FAQs About Goldfish
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FAQs on Goldfish Medicines
Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals (
al. non-fixes, Misc.
by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 5, Environmental , (Absolutely
the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans,
Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/
Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
New fish owner- sick goldfish 9/26/14
I checked your FAQs first, but did not find a post that I was sure
addressed my issue.
My veiltail goldfish (Norman) has a white/see-through growth on his head
(more cotton than waxy). I thought it would get better when we bought
him a 20 gallon tank, but it is still spreading.
<In all honesty, 20 gallons is too small for Goldfish, and certainly a
potential source of problems once they're above, say, 8 cm/3 inches in
Initially, he developed a blood red spot on his head that cleared up
after every water change, but came back after about 3 days. He has not
had the red spot since we bought the new tank, but now the white patch
has grown near the same area and spread to his entire head.
<Likely an ulcer of some sort, with a subsequent bacterial infection
spreading outwards. Irritation causes mucous production, and dead skin
goes white. Could well explain the symptoms.>
Please help. He is active and eats fine. No other fish live in his tank
and I use My veiltail goldfish (Norman) has a white/see-through growth
on his head (more cotton than waxy). I thought it would get better when
we bought him a 20 gallon tank, but it is still spreading. Initially, he
developed a blood red spot on his head that cleared up after every water
change, but came back after about 3 days. He has not had the red spot
since we bought the new tank, but now the white patch has grown near the
same area and spread to his entire head. Please help. He is active and
<This is a good sign.>
No other fish live in his tank and I use well water to fill it. I do a
30% water replacement every week and his tank also has a filter.
<Good. But do review water chemistry (hard and alkaline is best).>
I do not know his age. Any idea what this could be and how I can treat
it? I have attached some photos.
<Well, they didn't come through.>
Any help would be greatly appreciated. We love our Norman and I would
hate for him to suffer due to my inexperience as a fish owner.
<Do start by reading here:
My first action here would be to get an antibiotic or antibacterial
medication, something fairly general like Seachem KanaPlex or the
popular combination of using Maracyn 1 and 2 together (the two products
different bacteria, so used together, work even better than singly).
Avoid tea-tree oil medications like Melafix that promise a lot but don't
consistently deliver. Do test water quality regularly, any nitrite or
ammonia above zero will be a problem. If in doubt, buy a bigger filter:
Goldfish are heavy polluters, so a filter recommended for a 20 gallon
tank will be insufficient for a 20 gallon tank because such a filter is
actually designed for small fish like Guppies and Neons. Instead buy the
model a size or two up the range, so a 30 or 40 gallon filter for a 20
If necessary, adjust the flow rate to avoid too much turbulence, but
otherwise a bigger filter will always be better. Cheers, Neale.>
To sanitize or not sanitize? 7/21/14
Background: I have a 50 gal freshwater tank (with a 70-gal canister
that happily housed three goldfish until we moved about a year ago.
When I set up the tank again, I struggled with water quality
issues/bacterial infections (I assume, based on the symptoms) and
ultimately lost the goldfish.
<Yikes; am wondering what the cause/s were here>
I know goldfish have their challenges--which is why when I decided to
start again with new stock a few months ago, I went for tetras to start.
Things were stable for a while, then I started losing them with similar
symptoms: general lethargy followed by difficulty swimming, no signs of
external parasites. On advice of the local aquarium shop guys, I treated
the whole tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic to try to kill whatever
bugs were lurking.
That worked until a few days ago, when another tetra died following a
similar pattern. This is getting to be pretty crazy-making for me, and I
imagine the fish aren't especially thrilled either.
At this point, I'm contemplating breaking down the whole tank and trying
to sterilize everything, which brings me to my question: should I?
<Possibly; do have some fish-friends come by and look... am wondering if
there's something toxic in your system. Perhaps a geode... or metal
And if so, what method would you recommend to make sure I really, really
get all the bugs--
<Bleach washing... here is an SOP:
The same procedure applies for sterilizing a complete system. DO read
through this thoroughly and get some help... Take CARE to not splash
bleach on you or the surroundings>
because the only thing that might make me crazier would be going through
that monumental effort and then having the problem crop up again.
Final note: current stock is 7 tetras, one angelfish, water parameters
are good last I checked, and I do 25% water changes every 2 weeks.
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: To sanitize or not sanitize? 7/21/14
Thanks for the quick reply-- a couple more questions (below in red):
<Ahh, the webmail program removes such (color) coding>
> Subject: To sanitize or not sanitize?
> Background: I have a 50 gal freshwater tank (with a 70-gal canister
> that happily housed three goldfish until we moved about a year ago.
> set up the tank again, I struggled with water quality issues/bacterial
> infections (I assume, based on the symptoms) and ultimately lost the
> <Yikes; am wondering what the cause/s were here>**I was having trouble
> getting the tank to cycle when I set it up again, though the system
> been stable before. I assume that had something to do with it**
> I know goldfish have their challenges--which is why when I decided to
> again with new stock a few months ago, I went for tetras to start.
Things were stable for a while, then I started losing them with similar
> general lethargy followed by difficulty swimming, no signs of external
> parasites. On advice of the local aquarium shop guys, I treated the
> tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic to try to kill whatever bugs
**I'm willing to try that again as an alternative to bleaching. I don't
want to lose any more fish, but (aside from the epic work of taking
apart the tank) I'm a bit concerned that I'd just be swapping one
problem (possible bacteria) for another (non-cycled tank, stress of
> That worked until a few days ago, when another tetra died following a
> similar pattern. This is getting to be pretty crazy-making for me, and
> imagine the fish aren't especially thrilled either.
> At this point, I'm contemplating breaking down the whole tank and
> sterilize everything, which brings me to my question: should I?
> <Possibly; do have some fish-friends come by and look...**Guess I need
> make some fish friends?** am wondering if
> there's something toxic in your system. Perhaps a geode... or metal
**Interesting thought. I have had the same things in the tank the entire
time I've owned it (4+ years) with the exception of the heater and
thermometer I bought when I got the tetras...unless something was
introduced inadvertently during the move (can't think what that would
be?). Any input on what sort of symptoms would I be seeing in the fish
if this was the case? Would they be any different than what I might see
with an internal bacterial infection?**
<<Not necessarily... and there are such things as "olde tank
What seems to happen as systems age, they become more depauperate (less
speciose) and even toxic; with some few microbes overpopulating and
poisoning their own world w/ metabolites... An important human lesson as
> And if so, what method would you recommend to make sure I really,
really get all the bugs--
> <Bleach washing... here is an SOP:
> The same procedure applies for sterilizing a complete system. DO read
> through this thoroughly and get some help... Take CARE to not splash
> on you or the surroundings>
**Thanks for the link, a couple additional questions about bleach
washing an entire system: Would you recommend bleaching the gravel I
have for the tank bottom, or dumping it? What about the ceramic rings in
the canister filter?**
<<I would bleach all, in place... sans livestock... filter, media, all>>
> because the only thing that might make me crazier would be going
> through that monumental effort and then having the problem crop up
> Final note: current stock is 7 tetras, one angelfish, water parameters
> good last I checked, and I do 25% water changes every 2 weeks.
**I checked the water parameters again and notice that the pH is a bit
elevated (7.6 maybe?). Could this be the issue?**
<<Not likely; unless it's wildly vacillating (too little alkalinity).
> <Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>
lump on a shebunkin... Rdg.
We have an otherwise healthy shebunkin about 4 inches long, living alone
in a 55 gal aquarium with 2 strong filtration systems and 2 water
changes a month.
He developed a large lump on his side that slowly protruded more and
At its peak we saw a few wispy spider web like strings coming from the
lump, about 1 or 2 inches long.
<Umm; water quality tests?>
Later the lump erupted and stuff that we could not identify what
protruded a little bit from the wound. but it quickly receded and healed
up and now is completely gone. But then maybe 2 weeks later it started
happening again in a different spot, closer to the head, but still
behind the gill. The bump is now very obvious and the fish seems to be
slowed down by it somewhat.
No wispy strings seen yet, looks like it may erupt soon.
The closest I can figure from online research is anchor worm, but it
doesn't quite look like anchor worm. I ordered a commercial anchor worm
med and was about to try it when we decided to give you guys a try.
Is this a parasite that will be treated by anchor worm meds, or is this
a bacterial infection that requires an antibiotic?
<Uhh, read here:
and the linked files above... till you receive total enlightenment.
Question About Goldfish... no data
I found this e-mail address at wetwebmedia.com, and I was hoping
you could help me.
11 years ago, I inherited a comet goldfish from my grandfather who
passed away. My grandfather had the fish for awhile, so I’m guessing the
fish must be at least 13 years old.
The goldfish has always been very healthy up until last year,
when he started having buoyancy issues every now and then after eating.
<... likely mis-fed too much flake/dry food... have you done any
searching, reading on WWM?>
We adjusted the way we fed him though, and the swim bladder issue seemed
to be resolved.
Then, a few months back, the nitrate level had crept up,
<? To what level?>
and my goldfish was laying on his stomach on the bottom of the aquarium.
We resolved this issue by doing frequent water changes and testing the
water everyday until the nitrate level was brought down. Since then, he
had been back to normal until a couple of weeks ago when his swim
bladder issue returned.
<... need to tell you; there is no such thing... environmental
stress is the root cause.>
We assumed he would only be bloated for a few hours like he used to be,
but after an entire day of laying upside down, we realized something was
We noticed he hadn’t been expelling waste so we assumed he was
constipated, and fed him peas for a couple of days. During this time
however, the area around his anus had become swollen and red and the
scales were sticking out. It appeared to be dropsy, so we treated him
with a little Epsom salt, and the dropsy went away very quickly. He was
able to excrete as well, but he still had buoyancy issues, and his back
end still looked very full or bloated. We searched around online, and
went to a fish store near us, and it was decided that he probably had
some kind of infection.
We bought an antibiotic for the goldfish at the fish store, and the
after one dose he appeared to be 100% better. The next day however, he
didn’t look as good, but we continued the treatment as directed. From
there, his health has declined, and he now spends a lot of his time
curled over on the bottom, and although he seems a bit off balance at
times, can still swim and eat normally like he used to.
My biggest concern right now, for which I can find no answer, is a
symptom that developed just this morning. The underside of his jaw is
now protruding. I don’t know what caused this, and I don’t know if he’ll
be able to eat tonight when I feed him. He didn’t have it this morning
when I first woke up, but just before lunch I noticed the underside of
his jaw sticking out. He also appears to be breathing a little more
heavily. Is there anything I can do for him? I’d like to help him if
possible. I’ve attached some pictures of the underside of his chin for
you to look at.
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!
<Mmm; where to begin... You've presented little useful data...
water quality test results, system make-up, maintenance...
foods/feeding... Let's have you start reading here:
and the linked files above. Send data... quanta... Bob
Question About Goldfish... no data
Sorry. I thought it would be useful to include his health history. However,
my main question was just regarding the underside of his head. If you
haven’t seen that before though, it’s okay. I just wanted to know if it was
serious or if it could be treated at all.
<Can't be treated... other than improving the env. and nutr. as previously
I’ve taken care of the fish for 11 years now, so I’m familiar with the
information on the page you’ve sent. I’m sorry I’ve taken up your time.
<Why I/we're here; to help if we can>
I just haven’t found any answers elsewhere on the internet, so I thought
it’d be worth a try to ask. Thanks anyway.
Moor goldfish fish missing eye 6/17/14
I was feeding my fish and I notice one fish was missing his whole big
We have cats in the area so that might have caught it. It seems a little
weak and slower than usual but I don't know what I should do
<Remove the source of the trauma... and keep on w/ regular maintenance.
Can live w/ a single eye.
Mystery White Things On Tail Fins; no data
Hi. This morning I noticed some mysterious white things on the low tail
fins of my Oranda's fins. The fins are also crinkled looking. Not smooth
<I see this, these... usually either evidence of a physical trauma
(bending, breaking of fin spines) or resultant from some aspect/s of
poor water quality (of course aided by genetic, nutritional inputs)>
I have seen Ich before.
It dose not appear to be any sort of Ich I have seen before. I have seen
fin rot too. It dose not appear to be fin rot that I have ever seen
I included some photos where you can see the mystery white things on her
bottom tail fins.
My fish will sometimes rest on the bottom of the tank for some reason,
if this helps.
Here is the best picture of the strange white patches.
If not Ich or fin rot, what do you think these white patches could be?
Bacterial? Carp pox? Any help here is appreciated. Thank you.
<Water quality tests, maintenance, foods/feeding...? Bob Fenner>
Please help!! GF rdg
Hi please can you help my little sweetheart Cream, who seems to have
problems passing faeces.
<Looks fine in these pix... I might try a bit of Epsom Salt...
search/read on WWM re. Bob Fenner>
This has been occurring for a week. The tank is cleaned once a week with
a 15% water change.
Any help you can offer would be gratefully appreciated.
Ps. Sorry for quality of photos Cream likes hiding!!
My goldfish is really bloated.
I cleaned the tank recently and the next day when I went to feed them I
noticed he was looking a little bloated but it is getting worse. There
are three other fish in there. These fish have been together for four
The tank is 15 gallons and it has a filter to clean a 20 gallon tank. He
is acting like he normally does. And eats as usual. I am getting really
worried. He is getting so bloated it looks like he could pop.
<Could I direct you to following articles:
Both will answer your questions, tell you what you need to do, and
provide you with a checklist for proper care -- for example, 15 gallons
is too small, crazy small if there are 4 goldfish in there! Cheers,
Sick Black Moor.
So I bought my new black moor on Friday and now it looks like this. I'm
not sure what's wrong and I'm starting to worry about it. Can you tell
me what's wrong or what I should do?
<This poor chap is in a very bad way! I'd do two things here. First I'd
medicate as per Finrot, using a reliable medication (not Melafix,
Pimafix, or anything else involving plant extracts). Here in the UK my
recommendation would be eSHa 2000; in the US, Kanaplex or the Maracyn +
Maracyn 2 combination seem very highly regarded. Next up, I'd add salt
to the water, at a dosage of about 2-3 gram per litre of water (that's
about 0.4 oz per US gallon). I'd also raise the temperature a couple
degrees. Salt/heat work well together against Whitespot, which my guess
is the "key" that unlocked the door to massive Finrot and other
bacterial infections of the skin. So dealing with both the Finrot and
the Whitespot will be helpful here. Goldfish have a high tolerance for
salt so don't worry about causing stress using salt. With a bit of luck,
this chap should recover without problems. Meantime, do read here:
Quite a few things necessary to successful Goldfish keeping. Cheers,
Gold fish emergency... 12 MEGs of nothing useful
<Why have you exceeded our file size requirement... sending 12 Megs?>
I have had an orange fan tail gold fish for 2 years. He has a
tank - 13" x 19" x 23" and is the only fish in the tank. It has a good
sponge type filter.
<This is neither a very large system nor a good solo type of GF
HAD you followed directions, and searched, read ahead of writing; you
would know this>
He always had a small slightly red spot on his head but it has developed
into a white sore on his head. (see photos) And, the sore
develops clear blisters at times. He eats and
seems to be ok but weak. I can't keep the
filter on too long or he stresses and hides under a plant since the
current is stronger than he is - one time he
got sucked onto the intake of the filter.
He has also had swim bladder disease
<There is no such thing>
which after I feed him peas he seems to do
FOLLOW directions if you want our help. Bob Fenner>
Same ole genetic, env., nutr. GF mess
<.... GF... not following directions...> 3/7/14
<Why have you sent us/WWM a 9.5 meg file?>
I have a goldfish that has had a growth on its side for over a year. I
have gone to multiple pet stores trying to find out what I can do to
help. I have tried various anti fungal, bacterial, and
antibiotic medicine and nothing seems to be helping.
The growth now seems to be cauliflower'ing and the dorsal fin has all
but rotted away.
<Or searched, read on the site. Here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
|Re: re: 3/7/14
It's a picture of the fish.
<... All full of nonsense today; pls try us again tomorrow:
A request for advice - sick Black Moor Goldfish
I¹m looking for advice on a taxing problem I¹m having with my pet Black
moor and Oranda goldfish and really hope you might offer some help.
More than six months ago the Moor began showing soft white spots on her
anal fins. (Pic of the Moor attached)
<I see these... quite common... many folks attribute to physical
trauma/injury... with the white areas being sites of
regeneration/decomposition. But I consider that other factors can often
be implicit... e.g. water quality and nutrition>
A few months ago the Oranda started to show very small spots of a
similar nature on his anal fins as well. If left
untreated it spreads. It doesn¹t look like Ich to me as the spots
aren¹t granular. Other than this, they are not showing any other
symptoms of illness. They are offered a varied diet and are quite
<Ah, not parasitic I assure you. I've dissected many, make that MANY
goldfish... for demonstration, classes, lectures in fish pathology>
I¹m pulling my hair out trying to solve this problem. These fish are
around two to three years old and are in a 45 gallon tank with
an oversize Eheim filter. I do weekly 50% water changes and a
filter clean every 4 to 5 weeks.
I try to keep the tank very clean.
<Ahh, I do like the Eheim canister line (have used it myself for
decades); but I would add another (outside, hang-on power filter; one
with activated carbon inserts) to supplement the filtration,
circulation/aeration here... could be simple DO issue here at play>
Generally my water parameters are good. Current numbers are Ammonia 0,
Nitrates 15 ppm (this due a Tetracycline treatment I tried and just
finished), PH 7.7 (again higher than normal due to the Tetracycline),
<Keep your eyes on the ammonia, nitrite here>
Nitrites 0 ppm.
I don¹t heat the tank so water temperature can range from 68 deg.
(lowest in winter) to 74 deg. (highest in summer).
<I'd add a heater, set it low...>
With advice from the fish folks at my LFS and other online hobbyists,
I¹ve salted the tank (1 tablespoon per 5 gallons) and tried
<These last two are more probable as issues than any help>
Fungus Cure, Furan 2, Tetracycline and PraziPro. The treatments of
Fungus Cure, Furan 2 and Tetracycline reduced the spots by didn¹t
completely clear it. Once the medications are out the spots come back
and increase over time.
The meds have completely cleared the Oranda but the spots have come back
on him minimally twice.
<Again; these markings aren't pathogenic... not caused by a
biological agent. Simply improving the environment, nutrition will cure
After each treatment, I¹ve made sure to clear the tank of meds and give
the fish a break for a week or two before attempting something else.
As I mentioned, I just cleared the tank of two rounds of Tetracycline. I
started a third treatment but the nitrates and PH started rising and the
fish started to look stressed.
I recently spoke with an online vet tech and she suggested that this
issue could be Cotton Wool Disease.
<? From what cause? Again, environment>
She directed me to add salt back into the tank (I¹d pulled it out as
they had been in it for a number of weeks), do a 50% water change, wait
a few days and then try Mar-oxy. If that doesn¹t work, try Maracyn II. I
did the water change last night and added 1 tablespoon of salt per 5
gallons of water.
<See WWM re the use of salts: generally overrated>
I¹m at the end of my proverbial rope here. I can try these two meds, but
would really like another opinion before I subject them to yet another
treatment. I feel like I¹m just taking another shot in the dark and it¹s
certainly not good for the fish to be subjecting them to more medication
that isn¹t targeted properly.
I would really appreciate any information you might be able to offer.
This little black fish and her companion have become quite dear to me.
Thank You, Karen Sibley
<Add the outside filter, more roughage to the diet.... See WWM re GF
fdg. as well... And in a few weeks you will see improvement. Bob Fenner>
Bubble eye goldfish . – 02/20/14
My goldfish has white on his pupil almost covering it all.
Not on the outside of his eye that's clear. It's inside the bubble as it
were. What could that be? Perameteres fine and have 2 fish in 250 litre
<Hello Mark. Please let me know what "parameters fine" means. What's the
ammonia or nitrite level of the water? The hardness? The pH? How is the
aquarium filtered? How often do you do water changes? Damage to the
surface of the eye (which is what's going on here) is typically caused
by physical damage and/or poor environmental conditions. So supplying me
with these data will make a more effective diagnosis possible. Meantime,
read the link below and follow the links therein to sections on disease,
trouble, and so on.
Twisted, sinking, spiraling goldfish... The usual
Hi, I was hoping to get some help with my sick goldfish. He's (no idea if
it's really a 'he', but anyway) a standard goldfish shape,
<Yes, a "comet" variety>
although is a brownish silver colour rather than gold. The only one like
that in the pet shop, so I bought him! I tend to think he is some kind of
throwback or hybrid, having this drab colour. He's been in very good health
for three years.
<Though greatly stunted: "Bonsaied" from being kept in a small volume, waste
product accumulation limiting its/their growth>
There are three more standard goldfish in the tank (of 65litres),
two around ten years old and going strong. The other is about three years
old with no problems. The fish are all three inches and under.
65 litres is about 17 gallons, which I now gather is rather small for four
<Ah yes; esp. this "variety"/sport>
I change about half of the water fairly regularly and have a decent filter
(Fluval 2 plus). I'm afraid I don't routinely test the water
<Am sure Nitrates are "through the roof">
I know the tap water here in Scotland is supposed to be particularly
soft, which I had assumed was a good thing but maybe not.
<Simple to read on WWM, elsewhere... goldfishes prefer harder, alkaline
About two weeks ago he started swimming on his right side occasionally, then
about a week ago it was most of the time. Since then he's developed a
permanent sideways twist in his back, causing him to swim in a spiral. I
thought it might be swim bladder, although I gather this is rare in the
non-fancy types. In any case I've recently cut down on the flake food and
been feeding them first bloodworm from the petshop and, more recently,
chopped-up peas. I also recently picked up some 'Interpet fish health
treatment 13- Swim Bladder treatment'. Nasty stuff I think. It's four doses
at 4-day intervals, so far only the first has been applied. I'd hate to be
giving this medication unnecessarily, as I'm sure it's a shock to the
<Yes; and of no use here>
He's still in the tank with the other fish, who aren't bothering him, and he
seems just about able to feed but spends a lot of time propped up in the
weeds or on his side at the bottom (he's prone to sink rather than float).
A few times I thought he was dead but he's still pretty lively (though
uncoordinated) when the food goes in.
If anyone can think of anything else I can do I'd love to know. Is it likely
that the fish will recover from this handicapped state? I've seen advice to
euthanise a sick fish but I can't countenance that right now. I seem to
remember having a bent goldfish for some years when I was a child, which
adapted to its injury and (I think) even reproduced.
Many thanks for any advice,
<Your situation is a classical example of the ill-effects of crowding over a
long term; exposure to metabolites... their negative feed-back. Am glad
you've enjoyed this system for this long. Goldfish can/do live for decades,
this variety grows to 40 plus cm.... IF interested in the rationale, what
you might still do, please read here:
scroll down to the GF tray... see the articles, FAQs files on systems, env.
disease... Bob Fenner>
|Re: Twisted, sinking, spiraling goldfish
Many thanks Bob. 'Bonsaied' pretty much describes it. I'm going to see if I
can re-home a couple of the fish, keeping just the two old ones.
I inherited these fish from far worse (unwanted pets in a tiny tank with no
filter) living conditions, but it's only now dawning on me just how much
space and care they need to properly thrive. I'll consult the forums and
sort out my act regarding water quality too. Thanks again,
Re: Twisted, sinking,
spiraling goldfish 1/27/14
Bob Fenner is a life-saver! Just an update, and another big thank you
for the timely response. You've done me a very great service, and I realise
it must be frustrating to get asked the same questions you've covered in the
general articles and FAQ's (as in my case). I think the following
short account will come as no surprise to you.
Once I checked and corrected the Nitrite and Nitrate levels (which were
at around 3 and 80 by the reading I took. I got them down quickly using a
Poly-Filter) in the tank, my sick goldfish -which by this point had seemed
not just at death's door, but frequently looked dead for long periods- made
what seems like a full recovery within 24 hours. I realise the long
term health of all my fish will have been affected by the toxicity of the
undersized tank, but I will do better for them from now on. Can't thank you
<Ahh; the pleasure... Thank you for your follow up. Life to you David.
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner