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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 3

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

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Disease 1, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish Disease 22, Goldfish Health 23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25, Goldfish Disease 26, Goldfish Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30, Goldfish Disease 31, Goldfish Disease 32, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38 

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


Goldfish in ponds are harder to spot check for disease.

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sucking air at top of tank.. I just recently purchased a black moor from a local store. He is in a three gallon Eclipse tank with one snail. <A three gallon tank will be to small for this fish.  Goldfish are very messy and need lots of water to balance out the amount of waste they produce.> For the past five minutes he has been sucking air of the water surface. <This is a sign that the fish isn't getting enough oxygen.  The water at the surface of the tank is higher in oxygen, because that is where the gas exchange happens.> Do I need to put a bubbler in the tank? I thought the filter system was sufficient. It looks like he is dying... <Adding an Airstone (with air pump) will definitely help increase the gas exchange in the tank, and help raise the O2 levels.  But the problem will become worse as the fish becomes older.  As the fish ages and becomes larger the three gallons will not be able to support the fish.  Sickness can occur and low oxygen conditions will start to show up (like red streaks on the fishes tail).  I usually say that a 10 gallon is needed for young goldfish then as they become older 20-30 gallon tanks should be used.  They might survive for quite a long time in small tanks, but the problem is that you will have to do many more water changes to keep up with the fishes waste production.  This is just a headache, and will really take away from enjoyment of the fish.  The large the tank, the easier it is to care for these fish. Good luck -Magnus.>

Moldy fish fins Hello, I have a little fan-tail goldfish (Art).  6 days ago Art developed a small black spot on his dorsal fin.  I quarantined him into a tank and gave a dose of Melafix and commenced a salt treatment.  The tank he came from was also given Melafix, but his other friends all look fine.  The black spot grew and now covers his tail, dorsal fin and the top of his head.  The black growth looks like mould, yet it doesn't appear to effect his happiness (he was a little depressed when I put him into the hospital tank, but cheered up after a day).  He is eating fine.  I have reached the suggested salt/water ratio, and his tank has aeration. I'm keeping up the Melafix.  I have looked through FAQ's and have found answers relating to a change of colour, but this appears to be a substance growing across his surface.  I am worried as he hasn't improved  - and I've totally run out of ideas to try.  I hope you may be able to answer my question, and I sincerely thank you in advance (as does Art), Cheers, Michelle >>Dear Michelle; It sounds like your goldfish has a bacterial infection. You will need to treat with a stronger medication than Melafix. Ask at your Local Fish Store for a good antibiotic for goldfish. You will need to remove your carbon from the filter when you treat, since carbon removes meds. Also, make sure your water quality is good. Please test your water! You need to know the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Test it during the treatment, also, as antibiotics will kill your beneficial bacteria colonies in the filter. -Gwen<<
Moldy Fish Fins
Hello Gwen, Thank you very much for your help.   With gratitude, Michelle and Art Michelle, hello, how is Art doing? Did you have any luck finding medication? I forgot to mention you can buy all the required test kits at your local fish store, or they will probably test your water for free, or for a small sum (couple of dollars) for you. If you do have ammonia or nitrite in your water, you must do frequent partial water changes to keep the levels low. Same for nitrates, only it is not quite so toxic. Since it is the fish that produce the ammonia, you will need to test the water during the time you are treating him with medication, as I mentioned earlier, due to the fact that the meds will kill the bacteria that are oxidizing the ammonia and nitrites and reducing them to the less toxic form, nitrate. The ammonia will then build up in the water, which will stress the fish. Sorry I did not go into more detail in my previous email. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask! -Gwen > Hello, I have a little fan-tail goldfish (Art).  6 days ago Art developed a small black spot on his dorsal fin.  I quarantined him into a tank and gave a dose of Melafix and commenced a salt treatment.  The tank he came from was also given Melafix, but his other friends all look fine.  The black spot grew and now covers his tail, dorsal fin and the top of his head.  The black growth looks like mould, yet it doesn't appear to effect his happiness (he was a little depressed when I put him into the hospital tank, but cheered up after a day).  He is eating fine.  I have reached the suggested salt/water ratio, and his tank has aeration. I'm keeping up the Melafix.  I have looked through FAQ's and have found answers relating to a change of colour, but this appears to be a substance growing across his surface.  I am worried as he hasn't improved  - and I've totally run out of ideas to try.  I hope you may be able to answer my question, and I sincerely thank you in advance (as does A! >  RT), Cheers, Michelle > >>Dear Michelle; It sounds like your goldfish has a bacterial infection. You will need to treat with a stronger medication than Melafix. Ask at your Local Fish Store for a good antibiotic for goldfish. You will need to remove your carbon from the filter when you treat, since carbon removes meds. Also, make sure your water quality is good. Please test your water! You need to know the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Test it during the treatment, also, as antibiotics will kill your beneficial bacteria colonies in the filter. -Gwen<<

Goldfish Illness I've had my 6 inch Shubunkin for 1.5mo and just noticed that he has 2 pink / whitish bumps / nodules on the body.  It looks like it's going to ulcerate soon.   <From the description, my first guesses would be either Lymphocystis or fish pox.... both untreatable viral infections, both not life-threatening, both can be alleviated/eliminated with proper water conditions - these are usually brought on by overcrowded situations resulting in high nitrate/organic waste buildup.  My second guess would be septicemia, a bacterial infection, usually sets in when a fish has been wounded.... easily treated with antibiotics.  Kanamycin ("Kanacyn" from Aquatronics, other sources may sell simply as "Kanamycin" or "Kanamycin Sulfate/Sulphate") is my antibiotic of choice with this illness, it is quite effective.> I know it's some sort of disease but don't know what.  I have 5 other relatively large gold fish in the tank.   <How big is the tank?  What are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH)?  What is your maintenance/water change schedule like?  Also, do these bumps/nodules look waxy (fish pox) or sort of like cauliflower (Lymphocystis), or more like holes in the flesh (septicemia)?> I don't really have a sick tank big enough to house this sick one.  I only have a 2-3 gallon cylinder tank w/ a weak undergravel filter. <If this is septicemia, or other bacterial infection, if the fish is not too large, I would go ahead and quarantine and treat....  Even a (new, clean) 5 gallon bucket or Rubbermaid-type container would do the trick.> What should I do and what should I have it or them (all his tank mates).  No problem seen on his fins. Help! <First explore your water parameters, and go from there....  I suspect this is more likely fish pox or Lymphocystis than a bacterial infection.  Wishing you and your goldfish pals well,  -Sabrina>
Goldfish Illness - II - 02/14/2004
Meanwhile, I took the fish to a WISE pet store manager who took the fish out of water and dug the 2 bumps out and told me he took out some parasites.   <This sounds like Lymphocystis.... can be manually removed like this, but it does not solve the real problem.  It is not a parasite, but a viral infection, usually brought on by inadequate water conditions from overstocked systems.> Although he says that I don't need to medicate the tank, I put Clout in my tank.  The stuff and poisonous and smells terrible. I wish I had not done that.   <Yeah....  medicating will not reverse Lymphocystis, if that is in fact what you're dealing with.  Water changes and carbon in the filter will remove the medication, should you choose to do so.> Anyway, after 3 days of the medication, I changed 1/3 of the water, then 1/2 of the water  the next day.   <Sounds good.  Are you testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  Please do so.> Now, I think one of the bumps is going back. The bumps are not bubbly, or cauliflower like, but it's not smooth either.   I'm mostly like a frosted pink 2-3mm bump.   <Is there any chance you can get a photo of it?  It's hard to say without looking, but just by the fact that the fish store guy was able to "dig out" the bumps leads me to think Lymphocystis.> My tank is 20 gal w/ a AquaClear 300 filter.  I have one 5 to 6 inch Shubunkin, four other 1.5 to 2 inch (including tails) fancy tails and a small Pleco.   <Oh, my.  I would almost bet money that you're dealing with Lymphocystis or fish pox; this is *quite* a lot of fish for a small system.  We try to recommend 10-20 gallons *per fish* when dealing with goldfish; goldfish are perhaps one of the very messiest fish available; they have huge waste output, and foul the water very, very quickly.  On that note, so do plecostomus.  I would very strongly recommend a larger system for these fish.  A pond would be ideal.  Please check out this article:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm .  That should help you learn more about the needs of goldfish.  If getting a larger system is out of the question, and you're not willing to part with some of the fish, I would recommend at the least to do very frequent, large water changes.  Two or three times weekly would not be too much.> Do snails count? <Snails do count, yes, but probably not as much as fish.  Unless you're talking very large or very many snails, probably not a significant contributor to the waste in the tank - especially with five poopin' goldies in there.  Work on improving water quality, either with a much larger system or through many large water changes, and you should begin to see improvement.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Shrinking Fish I'm sorry, I only have one 6 inch Shubunkin. Not 5 of them. My email was not clear.  >>Wendy, I understand. I still believe you should buy some test kits. They are the ONLY accurate way to know how often to do water changes. Please tell me you bought one! -Gwen<< In my 20 gal tank is two 2 inch goldfish, two 2.5inch goldfish and one 5-6 inch Shubunkin (measured including tails). I've had them for 2 months and I feed them 2x/d, knowing that "most goldfish problems are from overfeeding". I also don't want to cloud my water too much because I prob clean the AquaClear 300 every 3 wks and change 1/3 or 1/4 water every 2-3wks. Problem: I think my fish are smaller or rather skinner! Is that possible? or am I just used to seeing these fish now and don't think they are sooo big anymore compared to when I first got them. >>Hello. I recommend you buy yourself some test kits. Ammonia, nitrite, AND nitrate. Test them all, and test regularly. You should always have zero ammonia and zero nitrites. But the nitrAte test kit will tell you how often to change your tank water. Try to keep the nitrAte level in a safe range, say around 40ppm. I believe you are not changing your water often enough. With the amount of fish you have in such a small tank, you really should be changing around 50% of your water per week! Your fish will become stressed if the nitrate level gets too high, and they will also become stunted and stop growing, which can lead to disease and possible death. Please buy some test kits! -Gwen<<

Salt Bath Question  Quick question - I want to treat my Oranda with a salt bath for a bacterial infection - however, I am completely confused as to what kind of salt and how much.... Marina recommended "non-iodized" salt, 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. I have read : "regular table salt" at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gal water, "Epsom salt" (which is listed as a saline laxative soaking aid on the label), "salt," and "iodized salt." HELP! Which is it, and how much...please be specific about frequency as well....i.e.: only one time? Add more salt after water changes? Also, I was told to give the fish a "bath" in a bucket filled with the salt water, then return him to his regular tank...If that is true, please advise how to do that, and for how long to leave him in there... Thanks, Stephanie  >>Stephanie, hello. To simplify things, just go to your local fish store, and buy some aquarium salt from good ole Doc Wellfish. Instructions for fish use is written on the side of the box. One tablespoon per gallon of water is fine. You will add this gradually to the tank, making sure to remove some water first, into a bucket, then dissolve the salt into it, then pour it back into the tank until all the required salt has been added. Take your time so as not to overstress the fish. Take a couple of hours. You can leave the salt in the tank for a few weeks. When you do water changes, you simply re-add the salt to each bucket of water you removed...in other words, if you removed two 3 gal buckets, you will re-add 6 gallons of water with 6 tablespoons of salt re-mixed into it. After the fish heals up, just do normal water changes without adding the salt. It will eventually all be removed. Sounds easy enough, eh? :) One more thing, if you see no noticeable improvement in your fish after a few days, you may need a medication, like Melafix, or even something stronger than that, like an antibiotic. Make sure to watch your fish closely. Let me know if his symptoms worsen. -Gwen

Goldfish infection  Hi. I am very new at this hobby. I saw a black Oranda at the LPS (local pet store??) and fell in love with his goofy personality. My husband bought him and another Calico one for my birthday 2 weeks ago. So begins the saga: 16 gal tank, (no, not cycled before adding fish), Penguin 170 bio-wheel filter, bubble wall, pH 7.5, temp 75 degrees, feed with Goldfish floating pellets and fresh citrus and veggies. Added 2 live plants, 2 snails.  The black one got a white film (started as a dot and spread until it was all over) Treated with Cure-Ick AND Anti-fungus as no one was SURE what it was.  Treated twice and it was almost gone, except one tiny spot on his head.  Waited for 3 days, watched the spot get bigger and start spreading again and noticed his butt had gotten VERY red and inflamed looking. Stopped feeding for a day.  Treated with BOTH products once more yesterday. Came home last night, and the calico was dead at the bottom, the black one was at the surface gulping for air. I checked the ammonia level and it was off the chart. Immediately did a major water change, and kept doing water changes (probably 5 in all) until the level was at around 3.0. Also added some pH down to try to help...This morning went to the pet store and got AmmoLock to detoxify the ammonia. Added one treatment AND one treatment of MelaFix to address the white stuff and butt problem. Also Stress Coat and Stress Zyme to build up the bacteria. Black one has greatly improved today, eating, swimming as usual.  As I write this, these are the chemical levels in the tank: pH:7.8, Alkalinity:120, total hardness 200, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, ammonia .5 - 1.0. or could be at 3.0... (I have a HECK of a time reading those ammonia strips as the color doesn't really match ANY of them sometimes! - Frustrating!) My questions: How do I know the ammonia level is down to a safe level when the bottle of AmmoLock says it converts the ammonia to a non-toxic form, but the readings will still read falsely high..?  Can the red butt be due to the ammonia levels being high for a few days? (I did not know the treatments I was giving would kill off the bacteria and cause a spike in ammonia.. NOW I know :( If not, what would cause his butt to be so inflamed and RED..?? Could all this be a bacterial infection (internal and external?)?? Should I automatically start putting the AmmoLock in when I treat with meds to prevent another deadly spike?  Will this fish be OK now from yesterdays ammonia poisoning? Or could he still die because of that exposure? I read that these fish prefer colder temps. What is the ideal range for them? How do I keep the tank at that level? (live in Arizona) He will come up to the surface of the water when you put your finger in, and bump his head on my fingers. Is this something I should NOT allow him to do?  WHAT should I do now? Which medicine should I give?  Do these fish like company? Or can I just keep him with no other friends?  I TRULY never thought I would care about a fish, but this special little guy (or gal) makes me laugh and smile everyday with his funny clowning (he swims circles around my arm when I reach in the tank!) But I actually cried when I thought I had KILLED him for SURE yesterday. Much to my relief, he was still alive today, and I REALLY want to do the right things now, with your help!  (I hope the attached files are OK. They show the white "film" on his head (in the creases) and red butt. (There are no specs on his body, those are bubbles in the water).   Thank you from myself and Noggin. From, Bad fish mom!  >>Hello! You are not bad as long as you are trying! But I think we should start over, and begin anew. Firstly, you are doing a good job so far with the resources available to you. However, you must stop adding chemicals to your tank. Please do NOT add any more pH down! Goldfish do not require low pH, and you are stressing him even more. Your tank is cycling, and your pH will NOT be normal during this time, so I advise you to not even bother testing your pH until the tank is finished cycling...there is no point. Continue to test your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Second, keep the temperature as stable as possible, especially when you do water changes. A good temp for fancies is from 68-74F. I prefer 74F, with good tank circulation for optimal oxygenation. Third, do not add Stress-Zyme. Add only the following: dechlorinator, and AmmoLock. YES, AmmoLock will give false readings, but they are actually real readings. In other words, the way AmmoLock works is by reducing the ammonia to a less toxic form, ammonium. Equally toxic at high levels, and your test kits will show those levels. Please do the water changes according to your test results...if the ammonium tests high, do a water change. Fourth, your goldfish has a bacterial infection on his head, and on his butt. This will be hard to treat since the ammonia is complicating matters by poisoning your fish, so keep up with those water changes! For medicating, you will need an good antibiotic. Check your LFS and ask them for a broad-spectrum antibiotic, like Super Sulfa. Melafix is a good product, but your fish require something stronger at this point. The butt problem could be due to internal pressure, the meds should help cure that, too. It would help if you could feed your fish a medicated food. Or, make your own by dissolving a bit of the antibiotic into a few tablespoons of tank water and soaking your goldfish food in it, then feed it to him. You must always feed a Spirulina based flake food to help keep his intestinal tract clear, you can also give your goldfish peas (frozen peas, boil them for 5 minutes, let cool, and slit the skins off them, then chop them if they are too large for your fish to eat) This will help prevent the intestinal infections that so many fancy goldfish suffer from. Yes, your goldfish likes the company of other goldfish, and yes, you may pat him, just be careful not to contaminate your water with perfumes or lotions, etc. -Gwen<<

My Fish are Acting Funny - Not "ha-ha" Funny Hi.. I am very new to this goldfish owner thing. I have five fish in one tank. It is a 30 gallon with an over the top and gravel filter. I always clean up excess feces and have had their water checked often. The tank is only 3weeks old. <It's a bit young of a tank so many of the parameters might not have leveled off yet.> I know I should of waited on putting them in there this quick but the pet shop would not hold the fantail any longer. I know have added a 20 gallon and moved the two medium size fantails. <Very wise choice to add another tank and separate fish. You will be most happy in the end. Save you quite a bit of time on cleaning up after them in small tanks.> One of them was chasing my big boy and biting at its butt (I have now found out it is a girl from being chased). <That is seen with males following after females. It usually happens when they are exposed to warmer waters and are being fed meatier foods.> The problem I have now is the big girl is very stressed! I can see the blood running through its tails and it is swimming like it wants out. <The blood through the tail is not a good thing, you shouldn't see lines/veins in a fishes tail. This is most likely from being nipped at and chased by the male. It's referred to as Hemorrhages. When I see that in already stressed fish I usually ad a wider, less intensive medication to the water. I recently have been using a product called Kanacyn, which will help with the red streaks and also help the fish from getting any more illness until it calms down.> Yesterday it was trying to hide behind the tubes then when I removed the chasers it hasn't stopped swimming. I know I still have some ammonia issues. I was told by the pet shop everything was okay and it still had some ammonia with it still cycling. The water is clear and I have been doing a 25% cycling every 3 days. <Goldfish are messy fish and they produce a lot of waste, so it's not unusual for the ammonia levels to build up quickly. Make sure to keep up on the water changes.> The questions is what do you think is wrong with the big girl. Also let you know my baby moor is sitting on the bottom and moves only when I feed her or check to see if she is still alive. <I still think she is a bit stressed. Give it some more time. Treat the tank with a Wide range antibiotic and things should turn around fine. Goldfish are really strong fish. As for the Black moor, it might be having some illness issues, so keep an eye on it. Make sure it doesn't become ill (cloudy eye, extra slime coating, fungus on fins) during this time. Hopefully it should start perking up as the water levels return to normal.> I really love this moor she was in a bowl for 6 months until I found information about a real tank. Did I do something wrong? <No, moving it from a bowl to a real tank is the best possible thing you could have done for this fish. Goldfish are not bowl fish. They need lots of water, and it's cruel to keep them in such a cramped conditions. Now that it has a tank, it should start perking up and begin swimming around. If you do feel the need to medicate the water you can also medicate it with the Kanacyn. The medicine works well on general bacterial infections. Thanks Kim Davis <Good luck with the fish. -Magnus>

My Goldfish's Disease The other day I noticed that my goldfish had Ich, so I treated it, and then last night I noticed that it now has a large brown spot covering it's right gill and the top of it's top fin. <I would first do a test of the water and see what the levels are at. Make sure that the ammonia levels aren't to high. Goldfish produce quite a bit of waste and when it starts breaking down the ammonia levels in the water can get quite high. If the levels become high enough the fish can suffer from what is called "Ammonia Burn" when the fish becomes darker it's skin and fins can have a brown burned look to them. If it is this problem then the easiest way to treat the problem is to do water changes to help remove some of the waste in the water. Doing this and changing the filter medium (bags) will help.  If the ammonia levels aren't high, look closely at the spots... Are they the fish's skin turning color or is it something on the fish. Many times I'm contacted to treat a "Brown Spot" only to discover that it's something identified as a fish louse. Which is a pest that attaches itself to the fish and can really do some harm. In which case medicines need to be used to remove the pest. Things like Jungle's Tank Buddies Parasite Remover (which are nice little pills to drop in the water), or Clout. I would suggest you look over our freshwater parasites section here on www.wetwebmedia.com and see if any of the images there look like what you have. It can really shed some light on the problem.> What could this be and how do I treat it? Thanks so much, I have had this fish for 2 years and don't want it to die. Alisa <Hope that helps. And good luck with the fish. -Magnus>

Goldfish with Red Streaks in Anal fin Hi, You folks gave me some helpful advice a while back when I was having trouble getting a freshwater tank cycled. It was real helpful, thanks! And a great site!  <Glad we could be of service!>  Today, my question is about my Goldfish tank (yes, I have goldfish too!). It is a 20 gallon, and has been home to one Comet, and one Common goldfish for several years. We love these guys! (We call them "guys", but I think they are both female, as I have never seen the telltale white spots on their gills or pectoral fins.)  <Not seeing the telltale white spots on the gills doesn't necessarily mean they aren't males. Goldfish breed in certain water conditions and if the fish don't end up in those conditions they sometimes never show the spots. I had a comet I thought was female for 5 years before updating it to a larger tank somehow got the fish "in the mood" and suddenly saw the spots on the gill covering.>  A couple of months ago, Bernie (the Comet) developed some red streaking in his anal fins.  <This is often times referred to as hemorrhaging. It's not extremely dangerous, but it can lead to problems with the fin itself. Lack of blood flow and possibly deterioration of the fin itself.>  He seemed OK otherwise, so I added some salt to the water and planned to keep a close eye on things.  <I know I go against the norm when I say this, but I really don't advise people to add salt to their tanks. Goldfish can be sensitive to salt, adding to much can burn their gills and their skin. Unlike medicines, salt doesn't dissipate from the water, nor evaporate so it will linger and I've seen way to many people harm their fish by "Salting" the tank multiple times as though it was a medicine treatments. I suggest you look at more towards the medicine side of things. Kanacyn which is a Wide Range antibiotic that is easily absorbed thru the skin. It treats hemorrhaging, red body patches, fin and tail rot, scale loss, dropsy, body ulcers, inflamed gills, tuberculosis, and general bacterial problems. I have recently used this on my one goldfish with similar issues and have found it to work quite well. If that medicine is not available, then look at ones from the Mardel Companies.>  Soon after, I noticed both them acting listless at the bottom of the tank. I did water tests, and was shocked to see my Nitrates at around 40ppm, and PH had dropped down to 6! (I must admit I hadn't tested in a couple of weeks - it was holiday season.) I suspected that they had been overfed by "helpful" thanksgiving guests, causing the nitrate increase, which in turn caused ph to drop. Does that make sense?  <I have had many people "help" me feed my fish during the holidays. Their hearts are in the right place... I only wish their heads were. Over feeding can be a quite way of changing water parameters, and in turn having a fish become ill.>  Over the next couple of days, I did massive water changes to get the nitrates down.  <Need not do massive ones, because the tank will never completely cycle this way. Do smaller ones and it should help the tank get back to normal with the Nitrates.>  I've never tried to mess with PH before, but 6.0 seemed way too low. And I checked my KH, and it was at 0 degrees German. For years, the tank had been stable at PH 7.0 and KH around 3. So I used Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Proper ph 7.5 to try to bring the ph up (I read that it has buffers, which I figured would help avoid a "bounce"). Slowly I've gotten PH up to around 6.8, and my KH is now at 13.  <I've never been one to use chemicals to alter my pH, but it does seem that you are having good luck in doing so. As long as things don't become worse, or the fish show signs of sickness then I would continue on.>  But the red streaking is still in the comet's anal fins. I had thought the streaking was a symptom of ph shock or the high nitrates, but those problems have been corrected for over a month. So I've been looking at your site to see what else could be the problem. I read on your site that red streaking could be tail rot or septicemia. It does not look like tail rot -- no fins are damaged in anyway, just redness. There is no redness anywhere else, so does this rule out septicemia?  <It doesn't necessarily rule it out... But, I find that if a goldfish does have septicemia it will move to having red streaks on it's body. Since yours doesn't then I think that treating with the Kanacyn should help it. If you don't want to go with such a wide range antibiotic, then Aquatronics also has Nitrofuran-G which is specifically designed for hemorrhaging and red streaks, fin and tail deterioration, open sores, as well as general bacterial infections and gill diseases.>  I've been watching them closely, they seem fine (eat and swim normally). The comet with the streaking also has some whitish spots on his tail -- not Ick-like dots, but more like very small patches of white. They have been there for a while, not spreading or getting bigger.... The other fish (the common) has a very small red spot in his anal fin.  <I would start treatment now. We had a large Koi that had problems that went untreated before we got it. The white spots spread on the tail and though it didn't seem to bother the fish to much it did not look that good.>  I have been hesitant to medicate since (1) I cant diagnose the problem, (2) they seem otherwise healthy (eating, swimming well), and (3) they don't seem to be getting worse. I was thinking of Melafix. I know it gets mixed reviews on your site, but I get the impression it is pretty mild and certainly would do no harm.  <I use Melafix, and truth be told have been known to add it to my tanks when fish look slightly under the weather (Though, I might be paranoid). Aside from it's rather unpleasant smell, I have never had a problem with Melafix. Though, I have never used it in the same tanks I have used Aquatronics medications, so not sure if it will have any bad reactions. I can tell you that I Have used it in unison with Mardel medicines and have never had a problem.>  My water parameters (all A.P. test kits) are:  Ammonia: 0  Nitrite: 0  Nitrate: 5  Ph: hovering between 6.6 and 6.8  KH 13 German degrees  Salinity: .12% (I started salting when I first noticed the streaks)  Since the PH problems, I have been changing water 25% weekly (used to do it every 2 weeks.)  <The cycling seems to be near completion with the nitrates being the last in the cycle. I would stop salting the tank. Having salt in a freshwater goldfish tank can be stressing the fish and that is not something you really want. The best thing for goldfish is highly filtered fresh cold water!>  So my questions are: (1) any ideas about the red streaking? and (2) am I doing the right thing about the ph?  <Well, the pH does seem to be getting better, so from my perspective, I believe you are doing it correctly with the medicines.>  Sorry to be so long winded. Just wanted to give you all the relevant info I could.  Thanks, Chris  <Long Winded is fine, and I much rather have all the info than have to guess on it. Good luck with the fish. -Magnus>
Re: Goldfish with Red Streaks in Anal fin
Magnus, Thanks for the advice.  Stopping the Salt seems logical to me (I have never used it this long before.)  I'll do some small water changes to start bringing it down. <Good Plan.> I'll also take your advice and start medicating.  Question:  you recommended Kanacyn or Nitrofuran-G to treat the hemorrhaging.  I looked at the Manufacturer's website, but was unable to determine if these meds affect the biological filter.  Do you know? <Almost anything added to the tank effects the biological filter of the tank.  I have found multiple articles saying that the effects are small, and quick to return to normal.  If you worry to much about Aquatronics Medicines, I have used the Mardel Medicines that seem to have less effect on the biological filtration.  A great site to learn more about Goldfish is http://www.goldfishinfo.com/.> Thanks again, - Chris <Hope that helps, -Magnus>

Uh Oh..! >Greetings- Sorry to bother you. I sent a question regarding a "red butt Oranda" Thursday night, and got a reply Friday morning requesting I reduce the size of my pics and resend. I did that within about 2 hours. I have not seen a response to my question yet.... >>Indeed, Marina here. I've been searching for your query, and cannot find it anywhere. Unfortunately, this virus is slamming our system, and it may have been bounced or otherwise lost.  >Is there some way you could confirm my question and pics were received? I had to send the pics on 2 separate emails because I'm computer illiterate... But they should have been together...Any help would be appreciated...the situation is getting worse every day. Thanks, Stephanie Beatty >>Stephanie, I am absolutely unable to find your re-sent emails, we're terribly sorry and will be happy to answer even without the pictures. As I recollect there was a great deal of redness about the fish's anus, yes? That's about all I recollect, and can suggest to you at this time to add 1 tablespoon non-iodized salt/gallon to the fish's tank. If there are live plants within this tank, then the fish must either be moved somewhere else, or the plants removed, as they cannot tolerate this. If the reddening looks like an ulcer, then we might surmise that the fish has Furunculosis, but at this time I can't say for sure without more information. There are several medications that can be used to try to treat this, but know that if it is this disease it can be difficult to treat. Again, we apologize for the mix up with your message. Marina 

Sick Black Moor (01/31/2004) Hi Sabrina <Hi there!> I have another problem with one of my goldfish. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I wrote a few weeks ago about a black moor who was sick and eventually died. Anyway my other black moor fish is sick. Firstly they are from separate tanks so she definitely doesn't have what the other one did. I've had her just under a year. she is in a 120L tank with other fish, they are all fine. What makes her different to all the other fish and black moor fish I have is that she has no split in her back tail. It's completely joined and she almost wobbles about but is a fast swimmer. <I think this is normal; I have seen many fantailed goldfish with this "quality".> When I first  bought her she was in a much smaller tank as she was so little. She would sit under a plant and balance her self so that her tail went up and she would stay there for ages, Then go for a swim and come back. Anyway once she was moved in to the bigger tank she would swim around and act normal like the others. with in the last few days I have noticed her swimming to the top of the tank and sitting on top of the filter. Exactly like she would do with the plants. <Might want to explore what you are feeding them; be sure to get enough veggie matter in their diets.  Flakes and pellets as a constant food supply often can lead to constipation and bloating in goldfish.> The reason there is a problem this time is its like her scales are fading away, and coming off. Parts over her are going grayish white, and a few look like the have come off completely. I thought maybe it was from being so close to the light as she is sitting on the filter? <I would think this is more likely related to water quality issues; please be sure to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, correct with water changes if necessary.> She still swims around and is still eating, but obviously with her scales going like this there is something wrong? <It is possible, yes, but I would suspect water quality first and foremost.> I did do the weekly water change yesterday, all the other fish look fine. <Quite possible that this fish is simply more sensitive to water quality than the others.> I am setting up a hospital tank to put her in. I have to buy a foam filter tomorrow. Would she be ok over night without one? I did end up buying the other water tests but they just don't seem reliable. I will do a test after a water change and the test will appear to high, but then I test it ten minutes later and its normal. Then test again 10 minutes after that and its red again? <I wonder what test kits you have....  the "dipstick" type test strips are notoriously inaccurate; if you're using a liquid reagent kit, it could be that the reagents are old.> Any information ASAP would be great!! Thank you. <I would keep up with water changes, perhaps more than usual, if necessary, and if you're concerned, quarantine and observe the fish, see if there are any symptoms that might help diagnose her problem.  Wishing you and your moor well,  -Sabrina> Sick Black Moor, Addendum (01/31/2004) Just to let you know I have moved her in to a 16L tank with an air tube blowing air in to it. I put half the water she was already in and new water. I added Tristart but have doubled dose (always do) because its not very strong. <Definitely be careful overdosing with aquarium chemicals; some can be harmful in too great a dose.  Try to follow the instructions as best as possible.> Added the general aid- you weren't to sure about that last time- and added half of a triple sulfa tablet. <In any case, I certainly don't think it's a good idea to medicate this fish, not until you are confidant of an illness; medicating with the wrong medication can cause problems when you do have a solid diagnosis and need to change medications; furthermore, some medications are extremely harsh on the fish, and can cause far more harm then help, especially if you have to change medications on them.  Some medicines will also destroy your biological filtration, so water quality is difficult to maintain when it is most imperative to do so.  It really does sound to me like your moor is having issues with water quality; water changes alone will help, if that is the case.  Keepin' my fingers crossed for your moor,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish problem Hi there I am desperate for some help and I'm very sorry that I've written twice already but I can't seem to find any response on your website.  My goldfish Elmo (comet) is extremely ill and I think he is dying.  I have tested the water in my tank, done a 30% water change, introduced some aquarium salts and now have Elmo isolated in a plastic tub.  He started looking lethargic yesterday morning, drifting towards the top of the tank on his side, then occasionally frantically swimming to the bottom of the tank and bumping his head into the gravel in a spiral motion.  He is now spending most of his time on the surface of the water on his side which makes me think he is extremely close to fish heaven.  He's not eating and doesn't move much unless he is disturbed, then he just swims towards the bottom slowly and floats back up.  Is there any advice you can give me?  I am getting very upset to see him so unwell. Thanks again for any assistance, Kristen >>Hello, I am sorry we have delayed helping you. However, it sounds a bit late for us to be of much assistance. When fish are no longer eating, it is usually a bad sign. He sounds quite weak. This is not a good indication. Meds may or may not help, medications can be very hard on fish, and in this case, could even prove fatal. The salt you added will help. Do you see any outward indication of disease? Any white spots, fin rot, fungus, cloudy eyes, or fishlice? Fishlice are hard to spot if you don't know what you are looking for, as they are a clear beige color. Check his fins carefully, and underneath his belly. Yes, you may touch him to look. Be gentle and be quick, as it is stressful for him. You mention you have tested your water, what were the exact results? Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings from the tank, please. Check the tub, also! Ammonia is toxic. For the time being, keep the water quality good, do not feed him, and make sure the tub is well aerated. He may pull through on his own, IF you keep the water clean. Good luck -Gwen
Elmo is sick
My comet has become rapidly ill.  This morning he seemed a little lethargic with a droopy top fin.  After I noticed this I did a water change (about 30%) and added some dissolved aquarium salts. <I have not found the need to add salt to goldfish tanks.  I don't believe it does anything to benefit the health.  I know many people say to do this, but adding salt is a very delicate thing.  To much and it can harm the goldfish.>   Coming back after lunch he now seems very disoriented, swimming with a spiraling or rolling motion and floating to the top of the tank. <The spiraling sounds like a swim-bladder problem, so does the floating on his side.  If Elmo has had previous trouble with floating, switching to a sinking pellet food or holding flake food underwater so that it doesn't float should help.  When fish feed at the surface of the tank, they can take in air along with their food.  The air can become trapped in their stomach and cause them to float at the surface, which also stresses the fish and weakens their immune systems.>   I introduced a new goldfish nymph) to the tank yesterday and he and my other comet seem very well. <It is not a good practice to add fish directly to their tank.  I suggest that you get in the habit of having a quarantine tank, so you can place the fish in there, monitor for sickness/parasites, and be able to medicate them without having to medicate all the other tankmates.  This is not only good for the incoming fish, but is vital to keeping the other tankmates healthy and parasite free.> Is there anything you can suggest?  I am very concerned that Elmo is about to die. <Sometimes referred to as Spiraling disease (though it's more of a swim bladder issue) this problem can be extremely hard to cure.  And sadly I've lost many fish after they have come down with this problem.  I found that if you keep the water clean, and medicate the tank with Maracide (from Mardel) as well as adding Melafix to the water the fish that the few fish that have survived seemed to straighten out and not have that much problems.> Thank you for any assistance, Kristen <Good luck.  Be sure to look at our freshwater and Pond FAQ sections at www.wetwebmedia.com.  -Magnus>
Elmo goldfish alkalinity?
Thank you Gwen, I've been on the phone to my fish shop and have reduced the alkalinity (word?) of my tank which immediately perked my other fish up as he was starting to look a little droopy this morning as well.  Alas, I think it is too late for little Elmo.  Thank you so much for your help anyway. Kristen >Glad to help. But why are you reducing the alkalinity? Goldfish prefer alkaline water. Did you test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate yet? -Gwen<

Goldfish Disease Hello, and thank you for your time. <No Problem that is what we are here for.> I have been searching and not had much luck solving my problem. OK the stats. I have a 29 gallon tank with one large grey goldfish (he was a gift, I'm not sure of his type, possibly of the Oranda variety he is approximately 7 years old) <Judging from the photos you had sent, your fish is called a Blue Oranda, which is actually one of the more expensive goldfish breeds.  Large ones sell for quite high prices.> one medium 3in fantail goldfish 2years, ad one small approximately 1 in. regular goldfish my daughter brought home from school 6 mo. I have a Topfin 40 power filter (came with the tank) and two air stones. I have tested my water and ammonia is 0 nitrate is 0 and pH approximately 7 although it did drop at the start of all my problems. <Sounds like your tank is going quite well.   Goldfish are pretty messy critters and it is hard to keep the parameters right in tanks under 55 gallons.> I use aquarium salt in my water. <I do not use aquarium salt in my goldfish tank, I believe that it's not really needed for the long term health of the fish.  Goldfish can actually get salt burn (skin and gills) from having to much salt added to their tank.  I just make sure that I keep up on the water changes, and the water filtration high then the goldfish are quite happy.> We had a power outage for around a day. And like I said that was the start of the symptoms. <Yes, that is the time that many tanks have problems.  Especially dealing with such messy fish as goldfish.  When the filtration and water current goes off the precariously balanced tank goes astray.  Another concern is that when the power goes out smaller tanks can have a fluctuation in temperatures relatively quickly.> First I noticed that my large grey fish Smokey was hanging out mainly at the bottom of the tank. <Lethargy (inactivity, sitting on the bottom of the tank) in goldfish can be a sign of a possibly infection or illness.  But many other things can cause this.  If the fish tries to swim to the surface then sinks, it shows a problem with it's swim bladder.> So I tested the water and adjusted the pH and did a water change. This helped for about 1 week. Then the same thing, along with this time a small white spot on his head that looked like cotton. <Since it had a cotton like look to it, that is a sign of a fungus effecting the fish, most likely Columnaris.> I treated the tank with tetracycline. With a water change between doses, and one after. <Tetracycline is more of a broad-based medicine, not specifically designed to help fight Columnaris. I would try to use Mardel's Maracyn to fight the problem, and then use Tetracycline treatment to help prevent secondary infections. To learn more about the illness check out our FAQ sections on wetwebmedia.com    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinfectdisfaqs.htm> He is swimming around a little more but he still has the spot and now there are more. <This can be an aggressive infection and must be treated before it can spread.  Severe causes can have it spread internally to the organs.> He has always had a spot on his top fin, but now it looks bigger. By the way he does not seem to be itching on anything, but treating for a parasite was my next guess. Oh and he has never lost his appetite. <It's a good thing that he hasn't lost it's appetite, if a fish eats then it shows promise.  I would treat with Maracyn and be sure to follow the directions exactly.  Changing the water during doses only weakens the medicine.> P. S.  When I went to take picture of Smokey I noticed some scales missing from my 2year old goldfish Dorothy! Now I am really upset and don't know what to do! Please help me! Sincerely, Christina <Most likely the fish is rubbing on objects to clear it's body of the fungus.  If you add the medication it should stop this.  Good luck with the fish.  -Magnus>

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

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

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

Bless your heart for getting back to me.   <That is what we are here for.> I checked PH last night, but not Nitrate levels.  He definitely has changed color, and he seems to be going downhill-no longer bobbing to the top, or hiding in his cave, just halfway on the side of the tank.  <Not really sure what is causing it, but I'm thinking that it might be that the fish is feeling stressed.  Is the tank too small for it?  does it have aggressive tankmates that could be harassing it?  Some fish become dark colored when stressed or sick, while others will become a sickly pale white.  You might want to raise the tank temp a few degrees as well.  It will get the fish more active and in turn bump up his immune system a bit>  I do semi-monthly water changes in all tanks.  I thought perhaps he needed more meat, so have added bloodworms, etc, but he no longer is interested.  <You should try doing another (fair sized) water change in the near future, I find that it does make a difference to the fish.>  I have 5 tanks, but no tank for isolation.  (Had one, but just had to fill it with fish...I know-I'm blond.) <having a spare tank is VERY tempting.. I know... I have done that many times, and I'm a Redhead, so it's not anything to do with hair color.>   I will contact the local pet store-they have a tank for sick ones.  I just hate to stress him and bring him 20 miles to town.  Or, perhaps I'd best get a tank set up tonight? <If you can set up a tank at home it's much better, moving the fish 20 miles might be to much stress for it.  If you do set up a tank at home, be sure to give it time to cycle, use water from the main tank and filter media to help get beneficial bacteria over there.  When the fish is ready to go in, take the filter media out and medicate the water.>   Thank you for your knowledge and advise-they are not a hobby to me-they are part of my family of critters.  <I understand completely, I lost one of my Lionhead goldfish a few months back and was very upset.  Really became part of my family.>  (19 dogs, two turtles, two cockatiels...I run a dog rescue-only 7 dogs are mine...hehe) <Wow, 19 dogs...  That's a Herd not a pack... hehe.  Very commendable rescuing dogs, my girlfriend tries and helps with many of the rescue shelters in the area.  Best of luck to you and your family.>   Bless you for helping people.   Ren <That is what we are here for.  Hope things go well. -Magnus>

Goldfish Problems  1/15/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Hi, I'm a beginner in the fish world.   <Welcome to the wonderful world of aquarium fish keeping!>About two and a half months ago I bought a goldfish, I guess it is a fantail by reading other peoples posts (his/her fins are bigger than the body).   <Do you mean fantail?  They have a split or double tail.> Recently I went out of town and my sisters fed him for me, when I came back hi fins had darkened, upon returning I turned on the light and the darkness on his fins went away.  Now I have noticed that he "eats" the air bubbles. When I  first got him he would suck on the lil pebbles and then spit them back out, he still does and it occasionally takes him a while to spit them back out. <All this sounds normal so far.  He's just looking for food. Just make sure your gravel isn't so large, that he gets it stuck in his throat.> Since I have now noticed that he eats the bubbles he has air bubbles in his feces and it floats and often has an odd casing around it.  He floats to the top of the tank a lot and often has a hard time swimming back down, his backend often floats up, I cleaned the water only about 20% just recently.   <I recommend 80-90% weekly water changes for these high waste/ammonia producing fish.> Is this swim bladder or whatever you called it elsewhere or is it because he eats the air bubbles?   <Bubbles in his belly/swim bladder can cause problems.> I started out by feeding him tetra fin goldfish flakes, but he didn't seem to like it, and he would wait at the bottom of the tank for it to fall to form (or in the middle) I then switched him to goldfish floating small size pellet (told to do so by pet store) by Wardley.  He didn't start eating the air bubbles until like two months after I changed his food to the floating kind. What do you suggest I do for him?   <Switch to sinking pellets.  Also, at least 1x/week, feed him shelled peas, to keep his digestive tract/swim bladder healthy.  I suggest feeding only peas, until he swims normally again.> I don't want him to die, he is so pretty a beautiful mixture of orange back and white belly and white fins. <Sounds like a beautiful fish.  make sure you get at least a 10g aquarium for him.> thanks Amanda <You're welcome & good luck--Pufferpunk> Fancy Goldfish Bubbles on Back Flanks We have a fancy goldfish like a fan tail that about 3 - 4 months ago got caught in a horizontal plastic plant and she beat her fins and tail and sides ragged.  She healed completely from those injuries (and we threw the plastic plant away) but her coloration was less orange than it had been.   <Lucky that she hadn't hurt herself more!  Glad to hear that she has healed up.  It's a sign that your water quality and filtration is good.> She might be a pearl sided fish, but just slightly; not as emphatic Pearlscale as some.  Over the last week or so she has developed two fluid filled bubbles like the kind of fluid filled tissue bubbles you see under the eyes of bubble eyed goldfish, but in her case she developed one on her butt to the left of her back midline and then she developed another on the right side. <That is quite bizarre... especially to have one on both sides. I've raised goldfish for years, and have never heard of bubbles forming anywhere aside from the face (eyes, nose, chin, forehead) on goldfish.  We even came across one that had a bubble on it's chin that inflated when it was breathing (much like a bull-frog).  It's quite unusual, I suggest that you try to get a picture of it.  If for some freak chance that it's a genetic deformity (that is even on both sides) you might want to share it with goldfish breeders.> My husband is calling her Bubbles now, short for Bubble-butt. <Heh, sounds like a fun guy.> She is eating fine and does not seem impaired in any way.  There are no white spots or brown spots or black spots apparent. <If it's not bothering her and it doesn't seem infected then I would not be to concerned. Keep an eye on it, and make sure that the bubble or the fluid inside of it doesn't become milky white that would be a sign of infection or fungal growth.  Which can often times be found in some of the larger bubbled eye goldfish.> She is in a 46 gallon bowfront tank with three other fancy goldfish and 1 Pleco.  We have a BioWheel type power skimmer, an Emperor with one BioWheel and an activated carbon filter.  We have an undergravel filter using a powerhead providing reverse flow of oxygenated water down the tube and then up through the gravel bed.  We keep the Emperor on full flow; as the water falls back into the tank there are a lot of bubbles and there are always tiny bubbles floating around in the tank.  I am confused about the micro bubble in tank issue; is this supposed to be bad? <my smaller 55 gallon goldfish tank has the same micro-bubbles in the water.  I'm not truly sure why it stays so bubbly, but none of my goldfish have seemed bothered by it.  The only time I worry is if the fish start to get sick and they have an increase in their slime coating on the body.  Then the bubbles seem to stick to the fish.  I'm truly not sure that it's a bad thing, the fish never seemed to have a problem.  The only time I would worry would be if you find your fish are having floating problems, i.e., your fish stay at the surface.  Which could mean that they are swallowing air when feeding and it's throwing off their buoyancy.> We lost one of her tankmates about a six weeks ago and I took the carcass in and the LFS said that it was some kind of parasite (she had brown spots) <Make sure you test your water for Ammonia.  When I first got into the hobby (I was young) I had a goldfish in a small tank.  It had gotten ammonia burn, where the ammonia in the water actually had left visible discolorations on the fishes skin. Not saying that your fish had this, but mine had brown spots when this happened.  And it's always good to have a water test kit around (ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and pH are some of the main ones)> so we treated with Paracide; we had previously treated with Dyacide and the spots did not go away (or the other way around).  After that treatment a calico fancy goldfish that was in there got what looked like a chunk out of his nose and the space was white.   <Perhaps he had cut in on some of the filtration bits, or it was attacked by the Pleco.  Either way, the white on the wound was most likely a fungus.> Then, around his eyes but not the eyes themselves started growing out like he was turning into a telescope eye (he was really small when we got him and we thought that this was perhaps a normal growth thing.)  Over about three days he got some fluid filled sacks around his eyes that were asymmetrically larger on the bottom outside. <This doesn't sound like genetics taking over, it sounds more like the fish was suffering from "Pop-eye" where you have an infection behind the eyes.  The area around and behind the eye start swelling.  It's a rather nasty infection that can because by poor water conditions, a build up of waste in the water, or can be a secondary effect from a other infection that moved to the eyes of the fish.  The best form of treatment for this is to move it to a second tank and keep the water extremely clean and well oxygenated (not to mention make sure the tank remains cool).  The fish should start to get better, then simply allow the swelling go down, I have added Tetracycline or Maracyn during this time to make sure the fish doesn't get any secondary infections.  But, I do believe that the freshwater is what made the difference.  I believe that it's very important to separate this fish from others during this time.  for some reason fish with pop-eye seem to be bothered more by other goldfish, and have found that many of these fish have their eyes nipped at, and typically taken off.  so, you see why it's best to separate a fish that is suffering from pop-eye.>   Then, he got some little white spots on his face so we put in the medicine that said it was for Ick and then he died. <The white spots were Ich, which is very dangerous parasite.  I believe that in the fishes weakened state the added medicine might have been more than it's immune system could handle.  Sorry to hear of your loss.> I have been doing about 12 gallon water changes about every 1 - 2 weeks, and I vacuum the gravel with a Magnum 350 filter and let the water circulate for 4 hours or so through the Magnum when I do the water change.  The longest I ever let the water go I tested all the parameters with a Red Sea Freshwater Lab and all of the parameters were in acceptable range. <I'm glad that you do have a Water testers, they are a needed thing when trying to figure what is wrong with fish and tanks.  Water changes are good, and you could do that much weekly if desired.  Goldfish are messy fish, and weekly cleanings are typical> My husband's theory is that maybe there are slime glands on fish and when she grew the new flesh over the previously scraped places it covered some of these and that these fluid filled bubbles are just like pimples...what do you think?  Should we just leave them alone? <I don't feel that your husband's theory is correct, though I have never seen bubbles on the back of the fish before.  I would not do anything with them if they are not hindering the fish at all.  If you disturb them you run the risk of the fish getting infections in the now open wound. So, I think it's best if you just keep calling the fish names and leave the oddities alone.> Thank you, Laura <Best of luck to you and your fishes in the future! -Magnus>

Black Moor Sick? 1/14/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> hi my black moor is suffering from something it is changing color its turning silver I put some tap water cleaner in there, <Do you mean dechlorinator?> is that it?, and the little fish that is in there keeps bumping into it, <bumping into what?> my black moor is also going to the top of the tank and laying on the leaf on my fake plant and like beaching itself and I think it is blind, oh and I have a filter that when it filters out the water it waterfalls back out and creates lots of bubbles do I still need a bubbler? <Extra bubbles never hurt. To keep a goldfish healthy you need to do 80-90% water changes every week.  Add dechlorinator to water matching the same temperature as the tank.  Your fish isn't in a bowl is it?   Are it's eyes cloudy?  Are there other fish in there?  A 2" goldfish needs at least a 10 gallon tank.  You can add some salt (1tbsp/5gal). That may help the fish to feel better.> I NEED CONTACT ASAP MY FISH LOOKS LIKE IT WILL DIE OVER NIGHT-Beth <Good luck with your fish, I hope it's feeling better soon--Pufferpunk>

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

Re-growth of Fins Do fish's fins grow back after being nipped or broken?  I have a shukunbun's front fins broken when he came home from the bag.   <Yes, most fish regrow their fins, providing that the fin isn't severely damaged.  If it is bent, not torn, the chances are that the fins are going to stay that way. Some fish seem to regrow their fins faster than others.  It take a month or two for it to start to fix itself.  To help it grow a bit faster, make sure that the tank is kept up and the water quality stays good.  Then the fish stays healthy, and it's healing happens much faster.> So far 1mo, no re-growth.   <hopefully it's not permanent damage.  Have some faith, but remember some damage to fins doesn't come back. I have a Lionhead that had one of his pectoral fins ripped off, it never fully came back, so it has a tiny stumpy fin.> My guppy also have a wedge from the aggressive Platies. <a small nip out of a fin should heal with no problems. Be careful because fin rot/secondary infections can start on a torn fin, so keep the water clean.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Dead Fish Goldfish Hey Guys!   <Hi Magnus on hand> I have four fantail goldfish about 1.5 yrs old in a ten gallon tank with an algae eater. <Tank is a bit small for that many goldfish.. they need a bit more water to handle the amount of waste they produce.> They were all fine yesterday, then when I got up this morning one of them was floating at the top-still barely alive.  All but a few scales were gone (the few that remained were coming off as I looked at him), he had bright red stool coming out of him and a "hole" in his belly. <Sadly I know exactly what that looks like, I had a goldfish years ago sudden look like that in the morning.> The "hole" was about the size of a scale but the place went deeper into the skin.  His tale looked sort of fuzzy and stiff and his eyes were milky white.   <Are you sure the fish was in perfect healthy the night before?  I noticed goldfish suddenly loosing their color, floating or laying on the bottom and their fins looking frayed a day or two before something like this happens.> Unfortunately he died before I could do anything for him. <yeah, that was really bad condition, surprised he was alive when you found him. > I am really concerned for the other fish in the tank.  <As am I, first off I would check your water parameters and see what they say.  Just so you have that for records.  Next I would start medicating the water, cause with a fish floating and damaged that bad, he allowed certain parasites and fungus' to get a bit of a foothold in the tank.  I would suggest adding something like Maracide (also consider Maroxy), which is from the Mardel company. Use Maracyn-Two, Maracyn, Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections from bacteria.> What kind of disease could have killed him over night? <Actually it wasn't a disease that really did the fish in... I would guess that its tank mates had a help in this.  What most likely happened is that your goldfish was a bit sick for the past few weeks, probably cause of poring water conditions in such a small tank.  He most likely got a swim bladder infection or some other sort of internal parasite/infection that caused his body to swell.  This made him float to the surface.  For some reason fancy goldfish will pick and nip at other goldfish that are floating at the surface.  Perhaps the smell.  Well, the goldfish and your algae eater (typically Pleco's do this to goldfish) picked at him during the night.  Pleco's have spoon shaped teeth that they can use to work away on wood and other surfaces that make short work of skin.  So, the fish became sick, probably internal problems, hence the redness around the wound, and the red waste. The white eyes and cottony stuff on the skin is a True form of fungus (mouth, body, and eye fungus). That found a suitable area to grow on, which was the body of the sick fish once it's protective slime coating was worn off by the tankmates.  It floated to the surface, the other tank mates picked at it and most likely caused the whole in the body.  If not then the whole could be from an unclear you hadn't notice, which keeps with possible internal parasites/infection. The other tank mates just started picking away at it until you found it in the morning.> I thought maybe Ick but I thought it looked like cotton and wrapped the fish up and smothered it. <That would be the body fungus, long weird looking stuff. usually once a fish has that over his body it's not a good sign.  I believe that you should be worried about your other fish in your tank.  It sounds like this condition came about due to too much bioload in your tank.  The goldfish are quite messy and can foul up water (which is what bacteria and fungus love) pretty quickly.  Start by doing a 50% water change, then add a Medicine like Maracide.  I would also think about adding a heater during this time to slowly raise the water temperature about 5 degrees which speeds up the life cycle of parasites so the medicine can kill them in their free floating juvenile stage.  Don't change your filtration during this cause the carbon will remove the medicine from the water.  After the treatment is done take the heater out and follow the directions on the back of the package.  (do a water change, and replace filtration). Please help, I don't want the remaining three to get sick.  Thank you so much!!!!  Mandy <no prob, I hope the other fish get better, you might want to look at getting your little guys a bigger tank.  The larger the tank the easier it is to care for the goldfish.  When I started out I had the same thing, a little 10 gallon with far to many goldfish.  When I upped the size of the tank, I rarely have a problem.  My fish have been happy and healthy, and I have to do less maintenance and worry about them.. making me happy.  Good luck -Magnus>

Black Moor with Mouth Fungus Can you tell me how to treat mouth rot. <There are many medicines that can be used to treat mouth rot.  The company called Jungle makes a really nice medicine called "Fungus Eliminator"  I have used it in the past on Iridescent sharks.  It turns the water a funny color, but seemed to do the trick quite well.  make sure not to get any on your hands or skin... kind of nasty, and you also will have a funny color.  If you can't find that medicine, then you can also use a few of the Mardel medicines I had suggested before.   You can treat with MarOxy. Use Maracyn-Two or Maracyn or Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections. > I do believe that is what my black moor has, or had . It is deformed now which is making it hard for him to eat flake food. I am worried for him. Can you help me again. Beverly <Try those medicines, and hopefully the fish will get better.  Good luck to you and your fish! -Magnus>

Goldfish activity levels I have 8 smallish goldfish (various kinds) in a 96 litre tank - all healthy except one which I suspect has swim bladder problems .... I am going to take advice from your FAQ section and amend diet. <Hopefully the diet switch will be what's needed to help the fish!> However, at the school where I work, the tank is slightly smaller, and holds only 2 fairly large fancy goldfish. The rest of the tank is quite full with plants ... so much so that it can be difficult to locate the fish. <Heavily planted tanks are quite nice, and goldfish seem to be happier in that case.  Goldfish are bred from carp which like to be in muddy waters, and heavy with plants.  gives them place to hide, and a good source of food.> The fish do not seem very active (I have not seen them at feeding time). Do you think they need extra care? <Most likely not, Goldfish don't need to be extremely active, if they are fed well, and healthy then most times you see them just sort of "chilling" in the tank.  If they show signs of illness, or swelling then I would be concerned.  But, it sounds like you just have to well fed, and some what lazy Goldfish.  I have a few that are exactly the same way. -Magnus>

Illness in Black Moor Hello, my black moor fish is very sick. <I'm sorry to hear that!  I hope we can help you out.> It all started when my gold catfish attacked it, causing it to lose scales and turn in to a fungus. <Yikes.> This must of happened around 6 weeks ago. Ever since then I was treating it with General Aid & Phenoxine. It appeared to go and then come back. When it started coming back I took him out of the main tank and put him in a separate tank with a filter. <Good move - it's always best to medicate in a quarantine tank, plus, if the catfish attacked him once, there's nothing stopping him from doing it again - so the moor is protected.> I was given tablets to put in to the tank as well as general aid. <Personally, I am always leery of anything that claims to be a general cure for most illnesses; often these contain several different and harsh medicines.  Do please check the ingredients so you can know what you're putting in.  Also check the ingredients of the tablets, as mixing some medicines can be dangerous.> At first she seemed to just lay at the bottom, and occasionally swim around. She would still eat, but was never a big eater. <Wow, that is a bit strange for a goldfish!> Last week she was swimming around like the other goldfish. I assumed that she was much better as she was looking a lot healthier looking, but I continued with the treatments. <Again, depending on the medication (and the illness), could be a good idea, could be bad.> I constantly check the ph level and the nitrate level also. <What about ammonia and nitrite?  These two are vastly more important, as nitrates will usually only increase after ammonia and nitrite have increased, perhaps to toxic or deadly levels....> Last night I did a ph and nitrate check to find the ph a little over and the nitrate through the roof. <Yikes....  Indicative that perhaps the fish has gone through the tank cycling - please do test for ammonia and nitrite, I'm sure these have been fluctuating and harming your fish.  If you find either level to be above zero, do water changes.> So I did a water change, <Wonderful, that's always the best thing to do.> added the general aid and a quarter of a  tablet.  Today I get home from work and I'm informed that she has been laying on her side for the past few hours. <Yikes, again!> Straight away I checked the water for ph and nitrate, both wrong, so did a 1/3 water change. added general aid, and multi cure. <Again, not sure if these "cure-alls" are going to be of help to you....  I'm sure they are hindering any biological filtration from establishing - please do test for ammonia and nitrite.> check ph and nitrate, totally fine. But the goldfish is still laying on the bottom of the floor on her side, but is still breathing. has been for the last 4-5 hours. I am doing every thing right. I just don't understand? <I can't stress how important it is, so one more time:  check ammonia and nitrite.  I imagine these are or have been really high and harming her.  I would recommend discontinuing all medications; you mentioned that her original illness, the infected wound, have cleared up, correct?  If so, definitely get some carbon in the filter, do some massive water changes (50% now, and again, 50% later).  I'm sure she is under the weather now from ammonia and nitrite poisoning, in which case these large water changes should affect quite an improvement.  If there is gravel in the tank, be sure to vacuum the gravel when you do the water changes to remove waste and uneaten food that will contribute to the problem.> The tablet that I keep mentioning is triple sulfa. <Ah, okay.  This is likely what cleared up the infection.> The tank size she is in is 20 Litres.  I usually put in one tablet when I started treating the tank except last night I only did a quarter because the night before I had put a whole one in. <Makes sense, to compensate for the water change.  Again, though, if her infection is cleared up, I don't think you need to continue this or any other medications.> I don't know what other information to give you, I hope this is enough? <Yes, excellent.  Thank you for including her background and being so detailed, it does help.  And hopefully this information can help you some, in turn. Thank you,  Anneliese. <Best wishes for you and your moor!  -Sabrina>
Illness in Black Moor - II
Hi Sabrina <Hello again, Anneliese.> Thank you so much for getting back to me straight away, all the information you gave me was very useful. <Glad to hear it.> Unfortunately this email didn't come through until this morning and she died last night. <Very sorry to hear that.> From what I know, the medications that I put in together were ok. I had checked with the pet shop previously to putting them in. <Many medications can be harmful to the fish, especially if used for prolonged periods, and can be even more harmful if the fish is sick with something that the medication can't fix, as the fish will continue to decline in health.  General "cure-all" type medicines often contain some pretty harsh stuff.  Even more sad, most people (pet store attendants included) don't know very much about medicating fish, and what medications do what for what illnesses/types of illnesses.  Worst of all, that information can be difficult at best to find and learn.  Not to mention diagnosis, which can be very tough in some cases.  This is to say, I think the cards were stacked against you, and you did your best.  No worries.> Can you please explain to me what you mean by putting carbon in the filter? <Mm, perhaps I erred, but I assume the tank the fish was in was filtered....  In any case, "activated carbon" or "filter charcoal" is often employed in filters to remove chemicals that could otherwise hurt the fish.  The carbon will remove medicines, as well, so is usually removed when you medicate a tank.  Adding carbon back to the filter will aid in removing medications when treatment is over.> I know quite a lot about goldfish just from having them and asking thousands of questions but I still don't think I know enough. <A passion to learn is the best thing you can possibly have!  Here's a recent article added to WetWebMedia, regarding goldfish:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm , and various articles on freshwater systems - some of which you may find extremely useful:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm .> I wasn't aware that you could test for ammonia and nitrite, so I will be going to the pet shop today to buy those tests. <WONDERFUL to hear.  These are the best way to be able to know what's going on in your tank.> I hope that wasn't that killed her. <Either way, you have learned and are continuing to learn, that is the most important part.> The pet shop told me that black moors don't tend to live long and are prone to getting illness and disease? <A very, very false statement!  Goldfish can live many years; this includes black moors.  I have a couple of goldfish that are over five years old, and still have many more to go, I hope.  As to being prone to illness/disease, frankly, goldfish are some of the most durable animals there are.  The unfortunate bit of it is how often they are kept in inappropriate conditions, where even still, they survive far longer than most other fish would before they finally succumb to something.> the gold catfish that bit her has been separated and is in a tiny tank by himself which he will stay in. <It'd be a good idea to try to find out what exactly the catfish is; many, many catfish can get very big.  Try to find out what he his, find out more about him, and if necessary, trade him in or find him a new home.> I just don't understand why she died. <Perhaps a combination of the illness(es), medications, and water quality is most likely.  I am sorry you lost her.> The pet shop also told me that she was probably on her way out and I was just going to be prolonging it? <I disagree completely.  It is unfortunate how many fish stores market fish as "disposable".  It is entirely possible to have a healthy tank with healthy fish, and if a fish gets sick, it is often possible to save it.  It seems to me the fish store might be lacking in some basic knowledge of water quality, or neglecting to mention some basic info in favor of making a sale.> It just doesn't seem right when she was sick and then got so much better and then took a complete turn for the worse. <Agreed.  Many factors at play there, primarily water quality.  I am very glad you are learning more about your fish and their needs, information is by far the best tool in the fishy hobby!> Once again, thank you so much for all the information you sent to me! <And thank you for the kind words.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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

Sick Goldfish - Water Quality? My son won 3 small goldfish in a bowl 7 months ago.  We purchased a 5 gallon tank (I know, I know, not big enough.  Looking into purchasing a bigger one) <Good to hear - messy fish like goldfish do best in large volumes of water, to compensate for their waste production.> and the fish have been pretty healthy.  Last week I noticed that the common goldfish had a type of red sore or almost like a spot of blood just on the top in the corner of his fin.  I changed the water, treated the new water and added fungus eliminator.  The red spot on the skin right under his fin, went away.  Now it's back.  What should I do now?   <First and foremost, check your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels - I suspect something in the water quality is the cause.> Change and treat the water again?  Or maybe what I'm doing is not curing what he has.   <If it is (or is brought on by) a water quality issue, then the water turning south again would definitely be a problem.  Please do test for the above levels.  Also, if you're not already, you might consider adding salt to the tank.  Use that which is marketed as "freshwater" aquarium salt (salt for marine tanks will alter the pH).  The package should have instructions for salting goldfish tanks; roughly 1 tablespoon per ten gallons should be about right.  If the water checks out okay, or if rectifying the water quality and salting the tank does not solve the problem, you might try a good, broad-spectrum antibiotic like Kanamycin.  Aquatronics manufactures this as "Kanacyn", and also makes a good one called "Spectrogram", which is a combination of Kanamycin and Nitrofurazone.  Very mild, very effective.> Thank you for all your help.  Your site is very helpful. <Thank you for the kind words!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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

Goldfish in Trouble! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this e-mail. I hope that you can help me with my goldfish!! I have had him for a year, and I recently introduced a new goldfish to his bowl (not for breeding). <I really think that bowls shouldn't be used for goldfish.  Both you and the fish would be much happier if you set up a tank for it.  They aren't that expensive and the fish are much happier.  Not to mention the larger the tank the healthier the fish are.  Goldfish are so messy that their water quality goes down hill quickly and the fish will get sick fast!  Out of curiosity did you have filtration system in your bowl for these fish?  They are extremely dirty fish and need to be in heavily filtered water.> She is orange-colored, and shortly after I added her, a black splotch appeared on her "forehead." She began to spend more of her time close to the bottom of the bowl, appearing strangely interested in the rocks; and I sometimes found her with her head in her castle and her "bottom" higher than the rest of her. I noticed the silver fish beginning to turn more gold-colored. Then suddenly the orange-colored fish, which I had recently introduced, died. <Do you have any water testing kits? Kits that test for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates, are extremely helpful to let you know what is going on with your tank.  The dark spot on the fish might have been the start of ammonia burn.  The fish's waste was breaking down and the ammonia levels were rising.  this is extremely toxic to your fish.  That is the most likely reason why the goldfish had died.  from a build-up of toxins in the bowl. If you do decided to keep the goldfish in a bowl, then you will have to start doing daily water changes to keep the waste down. I suggest upgrading to a something larger ASAP, the larger the tank the better the chances of survival are for goldfish.> Now, the silver fish, which I have kept for so long, is turning red, particularly on his fins. I fear that it is his blood rising to the surface, and this evening I was shocked to find that his top fins are missing! From what I have ascertained through the internet, I think it may be fin rot, but that does not explain this possible internal bleeding. I have been using a mixture of bottled water and water purified through reverse osmosis. Could the reverse osmosis be causing internal bleeding by pulling out the salt in his body or through some other means?   <The red on the fins is a medical condition called Septicemia, which is red spots, red streaks or bleeding on body areas.  I suggest you go to the store and look at the Mardel medicine products.  I would treat the fish with "Maracyn-Two". Read the packages carefully and follow the directions. This will also help with the fin rot.> Do you think my fish will make it? I don't want him to suffer if he is most likely going to die. <If you offer him a larger tank for a home, with filtration, Make sure to treat the current illness and nice clean water then I see no reason why the goldfish shouldn't make it. I've have been given goldfish in worse condition that have pulled out of it and are happy and healthy now!> Thank you for your time. My family and I have become very attached to our goldfish, and we fear for his life.  



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