Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Goldfish Behavior 3

Related Articles: Goldfish, Goldfish Varieties, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease,

Related FAQs: Goldfish Behavior 1, Goldfish Behavior 2, Goldfish 1, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Selection, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Feeding, Goldfish Disease, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction,

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Goldfish gets hyper then floats like its dead       1/18/19
I have a 12+ year old goldfish named Spot. She (or at least my daughter said it is a "she" when we got her from a fair so many years ago) has been the lone fish in a 20 gallon tank for the last 5 years (the other fish died after the Derecho knocked out power for a week-no aeration and water temp increased) . A couple of months ago, Spot developed dropsy, which I was able to (successfully??) treat with antibiotics, in that she is no longer swollen and is still alive. I generally do a complete water change every month or so, cleaning the pebbles and tank completely,
<Better BY FAR to just change out a quarter every week. READ on WWM RE>
using distilled water
<.... NO. Goldfish, all fish need some mineral content.>
and adding some "pH tabs" or baking soda to bring the pH to neutral.
<Oh, good>
I also add bacteria to the water to help degrade ammonia. I am now also adding aquarium salts. I know complete water changes and all the cleaning is excessive, but its worked for the last 12 years. I use distilled water as my house water is from a well.
<Aye ya; do you drink this water? Have had it analyzed?>
After recovering from dropsy, I completely cleaned her tank (gross yellow scum from antibiotics), and got a new filter. The water becomes cloudy (white) after a few days, as if something is coming out of solution. We feed her Tetra flakes twice a day.
<... do see WWM re GF nutrition... Pellets w/ some greens please>
This evening, I was changing out about 40% of the water and suctioning out debris from the pebbles on the bottom (to try to get rid of the cloudiness and get rid of feces and excess food).
<Would you like to live in such a world?>
Spot was much more active than usual as I was "vacuuming" the pebbles. After adding back fresh distilled water (kept water in same room all day so that temperature was the same), she was super active. I left the room to get something, and upon return, she was floating on her side as if she was dead. I nudged her and she woke up, and kept swimming around very fast. My husband says she does that
<Poisoned, toxified>
(Spot is very responsive to my husband, as he is the one who feeds her-all he as to do is walk in the room and start to talk to her and she gets all excited till he feeds her).
But the hyperactive swimming tonight while changing the water was a new behavior. (the water chemistry looked fine, both before and after I changed out about 40%-- nitrates and nitrites all normal, hardness ok, pH neutral).
And I am worried about the "playing dead".
Any hints?
<Return, trend toward less pollution.>
We have only fed her Tetra flakes; should we try the peas?
<Yes... and....>
Could the strange behavior be a digestive issue? I am almost afraid to try anything new, since we have had Spot for so long and I don't want to do anything to disrupt her "norm". But I do want to be sure she stays as healthy as she can for as long as she can!
<Thank you for writing, reading. Bob Fenner>
Goldfish gets hyper then floats like its dead   /Neale      1/20/19
<<Hello Adele. Do agree strongly with BobF's earlier reply. Goldfish appreciate hard water, if not necessarily to the same degree as Malawi Cichlids, they surely do thrive in water with, say, 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8. Indeed, you're more likely to find wild carp in slightly brackish water than acidic blackwater streams, which tells you something of their preferences! Of course you've done well keeping these fish for 12 years, which proves how adaptable Goldfish are, but you're evidently hitting some sort of roadblock now, so it's a good idea to sit back and reflect. Let me direct you to some reading, here:
Hard water, swimming space, generous filtration, moderate water current, and a diet including some fresh greens is really all they want -- and given the right conditions 'loopy' Goldfish will often recover under their own steam without any further intervention. Cheers, Neale.>>

Fancy Goldfish Mating behaviour?      5/7/18
Good Afternoon,
I have just found your website and it is a wealth of information, thank you. But after a good search I still have some questions over my goldfishes’ potential breeding activity.
Info: I have a 250 litre tank, with 4 fancy gold fish. It has a jewel column filter and a good amount of real plants. I don’t use a heater, it’s just the ambient house temperature in my living room.
<This should be fine. Large volumes don't vacillate much in temperature, and indoors a house will be stable enough>
I do a 10% water change every week, using Tetra AquaSafe and Easy Balance, and change the filter. I use a dipstick test to keep the water in good condition. I feed them flakes and occasional fresh bloodworms and shrimps. I have had the goldfish for 3 years in that same tank and they are about 3 inches long excluding tails.
Activity: Last year all but the solid orange fish got breeding spots on the cheeks and leading edges of the fins. But I didn't notice any other breeding activity/behaviour. I assumed the orange was female and the rest male and they were just about coming into maturity.
This year (About 2 weeks ago as the May sun started strengthening- it hits the tank at dawn but the tank is not in direct sunlight for more then a couple of hours) - all except the orange fish came out in breeding spots again but this time they were chasing the orange fish in the morning. The orange fish also seemed quite keen on scoping out areas hidden in the plants. The orange one doesn’t seem that fat too me. But it appears to have more Common Goldfish in its ancestry then the other rounder Fancy goldfish, so maybe it is just more streamlined?
I guess it’s a bit ‘boxy’ though? Still I looked out for eggs but didn’t see any, and the behaviour died down and spots went off after about a week.
But now I can see the breeding spots coming back in again and the chasing has started again. I have included pictures. I have a video also, if the file isn’t too big for you.
<Best to upload it elsewhere, like YouTube, and just send us the link>
So questions: I am assuming the orange fish is female because of the lack of cheek spots. If so, is it actually ripe with eggs (I don’t know how fat that type of fancy goldfish might get) or are the males just chasing because she is the only girl. If she is ripe, did she spawn 2 weeks ago and they just ate all the eggs before I found them?
<Possibly... commercial breeders may separate the sexes>
Stories make it sound like the tank should be flooded with them but I didn’t see any.
<IF they spawned, some to many may be stuck (they're adhesive) to plants; hard to see>
Or does this behaviour come and go for a few weeks in spring before the actual event?
<May well occur a few times... your fish are not very mature at this size, age>
Or should I be worried that she is egg bound?
<Not unless the fish shows signs... very round, difficulty in swimming>
I am not looking to breed the goldfish for any purpose but if they do spawn on their own, I thought it might be nice to see if I can keep one. (I have purchased a hatchery and liquid food in hopeful anticipation and your page has plenty of helpful information but I thought it best to ask before further jumping the gun)
Any advice RE: my questions would be much appreciated.
Kind regards
<I urge simple patience and your continuing care, observation; nothing more. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fancy Goldfish Mating behaviour?      5/8/18
Thank you for your help Bob.
I think I will control my excited anticipation and just wait patiently and see if anything happens this year or not.
Very much appreciate the feedback.
Kind Regards
<Certainly welcome. Your system is large enough, has sufficient plantings for the all-gold female to avoid damage. BobF>

Goldfish; troubling behavior... cause/s?       1/26/16
Hi, my largest goldfish has found a spot in the tank that he continues to go to, he buries his face between two rocks and just sits there, he is still active and feeds well, he will come out if we go near the tank, we have taken his spots away but after a couple days he finds a new spot.
<Mmm; well; I am convinced that even though they're lowly minnows (Cyprinids), goldfish DO get "bummed out"... from the same sorts of influences that stress them. High nitrate, any ammonia or nitrite presence; getting "ridden" by algae eaters; harassed by....>
I have not introduced new fish and the water is kept cycled, clean and conditions seem to b good, temperature is also good. The tank is 140litre, has a pump and lights. all the other fish are doing well. Why does it do this?
<Something amiss here. Do you have water test kits? What other life is present here? Bob Fenner>

black moor fish.... ? Beh.       11/30/15
hi there
we have two black moor fish and the male recently impregnated the female
<Mmm; no.... no internal fert. in Cyprinids... they're egg scatterers; ext. fert.>

which was odd, strange behaviour from her...she is now back to normal but is constantly staring at me through the glass...normally for food, but when she's hungry she does it or when the pump is low..she's been cleaned out, pump filters changed and fed and she's been staring at me for hours on end now..its quite funny but she clearly wants something....what can it be..lol
many thanks
Leanne wood
<? Bob Fenner>

Yawning Goldfish!        3/31/15
Hi, I've had my common goldfish for six years now. He's (yes it is a male I'm pretty sure, he has the midline ridge and a concave vent)
<News to me that these are useful for sexing Carassius auratus... usually it's the tubercles on the males that's used for this.>
in a ten gallon aquarium by himself,
<Too small.>

and I have plenty of bubbles and a power filter for the tank- he's thriving obviously, since I've had him for so long!
<Call me back when he's 20 years old and we'll agree. Seriously, while 6 years isn't terrible, and a lot better than most Goldfish kept in small tanks enjoy, it's still a long, LONG ways off being a Methuselah among Goldfish!>
Out of nowhere for the past two days he's been "yawning" a lot. I've been keeping an eye on him and I don't see any signs of distress, flashing, gasping for air at all, but like clockwork, every five or ten minutes, he does a great big "yawn". I can't see anything on his body either, nothing wrong with his gills and no sign of flukes with a magnifying glass. I've looked for everything I could possibly think of, but I can't find anything wrong with him! I've tested the water, looked for something stuck in his mouth, it's all fine too. Everything is as it should be- So why is my Taco yawning all the time?
<Goldfish do "yawn", and it's something assumed to reflect their normal feeding behaviour. In the wild they commonly sift silt and detritus, and yawning is a way to flush particles off the gill filaments that might be causing irritation or damage. So it's a cleaning trick. Excessive yawning, on the other hand, can suggest underlying problems. Since fish don't always
discriminate between problems, they'll work through a bunch of these "cleaning behaviours" any time they're being irritated by something in the environment: yawning, flashing, etc. Check the nitrite and ammonia levels, check the pH is where it should be (stable, around 7-8), and generally review aquarium conditions. The fact it's a 10 gallon tank is a worry; an
adult Goldfish six years old should be, what, 8-12 inches/20-30 cm long, which would barely fit in 10 gallons. If it's smaller than that, it's stunted, and that in turn is evidence aquarium conditions aren't good.
Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish lying on top of each other       1/29/15
Hi there! I recently became the owner of three small gold fish in a 10 gallon tank.
<Won't work... do you have test gear for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate?>

The water is clear and hovers at about 75 degrees, they have lots of plants and distractions, eat all the time and are quite active. Recently however the fish have been laying at the bottom of the tank on top of each other (I mean directly on top!). They are not aggressive towards one another so I think they might be mating but I'm not sure of their gender. Any help would be much appreciated!
<... can't live here for long or well. GF are just too messy, get too large to live in small volumes. Let's have you just read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and the linked files above till you understand what it takes to fix this situation. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish behaviour     1/13/15
Hi Crew.
I have a fantail goldfish with some health problems. (PH is 7.8, ammonia
and nitrite all 0 and Nitrate is under 5 ppm Tank temp is 21 degrees Celsius and he's in a heated, 120l tank with two biological filters)
<Good thus far>
I have emailed in a couple of times regarding him, but nothing seems to have helped.
<Let's see>
These days, his behaviour is as follows: He spends around 6 hours following feeding (1/2 a pea, morning and evening) hovering/ moving about at the top of the tank. He then comes down and is active, hungry and what I would consider "normal" i.e.. scavenging, swimming about etc. It's been a part of his behaviour often, but has got far worse over the last 6 months.
The other aspect to his behaviour that's troubling is that this week, when I get up in the morning and come into the living room where he is, he's sitting on the floor of the tank. He is easily roused and is then hungry as normal, but will often sit down again for 10 seconds after a period of activity. This only happens in the morning and doesn't last long, but I don't know if it's the same issue, the only differences between that and the rest of the time are the light being off and the heating being off.
(It's cold in England at the moment) He had a period of this latter behaviour about 3 months ago, but he stopped doing it after a few days.
I have read a lot on the site about various causes for the first issue and tried a lot of solutions, some of which you helpfully suggested last time.
I tried not feeding him for a couple of days, on the idea that it's a digestive issue. I tried upping the temperature (was around 19 before), I've stopped feeding him the Newlife sinkers to stop any protein being a problem. I added an airstone to provide more air circulation. I was going to try adding Elodea to the tank to help, but it went brown and died in the quarantine bucket (Probably due to lack of sunlight, which never occurred to me to look out for) and nothing seems to have helped or made much difference at all, apart from just not feeding him, which is obviously not a permanent solution.
Have you got anything you can suggest that could be the cause of these issues?
<Yes; I'd add one or two "dither fish" here... other fancy small goldfish; or hardy livebearers... I am wondering if your one goldfish is "just bored">
Thanks very much
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fwd: Goldfish behaviour       1/16/15

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your reply. As far as I can tell, the sitting down has stopped.
although the floating seems to be getting worse. He seems to be struggling to keep his balance and is still floating at the top of the tank for 6-8
hours after feeding.
<DO read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm
and the linked files above... vis a vis what you feed>
He also exhibited a new symptom tonight. When I was changing his water, he tipped on one side for a minute, before he righted himself. I'm not sure what to do. It seems like a swim bladder issue from the reading I've been doing, but I'm not sure what's causing it. Anything further you can recommend?
Would medication be a good idea?
<Not w/o knowing what you're treating, no>
I could try cutting out food for a few days also.
<Peas, Epsom might help>

<Welcome. BobF>

floating goldfish        1/18/14
I have a goldfish that has been floating on her side for about 6 months now. I know why it has happened and blame nothing but myself. My biggest question is i am a veterinary technician and have a working knowledge of anatomy. I knew it was air that is keeping her floating on her side and was able to expel air with a syringe and a lot of it! She was able to swim lower in the tank more comfortably so i knew I had relieved some of the issue. I know this is not where the swim bladder is supposed to be, but does it move? I have noticed after all attempts of treatment and not working that supportive care is the only thing left. I just wanted to make sure this was for sure the swim bladder, the fish is defecating on a normal basis. It's very difficult to find any info beyond basic husbandry and more on veterinary aspects. Thanks for any information.
<Hello Casey. The commonest cause of "floaty, bloaty Goldfish" as Bob calls it is poor diet. Goldfish are adapted to be herbivorous, and do best given a fibre-rich diet. Pellets and flake are nutritionally complete in most regards, but lack the indigestible matter that helps keep their intestines ticking over nicely. When Goldfish, especially fancy Goldfish (which have deformed spines and displaced swim bladders anyway), become constipated, their centres of mass and buoyancy aren't where they should be. Normally the centre of buoyancy would be vertically above the centre of mass (imagine a hot air balloon with the wicker basket, the weight, hanging vertically below the air-filled bag, which is the buoyancy, and you'll have an accurate analogy). Lumps of faeces in the intestine shift the centre of mass one way or the other, and like an unbalanced boat, this causes the Goldfish to roll over, sometimes even upside-down, because the laws of physics state the centre of mass MUST be vertically below the centre of buoyancy, at least when the Goldfish isn't actively trying to swim or otherwise correct its posture. The fix isn't too difficult: a combination of high fibre and Epsom salt does the trick nine times out of ten. Do read here:
Note that you want to stop using any foods other than fresh greens for the duration, and once the fish recovers, keep using the fresh greens liberally to prevent constipation in the future. Not all "floaty, bloaty Goldfish" have problems swimming because of constipation, so do also review their other key requirements, here:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

bobs back up to the top   3/1/12
hey please i nees your help ... my goldfish seem like he is "forcing" himself to swim down, but then once he stops he just bobs back up to the top... what can i do in that situation?!
please reply soon as possible.
thank you in advance.
<?... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
.... need info. as you'll see... BobF>

Bizarre Goldfish Behavior 2/9/12
I have two goldfish that live in a tank on my desk.
<In how large a system? How filtered, maintenance...?>
One is orange, and one is pink. I've had them for years, but one of them has starting acting VERY strangely, and I'm concerned. The pink one spends most of its time around the top of the tank, and then once a day, he flails around the top of the tank and splashes about, and then when it's done, it floats about aimlessly in all directions, upside down and twisting not even trying to control the way he goes. It's like he's having a seizure or something. It's very bizarre.
<Mmm, no... is all too common... Metabolite poisoning... environmental "disease">
I clean their tank regularly, feed them daily, and take proper care of them. The orange one is completely fine, and after it's done having its fit, the pink one goes back to behaving normally, too. But I just can't figure out what the problem is for the life of me. The pink one is missing a few scales, too, and the orange one looks perfectly fine. If you can give me any advice, that would be great. I'd just hate for
anything to happen to it. These fish were originally my sister's. Some boy won them for her at the fair, and we didn't expect them to last long.
Now that we've had them for years, I'm really proud of the fact that they've stayed alive so long, and I'd like to do whatever I can to keep that up. Thanks for whatever advice you can give me.
<Uhh, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GFEnvDisF5.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Bizarre Goldfish Behavior 2/9/12

I sent this email earlier, but I just noticed that there is another problem with it. Its pelvic fins aren't moving. They look a bit shriveled and different sizes. I'm really worried about it.
<Same cause, same reading. B>

Sinking goldfish 2/9/12
Hello WWM,
I have a bottom sitting lionhead, Winky (she's 2years old), and am quite worried about her. She had been resting on the bottom of the tank on and off for the last two months, but in the last couple days she has been unable to swim without great effort. Her abdomen may be a bit swollen, but it's difficult to be sure. Her belly, however, has become quite red (perhaps from her resting on it?).
<Could be>
I stopped feeding her last night, but she does swim up for food still.
Tank is 55 gallon bare bottom with some large river rocks, <Mmm, usually not of use for biological filtration. What measures do you have for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?>
5 goldfish total, but they are on the smaller side still. Eheim 217 filter and bubble bar running length of tank. Ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate
<Oh! these are fine>
ph 8.1, temp 72f.
<And this>
They are currently eating New life spectrum sinking pellets.
<And definitely this food. I too use NLS w/ my goldfish>
If she needs antibiotics, only Maracyn and Maracyn 2 are readily available in my area... Thank you in advance for any advice you have, and please know how much I appreciate the forum and the work you all do!
<Mmm, I would not treat the system thus... Better to simply keep up w/ regular routine, maintenance here... perhaps w/ the addition of a bit of Epsom Salt. Please read here:
and the embedded file/links where they pertain.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Sinking goldfish 2/9/12

Hello Bob,
Thank you so much for your fast response! I read the page you linked and am now wondering if she might have Ich in her gills?
<Mmm, nah. Any such parasitic involvement... all would be similarly afflicted>
One of her tankmates had what looked like Ich in the morning about a week ago, but when I came home in the evening all the spots were gone. I just sort of forgot about it, until I read the other gentleman's emails. The tankmate also had what I assumed was fin congestion that has torn (you can see him in the picture as well). Is it possible to have Ich in the tank without seeing it?
<Yes; the spots are symptomatic... not the Ich organism itself... irritation, mucus from a too-small to see parasite>
Unless you think it unwise, I'm thinking I will try a salt treatment and raise the temp.
As you can see, her belly has become quite red where she's been sitting on it and I'm worried infection will follow. By the way, the eye has been missing for over a year and although her scales appear raised in the photo, they are not. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Where, when in doubt, keep reading. BobF>

Orange Spots, no useful data as usual 02/08/12
Hi. A couple of days ago we moved our 2 overgrown goldfish into another tank.
<What size, established?>

I have just noticed a few bright orange spots on both of them. Is this likely to just be due to stress and just disappear, or could it be a disease?
<... can't tell. Likely not dire>
The tank we have moved them into was secondhand.
<... what does this matter?>
Also, while we are here, one goldfish started life as orange and as it grew has lost all its colour. It is now white. Is that usual? Thanks, Mo.
<Not unusual. See WWM re GF behavior, goldfish period... for input and to realize the types of useful data we need to help you... Bob Fenner>

Are these Britain's oldest goldfish? 12/1/11
Hello Bob,
> 34 years sounds a pretty good innings!
> http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3970040/Are-these-Britains-br-oldest-goldfish.html
> Cheers, Neale
Neale, thank you for sending this along. BobF

Odd behavior of goldfish
goldfish health/environment 11/15/11

Hi. <Hiya!>
I have two goldfishes in my 20 litres tank with a filter.
<Way to small for this fish.>
One of the goldfish is always resting at the bottom of the tank and not moving any of its fins or tails at all.
<Likely showing signs of the poor environmental conditions.>
It is breathing normally and only comes up when I feed them.
<For now, not sustainable in the long term in this tank.>
However, the other fish is behaving normally and is very healthy and active. <Ditto>
Both eat normally. I also spotted something like an injury a little behind the right eye of the goldfish. It is just a white line that looks out of place and ends in a piece of brown colour something, slightly protruding.
<Again likely caused by environment/injury.>
I wonder if this has anything to do with the behavior. Thanks for your kind attention and please help and reply as soon as possible. Thanks in advance.
<Please read here and review links above for proper case of goldfish -
Good luck, Sugam>
Jia Tan
Re: goldfish health/environment 11/16/11

Thanks for the advice. Anyway, I did like to know what is the optimum size of the tank, in litres, for my two goldfishes. Both are around the size of a grown man's hand. Thank you for your kind attention once again. <No worries, happy to help! Please do read the link I sent you as well as the other links in the top tray of the page. What you have is roughly a 5 gallon tank and you should be looking at somewhere in the region of 20-30 gallons (about 80-120 litres) for these fish. Given the described size of your fish, please do act quickly! Cheers, Sugam>
Re: goldfish health/environment 11/17/11
Thank you. And what do I do to improve the water condition and environmental condition of the fish tank?? <Read and act my friend. All the answers you seek are in the link I have sent you. You need to spend time studying the FAQs on WWM> And the fish that was injured is a Red-Cap Oranda. This morning, I realised the area around the injury, which is the red cap on the fish, has got a layer of skin peeling off and showing the raw flesh of the red-cap. Is this serious and do I need to treat it?? <For starters you need to test your water and correct any abnormalities through water changes. This is in likely a secondary (likely bacterial) issue that has resulted from poor water conditions. You need to address this first. If indeed bacterial,, you will need to treat with an antibiotic like Maracyn>
If I need to treat it, how?? And is it better to decorate the tank or leave it plain?? <Your choice, if you get the remaining conditions right, this is the least of your worries.> If it needs decoration, what kind of decoration do you suggest?? <Again, please focus on reading about the correct conditions for the Oranda rather than worrying about plants and decor at this stage. As I have said before, you tank simply cannot accommodate these fish. Fix that and read where you have been referred to and only after that should you start thinking about these tertiary issues. Here is an additional link for your reference -
I cannot stress this enough; you need to have these fish in a much much larger tank and also need to get up to speed on how to maintain good water conditions - Sugam>

Goldfish behavior question 11/11/11
I have a question about goldfish behavior. Here in Florida, I have a 45 gallon outdoor pond setup in my backyard which currently houses 3rd generation comet goldish. (Specifics - I run a good-sized pond pump with mechanical filtration, a fountain head for aeration, an in-line UV sterilizer, and do partial water changes. I also test the water and the values are always in a healthy range. ) Periodically, the population gets decimated by a raccoon.
<Ah yes... like "shooting fish in a barrel">
On it s last visit, it devoured a couple fish, attacked another, and left a couple unscathed. The one that had been attacked is red with a beautiful white saddle - the damage occurred on the saddle area and I didn't realize it for a day or so, until I saw fungal growth beginning in that area. She is now isolated in a large, open-topped mesh bag within the pond , because the other two fish were rubbing up against the exposed area and nipping at it. My fish have always exhibited schooling behavior, but I never saw them persistently rub against each other until this incident. My question is what draws them to the infected area? Do goldfish groom each other?
<Mmm, I think it's likely a general "food interest/instinct"... goldfish are pretty "autistic"... Have limited neuronal expression>
Did the attack just stress them too much they simply turned on the weakest member of the school?
<Don't think so.>
Just so I don't appear completely irresponsible (or clueless), I've resorted to covering the pond every night with a weighted grate too small for nasty raccoon paws to penetrate. God, I hate that animal.
<Mmm... there is time, place for all. Bob Fenner>
Eden Rush

swimming funny 9/23/11
Hello, I mail you every once I awhile regarding my fish , I am the one if needed for reference that has 3 med sized goldfish in 20 gallon tank,
<Too small; likely the ultimate cause of any problems you're having. Do bear in mind Goldfish are big, messy fish bred for ponds. A small aquarium just isn't going to provide the conditions they need in the long term.>
I do regular cleaning, 2.5 gallons every 3 days, I started to use prime, I don't know why, just thought it might be better as I have one in this tank,
<One what? Seachem Prime is a good water conditioner. Use it as instructed to prepare tap water for your aquarium.>
with large white eye, I alternate cleaning filter pads, I recently started using two different foods, Hikari Lionhead small pellets and pro gold, they were eating flakes,
<Dried foods do tend to promote constipation.>
I have to make tiny balls with crushing them and adding bit of water to let the smaller blind one eat well, and that he does, right now and it is getting worse, I noticed my healthiest one, never had problems, swimming with a bit of struggle to get to bottom, he then goes to top and sort of relaxes until he looks as he will start to flip onside then starts swimming again, Please help me to know how to correct this for him, before he flips over and cant get back to normal!
<Can't be sure, but do suspect constipation is the issue here. Do try the cooked peas/Epsom salt treatment for a week or two and see what happens.
Don't feed ANYTHING other than peas or fresh greens (spinach, pondweed, etc.). Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Help please! beh., repro. -- 06/26/11
Hello W.W.M crew. Well to cut to the chase, I am the proud owner of two goldfish both roughly three years old. One is a comet (gender unknown) called Jaws, the other is male Lionhead cross (I think) and he has like a white pimple on the top of his head not on his gill coverings.
<These do occur from time to time, and can be readily distinguished from spawning tubercles because those tubercles occur in matched pairs on either side of the head. A single pimple is exactly what it appears to be, and should be treated primarily by optimising water quality but also by using an anti-Finrot medication to kill off any external bacteria.>
Over in NZ it is winter and isn't goldfish breeding season in summer/spring?
<Correct, they get frisky when the water gets warm.>
because I have been researching goldfish breeding and it said that they "chase" each other and well they have been doing that ever since I bought Rocky.
<They also chase when being aggressive. Goldfish are social, and in small groups, i.e., less than, say, three specimens, it's possible for a dominant male to be aggressive towards a second male or a female kept with him. In bigger groups this hierarchical behaviour is more spread out, so no one fish gets bullied all the time.>
Anyway they have never previously bred before and I'm not even sure the gender of my comet and a breeder told me they might breed so my questions are... 1. How can I sex my comet?
<Sexing Goldfish outside of spawning time is hard, as the key features are the spawning tubercles on the head of the males. But as is often the case with Cyprinid fishes, males tend to be more aggressive, and females tend to be plumper around the abdomen, particularly as spawning season approaches.>
2. If my comet was female would they successfully breed?
<In aquaria it's actually very difficult to breed Goldfish. When spawning Goldfish swim very rapidly around the pond or canal they inhabit, and they lay their eggs among floating plants. While it can be done in an aquarium, it is very difficult. You need a few pots of feathery plants (for example Elodea, Cabomba or Myriophyllum), a sufficiently large tank (50+ gallons), and a heater to keep the temperature at a steady 18 C. Pairs are introduced to this spawning tank, ideally with a tank divider initially (egg-crate is ideal) so that the female can be fattened up and the male can watch her longingly! Small live foods such as daphnia and bloodworms, or their wet-frozen equivalents, are extremely useful "conditioning" foods that mimic the abundance of prey available in springtime. Usually breeders take out 20-25% of the water, replace with cool water to mimic rainfall, remove the divider (if used), and then hope for the best! Eggs are scattered among the plants, and then the adults must be removed. The fry are not difficult to rear, but they are small, and will need 4-5 meals per day of things like liquid fry food and brine shrimp nauplii.>
3.If they aren't breeding what is the white pimple on Rocky's head?
<See above.>
4. If my comet is female how could I increase breeding success?, e.g. hand breeding or other methods?
<Do try and get a copy of a book like 'Fish Breeding' by Chris Andrew, a cheap and easy to follow guide to breeding Goldfish and lots of other pet fish species. Second-hand copies can be picked up for pennies.>
Thank you
Sincerely Eden 14 NZ
<Good luck, Neale.>

Goldfish size? Growth, beh. f' 6/13/2011
I was wondering if a goldfish who has been kept in a small tank for the first year or two of his life (small enough to keep him from reaching full size) and then put in a considerably larger tank (225 US gallons) would still have a chance at reaching his full size.
<For the most part, yes... Can be "bonsaied" to an extent from duration, exposure to metabolic feedback...>
I bought an Oranda from the local pet store about a year ago (love at first sight!). I suspect he was given to the pet store since he was about an inch bigger than the other Orandas and he was in another tank with large fish.
He was about 3 inches when I got him and a year later he's still about 3 inches.
He might have grown a bit. He's been housed in a 225 gallon tank ever since I got him.
<Oh! Should be larger by now... what do you feed? Do you change out a good part of the water weekly?>
In the beginning he shared the tank with 20 or so feeders before they all died. He spent about 3 months in a small 5 gallon tank while I cycled everything back up again. For the past 8 or 9 months he's shared his tank with 3 5-6 inch common goldfish, a 7 inch fantail, and a 8 inch Pleco. I added two more 2 inch Orandas about a month ago. I change the water about every 3 weeks,
<I change mine weekly for/with my fancy goldfishes>
maybe more often when they uproot all the plants and I have to drain the tank anyways to stick the plants back in the gravel so why not clean the whole tank while I'm at it. The Oranda is fat and healthy. He hasn't been sick at all this past year. I don't understand why he's not growing when the two newer Orandas have already grown about half an inch in a month and a half.
<Perhaps "just" genetics>
I don't think I'm doing anything wrong because of that. It's just that I've been waiting for him to get as big as the fantail and he hasn't grown at all. So I was wondering if he's going to get any bigger or if he's destined to be 3 inches long for the rest of his days.
Thank you in advance,
<Mmm, for reinforcement, please read here:
and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>

Scary Goldfish Behaviour 4/23/2011
Two of the Goldfish in our tank are chasing the third one around at high speeds. The chased fish is bumping into the sides of the tank and the decorative plants. We've only had them around 6 months or so, but we haven't observed anything like this before.
For the moment, we've moved the chased fish into a goldfish bowl, but we don't want to keep it in there indefinitely.
<Indeed not; isolating a fish for an hour will do the trick, if isolating a fish is going to do any good at all.>
Reading the site, I'm wondering if this is breeding time.
<Could well be. Sexually mature males "in season" develop white spot-like structures on their heads called spawning tubercles. They look a bit like the disease White Spot.>
(The tank isn't temperature controlled) If so, should we stop being worried about the fish and put it back in the tank, or should we keep them separate? If separate then for how long?
<If the tank is reasonably big, i.e., 30-40 gallons for three specimens, then they should settle down with time. Add some floating plants -- a few bunches of cheap Pond Weed will do -- and that'll give the female some cover. If the tank is really big, 55+ gallons, then you could add another female.>
The chased fish is about the same size as one of the chasers but the other one is almost twice its size. We're worried about bullying injuries.
<I see; well, in this case moving the bigger fish to another aquarium permanently would be a good idea. Remember, you shouldn't mix Standard Goldfish with Fancy Goldfish, and Standard Goldfish really need 55+ gallons because of how big they get and how fast they swim. Fancy Goldfish are fine in tanks from 30 gallons upwards, but you shouldn't mix robust varieties with delicate ones. Robust varieties are things like Black Moors and Fantails, while delicate varieties are just about everything else:
Lionheads, Pompoms, Celestials, etc. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Scary Goldfish Behaviour 4/26/11

<Thou art most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

my fish... GF, no data, reading 3/9/11
I bought a bigger tank
<? How large?>
a few months ago and a couple more gold fish
<What types, varieties, of what size?>
I have noticed that, on the odd occasion one of my large gold fish is waving his head about and rubbing his self against the gravel I can see no sign of anything wrong apart from his behaviour can you advise please.
J Burton
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

black moor 2/26/11
we just got one and sometimes he hides in the back of tank on bottom and just sits. is this normal?
<No, not normal, and a sign something could be wrong. Review the needs of Goldfish. A singleton needs a tank at least 20 gallons in size, and realistically 30 gallons. Goldfish kept in smaller tanks never do well.
Sadly, a lot of people buy Goldfish without researching their needs beforehand, so you see some people stick them in bowls or small aquaria, often without filters, and that's twice as bad for them! It's quite upsetting if you like animals! Cheers, Neale.>

Tropical Temps and Goldfish Magic? (RMF, is your Mandarin better than mine?)<<Marginally>> 2/19/11
Hello WWM crew!
It has been a great while since I have contacted you guys, but I have been a daily reader of your FAQs. Such great info to be learned everyday here.
Great job and a special thanks to Neale for spending his valuable time to share his invaluable knowledge regarding freshwater fish.
<Glad to help.>
Now reading on the current FAQs, a question comes to my mind as to the appropriate temp to keep my tanks at. Through previous research, I have kept my Scleropages jardinii, Polypterus senegalus, and Panaque nigrolineatus tanks at 79 degrees F.
<This is fine.>
Now, through reading Neale's replies, it seems as though I can keep these tanks at around 74-76 degrees F without any adverse affects?
<Well, the happy medium for most tropical fish is about 25 C/77 F, and that is coincidentally the temperature most heaters are set at when dispatched from the factory. An aquarium book like Baensch's Aquarium Atlas will provide optimal temperature ranges for each fish species.>
Lowering the temp, if possible, seems to have so many advantages anywhere from electrical cost to higher oxygen content to lower metabolism rates, which equals better water quality overall? Am I right to assume this is true?
<Pretty much. When kept towards the lower end of their optimal range, fish do indeed require less food and less oxygen. That's because their basal metabolic rate is determined by body temperature, and that in turn depends on water temperature. Needless to say, the lower their metabolic rate, the longer they'll live. Furthermore, most fish gear up for breeding when it gets warmer, and at the warmer end of their temperature range they're more likely to be territorial, aggressive, and anxious to breed. It's fairly standard practise with cichlids for example to keep them cooler rather than warmer when you don't want to deal with breeding behaviour all the time.
There is a flip side to this though. Some fish show their best colours at breeding time, so if kept "quiescent" they may not be as pretty as you'd hope. More seriously, if kept below their optimal range, they become steadily more prone to digestive disorders, infections, poor growth, and if kept too cold, death. Do I keep my tanks towards the cool end of the temperature range? Yes I do. But I'm also careful not to keep the tanks too cold. If a fish is happy in the range 24-28 C/75-82 F, then 25/77 F would be my aim.>
Secondly, a little something I would like to share. Check out this goldfish video that I have found on YouTube when you have time. It gets interesting at around 1:45.
I have no idea what they are saying.
<Nor I!>
Seems cruel but very amazing. I mean, I have seen little goldfish tricks swimming through hoops, but this is ridiculous. Do you think this is some type of visual illusions/magic tricks or vigorous training?
<Magnets. For a start, the fish aren't actually beating their tail fins or sculling with the pectoral fins. Even if fish like these were trained to do tricks -- and Goldfish have been trained to do some tricks -- they simply can't swim that smoothly or in such tight turning circles.>
Thought you might be interested. Thanks and have a great year! Andy
<All the best to you, too, Neale.>
Tropical Temps and Goldfish Magic? /RMF 2/19/11
Hello WWM crew!
<Howsit Bruce?>
It has been a great while since I have contacted you guys, but I have been a daily reader of your FAQs. Such great info to be learned everyday here.
Great job and a special thanks to Neale for spending his valuable time to share his invaluable knowledge regarding freshwater fish.
<He is a treasure>
Now reading on the current FAQs, a question comes to my mind as to the appropriate temp to keep my tanks at. Through previous research, I have kept my Scleropages jardinii, Polypterus senegalus, and Panaque nigrolineatus tanks at 79 degrees F. Now, through reading Neale's replies, it seems as though I can keep these tanks at around 74-76 degrees F without any adverse affects?
Lowering the temp, if possible, seems to have so many advantages anywhere from electrical cost to higher oxygen content to lower metabolism rates, which equals better water quality overall? Am I right to assume this is true?
<It is so>
Secondly, a little something I would like to share. Check out this goldfish video that I have found on YouTube when you have time. It gets interesting at around 1:45.
_ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0cAMAy-WL4&feature=player_embedded_
I have no idea what they are saying. Seems cruel but very amazing. I mean, I have seen little goldfish tricks swimming through hoops, but this is ridiculous. Do you think this is some type of visual illusions/magic tricks or vigorous training?
<Neat illusions... the jerkiness of the first episode's fishes leads me to wonder if they're not being led about by implanted magnets matched and moved below. The second, sleight of hand>
Thought you might be interested. Thanks and have a great year!
<Thank you Andy. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Sitting on Bottom 2/18/11
Hello WWM,
I would like to start off by thanking you for all the help you supply people with and apologize if this is something that's been covered, but I haven't been able to find it.
I have 6 1.5" - 4" goldfish in a 55 gallon aquarium (they'll be getting a larger home in the future). The tank was set up about 5 months ago, but I have had a couple of the fish for a year and a half. It's bare bottom with some plants in ceramic bowls with aquarium gravel from the previous tank.
About 3 months ago, the largest goldfish began periodically resting on the bottom of the tank. He would immediately perk up if anyone came in the room and had a healthy appetite. When he began to sit more frequently, I treated the tank for flukes using Parasite Guard (Praziquantel). He stopped resting on the bottom and developed ulcers, which were successfully treated with an antibiotic (can't remember which). None of the other fish seemed affected. A week later, he was back to sitting.
<Mmm... sans substrate... am wondering how your water quality vacillates... even w/ good maint. practices, regular water changes e.g.... Accumulated metabolites, pH/Alkalinity... do you have data... oh, I see some of this below>
Fast forward to the last two and a half weeks. I moved with the tank to a new place a few blocks away. I had a mini cycle and now my parameters are back to normal, but the other fish have begun sitting next to the larger one. They seem to be doing it more and more frequently. I treated them again with Parasite Guard, this time doing 3 full treatments 48 hours apart. This time no ulcers. They stopped sitting for a day or so and are now right back at it with a vengeance. Still eating and responsive, but I am concerned and everything I've found online says that they must be sleeping. I know from experience that what I'm seeing is not normal behavior.
<How much water motion do you have here?>
Details: Ammonia 0ppm Nitrite 0ppmNitrate 20ppmpH 8.2 (same at both locations)Tank has an Eheim 2217 canister filter
<Is what I use w/ my goldfish systems as well... Though I definitely would add a good-sized outside power filter (hang on) here as well>
and a bubble bar that runs the length of the tank I add water conditioner, but no salt I feed Hikari Lion Head sinking pellets and the occasional frozen treat or veggie I change 25 - 40% of the water every 4-5 days
Please help, WWM, I am completely stumped!
Thanks, Emily
<I am always semi-stumped here Emily... W/o microscopic examination of body slime, perhaps a snip of gill tissue... am wont to start suggesting chemical treatment/s... I'd add the filter and get ready for the move to the larger system myself... not use medicines blindly. Bob Fenner>

Pearl Scale Goldfish... beh., hlth., need for data 12/21/10
Hi crew! I have owned a pearl scale goldfish for just over three years now.
She recently has stopped swimming around and now just sits in one spot on the bottom of the tank. She has also developed these bubble/blister like things all over her body. I have searched the net for answers as well as going to the pet store and still no answers. please help me Thanks Jaddean
<The sitting on the bottom can be due to a few influences... Too much flake/dried food, perhaps of too-high a concentration of protein... Environmental issues, particularly metabolite build-up/concentration... even just "loneliness"... The blisters point to the middle set of possibilities. Do read/peruse here:
scroll down to the tray on Goldfish... their Systems, Environmental Diseases... and do send along a photo or two if/when you can, as well as water quality test results, data on the system, set-up, maintenance. Bob

Lethargic Oranda 11/10/10
Good afternoon:
<AM here, PST>
I am afraid I must ask for your excellent assistance once again. My have a beautiful, big Oranda (he is estimated to be about 10 years old?) has been terribly lethargic for the past month and I am unable to pinpoint any cause. He is normally an active fish and loves to play when I am doing his water changes.
He is alone in a 72 gallon tank. Substrate is very tiny jellybean glass and he has a smattering of imitation foliage (both plastic and fabric). The tank is serviced by an Eheim Pro 3 canister filter and an Aqueon 110 hanging filter. He has two bubblers and a powerhead for surface agitation. I do a 25% water change two to three times a week and lightly vacuum the gravel. I purchased a 45 gallon drinking-water grade bucket and I sit the water for two to three days before using it for tank changes. I test the tank water about every two to three days with an API master test kit and I have a pH meter of excellent quality.
<All sounds/reads good thus far>
Temperature is kept at a steady 22 degrees. The ammonia is zero, nitrites are zero and nitrates are 10 ppm. pH is 8.4. Water is treated with Prime and I have contacted the water works to ensure that I am actually adding enough Prime to remove that chlorine from the tap.
His diet is mostly gel food which I prepare with a huge variety of vegetables and some Spirulina algae (peas, spinach, butternut squash, yam, some carrot, garlic, green onion, red pepper, cream of brown rice, a small wild salmon fillet and a few tiny shrimp, a few Vegegreen tablets and a tablespoon of air-dried Spirulina). Twice a week he gets either Kiwi slices, strawberry, orange or zucchini and he has peas as a treat regularly. Everything is organic and is steamed in bottled water to preserve the vitamin content.
<Wow! I hope my fancy goldfish don't come to find out what yours are being fed. They get NLS Spectrum pellets solamente>
Other than the lethargy there are no other symptoms. He is not fin clamping, his fins are in great shape and he has no blood in them. His skin is clear and he is not yawning excessively. His Wen has no lesions or
fungus. He is not constipated. Yet he sits in the bottom corner of his tank all day and hardly moves. I have even tried adjusting the flow rate into his tank lest the current be too strong for him. He has been getting less and less active over the past 2 weeks and I am at a loss as to what might be amiss.
<Mmm... might be just the move you mention below...>
The only changes I have made that might cause this new behavior are that I moved 7 weeks ago (a 500 kilometer move) and when I did so I upgraded his tank from a 50 gallon to a 72 gallon. I was very careful to slowly introduce the fish to the water here as the pH, KH and GH are all much different from where I lived prior. I actually brought buckets of water from my old place of residence and introduced the new water over a period of a week. The tank is an Aqueon and was purchased new. I rinsed it many times before filling.
I have 6 other goldfish of different variety and they are all doing very well.
<I would add a couple of these others to this fish's system... It may be he's "bored" w/ no stimulation in his world>
I a terribly sorry for the excessive detail but as you can see I have spared nothing for the health of my fishes and would do anything to keep them hale and hearty.
<Ah good>
Do you know of anything that I might have missed that could be making my fish so unhappy?
<Again, the simple change in the system could be/do it, or lack of "company">
I am baffled by this behavior and quite worried. Would you recommend having the water tested and if so what parameters I should be most concerned about?
<None really>
Thank you once again for your kind counsel.
Gina de Almeida
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Lethargic Oranda 1/28/11

Hi Bob:
I have added a friend to the tank and the Oranda is a little peppier but still lethargic. He spends most of his time sitting in his 2 litre measuring cup or in a corner staring at the wall. I am very worried as he was much more active a few months ago (before I moved).
I have noticed that he sometimes starts to "headstand" though he is usually upright. I fear the beginnings of swimbladder troubles (?)
<Not likely; "Just the breed">
- he is a Super Pooper so it is certainly not due to constipation (his diet is mainly gel food made with fresh veggies).
I am wondering if pH might be the culprit, contributing toward both the lethargy and swim bladder issues. All of my Telescopes, black moors and the Lionhead are fine- it is just the Oranda that seems to be ailing. The water here is quite alkaline with a reading of 8.2 to 8.4 which might be too high for this particular fish. I hate to fuss with pH but do you think I should try to bring the level down a bit and if so what product would you recommend?
<I would not fool w/ the pH>
Errata: I currently do 2-3 small water changes a week to keep nitrates down and the tank clean. I sit the tank water in a 45 gallon (drinking grade plastic) holding tank for a couple days and treat with Prime prior to use. I have a good quality pH Meter that reads to 2 decimal places so I should be able to accurately and consistently match pH if you think I ought to bring the readings down. My water (tested with an API Master test kit) shows 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates and pH as mentioned. The GH is very high.
<How high? For this, you might well want to mix/blend in some RO water>
Temperature is currently 73 degrees.
<All good>
If recommended I might also have the water analyzed at a lab, to see if there are any harmful metals or chemicals present. However, I am not sure what I should check for or what levels are considered harmful. Do you know of any literature that might be helpful in this regard?
<Mmm, none that are complete, useful>
And, failing that, I do have Medigold but I hate to use meds unless absolutely necessary!
<I am in the process of separating the many Goldfish Disease FAQs pages by types of med.s... w/ a note re Metronidazole/Flagyl, that it should ONLY be used once. Too toxic otherwise to expose>
Many thanks:
Gina de Almeida

Fantail goldfish behavior 7/28/10
I bought my goldfish at the pet store about 3 days ago. He is a beautiful fantail, and is as happy as can be. I took him home from the pet store, and introduced him to my slightly larger fantail. They get along perfectly, except some times the little one will get right underneath the bigger fish and chase it around the tank. Some times it will nip at the fish, but it never looks like anything too serious. Would you think that my little (brightly colored) fantail is pursuing the larger (plainly colored) fantail as a mate? I'm not sure the sex of either fish. Also, when I bought my
little fish, it had a bent tail. The left side of the tail itself is almost bent all the way up so it is at a 90 degree angle. I started to notice a behavior that my fish would go behind one of the decorations (always in the same spot), and rest its head on the gravel at a 45 degree angle for about 30 seconds or more. It has no problem going up to eat, or swimming, and it easily moves around when I just touch my finger to the glass, but I am curious as to why the fish is doing this. Does the bent tail have anything to do with it, or could it be a more serious condition?
Thanks so much.
<Hello Emma. No, it isn't normal for Goldfish to have bent spines or swim at odd angles. Spine deformities are common, and no, there isn't anything you can do to fix them. Sexing Goldfish isn't difficult in spring when the
males develop pit-like tubercles on their heads, but the rest of the time both sexes look the same. Anyway, healthy Goldfish certainly shouldn't sit on the bottom of the tank. Check the aquarium is sufficiently large -- 30 gallons, minimum -- and that water quality is good -- i.e., you have a filter and do 25% weekly water changes. Diet is another issue. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Question about my goldfish 7/19/10
I've had my Shubunkin Goldfish for about 2 years now, and have never had any major problems. I just upgraded his tank from a 10g to a 60g hex tank.
<Mmm, plus points for the larger volume, not so much for the shape of this system... more "flat, box-like" shapes are better by far for goldfish. More swimming room, surface area for gaseous diffusion>
I cycled the new tank for a month before I put him in, and have been adding BioZyme as instructed.
<Mmm, I hope this product works for you>
Decor-wise, there are several small flowerpots turned to their sides, a large hollow ornament, and several fake plants. I have a few live plants that I put in there as well (Anubias, I believe). I'm using the TopFin 60 filter, I have an airstone, and a fluorescent light. The other tank inhabitants are 2 Amano shrimp, and 1 Bristlenose Pleco (which I bought about a week after adding the shrimp and goldfish). Current tank stats are:
Ammonia: 0 Temp: 70 Ph: 7.1 . We do have mildly hard tap water here. I've been using Prime as my dechlorinator/slime coat/etc treatment. I also add aquarium salt when I do water changes.
<I would not likely do this. Please read here:
and the linked (above) FAQs file>
I generally feed my goldfish a combination of bloodworms, flake food, peas and pellets (though, he doesn't seem to like those much :)) He also tends to nibble on the algae disks I drop in for the shrimp and Pleco.
It's been two weeks since I added my goldfish and shrimp (about 1 week for the Pleco). Lately, my goldfish has been acting very strangely. He's eating just fine, and looks fairly healthy, but he's swimming like he's gone mad!
He'll sit in one place for a bit, then dart off around the tank, sometimes running into the sides. He's tried to jump out of the tank several times, and I think this has caused some swelling on the top of his head (from hitting the hood?). Whenever I get near the tank, he runs and hides, instead of eagerly coming to the top waiting for food. Usually, he's fine- picking around the bottom for food, playing in the bubbles from the airstone, But every now and then he has these episodes. He won't hold still long enough for me to check him for any spots or anything, and I have no idea what could be wrong. This is NOT normal for him at all. He's always been very calm.
The Pleco doesn't seem to be showing any signs of being sick or anything, and I've seen the shrimp maybe twice since I transferred them.
Any suggestions or guidance would be much appreciated.
Thanks so much
<Mmm, well, "it" might be that your Shubunkin is simply exuberant in being in a larger world... or the reflection, shape of the system may be confusing... I would hold off on the salt, try to approach the tank slowly, leave some light on near the tank (outside) during nights... and try to be patient. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Behavior? 6/24/10
I am 14 years old and my brother bought a 200-250 gallon tank (I've never been able to get a consistent number out of him)
<Measure the outside or inside dimensions in inches... multiply the length times width times height... and divide by 231 (there are approximately 231 cubic inches in a gallon volume>
about a month ago. As of now, there are 3 large common goldfish, 2 Shubunkins (one possibly a Koi. Petco told me it was a Shubunkin but he looks like a Koi), 1 Koi, about 5-8 small common goldfish, 3 Orandas, 1 Fantail and 1 Pleco.
<Mmm, there may well be trouble in time w/ the Comet Goldfish and Koi being mixed with the "fancies" here... the former get much larger, are more "rambunctious", out-competing the rounder, fancier varieties of goldfish for food>
All of them were purchased and added in 3 separate groups of 5-8 about a week apart from each other.
<A good approach... to stock in batches, with time in-between>
Our most recent additions (bought a week ago) were the large goldfish, 2 of the Orandas, the Fantail and the Koi. I transferred them into the tank without a problem. One of the Orandas is a red-cap with a red stripe running down his back. He's about 1 1/2 inches not including the tail. He has 2 tails, as I like to think of it, and the bottom half of one of them was missing upon purchase. He has had some trouble swimming and finding the food but I didn't think that was a problem since I would drop some flakes/pellets in front of him and he would eat them and he seemed happy.
Yesterday, I found him behind a water agitator thing and looking dead. When I lifted the tank cover to scoop him out of the tank, he came out and started looking for food. He kept doing that and today, I noticed that when he would go behind the water agitator, he would stop moving completely (except his breathing) until another goldfish nipped or bumped him or I dropped some food by him. After a while of not moving he would start to float onto his side a bit (on the side with the missing part of his tail) and look dead. Tonight, he had some air bubbles on his tail. The Shubunkins and the less fancy goldfish haven't been bothering him and as far as I can see, they're ignoring him. The only ones that do nip and bother him are my first Oranda, who is bigger than him by a centimeter or so, and the
Fantail, smaller by a bit. I haven't done any water testing yet and I know I should.
The tank is kept clean by 2 out-of-tank filters (not sure of the exact type and how many gallons they were made for). It's been up and running for a month. 2 days after adding the newer fish I did the first water change (25%). I am quite fond of the little guy and don't want him to die. Could you possibly tell me what's going on and what to do?
<Well... it may be that the fish is "just new" and getting adjusted to the system and social dynamic here... but if you had another system, I would move this fish. I also encourage you to read here:
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and test your water to assure that toxic ammonia nor nitrite is accumulating>
Thanks for taking the time to read this,
<Thank you for sharing your experience, speculations. Bob Fenner>

11-year-old Goldfish, Laying on Bottom of Tank, env... 6/2/10
Rhonda, my 11-year-old Goldfish, has been lying on her belly on the bottom of her tank for the last 3 days, with very limited swimming or movement.
Her top fin seems droopy. She makes an effort to swim when I come over to her tank, and is trying to eat, but it seems like she is spitting the food out or not able to swallow it. I feed her floating pellets, which she's been eating for the last 8 years. She is in a 10-gallon tank with a Whisper filtration system and live plants.
<10 gallons is too little.>
I do not usually change the tank water -
<You must! 25% weekly.>
I have actually never tested the water before today - everything tested normal except for the Nitrite level, which was at 200ppm (very unsafe). I am making a partial water changes to reduce this level.
<200 ppm nitrite (with an "I") is deadly, so I doubt you have this. But you may have a 200 ppm nitrate (with an "a") level, and that is certainly highly toxic if not immediately deadly.>
Would you suspect that this Nitrate level could be the culprit for her behavior?
She does not seem to be tipsy,
so I don't know if this is a swim bladder problem or what.
<"What". You're keeping this fish very, VERY BADLY, and that's finally killing her. She's not that old -- Goldfish live 30+ years -- and the fact she's survived 11 years is more about how tough these fish are than your fishkeeping skills (which are, to be honest, minimal).>
Occasionally she has rested on the bottom of the tank for short amounts of time in the past, but she has never done this for such a long amount of time.
Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you for volunteering your time for our aquatic friends - this website is a goldmine of information! I am grateful for any information you might be able to provide.
<It's kind of you to say such things, but I'm concerned you've so far not managed to find the gold in our mine. Do please start reading here:
-Sarah M
<Cheers, Neale.>

11-year-old Goldfish, Laying on Bottom of Tank, ScottT's go 6/2/10
< Hi Sarah>
Rhonda, my 11-year-old Goldfish, has been lying on her belly on the bottom of her tank for the last 3 days, with very limited swimming or movement. Her top fin seems droopy.
<I've had this happen before also. Not to worry, I think it is fixable.>
She makes an effort to swim when I come over to her tank, and is trying to eat, but it seems like she is spitting the food out or not able to swallow it. I feed her floating pellets, which she's been eating for the last 8 years. She is in a 10-gallon tank with a Whisper filtration system and live plants. I do not usually change the tank water - I have actually never tested the water before today - everything tested normal except for the Nitrite level, which was at 200ppm (very unsafe). I am making a partial water changes to reduce this level.
<Great idea with the water changes. Change a few gallons a day until the nitrites go away. Maybe add a chemical product to detoxify the nitrites quickly today too. It wouldn't be bad to make a once a week water change routine.>
Would you suspect that this Nitrate <nitrite?> level could be the culprit for her behavior? She does not seem to be tipsy, so I don't know if this is a swim bladder problem or what. Occasionally she has rested on the bottom of the tank for short amounts of time in the past, but she has never done this for such a long amount of time.
<In my experience this is completely water quality related. I had an overstocked tank in which half of the fish exhibited that exact behavior.
Once I installed a plant filter and increased my water changes, they all started floating again. A droopy dorsal fin is a sign that the fish isn't too happy. High nitrites, pH might be low, and a number of things that are hard to test for. If you do even a 10% change weekly, Rhonda will be much happier.>
Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you for volunteering your time for our aquatic friends - this website is a goldmine of information! I am grateful for any information you might be able to provide.
-Sarah M
<Hope this was helpful, Scott T.>

Re: 11-year-old Goldfish, Laying on Bottom of Tank 6/2/10
Hi Scott and Neale!
Thank you both so much for your expert advice, and lightning-fast response.
I did intend to write "nitrates", as you noted - I apologize for my confusion. I have made about a 15% water change thus far and Rhonda appears so much happier already - she's swimming and eating like normal, with a little more zest than usual!
She is still resting on the bottom of the tank, but only occasionally - the improvement in her behavior is substantial.
I forgot to mention that I normally add Aquasafe and Stress Coat water conditioners when I do change the water - I have been using these products for about 8 years. Do you feel these are good products?
<Dechlorinator is certainly essential with every water change. Stress Coat falls into the "meh" category to be honest; it's useful when shipping/handling fish, but otherwise redundant. Neither produce removes the need for an adequate aquarium and regular water changes.>
I did read up on the Goldfish 101 information page, and will definitely be testing and changing her water regularly from now on. I had (very incorrectly) assumed that oxygen was the only significant concern, and that having a filter and live plants would take care of it all.
<Not the case at all. Yes, you can create an ecosystem where the plants balance the fish, but for that to work you need 100s of gallons, a couple of inches of small minnows, and intense sunlight. Seriously. Any attempt to balance fish and plants in a home aquarium just won't work. It's been done in labs, and the ratio of animal to plant life required is extremely different to what you've got in your mind.>
I am including a couple of just-taken pictures of Rhonda.
<She looks cute. Probably needs company though; Goldfish are gregarious animals and quite "intelligent" by fish standards.>
Do you think she does need a larger tank?
She is about 4.5 in. / 11 cm., head-to-tail.
<For an 11-year-old fish she's really very small, and poor conditions are likely to blame. In any case, Goldfish shouldn't be in anything less than 30 gallons/110 litres for two adults. Can they survive in small tanks?
Sure, some of them do, but the mortality rate is high. The sad fact is the most Goldfish end up dead within a few months, and small aquaria are very largely to blame.>
Thank you very much!
<My pleasure.>
-Sarah M
<Cheers, Neale.>

Grossly stunted, or more euphemistically, "Extremely Bonsai'd"... RMF

Bell-ringing goldfish 5/28/10
Hi Bob,
About 30 seconds in there's a brief video of a bell-ringing goldfish. Apparently goldfish can be trained to ring bells when they're hungry.
Let's hope people start to appreciate that goldfish aren't stupid!
Cheers, Neale
Have seen Carassius trained to do a bunch of rather involved routines. B

Re Rapid colour change in my fancy goldfish (RMF, dropsy?) <Mmm, no> 5/9/10
Hello Neale:
Just a follow-up on the status of my fish with the suspected case of Dropsy. I moved him to a hospital tank and started fairly aggressively on the antibiotics: I use Maracyn II (in the water) then put him on a three
week program of Kanaplex (mixed in his food). After about a week on Kanaplex his feces turned from red and kind of bloody-looking to normal colour and he perked up considerably. After the Kanaplex I started to feed him Medigold but I had to take him off of it after a week as it is too dry and even with pre-soaking was causing him to bloat.
He is still in the hospital tank but I think he is going to be okay! He has been very active for the past month and is much slimmer (he no longer looks like an egg with fins).
As I mentioned in my earlier e-mail his colour turned very rapidly from 1/2 black-1/2 gold to a washed out orange (right after he had been pooping red). Now he is a deep, healthy looking orange. I thought you might be interested to see the "before" and "after" photos... if I had gone on vacation I would not have believed this to be the same fish upon my return!
The entire colour change took place in less than 10 days: I thought this might be of interest to other aquarists as I could not find any information on such an extremely rapid colour change when I was trying to figure out
what was happening to my fish.
<Nothing "happened" beyond genes. Non-pedigree, i.e., most pet store, Goldfish may or may not keep the colours they're sold with. In your case, the fish had colour genes that expressed themselves differently as the fish aged. Nothing wrong, nothing you can do.>
I am still not certain if he had early Dropsy or an intestinal blockage but I'm grateful that he is happy and healthy again. Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish staying at one place, no useful data 3/16/10
I have 3 gold fish in a 20 gallon tank. Since yesterday one of the goldfish is residing only at one place for a long time. It is not swimming around like other fish. I have checked its fins and scales and they seem fine. I only feel that its belly is little swollen. Please advise whether some medication is required or it is normal?
<What is your water quality? Particularly nitrogenous measures?>
The fish had its food given in the morning.
I have already cleaned the filter on Sunday and did a 20% water change.
Please suggest if any thing else needs to be done?
Thanks for your help.
Sameer M
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshH2OF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Spastic fish... GF in new/uncycled toxic world 3/4/10
Hi there
I was given 4 goldfish for my birthday last week. 3 seem perfectly happy.
1 seems a bit spastic. He's still eating fine and there are no markings on him that I can see. But he's swimming around the tank very erratically and keeps going for 1 particular corner of the fish tank and just keep banging straight into it, then bounces back in a sort of fitting motion. Have noticed a few times he has a little spasm when
swimming as well.
Any ideas?
<Almost all problems with Goldfish are caused by poor maintenance. Just as a reminder, let's be clear what Goldfish need. Three or four specimens would need a tank at least 150 litres/40 US gallons in size, and a filter rated at 4-6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Water chemistry should be hard and basic. If you were suddenly presented with a fish tank and four fish, the chances are the tank isn't cycled, and ammonia and nitrite levels are not zero. These will cause fish to sicken and react in weird ways, precisely as you're describing. I'd bet dollars to donuts that that's the issue here. Not diseased, not genetic abnormal, not neurologically deformed in some way; but being poisoned by its environment.
Cheers, Neale.>

Rapid colour change in my fancy goldfish 2/19/10
<Hello Gina,>
I have a question regarding my dragon-eye young goldfish. He gold with black fins and a black "mask" on his face... or at least, he WAS. Over the past few weeks the black has faded to a brown colour but over the last two
days almost all of the black on his face and body has turned gold and 50% of each pectoral fin is now a pale peach colour (proximal to his body- the tips are still dark. I had written earlier with concerns about a mysterious, iridescent spot on his tail but I now believe it is part of this colour morph.
<Sounds probable. If all else is good, i.e., he's happy and you don't suspect Finrot, ammonia burns, or anything like that, then yes, it does sound like he has colour-changing genes. Since Goldfish naturally change colour anyway, and are all born green-brown before turning gold, it's very common for them to change colour to some extent.>
I've heard of goldfish changing colour but I didn't know that it could happen so quickly- he is not stressed out (by anything environmental, at least) and he doesn't seem ill (though his tank mate does have a persistent intestinal parasite).
The only real change is the weather- I am in Vancouver and it is unseasonably warm here. Do these fish tend to change colour in the Spring?
<Not that I'm aware of. In spring, sexually mature males will develop "spawning tubercles" that look like small white specks, but that's about it.>
My tank is still cycling but my water parameters are very good and I do a partial change daily. The change is so very rapid that I am not sure if it is an indication of something more serious. The aquarium is not beside a window but the room has been getting a lot more sunshine than usual.
<Sunlight shouldn't cause fish to "tan" because water is a very effective block against UV light (the stuff that makes us tan). But fish will change colour slightly if their environment is darker or brighter than usual, though this is normally the case with "natural" fish rather than ones that have been bred to have artificial colours.>
Thanks once again for your assistance
<Not sure I've been any assistance at all!>
<Thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Rapid colour change in my fancy goldfish... Dropsy f' 3/21/10
Hi Neale:
I just want to follow up on this strange colour change in my goldfish- he has now completely changed colour and is swelling up. I am afraid he may have the onset of dropsy- he has obviously not been feeling well as he is often completely motionless and his dorsal fin is flat. He usually swims over as soon as he sees me but now he barely moves.
<Not good. While Bob maintains that fish can recover from such situations, I've yet to see that happen. Assuming he's right, the information on this page should be helpful:
But with that said, when I encounter fish with Dropsy, I tend to euthanise them. Possibly that's the "shooting lame horses" approach and I'm acting in ignorance of the medications that might turn such situations around.>
He seems to be worse in the mornings and then perks up later in the day- he is still eating: in fact he seems quite desperate at feeding time (he is always hungry- after all he IS a goldfish) but I am wondering if the colour change and the accelerated begging for food isn't related to an intestinal blockage- is this a possibility?
<Possibly. That the fish is eating is certainly hopeful. Why? Because Dropsy, in its fatal cases at least, is a sign of organ failure, in particular with regard to osmoregulation. When the organs stop working, fluid accumulates. But by that point, fish will be very sick, so they don't eat much, if at all. So, if your Goldfish is still eating, that's perhaps a
good sign because it means the fish isn't that sick.>
He was pooping red about three weeks ago but it stopped (I think he might have swallowed a piece of gravel): he had not been eating anything of that colour. As the condition went away and he seemed to be healthy I was not
overly concerned.
<Hmm... red faeces can indicate artificial colours in the fish food, typically "colour-enhancing flake" food. But it can also indicate blood in the alimentary canal, and that's more of a problem, especially if there are internal parasites irritating the gut wall.>
His rotund physique, however, has me so worried that I set up my hospital tank this morning and am about to transfer him over. I am trying to get a good picture of how fat he is to send to you but every time he sees me with
the camera he seems to think it is food and I can't get a good shot. He has a tank-mate- should I consider treating both fish?
<Dropsy doesn't tend to be contagious as such, but rather than conditions that promote it in one fish can easily cause it to occur in any of the others. So for now, yes, isolating the sick fish and treating accordingly is wise, but proactively treating the other fish is not necessary.>
I have already tried putting 2 tablespoons per 10 gallons of Epsom salt in the tank and feeding the fish a light diet of skinned peas but he has not become any thinner.
I have read that dropsy is contagious so I am very concerned for BOTH of my fish. I went to my LFS today to pick up some Maracyn and Maracyn two they, sadly, had several goldfish with advanced stages of dropsy in their tanks with other healthy-looking fish. Incidentally, this is where I unknowingly purchased my two fish back in December. Maracyn is a Erythromycin
<Minocycline, a.k.a. Maracyn 2, is generally recommended in preference.>
which I read somewhere on this site is a good choice to treat Dropsy, so I hope it works. Can you please let me know if I am on the right track?
<Worth a shot.>
PS: My water parameters are as follows: ammonia zero, nitrites zero, nitrates still zero (my tank does NOT want to cycle!!) and pH: 7.2
Kind regards:
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish is turning white -- 02/14/10
Hi, I have had goldfish periodically throughout most of my life and I have never seen this. Our fancy golden (not orange) goldfish is turning white.
<Does happen with some varieties when they age. If the scales are losing colour, but otherwise look normal, and there's no sign of Finrot or Fungus, and the Goldfish is behaving completely normally, then it may simply be getting old. By "old" I mean at least 10 years, given Goldfish can live for 20-30 years if properly maintained. If the fish is still a juvenile, i.e., less than 20 cm/8 inches long, then this natural loss of colour is less likely. Younger Goldfish may change colour, but it's less common for them to "bleach" than for old specimens.>
I can't tell if it is a film or his scales turning white. It had a lump or sore on its side and it seemed to heal and now he is turning white.
However the color change didn't start until we upgraded from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon tank. We have another fancy fish and very small plain goldfish in tank. No others are affected. He also seems sluggish and stayed on the
bottom of the tank for long periods.
<This isn't normal. Do check he isn't constipated.
Then the rest of the time he is swimming and eating fine. Please help, my 4 year old just loves these fish. Thank you, Denice.
<Without a photo, it's difficult to say precisely what the deal is here.
I'd start by reviewing diet and water quality, just to make sure everything is as it should be. While colour changes can happen, you do have to be alert to things like Finrot (bloody sores), ammonia burns (typically black patches), Fungus (white cotton wool patches), Fish Pox (looks like molten wax), and Columnaris (fungus-like lumps, usually around the mouth). Cheers, Neale.>

Small Calico Fantail with totally black eyes -- 1/27/10
WWM Crew,
I have a small Fantail Calico with 2 black eyes that look like discs. She (just assuming because her name is Wanda) is in a well aerated and filtered 30 gallon tank, with 2 Black Moors, 2 Common Goldfish,
<These Comets will get much too large here... and this volume is really only suitable for two Fancy goldfish specimens... Read here:
and the linked files above... esp. Tanks>
another Calico Fantail and a Plecostomus. She seems to see just fine. My question is, is this normal? I've never seen fish with eyes like this, but I am new to this.
<Is "normal" in that this is not an uncommon genetic aberration... In other countries these are culled (not being beautiful...), but the "all black" eyes trait does not appear to be otherwise deleterious. Bob Fenner>

Question re: goldfish intelligence 1/16/10
Good afternoon:
I have adopted two fancy goldfish and have been very surprised and delighted to discover that my new friends are quite playful and curious.
<Yes indeed. Much used in labs for various behaviour experiments.>
I am wondering if you are aware of any recent studies regarding goldfish intelligence?
<Oh, many. A little time Googling terms like "Carassius auratus" with "learning" and "behaviour" should turn up plenty of academic hits. These range from things like avoidance of painful stimuli (now used to imply fish feed pain) through to their ability to remember things (shattering the 10-second memory myth). Alongside Convict Cichlids, Rainbow Trout and Guppies, Goldfish are some of the most widely used laboratory fish.>
I have not been able to find any "toys" for my fish other than the R2 Goldfish school (which, by the way, they seem to enjoy). Do you have any recommendations?
<Hmm... not aware of many fish specific toys. The Goldfish School is, as you've found, pretty neat. I'd perhaps be reading up on some of the lab work, and replicating the more harmless experiments at home. You might try things like colour perception, face recognition, optimal foraging, and so on. You might also peruse your local library, bookstore or Amazon for books on fish behaviour, of which there are quite a few.>
I was thinking of trying out simple Lego mazes.
<Sure! The simplest type is the "Y-shaped Maze" which involves nothing more than a Y-shaped structure that forces the animal but into the bottom of the Y to choose between two directions, as here:
Typically, you allow the animal to explore the maze, but keep putting a reward in just one arm of the maze. See how long it takes to learn to go to just the left or right arm, depending on where you've put the reward. See if the animal goes to the rewarding arm of the maze more often than mere chance (i.e., above 50% of the time). You might then put different foods, one tastier than the other, and see if the animal has a preference. Or you might use a stimulus, like an airstone or a coloured light, alongside the food. Move this stimulus and the food randomly, and see if the animal learns to associate the stimulus with the reward. Take away the food, and see how many times it'll keep going to the stimulus even if there's no food. In short, you'll find this type of thing has been done many times, and Goldfish are eminently suitable to these experiments (if hungry enough!). Indeed, some reports suggest they're as good at learning as rats, and rather better than dolphins!>
but I'd be very interested to learn if any research has been conducted.
Thank you:
<Hope this helps, and good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Question re: goldfish intelligence, RMF's go in a parallel univ. 1/16/10
Good afternoon:
<Hi Gina!>
I have adopted two fancy goldfish and have been very surprised and delighted to discover that my new friends are quite playful and curious.
<Ah, I do agree. I too keep fancies>
I am wondering if you are aware of any recent studies regarding goldfish intelligence?
<I would be surprised if there had not been, but am not directly aware of such>
I have not been able to find any "toys" for my fish other than the R2 Goldfish school (which, by the way, they seem to enjoy). Do you have any recommendations? I was thinking of trying out simple Lego mazes.. but I'd be very interested to learn if any research has been conducted.
Thank you:
Gina de Almeida
<Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YagxDKxbWWY

Re: Question re: goldfish intelligence -- 1/22/10
Bob and Neale:
Thank you very much for answering my inquiry in such detail! I have been inspired and am currently planning some very primary experiments to test my fishes cognitive abilities using lights and colour (with, of course, food rewards)!
If I am successful I plan to incorporate very simple light patterns into my trials. I will be keeping a video journal so I can let you know how things progress!
Kind regards:
<Sounds like you're having some fun there. Very definitely keep us posted, and if you feel the urge, you might want to consider writing up some of your results for the print magazines. I suspect this is the sort of thing many fishkeepers would find fascinating. Expert fishkeepers we might be, but both Bob and I consider Goldfish much underrated, and for aquarists looking for intelligent, interactive pets they're very bit as worthwhile as Oscars and Pufferfish. It's a shame the modern hobby has mistreated them for so long. Feeder fish indeed! Cheers, Neale.>

My Goldfish... beh./hlth., no reading 1/13/10
I woke up this morning and found my goldfish facing the top of the water beside the filter. He looked like he was stuck and I was worried so I set him free.
<Fish don't get stuck when healthy. A fish with its fins in the filter is a weak, probably sick, fish. Review water conditions.>
he started swimming around the tank but he was facing the bottom and having a tough time swimming. That's when I noticed that the bottom of his primary swimming fin (the back one) was off.
<Could be physical damage from the incident with the filter, but that won't be the immediate problem. Be open minded, and check the aquarium is big enough, that the filter is adequate in size, and that water chemistry and
water quality are appropriate.>
He's having a tough time swimming. I normally feed them about this time so to help him get some food I made some of it drift to thee bottom of the tank. He ate it. That made me extremely happy to see that he was ok enough
to eat but then he spit it all back up.... is there anything I can do for him?
<The thing with Goldfish is that most people make no effort at all to keep them properly. A single Goldfish needs a tank above 20 gallons in size, and the filter should be robust and water changes regular. Do read here:
Without any additional information, I have to assume that your problem here is likely environmental.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Goldfish -- 01/13/2010

Thank you for your help. It was greatly appreciated.
<My pleasure. Good luck. Neale.>

Lonely goldfish :( -- 09/08/09
I have a 2 year old Ryukin (about 6" in length nose to tip of tail) in a 20 gallon aquarium.
<Bit of a squeeze in there. Would suggest a 30 gallon aquarium as better, if only because you can have two specimens.>
She is in good health and responds whenever I go near her aquarium. I give her soaked flakes in the morning and peas in the evening.
<Very good.>
I've noticed, if no one is in sight, she sits at the bottom of the aquarium all day and all night. I have several plants and pebbles in the aquarium. I think she is very bored and am concerned.
<Very likely. These are social fish, and get bored kept alone.>
I cannot manage a bigger aquarium. Is there anything I can put in this aquarium with her that will give her some stimulus?
<Not really. At least, nothing that is better than another Goldfish!>
Another fish?
<Yes, another Goldfish. But 20 gallons isn't much space. If you *do* add another Goldfish, you would need a very good filter, and do lots of water changes (25% per week).>
Or some game that she can play by herself?
Or can I spend some time training her?
<Sure, if you want. Some people have trained Goldfish to do tricks. No personal experience, but doubtless you can find something on the Internet!>
Thank you for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Aggressive behavior 8/10/09
We just bought an established (for several years) fish tank (we were told 35 gallon) that has two filters and a BioWheel. The fish that were in the tank are a sucker fish (about 10 inches), a large goldfish (not sure the
types, but it is about 5 or 6 inches), another goldfish about 4 inches, and two smaller ones about 2 to 3 inches each. The two larger ones have split tails and the two smaller ones are more "regular looking" goldfish.
<I see. Well, this tank is fairly overstocked for this selection of species. I'm assuming the "sucker fish" is one of the Pterygoplichthys species catfish. This alone would need a 55 gallon tank to have a happy, healthy life. Goldfish need something like 30 gallons for the first two, and then another 10-15 gallons per additional fish. So all things considered, you'd need a tank at least twice the size of what you have for these fish to live long and happy lives. Any problems that happen from here onwards are likely to be caused, directly or otherwise, from overcrowding.>
We have only had the tank about 4 days and about two days ago we noticed the two smaller goldfish chasing the biggest goldfish and pecking at it constantly. They won't leave the big goldfish alone. After reading your sight, I'm guessing we need a larger tank?
But we're confused because they have all been in this tank for years without problems (or so we think).
<Behaviour changes. When male Goldfish become mature, typically after 2-3 years, at around 10 cm/4 inches in length, they will chase the females. Sexually mature males develop distinctive tubercles on their faces that look a bit like white or pink spots. Anyway, they case the females about.
In ponds, this eventually leads to spawning, but in aquaria, spawning is actually quite uncommon. A big tank with lots of plants (some real, like Elodea, for them to eat, but mostly big plastic ones for decoration) will
provide females the hiding places they need.>
We have separated the two smaller goldfish for tonight, but not sure what to do with them....I'm not sure we want or can afford a bigger tank. We would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, especially if
there could be something else causing this problem.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Vertical Fantail 7/29/09
I have had a 1' fantail in a 5 gallon tank for around 10 months or so, and up until around 6 weeks ago he seemed fine.
<Aquarium is too small. Minimum for Goldfish is 20 gallons, and that's really only viable when they're small; specimens upwards of 10 cm/4 inches will need a 30 gallon tank to be kept in the groups of two or more specimens they require. Further discussion about sickness and cures when Goldfish are kept in 5 gallon tanks are pointless, because there's no way you're going to keep this fish healthy for long under such conditions.>
6 weeks after getting him we tried to introduce a comet, which promptly died within 24 hours and turned out to be water quality, high ammonia, nitrites and pH (new tank syndrome). Around 6 weeks ago he started hanging around the bottom corner of the tank, vertical most of the time, but does still briefly swim ok occasionally. This behaviour seems to be getting worse. He does not seem to be distressed or have any physical lesions. 4 weeks ago we added a White Cloud Minnow,
<"A" minnow...? These are schooling fish!>
no prob.s, then 2 weeks ago added another minnow and a comet. The following day the comet was floating on the top and died 2 days after. I have continually checked pH (7 exactly), ammonia (0), and nitrite (0) but all seems to be fine. I started fasting him 4 days ago and added a number of squashed peas to tank, which he has eaten some of. There seems to be no change in his behaviour, the minnows appear fine. Should I try the Epsom salt treatment, or what else could this be? I'm very attached to him and don't want him to die. Thank you in anticipation.
Your problems are likely environmental and/or dietary, and will probably be fixed by upgrading the tank, raising the hardness of the water, and offering a more varied, greens-based diet. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish fighting during feeding 7/24/2009
-- before my question, thanks so much for publishing a terrific site.
<On behalf of Bob and the rest of the Crew, thank you.>
I have a small patio pond -- 226 gallons. I have stocked it with two small comet goldfish which appear to be doing very well. I placed them in the pond on June 21,
2009 and they seem to have grown about 25%. They are each about 3" now. I don't plan to introduce any other fish.
The water chemistry PH and nitrate/nitrite is checked weekly and is good.
<Hmm... What is good? In the future, please provide actual numbers.>
The pond is stocked with lots of plants for decoration, oxygenation and for the fish to eat. They seem to eat the plants. There is no filter in the pond. There is a fountain and an Aqua Oxy
450 air pump with two air stones. I run it 24/7.
<You will want to invest in some form of filtration , if only to make your maintenance of the pond easier down the road.>
There are also 10 Japanese trap door snails in the pond. The water is very clear.
The fish appear to be healthy, their fins are straight and they swim well. Their color is vibrant. Generally, the two get along well and I see them swimming together often.
The problem is at feeding time. When I get ready to feed they become aggressive towards each other. The swim in a circle chasing each other. They bang each other in the middle of their bodies and towards their heads. I have tried putting the food in two separate feeding rings. This does not help.
They eat the food immediately, but the fighting/chasing continues during the feeding period. The will also try to chase each other away from the food to the other side of the pond. I hang around and make sure that each get some pellets and flake, but one or the other fish may overeat. I also make sure all the food is gone or I remove it from the pond when they stop eating.
<Very good.>
Is this behavior something to worry about and should it be addressed? Or is it a natural competition without any adverse consequences.
<It is natural competition. That said, it my have consequences down the road.>
Any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.
<In a 226 gallon pond, I would consider adding one more Comet that is about the same size as the others. This way, the aggression gets 'spread out' a bit. You can read more about their behavior here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/gldfshbehfaqs.htm >

Re: Goldfish fighting during feeding 7/26/2009
Greetings Mike - just a quick note to say thank you for your prompt reply and advice. I really appreciate it. I will buy another comet this weekend.
<Hi Deborah, my pleasure as always.>
I'm looking forward to more reading about fish behavior .
I intend to overwinter the fish inside because the pond is only 2 1/2 feet deep. I live in central Maryland but it can get quite cold. I am a first time fish owner and I will use your site and books this fall to learn more
about this subject when I bring them inside, probably around November.
<Sounds like a good plan.>
I have not decided whether to put a 20 gallon plastic pond liner in the basement to mimic the outdoor environment (with the same plants etc.) or get an aquarium.
<20 gallons would be a bit tight for two or three goldfish. something in the 60 - 75 gallon range would be better, and easier than you as far as maintenance is concerned.>
Any thoughts on how many gallons per fish I should provide given the fact they are coming in from a pond environment. Are the regular recommendations adequate when moving fish from the outdoors to indoors?
<I would plan on 20 - 30 gallons per fish.>
Would you recommend a plastic pond liner type environment or a traditional aquarium.
<A traditional aquarium would likely be less obtrusive and easier for you to maintain indoors.>
PS. I test the water weekly. At the last test the water temperature was 78 degrees; PH 7.6 and ammonia level 0.25
<Hmm... ammonia is higher than it should be - you really want the ammonia level to be 0. Again, you may want to look at adding some additional filtration to the system.>
Thanks so much again.
Regards, Deborah
<My pleasure. MikeV>

Re: Thank you for your advice - it worked re: goldfish fighting during feeding 7/29/2009
Greetings Mike -
<Hi Deborah.>
I introduced another, slightly smaller comet to the pond this weekend and the fighting at food time has diminished substantially. Bumping, pushing and chasing still occur but everyone is much more focused on eating. Thanks for the great advice.
<Glad to hear everything worked out well.>
Would you let me know if it is appropriate to continue to submit questions.? I don't want to overuse the resource but I do? have some follow-up technical questions about aquariums and filters if you have time
to respond.?
<You are more than welcome to ask questions. However, we do ask that you search the website first., as chances are you will find the information there faster. Then feel free to ask any follow up questions that you may have.>
Thanks so much again for the help.
<Always welcome.>

Weird Goldfish Behavior -- 6/17/09
So i bought a goldfish, its about 2 inches long,
<A baby goldfish then...>
and he is doing some weird things that i don't think are normal. First of all he floats vertical, head up, but he doesn't break the surface, he just floats vertically in the middle of the tank. When you tap the tank or wiggle your finger in the water he pops right to normal and he is very active.
<All very abnormal; check the water conditions, at the very least, the nitrite level and the pH. The nitrite should be 0, and the pH around 7.5.>
also whenever i give him food he doesn't go for it straight away he swims around a bit. I'm really concern about this pastime of his of floating vertical, is it a sign he is going to
tip over? i looked online but i couldn't find anything like this.
<It's not a "pastime" but very likely a negative reaction to poor environmental conditions.>
Please help me? thank you!
by the way, since i just got him i don't have all the equipment, I'm currently keeping him in a very large Tupperware holding 2 gallons
<Not nearly enough water even in the short term. For a few hours perhaps, but that's it. Seriously. Goldfish "babies" could be kept in a 20 gallon tank, but you may as well buy a 30 gallon tank because *that is what you will need*. If you don't have space/money/inclination for a 30 gallon tank, then don't keep Goldfish. Most Goldfish kept in bowls die, miserably and quickly. It's like keeping a dog in a basement; it's just wrong.>
of purified water
<What do you mean "purified"? Mineral water? Or de-ionised water? Or softened water? Just to be clear, Goldfish need hard, alkaline water with a pH around 7.5. Unless you live in a soft water area, dechlorinated tap water should be fine.>
and I'm changing 30% of the water daily because i don't have a filter or anything and i know these fishes can get pretty messy.
i was thinking of adding some gravel and when i save up enough money buy a really big tank for him with everything.
<Please, save up the money for the hardware first, and then get the fish once you have all the stuff you need. What you're doing is cruel. Do start reading, here:
thank you again!!!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

goldfish attack 6/11/09
HI, I first wanted to say thank you for all the help. I have a 30 gallon aquarium and it used to only have one goldfish, I got another one about two days ago. Today I woke up and my old one had its head eaten half off.
<Goldfish don't have teeth in their jaws, so can't bite. It's very, very unlikely one fish has actually bitten the other one. But, if the Goldfish was exposed to poor water quality, and developed Finrot, then it is
perfectly possible for the head to be covered with white slime and dead skin.>
They're fancy goldfish and have those heads that look kind of blown up.
<Do you mean Orandas?>
Well, I watched them for a little while and I saw the new one ,( he is bigger) chasing the little one and going for his tail or head.
<Goldfish are schooling fish, and usually get along with each other. But it is important all the Fancy Goldfish are the exact same variety, otherwise it's easy for stronger varieties to bully weaker ones. All schooling fish
exhibit hierarchical behaviours, meaning that within the group, one will try to be "top dog", but eventually things should settle down.>
I really don't know what to do, I can't have another aquarium nor can I keep one in a bowl or something, but I don't want them biting each others head off.
<I need more information. My suspicion is there's a water quality issue here, and what you're seeing is Finrot. So tell me about the ammonia or nitrite level in the tank.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: goldfish attack -- 06/12/09
Yes, I'm sorry, they are Orandas. I couldn't remember the name at the time.
I did the ammonia test and the ammonia in the tank is .25, I separated the fish.
<That's where things are going wrong. Your aquarium should have an ammonia level of zero. The fact you don't have a level of zero implies the tank is too small, the filter is too weak, or you are giving them too much food.
Likely, it's a combination of these problems.>
I'm scared that they'll hurt each other. The new fish is going to be taken to another fish tank, my mom is taking him, I'm sure he will be well taken care of. Even if it wasn't him the one that caused the problem and it is the water, I just don't feel comfortable leaving them together. As of the other fish that I'm keeping, I'm going to get one or two more fish the same size and the exact same variety (like you said).
<Don't add ANY MORE fish until you have got that ammonia level back down to zero. Review the size of the tank, the filtration, and how much you feed them. A group of 3 or 4 Goldfish will need a tank around 40 US gallons in size, and the filter should be rated at NOT LESS than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and ideally 8 times. In other words, for a 40 gallon tank, the filter should be rated at not less than 6 x 40 = 240 gallons per hour. Feed your fish primarily on plant foods, for example cooked peas and pondweed (Elodea) and use high-protein foods like flake and pellets sparingly. Do start by reading here:
Thank you for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fraidy cat...I mean fish?? GF beh. 5/16/09
Hi , First, I would like to say that I absolutely love your site.
I just spend two hours reading questions and answers that had nothing to do with why I am writing today.
Very interesting and informative'¦bravo! Now, on to business'¦I have a 2 1/2 year old red and white Oranda (definitely a male) and a 1 year old Ryukin (not sure of sex).
<Hmm... assume you're sexing the males by the spawning tubercles that appear at springtime, right?>
They started acting really weird this morning. Every morning I lovingly wake them by opening the blinds in the room first for about 10 minutes and then turn on their lights. Our routine for the last 6 months is us greeting each other through the glass. I sit right in front and they both swim back and forth in front of my face showing off and looking gorgeous'¦trying to see who can get the most attention from me. It's really very cute.
<Being a mere scientist, would suggest their behaviour is more about stimulus (hunger) and response (connecting appearance of food with your presence next to the aquarium). Most fish will learn this relationship, to the degree they appear to "beg" when hungry by swimming up to the front of the tank in anticipation of feeding. My puffers are doing precisely that as I write...>
However, all day today they seemed scared of me. Each time I would approach the tank they would dash behind the live plants in the back of the aquarium and peek out at me only coming out when I walked away.
<Nervousness and skittishness is typically related to external factors; ones to consider include noise (e.g., television sets); acidification (check the pH is stable); and water quality issues (check ammonia level). Fish aren't smart enough to separate what we might call "pain" or "stress" for want of better terms, from the things actually causing them pain or stress. So when they suffer, they simply try to swim away from wherever they are, in the hope that will remove them from the source of suffering. In the wild, that strategy typically works very well, but in aquaria, it can result in some odd behaviours such as seemingly being frightened, when they're actually suffering because of water quality/chemistry issues.>
They also stayed close to the bottom of the aquarium which is not usual for them. They generally use the entire tank for swimming. I have a 41 gallon aquarium and am using a Fluval 205 external filter canister. I do a 20% water change every Friday. I tested my water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and all looked really good, basically non-existent levels.
<What are "basically non-existent". Let's be crystal clear on this: ammonia and nitrite are easy to tell when safe, because they are zero, as in none at all of either. If you don't have zero levels of both, then you have a problem. It actually doesn't matter whether it's a little ammonia or a lot of ammonia, except one will kill the fish faster that the other; both are stressful. As my biology teacher explained things, you can't be "a little bit pregnant" -- it's a binary state. Likewise, your water is either safe (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite) or not safe (anything other than 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite). So, go back and check your readings, and if you have even the tiniest bit of ammonia or nitrite, the THAT'S your problem right there.>
I cannot figure out what has changed! The only other thing I have changed in the aquarium aside from weekly water changes is I added and air pump and two air stones exactly a week ago. Initially I bought an Aqua Clear 50, but tonight I went and exchanged it for an Airpod. I made the change because the Aqua Clear had no valve to control the amount of bubbles. I thought that maybe the turbulence was too much in the aquarium with the Aqua Clear. Is that possible? They are eating well (Nutrafin Max sinking pellets, plants in the tank, and also frozen goldfish veggie cubes, and an occasional romaine lettuce treat) and they look fantastic, but why would they suddenly be scared of me? About 5 hours after changing the air pump (about 9:30pm) my cutie Oranda started coming out again to greet me, but my poor Ryukin still acts terrified of me. What in the world could be going on??? Thank you so much in advance for your insight and help.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Colour loss, GF -- 4/30/09
I am writing from Cape Town, South Africa and should be grateful if you would supply any information which you may have about goldfish colour loss.
<Actually not uncommon. All Goldfish start off green, and then change to orange, black or whatever. Sometimes, they change back!>
Our one beautiful "golden" fish is gradually turning grey (in blotches) and I am wondering if there is anything lacking in his diet or if there is a bacterial infestation in our pool, which is clear to the eye.
<It can be a diet issue. Fish produce the orange colour via carotene, which they get primarily by eating crustaceans. So, offering food with carotene added ("colour enhancing food") can help. You can also offer crustacean foods such as daphnia. But as I said above, sometimes it's genetic, and if the fish is otherwise healthy, there's not much you can do about it.>
Recently we found another fish, a black Moor (sp?) goldfish dead in the same pond. For the past few weeks he had been covered in red blotches.
<"Red Blotches" could be many things, but a bacterial infection is most likely. Typically, this is related to the environment. Goldfish need clean water (0 ammonia and 0 nitrite). If a very small pond has no filter, water
quality problems can easily occur if overstocked. Goldfish also need hard, basic water (10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8) to do well. If the water has become acidic, Goldfish tend to become sick. So, review water quality and water chemistry. Your subtropical climate should otherwise be ideal for Goldfish, but if the water is shallow and gets direct sunlight for too long, heat can cause problems. Some shade (e.g., by building a pergola) can make a huge difference.>
I am not sure if these problems are related. The other fish seem to be fine so far. I have searched through the web to no avail.
Thanking you
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Colour loss - 05/03/09
Thanks so much for your prompt reply, Neale - I am very grateful.
<Happy to have helped. Good luck, Neale.>

Fantail fish, GF beh. 4/24/09
Hi there I would if you could advise me, I have a golden fantail, I've had it for 4 mths now & I've noticed in the past week its loosing it golden pigment on the body only & turning white!
<Does happen with Goldfish.>
the fins remain a golden colour. There is nothing at all to suggest its sick, & all the other fish I have are fine.
Could you advise me on the problem is should I be concerned?
<Concerned, no, not really; it's quite common with non-pedigree Goldfish to change their colours. In some cases the colours might be "enhanced" by the fish breeders using chemicals in the food. In other cases, diet is the issue: feed colour-enhancing fish flake a couple times per week, or better still, give live brine shrimp or live daphnia (or wet-frozen equivalents).
Crustaceans contain carotene that helps fish create some colour pigments they can't otherwise make.>
I have it in a 200l aquarium with an excellent Rena external filter. I do 50% water changes twice weekly using a gravel cleaning, I clean filter fortnightly, & clean the decorations monthly, I also use lots of various live plants.
<All sounds good.>
I've tested water & its spot on.
My lights are white tubes sun-Glo 30w x2, I leave this on about 10 hrs daily. I also feed a good range of various foods & fast them once weekly. The other fish who it lives with are, X2 black moors, X1 mixed veil, X1 Ryukin, X2 mixed fantail
I'd be so grateful for some advise many thanks.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Fantail fish 4/24/09
hi Neale tk.s so much for suggestions, i do feed them freeze dried brine shrimp, daphnia, & blood worms as a treat x2 weekly is this as good as the live stuff?
<It's not "as good" but it's okay. Freeze-dried food is incredibly expensive for what it is, which is why experienced fishkeepers don't tend to recommend it. The wet frozen stuff is cheaper and probably richer in nutrients. But for your purposes, augmenting the plant-based diet of your Goldfish, freeze-dried foods should be fine. Bloodworms don't contain much (any?) carotene, so they won't do anything for the colours of your fish; it has to be crustaceans.>
i worry incase it gives them any unwanted disease, but if its better then I'll anything, within reason lol many tk.s again at least I can rule illness & something I'm doing wrong out.
<Please do send us messages with capital letters, proper spellings, etc. We're quite finicky about such things here, and some folks just bounce right back any messages that don't follow our "house rules"! You have been warned! Good luck, Neale.>

Goldfish Aggression - No Useful Information. 4/6/2009
<Hello Unnamed Querior>
I have 4 goldfish in one tank.
<I hope it is a big tank.>.
I've had one for about a year or even longer before I got the other three.
They have been OK together until recently the new fish have been pushing my old fish into the sides of the tank and cornering him into the bottom of the tank.
<Aggression\territorial issues.... How big is this tank?>
I don't no which ones are females or males, and I'm pretty sure that this behavior isn't normal.
<It isn't, provided they have enough space.>
I don't know what I should do, I was thinking about taking my old goldfish out and putting him back in his fish bowl but I don't know what to do.
<Bowls are terrible homes for Goldfish>
please help me.
<I'm sorry, but you have not given me any information to go on. How big is this tank, what kind of goldfish?, what kind of filtration, etc?>
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm
and feel free to reply back with the necessary information to help you>

Inactive Carassius auratus 3/26/09
I am somewhat new to keeping goldfish. I started my first aquarium in Aug 2008-26 g with 2 Orandas and a very small Sarasa comet (from a feeder fish tank). Anyway, in January I purchased a 55g tank.
<Perfect! The more space these fish have, the better.>
Both tanks have hang on type filters and air pumps, gravel, ornaments(bridge & castle) and fake plants.
<Not wild about hang-on-the-back filters in tanks with large fish because of their limited "push" and "suck", especially with regard to solid waste (feces, dead plant material) at the bottom of the tank. At the very least, make sure the filters are as far apart as practical, so that water circulates around the tank.>
My 55g tank has recently "cycled" Water test results today: API Master test kit readings: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, ph 8.4. We have very hard water, high GH and KH from dip test--do not have the nice test tube kit yet.
<All fine. Goldfish thrive best in hard water.>
Anyway the pH has always been high, it is stable, and from what I have researched as long as it is stable do not mess with it.
My question is: In the 55g tank I have a 6" orange common goldfish, a 3" fantail goldfish and a 4-5" calico fantail/veiltail-the tail is very long. My calico fish swims around somewhat but most of the time hides near a plant in the corner of the aquarium.
<May be a social thing, but could just as easily be "genetic", in the sense of her fins being too long for swimming easily, or her swim bladder deformed. All Fancy Goldfish are essentially mutants and deformed to some degree, so by contrast with Common or Comet Goldfish, they lack the ability to be really bouncy, active fish.>
She/He comes up to eat and eats well, swims around awhile and then goes back to the corner. I do not see any spots, red marks, split tail or anything wrong with it.
<Then do not worry too much.>
It is my favorite fish and I wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with it. I have done a water change-about 30-40% but no help. The other fish are fine, not chasing the calico or anything. Any suggestions??
<Time, observation, and reading up on the needs of our friends the Carassius auratus so that you know what to look out for. If there are signs of bullying, adding another fish might help, but otherwise, leave things be for now.>
The calico does occasionally yawn but from what I read that is normal.
Thanks for your help
<Wouldn't be too worried just yet. Enjoy your fish! Neale.>

Goldfish... period 3/15/09
I have had two standard goldfish for over a year now and they have always been really healthy. I recently added another goldfish to the tank as it was being mistreated by a friend. This new goldfish has flourished but one of my originals has become very lethargic and hangs around at the bottom a lot, sometimes vertically and sometimes with his belly touching the stones.
<Hmm... how big is this tank? An aquarium and a filter that work for X number of fish can become overloaded and unable to maintain X + 1 fish. For three Goldfish, you'd need something around the 125 litre mark.>
He used to react to my presence at the tank and to food but seems off his food and unresponsive to me. I'm not sure what is wrong with him and would really like some help!
<Do review all the basic things: Water quality, water chemistry, and diet.
Thank you in advance,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish laying over--but not in the way I have read in the FAQs 2/10/09 Hi Crew, <Hello,> I have been searching and reading your website for several days trying to figure out what is going on...I have had no luck finding a post that is similar to what I have going on. It is a two fold problem Here are the details: We have/had three fancy goldfish--two Orandas and some sort of grey double-tailed goldfish all about 3 inches nose to tail-- in a 50 gallon tank. We have a small pond pump that is set up to filter through ammo-Carb. <Do understand that neither of these products is terribly useful here. A good biological filter is what you need. Ammonia remover (zeolite) "dies" after 2-4 weeks, tops, and needs replacing. Carbon serves little purpose at all, and to do anything useful needs to be replaced every couple of weeks. Goldfish need a decent size filter, 6x the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So you'll need a canister filter rated at around 300 gallons per hour.> We also have large pea size gravel and large rocks on the bottom of the tank Our nitrites and ammonia have been consistently 0 ppm. <If you really are filtering through just zeolite and carbon, I'm surprised if this is the case, unless of course you are replacing the zeolite regularly or have some other type of filter installed as well.> Our nitrates have been consistently below 20 ppm and our pH is around 7--I use the color charts so I am guessing on exacts--but they are always the right color. The temperature is also consistently about 68 degrees. We feed all fresh food: peas, grapefruit, zucchini, some dried Nori, blood worms, and sometimes a bit of egg. I am also usually very good about not giving them more than they can eat in just a few minutes. <OK.> The first part of the problem is that one of the Orandas, when we first purchased him about 6 months ago presented with some sort of whitish fuzz/fungus while in isolation. We treated him with salt and Melafix (which I have heard conflicting reports about the utility of). <Neither Melafix nor salt are reliable treatments, though both do have mild anti-fungal properties.> The white fuzz went away and we introduced him into the main tank. About a week ago the fuzz reappeared and we isolated and treated him again. During this time I read lots of posts on WetWeb and searched all over but couldn't find a satisfactory treatment option besides what we did--any thoughts on that front would be appreciated (I read about various antibiotics but was hesitant to treat so aggressively when I wasn't even sure what it was. He seemed to get progressively worse and died about 7 days after first showing up with the fuzz. <Par for the course when people use Melafix, I'm afraid. It's like treating a stroke with aspirin. Whatever beneficial properties Melafix may have, the simple fact is that it is easily outgunned by any established infection. As for treating "aggressively", what would you ask your doctor to do if you had what was effectively gangrene? Use an antibiotic, or ask him to stick with soapy water? Balance risk against benefit: fungal infections can kill, and kill quickly, so while copper or organic dyes are toxic, the risk of causing death through their use is a fraction of the risk from not treating at all.> The second part of the problem is now my other Oranda is showing some very slight signs of fuzz (basically just a slight opaqueness on his pectoral fins and anal fins). For the last few months he has seemed to have some sort of narcolepsy as well. He will be swimming along and then suddenly seems to forget what he's doing and just sink down to the bottom. Not violently or crazily, just gently down to the bottom. Now though, he has begun tipping over when he does this. He will gently float down to the bottom and then gently over onto his side. After a while he will "wake up" and start swimming around again. Additionally it seems that his swimming is more hectic than it used to be--sort of dashing around. This behavior started last week. He still seems to be eating normally and interacting with his tank mate normally. This usually wouldn't worry me too much--I have noticed goldfish are kind of odd little guys--but he seems to stop breathing or breath really slowly when this happens. <May be genetic, or due to the deformed anatomy of the fancy Goldfish in question. But could equally easily be a reaction to water quality, temperature or diet. Ammonia and nitrite should be zero, but often aren't. Given your filter system as described, I'm dubious water quality is as good as you think it is, especially given one fish has already died from a fungal infection, something commonly related to water quality. The temperature is perfect for Fancy Goldfish so not worried there. Diet should be okay, though would avoid egg because it does cause constipation in some animals (not sure about fish).> So the two part problem is this: could you please recommend something that I could have done to save the first Oranda for future reference and please tell me if there is something I can do to save this second Oranda. I really like goldfish, don't mind the weekly water changes and water testing, or the feeding of possibly better food than I eat myself--I am just getting frustrated at my little buddies dying and want to be a good goldfish steward. Thanks for any help you can give me, Kate <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Goldfish chasing after meals 2/1/09 Hi guys, It was really interesting browsing your website, great stuff! I have a comet and a common, about 8 cm each, in a 25 gallon tank. They seem to get along pretty well most of the time, schooling and stuff, but every time I feed them, the common will chase the comet around the tank for maybe 10 minutes afterwards. Any other time of the day, they're fine with one another, it's just after mealtimes that the common decides to bug the comet. I feed them two small meals a day, just enough that they finish in under a minute, so I don't think it's that they're hungry. Any ideas as to why he chases after feeding? Thanks a lot! Katie <Hi Katie. There's an assumption that fish in schools are mindless. They're not. Although we don't see it, schooling animals are constantly engaged in pretty intense social behaviours, jockeying for position. My metaphor for explaining this is (unfortunately) based on my niece and her high school career as a cheerleader. From the outside, the girls all formed a coherent team, but spend any time listening to them, and boy, it was knives out! Constant battles over who was the head girl, which girls were her lieutenants. Just the same in a school of fish. What you're likely seeing is nothing more than energy being spent as the Common (what a poor name for a beautiful fish!) Goldfish chases the Comet, asserting his (or her) dominance in the pack. It has to be said that schooling fish tend to settle down best in big groups, and when kept in twos or threes there's always a risk of bullying. So watch out. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish chasing after meals 2/1/09 Hi Neale, Thanks so much for your reply, it certainly seems like he's just jockeying for dominance now that I think of it. Oh and I totally agree that 'Common' is a terrible name for such a cute fish, his real name is Oscar Shakes and my Comet's name is Captain Chance. Have a great day :) Katie <Glad to help. For what it's worth Common and Comet Goldfish are easily my two favourite varieties, and surely among the best aquarium fish out there. If Goldfish sold for $500 a piece instead of 50 cents, I think people would appreciate them a lot more. They're just as pretty as any Arowana, and ten times smarter. Since it's half-past ten in the evening here in England, you mind if I take a rain-check on the "great day" and leave it for tomorrow? Cheers, Neale.>

Fantail behaviour. 01/20/09 Hi, <Hello> I currently have a 190 litre tank, there is more than enough room, air, live plants and bogwood for all of my fish. I have 4 Fantails, 3 of which are the problem, My biggest on (scar face) is approx 10 inches long, the other one (spot) is approx 7 inches long and the smallest one (sparkle) is approx 5 inches long. There is a 4th fantail (sharky) and it's about 8 inches long. <This volume... less than 50 gal.s, minus displacement for gravel, wood... is insufficient space for this much goldfish flesh...> The problem is with the first 3, Scar face and Spot seem to be bullying sparkle, she is small anyway but this consistent...what seems to be battering, is weakening her. It seems that they're both in cahoots and both go at her at the same time. I've had all 4 fish together for a long time, approximately 12 months and there has always been a bit of chasing about, but within the last 3 or 4 days it seems to have become violent. Is she in season and the bigger 2 are competing or is it a case of bullying? <More likely "season"... though it could be a case of bullying as well> If it's bullying, what can I do about it? <Separate them... with a divider... and start looking for a much larger (at least twice the size) system> I can't let them kill her. Thanks K. Ashton <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish mouth is all yellow 1/17/09 Hi, I just noticed one of my goldfish is yellow around the mouth and my comet's tail is partly yellow. Is something wrong? Thanks. <Mmm, likely nothing is wrong here... Some goldfishes do have, accumulate a distinctive yellow coloring in these areas... Likely just genetic expression. If all else appears fine... health- water-quality wise, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>

Introduced new fish, goldfish beh. 11/24/08
I have a 55 gallon tank that I've had one fish in for the last three months. My fish is a large show Oranda. Today I purchased a small Black Moor. The Oranda seems oblivious to the BM, but the BM keeps nibbling on the Oranda's tail when he swims around him. He doesn't appear to be doing it "aggressively" but I am worried that this Black Moor could hurt my Oranda. My Oranda is 5-6 times larger but he has very large, flowing fins.
I appreciate your advice on whether I should remove the BM and if this is normal behavior!
<Hi Jodie. Like any other schooling fish, Goldfish have a hierarchy within the group. Sometimes individual fish, particularly males, can exhibit bullying behaviours. This is most easily fixed by keeping the fish in reasonably numbers; odd numbers tend to work best, so I'd recommend adding one or three more fish to your group. Try to choose varieties of equivalent mobility: mixing, Moors with more sensitive types like Celestials or Lionheads tends to work out badly. In fact Moors are pretty bullish, and work rather well with Standard and Fantail goldfish, which have similar temperaments. Because Goldfish don't have teeth in their jaws, they're unlikely to cause any serious harm to one another, but do keep an eye out for signs of fin damage. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish swimming abnormally 9/29/08
I purchased a small comet goldfish a week ago and added it to an existing 55 gallon outside tank housed in a wine barrel (with a fish safe liner). The tank has a filter and airstone, natural gravel, and a variety of plants. Water chemistry is stable and I have been doing regular water changes. The other resident of the barrel is a comet which I bought almost three years ago. I occasionally feed him pellets, more often I give him peas, or let him eat plants and insects. I have lost several fish over the past few years, to raccoons and swim bladder problems and mysterious ailments.
<While I can't comment on raccoons, except to suggest putting a mesh over this Sushi Bar you've created for them, the "mysterious ailments" is much more alarming. There's really no such thing, any more than you'd expect human beings to keel over for no particular reason. In other words, if a succession of fish die across the space of a few years, beyond what you'd expect through old age (or indeed predation) then you have to review environmental conditions. Almost all mysterious ailments come down to problems with the environment. In particular, check the pH is stable and the water quality is good. Wine barrels are made from wood, and if that fish-safe liner isn't completely isolating the water from the wood, it is very possible the wood is reducing the pH (via tannins) or even poisoning the wood (through slow release of wood preservatives). Also check that the filter is working properly, and that it is adequate to the size of this pond. It is VERY easy to under-filter ponds, resulting in poor water circulation. This in turn can stress fish, particularly in summer when the temperature goes up and the oxygen content of the water goes down.>
Speaking of mysterious ailments... The new fish thrived for several days. But as of yesterday, he does not look well. It started with clamped fins. Now he is swimming abnormally, waggling his entire body a great deal to locomote, in a jerky arcing motion, rather than just swishing his tail to move forward. His pectoral fins do open a little for steering, but are not fanned out as they were at first; one seems more often tightly clamped than the other. The dorsal and ventral fins remain firmly clamped. He can swim up and down and does not list to one side or show classic swim bladder symptoms. All the same, yesterday I fed him peas; today he does not want to eat peas or anything else.
<Given these fish are mostly eating plant foods, then constipation is unlikely to be the problem, though if you have only had this fish a few days, then perhaps it is a lingering problem inherited from its time at the pet store. In any case, treating the water with Epsom Salt may help to some extent, but I'd also consider internal bacterial infections and treat appropriately, e.g., Maracyn and/or Maracyn 2. Internal bacterial infections rarely come out of nowhere, and again, it's your job to establish what stress factors might be present in the pond that have allowed this infection to get started.>
I thought the culprit might be ich and read the FAQ on ich, but he does not appear to have any white spots, scratching or labored breathing. He does hide out a bit in the folds of the liner. I don't see any discoloration, red streaks, or obvious signs of injury or infestation. The other fish seems fine. I did a partial water change and tested the water and there are no issues there.
<With respect, YOU saying there are no issues with the water quality/chemistry isn't the same thing as me KNOWING that there are no issues in that direction. Just to recap, with Goldfish you need ALL of the following: zero ammonia and nitrite, a pH level of 7.5-8.0, and hardness levels of "moderately hard" to "hard" on whatever test kit you're using. Goldfish are very sensitive to pH fluctuations, and much mortality is caused by pondkeepers ignoring this and allowing acidic conditions to develop in the pond. In other words, don't tell me the water is fine; tell me the numbers you're reading from your test kits.>
Any ideas on diagnosis and treatment? I'm hoping his abnormal swimming is a clue.
<Not much of one, unfortunately. Akin to "feeling tired" in a human!>
Thank you.

Help... Fancy goldfish... beh./hlth. 8/21/08 Hi, I bought my Son two Fish (Fancy's) last week. One of them have has a long brown stringy something!!! (looks like poo) hanging from its behind, and measures roughly about 3-4cm long. Could you please let me know what it could be, and what I should do, as my Son is very worried. Thanks Claire <Claire, what you are seeing is a symptom of constipation. The "strings" are compacted faeces. I'm guessing you are feeding this fish Goldfish flake. Contrary to what you might imagine, this isn't a good diet for them. They need lots of green foods; please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm Short term there's nothing to worry about, but long term constipation makes Goldfish much more prone to serious diseases and problems. Do also make sure you understand what Goldfish need to thrive. Too many people buy them without researching their needs, and consequently a miserably high proportion either die or have grim, short lives. Say "no" to bowls and small tanks, and "yes" to big tanks, green foods, and good water quality! See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish sitting on bottom of tank 08/18/2008 Hi Crew, I love your site! It has so much helpful information, but I just can't seem to find the answer to this particular question. First, I'll tell you about my tank set-up. I have a fantail, Ginger, and a calico goldfish, Bubbles, living in a 10 gallon tank. (Small, I know.) Both fish are currently about 2 inches in length. Ammonia and nitrites are 0, and nitrates are 10-20. I do a 20% water change and filter the gravel once a week. The tank is due for another water change tomorrow. For the past week, Bubbles has been spending a lot of time sitting on the bottom of the tank with clamped fins. When he does swim around, his fins are still clamped. He comes up to eat when I feed him, and his physical appearance seems normal besides the clamped fins. Through all this, Ginger still seems normal and perfectly healthy. This strange behavior has happened to a few of the past fish I've had. All those fish ended up eventually not being able to leave the gravel. They'd lay on their sides on the ground and after a few days would die. I just can't figure out what's wrong. I don't want Bubbles to end up with the same fate! Please help me! Thanks so much for your time. Sincerely, Annemarie <Hello Annemarie. In a nutshell, the problem here is very likely environmental. Let's be crystal clear about the environment first: you cannot keep Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. Period. End of discussion. They will keep getting sicker and sicker, and sooner or later something will go wrong. Putting Goldfish in too-small tanks (or God forbid, bowls) happens so often it is scary to anyone with any interest in animal welfare. Goldfish are pond fish really, and in tanks you have to make allowances for the fact that they get to at least 20 cm/8" in the case of fancy Goldfish and over 30 cm/12" for traditional Goldfish. We recommend keeping them in tanks around the 125 litre/30 gallon size at minimum; anything less is like trying to keep a German Shepherd dog in a rabbit hutch. Small tanks fail to dilute the ammonia the fish produce, so that your poor Goldfish is choking on its own filth. It can't exercise either, because there isn't space. Goldfish also need a filter. Being big fish, I'd recommend nothing less than a filter offering 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour (i.e., if you have a 30 gallon tank, you'd use a filter rated at 180 gallons per hour). It's almost certain to me you aren't doing these things because fish after fish is dying in the same way. Please please please review what animals need *before* you buy them -- not doing so is animal cruelty, and I'm sure you love animals and wouldn't want to be accused of that. So, go read this first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm Once you've digested all that, feel free to get back to me with specific comments or questions about how you can improve your Goldfish tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: goldfish sitting on bottom of tank, More Frank Herbert ref.s 8/20/08 Hi Neale, <Hello,> Thanks so much for all your advice. Unfortunately, I think it's too late. <Oh?> Since last night, Bubbles has been hiding in an arch decoration in the tank. He won't even come out to eat. <Far from too late... Don't give up yet. "Don't believe a man is dead until you see his body, and even then you can be wrong" -- Bene Gesserit lesson.><<Muad dib!>> I checked the water levels again, and ammonia and nitrite are both still 0, and nitrate is 10-20. I'm planning on doing a water change and suctioning the gravel today. In my last email I forgot to tell you that the tank does have a 100 mpg filter. <100 miles per gallon? Do you mean gallons per hour? Given that Goldfish need at least 30 gallons, implying a minimum 30 x 6 = 180 gallons per hour filter, that's far too small a filter for any viable Goldfish system.> I read the page you recommended. It had a lot of useful information I didn't know about before. <Cool.> I'm feeding Ginger mostly spinach now instead of flakes. <Until the tank is upgraded to 30 gallons, this is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I can't stress this point enough. Make space, set aside the money. Your fish will thank you, they will be happier, and you will earn much good Karma.> She still seems to be in perfect condition. <So far.> I actually got Ginger quite a while before Bubbles. <How much of a "while"? Goldfish lifespan is 20-30 years under good conditions. So unless Ginger is 20+ years older than Bubbles, time has NOTHING to do with this.> If it was an environmental problem that affected Bubbles, I am wondering why Ginger isn't sick too if she's been in this tank under the same conditions longer than Bubbles. <Absolutely typical. All animals, all people, all plants are genetically different. They react at different rates to similar stresses. I bet you get worse hangovers than some people, but less bad than others. Or maybe you feel the cold more than some people. Or whatever. The thing with environmental issues is that everything "seems" fine, but as sure as God made little green apples, one fish gets sick, then the next, and so on.> Thanks again for all your time and everything else you do. <Very kind.> Sincerely, Annemarie <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: goldfish sitting on bottom of tank 8/21/08 Hi Neale, <Annemarie,> Very sadly, Bubbles passed away last night. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I'm going to try my best to keep Ginger happy and healthy. Thanks for all your great advice. I'm sure it will come in handy. <Indeed it will.> Sincerely, Annemarie <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: goldfish sitting on bottom of tank 8/22/08 Hi Neale, <Good morning,> I'm sorry to bother you again, but today Ginger started sitting on the bottom of the tank too. On the page you recommended me to read, I noticed it said that the temperature for goldfish should be around 59-64 degrees. <Correct. In the wild these are warm temperate/subtropical fish.> The temperature in my tank is about 77 degrees. <Definitely on the warm side, but not lethal in the short term. Increasing water circulation or adding an airstone may help, and do take care to place the tank way from direct sunlight.> Could the warm temperature of the tank, along with its small size, also be affecting Ginger? <Small tanks change temperature faster than big ones, so even though 77F is unlikely to kill Goldfish if they're exposed to it gradually, if the temperature in your home is cooler by night and then gets really hot in the daytime, that could VERY easily be a stress factor. Even more critically, warm water contains less oxygen that cold water. Since the rate at which oxygen gets into the tank is determined by the surface area of the aquarium, the bigger the tank, the faster oxygen gets in. The reason Goldfish "gasp" at the surface in bowls and small tanks is that they are suffocating, and their gills cannot get enough oxygen from the water. So they breath water at the air/water interface where there is the most oxygen. As we have discussed, Goldfish are just not suitable for small tanks or bowls. If you think about it, these are fish that get to the size of trout, and are much bigger than, say, Angelfish. They are about the same size and mass as an Oscar. And yet while nobody would put an Oscar in a bowl or 10 gallon tank, people try to do this all the time with Goldfish. And you know what happens? They have problems keeping their Goldfish healthy. It's really as simple as this.> I put new gravel in the tank about a week ago, too. Even though I rinsed it thoroughly, is it possible that something could still be in the gravel that could be another factor? <Not if you cleaned it properly. If you used detergent, that could cause irritation to the fish if not rinsed out properly. But gravel sold for fish tanks should be perfectly safe. The worst that can happen is you don't rinse away the silt, and that makes the water cloudy. But the fish themselves couldn't care less, and many species come from silty waters anyway and prefer the gloom!> Thanks so much again for all your help and time! Sincerely, Annemarie <Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moor Problems -- 07/16/08 Dear Crew I'm really sorry for being a nuisance but I really need some help. I've never had Black moors before and my friend had got me one for my birthday from the local petstore. I've had him for a month now, and for most of this time he's been velvety black. recently I've noticed him changing colour slightly and I don't know whether it's normal or not. I'm really worried also that he's sick because he has his dorsal and pectoral fins folded against his body. he's in a tank with a comet and a shubunkin, I don't have a filter but I change the water every second day. He's still got his appetite, and he interacts with me and the other fishes in the tank. I don't know what to do and I'm really confused right now. Your help would be really appreciated. yours sincerely Victoria <Hello Victoria. Without knowing precisely what the colour changes are, or what the aquarium environment is like, it is difficult to say what's going on here for sure. However, from the sound of things, my assumption is that Goldfish is reacting to poor water quality by producing extra mucous. This makes its body look more grey than black. The clamped fins would be consistent with this, too. The fact you don't have a filter is worrying: despite Goldfish often being placed in tanks (or bowls) without filters, their mortality under such conditions is very high. I'd encourage you to read something on the basic care of Goldfish, and then review whether the aquarium you have matches those conditions. Very often people make the mistake of keeping them in tanks that are too small, not using filters, or using water from a domestic water softener. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Black Moor Problems 7/17/2008 Dear Neale thank you so much for your help. I'm taking a look at fish tanks so hopefully they might be getting a new home, but until then is it safe to use filtered water? also the black moor is changing to a bluish/brown color and I have a comet that was pure white changing to orange, are these color changes natural? yet again than you for the help. Yours sincerely, Victoria <Hello Victoria. There's no point to using filtered water. Better to use dechlorinated tap water. Do big, regular water changes (I'd say 50% per week, at least). Using filtered water would get very expensive doing that, to no advantage! Goldfish like hard water, so water from a domestic water softener is bad, too. Black Goldfish sometimes turn bronze/green, and changes from white to orange happen too. Goldfish all start off as green when young, and then change colour as they get a bit older. Sometimes their genes make other changes happen too. But do make sure you understand the difference between a fish changing colour and something like Finrot, which causes bloody patches to appear on the skin and fins. Goldfish are lovely, tamable fish that genuinely enjoy human company. So spending a little time and money giving them a good home will pay you back handsomely in the long run. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Black Moor Problems 7/18/08 Dear Neale Thank you very much. I'm hoping that soon enough they'll both be back to normal, its odd that the shubunkin hasn't been affected at all. thank you again, all your help is greatly appreciated! yours sincerely Victoria <We're happy to help. Keep reading, and keep enjoying your fish! Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish... sys. -- 07/10/08 Hello crew, I have seen a lot of similar questions about peoples' goldfish, but I wanted to make my goldfish's symptoms more specific. He was fine a few days ago, but now he just lays down on his side or stomach on the bottom of the bowl. And it looks like he's making an effort to try and swim but only one of his fins is moving, so when he swims its almost like he's uneven. For example, when he tries to go up near the surface of the water only one fin will move and this causes him to twirl around or something like this. He still seems very aware as well, if my sister or I go sit near his bowl he comes over and sits closer to us. Every once and a while when he goes to the surface it looks like he's a bit better, but its almost as if he gets tired really quickly and just goes back to lay down. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Lee <Hello Lee. The problem here is Goldfish do not live long in bowls. Forget everything you have seen on TV. Bowls are "goldfish killing machines" and most die within months of being placed in them. You absolutely must keep Goldfish in an aquarium. Juveniles will do well in tanks around the 75 litre/20 gallon size, while adults (which reach 20-30 cm/8-12 inches in length) invariably need something larger, around 125 litres/30 gallons being a good choice. In bowls they slowly get poisoned by the ammonia they produce, and the lack of oxygen in the water suffocates them. Please also understand Goldfish are sociable, and should be kept in groups of at least two specimens. But don't under any circumstances add another one to your bowl! Instead, read this article on Goldfish care, and then go buy an aquarium no smaller than 75 litres/20 gallons. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Otherwise your Goldfish is doomed and will die. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale

Re: goldfish 7/10/08 Thank you very much for all the advice. My fish is doing much better today, I'm not exactly sure what happened. I will definitely buy an aquarium. Thanks again! Lee <This sounds promising. But please don't delay buying an aquarium for too long... if I was you, I'd put it on my "to do" list for the weekend. And don't waste your money on a little 10 gallon system. For Goldfish, you need a fairly big tank because they grow very quickly and make a lot of mess. Cheers, Neale.>

My zippy goldfish, pond 7/4/08 Hello - I have been reading your threads, hoping to find an answer to my very simple question... <Did you?> I purchased two "feeder" comets from my LFS approx. one month ago. They currently live in a 40 gallon pond on my deck with several water lettuce, water hyacinth, a vigorous water lily, some parrot feather, moneywort and a hornwort plant. <This is a lot of plant life for such a small volume... likely shifts water quality a great deal... too much, diurnally> I made a filter for them from things l had at hand, and it seems to be working like a dream. The filter/pump empties into a small fish spitter and the little eco system seems to be working quite well. I do a 10% water change once, sometimes twice a week (I use the pond water to water my container garden on the deck), have put a few barley pellets in to keep the algae down (so far, I haven't seen any, at all) and my pond gets about 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. I feed my two gold fish one tiny little sinking pellet a day (they are only about an inch in size, each - but have grown a 1/4" since I got them!) and they seem to be doing well. They especially seem to enjoy hanging out among the roots of the floating plants. My spitter sits on three concrete blocks, which also provides some shade/hiding spots for them. <Sounds good> My question is - when I do see them out from under the plants, they are SUPER zippy. They swim about at an accelerated pace, and I'm wondering if they are a bit stressed, or afraid when they are not under cover. The only time I have seen them slow down is when they are nibbling the worst or nibbling at their food. Although one appears to have grown a bit larger (and I'm thinking its female) and will often push the other around when there's food, they follow each other about the tank and tend to "hang out" under the plants together. I do not have nitrate or ammonia testers, but I do test the ph (its currently at about 7.5-8.0) <This is too large a "swing"... In part what I alluded to at first> These are my first fish (I plan to have a 100 gallon pond for them for next summer when they get a bit bigger), and although I've quite enjoyed the research I've conducted so far, I want to make sure they are doing well, have fish-happiness and are healthy. <I see> Thank you for your assistance. -Leanne (and Hugo and Zero) <Well, the "zippiness" may be nothing to be concerned about. With warm/er water conditions, goldfish tend to be more active. As long as they are eating, appear fine otherwise, I would not be concerned. Do keep up with those weekly water changes. Bob Fenner>

My goldfish is flipping out 7/3/08 Hello! <Hello indeed!> New here! <Welcome!> We had two goldfish for about 3-4 weeks. This morning, one was dead. I took him out immediately, checked the filter (looked like it needed to be replaced and so I replaced it), and cleaned the tank. <Be careful here; replacing all the filter media will re-cycle your tank> The fish that is alive has been swimming super-fast all over the tank...not upside-down at all. He swims back and forth, up and down...almost like he is trying to come through the tank. <He may well be trying to escape...toxic water conditions> He also seems to swim in the front of the tank, not in the back at all. His mouth is gaping very very often as well (I don't recall it doing that before). I've put some food in the tank but he doesn't go to the top to eat it as he always has. I noticed him this evening picking at the bottom of the rocks. I don't want him to die either. I feel terrible about the one dying (they were a gift for our daughter when she learned to swim underwater). We are not ready to replace the other fish if this one isn't going to make it and continue a death cycle! Here are some specifics: 2.5 gallon tank (I know now after reading other posts), <In this case rather than replacing a fish, consider replacing your aquarium. A goldfish needs at least 15-20 gallons to prevent rapid build-up of nitrogenous wastes, and swimming room, etc.> whisper filter- medium, he doesn't have cloudy eyes nor does his body look damaged or discolored, the food we have is Wardley Goldfish Flake food, <Do read re goldfish nutrition on wetwebmedia.com; this food will not suffice in the long term.> I have not tested the water (didn't know about that until reading some other posts), he is about 1.5" long and I did not attempt to give him a minced pea. <The pea is a laxative, generally. Vegetable matter is always appreciated by goldfish, though. I would recommend purchasing some test kits if you wish to continue with aquaria- avoid the dip strip variety, as they tend to be of widely questionable accuracy. Also continue to do some reading on WetWebMedia re aquarium husbandry, water changes, feeding, etc.> We are not familiar with caring for goldfish and thought that it wouldn't be daunting aside from feeding them and cleaning the tank. With one dead, I want to make sure the other one doesn't die because of something I did wrong. <Understood. Many of us come in to this hobby without the faintest of what we're doing- who thought keeping ecosystems in glass boxes could be so complicated, eh?> Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated. I read lots of posts before bugging you so I apologize if you answered this for someone else already. If you have, do you have the direct link to that posting? <I would just use the index to find some of the pages on basic freshwater aquarium keeping. Do a few small water changes on your goldfish's tank to keep him alive in the meantime, and research, research, research before setting up an appropriate aquarium for the fish you and your daughter ultimately wish to keep. You will find the time and money invested will repay you thousandfold times in enjoyment and health- both for the fish and your sanity!> Many thanks for your time and consideration, <No problem, Lisa. Why don't you drop by our forum at bb.wetwebmedia.com as well; many knowledgeable people there who would no doubt be happy to answer setup questions, product questions, etc as you continue on this odyssey> Lisa <Benjamin>

Re: My goldfish is flipping out - 7/3/08 7/7/08 Hello! <Hello again!> Thank you for your speedy reply! I meant to update you earlier than this on the goldfish. He seems absolutely fine now. Perhaps I was freaking myself out about his behavior being that I haven't own fish in 16 years (and that was one angel fish and two kissing fish). He hasn't been swimming at the speed of light and is now using the whole tank (I use the term "whole" loosely being it's small). Maybe he was freaked out that the other fish died. <Glad to hear things have calmed down> He is IN LOVE with peas. I gave him a little bit of one pea one night and he couldn't wait for more! I also bought some sinking pellets. I saw him swim immediately to eat one but spit it out just as quickly. I'm not sure if that is because it's too hard. I don't see them the next morning which makes me think he waited for them to soften before eating them (does that make sense?). <Goldfish are quite fond of their veggies. Check information on wetwebmedia.com, or ask for recipes for goldfish foods on our forum at bb.wetwebmedia.com to learn how you can produce your own nutritious, economical foods for your fish that he will relish as much as the peas> Anyway, I know you said peas are a laxative to fish. Does this mean he should not eat them regularly? He really loved the pieces I put in the tank and if he can eat peas regularly, I am happy to give them to him (or other vegetable matter). I'm going to look at the area of your site you recommended to see if the answers about peas and other vegetable matter is discussed there. <Yes, information about goldfish nutrition is available> I'm asking the questions in more of a rhetorical form...however if you're looking for a way to kill a few minutes and want to reply, that's fab too! :-) Thank you so much for all of your advice and your website!!! <You're most certainly welcome> Lisa <Benjamin>

My Oranda's very strange behavior 6/27/08 HI, My name is Whitney. I have a 30 gallon tank operating on a TopFin filter system. I have always kept Oranda's in the tank with a couple of plecostomus. I was having some trouble with the fish, and discovered that all of my toxicity levels were off, <What do you mean by this?> so I started over with the tank. Once it was clean, cycled and all toxicity levels were back to normal I purchased a new Oranda. He is small but quickly adapted to the water. A week later I purchased another one, but this one is about 3-4" long (our small one is about one inch). At first the small one was a little scarred, but in no time they were both doing great, in fact they seemed like friends. I then noticed that the plecostomus was being aggressive towards the large Oranda <Happens> and had removed a couple of scales, so I immediately removed the plecostomus and put in some MelaFix to help the fish. <This may arrest biological filtration> Once he got better I did some water changes to get the MelaFix residue out and ensure that all toxicity levels were appropriate. I test the water frequently, and with the exception of the hard water here in Las Vegas, everything checks out perfectly every time. So here is my problem.....the large Oranda, who prefers to eat sinking pellets, and loves them, apparently also loves to do headstands. <Mmm, not good> He does not float, sink or have any problem swimming, but he likes to put his face against the pebbles and stick his fin in the air, perfectly vertical. At first I just figured this is how he sleeps, but now it is happening very frequently. When he chooses to swim, he swims fine and looks good, but he rarely does. The other fish is perfectly fine, and often lays next to the other on the bottom of the tank. There is still no aggression, no other signs of a problem, and all water toxicity levels are perfect. I don't know what to do and it seems to be very strange. Anything you could tell me would be great. Thank you! <This sort of "gas bladder" anomaly can be due to "just" genetic disposition, but is very often linked to improper nutrition. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above... BobF>

Calico fantail goldfish fighting, env. 6/24/08 I had four calico fantail goldfish in a 10 gallon tank for about a year now. <Need much more room... had you read...> One of them had been sick for a long time, and eventually lost his tail? <Env.> And died about two months ago, leaving me with three in the tank. Recently, I have noticed the two bigger fish bothering and pushing around the fish who is a little smaller natured. I immediately felt bad and put the small fish into a separate, 2 gallon tank, which is way too small. <Yes> I was wondering if it was common for fish to do this? They have been living in the same tank for a year, and this just started happening. Should I try and put him back in the tank with the other two? <Due to crowding mostly... likely nutrition secondarily. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm They, you need a larger world. Bob Fenner>

HELP! Black Wen going see through! 6/10/08 Hello, <Howdy> I am in need of some professional advise asap! I have a forty gallon tank with a 60 gallon filter with four fancy goldfish. One of my goldies is a panda Oranda with a black Wen. A couple days ago I noticed his Wen was becoming see through and I could see some red underneath the flesh of his Wen. It has slowly gotten worse and now a lot of his Wen is now see through. I searched and searched but could not find anything that would cause this. In a panic I went to the LPS and I bought some anti-parasite medicated fish food and parasite clear tabs and the ladies said I could use them together. My gut said to only use the food so that's all I've done tonight as I have an off feeling about using both at one time. Any suggestions would really help! Thanks! <Mmm, this loss of coloration in hoods is actually not that uncommon... is NOT pathogenic... I would remove whatever medication you're using... pronto... by water changes, carbon use... as this/these are more deleterious than useful here. Many such instances are simply a matter of genetic/developmental expression... and will pass (re-color) or not depending on deterministic principle/s and environment... Otherwise, optimizing water quality, reducing metabolite build-up and maintaining good nutrition is all that can be done. You are not likely to find much detail re this condition on the Net, but there are references to it in good books on fancy goldfish culture. Bob Fenner>

Lethargic calico goldfish, system unsuitably small, nutrition lacking, water unlivable nitrate-wise... 06/06/2008 Hi WWM Crew, I have a calico goldfish, Flash, that I have had for about a year and five months. Flash is living in a ten gallon tank with a fantail, Ginger, that I got two weeks ago. <... need more room than this> Both fish are about 2 inches. They've been getting along just fine, but in the past week and a half Flash has been very lethargic. He stays at the top of the tank and his fins droop and kind of fold over (especially tail). He seems to swim okay, but sort of floats up sometimes. Ginger appears normal. When I feed Flash, his appetite is still normal. I changed 25% of the water last on May 26. <I would do this weekly> I tested the water levels: nitrate=20-40, <Much too high... polluted> nitrite=0-.5, <Must be zero> total hardness=150-300, alkalinity=120-180, and pH=7.2-7.8 (ran out of test strips, but last week ammonia=0). Also, before I got Ginger I had another calico, Lightning, living with Flash. Awhile after Lightning died, Flash sat at the bottom of the tank (depression after Lightning died?), <Perhaps> but he could swim just fine to eat. Once Ginger arrived, Flash didn't sit on the bottom anymore. Could Flash sitting on the bottom previously have anything to do with his problem now? <Mmm, yes...> Before I got Ginger, I was feeding Flash "Jack's Aquarium & Pets Goldfish Flakes" twice a day. <... need more than this dried food...> Lightning was sitting on the bottom, so I thought he might have been constipated; I decided to feed Lightning and Flash just once a day. After Lightning died, I continued to feed Flash once a day. Could his weak, lethargic behavior now be a result from me feeding him only half as much as before? <Maybe a contributing factor> Just today, I realized that some of Flash's waste was white (a little see-through) and kind of stringy. This is the longest I've ever had a goldfish and I want to keep him healthy! Thanks for your time and can you please help me?! <Oh yes... can and will> PS-Just a little more info: Over the past several years I've had several goldfish. Only two are in the tank at a time because ten gallons is pretty small. <Really impractical... too small to be stable, stay relatively unpolluted twixt maintenance on filters, dilution of wastes via water changes... Had you read...> Most of these fish died the same way. They'd float at the top for around a week, and then would lie on the ground on their sides and would die soon following this stage. None of these fish were around more than a year. Do you think there's just something wrong with the water I dechlorinate from the tap? <... Please start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and onto the linked files above. Your system is unsuitably small, nutrition lacking, water unlivable nitrate-wise... Bob Fenner>

Re: calico won't eat 06/06/2008 Hi again WWM Crew, I just sent you an email on June 5 about my lethargic calico goldfish, Flash. I told you he still had an appetite; he doesn't anymore. Because Flash seemed weak, I decided to try to feed him a few fish flakes tonight. The flakes passed right in front of Flash, but he refused to eat them. I'm getting worried! Again, thanks for your time, and please get back to me as soon as possible! <... reading. B>

Re: lethargic calico goldfish 6/6/08 Hi WWM Crew, I just wanted to thank you for getting back to me so quickly. You gave me wonderful advice, and I'm going to start using it immediately! Very sadly, Flash passed away last night. I guess it was just too late, but with your advice I know I can keep Ginger healthy! Thanks again, Annemarie <And happy I hope/trust! Cheers, BobF>

Goldfish sitting on the bottom!? 6/3/08 Hey everyone, I have a 30 gallon goldfish tank with two stunted comets and two fantails (I wrote in a question a little while ago about the stunted fish, and you guys were great. I'm really sorry for bugging you again). My question is about one of my fantails. He was sold to his previous owner as an Oranda and was kept in a filthy ten gallon with five other fish. I've had him for about seven months and in that time he has not grown at all. He's about an inch and a half long, with no hood, huge eyes, a funny shaped body, a bent back, and two dorsal fins (or one that was split, I can't tell). Kind of a funny looking little fish. Although odd, he has always been one of the most active of my goldfish, always cruising the tank looking for food. For the last couple of days he hasn't been nearly as active. He just sits on the bottom of the tank for a couple of hours, then gets back up. In fact, he is spending more time each day laying on the bottom. He is not gasping, his fins are up, and is eating regularly. I'm wondering what is wrong with him. I had another fantail a couple months back that exhibited the same behavior and ended up passing away. All of the other fish are normal, happy and healthy. I just did a 35% water change and he is still spending a lot of time laying on the bottom. <Mmm... this sitting... is not a good sign> I just checked the water and the ammonia and nitrites are at 0ppm. The tank gets a 30-50% water change once a week. <Good> They are fed a small amount of pellets twice a day, as well as treats like romaine, brine shrimp, and marine algae. Any help would be wonderful. He may be funny looking, but he's a great little fish. Also, I have an African cichlid tank (lake Malawi). It' gets a 25% water change once a week. Right after the change, I notice a spike in the aggression among my fish. They go at each other for a while and then calm down, especially my largest male. By night time, they all have at least one rip in a fin or a missing scale. Is there any way I can cut back on this spike? By the time they all heal, it's time for a water change again! <Good observations and relating... I do see the same behavior in/with my African Cichlids and water changes as well. The goldfish I suspect are having trouble with gas exchange... basically a lack of oxygen... Likely due to increased temperature with the warm season and a "coating" of oil on the surface of the water caused by foods... I would add aeration/circulation, particularly something that will disrupt the surface (like an added outside hang-on power filter).> Thanks so much! Jessica <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stunted goldfish questions. 5/28/2008 Hi everyone, First off, you maintain a wonderful site here. It's been amazingly helpful. <Ah, good> I have a 30 gallon tank with two small comet goldfish and two fantails (one pom pom and one small, very odd looking Oranda). The tank has 0ppm ammonia and nitrite and gets a 30% to 50% water change once a week. <Very good> They get fed a small amount of pellets twice a day, as well a treats like romaine and brine shrimp occasionally. All my fish seem active, happy, and healthy. <The best> My question relates to the two comets and the Oranda. Their previous owner kept them in a ten gallon with three other goldfish. The water was changed very infrequently and I can only guess at the state of the water quality. Needless to say, it wasn't very good. When I got the three goldfish, they were about and inch and a half long. I've had them in the 30 gallon for about six months, and the only thing that has grown is their tails. They have not put on any weight or length. I was wondering if they ever would? Do you think they were stunted? <Is indeed possible. I have encountered both situations... in which previously "challenged" goldfish (et al. species) did not grow much further at all, and where they did resume> I am in the process of setting up a small pond in my backyard that I would love to put the comets in, but I worry about leaving such small goldfish outside. <Mmm... not likely a problem. And if anywhere, they will resume growth in a pond setting> Also, one of them sometimes gulps at the top of the tank. <A natural behavior. Not to worry> Like I said, my ammonia levels are at 0, and none of the other fish in the tank ever do this. Do you think his gills were damaged by the time spent in a dirty habitat or am I just over reacting? <Perhaps a bit of both> I've gotten way too attached to these little guys and any advice would be wonderful. Jessica <You're doing fine... Enjoy your aquatic charges. Bob Fenner>

Don't understand my goldfish's behaviour and... Reading 05/23/08 Hi, I have been looking for answers for a few days now and I think yours is the site to help me. I have a small tank 20 litres tank with 4 small ( 2" maximum length) goldfish in it. <... needs more room/volume...> Before these little guys I had 3 large ( 4"fish ) and they were doing really well, never any problem, but were too big so I found them a new home. <Good> Now my small fish, whom I thought would do better, due to the fish / water ratio are poorly. 1 of them stays all the time in the plant we have , head down, hardly moving but comes up for food. No idea why it is doing this, could it be spawning , or trying to spawn ? <No...> Secondly, 2 of the fish have a milky, mildewy look to their skin and their tales are shredding ( the skin between the 'ribs is disappearing ) and they can 't swim very well as a result. What could this be and how do I treat it? <Environment... water quality...> Any help and advice is most welcome as I am attached to little beasts. Thanks in advance Susanne from Portugal <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Odd behavior 5/16/08 My son has two regular/feeder goldfish. We have had them for 3 years. One has grown very large, and the other one has only one eye (It came this way from the store). Both are very interesting and enjoyable to watch. Three days ago, the large one started picking up a rock, that is about 2 inches around, and "throwing" against the tank. Some facts: he has always picked up gravel from the bottom of the tank and spit it out, never "throwing" it against the tank. The tank is 55 gallons. The fish get fish treat pellets and regular goldfish flakes. Nothing has recently changed (tank cleaning, moving, food, etc.). The first day this behavior started my husband eventually moved the rock. The next day that rock, in addition to two more rocks, were back to the corner of the tank where he continued to "throw" the rock. This goes on throughout the day. I want to know why he is doing this? Does he enjoy it? Is he bored? Is he nesting? The one eyed goldfish just watches and swims around him. The big one also often chases the small one around the tank. Help. I would hate for anything bad to happen to these fish. They truly are like family, they have been with us for so long. <Greetings. Nothing to worry about here, though very, very odd for Goldfish. Cichlids are notorious for their landscaping abilities, and will often move surprisingly large amounts of sand or pebbles about the aquarium. Goldfish don't build nests, and normally scatter their eggs about during a rather frantic spawning dance through the plants. Contrary to myth, Goldfish are relatively smart animals, and widely used in animal behaviour experiments. So this may simply be a "play" behaviour of some sort, or perhaps a displacement behaviour. Your tank is nice and large, but you might consider adding some big plastic plants (tall ones, ideally) and perhaps a few rocks so that the fish have places to explore and investigate. In addition, you might try hand-training your fish: this teaches your fish to interact with the people outside the tank (by begging for food, usually!) and also you can try feeding them in a more fun way, moving food about so they have to chase it or swim to the top. Anything that makes life more fun is a great idea with large fish, because they often are quite smart animals. You could also add a couple more Goldfish: the more pals they have, the less bored they'll be. Cheers, Neale.>

Calico Fantail is acting weird, no info. -05/07/08 he/she is rubbing against mid-water and near my other calico Twister I want to know why this is happening and Twister is less fat then him/her so I want to also know how to tell gender <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the sections on Goldfish. You offer no useful data... Bob Fenner> re: Calico Fantail is acting weird -05/07/08 Is it possible that my calico fantails are able to reproduce with themselves? <Yes. Cheers, Neale.>

My Chameleon fish, Goldfish colour change/beh. 4/13/08 Hello, This is more a general enquiry than a worried owner. I have two fish one Oranda and a Fantail, we've had then for round a year they live in a well maintained 40L tank and appear to be extremely happy with gorgeous colouring. When I bought them the Oranda (George) was a beautiful coffee brown colour all over and the more lively and playful (bordering on annoying George) Fantail (sharky) was a vibrant orange with a brown stripe down his back and brown lips....However now the fantail (sharky) has lost his brown stripe but remains orange with brown lips, whilst my Oranda (George) has completely changed his colouring he is now? orange with brown lips exactly like his partner in crime sharky....Is this normal??? Thank you Bea <Bea, It is quite common for Goldfish to change colour. Provided the fish is otherwise in good health and doesn't show any signs of background problems like split fins or excessive mucous production, I'd not worry about it. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish behaviour problem... env. 3/9/08 Hi WWM Crew! My name is Nikola and I'm writing to you from Belgrade, Serbia. Thank you for your help in advance! <Welcome Nikola> The problem is this: I got a fish tank for my birthday (20 litres) and a goldfish (a little one by the way), now I know it is a small tank, but it was a gift so I kept it and bought 2 more goldfish (from the same tank in the store-fantail all 3). <These fish need more room than this my friend> After a while the 2 new fish seemed to get along extremely well with one another but not so well with the little one. At first, after feeding the 2 used to get really hyperactive, searching the pebbles for food and used to chase the little one away. Then they started chasing it. Little by little it got really aggressive, they seemed to be pushing it around hard. Now I don't know if it's because of them or did the little one get fin rot, but he got sick and died. Now I bought a new fish (also fantail) and now they're aggressive toward it too. Can they truly hurt it? <Yes> What should I do? I would appreciate it if you could answer me to my e-mail. Thank you! <The agonistic/aggressive behavior is largely due to crowding... These goldfish need much more room... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish swimming in formation 3/7/08 Hello, I stumbled across a video of 4 goldfish swimming in formation, and responding to hand signals. I am skeptical that fish can be trained in this way. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbei8_tRNS8> Jeremy <What a hoot! BobF>

Redcap- goldfish, colour fading 2/9/08 Hi This is the first time that I have ever asked for advice online. <First time caller!> I have a large tank with a variety of 6 goldfish ranging from 4 to 2 years old. One of my fish is a red cap with pot belly fish ( not sure if that is the correct terminology). <Proper terminology is likely something in Mandarin or something... but anyway.> I am guessing it is around 3 and a half years old and has a very thick raised cap. That changed about a year ago. About 4 days ago I noticed that the red cap was fading in colour. <Does happen, usually because of excess mucous (grey stuff) or fungus (fuzz) covering the "cap". Usually a sign of water quality issues, e.g., inadequate filtration, over-feeding, or insufficient water changes. In any case, your first task is to do a water test for nitrite.> Prior to this it was a nice deep orange red. It now has patches with the colour missing and in fact it almost seems transparent. Is this normal, aging or is there something I should be doing to help it? <Certainly NOT normal, no. Sometimes genetics can be at the root of the problem, especially if water quality appears to be good and all the other fish are in sparkling health. But if the "cap" is not only losing colour but also exhibiting a change in texture or has visible signs of mucous, rot, or fungal infection, then genetics aren't likely the key factor.> thanks for your help, Lyn <Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish lack of growth 2/7/07 I have perused the goldfish FAQs but have not found a response to my question yet. I have chiefly planted tropical tanks, but in our living room we have 2 goldfish. One is a calico Ryukin, the other (we think) has some Wakin and some Comet in him... he's got a Comet's finnage and a Wakin's body shape. They're in a 29 gallon tank, which is lightly planted with some Anubias and Java fern. There is also a small algae crew in there... largely Taiwan Blue Shrimp (Neocaridina denticula sinensis.) <Sounds very nice> We use an Aquaclear filter which circulates around 350 gph. We feed our goldies Hikari Oranda Gold as a staple, which we soak for 3 minutes before feeding. They also get frequent fresh snacks including duckweed, Riccia, Water Sprite, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, tiny bits of baked squash and yam...in short, lots of veggies. The water comes out of the tap at about 8.0; we (religiously) do 20% water changes 2x weekly. We don't really have any floating problems. We've had them for over 6 months,! and while they seem healthy and active, I'm just not seeing a lot of growth, and I'm wondering why. Am I not feeding them enough? <Mmm, maybe this... could be a lack of useful nutrition... might be a metabolite feedback issue at play here as well. But, in all desired forthrightness here, I would continue as you're doing... Much better for your goldfish to (apparently) grow slowly and live long, healthy lives. They will seem to grow more during the summer> They don't look underfed, they're just not much bigger than when we got them. I'd estimate that they're about each about 2.75-3 inches long not including the caudal fin. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks! Rus Wilson <Mmm, again, if it were me/mine, I'd continue as you're doing... If you want to speed their growth, higher percentage water changes weekly, dropping the pH (likely through blending in some "cleaner" water... with less alkalinity), adding a bit of higher protein foods... will do this. Bob Fenner>

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.>

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 behavior...please help 1/5/08 Hi there! <Hello,> I'm not quite a fish brainer, but I've read a little bit about fish and their breeding, specially mine. <Very good.> I have a 42 gallon tank and I have a red cap and an orange fantail. Today my orange fantail began chasing all around the tank my redcap and I supposed well, it's a common behavior and then I looked for the male tubercles but I couldn't see them. So my question is, can the tubercles appear later? or are my 2 fish are males? <The breeding tubercles should be visible on sexually mature males in breeding condition. If you can't see them, then chances are your fish are either females or else aren't in breeding condition.> And, if they lay eggs, when I separate the eggs to another tank to avoid getting ate, do I have to provide more oxygen or with the surface oxygen is OK? <You will likely need to remove the eggs to another tank to prevent them being eaten. It's just not practical in most cases to leave the eggs with the parents. You can certainly try putting the eggs in a floating breeding trap to see what happens before you invest in a 10 or 20 gallon tank just for rearing fry (which is how experienced breeders rear baby fish). This said, Goldfish are notoriously difficult to spawn anywhere other than a pond, where they tend to breed like rabbits. In an aquarium, you need to provide conditioning foods (bloodworms and mosquito larvae for example) and then cool down the water for a few weeks (to simulate winter) and then warm it up again (to simulate spring). Goldfish spawn in the morning, and the tank should receive some early morning sunlight to "trigger" spawning.> Thanks. <You're welcome.> P.S. I don't know exactly how old are my fish cause when I bought them they where a little big, not too much but they weren't fry. And now they are quite big about 8 cm o more I'm not sure <May be a bit small for breeding still. 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.>

Fantails harassing black moor -- 1/2/08 I had 2 fantails and a black moor in an outside aboveground pond of cca. 200 litres (80 gallons, I guess). As we get quite cold winters, this October, I transferred the fish in a makeshift aquarium inside (in several steps to get them acclimatised to the temperature (the garage, the screened porch than the hallway, finally the heated room). <Good... and good technique> The makeshift aquarium was about 50 litres <Needs to be larger than this...> and the fantails seemed to be harassing the black moor, so I had them separated (the black moor on its own in one, the fantails together in another. <Good> I tried to improvise the system which would cycle the water among the two aquaria, hoping that the larger amount of water would be more easily balanced. This didn't work out very well: it was impossible to maintain equal water levels, so I had run the setup with separate air pumps to drive small DIY filters. It all sent seemingly fine and 2 months later I decided to buy a larger glass aquarium (120 litres - around 30 gal), <Needs to larger...> which I set up using existing filter media and gravel, hoping that it would be better looking and give more space to the fish. When I put them together, the fantails started harassing the moor. The moor would "hide" on the bottom or upside down in the corner. I had hoped that the larger space would be enough to prevent such behaviour. <If it were large enough...> The question is: will they stop fighting eventually and If not, is it better to keep them separated in different tanks or try a tank divider. <I would first get a large/r enough system...> I really like the large tank and the water quality is great in it, so I feel sorry for the moor to be left in a small tank and having to endure larger water changes. Thanks a lot for your help. Kata <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. The behavior you observe is quite common... and you do need to address it... by separation, or providing suitable space. Bob Fenner>

Re: fantails harassing black moor 1/2/08 Dear Bob, Are you saying that I need more than 120litres for 3 tiny goldfish (around 5 cm)? <Mmm, no... sorry for the assumption on my part... I thought your fans would be much larger than this> I read somewhere that I need a gallon for every inch of fish and I have much more than that. <A poor "rule"... imagine a ten inch fish in a ten gallon system...> Even your "rule" of several gallons per young fish and even 10 gallons per fish still hold. How much more would you say I need? Thanks. Kata <You should be fine here after all... until these fish are much larger... in a cool (temp.) garage setting, with adequate biofiltration. I would just put in a partition to keep the gold fans from the Moor. Cheers, BobF>

Black moor colour changes 12/3/07 Hi, I have an 80 litre (not sure conversion to gallons) tank with 5 small goldfish, one of which is a black moor. Recently I noticed some colour loss around the black moor's eyes, his gills and his anus, which has slowly begun to spread. He is slowly turning a silvery colour. At first I thought he was losing scales, but when I look closely, all his scales are intact, they are just changing colour. Other than that he and his tank mates all seem perfectly healthy, are swimming properly and have good appetites. I have been doing some research and read about black moors changing colour sometimes naturally, but just wanted to double check whether or not this is what is happening. Thank you, Jem. <Greetings. It's difficult to see precisely what's going on because of the lack of focus and the marks on the front pane of glass. So I can't tell if there's anything odd about the mucous layer or scales. But it basically looks as though the change in colour is natural. All Goldfish start off as silvery green, and as they mature they become gold, black, or whatever. Some fish never change, and others change back. It's just the genes. If you look at "grade A" Goldfish and Koi sold for breeding purposes and hard-core collectors, they're many times more expensive than the pet-grade fish sold to hobbyists. This is why. So, just sit back and enjoy your fish for what it is, a slightly odd set of genes swimming about in a multicolour Black Moor. Please do remember that there is no such thing as a "small goldfish" -- there are only immature goldfish. Adult fancy varieties will be around 20 cm long, and regular fish nearer 30 cm. So 80 litres is too small for adult Goldfish; a ball-park figure is around 110 litres for the first couple of Goldfish, and another fifty more for every one or two more added. Keeping them cramped causes problems in the long term, not least of all poor fish health and cloudy water. This is why I don't really rate Goldfish as indoor animals, but as pond fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Redcap Oranda problem 11/6/07 Hello, I have a red cap Oranda named snookums for about a year now and is quite healthy and just recently ive noticed the large red cap growth has grown to an extent where it covers the top of its head completely. it also has some kind of clear tissue/membrane growth by its cheeks which doesn't look like any disease at all but looks more like parts of its face... my question and concern is that the membrane by its cheeks is slowly growing and beginning to creep near its eyes. what would be the best thing or method to counter that? <Mmm, there are times, folks who advocate some sort of surgical removal... I do not... I would just wait, allow the fish to develop other senses to finding its way about, food...> ive seen a picture of it in a book (cant remember the title) where they would use a scalpel and remove the membrane quickly while the fish is out of the water for a few seconds? <Yes> I know this sounds barbaric, but they mentioned that this is the only thing that can be done to save it. <Can, will adapt as is...> this is exactly what happened to my brothers goldfish until it was too late and the fish couldn't see where it would swim too, then it just stayed in one place helpless... I really don't want this to happen to my fish, so any help would be appreciated. thanks in advance, Ryan <Try to not worry, anthropomorphize... All will likely be fine. Bob Fenner>

Black Moor Behaviour 9/16/07 Hello :) <<Hello back. :) Tom here.>> Sorry to bother you. <<Bother away! That's why we're here!>> I have 3 baby black moors, 2 in one tank and 1 in another smaller tank. <<How large are the tanks?>> Of the two sharing a tank, one likes to swim around all the time and the other likes to lie on the bottom in the black rocks about 50% of the time. <<Swimming around all the time is good. Lying on the bottom isn't, even when it's only 50% of the time.>> The one in the tank by himself likes sitting on the bottom about 80% of the time. <<Trust me. He doesn't 'like' it. He's laying on the bottom because something's not right.>> They are not 'head-standing' rather just resting on their bellies in the middle of the tank. Should I be worried about this? <<Yes, you should. Do me a favor and write back with the specifics about the tanks, i.e. size, filtration, water parameters (if possible), cleaning regimen/schedule, etc. It's a good bet that your Moors are in tanks that are either too small, which is a very common mistake, or, the water conditions are out of line with their requirements. (Don't be afraid to include your name. :) ) Thank you! <<You're welcome and, I'll look forward to hearing back from you. Tom>>

Weird lionhead behavior 9/11/07 Hi, <Howdy> I recently purchased a lion head goldfish, and it has a really odd behavior. In one particular section of my tank, it would first float vertically with its mouth and head at the bottom of the tank, and then it would eventually flip over and "sleep" on its side as if its dead. It would do this for a period of time and "wake up" from its sleep and swim around like nothing has happened. When it does "wake up" it acts fine like nothing is wrong and continues to swim joyfully around the tank with its other buddies. Is this normal behavior lionheads? Or is there something wrong with it. Thanks for all the help! sleeping fish <Mmm, like too many fancy goldfish, this reads as if this one is suffering imbalance problems from genetic, possibly to likely nutritional, and perhaps traumatic influences... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm Perhaps a careful regimen of low protein food... Bob Fenner>
Re: weird lionhead behavior 9/12/07 Hi, Thanks for the tips, I've been watching my new lionhead and noticed that its having trouble keeping its balance. It seems like whenever it tries to idle around (without really using its fins to swim ) the head is too heavy for the body, and it keeps on tipping over. Is a new diet the answer or is this a more serious problem. Thanks for all the help! <Welcome my friend. I too keep fancy goldfish... They are beautiful... but like some companion dog breeds, I do think that some lines are getting "too touchy". Bob Fenner>

Constant swim bladder issues... floaty... goldfish 9/10/07 Hi, my name is Mel. I've had a smooth running goldfish tank for over a year now, but a new resident is making me worry. He was a birthday present from my little sister and although she meant well, she picked a dud. Dwight, as we call him, is not a beautiful fancy goldfish. In fact, he's rather a mutant. He seems to be a cross of breeds but due to his awkward appearance, I have no idea which two. Dwight has one eyeball larger then the other, which leads to difficulty feeding, and small fins which means he has to swim twice as hard as everyone else. Although he does eat and has grown to a healthy size, he seems to have a problem with his swim bladder. Usually at the end of the day little Dwight just kind of float with his back against the surface of the water. He moves around the tank but sticks to the surface. <Not good> Every now and then he dives, but quickly bobs back up. I was worried the first few days, but every morning he's right as rain again. Since none of the other fish are affected I'm pretty sure it's not water quality, and since it's regular I have a feeling it's just a down side of Dwight's interesting physic. <Well put... Is likely a big factor here> I was wondering if this home-grown hypothesis makes sense and if there is anything I can do, changing his diet of TetraColor Sinking Goldfish Pellets or adding some kind of organic food item, that will help with his swim bladder problem. Thank you so much for your help. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above... till you understand the inputs (about the same as you state above) along with the dried food issue for this fancy breed... and options for treatment. Bob Fenner>

The Finks continued... 9/5/07 Dear Crew (and Neale), <Hello,> I wrote to you a few weeks ago about Molefink and Batfink, the 1.5" double-tails who were languishing in a 14 litre starter kit and I thought you'd be pleased to know that as of a week ago, they were upgraded to a whopping 40 gallon monster-tank (a Juwel Rio 180) courtesy of my other half who felt that one trip to the petshop for a big tank was better than fifty trips for medicine. <Indeed! I have the Rio 180 myself, and a very fine aquarium it is too. I did add a second filter though, and eventually a third, because I have a Panaque catfish in there who could poop for England in the Olympics.> I've put the foam from the little starter kit filter into the big filter to hurry up the cycling and in the past week they've shown dramatic improvements; we seem to be winning the war on diseases. <Big tanks = healthier fish = easier fishkeeping. No-one believes us when we say this, but buy a tank twice the size you planned on, and you'll end up cutting the work and expense in half.> However, Molefink has done something weird to his mouth. To explain, on the upper lip, the inner part that telescopes out and picks up gravel etc. seems to have come out too far and the little upside-down V has caught the outer skin. As he's closed his mouth, it's pulled the outer skin up. <Yes, seen this before in goldfish. It's a slight dislocation of the jaw.> I've been watching for a couple of days hoping that he'll do a big yawn and that the outer skin will pop back over the V and sit back where it should, but so far no joy. <Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, it isn't anything to worry about unduly.> He doesn't seem particularly upset about it but I was worried that if it stays like that, from all the eating and gravelling and just general breathing, the skin might get sore and become infected or even split, and I didn't want to try wrestling it back into place myself because he's so tiny and I'm a ham-fisted giant in comparison. <Agreed; manipulating fish is possible but needs to be done extremely carefully because their bones aren't nearly as strong as you would think (because, of course, water carries they weight, not their skeleton). In all honesty, while it *might* be possible for a fishkeeper to re-locate a dislocated jaw, I can't help but feel this is something best left to a vet.> Is there anything I could (or should) do? <No, not really. So long as he's feeding, just let him be.> Or should I see how it goes? <Yes.> Thank you very much again, and for your help before. It's immensely appreciated. Claire and The Finks <Good luck, and good to hear things are working out. Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish Behaviour: Odd? Crowded, uncycled, reading 8/30/07 Hi, great website, I've learned loads in the last couple of hours! I've had as good a look as I can, but haven't been able to find an answer to my specific question. Apologies if I'm just too blind to see it! <Okay> I bought a 18x10x10 inch tank (I can't figure out what that is in gallons ... math is not my strong point) <... there are about 231 cubic inches per gallon...> last week, and put a goldfish and a comet in a few days ago. <Won't be enough room...> I'm gathering from your site that the tank is too small (although the pet retailer said the tank was adequate for three goldfish, which is irritating) and I will upgrade once the fish are bigger. They're about 4cms at the moment and it doesn't look cramped, but: <...> Yesterday I noticed that every time they bump into each other (which is often as they seem to loiter in the same areas all the time) they sort of rub against each other and chase each others tails, rather like puppies would if they had fins and scales ;). I'm new to fish keeping, and while it doesn't look serious I can't decide if it's playing, mating behaviour, or a minor form of fighting which will get worse as they grow bigger. I really don't want unhappy fish and I'm not sure whether I'm worrying over nothing or if my concerns are genuine. I'd much appreciate any advice you could give me! Ellie <... this system is not cycled... The fish are poisoning themselves... may be other issues... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Hi, just a couple of questions about Goldfish, please... Sys., beh. mostly 8/26/07 Hi! You really have a great website! <<Hello, Kim. Tom here.>> I just have a couple of questions. I have 2 black moors and a goldfish. <<Not being 'picky' about this at all, Kim, but your Moors are Goldfish, too. I understand the distinction you're making, though.>> I just changed out the rocks in their tank (I read the rocks could be bad for them) to sand & the moors have been lying on the bottom some. <<Goldfish do have a habit of picking up rocks, which can sometimes get stuck in their throats. From this standpoint, yes, rocks can be problematic for Goldfish.>> They still come up to eat immediately & don't look sick at all, so wondering if they are just sleeping? <<Goldfish aren't noted for sleeping on the bottom of their tanks. This behavior is usually associated more with some type of stressful situation/condition going on.>> Or if it is constipation- (they do look fat). They do eat like they are ravenous though, since I changed from flakes to worms. I don't really have the opportunity to watch my tank during the day, but I can't think of a time I've seen them poop. <<A high-quality Goldfish-blend of flakes shouldn't be causing constipation, Kim. The worms -- depending on what type of worms we're talking about -- might contribute to this, though. Greens in their diets should alleviate the problem as will brine shrimp, for what it's worth.>> I have two snails to help clean & the sand is white so I would be able to see it if there was some there. <<Well, you may have given us a clue here with the white sand. First, a white, or very light, colored substrate is unnatural for Goldfish (and a lot of other fish, as well). The light reflecting off of the bottom is disorienting for them. By that I mean that your fish tend to 'orient' themselves in the water by seeing 'light' above them and 'dark' below. When they see light above AND below, they lose their sense of positioning and become stressed, the same way you or I would if we had no sense of up from down.>> It has only been a week since I changed to sand though - maybe not enough time for build up. I tell you what - those snails really scour that tank though! So, should I try the Epsom salt for constipation (1T/5 gal) or would it hurt if there were no problems? Is lying on the bottom at all normal or should they just be swimming constantly? <<The Epsom salt can be effective as a saline laxative, Kim, but I'd rather see you try a variation in diet first. Moors as well as some of the other fancy-variety Goldfish have a naturally 'plump' appearance, anyway. Without a fair amount of experience with these fish, the difference between a fish that needs a membership at the gym and one that's legitimately bloated from constipation might be a tough call to make. I'd also like to see you purchase some black sand and try to darken up the substrate. Ideally, I'd really like to see you change this out completely to a dark substrate but it might be worth the trouble to see if a mix of the two is enough to alter your Moors' behaviors. Hanging out at the bottom of the tank is not normal for these fish so there's something here that needs to be fixed.>> FYI- I have been feeding them dehydrated worms lately. I have had a lot of trouble with the water changing colors/clouding (even when the label said it wouldn't) with other foods & can't really afford the expensive stuff online. I have been trying peas - which they ate - & romaine - which they didn't think too much of. <<Zucchini and spinach are a couple of other items you might try, Kim. Vegetable matter, at any rate, is the best way to go.>> Second question. My goldfish has been nudging the belly of one of the black moors, I don't know if this is bullying or trying to get her to spawn? <<More likely trying to get her to spawn rather than bullying her. Might also account for some plumpness in her belly if she's carrying eggs.>> We did have a slight change in water temperature, but not for a long period of time to encourage spawning. Not really trying to have babies, but that would be cute.......little tiny goldfish (: Let me know if I should trade the goldfish or give it to a friend and get another fancy one. <<One thing I don't know, Kim, is how large a tank your fish are in. If the 'Goldfish' is a Comet or Common variety, you require a much larger tank than you would for the smaller fancy varieties. Even with the two Moors and a 'Fancy', you'd really need a 40-gallon tank, or larger, to accommodate them long-term. Given ample room to grow and thrive, the move to trade/donate your Goldfish for another variety isn't something I would recommend one way or another. Kind of like telling you how to decorate your home if you see what I mean.>> Any help would be appreciated! <<Summing this all up, Kim, I would, first, darken up the substrate substantially. Second, keep experimenting with vegetables until you find some (the peas are good) that they'll take to regularly and, finally, evaluate the size of your tank to ensure that your fish have the appropriate amount of space. In this last regard, if your tank is 'small', i.e. less than 40 gallons, I'd move this upgrade higher up on the 'priority ladder' to avoid bigger problems.>> Thanks! Kim <<You're welcome, Kim. Good luck to you. Tom>>
Re: Hi, just a couple of questions about Goldfish, please...
Ongoing... Kim, Tom -- 08/27/07 Thank you so very much for your time & expertise! <<Not a problem, Kim. Only so happy to assist.>> Is there some reason you don't care for giving fish away? Maybe the stress of the travel once again? <<That certainly factors in, Kim. The 'sentimental' side of me also likes to believe that folks become attached to their fish as they might with any other type of pet. Sometimes giving the fish up is the only positive action to take but I don't figure that I get 'paid' (cough, cough) for telling hobbyists to get rid of their fish unless there's clearly no other alternative.>> Gosh, after spending the money on the sand - it was expensive for aquarium sand ($26/ 1 gal or so) & not exactly easy to do the transformation. <<Exactly why I suggested trying to 'darken' the sand rather than another transformation, Kim. I'm for economic 'fixes' whenever possible. I'm sure that there are so-called 'cheap' alternatives to this. Driftwood, dark-colored decorations, flat rock or stones that you might create 'caves' with. Wander around a good LFS and you just might find something that catches your eye and allows you to create something of interest for both you and your fish. Anything that you think might break up the 'glare' off the bottom.>> I just get so worried about stressing them out. I've become pretty attached to those little ones. Although, I admit I really don't have the process down yet & maybe it is more me that is stressed out (; <<Get in line, Kim. The only hobbyists that don't 'stress', if only a little, are the ones who don't have a clue as to what they're doing. No guarantees in our hobby but we can 'hedge our bets' with research and knowledge.>> The reasoning behind the white sand is so I can see them better (now wish the pet stores didn't sell white if this is what happens - I didn't know). <<Depends on the fish you keep. Goldfish don't live in white-sand habitats. Many saltwater fish do. LFS's cater to a lot of different hobbyists. Was this something that you should have been aware of? No, it isn't. It's admittedly an 'obscure' piece of information but an important one, nonetheless. Now, you know and you can tuck this little tidbit away for the future. ;) >> I have fashioned a large glazed flower pot into a fish tank- LARGE flower pot (w/submersible filter, lights, etc) and the insides are dark & it is hard to see the moors in this atmosphere, though they are my favorites next to the calico. <<Not big enough, unfortunately, Kim. Your 'Calico' is a Shubunkin Goldfish, which is related to the Comets and Commons. Can grow to a foot in length. Your Black Moors will also need a larger environment unless your flower pot is capable of holding 30 gallons, or more, of water. My advice, if you're serious about your pets, is not to get 'cutesy' where their home is concerned. (We see this with Bettas, as a 'for instance', all the time.) Commit yourself to a 'real' aquarium where your pets will thrive and reach their full potential. They might come close to outliving me if you do it right. :) >> I will buy them some brine shrimp & keep trying on the veggies. Seems the peas, even after shelling, are a little to large for them to deal with. They eat them, but it takes awhile and one of the bigger moors doesn't really search the bottom, for food that is. Sure is tough to get the food in front of a Moors face sometimes, but it is fun when they eat out of my fingers. (: <<Kim, I've an Angelfish that has taught every one of my other little crumb-snatchers to push their noses against the front of the tank when they 'think' it's meal time. It's practically embarrassing! When I change the water, it's a circus! I feel like I just took them all to a Water Park, for Heaven's sake. Everybody wants to be in the 'flow'. Amazing to have that kind of 'connection' with creatures from such a different environment than our own. Very special. Please, keep me posted, Kim. My best. Tom>>

Discoloured Shubunkin 8/16/07 I am currently extremely concerned about my Shubunkin. <OK...> Approximately two weeks ago he developed a red lump on his side that then developed a fluffy white head. Within an hour of the fluffy white head's emergence it was gone. The next morning I went down to the local aquatic specialist and asked what should be done, the man there said that it was probably a parasite and now that the head was gone I should leave it a week to heal unless he started to deteriorate in which case they would examine the fish for me. <Hmm. Not what I would have done. Any time there is a mysterious growth on a fish that could be either fungus (which is fluffy) or finrot (which is red), I treat at once. Both these diseases are easy to cure early on, but virtually untreatable when advanced. Since medications are cheap and safe when used properly, there's nothing to be lost by "jumping the gun".> However we got onto the subject of the tank that I was keeping my fish in. I had bought a 25litre tank at another local pet store and had been assured that it would safely hold 4 goldfish, and was more than spacious enough for my goldfish and shubunkin. I was informed that this tank was far too small for my fish and ended up buying a 65litre tank. I fully intended to cycle the tank before I used it but was told that as long as I added all the water from the previous tank that there should not be a problem, in-fact the extra water would help the parasite problem which it did and now the red lump has disappeared. But that I should wait a few days before adding plants. <Even 65 litres is borderline for 2 goldfish. Regular goldfish are really pond animals, and need something around 100 litres each; fancy goldfish are certainly aquarium fish, but need only marginally less space. The problem is goldfish are [a] big and [b] messy. In a small tank they can't swim about much and their constant sifting of the substrate overwhelms the filter and makes the water murky. You might be fine for a couple of years with what you have, but once the fish reach around 15 cm long (and they will) you'll see very clearly where I'm coming from here. Retailers are UTTERLY useless on goldfish. Many retailers would happily sell goldfish in bowls without filters and a little pots of ants' eggs for food. So read, learn, and make your own mind up.> When I went to add the plants I was told to remove the bubbler from the filter, however the fish started surfacing a lot more than usual (especially the shubunkin) so I decided that I would rather lose the plants than the fish and decided to put it back in which seems to have alleviated the problem. <When the fish gulp for air, it means water quality has dropped. Do you have a filter?> However the shubunkin has now developed a red discoloration on his main body and along the base of his dorsal fin, which I am assuming is down to ammonia poisoning because the tank was not cycled properly. <Correct. Treat for finrot and fungus immediately.> Normally I would perform a large emergency water change. However we have had extensive flooding in our county which has meant that all the water in the treatment plants has been contaminated and the water has been cut off for potentially 7-14 days so it is hard enough to get hold of 2 litres of water let alone 20 and I don't think that the emergency services or armed forces that are currently assisting us would provided me with that kind of amount on the basis that I think my fish might be sick. So I was wondering if there was any substance that could be added to the water already in the tank that might help temporarily neutralise the ammonia and the damage that it is doing to my fish until I get the opportunity to perform said water change? <Non-iodised cooking salt can be used to detoxify ammonia over the short term, at a dosage of around 3-5 grammes per litre. Increase the salinity in the aquarium gradually, perhaps by adding the salt in batches across 4 days. A better solution is to buy some zeolite ("ammonia remover") and fill a bubble-up box filter or similar with the stuff. This removes ammonia directly. You will need to replace it every couple of weeks, but it's cheap, and as a stop-gap, very effective.> Any help would be appreciated Tamara x x <Hope this helps, Neale>

Goldfish hanging on surface 8/12/07 I have noticed from quite few months that one of my goldfish hangs on the surface. It also never goes down at night and sleeps on the surface only. <Mmm, not good> It's other activities are fine. It eats properly swims properly etc. But it just floats on the top. Now from last one month my another fish is doing the same thing. What is the reason. Is there any problem. Because rest all other things they do perfectly fine. Pls give remedies <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above... Likely you're faced with a very common issue of genetic predisposition and nutritional/environmental leaning... Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish hanging on surface 8/13/07
I read that article. Its about malnutrition. <Mmm, only in part... the root problem here is the skewed genetics of these fancy goldfish... propensity for fatty accumulation... what it does in terms of squeezing other organs, mal-affecting their orientation> But my that fish is absolutely fine. It eats properly. Swims properly. She is absolutely normal. She is also NOT up side down. But she only hangs on surface <... BobF>

Goldfish... beh. 8/5/07 Hi, I bought two goldfish a few days ago. One of them has just begun to float upside down. Its gills and eyes still move though. Once in a while it will go swim around but end up floating again. When we first got it were thought it was pregnant because it is so huge. Now I am not sure if it is dying or pregnant. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You! <Greetings. I can't really offer any advice here because you don't give any information. How big is the tank? What sort of filter do you use? How long has the tank been established? What are the nitrite and ammonia levels? What is the pH and hardness of the water? What do you feed your goldfish? How often do you do water changes? How much water do you change? Do you use dechlorinator with each water change? All these are factors that need to be considered. Usually the problem is people stick their new fish into an immature aquarium and the poor little creatures end up being poisoned to death by the appalling water quality in the tank (or, God forbid, bowl). Make sure you read the articles here at WWM on goldfish. Goldfish *aren't* easy to keep, and far too many people forget they are animals and treat them with no more compassion than a pair of shoes. Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish gulping air after eating 5/25/07 Hello! <Hi there> Hopefully you can shed some insight on this for me. 75g tank, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate, <Borderline high... I would not let this get any higher...> 8.0 pH, 300+kH, 300+gH, 75* temp. My goldfish gulp air after eating for 1-2 hours. They ONLY do it after eating. <Mmmm...> All of their food is pre-soaked and they do not eat from the surface as it sinks as soon as it's put into the water. They do not gulp air during feeding but rather after a feeding. I have tried more food, less food, different foods, killing the air stones during and after feeding (thought they might have been confusing bubbles for food) and they still do it. They also yawn throughout the day. When gulping, they allow the air to bubble out thru their gills while at the surface. <Sounds/reads like they're either getting too fat, too much food, and/or there is insufficient gaseous diffusion> This is not being caused by gill parasites (have been tx'ed with formalin/malachite green and also Praziquantel). This is not low 02 sat as I have tons of surface agitation. This is a problem specific to my 75g tank. Two recent additions were quarantined for a few weeks in a 20g QT tank. Neither fish yawned or gulped after a feeding. They were being fed the same foods as the fish in my 75g. Within a day of being in the 75g they BOTH started yawning and gulping after meals. <Interesting> The only difference between the 20g QT and 75g display is the gravel and the 75g has a bunch of hornwort and java moss in it (which the little piggies graze on constantly). I also have a diatom problem in my 75g that I can't get rid of (have tried Ramshorn snails, silicate and phosphate mitigation via Phos-Sorb). <I'd try growing some purposeful aquatic plant/s... to use the same nutrient, light, compete chemically... My fave (the one I use with my goldfishes): Hornwort, aka Coontail, Ceratophyllum...> I have never, ever had a diatom problem in any of my three tanks for the 8 years I've been in this hobby. I am convinced it is the gravel leaching silicates (hence the diatoms) and something else (hence the yawning and gulping) into the water that is irritating the fish's gills. <Again, very interesting> This gravel was bought at Wal-Mart (Aqua-Culture brand IIRC) and was packaged and labeled for aquarium use. I am just about ready to go bare-bottom in my 75g to see if it stops the gulping. I have been removing the gravel slowly so as not to shock the biofiltration in the tank. I now have a single layer of gravel and can safely remove what remains in one fell swoop. Before I rule out the gravel by removing it............can you think of anything I have missed? Mike <Well... I would first try switching the food... my choice here is the Spectrum brand of pellets... And the plant... either the species mentioned above, or Egeria/Elodea/Anacharis... Bob Fenner>

Shubunkin/comet very lethargic please help 5/20/07 good morning, <Yawnnnn!> I have looked around the www and couldn't find a definite answer and I need help. Thankfully, I found your site, but couldn't find this issue. We have a 30 gallon tank with a small catfish and a shubunkin/comet. I am not sure what he is. But I know something is wrong. He likes to clean the gravel in the tank and spit it out. I am worried he has a piece of gravel stuck and he is very lethargic. He props himself up on one of my tank decorations and just sits on the bottom. When I fed him yesterday he seemed disinterested at first, swam to the top, and returned to the bottom by drifting down. I don't know if he is lonely or if he has in fact swallowed a piece of gravel. I have been wondering if gravel was a problem for these, but the fish store had him in a gravel lined tank. I keep the tank extremely clean and have never had this problem with him since we got him 5 years ago. If it is gravel stuck, what do I do? <Perhaps nothing... wait and see if it is gravel, if the fish does/can spit it back out... Or, be a bit more active, catch the fish, hold it in place, probe gently, try to extricate the gravel (with forceps, tweezers, a wooden toothpick...)> I know the first thing is to get it out, but how? Then get rid of the gravel and go for marbles? <Mmm, no... The real/root problem here actually may not be gravel... but the environment... likely metabolite accumulation... Do you have water quality test kits? Even just measuring, relating ammonia, nitrite and nitrate concentration here will be helpful...> I don't want him to suffer and the catfish seems fine. So it is definitely something with him. Please help... Many Thanks, Cathy <Please help yourself by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish behavior problem 5/11/07 Hello Crew! I had just written to you about the black moor goldfish, and asked some general questions, however I have a slight problem that has just occurred within the last two days. I own two black moors, in a 20 gallon tank, <Will need more room than this> water is filtered, all chemicals check out, etc. The fish are both approximately 1.25-1.5 inches long (nose to end of tail), and have only lived in this aquarium for less than one week. <Is this system cycled?> They have been taken from the same aquarium at the pet store. I set up the tank, let it settle, etc. and introduced only one black moor the first day (accompanying fantail died upon arrival, and was never introduced), and introduced the second black moor on day two (after return of fantail). The first, Zircon, is bullying the second, Onyx. He nips at her anal region, and it almost seems like it could potentially be a mating thing? <Mmm, no> Because these fish seem relatively young, I didn't think this was the case - what else could it be? <Environmentally driven agonistic behavior...> Just a mean fish? Not really knowing the gender of these fish, is there a way to tell? <Not at this size, no> I have not located any tubercules (sp?), most likely because of age. <Correct> Is there anything that I can do to stop this behavior? <Check your water quality... for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate mostly> Both fish seem completely healthy, are both eating well (love peas!), and Onyx does not show any signs of bitten off fins. Please let me know if there is a solution (adding more plants?), <Might help> or if it's just a mean fish. Thanks! Megan P.S. Water temperature ranges from high 70s to low 80s. <A bit high on the upper side... Do you have a thermostatic heater here? I would lower the setting... maybe leave the lights off during the day (hot hours)... And please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above re ammonia, et al.. Bob Fenner>

Re: Black Moor Questions + one last detail! 5/11/07 Thanks again for the help, I just sent another e-mail in regards to their behavior. Just for a reassurance, the tank has been cycled (or is at the very very end), <Any ammonia, nitrite presence will damage and have damaged the fishes health... change their behavior> and all water quality issues are currently out of the picture! :) However, is it normal for a "black" moor to actually be on the verge of bronze/black in terms of coloration? Will he ever be black again? Thanks again! Megan <Can be normal, but also can be stress-induced... and can recover blackness with time, good care. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish w/black scales 5/3/07 Hello! <Glenn> We went away for a long weekend and returned to find one of our mature goldfish looking like they had leaned up against a wall that had just been painted black -- centers of scales having a dark tint, leading edge of dorsal black, and a black eye (photo attached). <Environmental... declining water quality...> Fish is otherwise active and eating, just looks poorly. We recently had another fish who you helped us with (looked like was taking permanent left turn, and zooming around) for whom you had advised careful ammonia control and has happily completely recovered. So, ammonia levels are good, have been alternating regular flake food with antibacterial food. How can we help him? <Yes... frequent partial water changes, monitoring water quality...> Many thanks, Glenn Floyd <Mmm, no data re the system, maintenance... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish with frayed, blackened fins 4/30/07 Hello fish experts. I have two goldfish in a 6 gallon <Too small a volume...> tank which have developed fraying fins (fin rot?), <Environmental...> but also these frayed edges have begun turning black. I have only found one question on this, but it was after the fish was dead! My fish seem to be behaving normally. I changed about 30 percent of the water and tested it. Everything was normal, except the water was quite hard and alkaline. I also put in a product called fungus clear. That was three days ago and I have seen no improvement. How long should this take to clear up and is there something else I should do? Thank you, Alison <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Comets and A red Cap, Mating or aggressive behaviour? -- 04/16/07 I have a ten gallon with three comets, one calico and one red cap. <<That tank isn't large enough for one of these fish. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm.>> All of them are roughly 3 inches and very happy. When I came home today (lights were out) and they were thrashing through the tank after each other. Mostly after the red cap and then breaking into pairs chasing each other. Is it mating season? <<It's an over-stocked tank.>> My red cap seems exhausted, I caught it in my net and have it floating to give it a break, although the comets are still chasing each other, they keep coming up to the net and sniffing around her tail and mid section. Should I get a divider for the tank as I have no room for another tank (or for that matter more fish). The kids won the comets at a carnival 2 yrs ago. HELP! <<I'm sorry, but your tank is just too cramped. Perhaps offer the fish to a friend with a pond, where your fish will grow to their normal 1-foot plus in length. Lisa Brown.>>

A missing fish, goldfish gone 4/14/07 Hi, <David... Am sure you're aware of your famous namesake... in our, other interests... the first president of Stanford...> I have four little goldfish in a tank that I am starting to realize is too small. (10 gal, for 4 2" fish.) <Ah yes... too crowded> It's your typical tank with a top-light, cascade type tetra filter (sucks the water up, puts it through carbon filter, cascades it back in). One of my fish, who has seemed perfectly healthy, has simply disappeared. I have searched the area all around, and don't find a corpse anywhere near the tank. I have checked the water levels and they are right in line. How can he have simply disappeared?? If he died while I was at work would the others have eaten him? <Mmm, not that quickly... likely did "jump out"...> There are several inches of clearance to the top of the tank, <Mmm... makes the leaving more difficult...> plus a lid, and I can't imagine him jumping it. <Do you have an "algae eater" here?> Please let me know that I am not going insane! thanks, -David <Perhaps a thief? Bob Fenner>

Separating aggressive goldfish 2/14/07 Hi There, <Sossy> Thanks for all the great info... I'm always on the site learning new things! <Me too!> I have a 25 gallon tank that only had one black moor in it. It's now become large enough that I know it's a male. I was told that goldfish love companionship <Mmm, are actually sort of "autistic"... don't particularly need, yearn for company> so I went and got another (albeit smaller) orange fantail. I didn't know the sex of the fantail until the second day it was in my tank when it suddenly developed tubercles on it's gills and fins, so now I know it's also a male (I was hoping for a female). Anyhow, the moor was chasing it non-stop, and to the point that it was ignoring it's own pellets when it was feeding time. It just swam alongside the fantail trying to nip at it's pectoral fin while the fantail was going on about it's business. <Yikes... a good idea to separate> I immediately put a clear separator in the tank to stop the aggressive behaviour. <Good> My question is, do goldfish get used to each other or will I never be able to get rid of the separator? Is there anything else I can do? <Sometimes do learn to "get along"... only trial can/will tell... and time going by. What you have done... the clear separator... is best to allow them to see and smell each other... Perhaps try its removal when you can be around to observe... a week or so from now> Thanks for any/all your help. Sossy. <Bob Fenner>

Re: Hello again, goldfish beh. 2/27/07 Hi there WWM Crew, <Hello> Thanks for your recent advice about separating my older moor and my new fantail. They are getting along well without the clear divider. <Ah, good> I do have another problem now, however. Recently (before I introduced the fantail) my moor, who is about 1 year old and gorgeous, somehow got one of his eyes deflated. <Happens... most often from a physical injury> I wasn't sure what caused this, but I followed the advice you had given someone else in an article I read on your site by putting dissolved salt in the aquarium. Nothing happened. His behaviour did not change at all - he was still active, appetite was fine, his colour clear and fins were perky, so I left it alone. I guess I shouldn't have because now he's totally lethargic, breathing rapidly, AND his eye is still deflated. His fins are clasped so I know something is really wrong. <Mmm, the most likely trouble is the bio-filter bacteria were disturbed by the salt...> I have a 25 gallon tank which I religiously clean once every 2 weeks (20% water changes as prescribed). I medicate it with Nutrafin cycle and tap water cleanser. I have real plants which I feed iron to each time I clean the water. My gravel is very clean, the water is clear, and I always test my water weekly... all is well. So what can the problem be? <You test it for what? Ammonia? Nitrite?> In terms of diet, they get Hikari Lionhead sinking pellets (about 5-7 each twice daily) and there are many plants and a little green algae for them to nibble on. I hope the information I have here is enough for you to help me figure it all out! Thanks so much, Sossy. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant Fish - 02/09/2007 Hello there! <Mornin'!> Great web site by the way, your questions and answers are very entertaining. <Thank you... and a bit educational/instructive I trust> I have two little goldfish in a small aquarium on my desk. <Mmm, about how many gallons?> The fish are about an inch long not including fins etc. One gold fan tail and one black moor. The gold Fantail (Minnie) is suddenly much larger in the back side than Mickey. <Minnie got back> It's like she ate two balloons and shoved them behind her gills. Now I know fish don't get pregnant but I suspect she may be full of eggs <Mmm, no... not at this size> as she is otherwise happy and healthy and just as sprightly as ever despite her bulbous condition, always begging for food as soon as you look at her. And Mickey is chasing her everywhere and has been for about a week. <Not atypical goldfish behavior... and not a worry unless "excessive"...> He is also in perfect health. I have bought some very leafy plants in the case that she needs somewhere to lay her eggs (forgive me I am a goldfish moron and am going purely on every fact (I use the term loosely) I have ever heard about goldfish). <No worries> If she is pregnant (so to speak) will I notice the eggs when she lays them, how long before that might happen, do I need to banish Mickey to avoid him snacking on his children? <Again... likely the development is simply "expression" of genetic potential... the fish doing what it's going to do... Do take a read on WWM re Goldfish Systems... and take care re maintenance of this small volume... too easy to get into trouble.> Thank you!!! Fish lover and fish idiot. Chanelle. <You're in good company here. Bob Fenner>

Shock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????? Goldfish beh. I recently changed my two goldfishes tank, and both of my fish just laid on the bottom of the tank, is this shock due to water temperature? <Mmm, maybe... but most any type of stress, difference in water conditions might lead to this behavior> Is it possible for them to survive? Is there anything that I could to help them out? Please get back to me ASAP... Thanks. Mike <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fish help! Goldfish comp., beh. 1/30/07 Hi WetWebMedia crew member, <Jennifer> First of all, thank you for your information on pet fishes. I was learning <Was? No longer?> a lot, and it helped me to take care of my two Black Moors. But now I have some issues I'm not able to find much answers on. The two Black Moors' names are Chocolate and Pudding (together, they're chocolate pudding). <Clever> The first problem, Chocolate is a much thinner goldfish with very long full fins. It seems like no matter what he eats, all the nutrition goes straight to his fins. <Heee!> I've had the two Black Moors for about a year now, but Chocolate has not grown a bit unless you're measuring the fins (2.5 inches in length, but its 30% body, 70% fin, and 1.5cm in width). On the other hand Pudding has grown nearly 1.5 times as big (now he is about 3 inches in length, and 1 inch in width). <Perhaps in retrospect these Goldfish might have been named Laurel and Hardy...> Chocolate has such a small body, with long fins. I mean the volume of both of his eyes is as big as the body. I'm just wondering is that normal? Is there anything I can do to enhance Chocolate's growth? <Is likely normal... All goldfish "breeds" are resultant from a cross... are the same species... some with longer finnage, some of the fins split/doubled, some with bulbous eyes, some with more roundish bodies... differing color...> The second problem, during December, I went on a family trip. I left Chocolate and Pudding with my boyfriend. Now that I have gotten them back, Pudding seems really violent towards Chocolate. <Not good... happens at times when "not so fancy" varieties are mixed with fancier (rounder) ones> At first there was just one split fin, I just thought it was an accident. But just last night I discovered that Chocolate has many split fins (total of 5). Then just today I saw Pudding bumping into Chocolate. It wasn't like swim into each other bump. it was more of tackling. Chocolate panicked so badly, he spent the rest of the day wedged behind the filter (where pudding can't reach him). Chocolate only comes out to eat, then he hurries back behind the filter afterwards. I don't know how long that's been happening, but it's making me nervous. I was going to separate them, but I don't have a spare tank. Is there an explanation for this? Sincerely, Jennifer <Mmm, I do hope this is only a temporary, likely breeding behavior-related incident... Otherwise and just the same, I would separate these two for a week or two... a bit of rigid screen (perhaps a piece of louver (see Home Depot, Lowe's) broken into a partition in the tank> PS: Thank you for helping me! <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Bubble-eye behavior 1/29/07 Hello, This is an odd question for which I can't seem to find the answer. I have had 2 goldfish for a year now (1 Ryukin & 1 bubble-eye) in a 10 gallon tank (which after much research I now realize is much too small). <Yes, good> The sacs on my bubble eye goldfish are much larger than any other bubble-eye I've ever seen. The width of the sacs is longer than the length of his body. When at rest "Mr. Bubbs" largely remains at 45 - 80 degree angle at the bottom of the tank. He is able to swim normally, but has been spending a larger amount of time "resting". He appears healthy in other respects. <Is a pretty typical situation> I am wondering if this resting behavior is due to a swim-bladder problem or if it is due to the weight of his sacs. Thank you very much! Heather in NY <I think your guess at the eye sacs... along with this "breed"... all goldfish are the same species (actually di-hybrid cross)... I don't think there is anything to be concerned about here... other than regular/good maintenance and getting a larger system. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish bullying ! Time to thin out the pack 1/29/07 Hi Bob, <No...Adam_J with you tonight.> We bought a Bi Orb tank a month ago along with one single goldfish as instructed. <Much too "dirty" a fish (produces a lot of waste) for such a tank design.> Yesterday, a month later we bought two more ( a fan tail and a Ryukin ) and introduced them to their cell mate. <Hehe, interesting...but appropriate analogy.> After a very short time , the Ryukin who is slightly bigger, started chasing the other two and nibbling their tails and bashing them against the tank. Please help us sort out this thug ! We do not tolerate bullying in this household !! Should we return it to the shop - guilty GBH (Gold fish Bodily Harm !) <Yes remove two/three....in fact a single Betta or a duo/trio of white cloud minnows would be better off than goldfish in this tank.> Sally W <**AJ>

Goldfish fins turning black fairly quickly 1/21/07 Hey there, I love the site and always check it when I have any questions but I have an orange Oranda goldfish about 2 inches long not counting the tail. I was hoping you could give me some advice on what I should do (if anything) with a color change that the fish is going through. <Mmm, these changes do "just happen"... not likely anything you actually "can do"... other than provide good, consistent environment, nutrition> The top and bottom tips of one side of the tail and also the tip of the caudal fin on the same side are turning black fairly quickly. The fish has been doing great for the last 3 weeks since we successfully treated the tank for an outbreak of ich with Nox-ich at that time. <Mmm... well, the Malachite Green may actually have triggered something here... still, largely a genetic pre-disposition> The ich cleared up right away, and the goldfish and it's tank mates - a big snail, <Surprising this wasn't killed by the med.> 4 small panda catfish and 1 small Pleco - are all doing great. Fins are perky and everybody is excited to eat. We had just got a 10 gallon quarantine tank up and running and were hoping to introduce 3 new goldfish after a week or two but now we are worried that there may be something wrong in the main tank. <Not that this color change would portend... but the fact that the snail survived the Malachite exposure indicates to me that the ich is likely still present, sub-clinical... that it could easily be expressed> The stats are as follows: 55 Gallon tank with 2 live plants in it and an Aqua Clear 70 filter Temperature appx. 73 degrees pH is 7.8 Ammonia is about 0.1 - 0.2 Nitrite is < 0.1 The General Hardness is 120 mg/L The Carbonate Hardness is 130 mg/L Is everything here OK or could there be a problem? Thanks so much for you time, as we are eager to keep our fish healthy. They were originally a compromise when we decided we didn't have time or space for a dog. It's amazing how much you get attached to the little guys. Cheers, Matt <Ah, yes... I would proceed as you state, with the careful few weeks quarantine of the new goldfish... testing for ammonia, moving/changing water out in the new 10 from the extant 55. Bob Fenner>
Re: goldfish fins turning black fairly quickly
- 1/22/07 Thanks so much Bob! Your reassurance will help us sleep tonight. And, my mistake, I should have mentioned that we took the snail out during the ich treatment... Thanks, Matt <Ahh, thank you for this further information. BobF>

Goldfish in danger???? Beh. 1/19/07 Hi, just a quick question regarding my cold fresh water 3ft tank. I have a 15cm comet and 3 small comets. I have been told that the large one is a female. My problem is that the 3 smaller fish seem to attacking? the larger one. <Mmm... likely a sexual drive...> I have noticed that the large fish has a hole just under its tail fin area and that there seems to be tiny white particles coming from it.. <Likely unrelated... but possibly instigated by damage, and/or stress> this also seems to be where the smaller fish are attacking. Just wondering if the large fish is been attacked or could it be that it is spawning or something else?????? <Spawning... but possibly furunculosis, Anchorworm... Many possibilities... please use the search tool on WWM to search the terms, Goldfish spawning, breeding, disease, furunculosis, Anchorworm... altogether. Bob Fenner> Thanks you

Goldfish beh., sys. 1/14/07 <<Hi, Susan. Tom with you.>> I have a fancy goldfish in a 30 gallon tank. <<Good, good, good! (Can you tell I'm pleased with the size of your tank?) :) >> He is 2 years old and 8 inches long. I installed a magnum 350 canister filter yesterday. Since than he is not eating and will not stop swimming around (he especially likes to play swimming nose first in the out current) Is this too strong a filter for a 30 gallon tank? Why is he not eating? <<Well, you've got 11+ water changes per hour going, Susan, which is actually optimal for Goldfish. In a community tank, I'd say this is a bit much but not in your case. As for his eating, or lack thereof, is his food getting tossed about vigorously? He's going through a re-acclimation, if you will, and might not be accustomed to working 'hard' at eating. Could be that he's simply uninterested right now what with the new developments in his home. Once he's gotten used to the change in his environment, his appetite will rebound. We use the term 'stress' typically in a negative connotation but this occurs in varying degrees any time a fish is subjected to something other than what he/she is used to even when it's for the better. When he figures out that the increased water movement is 'normal', he'll be back to his old self. No worries.>> Pls. help...Susan <<Good job on the tank and filter, Susan. Tom>>

Listless goldfish... No useful info. 1/11/07 Hello WWM Crew! I've been searching online for about 3 days now, trying to figure out what's wrong with my fish. I've tried to take them to the pet store where I know there's a fish expert, but they don't act the same way when I transport them, so he didn't see anything wrong. So now I'm finally asking for your help. <Okay!> I have three goldfish (two fantails and a comet). I've had the comet for about 3 years, and I just bought the two fantails. I used to have 3 comets, but the other two died because if Ick, Flukes, and finally fungus that were brought in by a diseased fish, which was a case of really bad judgment on my part. <Happens> In any case, since the other fish died, he's been really sad-looking, not swimming alot, <Not a word> and kind of becoming the fish version of a couch potato. I decided to buy him new tankmates in case it was loneliness. I made sure that the new fish were healthy by keeping them in a separate tank for about a week, and I treated both tanks with an all-purpose medicine to make sure any outer parasites/fungus/bacteria were killed off. <Good plan... but I'd make this quarantine period a good two weeks> When I introduced the new fish to the comet's tank, they were really lively for about a day, perked up my comet, and I assumed that everything was fine. The next day, they were all just sitting at the bottom of the tank. There's no signs of outward disease, I've been doing water changes for about 4 days now, and they seem to be fine at feeding time as well, which told me it wasn't a swimbladder problem. I've cut the amount I feed them in case it's overfeeding, but that hasn't worked yet. They also seem to sometimes "shimmy", but I'm not quite sure what that's supposed to look like. For the most part they just stay still at the bottom of the tank, barely breathing, but they don't look like they're out of air at all. I'm really worried about these guys, especially the comet. I've had him for so long, and my previous mistakes cost me his first tankmates. I was so upset when they died, but at least I still had one. Please help soon. Thank you! ~~Kit <Kit... what re water quality? Testing? The size, filtration of this tank? The types of food offered...? Well, you may have nothing other than cumulative stress going on here... but could have a pathogen (not apparent) acting as well... Or just some aspect of environment out of kilter. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

I'm a little curious. Fading goldfish color, comp. with Mollies 12/25/06 I have a beautiful fish tank filled with aquatic plants and gravel plus along with it is my wonderful fan tail, common goldfish, black moor, Oranda, and finally Ryukins. They all get along fine!! But my question is that one of my Oranda is very healthy but its red cap is starting to fade and turn to a yellowish color and I don't know what to do to help it!!!! <Does happen to some goldfish... genetic, developmental... Good water quality, nutrition, are the roads to maintaining, retrieving color... if possible at all> and my second question is that I really love balloon mollies and I did a research on them and found out that they are really peaceful fish just like the goldfish so I was wondering if pot belly mollies and other mollies can be in the same tank as the goldfish???? <Mmm, can... have similar likes in the way of water quality, agreeable temperaments... Though I still like the "looks" of all-goldfish set-ups. Bob Fenner>

Re: On the safe side. Goldfish color change 12/26/06 Hey thanks for answering my questions you really helped me out a lot!!! <Welcome my friend> To be on the safe side, I just wanted to ask "Even though the red cap of the Oranda is fading, but the fish is still healthy...will he remain healthy???? <Yes. Likely no other change to be expected here. Some individual goldfishes do just sometimes undergo such color changes... Might well convert back to something more red here in time. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish behavior question 11/18/06 Hi! I have a quick question about a funny behavior my Oranda is displaying. I have a 20 gallon tank with two Orandas and a bunch of live plants. I noticed the other day that one of my Orandas will swim right up to the filter output and swim against the current! <Ah, yes... quite common> The tank is totally cycled and the fish isn't displaying any signs of problems. He just swims around all day eating the plants. <What a life, eh?> I did notice that there is reddish/purple algae that grows on the part of the filter where the water comes out. Is the Oranda trying to eat the algae? <Mmm, doubtful... this algae is likely unpalatable.> If so, is it bad for them? <I would keep it wiped off, during water change days...> I ask this because I have a second tank which is a 30 gallon that also holds two Orandas and has been stable for over a year with no new fish added. One of the other Orandas I have had for 8 months displayed that same behavior and just recently he died. He didn't show any problems, just started staying at the bottom more. The tank tested 0 ammonia, 20 nitrates, 0 nitrites. Then one night he was dead. The other fish looks great and hasn't changed his behavior. I have no idea what happened. <Mmm... might well be "anomalous"... unrelated to the algae, or behavior> Thank you very much for any help you can provide! -Shannon <As much as current media seems to discount play behavior, creativity in all but humans, it is my sensation that many fishes do engage in these "non-fixed point" undirected actions... because... they're fun... and possibly such adventitious behavior has some discernible individual/species "preservation" value. Bob Fenner>

Odd fantails... beh. - 11/05/06 Hello from England! <<Hello from the U.S.! Tom with you today, Monica.>> I recently bought two fantails and am fascinated by them but I am not sure about their behaviour. <<Okay'¦>> I was quite worried when one of them started chasing the other round and butting into it and pushing it around also by sticking it's snout up the other one's bottom and pushing it around. <<Aggressive behavior such as this is a good indication of stress.>> Well, I wasn't sure what to do but now the aggressive one has taken to hiding in a cramped spot behind the vase and the pane of glass whilst the mild mannered one swims round freely without any bother. It's very odd because the aggressive one (Frida) will stay in the same position for ages and ages and remain hidden and cramped with it's tail against the vase and it's snout against the glass pane. <<Another sign of stress, to be sure.>> However, when feeding time comes and I approach the tank they become far more lively and swim around the main area of the tank. The mild mannered one (Diego) also has times when he chooses the corner of the tank, to snuggle in there and just sit on the bottom. No idea why they do this when they have space to swim around in. Any help please? <<Monica, you don't say whether, or not, your fish tank has cycled or what your water parameters are. You also don't mention the size of the tank that they're in. Fish certainly require some time to acclimate to new surroundings following a move but I'd be suspicious of their water conditions. Frequently, though not always, poor water conditions will lead Goldfish to spend a lot of time gasping at the surface of the tank. This doesn't seem to be your case but I wouldn't rule out the possibility. Poor conditions can/will lead to abnormally aggressive or reclusive behavior such as your pets are displaying, as well. It could also be that the water temperature is unsuited to Goldfish, specifically if it's too warm. Living in England as you do, this would seem unlikely but something to look into nonetheless. Goldfish will do fine up to about 75 degrees F. (24 C.) but 68-72 F. (20-22 C.) is probably a better target temperature. For now, I would concentrate on water conditions, however, particularly ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels. If you don't have a water test kit, I'd recommend one but, at the least, your fish shop should be able to test a sample for you. Returning to my original point, if you haven't cycled your tank, there's work ahead. Goldfish are messy creatures and the parameters I've mentioned can go through the roof in no time.>> Many thanks Monica <<Happy to help, Monica. Cheers, Tom>>

Goldfish behaviour question 10/4/06 Hello, <Evening> I've been trying to find out information on a habit my Oranda, Angel, has on spitting (?) water but all I can find are topics on spitting food. (which my Oranda would never do, he's a pig lol) <Heeee!> He's been doing it a lot this week also. He'll swim around for a while, go up to the top (usually the corner) and stick the top part of his head out and I'm not sure what he does next because its fast, but he either slaps the top part of his mouth down or closes his mouth real fast and makes a slapping, almost popping sound with the water. Its loud enough to hear on the other side of the room. <Interesting...> This also makes bubbles about as big as his eyes and when he makes enough he'll go down and bite them all. I can't figure out if its just his way of playing or what but I know using the "ignorance is bliss" mentality usually gets fish killed. Whenever he does this my Ryukin, Spike, gets excited and usually joins in. If you have already answered this question then I'm truly sorry. I looked through the FAQ but there are just so many that I cant look through them all at once and I kept forgetting where I was when I would come back. If you don't know what the mouth thing is about I could upload a video on youtube or something so you could check it out. Thank you, Hannah <Would be hilarious. I do think your goldfish/es are trying to get your attention as well engaging in a bit of play behavior. Bob Fenner>

Help! Roguish goldfish beh. 9/30/06 Hello, I have a really weird question for you. My mother has a tank full of goldfish, now the problem is that some have started to eat the tails off 4 of the pot bellied gold fish. <Mmm, some types, individuals of goldfish are not compatible with "fancies".... especially if crowded> She feeds them 3 times a day, and they still seem to do it. She has now moved the pot bellied ones out of the tank and put them in a tank of there own. <Good> Now why would they be doing this, to only these certain fish????? <Yes, correct> We are fish people and are now very very stumped. The one fish will not make it to much longer. Please e-mail me back with your answer, whether or not this question can be answered. Thank you Courtney <There are such "rogue" goldfish that learn to pick on, eat others... they need to be isolated, or destroyed. Bob Fenner>

My gold fish is at the bottom of my tank but is still alive. What could be the problem and how can I help it? 9/29/06 <? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. RMF>

Black Moor and lionhead - URGENT 9/26/06 I am so confused by differing information not just from different aquarium shops but also by different staff from the main shop I use. <Need to investigate, educate yourself... make up your own mind...> My tank is 30litres and at the moment I have one small black moor and a slightly larger lionhead. <This tank volume is too small...> The tank was set up on 1st August, the black moor put in a few days later when the water levels were ok. <Not useful... discrete data please, not subjective evaluations> 3 weeks later i put the lionhead in. At first the black moor seemed to bully the lionhead, looking like it was chewing its tail but not causing damage and I was worried, but it seemed to settle down. <...> For the past 3/4 weeks I have been having ammonia problems, <......> (possibly caused by having an additional fish or from having to feed peas because the lionhead has swim bladder problems) <.........> necessitating a daily water change of about 10% with added 'Tap-safe' and also additional bacterial product to boost production. The levels have now reduced and I thought I was on the better side and my fish were safe. However yesterday I noticed that the lionheads tail looked chewed, the aquarium asked me to take the black moor in to check for bacteria under the microscope, it was clear, so it seems that the black moor is actually eating the lionheads tail now and caused quite a bit of damage. I have now started using anti-bacterial product to help with the healing, but i just don't know what to do about taking the black moor back to the shop. <Return one or both> Last time it settled down and I don't want to have to return a living thing with a name when its something that might rectify itself. <Highly unlikely in this setting> I bought these fish as I thought it might give me something else to occupy my time whilst going thru a break-up, and a couple of weeks ago when i thought i may lose them because of the high levels of ammonia i was in tears, so I really don't want to have to take one back. But I do wish now that id never started with the fish, they are certainly a lot more hassle than i ever envisaged. Please try and reply quickly as I have to make a decision tomorrow if I have to remove the black moor. I have no way of having another tank, ive already spent a lot of money and i don't have the space. Thanks Lisa (Manchester, UK) <Return one/both... long walks... new hobbies, contact old friends... Bob Fenner>
Re: black moor and lionhead - URGENT 9/26/06
Tank volume isn't too small, it has the capacity for 3 goldfish. It measures 16"x16"x8" <... is too small...> what an abrupt and rude response. i shouldn't have wasted my time. <Please... read where you were referred to. RMF>

Lethargic goldfish - 09/14/06 Hi there! <<Hello, and my apologies that you've waited so long for an answer. Tom>> I've just recently acquired two goldfishes from a carnival and not bearing to dispose of them, I decided to give them a home. I housed them in a 2ft x 1ft tank filled with 7 inches of water, which I hope is sufficient for them for now? (They're around 2 inches long each, including the tail.) I placed some pebbles and water plants in the tank but did not include lighting as the tank is placed in a well lit place, away from direct sunlight. I also used box filters in the aquarium setup. <<A quick mental calculation places your new pets in a tank of about 7-8 gallons of water. Honestly? Not enough...>> Initially both fishes looked fine and they both ate healthily and swam actively, exploring the entire tank. After 3 weeks though, one of the fish started behaving lethargically and would rest for long periods on the bottom of the tank without moving. Occasionally it would seem to float with the head pointed downwards as though it has difficulty straightening itself, yet it has no problems swimming around the tank during feeding time. It is still eating though it does seem to suffer from reduced appetite. I tried checking for dropsy, ick, or anything other signs of disease on the fish but the fins and scales look fine. <<Likely your fish is having problems with its swim bladder. Goldfish are notorious "gulpers" when it comes to feeding and your fish might simply have ingested too much air. This is a common cause of this. Without more information, I wouldn't suggest that this condition is based on an internal disorder.>> I feed them with flake food twice daily and supplement it with boiled peas once a week. Water changes are done twice weekly with 20% of the water changed each time as it's a new tank and I'm concerned about ammonia levels. <<Good. In this small of a water volume, ammonia levels are certainly going to be an issue. Excellent that you're keeping abreast of the water changes, though. Very wise in this case.>> I can't seem to get my hands on a water test kit locally and I'm not sure if the water from the tap contains any other chemicals harmful to the fish. I do leave the fresh water from the tap out overnight before any water changes. <<Again, a good practice. Chlorine dissipates quickly and will be in the safe range if left overnight. Chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) is utilized in some areas since it doesn't dissipate like chlorine, alone, does. There are products that treat for both at the same time, just for what it's worth.>> A point of concern is that the water starts to have a tinge of green after 3 weeks even though I don't see algae growing in the tank. <<A "bloom". Nothing, right now, to be concerned about.>> Please advise on the condition of the fish as I'm not sure if it's a normal condition, or if it's suffering from some disease that I can't see. Is there any thing I can do to ensure that both of them stay healthy? <<"Cards on the table", so to speak? Your fish are probably either of the Common, or Comet, variety. (Typical 'carnival' Goldfish.) These can grow to 12 inches in length and are generally best-suited for living in ponds rather than indoor aquariums. An indoor aquarium would have to be in the range of 90+ gallons to see these fish live long and thrive. You've already gone to extraordinary measures compared to what happens to most of these fish but, this is what you're faced with. Frankly, neither will do well for long where they are. My advice would be to find a "suitable" home for your fish. If you're intent on keeping them and, you have the room in your home, they'll need larger quarters.>> Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this long email. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Regards, Chen Yieng <<Please feel free to write back with any further questions you might have. My best to you. Tom>>

Goldfish Acting Strange 9/6/06 Bob, I have a 10 gal fresh water tank - excellent filtration and oxygenation. All water levels test at very good to perfect. Over the last few days my goldfish (I only have one in there, about five mos. old) has been acting odd. She's been floating in her plants at the rear left corner of the tank, not eating much, and swimming erratically and very, very fast if anyone approaches - none of which she had ever done in the past. Last week, two of her plants were dying, ammonia levels may have been high. I did a full water change and washed all the tank decorations. I also got rid of the live plants and switched to plastic ones. It seemed to do very little as she's still displaying the same behaviors. Any ideas? Thanks in advance, Jessica < Check the ammonia levels. Sometimes when you do a very thorough cleaning you remove the good nitrifying bacteria used to break down the fish waste. So you may have to cycle your tank all over aging. Check the ammonia and be sure.-Chuck>

Summat re goldfish color change 8/28/06 hi I was wondering if you could help me with my goldfish. it's fins are starting to turn silver, is it ok like this or is some thing wrong? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshbehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Could be nothing, might be an influence of poor water quality, nutritional deficiency... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Problems 8/21/06 Hi. <<Hello, Kat. Tom this afternoon.>> I just got three goldfish recently, they're my first pets, and they seem to have something wrong. They are in a 3-gallon (US) tank with a mechanical and biological filter. They are all about 1 1/2 inches long with the tail (I should be getting them a bigger tank...). <<Very much agreed on upgrading the size of the tank, Kat. Glad to hear you're already thinking of this.>> I think all three are fantails (or some hybrid that look like fantails) and two have little white spots on their tails. I think they have ick? <<Sounds likely. Has the tank completely cycled yet? If not, this could be a strong reason for the Ich outbreak.>> They've been chasing around the third one which does not have white spots (one of the first two seems to be poking the third in the butt with its nose...). <<Trying to make points, perhaps? :) Actually, it's safest, from the standpoint of a "bully", to approach from behind. Kind of a Goldfish "sucker punch".>> They've all been eating normally (although the first two are a little more aggressive about getting their food). The third also has a damaged left fin. <<I don't want to accuse either of the other two but from what you describe, this may be due to aggression.>> They all have a line of small dots/holes(?) on both sides of their bodies from the top of the gills to the middle of the base of their tails. Is that normal? <<Absolutely normal. All fish have these. Anatomically speaking, it's called the "Lateral Line". Simply put, it's a sensory organ. Picks up electrical impulses and is useful in "echo-location" to aid the fish in relating to its surroundings. The lateral line is more apparent to us in some fish than others but, basically, appears like a line of "pores", i.e. the dots/holes that you refer to.>> I'm obsessively worried about these goldfish and very sorry for piling all these problems on you... <<No reason to be sorry at all, Kat. Other than clearing up the Ich and getting these fish into larger quarters, I don't see that you have a lot to worry about. The aggressive behavior of the "two" will, almost certainly, subside when everyone has plenty of room. Remember that these two are the ones with signs of Ich, as well. A bit stressful and likely to make them a bit "cranky".>> Is there anything I can do for my goldfish? I am feeding them TetraFin Goldfish Flakes and using Jungle Lifeguard All-In-One Treatment (I've taken out the activated carbon filter). <<The treatment is fine. You might look into the information on our site about Goldfish diet. They want, and need, vegetable matter in their diets and this should make up a big part of what they eat. High quality flakes are very good but all fish like variety just like we do. Also, don't forget about regular water changes. Goldfish are particularly "messy" not only in terms of what they don't eat but in terms of what they do eat...and get rid of, if you get my meaning. :)>> Thanks, Kat <<Any time. If you have more questions, please, feel free to write back. Tom>>

Bully goldfish? 8/17/06 Hi, <<Hi, Emily. Tom this afternoon.>> I just got two goldfish the other day and I have been noticing some behaviors that seem odd to me. One of my goldfish (Elmo) is always pushing the other goldfish (Walter) around the tank. This happens mainly during feeding time but I've noticed it happening at other random times during the day. Elmo is slightly larger than Walter but they are generally about the same size. I'm not sure why this is happening or what to do about it. <<Might be "bullying" behavior, Emily. You don't say how large the tank is, which could assist a little. (You did say "tank" so I'm confident you don't have your fish in a "bowl".) Filtration, aeration, water parameters can also play a part here. I can't discount that "Walter" might just be a "Walter-ette" but the behavior would be unlikely at the juvenile stage unless the, hypothetically-female Walter, were mature. Young males are known to rub up against/physically contact females. "Firing for effect", in a manner of speaking. Isolating the "bully" is known to work with some fish. I don't care for the practice of placing the fish in a plastic container inside of the tank because it could lead to potential stress-related problems down the road. Has been known to work, though.>> Please help me. <<My recommendation? Patience and observance. Unless Elmo is a "rogue", I would offer that the 'aggressive' behavior will die down. If it doesn't or, if the behavior becomes even more aggressive, they'll have to be separated completely for Walter's sake.>> Emily <<Tom>>

Goldfish changing color after being treated for ick 8/11/06 Hi <Hello> I hope you can help me. After only three years of fish keeping I consider myself very much a beginner and despite looking on the web I have not found an answer to this. I have a 55 litre tropical tank. I have some assorted tropical fish but also two goldfish (they started off this hobby when someone was throwing them out and I took them rather than see them euthanized). <Mmm, not a good idea to keep mixed...> As we have a stove in the room where then tank is located it became very warm and after a year or so of that we thought we had better buy a heater to ensure that if the stove went out our fish did not die (I am just trying to explain why I end up with a mix of tropical fish and goldfish) Anyway I take great care of the tank and water quality etc and even just last week when I checked everything with my test strips ph etc was all fine. However I introduced some new fish a few weeks ago and I think that the water they came in may have had ick in it because my two goldfish are now showing symptoms. I have checked and it is classic ick, not male breeding spots. I read about adding salt to the water and did so. I also got Jungle ick guard and after a partial water change and vacuuming the gravel I added it in the correct dosage last night. <Good> However this morning I notice that my two goldfish have discoloured tails and fins. Is this normal or have I done something wrong? <May be stress marking from the medication... the ingredients are actually quite different in their effect depending on water quality... rather toxic in more soft, acidic (and warmer) water> I would really appreciate your help Claire Kelly <Mmm, but some "genetic lines" of goldfish are also much more easily given to changing color... Best to continue with the treatment regimen here... But I would separate the goldfish and tropicals ultimately. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish changing color after being treated for ick 8/14/06
Bob I really appreciate your reply. I have noticed the colour change seems to be reversing itself so it probably was stress and I just panicked. <Ahhh!> I intend to continue with the treatment regime and continue to monitor water quality which as of Friday was still grand <Good> As for the mix of tropical and goldfish I appreciate it is not ideal but I can't face the idea of giving my goldfish away to someone who won't look after them as well as I will and I don't have room for another coldwater tank. So far everything seems very happy together (until this case of ick of course) Once again I appreciate your response Claire Kelly (Northern Ireland) <Thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner, Southern California>

Goldfish odd behavior - 8/10/2006 Hey there crew, <Hi - Jorie here with you this balmy Chicago evening.> My name is Julianne and my boyfriend and I have two fantail goldfish named Paco and Tyrone. <Love the fish names!> Tyrone is the one with the black stripe on his head and Paco is the one with the white wave on the side of his body. The Plecostomus in the picture died a few weeks ago, so it's just them two in our 5g hex tank. <All of these fish will eventually outgrow a 5gal. tank. Better to save your money for a larger tank setup than add any other fish.> Along with the bio filter that came with the tank, we installed an underground filter for a couple reasons: to keep oxygen levels high and to speed the growth of good bacteria. <Overfiltration with messy goldies in a too-small tank is definitely a good idea.> We've had P&T for almost 5 weeks now. The hardest part was the initial cycling and controlling the ammonia/nitrite levels. As first time fantail owners, we are proud to have gotten this far. Ammonia and nitrites are at zero. Nitrates are at 20ppm. <Glad your tank is cycled. In the future, consider doing it fishless, with only a bit of fish-food. Much easier on the livestock. Right now, nitrates are at the high end of OK, so do keep a close eye and keep up on water changes. As mentioned above, and as you likely have seen, goldfish are poop machines!> Total hardness is at 120ppm. Total alkalinity/buffering capacity is at about 100pm. pH is at about 7. <Sounds OK. Remember, too, that stability is better than exact precision when it comes to water chemistry.> We've been good at carefully monitoring the guys so that we can pick up on any weird behavior. <Excellent!> Paco has a little trouble swimming perhaps because his belly area is slightly bigger on one side. We thought that he may be having swim bladder issues so we added peas to their diet (which initially was just flakes). <Sounds good. Although I don't personally keep goldfish, I understand they have a tendency to get constipated, and peas will definitely help with this. Hopefully the fish accept them as part of their diet...> He usually floats with his rear end up when he's sleeping. Tyrone is the better swimmer and is overall healthier looking. There has always been a few gold dots on his backside--is this normal? <I've looked at your attached picture and don't see any obvious signs of trouble. Overall coloration is good, too. As long as the fish are swimming and eating normally, I wouldn't worry - plus, as you indicate, these "dots" have been present since beginning? The only thing I can think the dots may be, if not normal, are velvet...but you would likely have many more than just a few. It would be like a fine blanket of gold dust on the fish...> He used to obsess over wiggling against the tank or against the rocks, but he hasn't done that lately. <Do a search to find what a picture of a fish affected with velvet looks like - it can cause the fish to scratch against objects. If you suspect it is velvet, you will want to immediately quarantine Tyrone and start a treatment with copper sulphate. Also, raising the temp. just a bit can be helpful. Unfortunately, once a tank is infested with velvet (or ich), it becomes nearly impossible to get rid of, short of breaking the tank down. Do you have any other tanks to transfer these fish to? Basic rule of medicating, as you likely know, though is not to medicate the main tank.> Today my boyfriend noticed Paco sitting below our live aquatic plant and sitting on the gravel. He has never done this before so we were pretty concerned. Is this swim bladder infection, some other internal infection, or an external parasite? We did a 20% water change just to be safe--but we still don't know what it is... <Water changes are always good. Let me as you a couple of questions: does Paco still appear bloated? Does he sit constantly, or does he still swim and eat? He could be mildly constipated, in which case I'd increase the frequency of pea feeding. Also, I've read that with flake food, goldies can tend to gulp a lot of air along with the food, since it is sitting on the top of the water...consider changing to a sinking goldfish pellet. Hikari and Spectrum New Life are two quality brands of dried fish food that I like to use.> Tyrone has developed a habit of sucking air from the top of the tank (which I learned was normal), but because of this, he has air bubbles in his poo! <Again, the sinking pellets may help relieve some of this.> So this is our analysis. We just don't want to medicate them until we know what needs to be treated. <Good plan!> This is where you guys come in... Thanks so much in advance! I do all my goldfish research on your website. <I, too, love WWM, but remember that it's never bad to seek out multiple opinions...I've got a reference library of about 10-12 fish websites that I check when I have a question. You'll soon learn, if you haven't already, that every fish "expert" has his/her own opinion of what's going on. Basically, I just look for the most common opinion and then add a little of my own common sense to the mix...> Most of the time it's helpful, but there are so many of these darn emails to sift through! <Yes, searching through WWM can be a challenge, I agree! In any event, look Tyrone over closely for velvet, especially in his gill area. Based on what you report, it doesn't seem to be this, but obviously you are there with him and can better tell. Also, consider the feeding suggestions I've offered above to relieve the swallowing air problem. Keep up with your water testing and make sure to keep Paco and Tyrone's water clean. Again, you will need to eventually upgrade their tank - they will undoubtedly outgrow it.> Hope to hear back from you soon, Julianne <Hope I've helped, Julianne. Best regards, Jorie>
Re: Goldfish odd behavior PART 2
- 08/12/06 Hey there crew, <Hi - Jorie here with you this balmy Chicago evening.> <<Jorie, thanks for the quick response! It really is comforting to hear that you care! >> <<<Hi again, Julianne...sorry to take a couple of days to respond again.>>> My name is Julianne and my boyfriend and I have two fantail goldfish named Paco and Tyrone. <Love the fish names!> Tyrone is the one with the black stripe on his head and Paco is the one with the white wave on the side of his body. The Plecostomus in the picture died a few weeks ago, so it's just them two in our 5g hex tank. <All of these fish will eventually outgrow a 5gal. tank. Better to save your money for a larger tank setup than add any other fish.> Along with the bio filter that came with the tank, we installed an underground filter for a couple reasons: to keep oxygen levels high and to speed the growth of good bacteria. <Overfiltration with messy goldies in a too-small tank is definitely a good idea.> We've had P&T for almost 5 weeks now. The hardest part was the initial cycling and controlling the ammonia/nitrite levels. As first time fantail owners, we are proud to have gotten this far. Ammonia and nitrites are at zero. Nitrates are at 20ppm. <Glad your tank is cycled. In the future, consider doing it fishless, with only a bit of fish-food. Much easier on the livestock. Right now, nitrates are at the high end of OK, so do keep a close eye and keep up on water changes. As mentioned above, and as you likely have seen, goldfish are poop machines!> Total hardness is at 120ppm. Total alkalinity/buffering capacity is at about 100pm. pH is at about 7. <Sounds OK. Remember, too, that stability is better than exact precision when it comes to water chemistry.> We've been good at carefully monitoring the guys so that we can pick up on any weird behavior. <Excellent!> Paco has a little trouble swimming perhaps because his belly area is slightly bigger on one side. We thought that he may be having swim bladder issues so we added peas to their diet (which initially was just flakes). <Sounds good. Although I don't personally keep goldfish, I understand they have a tendency to get constipated, and peas will definitely help with this. Hopefully the fish accept them as part of their diet...> He usually floats with his rear end up when he's sleeping. Tyrone is the better swimmer and is overall healthier looking. There has always been a few gold dots on his backside--is this normal? <I've looked at your attached picture and don't see any obvious signs of trouble. Overall coloration is good, too. As long as the fish are swimming and eating normally, I wouldn't worry - plus, as you indicate, these "dots" have been present since beginning? The only thing I can think the dots may be, if not normal, are velvet...but you would likely have many more than just a few. It would be like a fine blanket of gold dust on the fish...> *<<There was just one or two dots in the very beginning. We first noticed one on his body and then at the top of his dorsal fin. There are no more dots on any of his fins. Now there are a few on his backside.>>* <<<As long as you don't see a fine dust-like covering on a good part of the fish, I tend to think these are just normal coloration patterns on Tyrone. Once you see an actual picture of velvet (if you haven't already), you'll see exactly what I mean.>>> He used to obsess over wiggling against the tank or against the rocks, but he hasn't done that lately. <Do a search to find what a picture of a fish affected with velvet looks like - it can cause the fish to scratch against objects. If you suspect it is velvet, you will want to immediately quarantine Tyrone and start a treatment with copper sulphate. Also, raising the temp. just a bit can be helpful. Unfortunately, once a tank is infested with velvet (or ich), it becomes nearly impossible to get rid of, short of breaking the tank down. Do you have any other tanks to transfer these fish to? Basic rule of medicating, as you likely know, though is not to medicate the main tank.> Today my boyfriend noticed Paco sitting below our live aquatic plant and sitting on the gravel. He has never done this before so we were pretty concerned. Is this swim bladder infection, some other internal infection, or an external parasite? We did a 20% water change just to be safe--but we still don't know what it is... <Water changes are always good. Let me as you a couple of questions: does Paco still appear bloated? Does he sit constantly, or does he still swim and eat? He could be mildly constipated, in which case I'd increase the frequency of pea feeding. Also, I've read that with flake food, goldies can tend to gulp a lot of air along with the food, since it is sitting on the top of the water...consider changing to a sinking goldfish pellet. Hikari and Spectrum New Life are two quality brands of dried fish food that I like to use.> *<<Paco always looks a bit fatter on the right side of his belly. Though, it tends to shrink (but not all the way) when we feed him peas 3 days in a row. He doesn't constantly sit on the gravel. Maybe 2-3 minutes at a time for the last two days. It almost looks as if he's tired of swimming and seeks shelter from under the live plant (which is the only place he sits). Because he's heavier on the one side, it makes it more difficult for him to swim it seems. Other times he swims around looking for food in the gravel, sucking up a few air bubbles, or playing with Tyrone. When it's feeding time, he's really quick at gobbling up the food so that's a relief. My boyfriend read somewhere that soaking the food will decrease the chances that they gulp air with the food, so we started to do that.>>* <<<Your boyfriend is correct - soaking the food first will also help with the air-swallowing problem. Since you've seen a anatomical response in Paco when you feed the peas, I am most inclined to think it's just his stomach you are seeing. Make sure you don't overfeed the fish - only what they will consume in 2-3 minutes. Goldies are notoriously piggy, and will continue eating quite past the amount they need to survive. Perhaps cut back on the amount of food you are feeding and keep up with the peas. With regard to the sitting/resting behavior, some fish just do this. I've got a perfectly healthy Siamese Algae Eater who just camps out on plants and rocks pretty much all day long...I know he's fine, though, as he always swims aggressively for food when it's feeding time. I think with less food and continuation of the pea-feeding you'll be able to keep Paco's overeating tendency in check...>>> Tyrone has developed a habit of sucking air from the top of the tank (which I learned was normal), but because of this, he has air bubbles in his poo! <Again, the sinking pellets may help relieve some of this.> So this is our analysis. We just don't want to medicate them until we know what needs to be treated. <Good plan!> This is where you guys come in... Thanks so much in advance! I do all my > goldfish research on your website. <I, too, love WWM, but remember that it's never bad to seek out multiple opinions...I've got a reference library of about 10-12 fish websites that I check when I have a question. You'll soon learn, if you haven't already, that every fish "expert" has his/her own opinion of what's going on. Basically, I just look for the most common opinion and then add a little of my own common sense to the mix...> Most of the time it's helpful, but there are so many of these darn emails to sift through! <Yes, searching through WWM can be a challenge, I agree! In any event, look Tyrone over closely for velvet, especially in his gill area. Based on what you report, it doesn't seem to be this, but obviously you are there with him and can better tell. Also, consider the feeding suggestions I've offered above to relieve the swallowing air problem. Keep up with your water testing and make sure to keep Paco and Tyrone's water clean. Again, you will need to eventually upgrade their tank - they will undoubtedly outgrow it.> Hope to hear back from you soon, Julianne <Hope I've helped, Julianne. Best regards, Jorie> *<< Anymore comments/suggestion would be greatly appreciated... Take care and thanks so much!!-Julianne>>* <<<Julianne, based on everything you've told me, I don't see a need to medicate either Paco or Tyrone at the moment. Of course, should any of the behaviors you describe change/become worse, we may need to re-analyze the situation. Keep the feeding under control, as discussed above, and you should have two happy and healthy fish! Best, Jorie>>>

Headstanding goldfish - 8/9/2006 Hi I have written several times, and the help offered has been useful. I have another problem with one of my fish. Moby the goldfish has not been himself the past 24 hours. He hovers at a 75 degree angle to the base of the tank, head down. <Not good> This morning he has started to rest head down on the top of the pump head. He appears to eat normally (gannet like and first to the top as usual). He is a little quieter than normal. The tank is approximately 70 litres, and contains a comet and 4 minnows. We do a 25% water change each week, with PH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all within normal levels, as listed on your site. I add some aquarium salt to the tank each water change, following the correct dosage as on the side of the box. I also treat the tap water with King British Safe Guard, and add Tetra Aqua Easy Balance and Nutrafin biological aquarium supplement in the correct doses. The tank has an undergravel filter <Not the preferred filtration with goldfish> and a pump head with tube attached to aerate the water. I feed the fish on a mixture of goldfish mix (frozen helpings of daphnia, bloodworm, and vegetable matter in a small block), daphnia, spinach, Mysis, and vegetable mix - all frozen and defrosted as needed. <Very nice> I rarely feed flakes, never more than once every 2 weeks, and feed only once a day. The fish also have live plants to nibble on in the tank. <Very good> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I really don't want to transfer him to the hospital 'tank of death' (named because all fish that have gone in have never come out!!). Paula <It may be that this goldfish has developed some sort of "fatty degeneration" internally from being "too well fed" on high-protein foods... and the cure will be to simply feed less or to turn to foods with a much lower protein concentration (less than 20%)... It could be that the fish is experiencing some form of gut blockage and that the trapped gas is causing a loss in orientation... here I would treat with Epsom Salt: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Lastly in my "best guess" choices will be some type of gas bladder damage... Goldfish, minnows in general, the lower teleosts/advanced bony fishes are physostomous, have the ability to take in, release gas from this bladder via the mouth... but there can be instances of constriction internally... these are very hard to "cure"... but may be related to the first two possibilities. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish growth and size question... sys. 7/31/06 Hi, I have not seen this exact question answered on your site but apologize if it's redundant. We have 3 new goldfish, 1 common and 2 comets; they are about 1 inch not including their tail. They are doing well and very active. They are in a 20 gal tank with a "Penguin Bio-Wheel 150" box filter that hangs on the side of the tank. Also a bubbler and gravel, decorations. No real plants yet. I understand from reading your site's info that the tank they are in is too small, <Will be ultimately, yes... But should be "large-enough" to allow dilution, cycling of waste, psychological and physiological space for now...> anyway we knew that they would ultimately outgrow it and we'd have to get them a bigger home. (My son is very attached to these fish so we could not give them away but would have to buy a bigger tank.) How soon should we be planning to get a new tank? <Likely a year or so... growth rates can be sped up, controlled to a point by feeding amount, frequency... partial water changes...> Is this something we need to do immediately or could we put it off for a few months? <The latter> How long do they live and how fast does it take them to get to be 12" whoppers?? <Can live a few tens of years... and won't get this big in aquarium settings... would take a pond, several years there> Also--I read something that said goldfish keepers do a 90% water change once per week, and some other info that says a 25% change once per week-- <Better to limit these chances to this last maximum percentage> and another source advising 10% change at least several times per week while the tank is just getting established. I've been checking the water and changing 10-25% of the water every day or every other day What do you recommend? thanks for answering, Nancy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Bob Fenner>

Help! Jumped Goldfish... 7/28/06 Hi Bob - My poor 2 year old comet, Ali, jumped out of the tank yesterday and I found him on the floor when I got home. He's the only one in a 2.5 gallon tank. <Too small...> I have no idea how long he was there. His gills were still moving and one fin but his body was all stiff and turning white in color. I put him back in the tank immediately. He had a fine white film shedding off his entire body, he seemed to get a bit better through the course of the night. He was able to use all fins and tail again and seemed to be limbering up slightly but seemed to have trouble eating and moving around a lot. He's normally a very hyper fish and jumps a lot. Well this morning we went out to find him against the holes in the tube that take in the water for the filter. It seemed he didn't have enough strength to fight against it so we turned off the filter (the filter is a new addition to the tank so he's used to not having it.) and moved him out of the spot he was in, he seemed to be stuck. When I left him today he was laying on the bottom on the rocks but he was still breathing and looking around. I'm very, very upset. The pet stores have not been helpful at all. Is there anything I can do to save him or was it already too late when I left him this morning? <There is some hope. I would medicate this fish with a bit of aquarium salt> Any information would be so so helpful. Thank you in advance. Saraiel <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Stunting <Gold>Fish 7/25/06 Hi everyone, <Hi Sarah, Pufferpunk here> First of all, you guys are great. I am finding out loads about everything aqua on here, and am having a blast. <We aim to please!> I have spent hours popping around, trying to satiate my addiction but alas I fear it has grown worse! <Boy, does that sound familiar! I now have 8 tanks totaling 440g & looking to upgrade...> Anyway, while going through things I came up with a question I couldn't quite find an answer to but first, the background: Like many other people, I too started out with goldfish, when I was much much younger. In fact, it was one of the infamous carnival comets! (Doe!) That of course died and I got a couple of fantails which I kept in a small (20 tall) aquarium. Also, when I got these, I purchased a book on goldfish, following my then and still remaining obsessive compulsive nature of wanting to know everything about something that interests me. In that book it talked about goldfish being carp and only growing to the capacity of the tank and did not mention this as being a problem. In fact, if I remember correctly, this quality was listed as being a positive attribute, making it an ideal starter fish. <Actually, GF are extremely poor starter fish. They are messy & produce a lot of waste/ammonia, requiring large tanks & huge weekly water changes. Serious GF keepers do 90% weekly. They can also live up to 30 years, growing over 1', in the proper conditions.> That was many years ago, the aquarium has since been broken down and resurrected again, this time as a tropical aquarium. Those fish died, though of what I honestly do not know since it was over ten years ago. My interest in the hobby has grown and I was toying with the possibility of a small outdoor pond, maybe of the half-barrel variety. This would probably be 30 to 50 gallons, depending on what I might find. <Lots of pond info at WWM.> Now finally for my question: you guys continuously say on this site that goldfish MUST have a very large, over fifty gallons, tank to remain healthy. What changed? <Nothing, I've known this for many years. There is tons of poor info out there.> Have we learned more or is allowing these fish to grow to their full size now considered more humane? <Of course! Would you like to be squished into a closet your whole life? how long could you survive? Don't you think you'd get depressed & eventually just quit eating, wanting to die?> You speak of "stunting" the growth but unless it causes structural abnormalities (besides the obvious dwarfism) why is this really a problem? In many ways, I see it as an advantage that a fish that can grow big but is bought small because "it was just so darn cute" can remain small, rather than the usual death because the fish grows to the size of it's container! <In the words of the wise scientist Robert T Ricketts: "Personally, I think there is a lot more to stunting than just one or two big items. Fish health and the ability to reach full genetic potential depends on a multitude of factors -- including the genetics, a healthy near-environment (basically water quality for fish), an appropriate environment (this includes décor, swimming space, refuge, current, lighting), and suitable food in sufficient quantity but not in excess. You need to know how big the fish should be (Fishbase is a reliable source for this), what sort of water and physical environment the fish lives in and what its lifestyle is -- schooler, lurking predator, active hunter predator, whatever, whether or not it allows or even may need conspecific or perhaps dither tankmates, or none at all. Any of these can and likely will change during development for any given fish. Tank size hits several of these points -- it allows for areas of current, for visually complex setups to explore, and space for swimming. Plus, it plays on PP's signature line of 'the answer to pollution is dilution'. With increased water volume, pollutants of whatever type will be at lower concentration than the same bioload will give in smaller quarters. Many or most fish seem to like areas of current, many do 'play' or exercise in the current. Hunters get some just by exploration of a complex environment. Schoolers (Auriglobus when young, Colomesus throughout their life) absolutely must have it or they will show 'caged animal' stereotyped behavior just to work off activity normal and in effect hard-wired into the animal. Fish need exercise. All mobile animals need exercise. Koi kept in shallow ponds do not develop normal configurations. They are too long and slender. They need depth as well as length and width. Without exercise, muscle mass will not be in normal proportion to frame and internal organs. Fish need to have whatever exercise they are willing to do to allow normal physical development. The space or volume bit has impact here as well. Pollution, whether from metabolites or hormones of general organics, suppresses normal growth and development. What levels of which are important? We do not know. We do that it varies from family to family for various pollutants over a substantial range. It is highly likely to vary from species to species within a family. In the best of all possible worlds, tanks would all be a high multiple of the length of the fish housed there. In reality, we rarely can provide that other than for the smallest fish. But we try to just as much volume as we can. We provide both current and relative calm, without having totally dead areas, in the tank, and we match the décor to the lifestyle of the fish. Naturally, we feed both well and wisely. We meet the fish's nutritional -- and for the special needs of different species-- and physical food suited to the particular fish. We provide enough to allow the fish to grow normally, but not so much that the fish is obese. Obesity is as great an issue for fish as for people and dogs. Too much food, not the best food, and feeding too often, all lead to problems. Water quality I'll assume as a given. Un-oxidized metabolites (ammonia and/or nitrite) are never detectable, oxidized metabolites (nitrate) are as low as is practical for us to provide, but certainly below 40 ppm nitrate, better below 20 ppm, best at or below 10 ppm. Organics are kept low by large water changes at sufficiently short intervals that hobby testable water parameters are never far off from the source water used for the tank (whether tap or processed or otherwise modified). That means the water you remove should be quite close to the water you will replace it with, excepting perhaps the nitrate titer, and the organic (which we cannot measure). IF you can provide all of this, your fish will, on the average, exceed the normal lifespan of the species in the wild, and frequently will be as large as if not larger than the wild counterparts. Anything less is stunting. Anything less will result in lower health and shorter life. To me stunting is insufficient space, improper diet and exercise, and both chemical and physical environmental deficiencies. Any or all of those lacks can contribute. Any or all can result in a stunted fish." Here is the entire thread I got this from: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4030&highlight=stunting Sorry for the lengthy question, you guys are great for your patience! <Long response for a lengthy Q! ~PP> Sarah

Goldfish with laboured breathing 7/19/06 Hi, <<Hello, Kate. Tom>> I have looked at other sites but with fish it is so hard to tell what is wrong. I don't want to treat my fish with the wrong thing and kill it. <<Very wise here, Kate.>> First of all I admit that I could have been more frequent with the cleaning of my tank. The fish is a common goldfish and he is about 13 years old. He is generally quite hardy. I cleaned the tank at the weekend and got some new large (smooth) stones and a plant for his tank. This was on Saturday, he seemed fine until last night. At around 9pm (just over 12 hours ago) I noticed that he was gasping for air near the top of the tank. I thought it was strange because he didn't have his mouth "out" of the water although his back fin was. However later he swam to the bottom and has mainly stayed there breathing heavily throughout. I wondered if he could have a balance problem but he is the right way up and can swim when he makes a big effort. <<By way of information, Kate, oxygen concentrations tend to be higher at the surface because that's where "oxygen exchange" takes place. Gulping for air (sometimes referred to as "piping") is the result of a variety of problems that usually stem from poor water conditions. Something here took several days to manifest itself, though, so I'm of the opinion that something related to but, outside of, the water change/cleaning is responsible.>> The thing is that I know he's sick because normally when it's time to be fed he swims straight to the top of the tank but now he can't move fast enough and is concentrating on breathing all the time. From what I have read could it be bacterial gill infection? <<I can't exclude this. You haven't given specifics regarding how long it's been since you cleaned your fish's tank so it's entirely possible that you "stirred up" a fair amount of "stuff", shall we say, when you accomplished this. The thought of rotting detritus/mulm being "inhaled" by your Goldfish makes me a little queasy so I can only imagine how he must have felt about it. ;)>> It just struck me as strange that once he was cleaned out he was fine but that it came on last night, 3 days after cleaning out the tank. Could whatever is wrong with him have still been caused by the water quality before the tank was cleaned? <<Could be but ask yourself if this situation would have been forestalled if you had waited another week. He was fine until the cleaning so something was precipitated by this. I suspect that I know the answer but, did you "quarantine" the plant? Parasites such as Ich will "hitchhike" on plants as readily as other aquatic life. Also, how thoroughly did you wash the new gravel before placing it in the aquarium? This, frankly, is what I have some suspicions about. pH levels typically drop in aquariums over time. With "regular" water changes, these fluctuations are minimal and have little, if any, adverse affect. However, throw in a large water change along with the addition of new substrate, potentially leaching pH-increasing minerals, into the tank and you've got a good case for pH shock.>> I have removed the new plant and the stones from the tank and have changed a lot of the water. <<Good on the removal of the new items but slow down on the water changes. You didn't mention anything about testing the water conditions so I have no idea what's currently going on in your tank. I'm thinking that you don't either. Invest in a test kit, Kate, or take a sample of water up to your local fish store for testing. Find out exactly what's going on in your pet's aquarium. Adaptive as they are, you're probably putting a lot on a thirteen-year-old Goldfish.>> I will readily admit that I am really not the best fish keeper and to be honest the fish has probably lived this long more because of luck than anything else. I am asking for your help because I don't want him to die and I don't want to do something which could make his condition worse. <<Nothing wrong with a little luck, Kate, but we can certainly "hedge" our bets. Again, find out what the parameters in the tank are regarding ammonia, nitrite and, especially, nitrate and pH levels. Aquarium salt at the rate of one tablespoon/five gallons of tank water can greatly assist in oxygen uptake - dissolved first in fresh, dechlorinated water.>> Many thanks for your help, Kate <<Always happy and ready to do so, Kate. Please get back to us if you need more input. Tom>> Kate Hopkinson

Red Cap Oranda - Red is fading 7/15/06 Hello, <<Hello, Dan. Tom with you today.>> I have had a Red Cap Oranda for one year and just recently the "redness" of the cap is fading. In fact, it's almost entirely gone now! Apart from that, the fish seems perfectly healthy - swims well, eats well, etc. I have another Red Cap Oranda in the tank and that one is fine...at least for now. Any thoughts? <<Coloration changes in Goldfish are not uncommon particularly during their first year. While I've not run across your specific situation there are several factors at play including genetics, diet, exposure to sunlight and age. Since your pet appears to be quite healthy otherwise, and your other Red Cap hasn't (yet) shown any signs of the same thing happening, I would suspect a genetic predisposition to the fading and/or loss of color. Something of a more "hands-on" nature might be to investigate supplementing your Orandas' diets with Spirulina algae. The carotenoid pigments in Spirulina have been reported to significantly enhance the coloration in Koi and Goldfish so, if you feel like doing a little "dabbling", it might be worth a shot.>> Thank you very much, Dan Feins Beverly, MA <<My pleasure, Dan. Tom>>

Black moor beh., sys. 7/5/06 I made an outside pond over the winter and put in some goldfish, koi, two shubunkins, two fantails and two black moors in April. They all seemed to be doing fine and getting along with each other. <Mmm, "fancies" are best not kept outdoors generally, and most often can't compete with Comet goldfish, Koi over time...> A few days ago one of the moors turned white around the edge of all its fins. Then it developed bleached out looking sides and its head is turning bright orange. I thought it was spawning because several of the goldfish were chasing it all around the pond. That has stopped. It is still eating and swimming well but the bleached out sides and orange on the head seems to be spreading. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. <Moors can/do change color at time... more so in "outdoor", changeable water conditions, but the chasing behavior is likely unrelated.... can be trouble, is likely related to breeding... I would separate this one fish, actually both moors and fantails... bring them indoors, keep in an aquarium. Bob Fenner> Goldfish Growth Rates 7/4/06 <<Hello, Paul. Tom>> I'm housing a pair of 3" comets in a 30"x12"x12" tank (~20 gallons) running a Millennium 3000 filter (295 gph) and using 1 tbsp aquarium salt per 5 gallons. <<Having read through your post, I know that you're already aware that a 20-gallon tank is too small for these fish. I commend you on the level of filtration, though. Very good!>> I feed Hikari pellets twice a day, a supplement with blood worms, shrimp, peas, and lettuce. In the two months I've had the fish, they've only grown about 1/2". <<May not be out of the ordinary here, Paul. Temperature and size of the environment are factors that determine growth rates in these fish, as well as their diets. For instance, while we think of Goldfish as "cold water" fish - they are by "tropical" standards - they'll do very well at temperatures in the mid-seventy range (72-76 degrees). In small aquaria, while not stopped entirely, Goldfish growth will be slowed significantly. I might suspect this to be part "evolutionary" since large animals would quickly be poisoned to death in their own waste in "cramped" quarters.>> I've heard goldfish are supposed to grow "quickly" - what are the typical growth rates I should expect from my goldfish? How long will it take before they reach 6"+ and justify the 120 gallon setup I've been eyeing? <<My opinion? Your Comets probably would not reach 6"+ in a 20-gallon tank. That isn't necessarily a "blanket statement" but I think it entirely possible that you could lose them before this size was achieved. The type of fish you have "mandates" a 60-gallon tank, or larger, even at this point of their lives. As for "justifying" the 120-gallon aquarium you already have your eyes on? If that's what you have your heart set on, there shouldn't be any reason to justify it. Besides, your fish will thank you for it! :) Tom>> Paul

Uncycled system for goldfish? 7/2/06 hi please can you help me. we have recently purchased 2 goldfish for our daughters birthday. we bought the tank a week before we bought the fish so that it would be ready for when we brought the fish home. however we brought the fish home and they seem to be constantly attacking each other. Is there any reason that the fish should act like this. i am very worried that they are trying to kill each other. Or is it normal and they are playing. i have never noticed anyone else's fish acting in this way. Thank you Kristine. <Perhaps just too crowded, but likely this tank was not, is not completely cycled. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... on Goldfish System FAQs, ... Behavior FAQs. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish attack! 7/2/06 Hi, Just before Christmas a Heron ate most of my goldfish in my garden pond. All that was left was a small Koi and a couple of fairly large goldfish. <Happens> This Spring I introduced replacements, quite small Koi carp, goldfish and shubunkins. Everyone seemed to be getting on ok, but now the largest of the goldfish has started attacking one small shubunkin and one small Koi. <Also... unfortunately> It has quite literally eaten the tails of both down to the roots and I fear they will not now survive. How can I stop the big goldfish eating the smaller fish? <Move or destroy this fish> The pond is currently besieged by tadpoles but I can't see this as a factor? <Me neither> There is plenty of space in the pond for all the fish. Appreciate any help you may be able to offer. Many thanks ADS <There are just some "mean", rogue individuals... "Mad dogs" and goldfish... Bob Fenner>

Possible Bully Goldfish/ New system - 6/29/6 I encountered an emergency fish situation this weekend. <<Uh-oh!>> A friend literally left the following on my front porch: 3 orphaned goldfish in a Tupperware container of untreated tap water, a reject can of goldfish flakes, and a 10 gallon tank that was filtering sludge and was 60% covered with algae. <<Oh gosh, you must be overwhelmed.>> Prior to Saturday, I had no aquarium. Now, a true novice, I have a 20 gallon tank (with a 30 gallon filter) and 3 goldfish. I realize this is too small for the current stock, but spatially and financially this was my option. It is twice the size they were used to. <<It is certainly an improvement, and will do for some time. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm>> I was surprised at the size of the fish. From tip to tail, the fantail "Bubbles" is about 3 inches long. The common "Beluga" is about 4 inches. And the comet "Beethoven" is about 6 inches. <<They will get much larger.>> They are beautiful fish and appear to be healthy. A miracle, I'm sure. Because of the urgency of the situation, I assembled the tank, let it run 3 hours, floated the fish in separate bags for 10 minutes, added aquarium water and floated for another 10 minutes, and set them free. <<The tank is not cycled. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm. You're going to have to do mega water changes (75% daily) to keep the ammonia and nitrite from building up. I recommend a dechlorinator such as Prime be used, added to your replacement water.>> They've survived and seem to be doing well. I'm feeding them Goldfish Crisps. Here's the problem: The common is constantly chasing the other two fish. He may nip at them, but I don't see any damage yet. (That comet is really fast and doesn't tolerate the common being very close.) As far as I know, these fish have been together since "the beginning" -- whenever that was (surely several months, by now -- they have quite a history, I won't bore you with the details). I have read many posts concerning bully fish, but this one seems to be unique. Could the size of the tank really be the problem? <<Yes. It likely is in this case.>> Or could a chemical imbalance be causing his aggressive behavior? <<Very doubtful. Hopefully in time, with improving water conditions, things will improve.>> There is a strong ammonia smell near the tank. I have not had the water tested since it's only been 3 days. <<That's not good at all. You should get on those water changes. Also, you really should purchase test kits of your own for at least ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.>> Help! I don't have a place to put the common if separation is necessary; and strange as it may sound, I've already become attached to the trio. <<That's not strange, they are pets!>> However, I want to do what is best for my fish. Any suggestions would truly be appreciated. Thank you! Krista <<I really do think a larger home is in order, but at least please correct the water parameters.>> P.S. Is it best to simply trash the home they arrived with or is there something worth salvaging? (I already tossed the filter. The hood is covered with mold. The tank is really covered with algae and reeks.) <<A thorough cleaning (no soap) will do. I'd keep it. If you need to, you can use it to move on of the fish if aggression gets too bad, and an extra tank always comes in handy. Happy reading! Lisa.>>

Bubble eye goldfish beh. 6/28/06 Hello! I'd like to thank you for all of the help the site has provided over the past year. I do have a problem and have searched with no luck finding an answer. I have a bubble eye goldfish. He's over a year old and huge (about 6 inches). When we first got him (or her) one of his bubbles popped but healed up quite nicely, it inflated again, but it never got quite as large as the other bubble. <Happens> The problem is that the one which has not popped is quite large. He appears to be trying to eat his own bubble! It is very disturbing to watch. He constantly tears at it (the same manner in which he would tear at a piece of zucchini). It appears to be bothering him, well I realize he isn't that smart, he probably thinks its food. Is there anything I can do? Is there anyway to safely "pop" his bubble using a needle. I fear if he does tear it open it will be a more severe tear and will not heal. Any suggestions? I hate the thought of doing this, but he is eating his own face. Thank you, Kris <I don't know that there is an easy solution here re popping the one eye "bubble"... I suggest adding some small fish as a distraction (to "give this fish something else to concentrate on"). Perhaps some platies or Whitecloud (Mountainfish). Bob Fenner>

Goldfish questions, young not-yet reader 6/27/06 Hello WWM. My name's Amanda but you can call me Mandii. Everyone does. But that's besides the point. I have just bought 2 Shubunkin goldfish and I have some questions about them. Here we go: What is the life expectancy? <Can live to be twenty years of more given good care, environment, feeding...> [When owner is not neglecting] How can you tell what gender the fish is? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshreprofaqs.htm> I think I might have bought one male and one female Shubunkin so: How can you tell if one is pregnant? How can you tell that they are spawning/mating? <See, read the above area> When both of the Shubunkin lay/rest on the pebbles on the bottom of the tank together, what does that mean? <Not a good sign... perhaps just "tired", settling-in... but also an indication of poor environment condition> Thank you so much for reading this message. I await a reply. Thanks again! Sincerely, Amanda J. Schneider [Mandii] ^_^ <And here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish chasing: Is it bullying? 6/26/06 Hi, <<Hi. Tom>> I got my new fish and 10-gal tank about 2 weeks ago. I've stocked it with a comet goldfish (3 inches), 2 common goldfish (little over 2 inches each) and 2 shubunkins (also a bit over 2 inches each). <<Too little of an environment for one fish of this type let alone five! Six to seven times larger is needed, minimally.>> The problem is that the comet is acting like a bully (I think) because he/she chases around the 2 common goldfish a lot, and now 1 of my c. goldfish is acting like him and chasing around the only one of the shubunkin and the other c. goldfish. <<Your tank hasn't "cycled" in two weeks. Almost certainly, they're exposed to ammonia which is toxic/deadly, to fish. Soon, if not already, they'll be exposed to nitrites which are also deadly to fish. The "stress" factor will be enormous and create behavior that these fish would not normally exhibit. They've already become susceptible to disease and infection.>> I need a little help in knowing if this is playing behavior, some sort of mating behavior or if these fish are becoming harmfully aggressive. Or maybe do you think my tank is too small for these goldfish? I could use as much advice as you can give. <<Our site offers more information than you'll ever need. First, research "cycling". Then, research each of your fish. After that, research more. You already sound like you have a "handle" on behavioral issues with your pets. When you have specifics, we'll talk more. ;)>> <<Tom>>
Re: Goldfish chasing: Is it bullying?
6/29/06 Hi, thank you for the help Tom. <<Hi, again, and you're more than welcome.>> I researched cycling and found out what it means. I didn't think anything was or is really wrong with my fish. They sort of like to just swim around the tank and seem very healthy, just sort of aggressive (especially during feeding). <<My kids are like that! :)>> Now, first of all, I've researched numerous sites and many of them say that you should have 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water, which I've followed (well, about an inch over). <<The "one inch per gallon" rule is one of those that I somewhat cringe at. Not because it's "bad", per se, but because it's usually taken so literally that folks looking for assistance/guidance get frustrated when they're told that it doesn't apply to them. And, I don't blame them, truth be told. With Goldfish, a more realistic Rule-of-Thumb is a minimum of ten gallons per fish. I stress "minimum" here. With larger quarters, their lives, not to mention yours, will be much better because larger systems are easier to keep stable. If there's anything that I can impart to you, it's that "stability" is key here. As incredibly adaptive as our finny friends are, they don't like change once they've gotten adjusted to their conditions.>> I know they may grow to over 6 inches each at least, but for now I'm wondering if my tank size is acceptable temporarily? <<Absolutely. Put some specific plans into place now and you're "off the hook". In fact, come back to us with a specific plan-of-attack, so to speak, and you're really, REALLY "off the hook". :)>> Second of all, for the cycling, I've had this tank since Father's Day, and all my fish (with the exception of my unfortunate bubble-eyed fish who got caught in the filter) all my fish have lived since day 1. <<I'm sure you're aware that healthy fish don't get caught in filters. If you weren't aware, tuck this away for safe-keeping. They don't.>> With all these fish what can I do about cycling now? <<Test your water conditions and be prepared to do water changes. Really, your best bet, at this stage, is to let this run its course but you have to know what's going on inside of your tank. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has their Master Freshwater Test Kit at most every LFS and it's a decent kit.>> Finally, I really want to keep my fish alive(!) but I was wondering if you had some tips so I could keep them alive and healthy without breaking the bank? <<Ahhh... "Breaking the bank"... Kind of "subjective" but I would suggest the test kit I've already mentioned. (Buying "online" is cheaper than in the store but then, there's the time-frame factor. You need to know what's going on now.) Water changes are pretty cheap. Limiting feeding would let the beneficial bacteria "catch up", as well. Actually, I think you'll be fine but, please, invest some money in the test kit. Without this, you can't hope to know or, do, what's right for your pets.>> Thank you for all your help!! <<Once again, you're very welcome!>>

Blue light & goldfish beh. 6/13/06 Hi Friends I live in India, and has been using your website quiet a lot. Some of the members of our website have reported that their Oranda turn upside down when blue light is turned down. These are apparently healthy fishes and resume swimming 2-3 days after blue light is switched. <Unusual... light/ing should have little effect here> This has been reported by two separate persons, one uses a normal blue bulb and other one uses blue "actinic lights". This happens only with Oranda only and other fishes are unaffected. Thanks S. Raghuvanshi <Something else is likely at play here... most probable is nutrition... the sole feeding of dried-prepared foods. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Strange Goldfish Behavior - 06/02/2006 Hello again, Tom. <<Well, hello again, my friend.>> Please excuse me for not including this with the e-mail I sent to you a little while ago. <<I hope others are taking note of your impeccable manners. :)>> I have a couple of questions regarding Mimi's behavior. Is it normal for Goldfish to twitch or display what appears to be tic of sorts? <<Normal? I would say not...>> Ever since I have had Mimi she has, on occasion, displayed such behaviors. A fin will occasionally twitch or beat very rapidly or, when restful, will at times twitch her body to the side, quasi-spasmodically. She also yawns at times; opening and extending her mouth as if whistling intensely. <<A happy tune, perhaps? (I'm teasing you, of course.)>> Other times she opens and closes her mouth as if stuttering. She is otherwise fine. Does this sound alright to you? <<We can't discount her "genetic" make-up, Alfredo. Would I say this is normal behavior for a Goldfish? No. Is it normal for Mimi? Quite possibly and, probably, truth be told. Unless you've seen signs of a problem, I would consider this as "just the way she is". The funny thing is that we like our fish to have different personalities, and behaviorisms, up until we become worried about their health. At that point, we want every fish to be alike so we know exactly what to do for them. All fish aren't alike, though. (It would sure make our jobs easier they were!) I'm inclined to think that Mimi has these "eccentricities" because "that's the way she is". I've an Angelfish in quarantine (again) that doesn't seem to want to get "with the program". Active, attentive and would sit in my lap, if possible, but, is about one-third the size of the other two. Just the way it is.>> I appreciate all your help, Tom. Thanks <<You're always welcome, Alfredo. Tom>>

Goldfish Getting Lazy - 05/05/2006 Hello, I was wondering if you could help me. I have a 9" long goldfish that was won at a fair about 3 years ago in a 55 gallon tank. He has always been healthy, until about 3 days ago. I noticed that he has been laying around at the bottom of his tank and won't eat. I tried doing a 50% water change and changed his food. But this morning he is still laying at the bottom and not eating. When I was cleaning his filter, I also noticed one scale in it. But when I looked very carefully at him, I was unable to see where it could have come from. He still has his beautiful orange, black and silver. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you. -Lucy < This could be the beginning of an internal bacterial infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel, clean the filter and treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Lethargic goldfish hanging around vertically 4/30/06 Hi. <<Hello, Linda. Tom>> I've been reading through some of the posts, and I don't see anything about this. I've had two common goldfish (the kind given away at carnivals and such) for about 7 years. One is golden orange, and the other is almost all white. They have been doing very well (except for a few bouts of high nitrates) in a 25-gallon tank with a TopFin 40 filter, a six-inch airstone, and a lot of frilly live plants. They've grown to about a foot long each. I hang a Nitrazorb packet under the flow from the filter to counteract the nitrates. I also replace about 5 or 6 gallons of water every week or two and replace the filter about once a month. I feed them BioBlend goldfish food twice a day. <<First of all, congratulations on your fishkeeping skills. Generally, I would recommend a tank twice the size of yours for two fish of this size which speaks well of the care you've given your pets. That said, there's something here that caught my attention. When you say that you "replace" the filter about once a month, I normally advise against this opting, rather, to "clean" the media in used tank water to preserve the beneficial bacteria contained in the filter media. Replacing the media outright requires re-seeding the filter with the bio-colonies needed to maintain optimum water conditions and can lead to spikes in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, if only over a short period of time.>> Whitey often gets red spots and streaks and becomes lethargic - just hanging around vertically, nose up, swimming around a few seconds occasionally (especially after a nudge by Goldie) and then returning to the vertical hang. I've found that using StressZyme usually clears up those symptoms. But after I've used it a few days, and Whitey is doing fine, Goldie starts hanging around vertically instead. This has gone back and forth several times over the past year. Although it's not hindering their appetites, I'm assuming the lethargy (and the red spots and streaks) means they are not feeling well. Unfortunately, I can't seem to make them both happy at the same time. <<You don't include specific water condition readings with your posting and these are always important to us when trying to help with problems. Because of the "legendary" hardiness of Goldfish, I suspect that you're experiencing water quality variances that have, within the last year, begun to display themselves. What you describe is almost certainly bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia which is being "cleared up" temporarily by the addition of the water conditioner. Commonly this situation is caused by organics in the water and might easily be expected given the size of your fish in a 25-gallon tank. I would suggest that you stick with 20% water changes each week and clean your filter media rather than replacing it.>> Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks. <<Hope this helps, Linda. Tom>>

Re: Tom: Lethargic goldfish hanging around vertically 5/28/06 Thanks for your help, Tom. <<Glad to do so, Linda.>> The fish are both doing better. I've followed your suggestions, and I've also made one other change after reading some other posts on your site that I think may have made a difference. <<Good to hear about your fish. I'm glad you continued researching, as well.>> My son is a bit of a night owl. He frequently stays up all night with all the lights turned on. <<Uh oh...>> I hadn't thought about it before, but something in one of the posts gave me the idea that, since fish don't close their eyes, they probably need some dark time every day in order to rest. My son had been home on vacation when I wrote to you, and had probably been up all night with all the lights turned on every night that week. It's no wonder the goldfish were lethargic! <<No wonder, indeed, Linda!>> Now I'm wrapping black trash bags around the sides of the tank by 10 at night, just in case the lights stay on. <<Good move. You might also ask your son for some financial help with the electric bill! :)>> I am also cleaning the filter in water siphoned from the tank, as you suggested, but the media is getting rather frayed and the charcoal is not likely to keep the water clean if I don't replace it every few weeks. Is there something I can do ahead of time to condition the fresh charcoal and filter before I change it? <<As to the charcoal, no. Normally we don't recommend the use of charcoal unless it's used to remove medications from the tank after a session of treatment(s). Also, if you choose to continue using it and, there are some credible sources who advocate it's use all the time, you should replace it every few weeks, anyway. The old charcoal can't be reactivated, for those readers who're taking notes. Depending on the design of your filter, my recommendation would be to insert the new media next to the old media in the filter housing to ensure that the new media gets properly "seeded" before giving the old stuff the "heave-ho". If this isn't possible and, you can get your hands on a bottle of Bio-Spira (Marineland), you could simply insert the new media and dose the tank with beneficial bacteria to provide an alternate means of seeding the new filter. If this, too, isn't possible, put the new media in the filter and monitor your water parameters very closely for a couple of weeks.>> Thanks again for your assistance. Linda <<Happy to be of assistance, Linda. Tom>>

Mesmerized Goldies... poisoned 4/26/06 Hey Crew, <Christopher> I changed my tank water after discovering that the ammonia levels were way too high. Prior to this, the boys swam around like maniacs, munching down each others offerings & generally looking like they were having a good time. I checked the water parameters (Temp = 68, 0 ppm for NO2, NO3, pH @ 7.4, ammonia @ 4.0 ppm that I brought down to 0.50 - 1.0 ppm. <Still deadly toxic> The end result is that now the boys spend a good part of the day either at the bottom, transfixed to the end of the tank opposite the filter. I stopped feeding them, <Good> & they seem a bit "stoned." They respond to tank tapping, come up for food that I won't give them. It just seems a little weird. Thoughts? -- Christopher A. Jourat <Your fish may recover... should take a few weeks... Ammonia needs to be zero, zip, nada... Read on WWM re cycling: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mesmerized Goldies... ammonia poisoned - 04/27/06
Thanks for the response. here's the update (oh joy!) So I flushed the tank completely, <... not a good idea to make such wholesale changes> but still have a level btwn 0.25 & 0.50 Ammonia. Then I got suspicious, so I tested my tap water with neutralizer, & it came back 0.25 & 0.50. <Many such dechloraminators can/will give a "false positive" reading> Then I tested straight from the tap, same thing. Either my girlfriend & I both have early stage macular degeneration, or the color panels aren't accurate. Maybe my test supplies aren't up to snuff. I use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals with test tubes & ammonia liquid test supplies. Something is kind of hinky here. Either the local water supply is full of ammonia (scary thought) & the neutralizer doesn't help, <Actually is likely the source of confusion here> the test supply kit is "less than," or I should use the tap test-color as my baseline & work from there. <Yes> After the tank flush, the tap test & the tank test were exactly the same. Next step, neutralizer for the ammonia. It has been suggested that I purchase Stress-Zyme to accelerate tank nitro-cycle setup, <Won't do this> Ammo-Lock, Ammo-Carb, &/or Ammo-Chips for ammonia sequestration, all by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I know this leads to NO2-NO3 conversion (o ppm for both now w/ pH @ 7.4) - is this a bad idea? Or do I flush instead? <Better to cycle the system. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner> Chris Jourat

White sort of pointy spots (goldfish beh., repro) 04/17/2006 Hello! I searched the old FAQ's looking for a way to tell if the white spots on the cheeks of a goldfish are ich or breeding season indicators, <Hopefully the latter!> but wasn't able to find a descriptive comparison. <We/I do need/want "good pix" of most all commonly encountered such phenomena. Are you able to make some digital pix of these and send?> My goldfish who is about 3.5 inches long has little clear/white spots on his/her cheeks ( 3-4 on one, 7-8 on the other) that come to a kind of point. I read in one post that it is near impossible to tell the boys from the girls, but just in case, his/her front fins have a sort of "serrated" edge if that helps in figuring out if little fishy in a he or a she. <Do think this is a "he"... if the spots are as you describe, only on the cheeks> How can I tell if he/she is sick, or if in fact, my fish is a boy, and the other goldfish is a girl, and they are just about to do what fish do? They have been swimming around each other and rubbing each other, and chasing too. <Ahh! Even more evidence> If it is ich, is there a medicine that can be given with snails in the tank? <Mmm, not as far as I'm aware. All such treatments are deleterious to snails> Thanks so much for all of your help in advance. Sorry if these questions are redundant, I try my best in searching the old FAQs. The site is great, and I appreciate it very much. xxx kuniko <Doh tashi mashiite my friend. No worries. Bob Fenner>
Re: White sort of pointy spots (goldfish beh., repro) 4/21/06
The camera is in the shop, but I will send a picture as soon as it comes home. The spots are just on the cheeks though. Is there a time period in which the spots should go away if the are related to breeding and not ich? <Breeding... not ich> Will ick spots get worse (i.e. bigger)? <Only nominally... not much> The spots look pretty much the same as when I emailed last. Do the spots associated with fish love make a particular pattern? <Not really... in either case> The one's on my fish's cheeks look pretty random. If it is ick, I will have to set a hospital tank then because of the snails, right? <Yes, would> Should I treat both fish even if the other fish has no bumps or spots? xxx kuniko <... I would not move or treat these fish. I don't think this is a parasite. Bob Fenner>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Goldfish Success

What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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