubles  1/8/08 Thank you so much for your help, <You're welcome.> I'll try adding more ceramic rings the filters and doing bigger water changes. I'll also do some testing and what I can find out. <Very good.> All I've been testing for is ammonia and that's never been a problem. <So far...> As for the turtle issue, the feeder fish was from before I knew better than to trust a pet store's advice on any kind of pet keeping. Rest assured, my turtle (a RES) has been living it up on a diet of greens and veggies supplemented with turtle pellets. <Very good.> I've had him checked for parasites since I learned of the issue and he's all clear there. Anyhow, I really do appreciate your replies. Even though I never really planned on having these goldfish I do want to give them a happy and long life! <Nice to hear. Keeping Goldfish isn't hard provided you keep up on water changes and use a tank of reasonable size with an adequate filter. But the idea they're "easy" fish is misleading. On the plus side, they are intelligent, friendly fish that make excellent pets, so the effort is worthwhile. Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moor... beh., hlth.    1/3/08 Hi, I have just bought two black Moors and although one seems very happy one of them is staying at the top of the tank and the fin on his back is not standing up, also the two wispy fins that come from the body are flat to the body until he does venture for a little swim down from the top. Is there something wrong with him or is he maybe just adjusting to his surroundings? Many Thanks Alice <Hello Alice... it's difficult to answer this without seeing the fish. While fish can react badly to being moved, they should pep up within 24-48 hours. Do water tests to check the nitrite and pH especially are where they should be (i.e., zero nitrite, and the pH around 7.5). Also keep an eye out for signs of Finrot and Fungus, both quite common on Goldfish when stressed or kept under less than perfect conditions. Do review Bob's article on Goldfish requirements, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Let it be noted that the more space and better the filtration, the healthier your fish will be. It's hard to keep Goldfish happy in tanks less than 30 gallons in size and without a decent electric canister filter. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Black Moor   1/3/08 Hi. We have a sick black moor. She is alone in a ten gallon tank with a whisper air filtration system. <Too small, too little filtration. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Goldfish simply don't stay healthy in 10 gallon tanks. End of story.> She is about 2 inches long. We have had her almost a year. She is laying on the bottom of the tank, and not eating. <Classic sign of an unhappy Goldfish. Do remember these are social fish -- when kept 'in solitary' they are VERY unhappy. Keep at least a trio in a 30-40 gallon tank.> A few months back, she developed, what I thought was pop eye, but it didn't look like pop eye that I have seen through research. She had sacs filled with fluid underneath her eyes. It did not cover her eyes at all, just the bubble like things underneath. We treated her tank with PimaFix, and it took a long time but they finally went away. <Hmm... Pimafix isn't all that useful. Next time, use something like a combo anti-Finrot/anti-Fungus medication. In this class, eSHa 2000 is my preferred medication, but Maracyn will also work well for this, perhaps better.> Shortly after though, she started growing a lump above/between her eyes. Now there are two, one right behind the other. Her gills are either losing color, or turning a silvery color, plus the scales right around that area are turning this color as well. <Not completely sure what these symptoms mean, though excess mucous production might fit. Often a sign of parasitic infections such as Velvet and Whitespot/Ick, but can also be a symptom of bacterial infections as well ('Slime Disease').> I have done several water changes recently. After reading on your site, I tested her water with Jungle Quick Dip 5 and these were the readings: Nitrate 20, Nitrite 0, Alkali 80, Hardness 75, PH 7.2. <Water is a bit on the soft side and lacking the sort of pH I'd aim for. You really want "hard" to "very hard" water on whatever scale you're using, and a pH between 7.5-8. Goldfish do best in such conditions.> According to the box, all these levels are in the okay range, except the Alkalinity which is too low. I added aquarium salt. <Salt won't help either way.> I cannot find a diagnosis for her symptoms. I have used Maracyn two thinking she might possibly have dropsy, but she shows no improvement. I don't think she has long. However, I am hoping ya'll will be the miracle workers and give me a direction to follow that may turn all this around! <I suspect this is simply a poorly Goldfish suffering from one or other systemic bacterial infection. Review housing and diet (how much greens are you feeding your pet?). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Act accordingly.> She is the cutest little thing with such an awesome personality and we have really become attached to her. I hate she is suffering and I can't help her. Thank you so much for your time. -Rene' <Hope that this helps, and that she recovers. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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