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FAQs on Goldfish Environmental Disease 7
(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 8Environmental 9Environmental 10Environmental 11Environmental 12& 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

Help! pH is too high for Oranda!      6/26/12
Hello, crew!
I have been fighting with what I thought was a fluke or Costia problem: my goldfish are presenting with frayed and split gills. Oddly enough, this is occurring in all 4 of my tanks despite the fact that I never do anything to cross contaminate. I have not added any new fish. The most affected are my 7 year old Oranda and my 2 year old Lionhead. Two out of three of my Telescopes also have some degree of gill damage.
After treating (several times) for flukes and once for Costia I finally took gill samples and did not find any parasites. In frustration I enlisted the help of the Vancouver Aquarium
<Ah, good>
 and the verdict is that my pH is so high that it is causing gill damage.
My pH ranges throughout the year from 8.5 to 9.0.
<This is too high; and depending on the cause, toxic, caustic>

 I was advised to try to drop it to about 7.8 to prevent further damage to the severely split gills of the Oranda.
<Easy to do...>
After researching various methods of pH reduction I am still at a loss as to how to proceed. I am leaning toward installing an under the sink RO filter and then mixing tap water with RO water.
<This, reverse osmosis water blending, is the best approach... any source of less-high alkalinity blended water is what you're shooting for... For some folks, collecting rain water... >
I perform two 20% water changes a week on the tanks so using peat moss in the filter will not work- the pH will yo-yo too much. I have a 45 gallon holding tank that I rest the water in for a couple days prior to tank changes. Will mixing R/O and tap water result in a stable pH?
Has anyone on the crew run in to this problem?
<Many times, places; yes>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

2 sick gold fish, polluto-world     6/1/12
Hi help required I have 2 sick gold fish. Their symptoms are what looks like a blood streak on heir tail fins and the fins breaking and falling apart or being eaten away.
<Hemorrhagic septicemia... very common... almost always due to poor environment... bad water quality...>
they seem to want to scratch themselves against the filter and one has started to lie at the top of the tank. have given TetraMedica general tonic
<No treatments are of use... Need a better world... more space, less metabolites/waste... more filtration, aeration>
 that turned the water green. but still seem to be getting worse what else can we do have even moved them to a hospital tank? any advice
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Spinning Goldfish     5/29/12
Hey all,
I am hoping you can help me... I work in a school and have recently set up a tank of goldfish for the students. At the moment I have 6 goldfish (approx. 8cm long from nose to base of tail) in a 60x30x30cm tank.
<I see these "comet" (variety) goldfish... This system is too small... this breed gets very large, is quite "dirty"... Suitable really only for ponds>
They are only in this tank temporarily while their permanent home (a 160lt tank)
<Also will be too small>
is having its stand altered. The tank has a filter but no air stone. I have attached a picture of the tank so you can see how they are living. I haven't tested the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels yet as we don't have test kits at school. Since I am in the science department are there any chemicals that I can test a water sample with?
<Mmm, the same as are used in colorimetric assays... Cheaper to just buy kits...>
The local fish shop is not open today so tomorrow I will take a sample of water into them to be tested.
<Better by far to have your own... samples change w/ time...>
Until then there is not a lot I can do so I hope you guys might have some other ideas.
<Water changes, no feeding>
My question is; one of the goldfish has started spinning (in the picture it is on the far left with its nose to the gravel), I would like to know why this might be?
<Likely water quality... though could be genetic, more unlikely still, pathogenic>
I'm not sure how long it has been going on for but I noticed it yesterday after I changed the water (about 1/3 changed).
<Good... keep changing, daily>
I read another post about a fish that was spinning like a top, but I'm not sure that is solely what it wrong with this fish. It appears to have normal behavior, it just does it with a spin. As I write, it is swimming around the tank (while spinning) then it will stop and looks like it is eating from the gravel and spins like a top. It will then get a burst of energy and dart around the tank and almost jump from the water (it can't get out due to the tank lid but I can hear the plop of water when it tries) then goes back to lazily cruising around the tank while spinning. I am getting dizzy just watching so I'd hate to imagine how the poor fish feels. The other 5 fish in the tank are fine. They are all eating fine (I am feeding them fish pellets every other day) but I'm not sure if the spinner is standing still long enough to get a decent feed. This morning I changed half the water after reading some of your other posts but as yet, its behavior hasn't changed. Just in case I will continue to change some water each day. I saw you suggested adding salt in some of the other posts, would this be of any benefit here?
<Some, yes>
I don't know much about these fish as we were only given them a few weeks ago. Last week we had 7, one had a pinecone appearance and had a few scales missing so, worried that it was being bullied I removed it (I doubt this one had anything to do with the spinning fish but you asked for details).
Thank you for any info you can give me.
<Please read here:
and as much of the linked files above as you have time. Bob Fenner>


Re: Spinning Goldfish    5/31/12
Thank you Bob for your prompt reply,
<Welcome Jenna>
I got the water tested at the fish shop and there was only ammonia present so I have bought a bottle of 'Prime' which should help the filter break it down quicker.
<Mmm, one can only hope>
They said the ammonia was from changing the water too frequently so now I'm not sure if the ammonia was the cause of the problem or just a side effect of trying to fix it.
<Actually, likely both... as stated previously, this volume is over-loaded... likely can't match the ammonia production of the fish wastes>
 Unfortunately Mr. Spiny is looking worse today, he is still alive but barely so I am going to put him out of his misery. I hate to see him suffer if there is little chance of recovery.
<In a larger system...>
I didn't know these were pond fish, so I am going to try and sell them to someone with a pond and use the money to get some small gold fish for the big tank once it is set up.
<Ah good>
 That link you attached was very helpful, I am more of an axolotl girl so I don't know much about goldfish. As I was reading yesterday I ended up on one of your pages about whirling disease, could this have been what was wrong with him?
<Highly unlikely, no>
Again thank you for your help. I am definitely bookmarking your page in case of future fishy problems.
Have a great day,
<And you, BobF>

Please help my lovely Shubunkin!   4/24/12
Please re-size and re-send your msg. Yours here has been deleted... the image files being too large
Please help my lovely Shubunkin!   4/24/12
ETA - don't know if you managed to read the email with the huge pics (sorry about that!), but if so, please note I had written the wrong nitrate results (I was a bit panicky and did the test wrong - I thought 0 nitrate was odd!)
<Did see this; and was going to ask how rendered thus>

I have three goldfish, two fantails and a Shubunkin (i know mixing types is not ideal, but they were urgent rescues, and they came together) and my Shubunkin has suddenly become very ill. They are in a 50 gallon tank, with readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5 - 10 nitrate. There was another very small fantail who died a couple of weeks ago - he had always had problems with what I assumed was constipation (they lived in a brewing barrel when I rescued them, so I think he was stunted), and for months, on and off, he would sink to the bottom of the tank and stay there for maybe a few days. Because of this I have been feeding all the fish very sparingly on pretty much just cooked peas, so it seems unlikely the Shubunkin would be constipated.
<Mmm, can't live solely on peas for very long>
After the fantail died, I did start feeding them flake once a week and they had sushi Nori a couple of days ago.
<And these don't have much nutritional value either... I suggest you feed a completely nutritious pelleted food. I use Spectrum, but Hikari and other brands are good as well>
The thing is, the Shubunkin has started acting just the same as my little fantail, only it started very suddenly, about four days ago. On Saturday we noticed we noticed he had sunk into a corner and wasn't moving, so on Sunday we changed about 30% of the water, cleaned the tank and ran one of the filter sponges under the tap. He seemed to perk up then, and started swimming around much more, only I thought he might be wobbling slightly from side to side. Then this morning before I went to work I saw him bump into the side of the tank, as though he couldn't stop in time, but as he was swimming about more, I thought he was getting better. Then when I came back from work, he was arched over on his side at the bottom of the tank (I have attached pics so you can see what I mean - the tank is not as dirty as it looks btw, we missed one streak of algae and he happened to land in front of it). His scales seem to be sticking out a bit, too, which again is like the fantail was.
He does seem to be able to straighten out and move a little bit, but it is clearly taking a lot of effort, and then he tends to flip over onto the other side and bump his face into the gravel.
<Mmm, this fish looks very emaciated to me. Too thin>
Honestly, I would have thought it would be constipation, but he is a common goldfish, and he eats practically nothing but peas! With my fantail dying so recently I'm wondering if there is something contagious and I ought to move him (the other two are fine at the moment, but so was he five days ago), or if there is something I am doing wrong that has made them both ill. If the latter, I did forget to clean the tank last week, so it was 14 days between cleanings, and it did algae up quite a lot, could that have caused something so drastic though? I really hope I haven't done this to him! The only other thing is, should I have changed the gravel? I have had them for about 10 months, and some of the gravel is that old, although most was bought 8 months ago when they got their new tank. Obviously it gets a good hoovering every time I clean the tank, but could it still be harbouring something nasty?
<Not likely, no>
Anyway, sorry for waffling on - I wanted to give you all the info possible!
Is there anything I can do for him? He is a lovely fish and I don't want him to die. I thought I'd have him for another ten years yet!
<The sinking pelleted food; perhaps some wafers as well... fed a few times a day. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help my lovely Shubunkin!   4/24/12
Hi Bob,
<Hello Amy>
Thank you so much for replying so quickly. The only thing I could get at this time of evening was Tetrafin pond sticks, which float. Will these be ok?
<Mmm, no... not likely that your Shubunkin will be getting up to them>
Analytical  constituents are crude protein 28% crude oils and proteins 3.5% crude fibre 2% moisture 7%. I've put him in a tub on his own and held his head so he could reach a couple. Should I out anything else in? Rice maybe?
<Worth trying>
Please believe I didn't do this through laziness. I genuinely thought i was doing it for the best, and the sicker the fantail got, the less I fed them.
The vet said he was constipated and suggested peas, but I guess i took it too far and it hurt the non-constipated fish.
<I am a person of "strong intuition". You and I are both compassionate... from the Latin meaning "to bear pain with"... Your Vet's suggestion/direction was well intended>
What do you think his chances are?
<Unfortunately not good... but not zero either>
Thanks again,
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please help my lovely Shubunkin!   4/24/12

Hi Bob,
First, thanks for your kind words. I'd hate for you to think I didn't care about my fish!
<Ah, no>
As things are at the moment I have him in a Tupperware tub, with some pond sticks and blood worm floating at the top, and some mashed up rice with flake squished in at the bottom, which he is pecking at.
Should I leave him in there with the food so he can graze when he has the energy, or should I scoop it out and put more in in the morning? Should I put him back in the big tank?
<I'd leave him there perhaps for an hour, then return the fish to its tank, dump the tub out>
Sorry to keep pestering, but I don't really trust my judgment now!
<Not to worry>
Thanks so much,
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Please help my lovely Shubunkin!   4/25/12

Hi Bob,
<Mrs. M>
Your advice has worked wonders! I put the fish back in the tank last night, and he started swimming around! He's still a bit wobbly and disorientated, his tail is flopped over a bit and he rests on the bottom occasionally, but its definitely an improvement! He can move from one side of the tank (1 metre) to another and although he was still curving over a bit last night, I haven't seen him do it at all today.
<Ah good>
His scales are still sticking out a bit, though. Is that from malnutrition too? Kind of like his clothes being too loose?
<Likely so>
I have bought him some Tetra Goldfish Gold Japan pellets, which sink and some Hikari Tropical Algae wafers. Are these OK?
<Ah yes>
I have put two wafers in (which he has been all over!) and a few (possibly too many) pellets, which he has eaten a few of. There are still quite a few pellets on the bottom. Should I leave these in in the hope he eats more (he likes to chew on the gravel) or scoop them out to avoid bloating my fantails?
<Leave the food in place for about an hour... then vacuum out>
I know the usual rule is no more than 2 minutes worth, but I wondered if that still applies when one fish is starving?
<Ah no>
 I also put in a plant to oxygenate the tank at the aquarium lady's suggestion, and bits of that have come loose, which he is also eating.
<This is also good>
Thank you so much for all you advice so far, it really seems to have helped.
<Welcome. B>
Re: Please help my lovely Shubunkin!    4/27/12

Hi Bob,
It's Amy again! My Shubunkin is still seeming a lot better, but I'm a bit concerned he seems to be spitting his food out. At first I thought he was just spitting pellets out with gravel, but I put him in the tub again, with no gravel and he still does it, even with flake, which surely doesn't need much chewing! He seems to chew for a good few seconds, but then spits a bit out again. Will he still be getting some nutrients from it?
<Not likely much>
Is he maybe just taking in too much at once and only spitting a bit out?
<Possibly... minnows, Cyprinids, including goldfish, don't have "teeth", but do rotate food items in their buccal cavities for trituration>
I'm hoping this is
just me overreacting, but if there is a problem I want to nip in the bud as
early as possible.
<Nothing to be done here>
Thanks again for all your help,
<W. B>

Re: Please help my lovely Shubunkin!    4/28/14
Hi Bob,
I know I'm racking up quite a thread, so I'll try and be quick, but now one of my fantails is sick! I have attached a pic of him, so you can see if he is emaciated or bloated or what, and also a close up of his scales, which are sticking out.
<... looks "depressed"... environmental, perhaps pathogenic cause/s>
He keeps sinking to the bottom (although he is hovering slightly above the bottom) and occasionally flashes his fins, like he is scared. He also is doing some clear poos (as is the other fantail, who so far is still ok), which I thought was bloat, but I don't really want to assume that now!
When he does move he is as fast as ever and doesn't seem disorientated. All the fish have been a bit skittish the past couple of days, but I thought I'd just freaked them out because I kept scooping the Shubunkin out.
I wonder if I have now overfed them?
They don't seem to be going for the pellets (I've ordered Spectrum too see if those are more appealing), so maybe I put too many in. Do I now have a starving fish AND a bloated fish?
<Do monitor water quality... perhaps you've accumulated too much nitrate...
When, where in doubt (partial) water changes... I don't think this is a biological disease... as you haven't introduced a vector in recent times.

Ummm tough question because even Google can`t answer it... Is there any crime greater than militant stupidity?  3/21/12
Dear whoever reads this,
<... you should follow directions; search, read first>
Well I had two Petco fish (you know where the pets go) but one was a sickly white color. I told      my family it might be Ich but it seemed fine and happy. We had a tank that wasn`t used since 1980 something. No I`m joking maybe since 2009. Anyway my siblings tried to clean it out but it wasn’t really that ... clean. It was an ugly green/white color. One fish died the next day but not the one I thought had the Ich. For reasons un-clear it dropped dead. Literally it just died out of nowhere. It`s in a 1/2 gallon tank
<Stop. This isn't a suitable environment period. Read here:
and the linked files above>
 with some rocks and only one plant and two goldfish. It isn’t crowded. So we thought maybe it was the nasty water that made it die. When we got it out to toss it so it won`t give germs to the other fish. We noticed that its stomach was an odd green. We looked on Google. Nothing. So we put the other fish into a cup like off of Cat in The Hat. I took the tank outside and scrubbed the tank. I cleaned the rocks. Scrubbed each leaf on the plant individually.
And even freaking scrubbed tank and till at night you could see it from the woods behind my house it’s so shiny. Wake up this morning after all that hard work. The fish is dead! I wanted to kill the fish but it was already dead so I can`t! The fish`s stomach is green not like some on it but like its scales are green, only on its stomach. So after all that hard work and 30 cents later, I guess all I have is you to tell me why they died so I can run to Petco - where the pets go - and tell them they cannot sell their 15 cent fish because they will get whatever they have. Then I will go buy myself a Glow Fish those cool Neon ones.
Please Answer,
Anilee B
<No sense. Stop killing these fish. Bob Fenner>

Dropsy and Tail Fungus, GF, env., nutr...    3/17/12
First my basic aquarium info:
I have two Oranda goldfish in a 10 gallon aquarium (Yes, I realize that this is too small.
<And the source of the issues here...>

 This is my first time trying aquariums and I didn't
know.  They are getting transferred to a 35 gallon in about 3 months when I move).  The largest one is about 2.5 inches without the tail and the smallest is 1.5 without the tail, brought home at the same time.  The aquarium has been running about 7 months now.  My nitrite and ammonia are both right at 0 ppm and nitrate barely registers on the test kit.
<Nitrate accumulation? I'd keep this under 20 ppm>

 Hardness and kH, both read somewhat low.  The pH is just over 7.  My tap water is pretty acidic, and I sometimes use just a pinch of baking soda for the entire tank to buffer it up a tiny bit (I was told this would help general health).
  There is currently no gravel, and the only decoration is a hide with no small holes or sharp edges.
They are fed a mixture of soaked/rehydrated shrimp treats and frozen/thawed/soaked peas every other day.
<See WWM re goldfish foods/feeding/nutrition... I use Spectrum pellets for my fancy goldfish... Much better, cheaper and much less maintenance trouble>

Normally they get along fine, but when it's feeding time the larger one will nip the smaller one.  When I noticed this happening, I started separating him out in a fry net during feeding, which seemed to work, but large chunks of his tail had been bitten off.  This was several months ago, and he seemed fine.  His fins were healing and even beginning to grow new tissue.  Then I came in one day to see him clamping one of his pectoral fins to his side and found that a large chunk had been torn off.
<Again... environment... the too-small system>

  I isolated him in the fry net for a few days, until he started to move it freely again.  He doesn't seem to have any problems getting around with it, and you can barely see new tissue growth.  Then, after feeding one night I noticed that he was slightly pineconed; his scales were ruffled almost like a bird's feathers.  I panicked, did a huge water change, and got rid of all the gravel in the aquarium (which is much cleaner now).  When I checked him in the morning, he was pretty much back to normal though.  That was about two weeks ago.
Last night I noticed that the pineconing had returned and his tail, which had been previously healing quite nicely, was starting to tear along the old injuries.  I thought the tearing was just from the stress of having to use it to compensate for his bad pectoral fin.  He has been in the fry net for the past two days to avoid the larger one picking on him due to him not being able to swim very well right now.  This morning, the pineconing had receded again and is currently barely noticeable.
Just within the last four or five hours, though, his tail has gotten dramatically worse.  The normally frayed edges are now sporting little white tufts on the ends, and the top of his tail (which was never even injured) has begun to erode, with the same white fuzz on the edges.  He is still active, alert, and ate well last night.  I'm setting up a 10 gallon Rubbermaid tub as a quarantine tank for him, and putting aquarium salts in it.  This was sort of an agonizing choice, since I've heard aquarium salts are good for the tail fungus, but not for the dropsy.  This thing is moving scarily fast though, so I'm thinking that's probably what's been causing the Dropsical symptoms.  I can't be 100% sure that it's a fungus, but I've had to ID fungi before for coursework, and that's really what this looks like.
Finally, the larger Oranda had a tiny spot of fungus fluff on his tail about a month ago.  It lasted for about three days, with him shaking it off and it regrowing, and then never came back.  I'm thinking that's how this got into the water.
To make things worse, I'm going to be out of town for the next week, starting tomorrow (but still able to check my email) and someone else will be taking care of my fish.  I can have them do whatever needs to be done, but they won't be able to do as much as if they actually lived here.  I know I just gave you the life history of my fish, but I didn't know what might and might not be useful.  Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
<Monitoring NO3, keeping it low via water changes (weekly), changing to better food... the larger system ASAPractical. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Dropsy and Tail Fungus (forgive me for channeling you, Bob!) <<Please do>>   3/18/12

I have a question about how much aquarium salt is okay for his quarantine tub... I saw directions saying 1 tsp per gallon, but I only used about 8 tsp for 10 gallons in the tub, since I've also seen directions that advise for less.  Is it okay to keep the salt at that level for awhile?  The fungus on his tail is already less visible, and he hasn't pine coned anymore. Should I keep them separated like that until I move and can get them in a bigger tank?  It'll be a pain, but I'm willing to do it.  I already change the water once a week (sometimes more), and I've got the person watching them doing a partial water change in the quarantine tub every day since it isn't cycled or anything. I'll try and get some of the spectrum pellets!  I haven't seen them around where I live so I might have to order them.  Thanks for the info/advice.
<Hmm… do read:
Aquarium salt (sodium chloride) isn't a cure-all and won't cure Dropsy or Fungus, and isn't much use in quarantine tanks. Epsom salt has some value when treating Dropsy, alongside antibiotics. What else… do review concentrations stated in that article, and use Google if needs be to convert from metric units to those favoured in your part of the world. As Bob F would say, "WWM is best used to help yourself"… read, don't write; all you're asking has been explained here many times before. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dropsy and Tail Fungus (forgive me for channeling you, Bob!)   3/19/12

I have spent quite a lot of time already reading a lot of the material on both WWM as well as other websites, and had seen some conflicting information (as well as had a hard time finding specific articles).  I was recommended the salt as a fungicide by some
<Is not a fungicide
. For a start, marine fish can get fungal infections -- albeit rarely -- and they're swimming around in salty water all the time!
Now, it is true that strongly brackish water can treat some fungal infections, but by the time you've raised the salinity high enough for this to happen, most freshwater fish will be dead, or at least severely stressed.>
and told not to use it on other websites.  The impression I got from your first message was that all I should do was monitor the NO3 levels in my tank,
<NO3 is nitrate. Do you mean this? Nitrate rarely causes diseases directly, and in itself, isn't especially toxic, with levels as of 20 mg/l being tolerated by delicate fish (like Discus) and of 50 mg/l or more tolerated by general community fish. Do you mean nitrite, NO2? That is infinitely more toxic, and levels as low as 0.5 mg/l can cause disease, and above 1.0 mg/l most fish will be severely stressed, if not sick/dying.>
which I have been doing (got my caretaker to test today, and the levels are good), and was just curious if there was anything else I could be doing.
<Likely many things if this aquarium isn't properly cycled. Stop feeding for the first week or so. Do daily water changes for the first 2-3 weeks.
Feed minimally thereafter, until around the end of week 6, and do regular water changes through that period too, ideally every 2-3 days.
Sorry if this has wasted your time, but I had literally less than one day to find answers before I had to leave town, so not a huge amount of time for research.
<Everyone has limited time, Lora, and everyone has priorities. The irony is that by reading a couple articles on salt use and new aquaria, you'd actually get the information you need faster that waiting on a reply to your message. Obviously we enjoy writing these messages (usually!) or we wouldn't volunteer. But at the same time, what'll work best for your fish is reading before you start fishkeeping and having at least one aquarium book *at home* that you know will have been written by an expert and proof-read by an editor, two things you can't be sure of with web sites.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dropsy and Tail Fungus (forgive me for channeling you, Bob!)   3/20/12

Yes, I meant NO2, the levels of which are 0ppm in the main aquarium, which is cycled and has been running for just over seven months.  Sorry about the typo.
<No problem. Occasional brilliant insight is all part of the service!>
I know this doesn't have anything to do with the treatment, but I spent roughly four hours that night looking through forums and Google before I sent an email in to this website.  I couldn't find anything that was specific to my problem; People were recommending one thing for fungus, another for dropsy, and many of the articles didn't pertain to goldfish in particular, so I didn't know how well some of the treatments would work on my fish.  It was not a question of me not wanting to look up the information, but of me not being able to find information that I felt was both pertinent and reliable.  Sorry, it just seems that you got the impression that I didn't or wasn't willing to put time into looking these things up, when in reality I sent that email after several days of forum postings on other sites and quite a bit of frantic, last-minute research on the topic.
<Fair enough.>
I will be investing in a book.  I didn't even think about that.
<Good. There are many titles dedicated to fish health; the "The Interpet Manual of Fish Health" by Chris Andrews and others is a good balance between readability, accessibility and depth. Used copies cost very little.>
Regardless, the fish passed away this afternoon.
<To bad.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Treatment for goldfish caught in gravel vacuum - bulging eye and swollen head     3/13/12
I've been visiting your site for months now and have learned quite a lot in that time...however, I've done something stupid and need some advice. I have a 50 gallon tank with 3 juvenile goldfish (2"-3" not counting the tail) and 6 peppered Corys (the plan is to move them to a new tank as the goldfish get bigger). I had some spare time while getting ready for work today and decided to do a partial water exchange. I have one of the gravel vacuums that attaches to the faucet to provide the suction. Since I wasn't doing an in-depth cleaning, I just left the siphon hanging in the water while I continued to get ready for work. When I came back a couple minutes later, I noticed that the water wasn't draining anymore...you may see where this is going.
<Yes... I "jam" my gravel vac into the substrate while leaving it unattended to avoid such traumas>
To my horror I saw one of my Oranda goldfish had been sucked into the gravel vacuum and was stuck up against where the hose narrows. I quickly turned off the suction and shook him back into the water. He was disoriented at first but soon righted himself and started swimming normally. One of his eyes is bulging, and his head is bright red and swollen. His jaw looks like it may be a little off, but it may just be because of the swelling in his head...I don't think his visible injuries are enough to kill him, but I feel really terrible (nothing to how he feels I'm sure) and I'm worried about him losing the eye or a secondary infection setting in. I've read on your site that Epsom salt can be used to help reduce swelling, and I plan to buy some today. Do you think that using the Epsom salt for the swelling and doing water changes every 2-3 days to keep the water very clean and reduce the chance of secondary infections would be enough?
<I do think these measures will be about the best you can/should do>
 I've seen 3 different Epsom salt doses on the site - 1 Tbsp/5 gal, 1 tsp/5 gal, and 1 tsp/gal. I wasn't sure which amount I should use in this situation.
<The middle>
Also, can it all be added at once,
or does it need to be added slowly over time? Would it be better to move him to a QT tank while he is being treated, or can I just dose the main tank?
<The main>
I know the goldfish can handle the Epsom salt, but I'm not sure how much the Corys can tolerate.
<The Corydoras paleatus will be fine here>
 Believe me when I say that I have learned my lesson about leaving the gravel vac unattended. My fish had never gone near it before, and I didn't think the suction was enough to catch one if they did, but I've been proven wrong. Hopefully this will serve as a word of warning to your other readers too.
<For this, I/we thank you, Bob Fenner>

Sad little fish, GF, poor env.      3/13/12
I have 2 common gold fish.
<As in comets... these grow very large... if given proper circumstances>

 When I first got them Roger was bigger than Rico I noticed roger turning black and I Googled it and I found out that it was most likely ammonia burns and if it wasn't that them just the natural blackening of the fins and tail I started to clean the 1 gallon tank
<... dismal. Too small>

every other day then I read that that causes stress and they need to be in a larger tank so went and bought a 10 gallon tank
<This too in months>

 Rico is as healthy a can be but Roger is sluggish sits at the bottom most of the time but he will get out and swim for a bit but always goes back also he is way smaller than Rico now and his fin on his back is solid black and laying flat constantly. He still eats but he has trouble Swimming to the top it looks like his tail is rotting but he always makes it I have put the recommended fin rot medication
<A losing battle. The source of troubles here are environmental>

 into the filter the brand is Tetra Lifeguard I'm not sure what else I can do to get Roger to his old self also is it a possibility that Rico the larger fish is picking on Roger and that is why his tail is so tattered?
<The same; env.>

Also I'm not sure if they are both male I'm not sure how to tell if there is any advice you can give me I would love it!
<... the search tool, indices... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshTksF.htm
and the many linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fancy Gold Fish and Oranda Fish with white body and orange cap? Env., no rdg.      3/6/12
Hi I am sort of new to this whole fish thing. My son (3 yrs old going on 10) and I have purchased two fish on <, one> being a Fancy Goldfish (FG)?
he sort of looks like an Oranda (O) without the raspberry looking thing on the top of his head and an Oranda that has a white body with an orange top to his head. Anyways they are both in a 5 gallon tank
<Too small... can't live here
. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above>
 and are both very small. When we got them the 2nd day the FG was just sitting at the bottom of the tank with him top fin down and would not eat..
The O would move a little but then just stay right next to the FG the O one does have his top fin up and seems fine. I went back to the store to have the water tested and ask about my fish the employee said everything was fine with my water and to give them a week. I am just a little worried because they are my son's fish who like i said is three and VERY proud of his tank and fish S (FG name) and H (O's name). I then bought a pelleted food for them even though the fish guy
told me not to, but it is easier and cleaner for my son to feed his fish with which did get them to move around and actually eat, FG who didn't do much actually came in front of the decoration. The only problem i now have is the FG has little tiny white spots on his tail and O has this two almost "sore" looking spots directly in the middle of his cheeks (gills), it almost looks like a layer of his white "skin" came off showing a pink/red sore looking thing. What can I do to help these guys out and what could be causing the problems? they both are still hanging out at the bottom of the tank hiding, and only come out and about for food... Is this all normal for what is going on? Please any help would be appreciated I sure would hate for these little guys to suffer and my son would be heartbroken if he woke up one morning and they were dead.
Renee and Shane
<Read please. Goldfish, even when small, die very easily due to metabolite  poisoning, vacillating environment. We have answered thousands of such queries... Bob Fenner>

Sickly Wal-Mart Bought Fantail  2/27/12
Hello all!  I have spent the last 24 hours doing research on your website.
And I have to say, I love it!  It's taught me so much, I had a basic idea of what I needed to do to keep my recently purchased fantail goldfish alive, but I also want her happy.
  So, having found you, I know that I'm in the right place to do that.  So, here's the problem.  My fantail goldfish is about 1 1/2 inches long and I just bought her.  I put her in an established 5 gallon tank (I used to have tetras, but they are no longer with me).  I didn't realize that she would need more space, but I now do and I purchased a 10 gallon tank which is up and running and cycling.  She lives alone and I have had her less than 2 weeks.  She has Ich, which I am treating with salt and temp, but that is not her only problem. 
<Mmm, no; not likely. Almost all commercially produced goldfish in the USA have several troubles... parasitic, infectious, nutritional, genetic... Of the first two, biological diseases, one can, and really should (or their dealer/s) prophylactically treat... with an anti-Protozoal (e.g. Metronidazole) and an Anthelminthic (e.g. Prazi/quantel)...>
The pH level in the tank is pretty constant, it sits around 7.2.  I pre-treat all her water and keep it in a container, which sits for about a week and then is used when I clean out her tank (every week) to replace the gallon or so I remove.
<Good practice, protocol>
 The last couple of days, she has been laying on the bottom of her tank.  I have ordered a test kit for ammonia and nitrites/nitrates, which should be here in the next couple of days.  Due to the Ich and the behavior, I have been doing daily water changes, about a gallon at a time, and that has seemed to help a lot.  In addition, I also got her some frozen peas (thawed and then shelled before feeding) in case, her behavior is due to dietary issues.
Now, like I said, I don't know if her behavior is due to water quality, lack of space or diet, but I am anxious for some info on what you guys think.
<See above... all these and more>
Her temp stays consistent around 74 degrees, and I am very gradual with any changes that I make to it.  I use API Stress Coat +, API Stress Zyme + and Seachem Prime to set up the tanks and treat the replacement water that gets added to the tank with it as well.  Because of the Ich, I am also using API Aquarium Salt.  I am using all products as directed and this is the cocktail that a local fish shop has been using for years.  Do you have any additional suggestions?
<Yes; search on WWM re the above medications... their use on/with goldfish>
 And, should I go ahead and move her to the 10 gallon aquarium?
<Not if it's not cycled... unless you want to risk moving the substrate, filter media, decor, water from the five to start up the process>
I know that it is normally suggested that you wait until it completes cycling, however, given her current circumstances, would it be better for me to move her?
<Can't tell w/o water quality tests... gear>
  I would/will still be doing the daily water changes, whatever tank she is in and will have a test kit in the next couple of days.  The Prime is designed to remove ammonia and chlorines and the Stress Zyme + contains live bacteria to "help keep aquariums clean".
<Only good "right then and there"... next day, troubles again>
 I did quite a bit of
research before I got her and have been doing it non-stop since she arrived.
Thanks for any information you can provide.  Jessica
<Do stay focused, and keep reading Jess. There are unfortunately serious issues with keeping goldfish in our country... Bob Fenner> 
Re: Sickly Wal-Mart Bought Fantail   2/28/12

Hi again!  I have discovered that I am an idiot.  And, by that, I mean that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to fish keeping.  I am fixing that, but it's a work in progress.  My fantail, Cleo, has been moved into the new 10 gallon tank that I purchased for her.  I did bring over her filter media, but nothing else.  The reason that I did that is because when I prepared for her arrival, I took all the ornaments out of the tank and cleaned them, removed all the gravel, cleaned it, did a thorough tank cleaning with algae scrubber and water removal and took apart the filter, cleaned it and replaced the filter media.  Like I said, woefully ignorant.  I now realize that in doing all of that, I removed any and all good bacteria from the tank and it was recycling with her in it.  Because of this, I decided that if she had to be in a tank that was going through the cycling process, she was better off in the larger tank. 
<Tis so>
Now that I have done even more research on your website, I have determined that I am the cause of most of her issues.
I should have a test kit in the next two days or so (there are no decent pet stores in my area) but Petco is usually pretty fast with their shipping.
Until then, I'm willing to slow down the cycling process and am doing 10% water changes daily, just to be on the safe side.  I am not constantly adding chemicals to her tank, I'm only adding the medications that I mentioned earlier to the water that is being added (in the recommended doses for one gallon, as that is all I am adding at a time).  When doing the water changes, I am being careful not to disturb the gravel, so that the tank will (hopefully) cycle properly.  The newer tank is larger, 10 gallons, has been treated with 2 tablespoons of Aquarium Salt and is, of course, filled with treated water.  She was/is definitely suffering from poor diet and water quality.  As I said, I'm working on the water quality and the diet issues.
I did feed her peas and several hours later she was stuck in a state of "perpetual pooping".  She would swim a little bit and then lay down on the bottom and poop, then swim more, poop more, rinse and repeat.  This went on for quite a while, poor little thing!  She is doing much better now, the new tank has a bubbler and more space, the diet has her swimming and happy.  I will continue feeding her just peas for a while, until she is swimming as she should be (she still rests on the bottom of the tank every so often, but not for the length that she was before and not looking nearly so pitiful).
The temp and the pH are still holding at the same readings they were in the smaller tank, so I'm not too worried about that.  I do have Ich mediation on its way here as well, however, I am tempted to hold off on this for a little bit,
<I would. See WWM re the active ingredients in this product>
as she now has red lines in her tail and she has lost some it.  I'm suspecting fin rot.  I'm hoping that with improved water/living conditions, this is just stress and it will reduce in time.
<You are correct>
 It certainly looks better after moving her to the bigger tank.  I have a medication on its way by Kordon called Rid Fungus.  It's supposed to work on both fin rot and Ich.
Have you ever used it? 
<Again... I would not pour this or anything else in>
It's supposed to be natural and not harm your tank ecosystem (tank-o-system?)
<I like the company, the owner (Bob Rofen), but not this, nor any of their other homeopathic remedies>

 but I don't know how well it works.  I am hesitant to add any medications until her water quality is as it should be/cycling is complete.  Any further insight for me?
<... nothing other than to have you continue reading>
  I am still reading goldfish related media on your site, so I'm sorry if this is something that has been addressed already.  In another query, unrelated to Cleo, I have a Betta.  She is currently in a half-gallon "Betta tank" on my desk.  Yes, yes, I know how awful it is.  I didn't know until I found your site, but, as previously stated, woefully ignorant.  Now that I know, I am working on it. She seems to be in excellent health, swims around frequently, but not flashing or "spastic".  I completely change the water in her tank (bowl?) every 3-4 days, cleaning all the stones at the bottom, her plastic plant, and the mirror that she likes to play with.  These are the instructions that I located on a website I found.  This website also indicated that she could not be kept in a tank with a H.O.T. filter.  They stressed that the current created by the filtered water re-entering the tank would be too stressful for them to survive.  Is this true?
<Not really... there are small/ish hang on the tank filters that are fine... And the water does need to be filtered biologically, and heated.>
  I am currently running the five gallon
tank that my gold fish was occupying with nothing in it so that it can cycle
properly.  If it's not too much stress for Violet (my female Betta) can I put her in there with a sponge covering the filter intake as your site recommends?
 If so, how long/what steps should I take to make sure that she doesn't end up with the Ich that Cleo has?
<See WWM re... raising temperature alone will eradicate Ich>
  Appreciate all your help and your fast responses.  You are definitely the saviors of my little swimmy world.  Cleo can't thank you enough.  Ignorance has definitely not be bliss
for my little babies. 
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Sickly Wal-Mart Bought Fantail   2/27/12

Quick additional follow-up.  I did the research that you suggested based on the additives I was using. Am now only adding Prime and Salt to the water I'm pre-treating.  Thanks for the info!  I will discontinue the Stress Coat unless I feel it's necessary, since I treated the tank before moving her.
And I will only use the Stress Zyme days 1, 7 and 14 as directed!  Thank YOU!!  Additionally, I plan to discontinue the use of the aquarium salt once the Ich and possible bacterial infections are cleared up.  Keep up the great work!
<Welcome. B>
Re: Sickly Wal-Mart Bought Fantail  AHHHHH!!! Emergency!!!  Help! Now, leaky tank    2/28/12

Help help!!!  Sorry to keep bothering you, but I have an emergency!  I was following all the steps that we talked about for my beautiful fantail, Cleo.
In addition, I have been researching a lot about the best set up for Violet, my Betta.  I have cleaned out my 5 gallon tank completely, in preparation for the new sponge filter that I ordered in the mail.  Of course, once I have that tank completely cleaned out and reduced to nothing, my new 10 gallon tank with my goldfish in it starts to leak.  I'm still not sure what happened, it's not broken or cracked and I have to assume that the silica joints around the edges is faulty in some way.
<Empty, refill slowly w/ the tank having a piece of newspaper (to detect leaks) under it... Often enough there are other sources... of the water leaving from the top...>
  Is there a reliable way to repair it?
<Yes; see WWM re... gone over and over>
 Given the situation with my newly prepped 5 gallon tank, I didn't want to put her in it, especially since I just filled it with fresh untreated water, like I said, preparing for the new filter and heater that are on the way.  I ran to Wal-Mart in desperation at 12:00AM and bought a new
10 gallon tank, brought it home, rinsed/wiped it out as best as could be done and saved everything I could from the tank that broke.  I transferred the filter, most of the gravel, all the plants/hides, the bubble stone and as much of the water as possible (and the fish, of course).  I had this tank set up as well as could referring to my previous circumstances, so the chemicals/additives are as followed.  2 tsps API Stress Coat +, 2 tsps API Stress Zyme +, 2 drops per US gallon of Seachem Prime (i.e. 20 drops), and 2 tbls API Aquarium Salt.  Given the water quality issues (still waiting on the stupid test kit!) that I suspect and the fact that my poor little goldfish has Ich and a potential bacterial infection, I felt that these steps were warranted, especially since she was going from an uncycled tank into the larger uncycled tank.  But, here's the new problem.  I saved as much water as I could, but not all of it, I added about 3 gallons of freshwater, maybe a little more, how much if any additional additives should
I be putting in the tank?
<None; note that the salt/s don't leave... are only diluted through water changes>
 I did go ahead and treat with an additional 20 drops of the Prime, to remove, chlorine, chloramine and ammonia, of course,
but should I add anything else?
  I used the Prime, because it is supposed to be safe to use up to 5 times the normal dose, so I wasn't too worried about that.  Should I add anymore salt?
<... ditto>
 Or just add it in the daily 10% water changes?  Should I add any more of the stress zyme or stress coat?
Fortunately, I did order some Tetra version of the Bio Spira, so I'm excited to get that and help my fishes settle in, but geez, when it rains, it pours.
At least it does out of the bottom of my fish tank.  Thanks again, guys.
I'm hoping this sudden water loss, scenery change didn't hurt Cleo, but I've never had this happen and would love some info.   
Re: Sickly Wal-Mart Bought Fantail  AHHHHH!!! Emergency!!!  Help!    2/28/12

Just following up, a couple things I don't understand....
<... have deleted extraneous>
it's not broken or cracked and I have to assume that the silica joints around the edges is faulty in some way.
<Empty, refill slowly w/ the tank having a piece of newspaper (to detect leaks) under it... Often enough there are other sources... of the water leaving from the top...>  <<Water leaving from the top?  How in the world is that possible?  I don't mean some of it evaporated, I mean there was a puddle spreading out from under the table.  A steady heavy trickle of water.
However, the fish tank was sitting on a towel, so as it soaked the towel, I had a waterfall from either end of the table, making it difficult to see the actual source.  Thank you for the newspaper suggestion.  I will look into it.>>
>>Capillation most often... something (filter, tubing...) hanging over the outside and deep enough inside to "wick" water over the edge... <<
chemicals/additives are as followed.  2 tsps API Stress Coat +, 2 tsps API Stress Zyme +, 2 drops per US gallon of Seachem Prime (i.e. 20 drops), and 2 tbls API Aquarium Salt.  Given the water quality issues (still waiting on the stupid test kit!) that I suspect and the fact that my poor little goldfish has Ich and a potential bacterial infection, I felt that these steps were warranted, especially since she was going from an uncycled tank into the larger uncycled tank. <<Would have appreciated knowing if this was
a good idea or a bad one.  However, like I said, sorry for making you repeat yourself.>>
>> What isn't clear? I would NOT ADD anything further<<
 But, here's the new problem.  I saved as much water as I could, but not all of it, I added about 3 gallons of freshwater, maybe a little more, how much if any additional additives should I be putting in the tank?
<None; note that the salt/s don't leave... are only diluted through water changes> <<I have read the information that you provide on your website, so I am aware of this trait of salt, but thank you for the reminder.  I just wanted to make sure that with her having Ich, she is still receiving treatment for it.  I will assume that it is wise to continue making certain that there is the recommended dosage of salt in her tank until the Ich is gone and then I will remove it over a period of weeks with water
I did go ahead and treat with an additional 20 drops of the Prime, to remove, chlorine, chloramine and ammonia, of course, but should I add anything else?
<Uhhh...> <<As, this was an emergency, I had to treat the new water that I was adding to the tank.  I will assume that the reason for this particular comment is because you feel that I should not add anything additional.
Thank you for the input>>
 I used the Prime, because it is supposed to be safe to use up to 5 times the normal dose, so I wasn't too worried about that.  Should I add anymore salt?
<... ditto> <<Again, I'm assuming that by this you mean, No.>>
>> Correct<<
 <<Again, I'm sorry for making you go over things that you've probably said before.  This email was written at about 1AM after having a panicked time of trying to rescue my fish.  I do apologize for it being repetitive, but, after reading many of the posts in your FAQs it seems that a lot of people don't bother to include previous messages or any previously mentioned information.  I wanted to make sure that you were well apprised of my situation so that you could provide me with the most accurate expertise available.  I didn't realize that it was
so redundant, but I was very tired.  Thanks for everything.>>   
Re: Sickly Wal-Mart Bought Fantail    2/28/12

Hello Bob and Crew.  I want to thank you so much for all your assistance with my fantail, Cleo.  You've been more helpful than you can imagine.  As you may know, I've had numerous issues with my little baby and I don't know if she's going to make it through or not.  What I do know, is that we are not going to give up.  I did get my test kit (finally) and the readings are as follows.  Ammonia 0.50
<Toxic, debilitating>

 NitrItes 0 NitrAtes 5-10 pH 7.2. Her temp is still holding steady at about 74F.  I am still doing small daily water changes to get the Ammonia down and have switched to Kordon's Amquel+ instead of  Prime, because I have a reading right out of the tap of the Ammonia being at .25.
<Hopefully spurious>
I have tried everything that was suggested to try to reduce the temp in her tank a bit so she'll be more comfortable,
<Not necessary... 74 F. is fine>
 but I am not having any luck.
Additional air stones and such aren't helping.  I do have fluorescent bulbs on the way, so I'm hoping that those will help.  As for my Betta, Violet, I'm waiting for her new sponge filter to show up, along with a mini heater for her tank and then she'll be moving from her tiny little tank to a penthouse.  Tetra's version of Bio-Spira is on the way and as soon as I have it, I'll be adding it to both tanks to speed up the cycling process and hopefully my little babies will be on their way to living long and healthy lives.
  Again, thank you so much.  If not for you, I'm sure that Cleo wouldn't have made it this far.  PS Side note, thank you for the great information on your site about tank repair.  I will be stripping all the silicone from the inside of 10 gallon that sprang a leak and replacing it to build my QT tank (I have decided that I want to get plants for my babies!)
I am certain that it wasn't a "wicking" issue.
<Easy to test for...>
 That was one of the first things I checked (But thank you for pointing out the possibility, Bob).
Take care guys and keep up the great work!  Jessica
<Thank you for your upbeat follow-up. Cheers! BobF>

Hardness question - sponge filter not working, GF in too small systems, too low KH     2/26/12
I have two tanks, a 10 gallon with a small panda moor and golden apple snail, and a 20 gallon, with a 5" fancy gold fish and three Danios.
<These volumes are too small for the fish you have in them...>
 The 20 gallon has a good capacity mechanical filter, and the 10 gallon an aerated sponge filter. All ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels have been excellent historically,
<///// What are these readings?>
but the 10 gallon tank is getting high ammonia and Ph crashes for three weeks now despite my best efforts.
<.... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshFiltF.htm
and the linked files above>
 In getting the sponge filter in my 10 gallon working again, I have been told I should start to buffer my water.
<...? Why?>
My water is city water and is very soft, with a KH between 0-1.  Ph out of the tap is above 7.5, but decreases pretty quickly over the course of the weak and between water changes despite my having thrown in some sea shells. 
<Ahh, I see...>
However, the Ph has never gotten to 6.0 before, and is now at that level in the 10 gallon tank. I can get it up, but it goes back down again.
<Yes; needs carbonate, bicarbonate addition. Easy to do. Read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhardnessfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
 The sponge filter is having an extremely hard time recolonizing after its last cleaning.
<Does/can happen>
 I have read on your site that at pH 5.5 no bacteria exists.
<This can be so... they need "hardness" to denitrify...>
 The guy at the fish store said it would stop below 6, but said that the bacteria don't die, just that they don't filter out the ammonia all that well anymore.
<This is so; though not really filtering... and includes nitrites>
 Can you clarify for me, would you agree that it can happen at 6.0, and does it "kill" the good bacteria permanently, or will they come "back to life" so to speak once Ph is restored to a high enough level?
<The latter; will come back>
  I have tried using the product "stability" quite a lot, and now feel it is worthless.  Even when "fresh" and poured directly onto the sponge and the sponge filter, does not seem to do much other than crash Ph.
<Read where you've been referred. Neale's Rift salt mix, or simple sodium bicarbonate are efficacious... or other commercial product>
Although I am just a hobbyist and tried to avoid buffering water, after the time involved with this latest ordeal with the sponge not working I want to do so, but only in the cheapest way possible, and only to a KH between 1-2.
Your website is helpful, but seemed to contained some contradictory information (at least to a layman such as myself).  It gives a tonic mixture for cichlids, that it says is also good for goldfish.  However, that would result in a hardness (KH) of 7, and at 1/2 dose of 3.5.  The chart on the website says that between 2-5 that such a KH is unsuitable for goldfish. 
<Mmm, well, better than lower>
Neale writes great stuff, so I am guessing I am missing something.  But I did not want to try even a half dose if this is bad for goldfish. With snails liking soft water, it seems the lowest I would want to go is a KH of 2 anyways.
<I agree>
I've also been told that I can probably get away with just using some arm and hammer baking soda,
<Ah yes... as prev. mentioned>
and skip the Epsom and marine salt (especially in a fresh water tank :) .  What would you recommend as a small dose to add to KH
0-1 tap water if I want to put it into the tank on a KH 1-2 basis?  I use 10 gallon buckets.
<Try a level teaspoon per two-three gallons...>
Lastly, any tips on trying to keep a sponge filter alive and active?
<Mmm, let us cut to the proverbial chase. What you and your goldfishes really need are larger volumes, systems... along w/ added alkaline reserve>
  That tank has a special needs fish who does not swim much, and the mechanical filters are too lively for him.  I also can't add gravel to the tank, because he rests on the bottom.
<Mmm, shouldn't matter... I'd add natural gravel...>
  I sometimes use "tank water" from my other tank to try to help when I know nitrate levels are low, but I can't keep doing that forever, and if the sponge was working, wouldn't have to.
Thank you so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hardness question - sponge filter not working    2/26/12

I/we don't publish such shouting. Read where you've been referred, Write
back if you wish in complete sentences. BobF>

ick Goldfish, env. 2/21/12
I have four goldfish in a 60l aquarium.
<... need more room than this.
Read here:
and the linked files where you lead yourself>
I have memorised their normal appearance and behaviours and this is why during today's water change,
<Your source water may be at play/fault here as well>
I noticed one of the orange goldfish had patches of a beige colour on its body. I can't determine if the patches are on top of the scales, or whether parts of scales are missing. The texture of the patches is smooth, and not shiny. He does not seem troubled by them, he is not rubbing against objects in the aquarium or the gravel, and he is feeding normally. As far as I can
determine, he is interacting as he normally does with the other fish.
I have not removed him from the aquarium, as if it is bacterial, then all the fish would have to be treated anyway, and also, he is at the top of the pecking order, so I doubt the other fish will pick on him.
Do you have any idea what it is, and also how to treat it?
<Almost assuredly water quality. Read where you've been referred to>
I am very fond of this fish, and would rather not lose him.
Kind Regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Goldfish
Thanks very much. I will read up your links.
Kind Regards
<And you, BF>

red cap Oranda 2/15/12
Hello. i recently set up a 30L tank. i currently have x1 black moor x2 red cap and x2 red phantoms.
<Much too small for these fish. Plus, Red Phantom Tetras are tropical fish and not compatible with Goldfish.>
yesterday i noticed 1 red cap hiding behind the pump tube looking really say. his back fin is pulled back. he does swim around from time to time and when i feed them he never wants to surface to eat.
i done a small water change and not really sure what i should do next. i don't want to lose him. any advice would be wonderful.
<Best advice: Read!
These fish need a MUCH better environment than a 30 litre/7 gallon aquarium. Your aquarium is adequate for something like a Betta but otherwise pretty useless for fishkeeping. It's a shame they're so widely sold.
Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish and Black Moor problems, env. 2/11/12
<Hello Chris,>
Just over a month ago we bought one orange and white fantail and one gold and black fantail (both about 4 cm long) for our 55 litre aquarium.
<Much too small; the ultimate cause of your problems.
You need at least 130 litres/30 Imperial gallons for 2-3 Goldfish.>
At the time the pH was normal (7.5), nitrite levels were between 4.0 and 1.5 mg/l (difficult to determine because both colours are very similar)
<Nitrite levels quoted are lethal, and sure sign of an immature filter, underpowered filter, or overstocked tank -- or quite easily a combination of these factors.>

and we had a wrecked ship that bubbled providing oxygen with plastic palm trees too.
<Actually, bubbling doesn't add (much) oxygen. It's a myth that the bubbles do that. At best, they improve circulation, bringing water up to the top of the tank. But the effect is usually minimal if we're talking about air-powered toys. Much better to spend your money on a bigger aquarium and a better filter.>
The fish seemed fine but the gold and black fish kept going behind the filter and laying vertically there.
<Stressed, dying.>

Since both of these lasted a month we decided to buy two more fish; one black/white/gold fantail and one black moor.
<Four Goldfish in 55 litres yikes!>
We also bought a bubbling helmet as we've got a two-way air valve for the air pump.
<More good money after bad>
The new fantails eyes were huge and black (not small with gold around them like normal). He was fine but suddenly on the third day him and the original black and gold fantail were both lying on the bottom of the aquarium upside down as though they were dead.
<Or at least close>
By removing the new ornament and changing the water they were more active but still laying on the bottom most of the time. The next day the new fantail with huge eyes was laying on the bottom with its tail curled round and just floated with the pressure from the filter and died.
<Ah, now Nature takes a hand. If you overstock or mis-stock an aquarium, Nature will kill off the fish that don't belong.>
The next day the original black and gold fantail was floating with the pressure too and died.
<And so it will continue>
Now, our black moor who looked fine is hiding behind the filter floating vertically and our original orange and white fantail is lying on the bottom behind the filter but still moving.
<Again, the Angel of Death nearby, fixing the problem of a badly stocked aquarium>
I have seen them both darting along the bottom, near the filter, and bounce up and down hitting the gravel. This is obviously not normal.
<Quite so.>
What do I do to keep them alive?
<Get an aquarium the right size for Goldfish. Simple as that. Once you've bought that aquarium, write back and I'll be happy to provide tips on how to cycle the aquarium with the minimum stress to any remaining fish (I'm not hopeful about that, but let's see).>
Sorry for the long message but I'm worried that these two will die too!
<"A clear and present danger".>
<Hope this helps clear things up for you. Hmm what else do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Very, VERY urgent! Feline damaged GF 2/9/12
My esteemed cat brought in a large goldfish this evening. I have NO idea where he got it, but I managed to get the fish into a large bowl of water, and I have put some salt into it. This fish has 90% of it's scales missing, it's fins and tail are damaged, but it's still very much alive. I know absolutely nothing about fish whatsoever. I can't even see where the cat's
teeth went in, but there is a large patch of dirt on one side.
What can I do to help it? Is it likely to survive?
<Mmm, basically to simply get this animal into a large-enough, stable environment. Please read here re:
Thank you very much for your help on this!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: Very, VERY urgent! 2/9/12

Thank you so much for your help! The fish was a Shubunkin, and according to the vet was totally healthy except for a slight injury on its side where a tooth went in. The vet's receptionist has a fishpond, and the fish now has a new home.
<Ah, very good>
The bit where I thought the scales had come off was meant to be white. The tail was meant to be fluted and the fins were meant to be as they were.
Proof positive that I know absolutely NOTHING about fish.
We've decided that Charlie the Fisher cats motto is Carpe Carpem.
Seize the Carp...
<And you, BobF>

jerky movements and "coughing", GF in three gallons of water 2/3/12
New to the site, and a new "goldfish mom," and this site has been very helpful!
<Ah good>
Ted is a "rescue fish" (standard gold/orange split-tail gold fish--2.5 inches-ish, beautiful!) that I took from a couple back in October, who were mistreating him and his water (i.e. putting out matches in his WAY too small beta-box, not feeding him properly, etc). Despite the fact that I am not necessarily a fish person, I adopted him IMMEDIATELY, and literally brought him back from the brink of death, floating on his side at the top of the water, barely breathing--and I'm happy to report that he's been happy and healthy for almost 6 months now.
He was very happy and lively in the gallon glass vase
<Much too small>
i had for him for a long time-- until about New Years when he wasn't eating, and doing herky-jerky movements and having "coughing fits," especially when I would change the water (about once a week, before the water got too murky). He had never done this before. He was more lethargic, no longer swimming and flitting about when I came in the room, etc. I've always replaced his water with filtered water.
So heeding your advice I found on your site, (and especially since he'd gotten bigger), I changed his "home" from a (barely) 1gallon glass vase to a 3gallon Aqua Culture 360 view Cylinder Aquarium with an airstone pump, a water conditioner/pH balancer and everything (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=17492098) . Sure enough, he sprang back to life--lively, eating, following me around the room.
<Still too small>
Well, he's been in there for about a week now, and just tonight I've notice that he's started his jerky swimming again, and sporadic "coughing fits."
These behaviours do go away, but I'd really like to get to the bottom of this behaviour. His energy is still moderate-active, appetite is alright (a pinch of Tetra-Fin Goldfish Flakes in the morning and the evening), sometimes he'll eat the food that's floated to the bottom, and is appearance looks fine. It seems to take some time for him to drop his poop, but at least he's pooping. Maybe he's just an active guy?
<Mmm, no. Tis mainly metabolite feedback ("pollution")... at cause here.
Too little water, too much waste>
But the erratic swimming and "coughing" thing has really got this new mom worried.
Thanks for any help or suggestions.
<Please read Neale's piece here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: jerky movements and "coughing" 2/4/12

Thank you for the advice. I will look into it.
<Do soon, this goldfish is suffering in present circumstances>
This just in, though: Ted has about 2-3 INCHES of poop hanging out of him. The first half inch is white-ish/clear, while the rest is a brownish colour.
Is this normal??
<Not unusual... per what's been fed... see WWM re GF fdg...>
thanks as always for your responses.
<Thank you for using the site. BobF>

Emergency....I Hope you can Help PLEASE!!! GF, env... 2/2/12
Hi, I'm hoping you can help me if you read this quick enough. My son went away to college in September and left his younger brother in charge of his 2 healthy Gold Fish that he's had for 2 years. They are in a 10 Gallon filtered Tank, that sadly, my son does allow to get cloudy before he cleans it, but that's not unusual for these fish, the boys are not the best with it and clean the tank every 2-3 weeks with a water change, sometimes small water change, sometimes full because the fish foul the tank quickly.
<Indeed. Your problems here are environmental; i.e., lack of care caused these fish to get stressed, sick, and they are now doubtless suffering. Start by reading here:
Goldfish have a baseline set of requirements. A big aquarium (30+ gallons), a large filter, and weekly water changes are all essential. If a child is so irresponsible they cannot provide this sort of care, then they shouldn't be trusted with pet animals.>
I think they are bubble eyed fish, although eyes were not that bubbled out, and they started out small but really grew over the past 2 years. Those of us here are not really fish people and I wish my son had been allowed to take the tank to college. Son #2 noticed tonight that the black fish had a white patch on one side of his body, not fuzzy looking, but looks like his scales turned white. He is laying listless on that side so white patch faces down. His eye (same side) looks horrible, bubbled out and clouded over. While taking pictures to send to you he flipped onto the good side so I could see the bad side. I noticed that at the bottom of the white is a SLIGHTLY red spot, hardly noticeable until you enlarge the photo. My son had added a new little house last week (he washed it well) but I'm wondering if the fish has hurt himself on the new little house, or if he is ill, with a parasite (as someone from a reputable, but not so local fish store) suggested on the phone or they mentioned an ulcer. I can't bring it in to a fish store, he was in the midst of locking up so is closed till the morning. He said if it's still alive in morning I can bring it to him, and he'll take it to try and fix him up. We did a water change, and separated the two fish. The healthy (so far) orange fish is in the tank and I put the black fish in a clean bowl of water. He started to swim around a bit more then, but didn't eat the few flakes I put in.
<A bacterial infection. In a healthy aquarium with good water quality (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite) would heal up nicely with the use of anti-Finrot medication (not salt, not Melafix, not Pimafix). A combination treatment of Maracyn 1 with Maracyn 2 seems to be popular in the US. Here in the UK I recommend eSHa 2000. Whichever you use, you need to remove carbon from the filter (if used) and ensure good water quality.>
The store I called said it sounds bad, and I can either boil up water and throw him in to put him out of misery
<What? No, throwing animals into boiling water isn't humane. It's horribly cruel!!! Whatever made you think this would be a painless death? I'm shocked, to be honest, and have never, EVER heard this method of torture mentioned.>
or wait to see if he's okay to bring him in the morning. I can't put him in boiling water.
<Thank the Fish Gods!>
But if he's in pain or suffering I don't want that either. My husband can flush him'¦.but before we do,
<Stop. Again, flushing is cruel. All it does is remove a suffering animal from your eyesight. The animal will die, horribly, in a sewer somewhere. On top of that, you're letting disease-causing organisms get out of your control. If sewers are connected to storm drainage, and most are, there's a very real risk of disease-causing organisms getting into the wild, where they can infect native fishes. You and your husband need to start thinking logically. Read:
Unless you're a vet or animal physiologist, the best way to euthanise fish is to use Clove Oil which is cheap, easy to use, and sedates the fish before it kills the fish. 30 drops in a litre of water taken from the fish tank does the job nicely.>
I was hoping maybe you could see the pictures and or tell me if I should let him hang in there till morning.
<This could be treated. In the right aquarium with the right medications, it would recover.>
I am a dog lover, we have 3. I don't want the fish to be suffering, but I don't want to kill him if this looks like he could be healed. Do fish FEEL PAIN???
<Apparently so. They certainly get stressed and agitated, but for many years the assumption was they didn't feel pain as such. Recently, the laboratory evidence seems to support the idea they do feel pain, though perhaps not using quite the same methods as mammals do.>
And if your fish looked like this, what would you do??
<Fix the aquarium. Review my list of things Goldfish need, and make the changes. Short term, stop feeding and do regular water changes to bring ammonia and nitrite levels down to zero. Medicate. Within the next week or two, upgrade the aquarium and filtration system.>
Let him be for the next 12 hours or put him out of misery (if that's what he's feeling)
<I'm sure he's unhappy. But that's the fault of whoever set up this aquarium. I cannot stress too strongly how cross I get about children keeping pet animals they cannot keep properly. Most of us would agree that mistreatment of a cat or dog would be wrong, yet we often turn a blind eye to children mistreating a pet fish. By the looks of this fish, it's sickness was a long time coming, and things have progressed downhill for many days if not weeks before this e-mail. Your child needs to reflect on this, and the two of you need to establish some ground rules about its care. If you can't "fix" things for this fish, then euthanise all the pet fish with Clove Oil (or at least this ailing one and rehome the other) and wait a few years until your child is adult enough to care for his pets.>
Thanks so much, I appreciate your help.
Best, Elyse
<My apologies if this is a bit scolding. But it's 6:40 AM here in England, I haven't had a cup of tea yet, and this is precisely the sort of e-mail that gets me worked up! Good luck to you all, Neale.>

Re: Emergency....I Hope you can Help PLEASE!!! (RMF, I confess, an unhappy customer)<<Oh oh>> 2/2/12
Thank you for your "help" but as for your "apologies" as to what you called 'a bit of a scolding''¦'¦I certainly did not expect you to judge us so harshly. If your scoldings happen before tea....most people wouldn't want to deal with you....so perhaps you shouldn't read anyone's posts before tea! Just a little bit of advice, not that you asked or were in need of any I'm sure. I worked you up??? Sorry, that was certainly not my intention Neale! Now you've done the same to me and I'm pretty worked up!
I was not going to write back, but decided that since my letter got you worked up'¦.your letter, made me question why in the world I'd let a total stranger's judgment get me so worked up. 'My apologies if this is a bit scolding. But it's 6:40 AM here in England, I haven't had a cup of tea yet, and this is precisely the sort of e-mail that gets me worked up!
<Quite so.>
You had a website that popped up when I Googled a question. It was a nice website, one that genuinely seemed to want to help educate people'¦..silly me'¦..I thought I was only asking very NICELY for some medical fish advice'¦..I didn't ask/deserve/or need to be judged on such a personal level. I asked for a medical evaluation, not a personal parenting evaluation. Until you have walked in my shoes'¦.hold your scolding's please! I have 3 nearly grown 'children' 2 of whom are medically challenged. Helping them to become independent young adults'¦.has been quite a challenge. To have you judge me on my parenting ability'¦.got me worked up! When my youngest awakes in the morning, I consider that a good day! Do you have kids Neale? Are they healthy? If so, count your blessings.
<All this was absent from your message.>
I had been a bit hesitant to even write to you, because one never knows what kind of person you connect with on the internet'¦but my son, who is an epileptic by the way'¦.. was stressing so, that I decided after making 5 phone calls to local pet shops, all in the process of closing or not having any fish experts on hand'¦.that we'd go online to see what could be learned and stupidly I thought as a part of a lesson to my son, we could reach out for help online from an expert. What a MISTAKE that was!
<How? You got accurate information, specific things to fix/improve, and a reply from an expert that was sent as quickly as possible. In what way were you short-changed? Think about that. We're volunteers here. I spend an hour a day helping people with their sick pet animals. I have no interest in becoming concerned with their lives beyond that; I just don't have the time. I reply, I provide help, I'm accurate, I'm unambiguous. What I'm not is a counselor or family therapist. I'm sorry if I offended you. But I did help you, and I did help you when you needed it.>
Consider my lesson learned. Never again will I encourage that!
<Too bad. Notice I'm not selling you anything or expecting any kind of reward. Indeed, many people who write in don't even bother with a tank-you. But many do write back, and most of those express kind sentiments. That's why I stick around.>
My son, who is 17 by the way, is not a 'child mistreating a fish' stayed up fretting and kept checking to see if you had written back. I'm glad I intercepted your email and kept it from him. Who are you to not only judge my son along with my parenting; but my integrity as to lying about how long the fish had been like that?
<How could I tell? The fish was ill, and from the wounds seen in the photo, had clearly been so for a VERY long time: weeks, not days or hours.>
I'm sure he's unhappy.
<Which is what I'm concerned with. I'm here for the animal. I'm expressing to you the things they can't say. If you want someone who says nice things about you and your family, but provides no practical help for your animal, then you can get that lots of other places. I didn't try to sell you anything, I didn't bill you for my time, and I didn't fob you off with empty promises. I told you what you NEEDED to know, WHEN you needed to know it. My apologies if it was blunt. But I will not apologise for being honest about what I saw and what I interpreted from the available evidence.>
But that's the fault of whoever set up this aquarium. I cannot stress too strongly how cross I get about children keeping pet animals they cannot keep properly.
By the looks of this fish, its sickness was a long time coming, and things have progressed downhill for many days if not weeks before this e-mail.
Your fish/health skills may be accurate but you are wrong as to the fish being sick for days or weeks prior to my writing.
<I'm not. That fish has been sick a very long time. Maybe not as obviously, but Finrot like that doesn't come about overnight. If the wounds really are something sudden, then we're talking about some severe physical trauma. But if you can count that out, then it's Finrot, and that takes a while to develop, 99 times out of 100 anyway.>
Why would I take the time to make calls and write, if the fish had looked like that for days or weeks??
<No idea. But many people who seek help for these pet animals only do so after the early symptoms have passed and they're hoping the thing would get better by itself. Some people don't notice, and it's a simple accident.>
Geez, I brush my 3 dogs teeth for G-d sake'¦.you think I'd let a fish look like that for any amount of time?
<No idea.>
I saw the fish a day prior, and it was not deteriorated'¦.calling us out on that was just plain wrong'¦..and your people skills'¦.leave much to be desired!
<My people skills are just fine, thanks. Indeed, what I've learned here is that people respond better to honesty than diplomacy. If I underplay my concerns, and step around the hard facts, some people will read that as being a lack of urgency, and ignore what needs to be done.>
Your child needs to reflect on this, and the two of you need to establish some ground rules about its care. I have ongoing life lesson discussions with my son'¦.thanks for the unsolicited parenting recommendation; I didn't know you had your degree in child psychology.
<Nope, but I am a high school teacher, so spending time with difficult teenagers is part of what I do. And believe me, it's even more difficult to get right when they're standing in front of you. I get it wrong often. But going with the truth, with reality, is usually the best approach.>
Writing to you was a small part of our longstanding discussions'¦.my son, is a true leader in his school, loved by his teachers, and tries hard in life in spite of medical challenges.
<Great. But that's not my concern here. If a child puts his hand towards a flame, you don't pause and explain slowly what the problem will be -- you grab the child's hand and pull it away. There's a time for sensitivity, and there's a time for urgency. This fish needed help, and fast, and from the evidence you gave me in your e-mail, there was no reason why I should play "camp counselor" and hold back.>
It would have been a better lesson and much kinder of you,
<I'd been kind just replying. I'm good at what I do (feel free to check up on me) and I'm not just some guy sending out cranky messages. Almost always, I can send people helpful, useful information. I did precisely that for you. I'm not here because I make people feel good about themselves. I save that for my friends and family. Right here, right now, my job is to help the pet owner help their pet animal. That's it.>
had you taken the time, and the empathy to realize that if we were writing, it was because we cared about the fish. The fish store I drove to this morning, the reliable one a half hour away, complimented me on caring enough to drive all the way there with the fish'¦.they put some medicine on him, gave me some medicine for the tank, and said they were hopeful he could recover. Just for your information, I took the water sample in from before I changed the water last night and the water was fine!
<Meaning what? Pet shops often have no clue about what "good" water quality is. Some are staffed by experts who care -- but certainly not all. Just spend some time reading the e-mails we get here. Pet shops sell people 10 gallons tanks for goldfish, or tropical fish that get to be 3 feet long, or tell them low levels of ammonia are fine'¦ the list is endless. If pet shops were 100% reliable, we wouldn't be here at WWM helping out!>
Go figure! That's the kind of people I needed to hear from, I needed help, which I appreciate you tried to give'¦but maybe'¦..just maybe, you could have tried doing that without scolding along with it. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt Neale.
<I do. But this fish was in such a bad state, there wasn't time. This was triage.>
We are not fish people doesn't mean we didn't 'LIKE' them'¦.but were admitting we don't know a lot about them when they are sick'¦..and obviously were not as perfect as you are in taking care of them, as I explained, my older son left for college and did give the younger one advice on care. The local fish store help son #1 set the tank up 2 years ago for much smaller fish, assuring him they stayed small. The STORE said the original tank (bowl really) was correct size for small fish.
<See above.>
We already upgraded to a bigger tank and thought it was handled correctly again when advised by the local store when we said the fish were bigger. Now in the midst of an emergency, we were really trying to do the right thing by the fish and by both my sons.
If you reread your response to me Neale, your words were much more than a "bit of a scolding"'¦..it felt as if you were ripping me up one side and down the other and your lesson was lost on my son because I'm not even able to show him your judgmental reply back,
<I think you're reading far too much into my message. Yes, I was blunt, and yes, my British English idiom may be a bit hard a time -- but in the precise same way American English often comes across as flippant to me. The written word often betrays us like that.>
as I wouldn't want to or ever teach him to ever respond so rudely to someone when they are openly admitting they are not educated on fish and so were asking nicely for some advice. I really wonder if you have kids'¦'¦teenage kids. Do they suffer from epilepsy, are they A students, are they working toward their Eagle Scout in Boy Scouting and do they by chance happen to be applying to colleges and working their asses off? What's that, did I hear a No? Then again, don't judge me or mine until you are in my shoes.
Hopefully, you are reading my reply to you, AFTER you've had your morning tea.....perhaps you may want to consider that if someone takes enough time to write to you, it means they do care or they would have just flushed the fish who we call 'BLACKIE' down the toilet. I have no sewers, we have self-contained waste here....although you were right in that I never did think of that, how stupid of me, I don't know WHAT I was thinking'¦.Oh wait, I do, I was just out of my mind thinking of how to keep my epileptic son from freaking and my college son from being devastated hearing the fish he left here had died in the care of his younger brother.
<Think about my role here, and what you told me. I do feel that you're lashing out a bit here. That's fine enough if it makes you feel better -- but it's hardly justifying your concern. If you think I was too hard in replying to you, then that's fine; say so. I will always apologise for hurting someone's feelings if it was unwarranted. I already have done so. But sending out a boatload of mean-spirited comments in retaliation isn't constructive.>
I just didn't know if Blackie could be saved or if not, how to put him out of his misery which is why I asked if they felt pain....I had looked that up too but found varied answers. I was ASKING you because as I said I COULD NOT DO THAT!!! And you are asking me 'Whatever made me think???' What? No, throwing animals into boiling water isn't humane. It's horribly cruel!!! Whatever made you think this would be a painless death? I'm shocked, to be honest, and have never, EVER heard this method of torture mentioned.
<It was in your message. My problem here is I have to work with what's sent to me by e-mail. We get plenty of people who think feeding goldfish to predatory fish is fine. Who think flushing half-dead fish is fine. Who think freezing fish to death is fine. I wanted to be crystal clear that what was mentioned in your message was definitely NOT fine.>
Thank you for the Clove Oil info on that. You are full of information, but low on empathy.
<If you say so.>
I would never torture an animal and I too had never heard that, I just didn't know what to do. While I can try and understand your anger with me'¦.. I SINCERELY wish you would have thought a bit more about my son'¦..he's not a monster and deserved a kinder response than you gave, so that I could be able to share a more kinder letter with him and then he could learn the lesson here. You Neale, obviously don't get it'¦..so let me explain please.
<Oh, will you'¦?>
I'm NOT the monster you seem to think'¦.though I do wonder what kind of person you are before your morning tea.
<A person who, at 6:30 AM, half an hour before he leaves for work, took the time to reply to an urgent request for help. That's the person I am. I care. I made the effort. Words seem to matter to you; I care about the actual thing done. I offered help. Maybe not the way you wanted it, but there it was, sent to you as fast I could do it. I'm sorry that wasn't enough. But I don't recall you paying for anything here. I volunteered. I was there to help. Apparently that makes me a bad person?>
I do not profess to be as bright as you are'¦..
<No idea.>
but I've managed to keep 3 dogs and over the years many more dogs than that'¦..and my 3 children including son # 2 who as I mentioned is an epileptic and my elder one has medical issues as well. We are crossing our fingers while he is away at college....as he wants to be independent like most his age. I've been a mom now for over 21 years, raised good straight kids, who are kind and caring with people and with animals, so I can't be all that stupid.
<I agree.>
Son #2 is not a 'completely irresponsible child he's old enough'¦." Goldfish have a baseline set of requirements. A big aquarium (30+ gallons), a large filter, and weekly water changes are all essential. If a child is so irresponsible they cannot provide this sort of care, then they shouldn't be trusted with pet animals. The local fish store we got everything from initially obviously wasn't the best, these started out as small goldfish in a bowl'¦'¦but we did upgrade over a year ago. I did have another very long discussion last night while we changed the tank water. Son #2 inherited something that he was just trying to help his brother with and as an epileptic, he was stressing terribly about letting his brother down'¦.and not being able to keep the fish alive. Think Neale'¦.before you respond to people please'¦'¦your words were vicious,
and had my son read them, you would've devastated an already devastated kid. Is that really who you are? You had some valuable advice on your website, and in your email response to me'¦..but the harsh lashing'¦'¦would be better heard had they been softer, or not said at all. Perhaps finding a better home is a good answer.....but I opened your email tonight after a very long day of trying to take care of this fish. And now I'm feeling very angry, just like you are cranky in the morning before your tea'¦.I get cranky at night after a long day worrying if the stress my son has gone through the last 2 days will cause him to have a seizure tonight'¦..(you see you're an expert on fish, I'm an expert on seizures and lack of sleep and stress are the worst things for an epileptic next to illness of course) and my son didn't sleep last night fretting over this fish'¦.so now it is me who is cranky'¦'¦shall I APOLOGIZE to you for that, or shall I just hit delete and not send this rant'¦..No I'm going to send, as I really feel the need to respond to your harsh letter by letting you know I never got to fully read your email till just now, as I drove Blackie a half hour this morning to a very reputable pet store, because the ones by us only have kids working there and I sought out an expert, just as I thought I was doing by writing to you. They assured me the water was fine, and they gave me some medicine and kind advice. He was already looking better by the way and is swimming around but we are not sure he will make it so thanks for your good wishes which felt very insincere.
<Again, you misjudge me. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have bothered. Do you know the story of the Good Samaritan? I wouldn't claim to be living the life implied by that parable, but I'll make the point that we don't know if the Good Samaritan grumbled when he dragged the wounded man to the inn, or if he was cross about wasting time going to wherever he was set, or if he yipped at the wounded man for being so silly as to get done over by the bandits. Nowhere in the story does it say the Good Samaritan was nice, a good listener, or experienced in offering post-traumatic counseling. All that matters is that the Good Samaritan was there. He helped the wounded man. I hope my point is clear here. I tried to help. Clumsily perhaps, and maybe in a way that lacked a certain element of tact. But I took the time out of my early morning start to help.>
Neale, For your information, I called 5 stores in total, I went on numerous websites, I spent time trying to clean and care for a fish, while trying to calm my epileptic son, who was crying here over this poor fish and now I'm reading your nasty email accusing us of this all being long in coming from his terrible mistreatment of the fish.
Not sure if you have kids Neale.....but at some point, we need them to grow up and teach them as best you can and then allow them to take some responsibility which is all a part of small pet care. He didn't TORTURE the poor fish.....He's not a MONSTOR'¦.. Most of us would agree that mistreatment of a cat or dog would be wrong, yet we often turn a blind eye to children mistreating a pet fish. Excuse me, you don't know us, and I resent that you insinuate you do know my son. You had no right, he's a good kid....an A student despite the fact that he's a chronically sick kid who was only trying to help his older brother out by keeping his fish for him....but he's a busy kid who because of his seizures, doesn't have as many hours in his day to accomplish all he needs to do. He's got a lot of work to do for college prep and he takes epilepsy medication which has side effects that tires him and he needs more than 9 hours a night sleep if he is to control his seizures'¦'¦.so the list of things to do is long and the day is short. He's not someone that you should accuse of 'mistreating' the fish.
<Honestly, while I have the greatest sympathy for you both -- none of this really matters to the pet animal. Animal welfare is a binary thing, like being pregnant. You're either providing adequate care or you're not. If you're not, it doesn't really matter why not -- the animal is suffering. If I can help provide better care, I will.>
Not everyone has the kind of time or knowledge to be as perfect as you seem to be when it comes to fish. I don't need or appreciate your sarcasm either as to how to euthanize a fish'¦..I was merely asking because the local store told me that was the way to do it, I was the one who said I couldn't do that!!
<My misunderstanding, apologies.>
Should I be caring for the fish instead of having my son do it?
<If the son can't care for a pet animal, then probably, yes, you will need to provide help, care, assistance.>
This is a rhetorical question in case you can't tell. Perhaps I should be......but he's a teenager, and I'm trying to teach him'¦.that's the key word...trying to teach'¦.because as a parent I do direct and try to make him do the right things so that he can grow up to become an independent and reliable human being, hopefully he will be living long enough to become a husband and a father one day. He takes care of his seizure alert dog, he's an A student and he's becoming an Eagle Scout......so I must be doing something right....although I'm sure I can do better as well. But we all learn from mistakes and hopefully it's without killing anyone or anything (including a pet) along the way. The kid takes spiders outside when we find them in the house'¦.so for you to make us feel terrible over the sickness of a fish'¦.was cruel of you'¦..TEA or NO TEA! You need some people skill lessons. If you didn't want to respond kindly'¦then don't respond at all. What was I thinking??? Perhaps you need to think who and how you are responding to ordinary people'¦..think they may have much more on their plate than you realize. Kindness goes a long way. You should try it sometime. Perhaps if you had a bit of empathy or realization that we all have our issues as we travel through this life'¦.but some of us are genuinely caring people, doing the best we can and if it's not good enough to stand up to your measurements'¦.then you should not choose to offer advice to people if it can't be kind.
<Why? Accurate, timely, kind; choose any two. You needed help quickly; I was on my way to work. I didn't have time to write a treatise on practical parenting (and as you observe, I probably wouldn't be any good at it).>
You have good advice. But I'd never come to you again (yes you can praise the fish G-ds)'¦'¦
<Ah yes, the Fish Gods!>
because you played judge and jury and then you played doctor, while showing obvious anger at our mishandling of the situation, that doesn't make for a lesson'¦..it makes one afraid to ask for help.
<Too bad.>
And although I'd like to believe that in your heart, you want to help,
<Wouldn't be spending an hour of my life here if I didn't want to help. Be crystal clear on that -- I'm volunteering here to help people help their animals. Go elsewhere for tea and sympathy.>
I hope my email back to you helps you to realize we were looking for help'¦.that should tell you we cared enough to make lots of phone calls, write emails to a stranger, and drive a fish to be evaluated.
<Quite so.>
We are caring people.
When was the last time you drove a half hour to get a fish evaluated?? We didn't need the 'bit of scolding' or ripping you gave us. I believe a spoon full of sugar, helps the medicine go down'¦'¦.
<That's one way of looking at things. But sometimes you need to take your medicine straight. Sugar, after all, is bad for the teeth.>
Maybe, in order not to work yourself up first thing in the morning from idiots like me'¦'¦you shouldn't read your email's until you've had your morning tea'¦'¦This lesson we learned was completely different than what we set out to do. Note to self'¦.don't write to get help from a stranger'¦..they make you feel like a fish murderer.
Oh, and sorry Neale for this bit of a scolding'¦..I was up all last night with an epileptic and a sick fish, so I'm a bit cranky. Thanks Neale'¦..for all your help.
<Glad to be of assistance.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Emergency....I Hope you can Help PLEASE!!! 2/3/12

This morning.....after my coffee and a decent night sleep....I realized this 5 gallon news must have just pushed you right over the edge.
The pet stores yesterday reassured me that a 5 gallon tank for two fish this size is okay and my water was not the problem, cloudiness was probably from an overfeeding,
<They are point-blank wrong. Goldfish need 30 gallons
, and at an absolute pinch 20 gallons for a singleton but that's hardly ideal. Cloudiness is a bacterial bloom in the water, possibly also silt from inadequate mechanical filtration. The bacteria infect wounds, and that's where your Finrot (dead white tissue, open lesions, bloody patches on the fins) come from. Any shop that tells you a 10 gallon aquarium is adequate for a fish that can grow to 8-10 inches/20-25 cm in length is clearly wildly inaccurate when it comes to information. Grab a side plate from a kitchen cupboard. That's about the size of an adult (3-5 years old) Fancy Goldfish. Hold it against a 10 gallon tank measuring 20 inches in length and 12 inches in depth. Does that tank look anything like big enough? Sure, people put Goldfish in 10 gallon tanks, but most of them die very quickly. Maybe 1 in 10 lives more than a year, and fewer than that see their next birthday. Think about your pet store with hundreds if not thousands of Goldfish on sale. Do you really think all of the hundreds sold each month live the 15-30 years they should live for? Of course not; most of them die very quickly, within months of sale. That's because the vast majority of people simply have no grasp of what these POND fish need to do well indoors. There's no rocket science here; the care of Goldfish has been well established for hundreds of years. But because people WANT these fish to do well in bowls and tiny aquaria, pet shops carry on selling them Goldfish for just such "use".>
but they did say a 10 gallon upgrade would be more that enough room should Blackie survive.
<"More" than enough room!!!>
I've been doing much more research and just wanted to rest assure you.....I will hopefully if Blackie recovers.....as per your suggestion upgrade properly in another week.
<Glad to hear it.>
No need to ruin your day worrying over my lack of knowledge'¦..I've been sufficiently lashed....thanks for your information. I do realize you had the fish interest at heart.
As did I....though you probably don't believe that'¦.Elyse
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Response to: Re: Emergency....I Hope you can Help PLEASE!!! (RMF, I confess, an unhappy customer)<<Oh oh>> 2/4/12

Just wanted to let you (and the crew) know that you need to be appointed to sainthood! You had such an amazingly constructive response to a person that clearly doesn't "get it". Some people just don't seem to understand that WWM is completely VOLUNTARY! Why would anyone complain about a free service, none the less a free service that has repeatedly proven to be of the highest caliber? It just saddens me how certain people seem to lose all emotional control when faced with minor issues. You, Neale have extraordinary people skills! To provide a well thought out, constructive response when the person on the other end has lost their cool is fantastic, not to mention your expertise in the field.
Thanks to you and the crew for everything that you do!
<Joe, thank you very much for these kind words. Much appreciated! Cheers, Neale.>

Floating goldfish 1/24/12
Hello, I've read though most of your articles and haven't found symptoms exactly like my fish. I have 2 older, common goldfish
<... older? Should be several inches long>

and recently I have noticed that the female rests at the top of the tank.
She doesn't float upside down or on her side or even one end higher than the other. But, now she struggles to get to the bottom of the tank.
<Fed what? Not flake food I hope/trust>
She does seem to gulp air while feeding, but I haven't noticed her doing that all the time. Her belly has swollen a little and for a couple days I was suspecting her to be pregnant, because the bulge is by her anus.
Other than that everything seems to be normal, she is not lethargic and still has an appetite. I changed 50% of the water and started soaking the pellet food so they are not near the surface.
I have 2 bubbling filters and a waterfall filter in a 30 gallon tank.
I would like to know what's wrong, what more can I do and will she recover from this?
Thanks for your time
<Mmm, water quality tests? Can't tell definitively what this might be...
Likely long-term environmental issue/s and nutritional deficiency syndrome.
I'd have you read again:
and the linked files above, and
and... Bob Fenner>

Velvet? GF... the usual, misdiagnosis, env. issues... 1/19/12
Hello WWM gurus!
I've got a black moor I'm particularly worried about. I know you'll need some info, so here's what I've got:
We purchased him and his tank mate, a telescope eye goldfish, and lovingly named them Googly and Müglii. We were newcomers to the fish-keeping game, and when we purchased them in mid November, we bought a Tetra fountain bowl to keep them in since it came with practically everything we needed... or so we thought.
<... too small a volume, unstable... And almost all mass-produced American goldfish have real troubles (disease) to start with.>
I knew the water would need to be changed pretty frequently in such a small tank (it's only 1.5 gallons), but I felt I was up for the challenge. We also bought them TetraFin goldfish flakes for food.
<Also inappropriate unfortunately: >

I have recently been reading up on moors and telescopic eyes
and now know that they sometimes have a hard time eating the flakes from the top of the water due to their eyes, but Googly and Müglii seemed to be doing just fine. I also just recently bought them a 5 gallon tank because, the more reading I did, the more I was convinced that my little guys needed more space. I also bought a heater for the new tank to keep it at a nice, comfortable 72 degrees.
<Still too small...>
Now comes the problem. Just a week or so ago I noticed that Googly, the black moor, seemed to have some sort of film on him. I know our water is very hard so I figured it might be due to that,
<How hard? Not generally an issue w/ goldfishes>
being the newbie that I am, and let it go, but a couple of days ago I came home from work and went over to our tank to feed them and noticed that Googly was just sitting on the bottom, not really moving. I was so distraught! I poked the glass a little (they both love to follow my finger around), but he didn't move. I was forced to get out my little net and nudge him gently until he started swimming around.
I did some reading and thought that that film might be velvet,
<Perhaps, but more likely a bacterial infection; not Protozoal>

but I wanted to get your opinion to be sure... since I'm so new to this and I don't want to lose my beloved Googly! I took some pictures of them when we first brought them home and took another picture today so you could see the difference. Granted, it might be difficult since I was forced to take the second picture with my cell phone since we are in the process of packing to move and my camera is buried, but you can pretty clearly see what I'm talking about in the image on his tail. He has the film over pretty much his whole body as far as I can tell (he's not entirely black, so it's difficult to be sure with my novice eye).
I bought some Copper Sulfate treatment
<Yikes! Don't use this! Too toxic and of no use here>

and salts for him and separated him from Müglii, so that, if it is Velvet or any other spreadable, it doesn't get to him.
If you could take a look at these pictures, terrible as they are, and let me know what you think, I would REALLY appreciate it!
Thanks SO much!
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GFinfectionsFAQs.htm
As you'll read in the preparatory notes, such infections are mainly secondary... brought about by opportunistic settings... poor water quality and nutrition, initially weak specimens. I do hope your fish recover; but they need larger, more stable quarters, better food/s (a pellet staple). Bob Fenner>

Re: Velvet?
Thanks for your response!
Unfortunately, a 5 gallon tank is about all we can handle at this point.
We're in the process of moving and we may be going abroad. I thought with two fish, 5 gallons would be enough,
<Perhaps for now; a short while... with sparse feeding. The prognosis for these fish is poor I should state>
but I don't know how big moors and telescopic eye fish get to be when they're full grown. I was under the assumption that most fish grow to the size of their environment, is this incorrect?
<It is incorrect. W/ the removal of metabolites, provision of food, oxygen... the biomass in cases can be driven to be more percentage-wise than water volume>
We may be moving out of country so I'm a little nervous about buying a bigger tank at this point. For the time being, will the 5 gallon tank suffice?
If we stay in country, I plan to upgrade them to a much bigger tank, but I want to make sure we're staying. If we aren't, I have a plans to get them a home with someone who has a much larger tank.
I bought pellet food to try especially for Googly, but he would spit the pellets back out, and look for flakes that had settled to the bottom instead. I fed them both this morning, and Googly just will not eat now, and he is looking very thin. I found that he had swum into a crevice on the filter in the bowl, so I gently dislodged him, and he looks very haggard...
<Trouble... please read where I've referred you>
I moved him into the warmer tank with Müglii because our house is not very warm and the bowl I had quarantined him in does not have a heater and so it's much cooler compared to the other - I know it's probably not advisable, but Müglii seemed to be fine with him before...
<Is better>
I will have my husband do a 50% water change and replace the carbon filter to remove the rest of the copper sulfate treatment right away. Would an Ick/Velvet treatment be more advisable?
I admit, I've been reading when I can, but I'm working 12 hour days at this point and don't have much time to read all of the content I probably should be...(I'm writing this on my lunch hour...)
<I understand>
Googly was clamping fins, but I haven't noticed him flashing... he does seem to jump a bit, but then he just kind of freezes up and floats down to the bottom on top of no longer eating... not flakes or pellets... Sorry to be a bother with this, I just don't have sufficient time to read everything I need to and I'm very worried and not sure what to do.
<Try to relax... goldfish don't need to eat continuously, daily>
Thanks so much,
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Velvet?

I forgot to mention that aside from the copper sulfate treatment, I bought a treatment for PopEye, dropsy, mouth fungus, and ulcers (Mardel brand) -- active ingredient Sufamethazine and Trimethoprim. Would this possibly work for Googly's situation?
<Perhaps; but this fish is so debilitated, further treatments may be its end. B>
Re: Velvet?

Thanks again, just a quick note that, since I last wrote, my husband was performing the water change and sent me a text saying that Googly has passed.

Could you send me a link to or tell me a procedure to follow so that Müglii doesn't become ill from whatever Googly had? I'd really appreciate it.
<Had sent it to in the first email. B>
Re: Velvet? 1/19/12

Thanks, wasn't sure if there was procedure in there since I hadn't had a chance to look at it yet - I'll send it to my husband.
<... Cheers>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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