Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Goldfish Bacteria, Fungal and Viral Infections

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

Related FAQs: Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish 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 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38, Goldfish Disease 39 & Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling, Koi/Pondfish Disease, Goldfish in General, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Feeding, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction,

Bowls make goldfish sick and sad.
Give them more room and they'll be glad!
- Sara M.

Key Points/Notes:

  • Infections are usually secondary to some other problem (i.e. injury, poor environment, poor nutrition/feeding, etc.)
  • "Pop-eye," when one or both eyes bulge out (in a fish that has not been genetically selected for this "look" such as "Telescope Goldfish"), is often caused by a bacterial infection behind the eye. This is often initiated by an injury to or around the eye.
  • Dropsy is a condition, not a disease. Dropsy is a build up of internal pressure that can be caused by any number of different things. The internal pressure can be caused by gas, swelling, tumors, constipation, etc. (infection is sometimes, but not always, the root cause of these problems). Whatever the cause, the fish will appear bloated, sometimes to the extent that the scales protrude and the eyes bulge.

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fin rot and ich on a Ryukin        1/13/16
Greetings, thanks for your help in the past in getting rid of the fish lice that came in on these two goldfish. I will never buy fish at this particular PetSmart again. I went back to that store recently for dog food and almost every goldfish in that shipment had passed away. What a disgrace how some suppliers stress out the fish. Anyway, the fantail is doing great and looks very healthy. They are in a 55-gallon. Water parameters are ammonia & nitrites = 0, nitrates = 30. I do a weekly water change of about 50%. They have an Eheim canister filter that can do up to a 75- gallon aquarium, containing primarily biological filtration media. I try to feed them a varied diet, low on the protein. The aquarium is at 75 degrees? So that's the general picture.
Now, the problem is that the Ryukin seems to have a few ich organisms on his gill cover and his tail fin appears to have mild fin rot.,I say mild as I have seen no red spots or black edges, but his tail is shorter than it was, as if a bacterial infection may be eating at it.
Is it possible to treat ich and fin rot concurrently?
Should I use salt for the ich and also tetracyclines or triple sulfa for the possible fin rot?
<You could>
Will the salt interfere at all with the antibiotics?
<It will not>
Is it safe for fancy goldfish to be at 80 degrees F for the duration of the ich treatment?
<Yes; even (better) into the mid-80's F.... do add aeration if you can; to augment that from the Eheim>

Can they tolerate it well? Also, should I do a salt bath for the Ryukin to "jump start" his treatment, as it were?
<You could>
Also, there is a baby Black Moor in the tank with them. He's only a little bit over an inch long (not including the tail fin). I got him at the same time as the others but from a different store where their fish seem to be a lot healthier. So far he's shown no sign of disease. I'm hoping he's healthy enough to get through all this. He seems quite lively and healthy. Should he be able to tolerate this treatment OK?
Thanks so much in advance for your answer! Sorry to ask about this when there's already a lot of info on your web site, but I had some specific questions. I greatly appreciate your help.
Riobhka De PĂȘchĂ©
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fin rot and ich on a Ryukin

Greetings. Just to let you know that I added salt to their aquarium yesterday (2 grams per litre) and also dosed them with erythromycin. We're at 82 degrees F. They just received their 2nd dose of erythromycin today. Do you think it would be a good idea to give a third dose of the antibiotics tomorrow to be sure even though two doses are the recommended course of treatment?
<I would spread the Erythromycin (most antibiotics, antimicrobials) over every three days (at 250 mg per ten gallons) for three times administration. Changing some (25%) water out if deemed necessary>
The Ryukin is livelier and his colours look better today. Also, he's more enthusiastic about eating and that has to be a good thing.
I'm being cautiously optimistic that he's on the road to recovery. Thanks so much for your advice and all the great resources on your web site.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fin rot and ich on a Ryukin       1/14/16
Thanks, Bob. I will dose the antibiotics as you suggested. Ludwig is looking even better this morning. The pix don't really show how much better his colour is this morning. We were so worried about him. You can see in the pix the short tail and a small hole in his dorsal fin.
<Is there... a Pleco in w/ this fish? What are the other tankmates?>
I know they'll take awhile to grow back, but the important thing is that he seems to be on the road to recovery. Thanks so very much again for your help. You guys are an invaluable resource.
<Anima bona fac R.... be of good life. BobF>

Re: Fin rot and ich on a Ryukin       1/14/16
Hello again. One more question, if I may. Should seven days of the salt solution in their aquarium at 82 degrees F be enough to eradicate the ich organisms?
<I'd raise and keep at 85 F.>
If not, how long would you recommend? Thanks again.
<Should be. BobF>
Re: Fin rot and ich on a Ryukin       1/14/16

Greetings, Sorry to bother you again, but the Ryukin has taken a turn for the worse after having seemed so much better. I was gone for a couple of hours to the vet's office to get Heartgard for my dogs. When I returned, the Ryukin was swimming upside down and even when I gently touched him, he was unable to right himself.

I have him now resting in a net in his tank. Seeing him from underneath, there is a faint reddish-purple streak in between his ventral fins and the ventral fins themselves look to be turning this colour as well. I'm in the process of raising the temp to 85 F as you suggested. The other fish in the tank still seem perfectly healthy.
My first thought of course is swim-bladder disease, but isn't this often only a symptom of some other underlying problem?
Could the red colour on his underside indicate an internal problem...possibly an infection, especially in light of the fact that these poor fish came from PetSmart apparently with a plethora of problems?
<Yes and yes>
Isn't the current treatment the one that's usually used for swim-bladder problems...salt and antibiotics?
Maybe I should try tripe-sulfa?
<I would not>
I don't believe that it's a diet problem, since these fish eat a varied diet of shelled & thawed peas, Spirulina, organic lettuce, Omega One green seaweed, duckweed (which was quarantined before giving it to them) and only occasionally some freeze-dried mysis shrimp or Tubifex.
<Patience. B>
Any thoughts and suggestions you have for me I will be happy to hear. Thanks in advance for your help.
Re: Fin rot and ich on a Ryukin       1/14/16

Never mind. I just checked on him and he's stopped breathing. He must've had a serious problem to go down so fast. Thanks for your help anyway.
<Yeeikes! BobF>

Help!! Panic in Detroit; hoo hoo hoo hoooo!     10/2/15
I have this Ryukin and I'm not sure what is going on with his tail. He was fine yesterday or the day before, and we just noticed this right now. I don't think it was the filter intake at all, does it look like it would be fungus?
<Yes; of some sort, cause... bacterial most likely...>
What doe you suggest I do?
<Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Everyone else looks great. I have a 200 g with the new Fluval fx6 and the water quality of good, we had it checked yesterday.

Re: Help!!     10/2/15
I am confused, if it's fungal, but caused by bacteria, do I need an antibiotic med or antifungal?
<.... you need to read>
Should I put salt in the quarantine tank? Do you think he can be saved?
<No and yes>
What can I do at this very moment to help him while I get meds?
Thanks again!
Re: Help!!     10/2/15

Ok so it seems that this is what I would need, however I've never seen it at the pet stores here... Is there something comparable that you know of by chance? I'll buy the esha2000, but it won't be here for probably a week.
<.... I would add nothing to this system... as the one fish only is affected... Optimize, stabilize water quality and provide good nutrition and this should fix itself. B>

Re: Help!! GF, still no useful info.       10/3/15
We did water changes each day, but the fish's condition deteriorated quickly...
<?! Strange.... and just this one fish>

His fins continued rotting off, and he developed the septicemia :( we euthanized him this morning. When we tested the water at the Local fish store yesterday,
<... see WWM re.... water changes with time, moving. You SHOULD have your own test gear>
they said the parameters were great...
<Which means nothing to/for me>
So what could have caused this?
<Can't tell w/ the lack of data provided>
And how do we prevent this?

And what should we do if we see it again (because water changes didn't help)...
Thanks so much!
<Again; and hopefully for the last time here, the ONLY way we can help you is if you will READ. By reviewing other folks similar instances, perhaps somethings will open to your awareness.
... B>

Lg Oranda help... Loricariid incomp.      2/24/15
You don't happen to recognize the white on my gf side do you? We can't tell if it's a sickened or maybe our Pleco attacked him?
<The latter almost assuredly.... tell-tale missing scale pattern>
He was fine two days ago, last night I noticed him like this, and today, the white is kinda fuzzy!! He's missing a lot of scales in his side as well. We're not sure what to do with him! :(
<Remove the Pleco; see WWM re avoiding GF infections>
Lindsey Hernandez
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Please send either prev. corr. or complete sentences.      3/25/15
Subject: More help
I've been at school all day and I just got home and checked on the Oranda... He's fuzzy... Is that a fungus? I don't know what to do to help him. We took the Pleco to the LFS, so he is gone now. Thanks again for all your help!

Re: re: More help.... GF trauma      3/26/15
I'm sorry,
I've been at school all day and I just got home and checked on the Oranda.
He's fuzzy where his scales had been taken off. Is that a fungus?
<Appears to be hyphae, mycelia... yes>

(His fins are also shredding more this morning)
I don't know what to do to help him.
<A bit of aquarium salt (1 tsp. per five gallons) is all I would do... that and check (daily) re water quality. You want NO ammonia, NO nitrite, and less than 10 ppm of nitrate>
We took the Plecostomus to the Local Fish Store, so he is gone now.

Thanks again for all your help!
<Be of good life, cheers. Bob Fenner>

Re[2]: re: More help      3/26/15
Ok put 1/2 tank water 1/2 fresh and treated water in my 5 gal quarantine tank with the 1 tsp per 5 gal of salt. What do I do daily to ensure no nitrates/ nitrites/ ammonia?
<Biological filtration, water changes.... See WWM re. B>

He's looking worse :'(
Re[3]: re: More help
Ok, is there a common name for the hyphae, mycelia?
<True fungal "threads" (structures), versus bacterial look-alikes>
One site brought up body fungus. also, do I need to worry about my other GF getting the fungus?
<Not so much>
Sorry for all of the emails... I am freaking out here!
<When in doubt, read. B>

Seriously ill Goldfish- Help Required- Urgent   8/10/14
My 5 years old goldfish is seriously ill since last two days. *The fins are frayed and I see [maybe] a wound at the base of pectoral fin.*
I have used the anti-fungal medicines but without any sign of improvement.
<Indeed. Finrot is caused by bacteria. Not fungus. So you need an antibiotic or antibacterial. In England, antibiotics aren't sold in pet shops, but from personal experience I recommend a product called eSHa 2000
for Finrot. It works very well provided the fish isn't too far gone. In the US you can buy antibiotics from pet shops. Seachem KanaPlex is one option among many. Basically, so long as you avoid the tea-tree oil medications (such as Melafix) which tend to be unreliable, most anti-Finrot medications should work quite well.>
Presently it is isolated in a large bucket that serves as my quarantine tank.
<No. Remember, a hospital tank (or quarantine tank) must have environmental conditions (nitrite, ammonia, oxygen) that are AT LEAST as good as the aquarium. Just moving a fish to a bucket or small aquarium isn't helpful IF the conditions there are poor.>
This is my best fish & it would be a heartbreak to see it die.
<Do medicate as per Finrot. Review environmental conditions in the main aquarium. Goldfish are extremely hardy fish, and Finrot is almost always caused by poor environment. Specifically, non-zero ammonia and non-zero
nitrite levels.>
Please help on my course of action ASAP. I have tried to click some photos & those are attached herewith.
Thanking You in advance
<Let me direct you to Goldfish 101, here:
In short, aquarium size (at least 20-30 gallons) and good water quality (a biological filter) are essential. Hard, alkaline water is a plus. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Seriously ill Goldfish- Help Required- Urgent     8/11/14
This is really of Great Help. Thank You VERY Much :-)
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re Goldfish expert, please      4/20/13
Hi there!
<Stephanie, Rick here.>
 I really need some help to save my goldfish, Tiger.  I sent the email below and received the advice <in brackets>.  I had huge difficulty understanding exactly what the writer suggested, as the links he sent me to had dozens of articles.  I couldn't find any that referred to symptoms like those that Tiger is presenting, so I tried my best.
<Well, I think Bob's point was that you don't appear to have a solid understanding of the husbandry requirements for goldfish, regardless of the strain.  Contrary to what popular culture would have you believe, goldfish really aren't beginner fish, they aren't tropical fish, they aren't small, they aren't clean, they aren't good in bowls or small tanks, and should really be in a pond or a very large tank.  The water chemistry you present below indicates a tank that is either not fully cycled or the cycle has crashed.. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero.>
I realize that I have been making a huge mistake for the last few weeks: I have not been using a dechlorinator when I do the regular water changes. 
<Yeah, the chlorine irritates the gills, but it doesn't cause what you see in the photos.>
What I used was a 'water treatment' but it did not dechlorinate water, and I'm afraid that's the reason for my fish's distress.
<Well, it might have. Water treatment is vague enough it could mean dozens of products. Many of them do treat for chlorine, so check the label. But as I said above, chlorine or even chloramine won't cause those kind of lesions.>
 Once I realized that, I did a 50% water change and treated the whole tank with dechlorinator.
<Any chlorine will dissipate on its own after 24 hours, but not so with chloramine. You'll have to check your county water report to see if they add ammonia to the water at the treatment plant. That would indicate you have to be concerned with chloramine--what you get when ammonia and chlorine combine in the water.  Even so, this is not the root cause of the problems.  And until those ammonia and nitrites dissipate, you really need to do a water change daily, and use a test kit to tell you when to stop and how much water needs to be changed.>
In the last week, Tiger's condition has gotten so much worse (see attached picture).
<Not surprising because much of the problem stems from the fish being in cramped quarters. Yes, you increased the size of their tank, but they still need a lot more room than you are providing. Goldfish get BIG and they are messy. Both point to large tanks or to a pond.>
I was on vacation so I left a few dissolving fish feeder pyramids for them to eat. 
<These are worse than worthless
. They leave a lot of mess in the tank that is ultimately turned into that toxic ammonia. Fish can go a surprisingly long time without eating, which is a better solution than pyramids for short trips of a few days.>
Water conditions now are: Ammonia 0.02-0.05, <Needs to be 0.0> Nitrate 20-40 <Not bad.>, Nitrite 0.0-0.5 <Needs to be 0.0>, pH 7.2 <Stable???>, KH 40, GH 180. <Fine.>  I really need specific help. 
<The illness can likely be traced back to the ammonia. It isn't directly responsible for the lesions, but it does weaken the immune system.  The small tanks exacerbate the stress on the animals. A stressed animal is more prone to succumb to any disease that is already in the fish that is being kept at bay by the immune system.  To me these look bacterial, but if you've already tried tetracycline without improvement, it could be viral as discussed below.  Keeping the environment as clean as possible, including the water, is key.  By this stage, I wouldn't be surprised if there is also a bacterial infection. But, you can't effectively treat with an antibiotic if you are doing water changes.  You may have to treat without water changes and use a lot of ammo chips to keep the ammonia under control. But do go back and look through the links on WWM that Bob gave you last time.>
Thank you for your help!
<Hope it was at least somewhat helpful - Rick>


30gal aquarium, GF... env. dis.?      4/11/13
Hey there I seem to be having a problem with my goldfish in my 30 gal aquarium. I have three large goldfish and one fancy. My largest fish developed a lump on the top of his head. Not sure if it is from under his skin or from on top it is orange in colour but then so is he. I brought him to the pet store and they informed me he has " Fish Herpes" and that there was pretty much nothing I could do
<Ahh, if viral, this is so>
 except for the salt baths I was already giving at the time. However since then my fancy fish and my white goldfish have developed a small bump on their fins and now have a kink where the spot appeared. My large fish has also what seems like fin rot with red lines through his tail.
<This reads more like an environmentally mediated complaint>
 And my smallest younger fish is just fine. Ph is at 7.8 and water is clear and clean they get quality food small amounts twice a day. Their behaviour is normal and they don't seem bothered but I know it isn't normal. Any idea on what it could be? Much appreciated -Megan :)
<Could be many things... Please take the long read here:
scroll down to the Goldfish tray... Health... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish with fungus, proceeding to blackened scales - 11/08/2012
Dear WWM,
<Hi, Nathan!>
I have one goldfish which lives alone in a fifteen litre tank. He is one year old and has been used to a complete water change every seven days since we first got him.
<At a year of age, a goldfish should be too big to fit in a 15 liter tank.
His growth is stunted; he really needs a much bigger space. His health will be compromised in this small volume.>
Several weeks ago (I am ashamed to say) we neglected to change his water for around two weeks.
<Evidence of the tank being vastly too small for a goldfish.... These animals require - require! - more like 50 liters per animal, at an absolute barest minimum. They are large, messy (produce a lot of waste), and really can't live in good health without appropriate volumes of water. Your fish needs a MUCH larger home. It would be far better for him to be in something closer to 100 liters, especially by a year of age....>
By this time he had a pinky white slime covering his sides, face and eyes.
<Likely from diminished water quality, which, in the small tank, was really just a matter of time.>
I immediately changed his water, cleaned his tank and asked at my local aquarium for advice.
<I sincerely hope their first piece of advice was a bigger tank....>
On their instruction I brought a water sample to them, which they told me was fine.
<Next time, please have them give you the actual readings. "Fine" is really quite meaningless. Your fish's water must have ZERO Ammonia, ZERO Nitrite, and no more than 20ppm Nitrate. The slime you saw was almost definitely from poor water quality.>
I began treating what they told me was a fungal infection
<Based upon what? There is no indication of a fungal infection, here....
Fungal infections in fish are actually quite rare....>
with 'Love Fish Anti Bacteria and Fungus' treatment. Several weeks have passed and his condition has improved massively but not entirely.
<I suspect that your water changes have more to do with this than the medication, actually.>
He now has only slight pinky white discolouration down his sides. However, today I notices a black mark on his side, towards the back, where three scales dropped away weeks ago and am worried about ammonia burn. Could this be an effect of treating him with medication too long
<Yes, easily.>
or a different problem entirely?
<Quite possible. From your description, the slimy look, and now some pinky-white discoloration, as well as black mark(s), I'm inclined to think "carp pox". Do look this up. It often looks like slime/film, or could even be described as "waxy" formations on the fish. It is viral, incurable, and usually won't cause the fish any real "harm". It might be brought about or exacerbated by poor water quality (which could be why you started seeing it after missing a couple of water changes), and can, sometimes, fade away with good water quality. It will often come and go, as well.>
I'm a little unsure of how to proceed with him.
<If you are still medicating, I would absolutely discontinue this.
Prolonged exposure to medication - and you mentioned "several weeks, which would qualify - can cause damage to a fish's liver and kidney....>
I am going to go shopping for a larger tank with a quality filter to help him get better
<Oh, VERY good news.>
but really want to do everything I can to improve his quality of life.
<Believe me, there is no better action you can take than to expand his world. Please do read the articles on WWM regarding goldfish.... Here's a starting point for you:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm  .>
I hope that's enough information to help with my query. Many thanks in advance for your time!
<And I do hope you've found some helpful information here, Nathan! Thanks for writing in. I do wish your goldfish a complete recovery. I'm sure he'll love the larger tank you're shopping for. Best wishes to you and your goldfish pal, -Sabrina> 

Fin Rot for Goldfish - Tried Everything! (RMF, please comment)<<Below>> 12/21/11
Dear WWM,
<Hello Brad.>
We have a fantail goldfish approximately 2 years old that has had a case of fin rot for about one year. We think that our keeping him in a 10 gallon tank caused it due to the dirty water, but about a year ago (after
initially getting the fin rot) we upgraded him to a 37 gallon tank, and he is the only fish in there.
<Sounds a wise move.>
Over the past year, off and on, we have tried the following medications: Pimafix, Melafix (twice),
<Both less than reliable. Have some value, perhaps, as preventatives in the same way as you'd use antiseptic ointment on a cut to prevent infection.
But I don't honestly believe they're much use once infection sets in.>
Maracyn 2, Maracyn 1 and 2 together, and Tetracycline.
<These do normally work well.>
It seems like we have used every medication out there to treat fin rot that is sold at PetSmart and Petco.
<Not quite. What you've used are antiseptics and antibiotics. What you haven't used are antibacterial medications such as the various aldehydes, organic dyes and nitrogen-containing organic compounds. These are somewhat akin to chemotherapy -- they're lethal to everything, but with careful use, kill bacteria before they kill the fish. Here in the UK, all the over-the-counter Finrot medications fall into this category because antibiotics are only provided by vets. For the most part, this isn't a big deal because these medications can be very effective. eSHa 2000 is my medication of choice for Finrot and Fungus, and works very well. In the US products such as Seachem PolyGuard and ParaGuard fall into this category as
Are there any other medications or treatments we can try? His water quality is now very good (we try to keep the ammonia and nitrate levels at zero), but we still can't seem to get rid of the fin rot, which is very
slowly getting worse as the months pass on. Thanks.
<I'd use something like ParaGuard along with salt. Goldfish are very salt tolerant, and for some reason that isn't clear to me (saltwater fish can get Finrot after all!) the use of salt alongside Finrot and Fungus
medications seems to improve success. I wouldn't use a huge amount, 3-4 grammes/litre, which is 10% seawater salinity, and I'd use aquarium salt rather than marine aquarium salt because you don't want to much change pH and hardness. (Though, as a side issue, Goldfish are healthier in hard water than soft, so if you have soft, acidic water, this could be part of the problem.) Treat with ParaGuard as instructed, removing carbon from the filter if used (again, often overlooked, but carbon removes medications as
well as unwanted organic molecules). Cheers, Neale.><<Agree w/ your suggestions for bacterial issues... and think this fish may well have a compromised immune system. RMF>>
Re: Fin Rot for Goldfish - Tried Everything! (RMF, please comment)<<>> 1/5/12

Thanks for the help! We found and purchased ParaGuard. How long should we continue this treatment?
<See the SeaChem website:
Use daily, until the fish gets better, and so long as it isn't stressed.>
At what point would you deem it to not work if there are no signs of improvement. I bought enough to last 25 days, but could always buy more.
The package just says to use it daily unless the fish shows signs of stress. It doesn't say to do it for a given number of days or to do any water changes after a given number of days. Do you have anything to add in this regard? Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.><<I would not treat w/ this product any more than a week. More harm than good at some trade-off point likely. Again, monitor water quality daily, and stop if the fish/es are overly stressed. RMF>>
Re: More Re: Fin Rot for Goldfish - Tried Everything! (RMF, please comment) 1/8/12

We tried using ParaGuard for five days in a row (no carbon in the filter),
and our fish shows no signs of improvement.
<Takes weeks... months...>
He just sits at the bottom of the tank with his fin clamped down. He still has fin rot - his tail fin is still fraying and he still has red streaks on his fine. He is approximately 2 years old right now. Is there anything additional you would recommend doing?
<Just keeping track of water quality, being careful re feeding, having time going by. BobF>
Re: More Re: Fin Rot for Goldfish - Tried Everything! (RMF, please comment) 1/9/12

Thanks for the help, Bob. Are you saying that we should use it for weeks or months until signs of improvement are shown (and that it might take this long), or that we should use it for five days or so but that it will take weeks or months after we stop using it before the fish is better?
<The latter>
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. B>

I think my Comet might have fin rot... /Neale 12/1/11
Hello, my name is Sigga and I'm worried about my Comet, Gajeel
I got Gajeel 3 weeks ago, as well as two other goldfish. Loki, a common, and Natsu, who I'm quite sure is a Comet, judging by the tail.
<I see.>
I originally had all 3 in a 30 liter tank,
<Too small for Goldfish; even 100 litres would be barely adequate.>
but I quickly noticed that this wasn't good for them, mostly due to the fact that Loki and Natsu would attack each other and Gajeel.
<Perhaps. But also, if this aquarium is new, the biological filter is not cycled. It will take 6 weeks to cycle. During that 6 weeks, the ammonia and nitrite levels will not be 0. If they are not 0, then the fish will be harmed.>
I quickly separated them, returning Loki to the store for a Fantail (Mirajane) and got Natsu into a 20 liter tank. Mirajane is in a 10 liter bowl for now, though i plan to put her with Gajeel later, once I'm sure he's healthy... (I plan to get a big (340-450liter) tank as soon as i can afford it, the small tanks are just temporary for tops 6-12months, depending on how fast i find one and can afford it)
<Well, you need to hurry!>
Before I separated the original 3 fish, Gajeel had gotten quite a few injures and his back fin (dorsal fin?) had a split + two small holes in the base of it.
<Yes, very common when Goldfish are kept in poor conditions.>
Now, a few days later and Gajeel being alone, he suddenly had his underfins slit up! he also has some red, vein-like marks on his tail.. i know he didn't have this yesterday, because i was waaaatching him for almost an hour before bedtime (he's next to my bed). I've been reading for a few hours online now, but I'm not sure if its Fin rot or if he's just hurt... the closest I'm able to guess myself is that he's getting it because he's been hurt, and that makes me nervous because Natsu got a few injuries while still with Loki as well...
I tested the water yesterday with a quick-test (6 in 1 thing) and all the results were normal (i can check the list if you want to know what they were, i remember which colours they turned)..
<Hmm I need these data. Ammonia MUST be 0 mg/l, and nitrite MUST be 0 mg/l. When these are above zero, then Finrot is common.>
I also read that this might be caused by over stress... I did the mistake the first two weeks that i changed all the water once a week and cleaned -everything- with water, as i was taught to do that as a kid, but today (cleaning day) i had done my homework and only did a 20-30% water change and cleaned the rocks and such... I have a siphon, which I'm going to start using from now on instead of taking everything out, as i don't want to stress them..I also make sure that all the tanks have some real plants for them to nibble on if they want, and i bought some frozen food that i cant remember the name off...snails or shrimp something that is really good for goldfish (I've read about it on your site as well! :) ) and i feed them (until today) flakes 3 times a day, and make sure its not too much...I don't have a heater either, as I've been told its perfectly fine for them to be in room-temperature, but he does have a airstone there. I don't use aquarium salt either... only thing i add i added for the first time today, and is just a tiny amount of nutrients for the plants...Gajeel is also about 11 cms, not sure if that makes any difference...
I hope I've given you enough information to understand what's going on >.< I'm worried about my poor comet, though he doesn't seem to be in pain...
please help... i really have no clue what to do nor how to treat this if it really is fin rot....
<Yes, is Finrot. Bacteria "clog" the capillaries in the fin membrane, and these turn red or pink or orange. Eventually, the blockages prevent the fin tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients, and the fin tissue dies.>
Ps, as you've probably noticed, i don't use Gallons nor Inches. I'm Scandinavian and live in Norway, so i don't know Gallons nor Inches :(
grateful thank-yous in advance Inexperienced Icelander, Sigga
<Do read:
Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: I think my Comet might have fin rot... /RMF 12/1/11

Here are the pictures, I hope they come through :/ I've made them all 600 pxs long tops, and total size of the photos are 540 kb..
Do tell if you need anything else, information-wise or photo-wise, and I'll do what I can :/
<Your goldfish appear fine (healthy) to me, though the systems they're in are small... likely fluctuating too much in water quality... The best course of action here is to plan on getting these goldfish into larger quarters... Fixing their environment will cure the red streaking and frayed fins. Please read here re:
Even at this size, they need two-three times the volume (20 and 30l stated) as they are in currently... And w/ growth/time, much larger. They can/could live together. Bob Fenner>

Re: I think my Comet might have fin rot... 12/1/11
Thank you so much Bob :3!
<Welcome Sigga!>
I do plan to get a 360-450L (what size Ill get depends on what prices I can find..) hopefully by the end of February, and guaranteed no later than 6 months from now!! I want them to be happy and healthy :/ Is that quick enough, or should I speed up even more?
yet again, thank you! and I will read thoroughly!
<Mmm, just keep up the water quality monitoring, frequent partial water changes, and be careful/stingy re feeding. Bob Fenner>
Re: I think my Comet might have fin rot... 12/1/11

Thank you so much, Neale >.< I'll read, and ill definitively hurry with the bigger tank <.< With some luck, I'm aiming to have one by February latest...! By the way, the test result were:
NO1: 0-10
<Do you mean NO3-, which is nitrate, or NO2-, which is nitrite? Nitrite needs to be ZERO, while nitrate can be anything up to about 40 or 50 mg/l without causing serious problems.>
NO2: 0
<See above.>
GH <3od
KH: 3-6odpH: 6,8
<Sounds like you have soft, slightly acidic water. Not ideal for Goldfish.
They like moderately hard, around neutral to slightly basic water, i.e., about 10 degrees dH for General Hardness, and about pH 7.5. Do read here:
There's a recipe for Rift Valley Salt Mix that's very cheap and easy to use. Use about 50% the quote dose there, and you should be able to create excellent water chemistry.>
those results are the ones I've gotten repediatly as well..
Again, thank you! :)
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: I think my Comet might have fin rot... 12/1/11

Ok! I will try that Rift Valley Salt Mix as soon as I can!
<Don't change ALL the water ALL at once though! Only add enough for one water change at a time. So if you change 10 litres of water, add enough mix for 10 litres of water. By my calculations, at a 50% dosage, that would be 0.25 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate, 0.25 tablespoon magnesium sulphate, and
0.25 teaspoon marine aquarium salt mix (remember, the mix is per 20 litres, and you want 50% the dosage recommended there, so 10 litres would be 25% the amounts described).>
Should I use that mix with Mirajane, the Fantail I have, as well?
(asking as I've heard Fantails are more frail than Comets, not sure just how true it is..)
<Fantails are actually pretty good by Goldfish standards. So are Black Moors. The delicate varieties are things like Celestials, Lionheads, and the other really "deformed" ones.>
She's quite small, about 5 cm's or so long.
ps, NO2 is the Nitrite, and is 0
<Good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: I think my Comet might have fin rot... 12/1/11

Hi! Its me again. I just wanted to give you some good news! I was in the pet store today and stumbled over a fantastic sale, a 60 liter tank for less money than even my 20 liter (the producer wanted to get rid of the model or something xD)! It even came with a filter! I just got it started to get the filter and everything set and going in it, and will be moving the fish over in it in a few days. I've also been able to take care of the problem of the water being too soft and too acidic, so I'm hoping that the fin rot will become a thing of the past soon. I'll try to send a picture of the tank once its running properly and they're in it so you can see how its going
Thank you both for the amazing advice and for having such a great site as well! It truly is fantastic!
Love and hugs from Sigga, Gajeel, Natsu and Mirajane in Norway! :3
<Ah, that's real good news! In Europe, a good, economical medication for Finrot is eSHa 2000, which treats Finrot and Fungus and Columnaris bacteria all at the same time! Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Female Oranda with chronic mushy belly 10/20/11
Hello again:
I really need help here- this fish has not eaten since I wrote to you on September 29th. I found a vet who knows a little about Koi- he concurs that the mushy belly is most likely a bacterial infection caused by unreleased eggs. We did four shots of Baytril over 4 days into the dorsal muscle but it hasn't helped. Perhaps this was not the ideal site but the vet was nervous about injecting intraperitoneally.
<Mmm, no big deal. READ: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
and the linked files above>
This fish is really ill- I need to try something else. Have you (or any of the WWM crew) had any experience treating this type of infection?
Thanks: GA
<Can't discern "what type of infection" this is w/o sampling, culture...
Read... other injectibles... B>

Finrot query re. goldfish 8/7/11
Dear WWM Crew,
First, thank you for both your excellent website (which has been a tremendous help in the past) and for the advice I'm hoping to get from you today. I've got a difficult problem and I'm hoping you can work your usual magic. Thank you in advance for your time.
My problem is a long-term battle with Finrot in my goldfish (little actual degeneration as yet, but a lot of the precursor, i.e. reddening/darkening to fin edges). I've been trying to eradicate it for months and achieved nothing, and as of the past couple of weeks the problem has worsened noticeably. I've read your backlogged queries extensively and can't identify the problem, so I'm hoping if I give you all the info I have you'll be able to point out a possible source.
<Me too>
I keep three goldfish; two approx. 2" long in one 30 gallon tank, and one around 4" long in another 30 gallon tank. All three fish have the reddening (or in the case of my Black Moor, darkening) of fins to various degrees, with the Moor worst affected (caudal fins, tail and lately the dorsal fin has become implicated as well). Presumably this points to an environmental problem shared between the tanks.
Stats for both tanks are great; 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and nitrate is never above 5mg/l (and usually far less), with pH stable at 7.7. KH is 4.5 at present; I'm in the process of gradually increasing it to around 10 (which I think should be right, from my WWM reading) using Malawi/Victoria buffer from Seachem. I wondered if the poor KH (owing to soft city water) might be responsible for the problem, but the KH is more than double what it was before the problem started and the Finrot is still there/worsening, so it doesn't seem logically (to me, anyway) as if that can be it. Or could increasing the KH when a fish has been accustomed to very low KH cause such problems?
<Much lower if so... Your hardness is fine>
My fish are fed primarily on cooked peas, supplemented by goldfish flakes <I'd switch to a more substantive, nutritious "pelleted" food. I feed my fancies New Life/Spectrum>
and the occasional bunch of elodea (which they all but destroy on receipt).
Their appetites and behaviour are fine; no fin clamping, food refusal, gasping, skittishness or anything along those lines. Everything is quarantined before it goes into either tank (6 weeks), the filtration is 6x what is recommended for the tank size, the half-inch of gravel is natural and rounded, the ornaments for cover are non-toxic, I don't put my hands in the tank and am careful about keeping toxins (e.g. window sprays) well away.
Extensive water changes have shown no improvement and arguably even worsened the rot, which is just incomprehensible unless the water itself is somehow causing the problem (maybe something wrong with the pipes or some chemical that the dechlorinator doesn't remove in the supplied water...?
<A possibility. Much better to just store new water for a week ahead of use... Do check that your product treats for Chloramines>
I'm getting desperate so even unlikely explanations are welcome). I've tried two types of medication (Neale's recommended eSHa 2000, which has helped with previous issues, and Interpet's Fungus and Finrot treatment) - separately, of course, and with a significant period of time between dosing for the meds to break down and to give the poor fish a rest from medicines. No improvement at all
- which makes sense, given that I hadn't fixed the presumed environmental cause yet (though at the time I hoped I had, having blamed the bad KH and tried to amend it - don't want to give the impression I was merrily flinging meds into the tank without thought).
<I agree>
I use the same dechlorinator/heavy metal remover I've been using for five years without problems (Interpet's Fresh Start) and, unless you've heard anything negative about this or the Seachem buffer I mentioned, have no reason to blame those. Although the temperature is currently too high (22 degrees C, sometimes a little higher during the day), this isn't particularly abnormal as far as I know, and while I suppose the higher temperature might theoretically speed a disease process I can't see it causing the rot in the first place.
<Mmm, I don't see their ingredients listed: http://www.interpet.co.uk/?s=fresh+start
Nor a MSDS for this product... but I don't care for the Aloe Vera component>
Essentially, I'm out of ideas and would really appreciate an experienced opinion as to what exactly is going on here. If there is any more information you could use from me to guide your diagnosis, please let me know and I'll email you it as soon as possible.
<I would try another make/r>
Thank you very much for slogging through this email; I really appreciate your time and the work that goes into this site, and hope you can help me.
Kind regards,
<Nothing "jumps out" as a cause here... To sum up, I would switch out the flake food and use another water conditioner and/or store to-be-used new water for a week ahead of use. Bob Fenner>
Re: Finrot query re. goldfish 8/8/11

Hello Bob,
Thank you very kindly for your time (especially over a weekend). I was relieved to see that you've suggested some areas for improvement; at least I have something to try now, much better than sitting on my hands watching the situation worsen.
<Ah, good>
I've seen you recommend the New Life pellet food before, so I'll definitely switch out the flakes and order the food you recommend this evening. I'll also start aging the water pre-change, provided I can find floor space for all the buckets (fortunately I have a tolerant partner!).
<Very good>
I hope you don't mind an additional question - I'm more than happy to switch to a new water conditioner given your dubious reaction to the one I currently use; it's all I've ever used, however, so I wonder if you'd kindly recommend me a product to remove chlorine/Chloramine/copper etc., perhaps even something you use yourself? I'd really appreciate a pointer towards something that you find effective, if you wouldn't mind.
<I am a big fan of the "stock" Kordon/Novalek products NovAqua...>
One last question about one of your remarks in the previous email - you said the hardness of my tank water is fine, but did you mean it is currently fine (KH 4.5) or that the value I was intending to build towards (KH 10, or thereabouts) is fine?
<Either value will do. If your source/tap/mains water is 4.5, I'd stick with it; not supplement>
Thank you VERY much again for all your help.
Kind regards,
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Finrot query re. goldfish 8/8/11
Hi Bob,
Many thanks - I've ordered the food and NovAqua tonight, so hopefully things will be looking up soon.
<Takes time... weeks to months...>
Thank you again, and if I could ask you one last thing (sorry!) - is it safe to switch directly over from one water conditioner to another, bearing in mind that some of the original conditioner will still be in the tank when I start adding the new one fresh
water changes?
<It is indeed safe... of the formulations I'm familiar w/ there are six, seven ingredients total... and all are miscible/mixable>
Thank you once again,

Recurring Blood Spots on Ranchu ? 06/18/11
Hello Bob and Crew,
You recently helped me with a tropical fish (turned out to be breeding tubercles), and I hate to bother you again, but I was hoping if you would please help with one of my goldfish. I have researched for hours upon hours for days now and now feel so confused that my head is spinning!!
<Let's see>
I love goldfish! I have 12 all fancy goldfish in a large 650 litre tank, ranging in size from about 7cm (nose to tail) to the largest being 27cm, as well as 2 adult Bristlenose Plecos
<I keep Ancistrus w/ my fancy goldfish as well>
and 4 of their juvenile offspring. The tank has a canister filter, uv sterilizer and an additional internal power head filter (facing the glass to minimize current). This particular tank has been running for about a year without ever an illness. In the tank are some silk plants (no live), and some driftwood for the Bristlenose, with a minimal coverage of gravel as substrate.
I religiously change 85% water weekly,
<Mmm, I don't "trust" my tapwater enough to change out this much. I'd limit to half or less>
vacuum gravel thoroughly with each change and I often do an additional mid-week 50% water change (but not every week). I clean the internal filter weekly in tank water, and clean the canister filter once every 8 - 12 weeks (is this enough?). Water is tested with API drops - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, I try hard to keep the nitrate less than 10.
So the problem I am having is with my Ranchu. I have had him for about 6 months now I guess. From time to time he has come out in blood spots under individual scales on his body. The first time it happened I thought he was either beaten up, or got stuck in some driftwood and injured himself - I just treated with salt and the bloodied areas cleared up within a day or two. Some time would pass and then this would happen again..... and then again.... In the last month or so, I have noticed this is happening more frequently, with the lesions becoming worse. He still gets the blood spots under his scales, but now he also gets aggressive looking 'pimples' around his head and gills (as seen in the attached photos) as the predominant symptom and occasionally he will get some fin streaking, but this isn't always the case. He is active as ever and behaves/swims normally, no flashing or scratching that I have observed - his appetite is great and his
poop looks healthy (short poops the colour of the food).
These spots/lesions seem to come and go. I have had him in quarantine for about 3 weeks now with daily 90% water changes and 0.1% salt (I have now raised the salt to 0.2%). With all my research, the closest description I could find was hemorrhagic septicemia????
<Mmm, not really... the fins seem patent/clear>
The only treatment (other than salt) I have tried is a 3 day treatment of Tetracycline. Its the only anti-biotic medication available over the counter here in Australia (that I know of). I thought the treatment had worked because he healed up during that period and his body an fins looked flawless! I kept him in the quarantine tank for observation. He looked perfect for a day or so, but then literally overnight I woke to find him in a mess (as per photos). I have now raised the salt to 0.2%.
What is wrong with my Ranchu? None of the other fish are showing, nor have ever shown these symptoms at all - just him.
I don't want to throw
medications at him without knowing what I'm dealing with - not only that, I'm in Australia and its difficult to obtain a lot of the medications I read about - and wouldn't know where to get them from. I cant keep salting him forever either, but at this stage, I don't know what else to do. Have been considering PP, but don't know how to use this, nor if I should.
What should I do?.... - can I fix this? If so, how?
With many, many thanks for you help,
<The only explanation/guess I have any faith in is that this one fish has a genetic disposition... a tendency for "breaking down"... As none of your other goldfish seem mal-affected by whatever this is. I would place it in another system w/ different gravel, decor... and see if this "something" is in the present system. Otherwise I would not treat the Ranchu w/ medicine/s... as I doubt there is a pathogenic origin to these sores. I am sorry to not be of more assistance; and hope someone else may write in w/ more. Bob Fenner>

Recurring Blood Spots on Ranchu ? 6/19/11
<<Let me add two thoughts here. One is that this is viral, in which case nothing is likely to improve things beyond helping the fish's own immune system. The second is that the Ancistrus, perhaps the juveniles if not the adults, are latching onto this fish and causing physical damage. I have seen Otocinclus do this on Awaous gobies, and through WWM have seen photos of Oscars that have been damaged by common Plecs. So while this sort of behaviour isn't common among Loricariidae, it does happen, and is worth bearing in mind. When my Otocinclus were doing this, the wounds were distinctive: the scales were pulled up, the skin underneath bubbled, and bacteria quickly caused nasty sores with bloody patches and dead skin around them. Perhaps isolating this fish for a few weeks might serve to "control" for this potential variable, so you can at least tick it off the list of possible problems. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Recurring Blood Spots on Ranchu ? 6/19/11
Thanks so much for your replies Neale and Bob!
<You're welcome.>
I don't feel as crazy now for not being able to determine what this is - it's no wonder my head was spinning with all the things I read about and not finding anything that was truly comparable! Yes, the Bristlenose attaching themselves did previously occur to me, although I had always thought it unlikely they would only single out just one fish out of the 12.
<You'd think so, but this isn't my experience. One of two Awaous gobies was attacked by my Otocinclus. I wonder if they spot a fish that moves more slowly than the others, or is slower at shaking them off, or who knows? Once the damage is done first time, then there's an attractive open wound they go for next time around, and so it becomes a vicious circle.>
I think I can now confidently rule the Bristlenose theory out, considering how the blood patches disappeared, then reappeared, during the last three week period of isolation in a bare tank.
<Seems likely.>
Since writing to you yesterday, the blood patches are healing well (again) and looking more faded - as always, I'm sure they will completely heal within a couple of days but sadly will be back again soon. So based on the theory that this is viral, then I guess all I can do, as you say, is continue isolation in clean water, and observe.
<Agreed; the coming-and-going is very virus-like, and as I'm sure you know with human health, there are many viruses that we can catch that end up coming and going throughout our lives, most famously with the various Herpes viruses such as those that cause Cold Sores.>
But should I continue with salt while the spots are present?
<May help reduce electrolyte loss by some small degree, and Goldfish to have a very high tolerance for brackish water, so slightly salinity will do no harm at all. On the other hand, raising the general and carbonate hardness levels can help reduce osmotic pressure too, whilst also stabilising pH and providing the right water chemistry Goldfish enjoy.>
I am concerned about the 'wounded' areas becoming infected. I have also read I could feed garlic to boost immune system?
<There is some evidence garlic works as an antiseptic on humans and animals, but adding garlic to the diet to improve immune response seems unlikely. Fish seem to enjoy garlic-flavoured food, so if you want to use some, by all means do so. But I'd imagine a greens-rich diet with lots of vitamins and minerals would be more useful, for example, various soft aquatic plants your Goldfish could graze on between meals.>
I could try feeding this once or twice a week? It wouldn't hurt right?.... would it? And on the subject of food, another theory I had (actually, my husband's suggestion) was food allergies? Is it possible he is reacting to a feed ingredient?
<I'm not aware of any such reactions that have been studied in fish.>
I used to feed pre-soaked flakes, but now I mostly feed with Hikari Lionhead sinking pellets and alternate this with peas or blanched spinach, plus they eat the spirulina wafers intended for the Bristlenose. Oh, and they get frozen bloodworms on the odd occasion as a special treat. I recently ran out of Hikari and bought some HBH sinking pellets, so they have been eating these lately.
<A good, varied, fibre-rich diet is what you want here, but variety is good too. Raising the temperature to about 22 C/72 F will provide optimal conditions for Goldfish, and in doing so, speed up immune response, assuming all else is good in the tank.>
Thanking you once again. I feel so bad to see this little Ranchu like this. He is such a little cute :-) Your website is wonderful and I for one appreciate you sharing your wealth of knowledge with the world!
Best regards,
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Recurring Blood Spots on Ranchu ? 6/20/11
Thanks Neale for the great help and advice! Will take it all on board and hopefully minimize these breakouts!!
Kind regards,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Tumour/cyst on stressed goldfish 12/12/10
I've a 5 year old goldfish (George) who has for the past year or so grown a couple of what I can only describe as warts. The first is on his body, and is approximately 5mm in diameter. This hasn't increased in size over the past few months, is shiny and the same colour as the fish (orange, he's a common comet) and isn't giving me particular cause for concern. However, a few months after his first lump appeared he started to grow another one on his head.
<I see this>
This one is much more aggressive and is increasing in size (albeit slowly).
I estimate it to be about 10mm in diameter. George is approximately 6.5 inches long in body, 9 inches from nose to tip of tail. His head lump looks like a typical multi-cellular tumour. His behaviour up until a couple of week's ago has been normal, active, eating well and interested in his surroundings, but I've noticed recently that his skin texture on his head especially seems to have changed. The scales on his head and top of his body look to be what I can only describe as wrinkled, as though he's dehydrated. He is still chasing food of sorts. I feed them on a mainly flake diet, 33% protein
<Too high... I'd keep under twenty, if possible/practical under 10>>
with added vitamins A, D and E but no C and with live blood worm
<And give up on these entirely. Implicated in some real troubles in recent times>
/daphnia when I can get it, but no greenery unless they've been constipated (only happened once with one of the fish)*. He will take some food in to his mouth, but he's spitting it out again. He's definitely lost weight, the only thing in his favour is that he was a robust fish until something got a hold of him. He isn't spending time in one particular spot of the tank, is just hanging around in the middle with his fins mainly clamped to his body, and isn't flashing or frantically swimming around.
About two months ago I upgraded the fish to a 200 litre tank.
<Mmm, this is a small volume for Comets... and your fish has been "bonsaied" by being kept in such>
There are 3 goldfish, one 4 years old, the other I've only had for a couple of months, but I kept him in isolation for a week and he's very active, healthy appetite and inquisitive, so I can't see that he's introduced anything to the tank. I've been regularly monitoring the pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels whilst the tank is cycling, and they're all showing zero/good/acceptable levels (I've been performing small and regular water changes to ensure this).
<What you cannot detect through such measures is the "negative feedback" from other metabolite accumulation occurring here. Please read here to give you a glimpse: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm
and the linked files above>
The other two fish are unaffected, but George has been unhappy this week.
This could be something to do with his new surroundings, or a skin condition/parasites/bacterial/viral problem that now needs treatment.
<Viral, environmental>
The tank is a Fluval Roma and has a U4 3-stage internal filter. I've not yet rinsed out the filter pads as I wanted them to get established media. I took George to see a vet (who is also an aquarist) a couple of days ago. He doesn't think that the two lumps are related to his current distress, and he's been booked in to have these removed after Christmas, when he'll be checked for signs of cancer or any other disease. This is two weeks off however, and I'm desperately trying to keep him well nourished and in the best health that I can prior to this. I'm at a bit of a loss to know what to do. When he started to show signs of not being himself I added a low level of tank salt at the dose of .1% concentration. I've been maintaining this when undertaking any water changes.
<Not of use here>
The tank has only artificial plants and all 3 fish are comets, usually getting along very well, although of late the other two have taken to 'nipping' at George.
<A bad sign>
I've attached a few photographs of his two lumps and the best that I can get of his skin condition. I can only describe the latter as uneven skin texture. He isn't ulcerated and doesn't look to have any fungal growth on him.
He's a lovely fish, normally very robust and I'll be very sad to lose him if there's something that can be done to treat him. Similarly, if it's likely to be cancerous and to kill him eventually, then I'd rather that he doesn't start to suffer any more and the necessary be done. The vet is going to re-assess him in January, and will make a decision once he's operated and got the lab results back.
In the meantime, I've been reading up on what other things might be affecting George. I can't honestly say that his symptoms fit typically in with any of the disease descriptions that I can find. There are three possible potentially; ichthyosporidium (cysts), head & lateral line erosion disease (pitting in skin), Lymphocystis (modular white swellings). All of which may cause secondary symptoms of sluggishness and lack of appetite. But I don't want to just randomly treat him for something on the off-chance, which could potentially cause more harm to a newly-cycled tank and all the fish.
<Is a viral growth... as you speculate here... a "wart" of sorts>
Is there anything that you can advise please?
<Mmm, yes... More frequent partial water changes (at least 30% a week), supplementation of foods with greens, dropping the protein percentage>
I'm a bit at my wits end as to what to do for the best. He doesn't seem to be going rapidly down-hill, but the lack of nourishment I would think will soon cause more problems. Would you advise keeping the residual salt level a bit higher, or dosing say at an anti-stress level, so .3% over a few days (or supportive at .9%)?
<I would eschew the use of salts here. Please read Neale's piece:
Any help will be very gratefully received. You all seem very knowledgeable and I'm willing to try anything.
Many thanks
Helen Light
(Otley, Yorkshire, England)
<Oh! My roomie, Peter is from here>
*reading your site it looks as though this protein level is too high, so I'll look out for a more balance flake diet and to varying it more in the near future.
<Real good. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Blood in tank 09/09/10
Dear Mr. Brenner,,
<Close enough>
I have talked to you in the past regarding my goldfish Larry. Larry had a bulge on his right side that would enlarge anytime he had difficulty passing his stools. Through photos you considered that this may have been cause from a congenital defect.
Sadly Larry passed away within the last half hour. When removing him from the 55 gallon tank his anus hemorrhaged and blood pooled into the tank. I do not know how much water to change the one remaining goldfish and algae eater in the tank.
<Mmm, maybe half>
Larry had an appointment to go to the fish vet next week to rule out tuberculosis. What do you recommend?
<That you wash your hands thoroughly (as usual) after they've been in the tank... not place them there if/when you have open wounds. Otherwise, enjoy, appreciate the life around you. Bob Fenner>
Thank you for all your help,

Goldfish query... bacterial involvement/hlth., env. 6/6/10
<Hello Oliver,>
First, thank you for WWM and all the advice that the Crew offer. It is very much appreciated and I have found it very helpful in the past.
My question today regards my goldfish, who has developed some patches of red streaks in the upper lobes of his tail.
<Early Finrot; specifically, these are congested blood vessels thanks to bacteria multiplying in the tissues.>
These have been present for around a week and have gradually worsened. I have searched your archives and have found several possible causes and potential courses of treatment, but would appreciate some clarification if you would kindly offer it.
<Anti-Finrot medication plus review of water quality.>
I understand that these red streaks are typical when the environment is sub-optimal.
<Correct; also, with Fancy Goldfish, exposure to freezing conditions will have the same effect.>
Some unfortunate recent events required several large water changes, which caused a sudden drop in pH (to around 6.5 from the usual 7.5).
<Ah yes. Goldfish dislike acidic water conditions. If all else fails, adding some Rift Valley salt mix to buckets of water will help.>
This is gradually recovering with use of crushed coral in the filter (which should also restore the buffering capacity of the water, if I understand rightly).
<Can help.>
I have read that pH shock may be responsible for the development of red streaking in the tail, so I wonder if this may be the cause. Does it seem likely to you?
(Incidentally, there are no red streaks on the body, which I read on WWM means that it is not likely to be septicaemia - is this right?)
Water testing shows no ammonia/nitrite and nitrate consistently under 10mg/l. The goldfish is eating greedily as usual and is very active. No signs of stress or pain that I can see. So far I have changed small amount of water to maintain gradually improving conditions, but have not added medication.
<May heal on its own, and Bob tends to favour that approach. I usually hit the antibacterial medications ASAP, in the UK favouring the eSHa 2000 brand.>
I have read various opinions on WWM; that water changes and time will heal the red streaking, that restoration of desirable water parameters will do it, or that antibiotics/salt are needed (or possibly a combination of various components). Given the above information, I would really appreciate any opinions on the best course of action from you (I will provide any other info you need).
<See above.>
Thank you very much for your time, and thank you again for this fantastic resource.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!) 4/24/2010
Good evening Neale (or another kind WWM crewmember),
I'm contacting you regarding an ongoing problem which you were kind enough to help me with earlier in the month - I hope you don't mind me checking something further with you.
<Fire away.>
The problem is some fungus which is growing on my goldfish's fin. I started treating this with eSHa 2000 just over three weeks ago, and the fungus has reduced remarkably, but a few faint spots have persisted. These are also decreasing, and I mean to continue with the eSHa according to your directions (changing 35% of the water after every course).
<Very good.>
I just wanted to check with you that it's all right to continue with the
medication for such a protracted period.
<Should be.>
It may take several more courses to finally get rid of the fungus, but I'm reluctant to stop the treatment unless necessary because the fungus has come back very quickly in the past. One of my goldfish doesn't seem terribly happy with the medication, which is what prompted me to get in touch (he seems a bit lethargic and fed up), so I would be grateful for your opinion on the best way forward.
<You may want to hold off after the current treatment is done, wait a week or two, and see what happens. The use of a little salt in the water has a mild antifungal effect, and at a dose of 2-3 grammes/litre won't harm Goldfish at all (Goldfish are actually surprisingly tolerant of brackish water, let alone traces of salt such as this). Alternatively, you might use Melafix. The aim here is to concentrate on ensuring optimal water quality, so the fish can fight off the remaining infection, whilst maybe adding just a little something to tip the odds in the fish's favour.>
As ever, thank you in advance for any advice and I offer my heartfelt thanks for all the help over the past four years.
All the best,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!) 4/25/10

Dear Neale,
Thank you very much as ever for your advice, which I'll put to use immediately. Hope you're enjoying the lovely weather!
<Glad to be of help. Weather today not so lovely: muggy, overcast and rainy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!)
Hi Neale,
Beg pardon for the second reply in a few hours - but when you say salt, do you mean table salt or a specific aquarium salt?
<Most folks use what's called aquarium salt or tonic salt. Don't use marine salt mix for this type of thing, because that'd raise the pH and hardness.
As for cooking/table salt, generally avoid because there are additives used to keep table salt free-flowing. Pure sea salt or kosher salt can be used though, provided these are 100% pure sodium chloride, and don't have anything added to them.>
(I've read that the additives in table salt can cause problems in aquariums, but frankly if it's not on WWM I'm reluctant to believe it!)
Thanks very much again for all your help (and patience),
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!)
Hi Neale,
Thank you again for all your help, I really appreciate it and hope I won't have cause to trouble you again in the future!
All the best,
<Glad to have been of help. Good luck, Neale.>

Goldfish problem 4/11/10
My fish Rudy has just recently started to get what looks like a blood clot on one of his fins and it's starting to worry me. It's just that fin and you can see all of the blood in the veins of just that fin but there is just a big red clot at the end of it.
<This is likely the first sign of Finrot. Essentially the fish's immune system is weakened -- typically because of poor environmental conditions -- and otherwise harmless bacteria gets across the skin and start to multiply.
As they do they block small blood vessels, and you get what looks like a blood clot, really a clogged and expanded capillary. Eventually the blockage stops oxygen and food getting to the surrounding cells, the tissue dies, the fin rots, and you get full-blown Finrot.>
He's just a feeder fish that I got from a pet store, but I have had him for over 3 years now and everything has been fine until now. His actions are normal and he hasn't been acting any different than he usually does, except he isn't using that fin. I have been looking up symptoms online and it seems to me like it could be septicemia, but I'm not sure. Can you please help me in trying to make him better?
<Do treat as per Finrot, and check environmental conditions. Read here:
Any differences between the conditions you're offering and what Goldfish need are likely the key. Just to recap, Goldfish need fairly large tanks, at least 30 gallons, good water quality, and moderately hard, basic water conditions. Most Goldfish are killed by being maintained in a too-small tank and/or without a filter.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Question re. eSHa 2000 and dechlorinator for goldfish 3/31/10
Hello WetWeb Crew,
Many thanks as always for this site, and all the help I have gained from it in the past. I've used the search function as usual, but couldn't find the answers I was after, so apologies if I missed them.
I have a brief question - based on Neale's recommendations on WWM, I am about to use eSHa 2000 to treat my goldfish's fungus/Finrot.
<Very good.>
However, the instructions are unclear on whether it is safe to use eSHa alongside dechlorinator (I currently use Interpet Fresh Start, though unfortunately I haven't been able to find any actual name for the chemical(s) on the box). The eSHa instructions say not to use other treatments alongside it, but if this applies to dechlorinator then I have to do a huge water change and dump in a load of untreated water, which I'm really not happy with. Hopefully Neale, or someone else who has used eSHA 2000, can let me know whether it is safe to use the two alongside each other.
<Yes, should be safe.>
One additional question, as I'm writing in anyway - the instructions for the eSHA only say that the medication should be added over three days, nothing about how long to leave it there afterwards. Should the water be
changed immediately afterwards, or should I just change it on my regular schedule a few days later?
<I think it's on the leaflet somewhere. Maybe do a water change 7 days from the last dose?>
Many, many thanks as always for your time and help,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. eSHa 2000 and dechlorinator for goldfish 3/31/10
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for the quick response; it's really appreciated. I'll let you know how things went in a few days, so someone else with the same question in the future can find their answer.
All the best,
<Glad to have helped. Good luck! Neale.>
Persistent goldfish fungus (FAO Neale, if possible - thank you!) 4/5/10

Good morning WetWeb,
I contacted you recently regarding whether it is safe to use eSHa 2000 alongside Interpet's Fresh Start dechlorinator, and promised to report back so that others can find the information on your site. I started using eSHa on Wednesday, and there have been no apparent side-effects due to the dechlorinator. Many thanks to Neale for his prompt response earlier in the week, and I hope this proves helpful to someone in the future.
<Let's hope!>
You've all been very kind in answering my occasional goldfish-related queries over the past four years, and I really appreciate it. Hopefully you'll be willing to answer one more.
<Fire away.>
My problem is that one of my goldfish developed fungus on his dorsal fin several weeks ago (there are several white patches on the fin, and the fin itself became opaque in patches and blood-streaked). I treated this with Interpet's fungus/Finrot medication - which has worked for me in the past - but, although it vastly reduced the problem, there were still some faint white patches after a couple of weeks of treatment. These didn't seem to improve during the second week - i.e. there was rapid improvement over the first few days, but this ground to a halt.
<Does absolutely depend on the environment. Finrot, Fungus and Mouth Fungus [Columnaris] won't get better if the triggering issues aren't fixed. And on the other hand, if the conditions get better, and the fish are basically sound in other respects, they should heal eventually.>
I was very reluctant to throw yet more medication at him, but when I stopped using the Interpet medication the fungus flared up again and the blood streaks returned - it became as bad as it had ever been within a day and a half. I therefore searched WWM for recommendations and found that Neale recommends eSHa 2000, which I tried earlier this week. On reaching the end of the treatment course (3 days), the fungus had substantially reduced and I hoped that it would continue to reduce, since the medication was still in the water. However, the following day the fungus flared up again. That brings us up to yesterday, when I added another dose of eSHa (on the grounds that the meds leaflet says it is acceptable in severe cases to prolong the treatment for a (unspecified) "number of days").
<Indeed, like most antimicrobial medications more than one course may be required. Do also check you aren't using carbon in the filter, and do be aware that the more organic "stuff" in the aquarium, like plants and biological filters, the faster medications can metabolise.>
That's the back-story; here are my questions:
1) Should I continue with the eSHa until the fungus is gone (if not, is there something else I need to try)? How long can I safely continue with the medication? The leaflet doesn't specify, but I know Neale uses this regularly and I'm hoping his experience may have some guidance for me.
<Yes, use again. Do a 25-50% water change in between courses.>
2) I've never seen fungus this persistent.
<Do compare with Columnaris, and of course consider Finrot.>
My three goldfish rarely get it - there has been the odd scrape or torn fin over the years, and fungus does tend to take advantage of the breach, but this has always reduced and disappeared within a week at the absolute most.
This has gone on for over a month now, and I suspect that there may be an underlying problem. My water chemistry is pH 7.5, ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrates under 5. Temperature is around 18.5 degrees C. The tank is well-filtered (filtration set to Neale's guidelines, which I believe was something like 6-8x what the manufacturers state is necessary). There is a thin layer of gravel (a couple of centimetres at most). Their diet is around 90% peas, supplemented by very small amounts of goldfish flakes every few days.
<You might balance the diet a bit towards the flake. Maybe 50/50 flake and greens. The extra protein will be handy.>
I currently have some Elodea in quarantine (well, in a bucket) which they'll get in a few weeks. I can't think of anything else to add off the top of my head. I don't think from my reading that there is anything wrong with the above, but I can't understand why this fungus isn't going away. If you have any thoughts, they would be most gratefully received.
Thank you very much as ever for your time,
<Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Persistent goldfish fungus (FAO Neale, if possible - thank you!) 4/7/10

Dear Neale,
Thanks very much for your advice, and apologies for the delay in replying.
<Not a problem.>
I've done a water change and remedicated as suggested, and the fungus is looking better than it has for a while already. Will also switch to a higher-protein diet for the duration of the meds.
<Very good.>
Thank you very much again for helping me out, particularly over the Easter weekend. Hope you had a lovely holiday!
<I did indeed! Some sunshine, quite a bit of chocolate, lots of dog walking, and a few steam trains and fossil collecting trips thrown in!>
All the best,
<Same to you. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish with huge cancerous growth on head (RMF, opinions on goldfish tumours?) 2/16/10
We have a beautiful goldfish which we have had for seven years. He seems healthy apart from a growth on his head. This has got progressively larger so that now it is about half the size of his head itself. Is he suffering?
<Probably not.>
If so we would rather do the compassionate thing and end his suffering.
<Mostly, these tumours are benign, and either caused by viruses or else exposure to chronically poor water conditions. Indeed, both things may be triggers, as is the case with Fish Pox and Lymphocystis, both viral diseases that produce tumours. Given good diet and proper water quality, viral tumours will eventually go away by themselves. In terms of euthanasia, in the case of tumours, there's no need to euthanise a fish unless the tumour is obstructing an orifice or making it difficult for the fish to swim about or feed. A vet can remove tumours. If euthanasia is required, see here:
This said, the usual source of mortality is bacterial infection if the tumour bursts. Again, a vet will advise you here should you choose to have the tumour removed.><<Has been done before... can be done at home with a sharp scalpel, an anesthetic of use, a "clotting mechanism" (e.g. superglue)... RMF>>
Thanks for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish with huge cancerous growth on head (RMF, opinions on goldfish tumours?) 2/16/10
Thank you. That was really helpful. I didn't know fish could be operated on.
<Ah, yes... has been done for quite a while now... Sometimes though, these tumours do resolve spontaneously; hence, I would not give up hope. BobF>

Fish pox? 1/7/10
Dear all:
We have had our two goldfish, Jojo and Mojo, for about 5 years now.
<Still mere striplings!>
We are not as good now as we were in the beginning with testing the water conditions, but we try to do regular water and filter changes, and our crew seemed to be happy and healthy.
<Bit worried about the use of the word "bowl" later on in this message.
Contrary to popular misconception, Goldfish shouldn't be kept in bowls.
Akin to keeping a dog in a cage. Many, most problems observed when Goldfish are kept in bowls come down to the foul water conditions, lack of space for swimming, lack of oxygen, and variable water chemistry inside bowls. For two Goldfish, anything less than 20 gallons is just plain wrong, and 30 gallons would really be the minimum for a "good" life. Goes without saying a filter is crucial to long term success, but filters and water changes don't mean bowls or small aquaria magically become better homes for Goldfish.>
However, a couple of months ago, we saw a grey spot on Jojo's head. We did some research and read about fungus problems, and how if a fish damages its skin, sometimes fungus can invade.
<Yes; but usually distinctive white threads. Finrot tends to be white, often bloody patches like sores.>
We thought that this was likely, as Jojo and Mojo both will root for fallen food, rather than eating what's still floating, and thought perhaps Jojo had scratched her head against a rock at the bottom of the bowl.
<Shouldn't happen unless you using some type of abrasive or glass-like substrate. These are not compatible with Goldfish (indeed, fish generally).
Plain vanilla gravel should be perfectly safe with little/no risk of physical damage.>
On the basis of this determination, we treated the bowl with an antifungal treatment. Unfortunately, this has had no effect. After more research, I was wondering whether this grey spot was fish pox?
<Fish Pox has a distinctive appearance like blobs of candle wax.>
Nothing else really seems to fit -- the spot's not growing or shrinking or spreading, and Mojo (knock on wood) doesn't show any signs of it.
Any thoughts?
<Fish Pox is viral, but triggered by chronically poor water conditions.
Can, will get better given good conditions and right diet. Do read here:
Most Goldfish are stressed, sickened, killed by their owners through neglect, misunderstanding, unwise economy. I don't recommend Goldfish for aquarists lacking space or funds, simply because they are quite difficult to keep well. Their very low cost as individual fish is wholly misleading.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish pox? 1/7/10
Hi Neale:
<He's marked "out" 6th-10th...>
Thanks so much for your response! To clarify, the "bowl" is a BiOrb
-- I believe it's approx. 20 gallons in size -- sorry, because it's round, we just refer to it as the bowl...
<Ahh! Do leave the water level down a bit... to provide more surface area>
Not to toot our own horns, but we do perform regular cleanings of the bowl, as well as filter changes and water changes. We did stop testing the water as regularly after it was consistently fine for weeks/months on end. We will obviously start doing this more frequently again.
We also feed them a variety of foods, though we have been heavy on the pellets lately. Some peas will be coming their way.
I'm not sure whether the photo came through or not, so I've attached it again. It _looks_ like it might be fish pox?
<Yes, I concur>
But it's gray and
doesn't appear to me to be smooth or shiny, as I picture candle wax to be.
If this is fish pox, I believe that there's nothing we can do other than perhaps replacing more than 30% of the water during the water changes and shaking up the diet a bit, right?
<Yes... good water quality and nutrition is "the" treatment... That, and time going by>
Thanks again for your help!
<Welcome Anne. Bob Fenner>
re: Fish pox? 1/7/10
Hi Bob/Crew:
Thanks for the reply -- sorry if I offended by addressing my message to Neale, I was responding to the person who had written me this morning.
<Oh, no worries. I appreciate your listing Neale's name... facilitates placement>
Mojo and Jojo are eating some spinach as we speak, and their water was rechanged today. We'll keep an eye on Jojo as time goes on.
Thanks again for your help.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Goldfish Problem, a pox upon it 1/5/10
Thank you for making yourself available to us, I appreciate your time and expertise. Attached is an email of my problem goldfish. He is 7yrs old and shares his tank w/ 3 other goldfish which are unaffected. As you can
see, he has two growth patches on his skin, one just below his dorsal fin and another (barely visible in the photo) on the same horizontal just in front of the fin.
<I see this... fix pox, viremia... Not treatable directly>
I have put him in a hospital tank a couple times for treatment. I tried ich medicine, fungus medicine and tea extract to no avail - the bumps persist.
Can you diagnose the problem by looking at the pic? (Ich? Fungus? Parasites?) Can you recommend a good medicine to address the growth? Is this growth a threat to his room-mates?
<There is none, and no>
Thanks again for your dedication, wetwebmedia.com is a great site,
<Do search WWM, the broader net re the above terms and the word "goldfish"... Doing what you can to provide optimal, stable conditions and good nutrition is all that can be done. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish Problem 1/6/10
Thank You Mr. Fenner!! Your diagnosis of the dot is (I can't resist...) 'spot on'. Thank you for feeding me the info I needed and providing this valuable resource to the world.
<Welcome Dave>
Armed with your accurate diagnosis, I was able to research some steps that may (or may not) help.
As per the suggestion on <http://www.bonniesplants.com/sick_injured_fish/carp_pox.htm>:
<Have perused>
With the problem fish in the hospital aquarium I will heat the water up to ~80Ã'°. If this does not help I will then add up to .3% salinity. If none of this makes a difference, in 9 or 10 days I will reunite Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde (ever play Pac-man?) in the large aquarium and follow your advice.
<Ah, good>
Thank You Again, these fish have been with me for 7yrs and are part of my family,
Dave Packman
<As stated previously and in the ref. you give, these "pox" issues are not fatal... Perhaps analogous to "warts" of sorts in humans; unsightly, but not harmful. Cheers! BobF>

Goldfish Finrot question 12/25/09
Hi- I hope you don't mind me asking about my goldfish- I've been Googling for about an hour and can't seem to find what I need to know. I'd be grateful for any help.
One old and beloved goldfish (about 12 years) in about 100L of conditioned water, filtered, no other fish.
<W/ regular water changes I hope/trust>
Tank has been running since mid Nov. Fish appears to have Finrot on front fin. Treated tank with 40% water change and Interpet Finrot med. day before yesterday. Since then, fish has been lying still on the bottom and not moving at all, no appetite.
<Mmm, not too surprising... large water changes alone can elicit this behavior>
Old test kit shows ammonia under 0.3
<Deadly toxic>
but I'm starting to doubt its reliability... Can't buy replacement test kits here unfortunately (in Finland), they're not available, so can't get any readings.
<Be very careful re feeding in the presence of ammonia>
Temp is 21C without any heater- we have one but we're not using it.
<I keep my goldfish heaters turned low, but still on, lest the ambient temperature take a dive>
Had trouble when the tank was new (we moved here from abroad and set up the new tank), it seemed to have settled out but obviously not. I don't remember him lying still at the bottom like this in previous cases of Finrot
though- is that normal after medication?
<Could be>
I'm not sure whether to change the water again (maybe the meds killed the filter or something?)
<Is possible, but I would not change the water... lest the ammonia rise even higher here>
or leave it for the meds to do their thing.
<Ah yes... This is what I would do>
How long should it be before we see some sign of recovery in behaviour?
<A few days>
I'm inclined to change the water but I'm not sure whether that will make things worse... Any advice?
Many many thanks
<Mmm, yes. To read re others similar experiences. Here:
and the linked files above. Happy holidays, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 12/27/09

Thanks for the response over Christmas! I didn't think anyone would see it.
And always good to hear there are namesakes doing well in the world.
<Jack actually rec'd a Presidential award for bravery... for pulling folks out of a burning aircraft!>
I should have explained that 'below 0.3' is the lowest level this nitrite test can display- it doesn't have a colour for zero (and it tests for nitrite rather than ammonia as I said, sorry for the mistake). But as I said I'm not convinced it's working anyway...
<I see>
Since then the tank has gone insane, so cloudy white we couldn't see the back. I'm afraid we panicked and did a 30% water change. It's actually cleared an awful lot now but still a little cloudy. I'm guessing the Finrot meds at least partially killed off the filter and maybe now it's re-cycling?
<Very common; as well as just interacting chemically and physically with other materials>
The fish is moving again now though but the Finrot looks terrible.
<Patience, oh and reading:
and the linked files above>
So ought I to do regular water changes starting now to improve the water
<Yes, I would>
or do I stick with the water that's in there and make up the medication we had to change out (and then do regular changes after the treatment week is up to try and manage the toxin levels)? Sorry to bother you again, I'm just
not sure which is the priority- clean water or meds. We already stopped feeding. Many many thanks
<Do keep monitoring ammonia/nitrite... and keep below 1.0 ppm via what is written here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 12/28/09

Will do, many thanks, especially from the fish! You can spend hours reading and seem to find completely conflicting advice... It really helps to get a yes or no answer from someone.
Hey- have you ever thought of putting up some general flowcharts- might save you some repetitive questions where people aren't sure which FAQs apply to their situation? Just a suggestion! Thanks for the help.
<Thank you for this input. Yes to such "direction"-"decision" charts... I do think they have their place, utility. There are such in bound volumes (in-print works) in the aquatic life health/disease fields, and I will urge others, note to myself to generate summat like them for/on WWM. BobF>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 12/28/09

Will do, many thanks, especially from the fish! You can spend hours reading and seem to find completely conflicting advice... It really helps to get a yes or no answer from someone. Hey- have you ever thought of putting up some general flowcharts- might save you some repetitive questions where people aren't sure which FAQs apply to their situation? Just a suggestion!
Thanks for the help.
<Thank you for this input. Yes to such "direction"-"decision" charts... I do think they have their place, utility. There are such in bound volumes (in-print works) in the aquatic life health/disease fields, and I will urge others, note to myself to generate summat like them for/on WWM. BobF>
<<We do in fact have something along those lines already... do see here:
Is this what you're after?
Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 01/03/10

I am so, so sorry to bother you again!
<Not a bother. If you are concerned, write>
I've been doing 20% water changes every day, not sure if the Finrot is clearing up or not to be honest but I'll keep going with the changes. But now there are what look like eggs and tiny white threads (larva?) washed up on the side of the glass and flies under the lid of the tank!
<Mmm, these are "other issues"... Do check your house window screens... and simply net or siphon out such matter>
There's nothing attached to the fish, just on the glass and I think they don't move but there's quite a lot of them. What am I doing wrong and what should I be doing?
<Not likely anything you are doing "wrong">
Do I need to cut back food again- I'm already feeding less than I normally would and vacuuming the gravel every day so I'm shocked if there's excess food lying around. How do I get rid of the flies?
<... "a swatter", really... and preventing new adults from getting into your home; their use of the tank for reproducing. They are very unlikely to be causing harm here>
Many many thanks,
I have never had a nightmare with a tank like this before.
<Not to worry. Please. Patience is key here... and simple routine care.
Take your time and all will likely be well. BobF>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 1/3/10

Fantastic! That's really reassuring. Will look elsewhere for the source.
Thanks a lot!
<Welcome Jessica. BobF>

Goldfish with Red Fin Joints Hello crew. I have six goldfish in a tank. 2 larger than the other four. One of the smaller ones keeps biting a larger one, but he is fine. The other one doesn't appear to be very well. He spends most of his time still at the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he comes up to the top, but struggles. He isn't eating either. A few times a day he has a mad fling around the tank, then goes to the bottom again. Today we have put him in a tank of his own. On checking him, his mouth is white and swelled and looks if he has had a stroke. One of his fins is not there but don't know if it was there in the first place. At the joints it looks rather red. Please can you help? I don't know what to do, and is it cruel, to keep letting him suffer. If I can mend him what should I do, and will his fin grow again or his mouth get better. We have had this particular fish four months. Thanks very much. <Hi Don here. The red at the joint sounds like Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia. Treat with Oxytetracycline per package instructions. Good move to put him in his own tank. Do not treat the main if those fish appear OK. This is usually caused by poor water conditions. Make sure you do frequent water changes, siphoning from the bottom to remove fish poop and uneaten food>

A Fairly Won Goldfish Hello! I really hope you can help. Your site is very helpful, and I need some! I have a goldfish, common, that I won at the fair over 2 years ago. He is about 5 inches long and his tank mate is about 3 inches long. Water has been tested and is in normal parameters. Here is the problem. I noticed that "goldie" was bulging on his right side. It grew and I thought it may be dropsy so I began treating the tank with Maracyn 2, which I began about 6 days ago. In the interim, I've noticed tiny gold specs on him, and now, the bulge has pushed away his scale and looks like a bubble coming through his body! I want to begin a Coppersafe treatment, thinking he has velvet, but I'm just not sure what to do. I don't want to lose "goldie". Any suggestions? He's still bulgy, he eats fine, he looks okay otherwise, rests on the bottom of the tank when no one's in the room, weekly water changes of 30-50%, and is being fed a fairly varied diet. I'd appreciate any input you may have! Thanks so much, Karen <First, do not mix the meds. I don't think you'll need the copper anyway. How long have you seen the gold dust? Velvet spreads very quickly. If he seems healthy for more than a few days after appearing "dusted", it may not be velvet. The bulge coming from within is more of a concern. He has some sort of internal infection. Try going to http://fishyfarmacy.com/ and see if you can match what you see to the descriptions of the various types of infections. Start in the "body cavity" and "Skin disorders" sections. Don>

Red Lionhead question I have a red lionhead that a couple weeks ago lost a lot of its color on its head. Then, while we were on vacation this week, when we came back, the fish looked really bloated and the scales were sticking out, sort of like a porcupine, of sorts. He does not seem distressed at all. We have not had a chance to talk to the family that fed the fish to see if they over fed it but the other two red lionheads look fine. Could the bloated one have a disease? < He has bloat/dropsy. Clean the tank and the filter while doing a 30% water change. Treat the fish with Metronidazole and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks for your help. Ellen

Injured goldfish Hello. My 5 year old had reached into the fish tank and grabbed the black goldfish (don't know the name of it) and squeezed him through a hole in the castle and it got stuck. I got him out and his scales that were injured have a "white cotton" look to him and its also covering his left eye. Is this normal in a healing process? < No it is a fungal infection that feeds on injured tissue.> He is eating but cannot make it to the top of the tank. He eats off the bottom. He does swim around very slowly and he looks like he is breathing hard and slow. It has been 3 days. I have put some salt in the tank (10 gallon) and added some water conditioner. Is there any other thing that I should do or just let nature run its course? < Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Remove the carbon and treat with Metronidazole. Use a water conditioner that adds a protective coat to the fish. A tablespoon of rock salt per ten gallons of water will make the goldfish secrete his own protective coating.-Chuck> Thank You. Theresa
Re: Injured goldfish
Hello Chuck, I went to the store and the guy gave me Melafix. I have been putting 1 tsp. in everyday. This fish is amazing. He is swimming around and he goes to the top of the tank now. I have not seen him lay on the bottom of the tank for about 2 days. Although he is very sick looking. His scales that had the white cotton look to them have come completely off. It peeled off . The only white cotton that he has left is on his left eye. Will he lose vision in that eye? < If the fungus is not cured it may start to affect his eye.> He's definitely a little fighter. My next question is will this Melafix hurt the remaining 4 gold fish in the tank. They all stay huddled together. It's like they know that this fish has this fungus and they stay away from him. Thank You for everything. I am learning something new from you. Thanks! Theresa P.S. You said in the other email to buy the Nitrofurazone instead of Metronidazole. Is this correct stuff that I bought? < No But it seems to be working. Nitrofurazone is an antibiotic that works well as an antifungicide too. The Melafix is a bacterial/fungal inhibitor that is derived from a Melaleuca tree in Australia. It is being recommended all over the place with somewhat mixed results. It will not hurt the fish but I would discontinue its use after the fish have been cured. This way the bacteria won't build up a resistance to it.-Chuck>

Goldfish Losing scales Hi, I had written to you earlier too My 2 red cap Orandas and they are losing scales and both of have lost scales on one side of their body. even my Bala shark seems to have the same problem (but is at a very early stage). I have searched the web, all I am able to come up with is that they have TB but I am not very sure as I am a beginner and it has only been two months that since I have had an aquarium. I live in Delhi (India) and the are no good fish stores here. I there any medicine that I should use and how should I get it can I order them over the internet? < This sounds like the start of a bacterial infection. Clean the filter and change 30% of the water. Treat with Nitrofuranace. This can be purchased at Drsfostersmith.com.-Chuck> Amit

Upside down Goldfish Hi, I have had my goldfish (which I think is a Chinese goldfish) for about 3-4 years now. for the past few months it had been floating on its back, but after reading your website questions and answers I now know what that is. It seems pretty healthy though swimming around because its not always on its back. But this past week it got a huge lump on its hind tail. It is round and is pretty much the same color as its fin but it has a hint of grey tint. I'm not really sure exactly what it is, but I didn't think fish could get cancer or tumors but maybe I'm wrong. Could you give me some advice? < Fish do get tumors, but there is not much you can do about them. more likely I would guess that it is a bacterial infection so I would treat it with Nitrofuranace. It may be an internal parasite too so Pepso food would take care of that. If it turns out to be an internal bacterial infection then I would treat it with Metronidazole.-Chuck> Thanks A lot Jenny

Strange behavior in Goldfish I have 3 goldfish , I have had them for 10 months , they were about 1 1/2" long when I bought them, everything was normal till this week, one of them is acting strange, hiding and laying on its back and when you probe him he rushes around hitting the sides and splashing the surface and then retreats to hide in a log or foliage. hope you can help me. thank you Bill Pich <Hi Bill, if there are no other signs of illness (white spots, fin-rot, body swelling) then I think that your goldfish might be suffering from a swim bladder problem. There are a number of reasons why the fish might have swim bladder disease. 1.A virus or bacteria that attacks the air sac which causes inflammation and makes it difficult for gasses to diffuse across. So, the fish is stuck at a specific buoyancy. This is why water quality is so important. 2.Anatomy. The ornamental goldfish that are breed today are predisposed to problems with the swim bladders. This is because threw years of breeding the normally stream-lined body is now much more compact, which literally scrunches the organs. This arrangement predisposes to food impactions, which in turn clog up the pneumocystic duct. And causes unbalanced body to bladder ratio. 3.Diet. Feeding dry foods which tend to take on water like a sponge and expanded food can run the chance of impaction. So, now we know what causes it. How to fix the problem. Check your water chemistry. Make sure that ammonia, nitrite, and Nitrates are at zero (or close as possible (especially the nitrAtes). Keep the water clean and do regular water changes. Add a airstone to makes sure the water is oxygenated properly. The next magic trick to try is feeding your goldfish peas! Just feed your fish a couple of store bought peas. Just get some frozen peas, thaw them, and feed them to your fish. Not only is it good and healthy, but veterinarians thick that the peas also help break up food impactions. Which will help regain the buoyancy. Hopefully that will offer some help, keep the water clean, and make sure the other fish don't start harassing the sick one. They will pick at the fish and nip the fins. Good luck and if you need more help might I suggest www.goldfishinfo.com. Hope the goldie gets better. -Magnus>

Please help....... Sick Black Moor Ive had a pair of black moors for just over 2 years now and feed them dried daphnia in the morning and flakes in the evening. Theyve bred in the past, so I assumed I was doing everything right for them. They've always swam around fine, with no problems, but sometimes liked to 'relax' at the top of the tank or rest on the bottom. Im afraid Ive only just found out this isnt' normal! My male fish has now started turning on his side when he is floating at the top, but has no trouble when swimming around the rest of the tank. Ive read your web answers to related questions and also took advice from someone at an aquatic shop and have just started adding a swim bladder medicine to their water, given them peas, purchased some frozen daphnia, and am also trying to soak my flake food before I give I to them. My two problems are this; Firstly the male is fine eating the soaked flakes, as he will forage around the bottom of the tank for the sunken flakes. However my female fish is a little slower, and will just hover at the top for food. At the moment Im resulted to hand feeding her the soaked flakes! How can I encourage her to realize the flakes sink and that she has to look for them ? Also Im dubious about using the cubes of frozen daphnia. Theyre from a reputable source, but A.) How do you feed them frozen or defrosted, and B.) If they sink to the bottom, Im going to have the same problem getting the female to eat them as with the flakes. Any ideas ? Thank you in advance. < Your fish are suffering from internal bacterial infections. Too much food, wrong food, dirty water, too hot, etc... These things are caused by stress. Treat the tank with Metronidazole and don't feed for awhile. When the fish start to swim normally then you can start feeding again. I think that your fish were eating too much and in was sticking in the gut before it could all be passed. The medicine will help. When cured only feed enough food so that all of it is gone in a couple of minutes once a day.-Chuck>

My fantail goldfish (yellow/gold) has one very swollen eye. <Popeye, or exophthalmia is the condition of an eye wherein it protrudes from its normal position in a socket. The bulging of an eye could be due to bacterial infection that had gotten in behind the eye and is causing the swelling in the socket. If it is only one eye though, the prognosis is better. Perhaps the fish had trauma to the eye, like bumping it into a filter, which initially allowed the bacteria to gain a foothold.> It seemed to have happened almost over night. I don't think anything is wrong, <I would test your water immediately for high ammonia. Goldfish produce a lot of waste and this condition is typically seen with fish kept in unclean water. I would start doing water changes as well, freshwater will help. the cleaner the water, the less stressed the fish is, and the more it's immune system can fight the bacteria. I should warn you that, chances are high that your fish might loose this eye. Be sure water quality is optimal, and that the diet and temperature are perfect for the chosen species you maintain. You can try antibiotics with this, such as the ones sold by Mardel. But, I suggest you add some Melafix to help enhance and quicken the healing process of your fish. All the goldfish that I had with Popeye lost the eye. Though the fish still lived a happy healthy life.> I've had him for over a year now, he's about palm size. Can you help? <Hope that helps. good luck with your Goldie. -Magnus.>

What treatment do I use? I got 2 fancy goldfish almost 2 weeks ago. I am taking good care of them, already did a couple partial water changes, tested levels, etc - the problem isn't how they are being cared for now. I got them from a not-so-good place and I know I shouldn't have, but I did, and now I realize they had some kind of disease when I got them that I didn't know about. Ever since a few days after I got them, their scales looked funny - like patches of their scales were sort of sticking up and sometimes looked as though they were gone. Yesterday, I woke up to see one of my fish just lying on the gravel at the bottom of the cage. She did that pretty much all day, however, did come up to eat. The other fish is still active, however, I notice that their scales are now looking pretty bad. There are patches where there aren't really any scales. I called my veterinarian and asked him to see if he could help. He suggested putting Methylene blue into the tank and aquarium salt. I did that late yesterday. I followed the instructions and put 3 tbsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of Meth blue (I have a 5g tank). I know this can kill the biological filter, but since it hasn't even been running for 2 weeks and the bacteria haven't formed yet, I thought it was ok and he had also told me to. I also don't have another tank (yet) to do that with. Was Methylene blue the right thing to do? < Not really.> I have been reading info and it seems like it only helps with a fungus type disease. I have no idea what the disease is in this case, but I sort of feel like it's not fungus. So should I put an antibiotic in the water or use antibiotic food? I heard my fish can be saved at this point because she is still active enough to eat and swims around. Oh yeah, and another thing - she sort of swims into things and just floats without swimming and then rapidly swims again for a few seconds.... and it's a cycle like that until she finally settles on the ground. So what do I do next?? Please help! I am already very attached to my fish and don't want to lose them. Thank you very much. -Jessica < Treat the tank with Nitrofuranace or Myacin. You have a bacterial infection. Watch for ammonia spikes. Since you have no bacteria, any left over food of fish waste will quickly convert to deadly ammonia. Do a 30% water change and make the filter is clean. Organics can affect the medications effectiveness.-Chuck>

What's Wrong With My Goldfish One day the fish bowl cracked and we found the fish on one side and all of the water was out of the bowl and we didn't know how long he was like that. My mother took the fish out of the bowl and put him in a new bowl of water immediately and started petting it side to side. The fish was wobbling from side to side. My mom kept on petting the fish and watched it for a couple of hours and told the fish not to give up. It took the fish about a day and a half to go back to his normal swimming and behavior. We are worried because since then he has accumulated black spots on one side of his body. We are concerned because we don't know if he's suffering or not. Could you please let us know the cause of the side of his body turning black. Please reply ASAP thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question. <<Hello. The black on his side could be some bruising, along with the fact that a bacterial infection is setting in. I recommend going to your LFS and picking up some Melafix to add to his water, it will help. It's an herbal remedy that I've used many times to successfully treat goldfish. Handy stuff to keep in your fishy medicine cabinet. Another thing to keep handy is aquarium salt, which you can use if your goldfish gets ich (little white spots on his fins). You should do some reading on the Net about goldfish, there are many good sites (like ours) with information necessary to caring for these pretty fish. One thing to know for next time...try not to touch the fish's body more than absolutely necessary, like when you pick him up off the floor. When we touch fish, our fingers remove their slime coat, which is a layer of mucus that keeps the germs out...by "petting" your fish, you accidentally removed the slime coat, leaving the area open for bacteria to get in. The Melafix should do the trick, and be sure to do regular, partial waterchanges, too. Fish need clean water in order to recuperate well, to grow properly, and to prevent future problems/illnesses. -Gwen>>

Red Lionhead question I have a red lionhead that a couple weeks ago lost a lot of its color on its head. Then, while we were on vacation this week, when we came back, the fish looked really bloated and the scales were sticking out, sort of like a porcupine, of sorts. He does not seem distressed at all. We have not had a chance to talk to the family that fed the fish to see if they over fed it but the other two red lionheads look fine. Could the bloated one have a disease? < He has bloat/dropsy. Clean the tank and the filter while doing a 30% water change. Treat the fish with Metronidazole and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks for your help. Ellen

Re: Red Lionhead question. Where to treat Do I need to move the bloated fish to another tank away from the other two fish when applying the medicine or can I leave them all together? Ellen <Hi Ellen, Don here. The general rule is to remove the fish for treatment. Even if it means removing them all. But it really depends on what you are treating with. Bloating can sometimes be treated with Epsom salt and a few shelled peas, in which case you can leave them together. If you are medicating, you are risking your bio filtration. Do that in a small bare bottom QT tank, not the main>

Goldfish Losing scales Hi, I had written to you earlier too My 2 red cap Orandas and they are losing scales and both of have lost scales on one side of their body. even my Bala shark seems to have the same problem (but is at a very early stage). I have searched the web, all I am able to come up with is that they have TB but I am not very sure as I am a beginner and it has only been two months that since I have had an aquarium. I live in Delhi (India) and the are no good fish stores here. I there any medicine that I should use and how should I get it can I order them over the internet? < This sounds like the start of a bacterial infection. Clean the filter and change 30% of the water. Treat with Nitrofuranace. This can be purchased at Drsfostersmith.com.-Chuck> Amit

Red Veined Redcap Hi, you have a great website, but I couldn't find an answer for my situation. My Redcap Oranda (lives alone) has discolored areas in his head. He started hiding out, and not coming to the side of the tank when I went to feed him. It's been about a week now. In doing the water change, I got a chance to look closer at his head. It looks like certain sections have lightened to an orange, rather than a reddish-orange color. I also noticed for the first time that he has a couple little red veins in his tail. I read on you site about adding salt, in case the problem was a disease, but I am not sure how much salt to add. So here are the stats: 10 gal tank (I know - too small - saving for 29 gal), BioWheel filtration system, eats Bioblend pellets and Tetra Baby Shrimp. Tonight, I fed him a couple of thawed frozen peas after visiting your site again. His appetite is great, but he is so reclusive lately. He used to get all *excited* when I showed up to feed him, madly wiggling his tail and everything. I've had him for a couple of years, and would hate to lose him. I just don't know what to do. Can you help me, please? Patricia <Hi Patricia, Don here. Sounds like your fish are affected by Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia. A big name for dirty tank disease. Up your water change schedule, a goldfish can foul a ten very quickly. A few 50% water changes done daily will help him greatly. Always use a gravel vac to remove the uneaten food and waste out with the old water. If he is not improving in a week treat with Oxytetracycline. Do not treat until you try the fresh water. Salt may help. You can try that with the water changes. Use one tbls for every 3 gallons. Make sure you mix in the correct concentration of salt into the new water before you add it to the tank. Good luck>

Whirling Dervish? No, Goldfish Hello! I have 8 goldfishes for about 3 plus years now. I started with them in a 10 gallon tank and they grew and are now in a 55gallon tank. One of them has passed through bruises, sick mouth etc. Now it started spinning rapidly. It cannot eat the feed from the top again. It mostly spin when trying to get feed from the top yet cannot really get it. Meaning it try to get it and misses. I really do not want it to die. How can I save it? I tried to change half of the water each week. Please help me. Thank you <I'm sorry to bring bad news but please remove this fish from the 55 at once. Whirling is almost always fatal. And it may spread to your other fish, especially if it should die in the tank. If you still have the ten gallon you could put him in there and try Quinine Sulfate. But the chance of a cure is so remote and the chance of spreading so great, I would put the fish down. Don>

Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia I have a small orange goldfish that I moved to a 44 gal. tank about a week ago, along with a small comet. I had just set up this tank, which only contained two platys and an algae eater. I've had both of the goldfish for several months, and they have been very healthy. The orange goldfish still seems to be healthy, except for the fact that one side of his mouth is turning inward. I can see no sign of mouth fungus or fin rot or anything that looks abnormal. He is eating and using the bathroom fine and has plenty of energy. Before I moved him and the comet, I had them in a 10 gal. with two small Orandas that I had bought a few weeks ago. The Orandas had damaged fins when I bought them, but they were fine for about a week and I thought they were going to be ok. Then they started to develop red around the bases of their fins and red streaks under their chins, so I moved the two other goldfish to the new tank and treated the Orandas (which didn't survive) with fungus clear. I don't think the water in my tank caused the infection, because the two other goldfish had been living in it for months, and it had clean water and more than adequate filtration. The orange goldfish and comet have been doing great in the new tank for the past week, except that this morning I noticed that the orange fish's mouth is turning inward. Is that a sign of fungus, or could it have been damaged another way? Jacqulin <The red streaks mean your fish are affected by bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. Treat with Oxytetracycline. Usually caused by poor water conditions such as high nitrates. My guess is that we have the same underlying agent causing the mouth problem. The antibiotic should help both. I suggest you treat in a small tank as the meds will nuke the bio filtration in your main. Don>

Goldfish Fungus Dear crew, Please, I need urgent help with my red capped Oranda. It has fungal growth on it's head and also has fin rot what should I do? My 'Goldfish care' book said something about "the salt bath treatment" but I do not know the salt to water ratios or timing. Thanks for your help. Can I use ordinary table salt (sodium chloride)? Regards, M <Start a series of water changes, about 50% daily. Use a gravel vac to remove all old food and waste from your system. Salt the replacement water at around one tbls for every 3 gallons. Always mix the salt into the new water before adding it to the tank. Do not use table salt. I suggest regular FW aquarium salt. Stay away from Saltwater and African cichlid salt. Both, along with table salt, has additives that should not be used with Goldfish. Don>

Very Very Sick Goldfish Hi I have just found your website and have been reading through some of the questions, I have lost one of my goldfish but the other one now is very sick he has a white film all over him ( looks a bit like a spiders web) he seems as though he cannot swim just floats there and his fins are all tucked in, is there anything I can do to help him as I have changed the water , many thanks Samantha.... <This sounds very bad... like a true fungus... something that is "taking over", decomposing your fish... toward the end of some critical "insult"... Did the other fish perish, behave in the same fashion? Have you checked water quality? Have notes to share re this set-up? Please go back to where you've been reading and scan over the article and FAQs re goldfish set-ups. Bob Fenner>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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