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FAQs on Goldfish Environmental Disease 12
(ex: issues of poor water quality, overcrowding, unfavorable tank/water conditions, temperature, etc.)

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 Goldfish Disease FAQs: Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4, Environmental 5Environmental 6Environmental 7Environmental 8Environmental 9Environmental 10Environmental 11& Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, 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,

  

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Goldfish - Excessive yawning/gulping, skin integrity, water parameters in check     2/28/18
Dear Rob, Neale, Tom, ... All at WWM,
Good day to you.
Like so many other people, I feel I have finally found the place where my questions will be properly addressed by people who actually know what they’re talking about : much appreciation and gratitude for all the helpful work you guys and gals are doing.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Like so many other people, I’ve been reading and reading and searching tirelessly throughout the freshwater and goldfish articles and Q&A - yet, like some other people, I am left with enough doubt and perplexity regarding the particular situation at point that I decided to write, for I am worried, to put it mildly, about the well-being of my 3 adorable goldfishes.
English is not my mother language so I hope you will forgive the possible grammatical/syntactical/spelling mistakes and I apologize in advance for any occurrence that would subsist.
<Understood! But seems better than mine, to be honest.>
I stumbled into goldfish-world by accident, knowing absolutely nothing about neither aquariums nor goldfishes, nor any kind of fish for that matter. To cut a long story short, I rescued a goldfish, having no idea of what I was doing, only that I could not *not* take it home with me. H., a common orange goldfish of about 5-6 cm, was alone in a little bowl half-filled with water and nothing else, treated as a prop, and on its way to being flushed or kept in miserable conditions. My priority was to procure him/her company, that’s G., a Shubunkin of the same body type, and move them into a larger, rectangular container. I used a storing box I had (25 L) and bought a larger one of 145 L where, despite knowing that in the long term it would be way too small but advised that for juveniles it would do (which, having since learned more, I now disagree with), I also brought in a third little Shubunkin, L. The box is made of polypropylene, there’s 3-4 cm of gravel on the bottom, two pieces of (boiled) olive woods,
<I have not seen olive wood in aquaria before. Is it known to be safe?>
lots of real plants, and two cheap internal filters of 300l/h each (one close to the bottom, on to the surface creating water movement, diagonally opposed and generating a counter clockwise current). Since it’s not a real aquarium there’s no lighting equipment and I’ve been using a desk halogen lamp to procure some light to the plants besides the natural light of the room (they’re all « easy plants » that do not require much light). That was end of September 2017, L. was introduced on October 10, 2017. With everything that’s in there, I estimate the actual net volume of water to be 120 L.
<Which should be fine for one or two Goldfish.>
There’s a lot I wish to say in order for you guys to have all the info needed to get an accurate reading of the current situation, and give me an accurate feedback on what to do. I am prone to write very long messages and I know your time is precious so I’ll do my best to stick to what I consider to be the essential pieces of information. The first one is that, due to my ignorance despite taking crash courses into goldfish husbandry as soon as I came back home with H., they were all subjected to the Nitrite peak that comes with the cycling of an electrically filtered tank. It was a frantic episode when I discovered, using strips, that there were Nitrites in the water. None of the fishes showed any exterior sign of poisoning and they were moved to the previous, smaller box loaded with Anacharis and kept clean, zero Nitrite, while the main « tank » (I’ll dispense of the brackets from here on) finished it’s cycling. They were then moved back into their larger tank, much to my relief, and everything went swell for a couple of months. Still, they had been poisoned and the long-term effects of this are part of what I keep in mind when trying to decipher what’s going on and what to do. I was feeding them flakes and granules that had previously been soaked, then learned about the need for greens and started adding that while still keeping them on a protein-rich diet, thinking that, as juveniles, they required it.
Second piece of information may seem anecdotic but it stays with me as I review all the possible explanations, and combinations thereof, for what’s happening now. I once gave them live bloodworms, some of which managed to burry themselves in the gravel. On December 2, 2017, I moved to a new studio(*) and in the process of moving their tank (keeping more than 100 L of their water and the bacteria in the filters alive) I saw that some of these worms were still alive in the gravel - which I didn’t touch or cleanse, for fear of losing useful bacteria and wanting to reintroduce my little ones in as much the same tank as possible. I kept wondering, though, about those worms and what if some had died, poisoning the water, but my NO2 readings were always zero.
<Always a risk. But once the dead animals have decayed, they shouldn't really affect water quality. A dead worm is really no different to uneaten fish food. Too much is bad, but one or two dead worms -- not a problem.>
The other parameters, then measured with stripes read electronically with an app (most unreliable as it turns out), showed a high GH (>21°d) which, based on the advice of someone I came to trust regarding goldfish, didn’t worry me, a KH of 10° on average, a pH of 7.2-7.4, 25 mg/l of Nitrates when at their maximum (which, again, although on the upper limit side of it, didn’t worry me too much and was the amount present in my tap water), and 25 to 35 mg/l of CO2. No Chlorine, as I have always let the water rest for 48h before water changes.
<None of this sounds bad, apart from the CO2. The problem with CO2 is deciding the "safe" level. CO2 displaces oxygen, so you have to dose with CO2 extremely carefully. I would not be using CO2 in a Goldfish aquarium though. Goldfish eat most plants! In any case, 30 mg/l is the usual level for CO2 in planted tanks with small fish. I would think the level you have is too high for big fish (which need more oxygen). Makes me wonder why it is so high. Not enough aeration? Water from an aquifer that has a lot of dissolved CO2? (Think of Perrier water! -- some mineral water underground picks up CO2 under pressure, not usually enough to be fizzy, but too much for fish. Allow to "de-gas" overnight before using.)>
(* my new studio has some outside space where I managed to bring a 1000 L cubic cistern (generally used for agricultural storage) to build an out-of-ground pond for my little ones (1m high for thermal inertia). The weather is freezing now where I live but as soon as it stops freezing, the cistern will start to be planted appropriately and zooplankton introduced, left to find its balance and then become the new home for my fishes - or so I hope.)
<Sounds good.>
Because since learning a bit more about low-tech I had had the hope of gradually planting the tank enough that I could cut the filters, two things started happening that are the third piece of information (the other ones unfolding in the text) : one, I didn’t siphon as much anymore in order for the mulm to form and the gravel to become enriched for the plants ; two, I started adding more plants and ordered a bunch from a well-established Internet shop with good reputation. The water parameters on the darned app kept telling me everything was fine - no Nitrites, never more than 25 mg/l of Nitrates, GH and KH same as before, pH stable around 7.4. Let me say here that I know strips aren’t as reliable as drops, thing is I was (and became even more) financially pretty short so I went on with the stripes until I recently finally acquired a set of tests for pH, GH, KH, NO2, and NH4/NH3 (still need to buy the NO3 test, which I continue measuring with the stripes or at the LFS).
Because of the good reputation of the plant shop and the feedback I had received from others on the forum I was on, I didn’t disinfect the plants and just washed them carefully, removing any « junk » (foam, metal rings). On December 22, 2017, two days after introducing them, G. showed 3 dots (spots) on it’s tail. They were translucent (bright when light shone through) and yellowish rather than white. They seemed to be originating from within the fin itself. Having read so much about the dreaded Ich, not knowing what else it could be and considering that, *if* it was indeed Ich (which the only answer I received on the forum suggested, pictures provided), immediate action was required, I started treating the same day with eSHa Exit combined with eSHa 2000 (their combination is promoted as being synergistic by the brand), two products that are rather mild and generally acknowledged to be efficient.
<I agree than the two eSHa products work well together.>
Six days later none of the dots had changed one iota. I filtered with carbon to clear the water from the medicine and remained super vigilant on the evolution of those mysterious spots. During the course of the treatment, on day 2, all 3 were unusually quiet, with an occasional little stampede as if something had suddenly frightened them. I was very concerned. L. would sometimes abruptly make 2 or 3 darting movement then stop as abruptly. H. seemed on edge. This behavior gradually subsided. Since the dots were not Ich as far as I could tell, my research and queries among other fish keepers led me to believe it was either Lymphocystis (unlikely as per aspect, development and symptoms) ; some tumor or cyst (discarded since they disappeared on G.) ; epitheliocystis (still an option) ; papillosum cyprini (but the illustrations I saw, the white wax aspect, didn’t match what I could observe and later developments ruled out the option) ; henneguya (same comment) ; or SVC (spring viraemia).
<Viral infections are tricky to diagnose, but luckily, not common. Environmental issues are far more common.>
There was, however, to the best of my understanding, nothing I could do at that point except remain observant and vigilant, which I did, all the while continuing with my weekly 1/4 water changes and feeding routine (3-4 small portions per day, which I now understand is too much, one day of diet per week). By the end of January I noticed there was a new little dot on G.’s dorsal fin and, to my utter horror, a similar little dot had appeared on L.’s dorsal fin. Their behavior was unchanged, no one was scratching, rubbing or flashing (if ‘flashing’ looks like, as defined on thegab.com, « fish is throwing itself against or rubbing against decorations »), and everyone was eating enthusiastically.
<Good.>
There’s still more to tell so, to cut it short : the one on G.’s dorsal developed a fungal aspect (cotton white) that disappeared on its own, the one on L.’s dorsal became double - two tiny little specks making an elongated shape.
<Sounds more like Anchor Worm (Lernaea spp.) than anything else. Very common on Goldfish that have been farmed outdoors. Can leave scars or wounds that become infected.>
The dots on G. progressively disappeared, seeming to melt into his/her fins, and are indistinguishable today. Those on L.’s dorsal are still there and, contrary to G.’s, are definitely white. For the rest, they haven’t moved or multiplied. There never was any visible irritation or lesion anywhere on their body.
Early February, they gradually started yawning and gulping at the surface - L. much less so. They would yawn repeatedly, come gulping air or hovering beneath the surface obviously taking in oxygen, and would occasionally have a sudden brief jerking motion. I should mention that H. had *always* done some gulping, from the very beginning, mostly in the evening. Since the water was well oxygenated and he/she was the only one to do it back then, I had thought that maybe this was an idiosyncrasy of his/her, or possibly a sequela from the Nitrite poisoning. When this behavior intensified for H. begin February, and the yawning started, G. then L. started doing it too (L. almost never gulps but does yawn and shows little sudden movements from time to time).
<I do wonder if the gulping is to do with the high CO2 level, which seems much higher than it should be.>
Obviously (to me at least) something was affecting their gills and/or there was a lack of oxygen in the tank (which had always preoccupied me a bit because of the plants at night, and I would turn the airstone on for the night). Except for the yawning, gulping and/or hovering beneath the surface, and the occasional jerking motions (which ranged from what looks like a sudden spasm, or sudden darting, or shaking of the head, or movement of the head towards the side of their body (H.) as if trying to reach their side doing a U-turn), there were no common, obvious behavioral symptoms pointing to flukes - no scratching/rubbing, no labored breath as in gasping, no swelling of the gills that I could see or them remaining wide open, no isolation, no excessive production of mucus (though I’m not sure what that would look like - just that I didn’t notice anything different on their body, even under increased scrutiny with a flash lamp) .… They were still happily doing their little pea dances, eating, swimming about, and responding to my presence.
I was advised to treat with salt - the whole tank since the three of them were affected. Trouble is, I didn’t dare do it, not only because of all the plants in there and the snails (Melanoides tuberculata) that would be quite difficult to find and pull out, but because A) I still wasn’t sure about the diagnose and B) although natural, the treatment seemed to me far from being trivial, the osmotic shock being as much a stress on the fish as on the supposed parasites.
<I would NOT be using salt.>
Further reading and queries for advice (all my research so far was in French only and no one was able to positively state that the treatment wouldn’t harm my little ones if they did *not* have parasites) persuaded me to hold off with it for the time being. Not that I wasn’t anxious to act and do something, believe me I was beside myself with worry and still am, but I couldn’t bring myself to do the suggested salt treatment although I did buy some to have at hand. What I did instead, on February 7, not necessarily clever but IMHO safer, was administer eSHa 2000 for a short treatment (4 days), since the product is supposed to also treat gill flukes. Nothing changed.
<Yes, a good idea; though neither will treat Anchor Worms or viral infections.>
On February 8 I noticed what seemed to me to be the onset of apathy. A strong word for what I observed - which was akin to : moments of absence, them staying close together in a corner without moving, overall way more quiet than usual albeit responsive and eating - but having read that apathy could set in very gradually and was therefore sometimes missed, I believe it is the appropriate label. I also saw (quite a shock to me) tiny, really thin little worms of about 3-5 mm long - which to the best of my research for identification are said not to be a cause for worry (meanwhile the fishes were still having an occasional shaking movement which I since learned *could* be perfectly normal, baffling as it is to me for their movement do look totally out of synch so to speak, not quite normal but ... what do I know ?!).
The next day I started doing daily 15% water changes with bottled water, the idea being to gradually neutralize the environment, my tap water reading 25 mg/l of Nitrates with the stripes. I turned on the airstone mid-afternoon on top of during the night. Water movement from the upper internal filter had never ceased. On February 10, I installed a heater with the idea of gradually bringing the t° up to 22°C. The onset of apathy had pointed to SVC as possible so warming up the water (which was at 16° and without any heater thus far) could help. H. and G. were having 8-10 yawns per hour (before the t° started to increase) - not every hour all day long, sometimes it was 2-3 per hour. The other hypothesis then was persistent white spots, which I find hard to believe since there was never, to my knowledge, any Ich to begin with - but again, what do I know ?
There are many, many more observations I’m not writing down for sake of - well, maybe not keeping it short at this point but trying to. I hope you'll bear with me. Along with the daily 15% bottled water changes (that I stopped doing on February 16) I had vacuumed all the mulm, degradation meaning use of O2 and I was still worried the fishes were lacking oxygen. I do not believe this anymore. I was also having my water tested at the LFS with drops, knowing the strips were possibly wrong and because I was concerned about ammonia since all the increased air movement had brought the pH up. The measures were : no Nitrites/Nitrates (my strips were showing 18 mg/l of NO3), no NH4, pH of 8 (6.8 on strips), GH of 15 (>21°d on strips) and KH of 11 (10 on strips). February 14 I finally had the great idea to start researching the situation in English - and boy what a difference.
Among the pieces of information I haven’t written so far is the fact that, despite having wondered about the impact of it since the beginning, I had been smoking in the same room as their tank - which is open. I’m not a chain-smoker and the room was well aerated but still. I stopped doing that mid-February. Another fact is that I had washed the windows (actually so that clearer light could come in for the plants, what with my desk lamp) and cannot, for the life of me, remember if I’d have been so stupid as to spray the product inside. Outside I sprayed directly on the (closed) window, and I think that inside I sprayed it on the sponge outside of the room. Yet I have to factor in this possible source of poisoning, while noting that the yawning/gulping had started before already.
February 17 I finally bought water tests in drops (except the NO3, which I should be able to buy this week). Since then I went back to the LFS though, unsure about my readings and particularly concerned about NH4 considering the elevated pH (8-8.5). So far all the parameters are good, meaning no NH4, no NO2/NO3 (no NO3 as per the LFS), pH unchanged, GH/KH increased this Sunday (19°d/12°d, but I do find these two tests tricky to make) probably due to my mixing 50-50 tap water (hard) and bottled water during that last weekly change in the idea of going back to full tap water changes. I haven’t continued raising the t° above 20°. In fact, after reading throughout WWM, I started gradually lowering it back to 18° (it’s at 19° now). Maybe that was a wrong move. I also started giving them much less to eat, though I had been giving them vitamin rich foods to help their system with whatever is going on (Spirulina tablets - plain 100% for human consumption, great success by the way - and I tried a goji berry fully rehydrated and without any seed, great success too but does seem a bit exotic so I didn’t try it again ; along with the usual frozen food (daphnia, white mosquito larvae, krill) and occasional living brine or daphnia).
Before summing things up and asking you my questions (that is if you’re still reading, I do apologize for the novel…), I would like to mention that, after the first distribution of Spirulina (February 16), not only were they full of beans again (the apathy had started to subside with increased t°) but H. was missing 2 scales ; this must have happened when they were « battling » around the tablets. The wound was and remains neat, without a trace of infection. However, I subsequently noticed that H.’s body wasn’t as smooth as it used to be, its flanks seeming somewhat coarse-grained *from the inside*. More concerning to me, I noticed that, on the lower flanks, the scales seemed to somehow have more space between them, with one spot in particular looking as though a scale was missing except it’s not. The best I can describe it is as an indentation. Yesterday and this morning I noticed this on his/her other side too (the one with the 2 missing scales), and also close to his/her head. It’s very subtle and easy to miss, yet having been watching them attentively since the very beginning, it is obvious to me (I shall include a picture). Since the wound of the missing scales was neat and clean, I did not apply any medicine - counting instead on strengthening the immune system with food and keeping the water clean. But something seems up, wrongly so, with the integrity of H.’s skin/scales - which may or may not be related to the symptoms they all share. I tend to think not but really I don't know.
The latest behavioral change to date is with H., who since yesterday is acting somewhat aggressive with G. (the usual bully when food arrives). Less so with L. although H. tries to nibble both of them on their body, which happened before between all of them and which I attribute(d) to the smell they all give off when they’ve eaten something like krill (or bloodworms which I don't give anymore). I understand this new behavior may be due to lack of space, yet considering the overall picture and the unprecedented gesture, I am perplexed. What happens is : when G. comes near the surface (probably to gulp - sad sigh), H. gives him a strong nib to claim the space as if there was food there, and then makes an « angry » shot at whatever would be there on the surface. I don’t mean to anthropomorphize, « angry » and « aggressive » just describe best what H. is doing. In one such instance the angry shot following aggressively chasing G. away from the surface ended up being on the filter and it made such a sound that I understood the strength of his ‘attacking’ motion. G. flees away, sometimes making a splash on the surface upon H.’s move. L. is careful not to be in the way. Could be that the picking order is changing (G. used to be the bossy one), that their tank has become insufferably too small (they’re now about 7 cm « tall », 9 cm with the tail for G. and L., 10 cm for H. - and the outside pond is unfortunately not near ready to receive them), or that, since I’ve been feeding them much less, H. is on edge, feeling hungry.
As of today, the situation is : excessive yawning, excessive gulping and hovering below the surface (sometimes the hovering will last minutes), occasional erratic movements of various kinds. All are eating, none is apathetic. They swim about and come to me when I show up (returning from the kitchenette where I smoke, doing my research on all things related to them). Since yesterday they nibble at each other. Venturi was added on the lower filter a few days ago with fresh air coming into the room, there’s plenty surface movement for gas exchange although no waterfall effect, airstone comes on in the evening for the night. Water parameters are as stated : no NO2/NO3, no NH4, elevated pH due to maximum oxygenation (to the detriment of the plants, which also is of concern to me as per overall equilibrium of the tank), GH/KH in good ranges.
Along with any feedback and impressions you might already have offered in the course of reading this, here are the questions I would really appreciate your perspectives on :
- Could they be infected with gill flukes (or other parasitic illness) and still not show any rubbing/flashing or other symptoms (I’m afraid the answer is yes…) ? If so or even in doubt, would it be best to administer a treatment and which one would you recommend ? (I bought Gdex from eSHa, supposed to be harmless for plants and filter, not known to ill affect snails ; active molecule is Praziquantel which doesn’t seem to have the best reviews here but is the « go-to » on French-speaking websites and forums).
<Praziquantel is a default worm treatment, but not especially good. Flubendazole is better, actually killing worms. Praziquantel causes convulsions in the gut, which hopefully causes the worms to detach. Doesn't work reliably, so a second course may be needed a week or so after the first.>
- If their gills (bright red for what I can see of them) have been burned or otherwise damaged from the initial Nitrite peak and a possible NH4 poisoning (meaning, before I specifically tested for them), from my smoking in the room before I stopped or from my possible carelessness with the window-cleansing product (geez), what else could I do to help them heal aside from good nutrition and good water conditions ? Salt after all ?
<Gills will heal; salt not needed.>
- Do you believe their yawning and gulping is due to lack of O2 despite venturi, surface movement and airstone (not to mention the plants who, granted, aren't in optimal conditions anymore to properly photosynthesize) ?
<Absolutely. High levels of photosynthesis will cause rapid pH changes. Not likely if you have a high KH, but some plants (such as Vallisneria and Egeria) remove KH, so look for changes in pH between morning (before the lights are on) and afternoon (after the lights have been on 6-8 hours).>
- I understand that yawning is a cleaning trick but since they’re doing it so often and also gulping, since water parameters and general conditions, to my understanding, are good (save for the space…), what would you believe is at case here ?
<Yes.>
- Would you resume increasing water t° up to 22°C or let it lower to 18°C ?
<Either is fine for Goldfish, and unlikely to be the problem. Of course, 18C water will have more oxygen in it!>
- In your opinion, could the material of the tank (polypropylene) be a, if not the, causal factor, gradually becoming porous and releasing toxins despite allegedly being non-toxic ?
<If food grade plastic, should be 100% safe.>
- What do you make of the gravel, not only as per hidden (decaying ?) worms, but mostly knowing it hasn’t been washed since being installed, only siphoned on its surface ? - Could it (gravel) be releasing toxic gas despite absence of characteristic smell ?
<Unlikely if the water is reasonably well oxygenated. Oxygen neutralises the 'bad' chemicals quickly enough to make them safe.>
- Would you advise against giving them 100% Spirulina tablets and if so, why ? What about goji berries (for Vit. C) ? - What do you make of H.’s skin change in observable structural integrity (though it *is* a challenge to describe it properly) and the coarse-grained aspect of his/her flanks seeming to originate from the inside ? Do you relate it with the other symptoms and if so, how ?
<A varied diet is always good, and I would recommend against nothing but Spirulina as their food. Goldfish will thrive on algae-based pellets that have some fish meal or shrimp meal in them. The sorts of pellets used to feed Hypostomus-type catfish are ideal.>
- Same question regarding his most recent behavior, i.e. not allowing G. to gulp/come to the surface and then making an « angry » sucking motion on the surface ? - Something I haven’t been able to solve despite looking at illustrations of gills/operculum on the Internet : is it normal for the operculum to present a thin "fin-like" border (~1 mm) along their opening ? All 3 have them and I noticed it long before any of the current troubles but I was wondering.
<There is indeed a thinner skin behind the large gill cover scale, so what you see is normal.>
- Finally, when I look at the color chart for pH measure, I find it to be matching the 8.5, whereas at the FLC they write down 8. Isn’t 8.5 too much and how, with such a high KH, could I best bring it down considering the overall situation (I did read on the subject but/and am pretty confused) ?
<pH 8.5 is rather high. Can you mix the tap water with rainwater or RO water? Optimal for Goldfish would be around 10-20 degrees dH, pH 7-8.>
This letter turned out to be way longer than I had intended, I do apologize and hope you won’t discard it for that reason, at least not without letting me know. None of my fishes are looking close to death, thank Goodness, yet there’s obviously a problem and, looking forward to them living a long and happy life in the outside pond I am creating for them, I am anxious to straighten up the situation, which has been consuming my nerves and attention to the point of obsession. Fact is, not only are they in my care for better or worse, hence my need and responsibility to take proper care of them, I also have grown strongly attached to all three and can’t stand the idea of whatever’s up slowly eating at them with me not knowing what to do.
<Understood.>
I’ll leave it at that (…) and thank you from the depth of my heart for any and all help, advice, comments and perspectives you may share for the benefit of my little ones and anyone encountering a similar situation. I would answer to the best of my abilities should you require any more specific information (who knows). I keep my fingers crossed for a reply, and attach (in small files) my best picture of H.’s left flank and a picture of the tank to give you a better understanding of the settings.
With much appreciation and gratitude to all of you,
Wishing you all the best,
Eleonore
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish - Excessive yawning/gulping, skin integrity, water parameters in check       3/3/18
Dear Neale and all at WWM,
Thank you very much for the prompt reply. I did further research based on your answers and am writing in the hope that you’ll agree to clarify a few things for me. Also, it would seem from some of your responses that a) I probably wasn’t explicit enough regarding some of the info, and b) some elements I wrote about (and really I hope that you won’t take this the wrong way) could have been glossed over, which would be very understandable since I wrote a lot but still troubles me as per accurate understanding of the situation and hence feedback on it. So, hoping you’ll be willing to clarify a few things, I provide some info and respond in blue to your answers in the text. I also highlight *in bold* some pieces of information for consideration. I’ve reformatted the text somewhat for ease of reading. Thank you, truly.
<Hello Eleonore. For some reason our email client has ignored the "blue font" you used, so everything's all the same colour. Very difficult to read. Can you just send another email, including whatever questions you want to ask, or comments you want to share? That'd be much easier than wading through a very long, threaded email. Thank you, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish - Excessive yawning/gulping, skin integrity, water parameters in check       3/3/18

Hi Neale,
Sure, I’ll do that.
´Till soon, thank you,
Eleonore
<Looking forward to hearing from you! Neale.>

Re: Goldfish - Excessive yawning/gulping, skin integrity, water parameters in check     3/4/18
Dear Neale and All at WWM,
I hope this letter finds you well.
<Yes, thank you.>
As my previous letter couldn’t be read properly by your email client, I’m starting over, focusing on (re)describing the situation at hand since writing, clarifying some elements you responded to, and list all the questions I have in the hope you’ll be able to help me get to the bottom of what’s going on and what best to do. Should you care to go over my previous letter for sake of completeness and continuity, I am attaching it here in PDF (which your email client should confirm is virus-free). As I mentioned to you, some of the answers you made led me to believe that several elements of information (that I am not repeating here) were understandably glossed over.
<Understood.>
First : water parameters as per yesterday (March 3) are pH 8-8.5 ; KH 11°d ; GH 15°d ; no NO2/NO3/NH4 ; t° varies between 18°C and 19.5°C (cold air coming in/heat of the lamp).
<Hardness and water chemistry fine; temperature fine for Goldfish; pH a bit high. I would definitely investigate lowering this somehow. Ideally, mixing some of your tap water with rainwater or RO water. I would not use a pH buffer as a way to lower the pH.>
RO is pretty difficult for me where I live (without a car and not being particularly strong) but I will make it happen. In the meantime, I’m mixing tap water and bottled water pH 7.7).
<A definite improvement!>
All *3* of them (common Goldfish, 2 of them Shubunkin) are yawning and gulping air excessively (as in : yawning not just occasionally but throughout the day several times per hour ; same for gulping which will sometimes last more than 10 seconds). As of yesterday, one of them, besides yawning and gulping, will also do loud, strong « popping » sounds at the surface, seeming to throw his/her head slightly out of the water purposefully (like lifting the water with his/her ‘nose’), creating bubbles.
<Could be respiratory stress. This does happen at extremes of pH. Try lowering the pH as described, and see what happens. I would not change a lot of water at once though. Maybe change 25% of the water first, introducing new water with a pH around 7 to 7.5. That would be ideal for Goldfish. Do a series of such changes across the next week to allow the Goldfish to acclimate to the new conditions.>
All 3 of them have occasional jerking movements, erratic swimming, darting, and what looks like spastic movements.
<Again, typical of environmental stress. Whether the pH is the issue, or something else in the water, such as copper, is hard to say. But water changes will flush out the offending chemical, reducing stress.>
I have not seen any of them rubbing against decor but have seen U-turn kind of movements as if trying to get at their own sides, shaking head, making something like an erratic, spastic loop in plain water (not for fun), and the darting. All 3 of them nibble at each other on body, fins, mouth and eyes (this behavior intensified since first writing and is today pretty intensive indeed). All 3 of them are 6 cm long (tail not included and meter in hand), tank is approx. 120 L (not counting decor). I had sent you a picture so you could have a clearer notion. I’m acutely aware this is too small, they are meant to be moved to a 1000 L « pond » asap.
<Yes.>
Clarifying some elements you responded to. I do not inject CO2 in the water and never have. I included this measure to be thorough, because it was part of the measures taken by that App I was using to test the water, which proved to be utterly unreliable - cf. Nitrates at 18 or 25 mg/l when they show null with proper test kit. Last couple of reading with this App showed the CO2 levels in the tank at 15 mg/l and gave varying results with the tap water.
<Understood.>
Regarding aquifer possibly loaded in CO2 and your advice to let the water « de-gas » during the night : as I had stated, I let my water rest for 48h before WC, which I gather would be plenty of time to de-gas if aquifer was indeed loaded with CO2. Correct ?
<Correct.>
Regarding lack of oxygen : although it had initially concerned me as being the problem, I really do not believe anymore this to be the case nor to be what causes the yawning and gulping. The tank is clean, the water regularly changed (currently twice a week), exchange surface is large, one filter has the venturi on, the other is making efficient surface movement, and the airstone works during the evening and night which does not prevent the fish from sometimes gulping in the morning. Moreover, I understand from my research and queries that the elevation of pH is caused by the increased level of air in the water and increased water movement.
<Sort of. Increasing the time water mixes with air drives off dissolved CO2. So in theory, pH should rise because the amount of carbonic acid (i.e., dissolved CO2) goes down. But as far as I know, there's nothing in the air that actively goes into the water, raising the pH.>
At the LFS they believe that, if anything, there is too much O2 in the water now. Sounds strange to me, what do you think ?
<Extremely unlikely. Supersaturation of oxygen in freshwater tanks requires an extremely high rate of water movement and truly ferocious aeration!>
Also, they told to me that when GH/KH/pH are within ranges, that O2 then “per definition” also is (I was asking them why they didn't perform measures for O2 in the water samples). I almost bought an O2 test kit to settle the question but decided to buy the N03 test instead as I had to choose expense-wise. Finally, doesn’t it take quite a lot before there’s a lack of O2 in a clean tank with regular water changes and two internal filters making for about 6 times the volume of water per hour ?
<Indeed. And if oxygen is too low, fish will be lethargic, and obviously hanging at the surface, slowing passing water through their mouth and into the gills.>
Regarding pH measures as per effect of plants (Vallisneria, Egeria) on KH : I haven’t done this before/after measure yet, but the KH is steadily high and, if I’m not mistaken, would have to sink to 3 or 5 in order for the pH to move - please correct me if I misunderstood. Also, would there be high levels of photosynthesis with insufficient lighting equipment ?
<Your are correct.>
Back to the water resting for 48h, the stripes/app being unreliable, the fish being small rather than big (or so I’d surmise, 6 cm body), …
Regarding the worms I had mentioned : I should have made clear that these tiny worms are floating about in the water or moving on the wall of the tank at bottom level. They are not attached on the body of the fish and, to the best of my research, are Detritus Worms. They show no interest in the fishes and it's rather mutual.
<Indeed. Sounds like these are Planarians, and pose no threat.>
Regarding Anchor Worms : I had been looking into this possibility as well when trying to figure out what the mysterious dots were that were not Ich. As I understand it, Anchor Worms are among the rare parasites that one can and *will* see with the naked eye, as they clearly « hang » r at least protrude on the fish’s body. The tiny double dot on L.’s dorsal showed up end of January : if it was Anchor Worm, I believe I would have seen the actual worm already, wouldn’t I ?
<Anchor worms are quite obvious, yes; maybe 2-3 mm long.>
Also, as I had stated, there were never any visible wounds or scars on either of their bodies. So something may have sounded like Anchor Worm to you, but wouldn’t it also quite clearly look like it to me, at least by now ?
<Yes.>
If you would maintain that they have Anchor Worms despite me seeing no wounds/scars/worms attached to them and it being well over a month for the tiny double dot, could you please explain to me the rationale for this hypothesis ?
<Visible parasites; flashing; Finrot or fungus on the fins.>
As I'm trying to educate myself on all things GF, understanding things is useful and helpful (although not always possible).
Right. I was aiming at gill worms, and only used eSHa 2000 then, not the combination. Viral infection remains one of the strong hypothesis so far regarding the mysterious dots (see previous letter) and is the reason why I had started increasing the t° (and was asking you about resuming doing it or not). Considering the weekly water changes, clean tank and good parameters (albeit elevated pH), would you say that insufficient space is the environmental issue at cause in the matter you were responding to here (mysterious dots) ? If not, what else ?
<Hard to say.>
You asked about olive wood being safe : trying to find the answer to that, I realized the wood is most probably not olive, but I haven’t yet identified what it is. I know it is a tropical rot-resistant wood (maybe mangrove ?) that used to be in aquariums with fishes. If however the safety of the wood was at cause, wouldn’t the effects of that have been felt and seen long ago already ? (Wood was placed in the tank begin October 2017, and had been boiled before that. It stopped releasing tannin within the first month).
<Aquarium store wood should be safe.>
FYI, regarding possible sources of outside poisoning : Since writing to you, I’ve distinctively remembered that I had switched to another product to clean the windows inside (the kind of environmental friendly cleansing products), which I did indeed spray on the sponge outside the room.
<Sounds harmless! Water changes should dilute any contamination.>
Regarding gravel possibly turning toxic you answered. Thank you, that’s good. And would bring me back to water being reasonably well oxygenated, thus probably *not* the cause for excessive yawning/gulping, which I read you write elsewhere would then signal an underlying problem – which is what I’m trying to figure out and am asking for help with…
Loose ends before listing my remaining questions anew :
- I understand that yawning is a cleaning trick but since they’re doing it so often and also gulping, since water parameters and general conditions, to my understanding, are good (save for the space…), what would you believe is at case here ?
<Unknown. Goldfish normally gulp at the surface if they need air, but respiratory distress may cause similar symptoms, so hard to pin down one definite explanation.>
Besides the questions raised above, here is what I would hope you can help me with :
- I have read (including on WWM) that Goldfish can have occasional odd movements that are perfectly normal - like we would scratch ourselves for instance, at least that is how I understand it. What do « odd » movements that are considered normal look like with GF ?
<E.g., fish occasionally yawn, but if they're doing it all the time, that's odd!>
- What in your opinion, considering everything I wrote so far, are the possible explanations for the jerking / darting / spastic / U-turn / head shaking movements I observe, since it cannot be ammonia/nitrite burns ?
<My best guess would be the wrong pH. But could be something else...>
Also : since starting to write this, there have been several « bong » sounds from one of them hitting the wall of the tank so maybe time has come to add ‘flashing’ to the list (the fish was not plowing into the wall but swimming alongside it). - Could they be infected with flukes or parasites (either internal or external) since at least a month and yet still not show any rubbing/scratching against decor/gravel ?
<Possibly. To be clear: we're best able to help aquarists dealing with common problems that have obvious symptoms.>
- Can these usual clear symptoms (scratching/rubbing) never show and there still be a parasitic infection ?
<Definitely. Many parasites can exist at low levels, not causing 'harm' as such, but enough for occasional scratches or flashing. Think of a dog with a few fleas. Unlikely to die because of them, or even get noticeably sick, but will certainly scratch its ears!>
- You advised Flubendazole : aiming at what specifically ?
<Normally used to treat worms.>
- If you believe there is a parasitic infection, of which sort specifically would you say it’d be ?
<No idea at all, I'm afraid.>
- Absent the obvious scratching/rubbing and there being no other symptoms that what I have described (no clamped fins etc.), the LFS recommended I did half a dose of Gdex (since I had already bought it). Would half a dose improve things if they’re infested with parasites (which I do believe they are but cannot affirm without scrapes) ? Could it do harm if they’re not infested with parasites ?
<Personally, either do the full dose, or don't use it at all. Half-doses always seem a bit pointless to me, especially given what we know about antibiotic resistance.>
- You did not comment at all on the coarse-grained aspect of the flanks on H.’s body (further descriptions included in my first letter). There have since been new developments : another scale lost, wound is neat and not infected ; more concerning was the barely noticeable (the light had to be just right) little whitish « hole » (about 1 mm wide, very thin in depth) that I did notice on his/her head on Wednesday, Feb. 28. So now I was looking at HITH/HLLE, which resonated with the issue of skin integrity on the flanks.
<HLLE is really more cichlids and other advanced fish (i.e., Perciformes) rather than Cyprinids and the like. That said, Hexamita can infect Goldfish, and there is some sort of connection between the Hexamita parasites and the appearance of HLLE and HITH, at least in some instances.>
I crushed a good quality vitamin complex (for humans) and let the granules absorb it in a bit of tank water, fed them, and to the best of my efforts couldn’t see the hole anymore the next day (though again, light had to be just right). Yesterday I again gave them vitamins this way. What I also noticed : on the scale that would be the central scale on his flank, just below the ‘sensory line row of scales’, there is a super tiny « hole » or dot (black) that looks just as if someone had pricked a pin on that scale. I see nothing coming out of it or protruding in any way. What do you make of all this ?
<Do look at some photos of lateral line scales, as they do have small holes in them. The other scales don't normally have holes in them. Do also look at pictures of "black spot disease" in Goldfish. This is caused by a parasite that lives in ponds and doesn't survive its complete life cycle in aquaria. But newly purchased fish may have the black spots if they were bred in ponds. Oh, and also look at ammonia burns. These can add dark spots or patches on scales.>
- Behavior wise : what do you make of the intense nibbling at each other ?
<Not much, really!>
- Also behavior wise : what do you make of H.’s loud « popping » sounds at the surface as described in the beginning of this letter ?
<No idea. But given the variation between Goldfish breeds, it might simply be that H has a mouth or gill cavity that causes more of a pop sound when he/she swallows air.>
- Finally, taking a moment to consider all the elements presented, what do you believe is going on here and how to act upon it ?
<My first step would be to lower the pH.>
There might well be several « different » things going on, but with environmental conditions being rather good except for the space probably becoming too small (them being 6 cm long notwithstanding), what would be behind the excessive yawning, gulping, nibbling, and odd and erratic movements ?
<I don't believe a 120 litre aquarium is too small for fish this size.>
I thank you for your understanding… I'd really like to get to the bottom of all this. Thank you again for the inputs of your first answer, Neale. I hope my returning with additional questions and information won’t be too much of a hassle or, Goodness forbids, irritation. And I really thank you for your attention with this second letter. I hope you’ll agree to treat it and look forward to receiving helpful replies.
All the best to you and All at WWM,
Eleonore
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Goldfish - Excessive yawning/gulping, skin integrity, water parameters in check     3/4/18

PS : Oups, forgot one question...
If I go ahead with Gdex (Praziquantel) or another treatment you recommend,
is it safe to administer while H. still has 3 missing scales ?
Thank you,
Eleonore
<Should be safe, yes. Neale.>

Goldfish with red lumpy operculum     7/25/17
I have a 60-65 gallon aquarium with 6 comet goldfish, 1 black moor, and 2 Chinese or Siamese Plecos. I have a hang on side filter system for 85 gallon tank and a submersible pump for circulation. There are variegated
philodendrons rooting in tank. When the tank was first started 2 years ago, my daughter threw some crawdads and snails and mollusks from a creek in with the fish. The snails and mollusks were eaten and the crawdads eventually killed off each other. Saturday's are 10% water change and vacuum days.
<Good. I'd increase this to 20-25%>
Water conditioner is added with new water....sometimes distilled, other times tap.
<Likely no conditioner necessary, and is the distilled nec... Oh, I see this below>
We have hard well water.
<How hard? GH, KH?>
Ph is usually in low to mid 7s. Ammonia is always less than or equal to 0.25 ppm. One in the past I noticed a fish with red streaking of its tail fin that went away untreated.
<Ahh; then I WOULD keep using the conditioner, or store the new change water a week in advance of use>
The black moor was a Wal-Mart guilt buy that brought ich to the tank a year ago. It was treated with malachite green....something that turned water ugly almost opaque green. It cleared up fast. Now. 1 week ago, the largest goldfish had a lumpy red operculum on right side. Looked like a mass.
<I see this in your pix>
It wasn't there the day before....I remember because family was visiting and looking at fish. Oh--temp of tank is around 70 in summer and cooler in winter. By that evening the lump had spread like a thick red ring with extra slime (??) at periphery of lesion.
<Good description>
I don't have an isolation tank. I added 1 tablespoon aquarium salt to each 5 gallons and put a heater in water....max temp it gets to is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.... pulled out my charcoal and floss filters (2 of each.). The initial site looks better if not pale with darker splotches. I thought it was working but next day the red ring crossed over top of head
and to other side. The margin that advances is very red and highlights the periphery of each scale. I don't know septicemia in fish but it's the closest I can match image to. However, all fish are acting fine eating fine. No flashing, rubbing. Only the one fish has symptoms.
<Thankfully; perhaps it has a/the weaker immune system>

We had one fat bivalve that was missing it's creature the day before I noticed signs. It was only one and it hid in gravel under big decorative rock forms. Can't swear fish ate it but they eat everything. I bought some quick cure..... for what???? ....my daughter swore she saw ich and was frantic....so treated 3 days.....did 25 percent water change. The fish looks same except the ever advancing red line with snotty margins.
<Mmm; I wouldn't use the Quick Cure here... too toxic, and won't help>
The first picture is day one....I know it's a side view but it really just looked thickened. I thought is it a tumor?
<Yes; this is my assessment as well>
The second picture was the next morning. I tried to swab site and look at it under a scope, but I wasn't sure what I was looking for. I know what dog parasites and Protozoans look like but not fish. I saw little Coccidia like clusters....ovals with a circle inside. I also saw a couple budding yeast like ovals. This may be a wild goose chase though. I read many posts and went through dichotomous keys....never found the answer.
<I suspect this is a tumorous growth, and not a pathogenic condition (Sporozoan, Microsporidean...) as if the latter, most all fishes would be similarly afflicted>
Please help. I need to stop letting the kids put live edible wild caught critters in tank. I need to cut back on number of fish, but don't know where to move fish to....my husband is over more tanks. The water quality hasn't changed really. It fluctuates little. There is small amount of algae on glass but not much. Sonya
<I'll refer you here to our generic "Goldfish growths FAQs":
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GFGrowthsF7.htm
and the linked files of the same name above.
Not treatable.
Bob Fenner>

Fwd: Goldfish with red lumpy operculum  7/27/17
Thought I'd update.... I did 25% water change and changed filters and charcoal. The fish 24 hours later looks amazing relative to the day before.
<Great news!>
The swarming margin crossed over to other side and all that is left is little red ring. The right side - the original side - is discolored but not inflamed at all that I can tell...pale operculum and a c shaped crescent of black pigment. It truly looked like a mass and it changed so fast day to day. Thanks for your time. I've grown quite fond of my daughter's fish. I'd hate for anything to happen. I will do bigger percent water changes from now on. Thanks again!
<Incredible improvement... just by fixing the environment. Bob Fenner>

Question and pictures moor and 1 other goldfish      3/19/17
Alison; please re-size your images (90 some percent) and re-send. We can't accept large file sizes (yours are taking up more than half of our mail server space). Bob Fenner
Question and pictures moor and 1 other goldfish      3/19/17

Omg of course Bob, I'm so sorry, I am not so great with that stuff. Okay so for now here is the black moor. I added a pic of him about a week or so ago too so you can see him then and also the resized pics of what he looked like when I found him dead last night. :( he has this large black spot on him but of course I never noticed before because he was so black .
<Hard to know precisely what this is from the photo, but my money would be on an ammonia burn. The fish also seems to have a damaged cornea. In this situation I would suggest optimising water conditions (zero ammonia and nitrite, of course) and raising the hardness a little if your water is soft (Goldfish prefer hard water, so a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate per 5-10 gallons can help a lot). Avoid very cold conditions when keeping fancy
Goldfish; Moors are fairly robust, but even they don't like water colder than, say, 18 C/64 F, particularly if they're sick or damaged. Certainly, don't expose fancy varieties to frosty, overwintering conditions outdoors.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question and pictures moor and 1 other goldfish      3/19/17
Here is the other fancy fish that is now a weird tiny red spotted sick looking fish with a white sick hue to him. I hope you can see the pics? He is amazingly still alive after I took out the dead black telescope friend and put him in this different tank. He used to be a shiny silver grey color? His fin keeps clamping down he swims around all crazy. I'm so sad I don't know how to help!?
<Again, the red colouration of the fins suggests irritation (just as it would with humans) so I'd be looking at environmental conditions before anything else -- see my previous email. I'd also treat with an antibacterial or antibiotic as per Finrot just in case. Not Melafix or salt, but something more reliable, such as Kanaplex or eSHa 2000. By the way, that green-grey is the natural colour of Goldfish; they're all born that colour, and as they mature, they develop the colours we've bred into them. Some never quite change, which sometimes gives you interesting bronzy or brassy coloured fish that might not be as colourful as standard Goldfish but gives them an understated charm of their own. Cheers, Neale.>

Can Goldfish Develop Tumors?         9/17/16
Hello all:
<Hey Deb>
I have a plain old "feeder" goldfish from Petco that I bought years ago so he wouldn't get eaten. His name is Q-tip and he's about 16 or 17 years old now. He's in a 5 gallon tank
<Uhh; "bonsai'ed"; dwarfed from negative feedback from metabolites, lack of oxygen...
>
by himself and has been for many years now. Today, I spotted what looks like a growth (kind of gray-ish/reddish) in the middle of his back.
<I see this in your pic>
It's at the base of his dorsal fin, right where it connects. I initially thought it was a piece of food or feces that stuck to him, but it's not.
Any ideas on how I can help him?
<A real environment. Needs MUCH more room especially. Please read here re:

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshsystems.htm
and as much of the linked files above as it takes>
Thank you so much for your help.
Debbe
<Oh, and to answer your subject line (which you could've done by following our suggestion and searching WWM ahead of writing); yes; goldfish do develop tumors; but this bump is most likely a sore from this animals confinement alone.
Bob Fenner>

please help. Poisoned in a bowl /RMF; brusque as usual       7/10/16
hi
<Holly... what's with the lack of punctuation?>
i have had my goldfish, jack the fish, for 4-5 years. this past week i was out of town and having him fed. when i got home his bowl was terribly dirty.
<Uggh! Mate, goldfish are NOT bowl-fish. Yours has been Bonsai'd by metabolic poisoning.... >
i changed the water and cleaned the bowl and then two days (maybe 1 1/2) later my fish developed dark red spots all over his body. i added melaleuca to the water and salt yesterday. he is not looking any better today. however, he is eating and seems fine. i am really worried about him. i have included a pic. thanks so much for your help!
holly
<READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshsystems.htm
You want this fish to live some sort of quality existence? It's up to you to supply it. Bob Fenner>
please help /Neale       7/10/16

hi
i have had my goldfish, jack the fish, for 4-5 years. this past week i was out of town and having him fed. when i got home his bowl was terribly dirty. i changed the water and cleaned the bowl and then two days (maybe 1 1/2) later my fish developed dark red spots all over his body. i added melaleuca to the water and salt yesterday. he is not looking any better
today. however, he is eating and seems fine. i am really worried about him. i have included a pic. thanks so much for your help!
holly
<Hello Holly. Goldfish invariably sicken and die in bowls. Maybe quickly (most die within weeks of being purchased) but some survive for longer periods. As you've discovered, bowls contain so little water they can't dilute overfeeding problems. Apart from the fact your fish clearly has ammonia burns and likely bacterial secondary infections, I can't offer you any useful advice if you continue to keep him in a bowl. Just isn't viable. Daily water changes and treating with anti-Finrot medication will help in the short term, but longer term, you need to plan an aquarium, 25-30 gallons minimum. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm
Melaleuca products such as Melafix are extremely unreliable and potentially harmful, and salt provides no real value here. These two products sell well (and continue to be sold) because they're cheap, and those aquarists with little knowledge about fish healthcare make their purchases based on cost rather than usefulness. I can't think of any situation where Melaleuca is the answer, and salt is only useful in very specific situations, such as treating against Whitespot where copper isn't safe. Anyway, do read; do write back if you need some help going forwards. Cheers, Neale.>

Urgent at store now      6/21/16
I have a 20 gallon fish tank with three regular gold fish you'd get at a fair. I haven't got around to cleaning it so it a little dirty. My big orange one got stuck in a house. I got him out and he was swimming sideways but still alive. I've been keeping him up right all day and to keep him from going sideways. But now his face is turning a darker orange and the
top fin at the very top is getting red like veiny looking, his scales are coming off a little and his body is getting pale. If I let go he goes side ways and tries to make his left side facing down. Also one of his gills look swollen. Before all of this he was acting weird and wasn't swimming much and stayed at the bottom of the tank away from the other fish as much
as he could.
<Let me have you do some reading, Olivia, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm
Short term, do a big water change (say, 50%) and ensure the filter is working. Medicate as per Finrot, though not using something unreliable like Melafix, but instead a decent antibacterial or antibiotic, such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. Follow the instructions, and remember to remove carbon (if used) from the filter. Long term, 20 gallons will always be "tight" for a Goldfish, and something a bit bigger, 30 gallons or more, will make their lives much better. Bear in mind adults are the size of side plates! Hope this helps, Neale. PS, we're not an urgent care service but volunteers who dip into the email inbox once or twice a day! So if this email arrives later than you'd hoped, sorry about that.>
Re: GF... env. hlth., no rdg.         6/22/16

I sent an email about my goldfish just a second ago and my email won't open. So I'm gonna try it through message. I have a twenty gallon tank with three goldfish.
<Too many fish; too small space.>
I'm not up to par with everything like I should. And I also haven't cleaned there tank in a couple of weeks. My big orange gold fish got stuck in their house and when I got him out he went sideways but was alive. So I've held him straight all day. But he's getting worse. His head is turning a darker orange, the top of the top fin is blood red, two scales have come off, and he is very weak.
<The bloody areas on the fins are the beginning of Finrot; do a series of water changes, ideally 50% today, and 20-25% each day for the next 2-3 days, to freshen the tank up. Medicate as per Finrot, removing carbon from the filter. Add medicine *after* a water change to allow 24 hours to "soak into" your fish. Use a reliable Finrot medication, such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000, but not stuff like salt or Melafix.>
For about a week or two he's been very distant and stayed at the bottom of the tank in a corner mainly to hide. He's to big for the house so I think he went there as last resort to get away and got stuck. Please help I am driving to store right now. His left gill looks swollen or the right one is just not opening right one of the two. And when he slants he prefers to
have his left side down. If he goes right side down his body won't bend like it does vise versa.
<Do some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
And follow the links at top to the pages and pages of FAQs on Goldfish disease, almost always caused by environmental shortcomings. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? Hypochondria sans knowledge; the usual       5/10/16
<Jas, 14 megs of the same pix? >
Hi,
I don't have much experience with fish disease as I don't really get sick fish but just once every 15-24 months (except for the occasional Endler's female guppy getting skinny). Does my Gold Comet in these photos look like it has a fungal infection?
<More like "Spring" Viremia to me>

What medicine and frequency of dosing would you recommend? Currently I am stocked w/ Melafix, Pimafix,
<Worthless. PLEASE search on WWM and READ re these scams>
API Tetracycline, Furan-2, Kanaplex, Tetra ParasiteGuard, Mardel Clout, and Seachem  ParaGuard.
<None of these will treat viral troubles>

Here are some treatments I gave to my Gold Comet last month that may have or may not have contributed to this fungal infection by causing immuno-compromise:
<Wowzah!>
4/7/16 from 5:33-6:20pm put Comet in a bucket that had 12 tsp of table salt for 47 minutes
4/9/16 from 5:18-6:20pm put Comet in that same bucket again for 62 minutes Then I moved the Comet to a 5 gallon x-large bucket to be treated w/ Tetra ParasiteGuard in case it had internal parasites, anchor worms, or fish live
4/12/16, 12:04am poured dissolved 3/5 tablet of Parasite Guard inside to treat possible fish lice
4/17/16, 9:46am did 25% water change
4/17/16, 12:24pm dissolved 2/5 tablet of Parasite Guard before pouring it into the bucket
4/19/16, 4:31pm did 30% water change and then threw in 3/5 tablet of Parasite Guard (since upon reading the directions again realized I didn't have to dissolve the tablet prior to putting it in the bucket unless I had "soft water and/or acid water with low alkalinity")
4/23/16, 4:02pm did 25% water change and then threw in 1/2 tablet of Parasite Guard
5/5/16, 7:54pm did 25% water change <-- I actually should have done this 48 hours or 7 days after my last dosing of Parasite Guard on 4/23/16 depending on if I was treating for anchor worms and lice (water change after 1 week)
or not (water change after 48 hours)
Thanks,
Jason
<READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFinfectionsFAQs.htm
These issues are almost always a result of environmental issues. DO review Goldfish Systems on WWM, Water Quality, Filtration.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/10/16

I also have Seachem Focus and Seachem Garlic Guard
<Good products but of no use here
. B>

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/10/16
Hi Bob,
<Jason>
I read only about 25% of the linked article on Goldfish Infections that you provided as it is a very long read.
So I did a word search on "Viremia" and found just one post mentioning it.
Your response in that post was that it was not treatable directly. What do you mean by not treatable directly?
What should I do then?
<... read further? Improve the fish's health indirectly... through improved environment and nutrition principally
>
There is a possibility that my Comet along w/ my other fish in my 55 gallon tank (it was previously in this tank) may have had contact w/ Tetrahymena (Guppy Disease) since the bucket I used to clean my 55 gallon's largest HOB filter (the AquaClear 70) was previously used to clean the HOB filter (Fluval C2) of my 5.5 gallon tank that may have had Tetrahymena back in January as I lost all 30 guppies in there. I did disinfect the bucket on several occasions with Potassium Permanganate before using it to clean my AquaClear 70 filter. However, I read that Potassium Permanganate
is unable to kill some Protozoans like Tetrahymena- what do you think?
<Bleach... see WWM re>
How does Viremia compare to Tetrahymena- do they have similar symptoms and thus sometimes get mistaken for each other?
<? Not to me. You can take a look at my bio.... I've taught classes on fish pathology... written extensively on topics therein... I almost always use comet goldfish for presentations... they never disappoint; harboring a dozen or more pathogens...>
Can Viremia wipe out a tank full of Endler's Guppies, esp. affecting the females?
<.... not likely; no>
Though it is possible that my Guppies had Fish Tuberculosis instead of Tetrahymena or Columnaris according either you or Neale when we discussed this back in January. I did have a few fish that did have Fish TB symptoms
like a hunched back and skinniness.
<There are a few other causes of such symptoms>
Thanks,
Jason<Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/10/16

Hi Bob,
<Jas>
To improve the environment, I'll be sure not to put any unnecessary medications that could further immuno-suppress the Comet.
<Good>
It's going to be tough improving nutrition as he has only eaten maybe once about 3-4 weeks ago (some dry blood worms) and before that he didn't eat for about 4 weeks.
<Not good. A plug here for New Life's "Spectrum" pelleted... what I used exclusively for years w/ my Goldfish>
I might have to try something like frozen brine shrimp, frozen blood worms, or live food.
<Try the sinking pellets first. High palatability, complete nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/11/16
For sinking pellets, I have Hikari veggie and carnivore mini pellets.
Recently I also got the Hikari carnivore medium pellets.
<I see>
The only NLS brand stuff I have are jumbo FLOAT pellets which a lot of my fish don't care for (it also has a strange odor). So though I've read a lot of comments online boasting how good NLS brand is, these jumbo FLOAT pellets are the opposite of being "great".
<Thank you for this input>
For the NLS pellets you're recommending, what size and type (like there's something called Thera+) should I get to feed my sick Comet? I usually order things on Amazon.com.
Thanks,
Jason
<You could use their Thera; but I would just use the un-laced variety of a small size... Goldfish have no real teeth.
B>

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/13/16
On May 11th or the afternoon of May 10th, most of my Gold Comet's symptoms went away.
<Ah good>
When can I put him back in my 55 gallon tank which has 2 Kissing Gourami's, a Convict/Red-Point Honduran Cichlid Hybrid, Butterfly Koi, Tilapia (from a nearby stream), Clarias Fuscus (Hong Kong catfish), and Trinidad Pleco?
<Never. Not compatible with these others; and this tank is already overcrowded physiologically and more
>
Should I worry about transmission of Spring "Viremia" to any of these other fishes?
<Your GFs problems were environmental; caused by your poor choices.... stop writing and start reading. Re the needs of this mish mash you've tossed together. B>
I'm under the impression that he'll be more likely to eat if have him in the 55 gallon tank as compared to the 5 gallon white bucket I have him in right now.
Thanks,
Jason
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/13/16

Oh yeah, I also have a Yoyo Loach in that 55 gallon tank.
<....>

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/14/16
According to this presentation
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/microbiology/FishDisease/AquaticProg/documents/NEUSAHA.pdf:
"Dead or dying fish that are suspected to be infected with VHSV or SVC should be immediately submitted for evaluation to regional agencies."
My fish is neither dead nor dying. Is Spring Viremia such a rare disease in fish purchased at pet stores that it must be submitted to a wildlife agency when the fish is dying or has died?
<Mmm; could be other viral issue; but... the root cause here as already mentioned twice: Environmental>
Is it more likely that the Comet I purchased became a carrier while it was at a pet store (in this case Petco, which doesn't have the best reputation for having healthy fish) or that it was infected by water, water plants, and/or fish from a local Hawaiian stream?

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? Poisoned by treatments    5/15/16
According to this
http://bluecollarprepping.blogspot.com/2014/08/potassium-permanganate-for-water.html
:
2.5 mg/L of Potassium Permanganate will completely kill bacteria.
But you need 50 mg/L to completely inactivate viruses, a dose 20 times that needed to kill bacteria.
This is my calculation:
*50 mg/L to PP to inactivate viruses = 10 tsp/L = 10 tsp/0.246 gallon = 40 tsp/1 gallon *
*While in contrast you just need 2 tsp/1 gallon to kill bacteria - however, I usually just use 1/2 a teaspoon of Potassium Permanganate per 2 gallons of water to disinfect my buckets*
*So do you think I really need 40 tsp/1 gallon to inactivate viruses?* I read online that Spring Viremia can also affect Guppies, so perhaps what wiped out (within just about 1 week) almost 30 guppies in my 2.7 and 5.5 gallon tanks was Spring Viremia and not Tetrahymena.
So that would mean that the Cobra Guppy that I got at Petco was a carrier of Spring Viremia rather than Tetrahymena. But there's also the possibility that adding 32 tsp of Aquarium Salt to my 2.7 gallon and 25 tsp of Aquarium Salt to my 5.5 gallon could have killed the guppies and/or made them sick.
<No sense using these or any other treatments. Please read on WWM re Goldfish Environmental Disease/s. RMF>
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/15/16

I don't really see much or any symptoms of Spring Viremia anymore.
<.... are you reading? NOT Viremia, env.!>
Is it okay to now move him from the 5 gallon bucket to my 55 gallon aquarium?
According to the link you provided me earlier (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFinfectionsFAQs.htm)  the Comet/other goldfishes do a lot better in larger aquariums/fish ponds.
Should I be worried about him transmitting Spring Viremia to my Butterfly Koi in the 55 gallon aquarium?

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? Poisoned, mis-placed....        5/16/16
Hi,
You forgot to type your message.
<Nope; READ here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFenvirondis2.htm

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? .... abuse     5/24/16
Hi,
When I put my Gold Comet back in my 55 gallon tank about a week ago, it was attacked over and over by my Kissing Gourami until much of its back's scales came off leaving white meat exposed along w/ some redness. So I removed the Gold Comet and put it back in the 5 gallon bucket. Now its back is getting redder. Should I put in any kind of medicine or antibiotic to assist it or should I just let the Comet's own immune system heal these injuries?
Thanks,
Jason
<You've repeatedly written in w/o taking our advice. YOU are responsible for the troubles your fishes are suffering. Re-read our prev. corr. and/or go elsewhere. Robert Fenner>

What's wrong with my fish?      4/28/16
I noticed these on my daughter's fish yesterday. I don't know anything about fish and my husband usually takes care of them.
<Mmm>
This doesn't seem normal to me. Is there something wrong, are the sick?
<Yes... the markings... opacity to fin membranes, petecchia... point to deficiencies in the environment ("water quality")... Need data on the system water tests... Please READ
here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshsystems.htm
Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance for your help!
Yours truly, Lana


High pH causing frayed fins?       4/17/16
Hello there,
<Amanda>
I have been having issues with frayed fins in my adult veiltail goldfish, and am at my wit's end trying to figure out what is causing it. I am rigorous in my tank cleaning practices - I change 50% of the water weekly and have no detectable ammonia, nitrite or nitrate (I know no nitrate is unusual, but I have confirmed it many times with two separate API liquid test kits). However, the water in my city is extremely hard, at 8.1 pH, 180
ppm kH and 235 ppm gH. Is it possible that this could be causing the frayed fins?
<Not likely; no... these values are fine for "modern" fancy goldfish
>
Of note is the fact that there is absolutely no redness, fungus or anything around where the fins are torn; they are simply ragged. My tank is decorated with a smooth piece of driftwood and many live plants, so there isn't really anything she could be cutting herself on.
<Are there any "algae eaters" present?>

She does spend a lot of time resting on the bottom, but she swims normally and has a great appetite - she just seems to become winded easily. I have an external canister filter and two air disks (I added the second one yesterday in
case oxygenation was the issue). My tank is 50 gallons and set at a temperature of 72F. She is in there with her fry, who have experienced none of the fin or bottom sitting problems the adult goldfish have. I returned the father to my boyfriend's tank when he was experiencing the same fin fraying, and he has improved greatly since. My boyfriend is on the same city water I am, but lives on the other side of town. We both live in Watsonville, California, which is between Santa Cruz and Monterey.
Any idea why this would only be affecting the adults, and not the fry?
Could it be the hardness or pH, or something else entirely in my tank water that my test kits don't pick up? If it is the hardness or pH, is there something I should be doing to correct it? The only additives I use are Ultimate water conditioner, and Excel and Flourish for the plants.
Thank you,
Amanda
<Nothing "jumps out"... again, are there sucker-mouth catfish, the Chinese Algae Eater present? Bob Fenner>
re: High pH causing frayed fins?       4/17/16

Thanks for the quick reply, Bob. I do have an albino bristle nose Pleco named Pacman, who is about 5 inches and has been with us for several years (since he was a juvenile). I've never seen him bother or even interact with any of my fish at all; he is very solitary.
<Night time.... needs to be separated>

In addition, Pacman lived in my boyfriend's tank up until about a year ago and his fish did not have frayed fins - it only occurs in my tank, and only with the adults.
Glad to hear my water values are fine, at least. I fill my tank from the patio hose faucet, and was concerned something could be introduced through the piping. Should I try filling from the sink using buckets (the Python
water changer can't hook up to any of my indoor sinks), or is this not likely to be the problem?
<Remove the Loricariid. BobF>
re: High pH causing frayed fins?       4/17/16

Will do ... I have an extra tank I can put him in. Thanks!
<Welcome. Oh, do search/read on WWM re compatibility of these two fish species... common for "Plecos" of various sorts to "ride" goldfish... their mucus being "sweet". B>
re: High pH causing frayed fins?    4/18/16

Update: So I have been paying close attention to what's going on in my main tank, and noticed that my veiltail's own babies seem to be the culprit!
<Interesting; but am sticking w/ the cat. Many fish offspring do feed on their parents slime coats. See my article archived on WWM re "The Function of Body Slimes in Fishes".>
I got up early this morning to find about 3 of them chasing her around the tank and nipping at her fins! Is this unusual? Do young goldfish often gang up on slower-moving adults? The babies are around 9 months old.

Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?    3/24/16
<7.6 megs of uncropped pix files? What are and why do we state limits on file size on WWM?>
Hi,
Here are some photos of my Gold Comet with white spots that are a little protruded/raised around its scalp/forehead area. For the past 1-2 days it has been hanging near the surface of the water. None of my other fish in my 55 gallon are showing any symptoms.
What do you think it is and what should I use for treatment (and how long, etc.)?
<.... Looks to be "prenuptial tubercles"... Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshreprofaqs.htm
and on the Net Re. Not a crustacean parasite; and not likely Tet. Could be some sort of "mucus reaction" to something water quality involved... but you give no data re water tests, the other livestock....>

Current anti-parasite medications I currently have stocked at home are ParaGuard, Tetra ParasiteGuard, and Fritz Aquatics Mardel Clout.
Other meds I have on hand are Melafix, Kanaplex, Furan-2, and Tetracycline.
<...? No to using any/all of these. Hypochondria>
The reason it could be Tetrahymena is b/c I cleaned my AquaClear70 Power Filter in a 3 gallon bucket that was sanitized with Potassium Permanganate but previously had contact with my 2 Guppy tanks that were infected with
Tetrahymena, Fungus, or Fish TB (as you mentioned in a previous email as a possibility). Tetrahymena or some other protozoan could have still been transmitted even though the bucket was disinfected w/ PP multiple times
since PP is not very effective against Tetrahymena and/or some other Protozoans according to some sources I've read on the internet.
Thanks,
Jason
<Read on! Bob Fenner>


RMF cropped

Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?    3/24/16
<Another 4 megs of blurry pix...>

Forgot to mention that you might want to "zoom in" a little to get a better look at those white spots/protrusions on its forehead/temple area.
<Mate.... why not crop your images before sending? BobF>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?

I also just noticed that my two Kissing Gourami's are surfacing for air a bit more often than usual.
<Do you have the goldfish housed w/ these Helostoma... and a Convict Cichlid? NOT compatible. See as in READ on WWM re the requirements of all species you're tossing together here. Stress and water quality are likely the real issues here. B>
They also may have a little bit of hole in the head. Could this be caused by the slightly rusting "valve to the waterline
of a freezer" that I am using for my CAP-1200 filter. I have attached 2 pictures (taken on 2/16/16) of the filter before I attached the valve (which is now slightly rusting) to it on 3/4/16.

Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena? More errors         3/25/16
Hi Bob,
<Jason>
Regarding water tests and other livestock. Today I got that aquarium's water tested at Petco and they said I had slightly high Nitrates
<.... how high is this? Have you read on WWM re? You want to keep under 20 ppm>
and very slightly high Nitrites.
<Any is toxic; at high pH, deadly. Read re this as well>

They recommended at least a 25% water change and removing the valve that might be slightly rusting immediately.
<Good>
As I said previously, the two Kissing Gourami's might have a few holes in their heads. My Clarias Fuscus, Iridescent Shark,
<... remove this. See WWM re Pangasiids>
Convict, Butterfly Koi, Yoyo Loach, and Tilapia show no signs/symptoms of disease.
<What a mis-mix of livestock.... read re all please. Don't write, READ.
BobF>
Thanks,
Jason

Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?    3/26/16
Hi Bob,
<Not sure you got Bob's recent reply... he's off in Tahiti or wherever, diving and studying reef life... and that means he's stuck with the equivalent of dial-up internet connection. Sending 13 MB of images as an email attachment isn't helpful or perhaps even do-able. So I'm going to jump in here...>
The first 3 photos are of my freezer valve attached to my CAP-1200 Internal Filter. In the 3rd photo you can see the silver color turning a little gold/light brown. Possibly it is rusting? I haven't taken it out yet.
<I would not put ANY metal object in a freshwater aquarium that isn't explicitly designed for aquarium usage. Titanium and stainless steel are both generally trustworthy, but other metals and alloys can react, especially in acidic water conditions. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and can corrode in water. Zinc should, in theory, corrode first (it's more reactive) but copper is so toxic to aquatic life I'd not be taking the risk.>
Photos 4 thru 6 of my Kissing Gourami, you can't see the hole in the head until pic #6.
<Do you mean "IMGP0456"...?>
There are two holes on the left side of its head a bit above its eye.
<Barely visible to me. In any event, if you suspect Hexamita, or something similar, then treating with Metronidazole alongside an antibiotic (Nitrofuran usually recommended) is pretty much the only easily accessible treatment. This combo will deal with a variety of other pathogens too, so it's a good way forward. Will of course make the usual reminder to remove carbon, if used, from the filter, as well as any other chemical adsorbents.
Kissing Gouramis are basically hardy animals, but they're widely mis-kept, and like a lot of cichlids, prone to dietary deficiencies because they should receive some fresh green foods as well as plankton in their diet.
The connection between Hexamita and vitamin deficiency is widely assumed to be a strong one, and I'd urge you to read up on this, as well as the importance of low nitrate levels (~20 mg/l or less) where large fish are being maintained. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?    3/26/16

Hi Neale,
The freezer valve is made by a company called Brass Craft. So I should assume it is made of brass and thus should be taken out in the near future.
In the meantime, what parameters should I measure? Are there freezer valves that are made of titanium, stainless steel, or plastic?
Thanks,
Jason
<Ideally you'd use PVC valves and pipes in an aquarium. Many different kinds out there, including ones sold specifically for use in marine aquaria with big sumps, pumps, and so on where the standard Eheim, Fluval and other
filter fittings aren't sufficient. One issue will be the acidity of the water, and I'd be a lot more concerned about copper if the pH was below 7 than others. In the meantime, you can use a copper test kit (sold for marine aquarists) to measure your water's copper content. If it's zero, then it may well be the brass is absolutely fine, and nothing to worry about provided you do regular water changes. If it's not zero, then that can be a stress factor for your fish in the long term. What's the brass freezer valve for? I came to this conversation late, I'm afraid! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?    3/26/16

The brass freezer valve is shown in the 3 photos preceding the 3 photos of the Kissing Gourami. It was originally supposed to be for reducing the flow of this very powerful filter. But now it is much more so for redirecting the flow to go down instead of sideways. The flow actually can't be turned down that much as it then goes back inside the filter and makes it rattle and make a noise - which I suspect is not a good thing, i.e. the back pressure would probably eventually damage or destroy the filter.
<Gotcha. Okay, there are a couple easy ways to deal with excessive current.
The easiest is to turn the outflow towards something immoveable such as the glass walls of the tank or a tall, vertical rock or bogwood root placed in the way of the current. Anything that will dissipate the energy more evenly. With fish like Gouramis adapted to relatively still water conditions, you could keep adding rocks and roots until the whole tank is a proper tangle of debris, and they'll be much happier. Another thing you can do is use a spray bar. This will distribute the water current across a wider distance. The longer the spray bar, the more holes, and the less strong any one stream of water will be. Angling the spray bar so it sprays above the waterline will actually waste some of the energy sending the water up and then in the noise it makes coming down, i.e., by transforming kinetic energy into sound energy and gravitational potential energy. Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?     3/27/16
"Regarding water tests and other livestock. Today I got that aquarium's water tested at Petco and they said I had slightly high Nitrates and very slightly high Nitrites.
<.... how high is this? Have you read on WWM re? You want to keep under 20 ppm>"
Hi Neale, above is from my last email exchange with Bob. Regarding his question... I actually meant that the nitrates were slightly above normal and the nitrites were very slightly above normal.
<<Okay, to be clear about this. Nitrite should be zero. If it isn't, stop feeding and review. Non-zero nitrite means the biological filter doesn't have the ability to fully complete the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and
then nitrate. There are four main reasons: too much food; too many fish; not enough filtration/filter media; or the biological filter hasn't been matured/mature media is being killed back during filter maintenance.
Review, and act accordingly. As for nitrate, "normal" levels are anywhere between 10 and 40 mg/l, depending on the situation. Here in England, a lot of urban tap water has nitrate levels of 40 mg/l right out of the tap, so
you'll never get it lower than that. Nitrate isn't especially toxic, so for most fish species that isn't a big deal. But cichlids, mollies and a few other freshwater fish are much more sensitive, and for those you need to
keep the nitrate well below 40 mg/l, with 20 mg/l being a more healthy level. Goldfish aren't sensitive to nitrate, so provided nitrate is within the 20-50 mg/l range, you should be fine, assuming of course you're keeping up with regular water changes. Obviously lower nitrate levels are better, so if you have tap water nitrate levels of 10 or 20 mg/l, then you want to try to keep nitrate in the 20-30 mg/l range. Nitrate is an insidious stress factor in that it isn't acutely toxic in the short term, but long term does seem to be associated with a variety of problems. That's why lightly stocking tanks, providing regular water changes, and where viable, using fast-growing plants to remove nitrate make a big difference to fish health in the long term.>
If the rusting brass valve is affecting the water should I expect to see some of the fish going to the surface for air more often than usual?
<Possibly, but I'd want to use a copper test kit before casting aspersions of that sort! Even if you don't want to buy a copper test kit, any decent aquarium shop handling marines should be able to do the test for you, if
not gratis, then for a dollar or two.>
Where can I buy the spray bar that you speak of? Is it from a popular brand or a generic brand?
<Fluval and Eheim make them, among others, but they're all generic in the sense of being interchangeable. Standard canister filters use either 12 or 16 mm fittings depending on the model (the 16 mm fitting is for the larger ones, the 12 mm for the smaller) and you can swap Eheim and Fluval parts freely so long as you get the diameter right. I don't know what pump you're using on your system, but if you measure the outlet, then visit the online retailer of your choice, you should be able to find a spray bar that works.
I just looked on the US Amazon site, searched "spray bar", and came up with a bunch. Of course if you've got some oddball pump working there, perhaps something designed for ponds or marine aquaria, you may have to do a bit more research. I guess in theory you could even make your own. All you need is a PVC tube that fits over the pump outlet, blocked at one end, attached to the pump at the other, and with a series of holes drilled 1-2 cm apart all along its length. Nothing too fancy. The more holes, the better the flow of water (less strain on the pump) and the less current per stream of water. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?     3/27/16

Hi again,
I called Home Depot, which is where I bought the freezer valve. They said it is made with chrome-plated brass. Is the chrome sufficient for shielding/insulating the brass?
Thanks,
Jason
<In theory chrome plating should resist corrosion. But I'm not an expert on that! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?     3/27/16

I just measured my Nitrite and pH levels with my Tetratest Laborett. This kit is 4-5 years old so should it still be effective? I did not see any expiration date.
<Should be okay, but yes, the chemicals do "wear out" with time. They break down with exposure to light, oxidise, whatever...>
My values:
*Nitrite level <0.3 mg/l (yellow color),
pH 5.0 (light yellow color)*
<Sheesh! That's your problem right there.
Do not, Do Not, DO NOT try and change the pH in one fell swoop. Instead, go read this:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Scroll down to the Rift Valley salt mix bit. Make up a bucket of water using this recipe, you can skip the marine salt mix if you want, or substitute non-iodised cooking salt if you have some. Regardless, the carbonate hardness from the baking soda will raise carbonate hardness and in turn pH. General hardness comes from the Epsom salt. Do a series of water changes using buckets of water of this sort, but don't change more than, say, 25% per 24 hours. Rapid pH changes are dangerous to fish, even if you're changing them to the better. In the future, once you find the pH levels off around 7.5, you can try half-dosing the Rift Valley salt mix, but Goldfish in particular thoroughly enjoy "liquid rock" hard water, and'll be just fine with the full whack. Does this all seem doable?>
So it looks like I desperately need to increase my pH to around 7-7.5. How can I do this? The test kit instructions for pH said that I need to do a 1/3 water change if the value lies below 6 or above 8.5. There is a
possibility that like you said the pH has become acidic due to the rusting brass/copper and that it is dangerous if below a pH of 7.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?     3/27/16
"Regarding water tests and other livestock. Today I got that aquarium's water tested at Petco and they said I had slightly high Nitrates and very slightly high Nitrites.
<.... how high is this? Have you read on WWM re? You want to keep under 20 ppm>"
Hi Neale, above is from my last email exchange with Bob. Regarding his question... I actually meant that the nitrates were slightly above normal and the nitrites were very slightly above normal.
<<Okay, to be clear about this. Nitrite should be zero. If it isn't, stop feeding and review. Non-zero nitrite means the biological filter doesn't have the ability to fully complete the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and
then nitrate. There are four main reasons: too much food; too many fish; not enough filtration/filter media; or the biological filter hasn't been matured/mature media is being killed back during filter maintenance.
Review, and act accordingly. As for nitrate, "normal" levels are anywhere between 10 and 40 mg/l, depending on the situation. Here in England, a lot of urban tap water has nitrate levels of 40 mg/l right out of the tap, so
you'll never get it lower than that. Nitrate isn't especially toxic, so for most fish species that isn't a big deal. But cichlids, mollies and a few other freshwater fish are much more sensitive, and for those you need to
keep the nitrate well below 40 mg/l, with 20 mg/l being a more healthy level. Goldfish aren't sensitive to nitrate, so provided nitrate is within the 20-50 mg/l range, you should be fine, assuming of course you're keeping up with regular water changes. Obviously lower nitrate levels are better, so if you have tap water nitrate levels of 10 or 20 mg/l, then you want to try to keep nitrate in the 20-30 mg/l range. Nitrate is an insidious stress factor in that it isn't acutely toxic in the short term, but long term does seem to be associated with a variety of problems. That's why lightly stocking tanks, providing regular water changes, and where viable, using fast-growing plants to remove nitrate make a big difference to fish health in the long term.>
If the rusting brass valve is affecting the water should I expect to see some of the fish going to the surface for air more often than usual?
<Possibly, but I'd want to use a copper test kit before casting aspersions of that sort! Even if you don't want to buy a copper test kit, any decent aquarium shop handling marines should be able to do the test for you, if
not gratis, then for a dollar or two.>
Where can I buy the spray bar that you speak of? Is it from a popular brand or a generic brand?
<Fluval and Eheim make them, among others, but they're all generic in the sense of being interchangeable. Standard canister filters use either 12 or 16 mm fittings depending on the model (the 16 mm fitting is for the larger ones, the 12 mm for the smaller) and you can swap Eheim and Fluval parts freely so long as you get the diameter right. I don't know what pump you're using on your system, but if you measure the outlet, then visit the online retailer of your choice, you should be able to find a spray bar that works.
I just looked on the US Amazon site, searched "spray bar", and came up with a bunch. Of course if you've got some oddball pump working there, perhaps something designed for ponds or marine aquaria, you may have to do a bit more research. I guess in theory you could even make your own. All you need is a PVC tube that fits over the pump outlet, blocked at one end, attached to the pump at the other, and with a series of holes drilled 1-2 cm apart all along its length. Nothing too fancy. The more holes, the better the flow of water (less strain on the pump) and the less current per stream of water. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?     3/27/16

Hi again,
I called Home Depot, which is where I bought the freezer valve. They said it is made with chrome-plated brass. Is the chrome sufficient for shielding/insulating the brass?
Thanks,
Jason
<In theory chrome plating should resist corrosion. But I'm not an expert on that! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Comet with Fish Lice, Anchor Worms, or Tetrahymena?     3/27/16

I just measured my Nitrite and pH levels with my Tetratest Laborett. This kit is 4-5 years old so should it still be effective? I did not see any expiration date.
<Should be okay, but yes, the chemicals do "wear out" with time. They break down with exposure to light, oxidise, whatever...>
My values:
*Nitrite level <0.3 mg/l (yellow color),
pH 5.0 (light yellow color)*
<Sheesh! That's your problem right there.
Do not, Do Not, DO NOT try and change the pH in one fell swoop. Instead, go read this:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Scroll down to the Rift Valley salt mix bit. Make up a bucket of water using this recipe, you can skip the marine salt mix if you want, or substitute non-iodised cooking salt if you have some. Regardless, the carbonate hardness from the baking soda will raise carbonate hardness and in turn pH. General hardness comes from the Epsom salt. Do a series of water changes using buckets of water of this sort, but don't change more than, say, 25% per 24 hours. Rapid pH changes are dangerous to fish, even if you're changing them to the better. In the future, once you find the pH levels off around 7.5, you can try half-dosing the Rift Valley salt mix, but Goldfish in particular thoroughly enjoy "liquid rock" hard water, and'll be just fine with the full whack. Does this all seem doable?>
So it looks like I desperately need to increase my pH to around 7-7.5. How can I do this? The test kit instructions for pH said that I need to do a 1/3 water change if the value lies below 6 or above 8.5. There is a
possibility that like you said the pH has become acidic due to the rusting brass/copper and that it is dangerous if below a pH of 7.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

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