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FAQs on Goldfish Environmental Disease 8
(ex: issues of poor water quality, overcrowding, unfavorable tank/water conditions, temperature, etc.)

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

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

Question, GF, env. issues over and over and over  3/29/13
Please respond to this as soon as possible, I am trying to still help my comet fantail typed goldfish to stop sitting at top of tank and flip to side at times, he swims jerky, I fed him for the past two days omega one frozen freshwater formula and today about an hour after he ate he swam funny, so I gave him a skinned pea about 2 hrs after his meal, will this help or hurt that soon after eating the omega one?
I cleaned some water, and it had Epsom salt in it but now I don't know how long Epsom salt can be left in tank, Will leaving it in there all the time cause any problems, I do water changes and have to add more when he starts to float which is about every day at some point at times it gets bad as it is today, Should I add Epsom salt again and what will this do to my water parameters?
<Remember the chemistry you did at school? How the concentration of something was the quantity of dissolved particles per given volume of liquid? Assuming you take out 10 litres of water with a concentration of 6 grams Epsom salt per litre, and replace it with 10 litres of new water that has 6 grams Epsom salt per litre added, then the concentration will remain the same. If you replace with 10 litres plain water with no Epsom salt, then the concentration will go down. Keep doing plain water changes, and the Epsom salt concentration will tend towards zero. Easy.>
I read where if fish gets really bad it can be given a grain of Epsom salt in a pea, is this true?
One says yes its good and one area says it can be dangerous for osmoregulation?
<Force-feeding solid lumps of chemicals to animals is not a good idea unless you happen to be a vet and know what you're doing.>
Can aquarium salt and Epsom salt be used together?
<Yes. But do remember they treat quite different things, and neither are cure-alls.>
<Do read "Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish" elsewhere on this site. I do feel we've been around and around with this Goldfish of yours, and do strongly suspect an environmental aspect to your persistent, recurring issues (though bad genes can't be ruled out, of course). Review aquarium size, filtration, water chemistry etc. Cheers, Neale (who's signing off from tomorrow for a couple weeks to go on honeymoon, and won't be checking into WWM much, if at all).>
Re: Question    3/29/13

Congratulations and have a great Honeymoon!
<Thank you, Neale.>

Hi Crew!  Desperate for some expert advice... Poor env. viral issue, mis-treated, no reading/use of WWM    3/2/13
Hi There!  I am reaching out for advice from some real experts after trying everything the people at the pet store recommended didn't work.
<Mmm, your goldfish... viral issue. Nothing is going to work directly, or quickly>
I have two comet goldfish, both about 4 years old.  Tiger is about six inches not including his tail, Two-face is about 5 inches.  They lived in a five gallon aquarium
<A real input/issue here>

 (I know, way too small!) their whole lives until four months ago when I upgraded to a 20 gallon tank.
<Still too small for comets... This American hybrid needs to be housed in ponds>

 The new tank has gravel, an external 30 gallon filter, a bubble wall, some plastic plants, and fake rock accessories (see attached picture). When I set up the new tank, I used as much water from the old tank as I could, and even mixed the gravel from the old tank with the new gravel in the new tank.  I added the water treatment like I do every water change.  You'd think they'd love being upgraded to a roomier tank, but that was actually when the trouble started!
Two-face began to lose scales, mysteriously only on one side of his body (the almost all black side).  Just a few at a time, and they would always grow back.  He lost a whole patch of scales at once that made me really nervous, but they all grew back quickly enough. 
<... all environmental. Have you read on WWM re? Let's not waste y/our time w/ the rest of this. Read here:
and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshTksF.htm
and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GFEnvDisF8.htm
and the linked files above.>
But my big problem is Tiger.  Tiger has been having some weird health issues and no one seems to be able to help!
<... not weird... environmentally induced... Viral in nature...>
 It all started shortly after the tank upgrade.  He started to grow a strange, whitish-yellow cauliflower-looking bump on his left side.  I had never seen anything like it!  I asked the people at the pet store and they said it might be fungus, so I treated with FUNGUS CURE.  That didn't help!  The spot continued to grow and a black spot suddenly appeared in the middle of it (Tiger is all orange and white and has never had a black scale anywhere!)  After the anti-fungal treatment failed and the growth continued to worsen, I did some research and figured that the growth might be a secondary effect from a bacterial infection, so I treated with TETRACYCLINE and FUNGUS CURE  at the same time.  That was not successful, either. 
<Of no use whatsoever>
Tiger's growth continued to get worse (the black spot got bigger as well) and he has sprouted more strange bumps!  The next bumps appeared on the opposite (right) side of his body.  They look very different from the first bump.  These are the same color (whitish-yellow), but they are smooth and round, not fluffy like the first bump.  One seems to be growing out from under a scale, like a hemorrhage.  On that same side he has a strange patch were he has one bump and a bunch of raised scales where he looks like a pine cone.  He also grew a big bump on his head which looks like a blemish.
He looks like he's growing another blemish-like bump on the left side of his head very close to his gill, which worries me. 
Another concern is that Tiger has become bloated and swollen on his left side.  It looks like a hump right behind his gill.  I worry that this bloating will affect his ability to breathe!  It looks like something is growing inside him and will make him burst.
Besides that, Tiger's fins are perfect, he has no bleeding and no visible parasites.  Twice when I took a good look at him I noticed stringy white things hanging from his body, but they never lasted for long, and he has none on his body now.
I took pictures (attached) and asked at a different pet store, and they diagnosed Tiger's problem as ulcers and recommended MELAFIX.  I have been treating with MelaFix for almost two weeks and I have seen no improvement. 
I also have to admit to making a big mistake: a few days ago when I did the last water change (after one week of treating with MelaFix) I changed 25% of the water and added more MelaFix, salt, and algae fighter
<All worthless to toxic. Please, just search re these on WWM>

(I have some stringy algae growing on the plants, I presume because of the warmer temperature).  I realize I shouldn't have mixed so many things!  The water got a little cloudy after that.  I have continued to treat with MelaFix daily.
<.... read>
About a week ago, I saw Two-face was missing a section of his tail fin about two inches long, one centimeter wide, and one centimeter past where his body turns into his tail (no part of his actual body was damaged).  I found the piece in the corner of the tank behind some plants.  I figured he got stuck and broke it off.  It is already growing back nicely, with no sign of fungus or infection.
Before Tiger's condition got really concerning, I did monthly 50% water changes with my gravel vacuum and water treatment.  Since this started, I have done a 25% change at least once a month, or as recommended according to the medicine I was giving them at the time (usually 25% every week or few days).  While treating the tank, I remove the carbon packet from the filter.  Otherwise, I change the filter every month.  Both fish have been eating well.  I feed mostly sinking pellets and, occasionally, flakes.  I have fed them brine shrimp twice in the last month and they both gobbled them up voraciously!  They are swimming around just fine, no floating or lurking at the bottom.  Poop seems to be normal, although at times I see weirdly thick poop sitting on the bottom.  I have seen Two-face pooping and his is normal, so I'm guessing it was Tiger's weird poop.
I don't know the exact water temperature, but it's on the warmer side because I heard medicine works better in warmer temperatures.  Here is the rest of the water quality information I have: Ammonia between 0-0.5, Nitrate 40,
<... too high. Read....>

 Nitrite 0, pH 7, KH 40, GH 180.
I attached some pictures for you to look at.  I'll continue to add MelaFix until this week of treatment is over, then I'll do a 25% water change.  I won't do anything else until I hear back from you!  Thank you for your help!
<Bob Fenner>

Fancy goldfish setup and health questions. Uncycled sys., Cu exposure...     2/7/13
Hello WWM crew!
First, I want to say thank you for such a wonderful site. This place is a gold mine of information.
<Ah yes>
I have a few goldfish questions for you. I've kept tropical fish for about 3 years, but moved recently and had to break down my tank and rehome the fish. After getting settled in the new place, I found myself longing for fish again, so I shuffled around some furniture and could *just* squeeze in a new fish tank. :) I wanted to try my hand at fancy goldfish.
<Ah, folks generally start w/ goldfish... and after long experimentation w/ other aquatics, come back to them>
It's a 29 gallon tank and has been up and running for two weeks
<Is this system thoroughly cycled?>
 with 1 small lionhead in residence, about 1.5" long. Temperature is between 67-72F; I'm not using a heater so it fluctuates with the room. Filtration is provided by two Aquaclear 30 filters, rated at 150gph each, turned down to about half flow to avoid too much water turbulence. Media includes foam pads, some Polyfill (pillow stuffing) to remove finer particulates, and (on the recommendation of my LFS, I've never used these before) one filter has Zeolite and the other has activated carbon. (Are these actually useful/necessary?)
<Not really; no. But the carbon is useful as biological filter media (mostly) in time>
The substrate is sand.
pH is holding steady at 7.4, but the KH is at 4. I know goldfish like harder water and that low KH can lead to pH crashes when the buffering capacity gets used up, so I'm worried. Should I be adding a buffer of some kind? If so, what's best to use? Crushed coral, powdered buffers, salt mixes?
<The substrate change is best; most reliable, but a bit of commercial buffer or simple baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) will/can do>
This is actually the first time I've cycled from scratch - all my other tanks had established filters from other sources. I've gotten filter squeezings from the LFS and I've used up a bottle of Nite-Out, but I'm still only getting ammonia readings,
 no nitrite or nitrate whatsoever, even after two weeks.  Is this normal?
<Yes; quite. And no livestock should be present>
I'm doing water changes every couple days to keep the ammonia less than 0.50ppm (it's at 0.25ppm right now), but with all the bacterial seeding I had thought I'd be most of the way through the cycle by now. Instead it seems like it hasn't even started.
<I'd "step up" your efforts at cycling. Read here:
and the linked files...>
The lionhead (Higgs) looked healthy at the LFS (I'd been eyeing him for a couple weeks), but he was apparently carrying Ich because he broke out in white spots after he'd been home a few days. I've been treating with Mardel
<Toxic as well; and a delimiter (killer) of bacteria, nitrifying and not... This med. is forestalling the establishment of biofiltration>
 for the last week and will continue for at least another 2 weeks to make sure I get it all. Now, though, he's getting something that looks like fungus on his head and tail. (See attached pictures - white pimple-like growth on the top of his head and fuzzy stuff on the edge of his tail.) I'm assuming it's related to water quality. Should I be
that or will it go away on its own once the tank is fully cycled?
<Most likely the latter. I'd cease treating, feed VERY sparingly, look into/get Dr. Tim's, SeaChem, other real bacterial product>
One more question... I've been hearing conflicting things about tank sizes for goldfish. Some say 20 gallons per fish, some say 10.
<At least twenty-thirty for one... See WWM re GF systems>
 I'd like to get Higgs a buddy (Boson, because that's the kind of geek I am), but I don't have room for a larger tank. Would two Lionheads be comfortable in a 29gal?
<Not indefinitely no>
I don't want to overcrowd them, but they're social creatures and I don't want Higgs to be lonely.
<Mmm, not really "that" social. More autistic to put in human terms>
 I think I have adequate filtration to keep up with the mess and I'm no stranger to regular water changes, but if just keeping Higgs by himself is best, then of course I'll do that.
Thanks so much for your time and advice!
<... you need to fix the environment here, NOW. This is the only path to health. Bob Fenner>

Bent Comet, env. dis.     2/4/13
I have a three year old comet goldfish in great distress. He seems to either have a broken or bent tail.
<... a developmental issue... the cause?>
It started two days ago, he was swimming sideways and moving like a snake. He is now stuck to the bottom of the tank unable to swim, and I have no idea how to help him.
<Nothing to be done at this point>
He has a small white bump half the size of a pea right before tail meets fin. But other than that, no lesions or strange markings. It doesn't seem to be whirling disease, from what I have read on your site.
Tank facts: 30 gallon tank, currently holding five varying breeds of goldfish, two golden wonders, an upside-down catfish, and a neon. About two weeks ago I did have a fungal infection in my tank that killed off four of my original goldfish, but left the now bent comet and a fancy as the only survivors. The fungus only effected the goldfish though, and was treated with PIMAFIX.
<Worthless. See WWM re these phony API "fixes">
Three new goldfish were introduced to the tank three days ago. Everything turns up normal on my water treatment tests. I have also removed all live plants. Thank you for your time and advice!
P.S I have a hard time loading internet sites as vast as yours (old computer.) It would be greatly appreciated if you could send me your reply via email, or a link to the page on your website? Thank you very much again!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

One white spot on goldfish, no big deal. Uncycled sys: big deal     1/30/13
I am a new goldfish owner and have made some mistakes, but am trying to get it right.  My sons got two young fantailed goldfish for Christmas.  I hadn't done any research and put them in a ten gallon tank.
<Need more room than this>
  I then did a crazy amount of reading, mostly this site, and realized they would need a much bigger home and would need a lot of TLC to get through cycling
<... the system needs to be pre-cycled>
relatively unharmed.  I purchased a 30 gallon and moved them over recently.
 I do water changes at least once a day, sometimes twice, to keep ammonia and nitrite levels as close to zero as possible.  My question is, one goldfish has a tiny white spot on his fin.  I assumed it was Ich. 
<Mmm, no; not one spot>
I treated the water with API's Ich cure
<Toxic; I'd discontinue>
 and followed the instructions.  He still has one white speck on his fin,
<No big deal. Will go on its own in time>
 the one he had from the beginning, and it has been there for weeks now! 
It has not spread at all, and both fish appear to be very happy.  I have been waiting to see if any more spots appear, but they haven't.  Should I just keep waiting, or try a different treatment?  Thank you
<No treatment necessary/advised. Just good care. Read here re cycling:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: rescued 3 large goldfish from 10 gallon cage   1/28/13
<... 12 megs of pix? We can only accept hundreds of Kbytes... as detailed on how to write us>
Thanks for the response! Hard to believe that was  months ago already. We obtained a used 65 ga tank only to find it was leaking. We have now roped daddy into our fish hobby and he's got the tank taken apart and we are rebuilding it. In the meanwhile, we obtained a 25-29 ga bow front tank on the cheap that doesn't leak and immediately moved the three goldfish into it. We also found a very good local fish store owner who dispenses quality information freely and purchased a proper water test kit and a recommended high quality food (not flake) that is mixed into a gel and given in small cubes.
<Ah good>
 (That's here in eastern Washington state). Testing was done before moving the fish to the large tank yesterday, Ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, nitrate is 10 ppm. The fish will be moved to the 65 gallon within two weeks, providing the repair is successful, where they can hopefully experience a little more quality fish life for a long time.
Now, the 25+ ga larger tank and better lighting is finally allowing us to observe and really examine their skin, scales.
My question now is concerning two clear looking bumps on the Oranda. There is one on the cheek and when I look closely it looks like another one just on the edge of the gill flap on that same side. I am attaching a photo. To be a little more clear, they are not small white bumps that I see in photos of Ich nor am I seeing large clear bumps on either of the other two fish.
The dragon eye (we named him Minion) has 5-6 tiny white pimple looking spots clustered together on the smooth area behind and below his eye (photo also attached) and slightly bigger solid white bumps on this main tail fin vein (sorry lack of proper terminology here...the stiff part of the fin) ... both appear to me the match the description of sexing him as a male during mating time. I am not seeing small white bumps like the Ich photos on him nor the comet.
The Oranda is my greatest concern, as it was missing more than half its scales when we rescued and has had "swim-bladder-disease-appearing" swimming issues that have been consistent, but not worsened, in the 8 weeks since we took them on. It is a hardy eater and as active as the other two, but flops over on the left side when having to navigate a turn quickly and will occasionally have trouble righting itself if head is down too far while bottom grazing. Observing it today, it appears 'she' has to do a lot of back stroking with fins to stay in position (I don't see the other two doing this all the time). Swimming forward she looks more like wiggling at time, but there is no floating upside down or severe changes in how she swims. I do not know if these clear bumps are new or been there the whole time. I can send a 2-3 minute video of her swimming, if that would help.
My immediate concern is diagnosing the bumps. Do I salt to be on the safe side?
<I wouldn't. Won't help>
And can you give me your definitive answer on how long can they tolerate it before they need to be returned to 100% fresh when treating them with salt? I've read/heard 2 days up to 2 weeks.
<See WWM re salt use>
What are your thoughts with the photos as a help?
<Some developmental issue/s w/ water quality and nutrition, possibly genetic... not treatable per se w/ medications. Only long term good care can reverse>
We are rather attached to the critters now and want to get them as healthy as possible given their rough start.
Thank you again so much for your time.
P.s. Having a camera that will do 8 frames per second is a requirement for fish photography! ;0)

Re: rescued 3 large goldfish from 10 gallon cage   1/28/13
My apologies on the photo size, I appreciate the response.
<Certainly welcome RB. Just glad am not on the liveaboard in the P.I. now... impossible to download period. Cheers, BobF> 

Oranda Goldfish Problems    1/10/13
My goldfish is in a 16 gallon tank, along with a small plecostomus, a small feeder goldfish, a fantail, and a small catfish.
<Far, far too many fish for this size aquarium
. Goldfish need something like 30 gallons as adults, and keeping youngsters in smaller tanks than, say, 20 gallons is a false economy because of how quickly they grow when healthy. The Plec will reach something like 30 cm/12 inches within the first year, and 45 cm/18 inches within two years, so they're very much fish for 55+ gallon systems. I assume the "small catfish" is Corydoras paleatus, the Peppered Catfish. It's the only Corydoras that makes sense in a Goldfish system, but they're schooling fish (so keep at least 3 and preferably 5+ specimens) and while they are hardy they do need good water quality in the long term.>
They were all bought from the same store about 3 weeks ago. I have a filtration system that came with the tank, a heater, and the water stays between 74-76 degrees F at all times. I have a few fake plants, along with a few decor items that the other fish will go in between.
<I see.>
Regardless, my Oranda has been eating well, and continuously wants more.
<Normal. Do bear in mind these are the fish equivalent of sheep. They're herbivores adapted to feeding on greenery and organic detritus pretty much all day long. So they have big appetites. Feed them with some fresh greens alongside their pellets/flakes and you'll find you can satisfy their appetites without polluting the water too much.>
I feed my fish in the morning around 6, and in the evening around 9. The Oranda was extremely active, and would continuously swim around the tank.
Lately it has been near the top of my tank, unmoving for the past few days.
<Ah now, this is a sign that not all is well. Goldfish should be constantly active, either chasing one another about or else snuffling about at the bottom. When they become lethargic it's a good sign that they are unhappy.
The environment may well be a factor.>
If I tap on the glass, it comes over to see me, and is fine, but then goes right back to that one spot. His eating habits haven't changed, but I noticed a few days ago that there appears to be some sort of growth right below his right pectoral fin. It's white, like his coloring there, but it looks like a bulge, and I'm fairly certain it wasn't there a week ago. Any suggestions as to what it could be? I don't believe it's Ick, but am  unsure from there. Should I move the fish to a new tank?
<Does sound like Finrot, a common bacterial infection that happens in new tanks. First of all, grab a nitrite test kit. Note that I said "nitrite" not "nitrate" -- they sound similar but are different chemicals. If your nitrite level isn't zero, then your filter isn't fully matured and/or the tank is overstocked. Review, and act accordingly. For so long as nitrite stays above zero, don't feed your fish anything other than live pondweed.
Do regular water changes, ideally 25% every 2-3 days, but not while medicating. Medicate against Finrot, using something like Maracyn rather than a "tea-tree oil" type medication like Melafix which tend to work better as preventatives than actual cures. Also read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Erratic Oranda (Bob, you're more of an expert on this than me; any comments?)<<>>     12/9/12
Hi, thank you for running such a great site, it's very informational!
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I basically just took over my moms sad tank, and naturally, her favorite fish, which is a red capped Oranda, is now probably dying! :(
<Oh dear.>
The Oranda has lived in the tank with an orange gourami for at least 6 months to a year in a 29 gallon tank.
<Somewhat unreliable combination, but if it worked for you, then so far so good. But the "orange" Gourami (I assume you mean Trichogaster trichopterus) is a tropical fish rather than a coldwater one, so needs warmer water. It also happens to be more sensitive to water quality problems and considerably more aggressive than the average Goldfish; at least, male specimens can be -- females are typically rather benign animal.>
68-72 degrees, filter (I don't know what kind) but they've been fine for a long time. Me, being the wonderful daughter I am, decided to put in 2 new store bought decorations
<<These decor items, phony corals, are too sharp to have w/ clumsy fancy goldfish>>
 (I rinsed them before putting them in), along with a new orange parrot cichlid and a small Koi which is probably a type of Showa.
<Ah now, this wasn't wise. Parrot Cichlids are entirely too big for a 29-gallon tank, and a Koi, well, seriously, these are pond fish, and rarely do well in aquaria smaller than 200 gallons.><<And the Cichlid is too aggressive for its tankmates; and the Koi will get too big>>
The pet store guy said my pH was a bit high so I put a new plant in as well.
<Not sure I see the connection here. As you hopefully know, pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity; adding plants doesn't make any difference to that! (Well, it's actually a bit more complicated than that in ecological terms, and plants do affect the pH of the body of water they're in, but that's a world away from "add a plant to fix the pH". In any event, unless the pH was over 8.5, your Goldfish will be fine. Goldfish are best between pH 7 and 8, Gouramis are okay between 6 and 8, Koi similar to the Goldfish, and so too the Parrot Cichlid. So bottom line, if your pH was between 7 and 8 you'll be fine.>
The cichlid as you already know, was bullying all the other fish, like head-butting them when they swam by, and actually the Oranda ended up losing a couple scales so I took the cichlid back to the pet store the next day.
<Correct move.>

I kept the cichlid food (pellets) to feed to the gourami to enhance its orange color (since we've bought it, the bright blue from his face has faded and is now just mostly grey) but the gourami wasn't eating it, the Oranda and the Koi were mostly eating it.
<Which is okay up to a point, but both Goldfish and Koi are herbivores, and too much tropical fish food isn't good for them. Colouration does vary with diet, but trivially so compared to the health of the fish. Diet can affect the colour of a fish over weeks and months, but if a fish has suddenly changed colour, then it's health is the issue, not diet.>
I broke up 3 pellets into the tank for about 3 or 4 days and put it in along with flakes. I noticed the koi's behavior change first, as instead of swimming happily, it was just resting at the bottom of the tank, but I thought he was just feeling more relaxed and settling in so I didn't think anything of it. Now, its been about a week since all the changes and last night I noticed the Oranda was swimming very erratically and flashing (rubbing against the rocks on the bottom) and it has like reddish veins going through its tail and some red or orange spots on its body and today, the fins look more shredded and the fins look mostly orange now.
<Incipient Finrot; grab a reliable antibacterial or antibiotic medication and use (by reliable, I mean nothing like Melafix or other "homeopathic" or "all-natural" remedies).>
(Hard to take a pic, but it was pure white before) I noticed the Koi and the Oranda would spazz out when they'd hit the corner of the tank too, like they were blind and didn't know the corner was there?
<Severe stress; test water quality and act accordingly.>
Today, they were both just staying at the bottom and not really swimming, so I went to the pet store to have my water checked. He said the levels on the strip seem perfect (after lots of research, I need to make sure the ammonia was checked also) and I noticed the tank that I bought the Koi from went from full of fish to having like 4 fish in it, so I asked the dude and low n behold, there was an Ich breakout that they're treating in that tank.
<I see.>
Sooo, I have treated my tank with the Mardel antibiotics, and now it's a waiting game. The fish went from chillin' on the bottom, to now nose up at the top, and a bit more active, so that seems good. I noticed the Oranda sometimes looks like it stops breathing and it starts to drift down backwards but then it comes-to and starts swimming back up again. So my actual question finally comes: is the red streaking in the Oranda from the color enhancing cichlid food, or can dropsy or ecchymosis disease be dormant and come on from stress?
<It's a result of stress and physical damage.>
If they fight through this sickness, will the veins and red spots go away? Will his fins grow back to normal?
<In time, yes.>
Up until now, my mom has left the tank light on 24/7 and for the past week I have been turning it off at night, so that's another change the Oranda has been dealing with too?
<A change for the better.>
Is the Koi bullying the Oranda without my knowledge?!
<Could be, as both species are social, and therefore have a hierarchy. In ponds Goldfish and Koi cohabit just fine, but one specimen of each in a 29-gallon tank is a recipe for disaster. Let me be frank here, I am dead against keeping Koi indoors. It is very rare casual aquarists have any success doing this. They are huge, powerful fish with gigantic appetites and strong personalities. They need, deserve a pond.>
The Oranda is the biggest in the tank now and the gourami seems just fine through all of this. So many variables, I don't know >_<
<I think the variables are clear enough. You have a coldwater fish, a tropical fish, and a pond fish, all in the same (small) tank -- that things went pear-shaped is not completely unexpected. I dare say that in a big aquarium this combination might work, but in 29 gallons… no.>
The cichlid color enhancing food says it's for carnivores... did I make them go insane?!
<Hmm… no. All the "carnivore" aspect means is that the food is rich in protein from animal sources (typically shrimp and fish meal) rather than from plant sources (like Spirulina algae or vegetable proteins).>
(During the process of writing this, the Koi died :( I will be using a quarantine tank for new fish from now on... how long do they stay in there? A week?)
<Stop. Do not buy ANY MORE FISH for at least 6 weeks. No quibbling on this! And long term, your plan is to either go tropical or go coldwater. Keeping the tank at 24 C/75 F would be tolerable for both Gourami and Goldfish, but the best thing would be to swap out the Gourami for a second Goldfish of similar type and size (ideally a female, but they're hard to sex outside of the mating season). If this doesn't appeal, stick with what you have for now This Goldfish and Gourami were happy enough together -- why push your luck?>
Thank you for your time & guidance, -Mae.
<Most welcome. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick Goldfish     – 11/20/12
Hi,   I'm writing to you because my little 3/4" Oranda (Poe)  is very, very lethargic and is just kind of floating around or staying in one spot.  He doesn't look very bloated, and he is upright. I got him about two weeks ago after my Telescope Eye died.  The Telescope Eye did the same thing before he died, but at the very end he was curled in half.  I had him for one year along with another Oranda (Chloe-about 1 1/2" not including fins) who is doing super fine.  (Chloe does have orange veins in his fins that I read some people are concerned about, but they have always been there and I always just thought they were normal.)
<Orange... not red? Could be "normal">
  The Telescope Eye also became completely white and blind after I had him for 6 months.
<Something amiss here... environmentally, or just genetic?>
 I had to hand feed him.  I gave them sinking pellets, but when I got the new fish two weeks ago I switched to a combination of Your Fish Stuff (YFS) Super Soft Spirulina pellets, and YFS  Goldfish Frenzy flakes.
<I feed my fancy goldfish exclusively Spectrum pelleted>
 I'm worried that Poe has eaten too much for his little size because he was super fast at getting the food, even though I tried to put just a little in  for Chloe. Today was the first day he didn't try to swim over to get some food.  I thought about putting in some API Aquarium Salt, is this a good idea?
<Not really; no. Read here:
the linked files above>
I also have a small Bristlenose Pleco in there.  I  was going to give him peas, but we accidentally purchased a frozen kind that has salt added. ( Maybe this is a good thing?)  I don't know if I could even get him to eat it.  I also have some Melafix
 which I tried to use with my Telescope Eye to no avail.
Here is some info on my tank: Ammonia = 0 Nitrates= 0
<Really? How is NO3 rendered thus?>
Nitrites= 0PH= 8.2Water is hard Size 20 Gallons (might have to upgrade when the fish grow) Change 25% of the water and vacuum once a week
<Good protocol. I do the same>
Have a bubbler and a whisper filter for 30 - 45 gallons Temperature is usually between 68 and 74 degrees  It does sometimes fluctuate between the day and night about 3 degrees
Thank you so very much for your advice! Deanna
<Again, something is wrong here... likely a toxicity... from? A piece of decor? Aerosols in the room? Do you use carbon at all? Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Goldfish     11/20/12

Hi Bob,
Thank you so much for your response.  Unfortunately the little fish died yesterday.
  There is nothing around the fish tank like aerosol sprays. It is in the main room of our house near the kitchen.  The filter has activated carbon inserts that get changed a little less than once a month.
<About right>
  My Test kit has NO3 as 0 ppm at the lowest level, which is what my tank always tests at.
<Strange that a goldfish system wouldn't register some. Do us both a favor and take a water sample to the fish store for their checking next time>
  When I change the water today I am going to take out 50% and change my plastic plants to silk because once in a while their fins would get torn on them.  The torn parts  always heal, so I didn't think it was from fin rot. 
No other signs of infection, just clean tears that heal.  Everything in there was made for aquariums. 
So now the question is my young girls, and I'm sure the Oranda who is now lonely, want to get another fish. I read somewhere that sooner was better than later since the bio-filter is used to working for three fish.  I just don't want another fish to die. 
Oh, and one more thing I forgot to ask you about.  After eating my Oranda frequently starts piping at the surface, sometimes for up to two hours.
<Mmm... indicative of low dissolved oxygen and/or high/er CO2... I'd "dip a pitcher" along the top of the tank or drape a colorless paper towel
along the top to wick off any sort of oil that might be forming an impenetrable layer there... otherwise cut back on the feeding, look into Spectrum brand as a staple instead>
 He also will sometimes swim very erratically.   I was worried at first that it could be because of gill flukes, but he doesn't do it 24/7, and he seems fine in every other way.  I don't see any puss, and his gills are pink.  I read that this could be because crumbs of food might get stuck in the gills.  Is this true?
<Not really, no. Cypriniiform fishes have a good deal of cartilage in their branchiostegals (gill supports)... that account for their ability to stay alive out of water for long duration...>
  Should I change my food yet again? 
How long is fish food good for? 
<Several months>
They give you so much food, but there is no expiration date on any of the packages.  Not even on the pellets I received when I first got the tank.  
Anyway, thank you again for this great service you provide.  It really is so helpful and I greatly appreciate it. 
<Glad to assist your efforts, understanding. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Goldfish     11/20/12

Thanks Bob,
I will get my water tested at the store and try the new food.  I will also try the skimming a little water off the top. 
<Tres bien. B>

rescued 3 large goldfish from 10 gallon cage     – 11/20/12
Thank you so much for your massive and informative web site. I sincerely appreciate it. My 8 year old and I are about 4 months into the fish hobby with a 10 gallon tank and have tiny fish legs under us a little now (she was a swordfish for Halloween!).
With an empty space below our 10 gallon tank on the stand, we decided to add one more 10 ga to add some variety to our fish keeping. When we arrived to pick up a free tank locally, we learned it came with 3 goldfish. I should say, it came with three LARGE goldfish. There is a 2 yr old fantail with telescoping eyes of at least 6 inches (eyes look a little cloudy to me and noticed an occasional rubbing motion on bottom of tank [observed it twice in 24 hours]), an 2 yr Oranda of about 5 inches (has only a few scales and frequently does funny swimming maneuvers. Started Malfix
<A good name for this phony product, Melafix... see/search WWM re... as it at best a placebo; at worst a toxic, nitrification tea/leaf extract>
 and fasting today on whole tank. Will start peas tomorrow or maybe next day), and a 1 yr old straight tail of about 4 inches (seems healthy and looks good), all very sadly having been raised in this one tank together this whole time!
<Mmm, well... you realize these fish can't live in a ten gallon system/volume...>
We quickly realized we are now in the middle of a rescue operation for these fish. The FAQ area has varying answers for our situation regarding tank size. I understand a 30 ga is minimum for one goldfish (with proper filtration and good water) but one response said ‘ideally a 30 ga can house 3 fancy goldfish with no problems’ and the very next answer indicated to add a second goldfish a 40-55 would be necessary. I can acquire either a 30, 55, or 65 today. I was planning on the 65 so we can keep all three fish (my 8 year old is in love and willing to sell off her mollies an small tank, ha ha)
<Mmm, the "bigger the better" size-wise>
So here we are! Can I move all the fish with their current tank (did a 75% change when we got them 2 days ago) water/gravel and filter to a 65 immediately and add just enough new water for swimming to get them some space to keep from completely crashing the water and to begin working on their health issues?
<Moving all should be fine... not result in a cessation of biological filtration>
 OR do I they have time to live in the 10 ga for a couple more weeks while I cycle a bigger one?
<Mmm, I'd move all>
Thank you so much for any help you can provide. If  don’t hear back, I will begin cycling the 65 ga tank and, assuming their health does not obviously deteriorate in the next couple of weeks, keep changing the water, light on the feeding, medicate, and try to do a complete cycle of the new tank before adding them.
Homeschooling mom of two,
<Thank you for your thoughtful, complete relating. Bob Fenner>

These go with the email from ***@yahoo.com with the subject Goldfish with gill curl.    11/11/12
 Sorry I didn't include them this is the only way I can.
<Don't see the original message. In any case, Gill Curl is almost always caused by a poor environment, classically a large fish in a too-small aquarium without enough oxygen. There's no real cure (indeed, with expensive fish the owners may even resort to surgery). But improving the environment will prevent worsening and may roll back the curl a bit. Oh, and it can be fatal if not treated (i.e., the environment isn't fixed).
Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish with gill curling    11/12/12
I don't mean to bother you guys you probably gets loads of questions but even calling aquatic vets haven't helped me. My favorite goldfish, al Capone (Ryukin), has gill curl. I only really noticed it a few days ago.
I've been battling the mishap in my tank recently with the spike in nitrates in my tap water(40ppms). I'm now doing eater changes with water from my friends house. I have to use SeaChem prime due to the chlorine but other than that all parameters are good. I have three Ryukins in this tank.
Its a 37gal show tank with one large bubble bar spanning the bottom back of the tank, the filter that came with the tank, an added 5gal filter and a submersible 40gal filter. I'm doing the best I can and didn't know much about goldfish then I got these guys. I had them in a 5gal for about a month before they got Ich and I realized my mistake. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. It isn't safe to snip the gill membrane is it? Sedate her with clove oil and
afterwards use melafix to prevent infection?
<Have answered this question yesterday when your photo came through. Gill Curl is invariably caused by environmental issues. Review, and act accordingly. There's no cure, but if prevented from getting any worse, isn't fatal (though the existing environmental stresses may be). Cheers, Neale.> 

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

Re: Very Sick Goldfish   10/17/12
Below is an e-mail thread between me and the only fish vet I could get in touch with in my general area. All of my problems with Gary the goldfish are spelled out here. In summary, the vet urges continued vigilance with water quality/conditions, but thinks Gary might have sepsis and doesn't really leave me with an option for that. Would you please review the below information and offer me your opinion? I am getting rather desperate and I feel terrible for poor Gary, as I have grown quite attached to him and hate to see him in this condition. I have attached four pictures, taken today (10/16/12); note that the water color is off due to the medication in the water. Please read on for details.
<I'll leave the thread below untouched and answer here. In addition to what is recommended, you might consider using zeolite to absorb ammonia. It's not a good permanent solution, nor will it replace water changes, but it will help for temporary situations like this. The pictures do look similar to other bacterial infections I've seen.  There is a good WWM page on this topic here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_2/mycobactera.htm By the way, the 20 gallon tank might be a bit small for this guy long-term.>
Thank you so much for your time,
E-mail #1, from me, sent 10/16/12:
I "inherited" a large goldfish (approximately 7" body, possibly veiltail?) from friends who were moving across the country. He is very social, active, acrobatic, and rather personable, as far as fish go, and possessed these characteristics for the first four weeks I had him. I
was originally supposed to foster him until the family that had volunteered to take him came back from vacation. However, the days and weeks passed, and I still have the fish. His name is Gary, and he's six years old. Note - I do not have much experience with fish.
Gary's previous family wasn't very diligent about fish care... they stuck him in a tank, fed him, and changed his water and filter on occasion, but he seemed to do just fine. When I got him, his tank was full of algae, so
about three weeks ago I decided to buy some algae eaters to help out.
After putting them in the tank, I did a bit of research and discovered that they were actually Chinese algae eaters, which don't necessarily eat algae and might attack the fish. So I took those two guys back to PetSmart and decided to just give the tank a good cleaning. I vacuumed the gravel and did an almost full water change.
That's when the problems started. A few days after that, Gary started resting at the bottom of the tank and being very lethargic. Then he started getting red blotches on his belly and his fins. When he did swim, he seemed to be having seizures or convulsions or something before he sank down to the bottom again. Then he started spitting out his food and then stopped even attempting to eat. I started doing a lot of online research and suspected that it might be ammonia and/or nitrite
poisoning. I started doing daily water changes (30-50%) and I added salt to his aquarium. He didn't seem to be getting better. I also noticed that he was developing teeny white spots on his eyes (not cloudy eye,
but distinct, very small dots).
 I then bought some water testing strips, and all of the levels (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) were fine. I've been testing every day for about a week or so and they levels have remained good. But Gary seemed to be getting worse. Then I was wondering if he got some sort of
parasite/bacterial infection from the Chinese algae eaters...
 I went to a dedicated fish/aquarium store and described the problem and showed pictures. The man who was helping me also thought that since the water quality was good, that it could be parasites and/or bacteria. He gave me a medication which he described as an anti-parasitic and gram-positive antibiotic containing 3.6 mg Malachite Green and 60 mg Nitrofurazone per packet (API Super Ick Cure). I used two packets as directed for his 20 gallon tank, and he's had two doses spaced 48 hours apart, as directed.
 He is still very sick. The white spots on his eyes seem to be clearing up, but he is developing more red blotches all over his body. He is also breathing extremely rapidly and seems to be almost trembling all the time. And in the past couple of days, he has started listing to the side a bit. I didn't feed him for four days while he was being medicated...I decided to try last night and he didn't react at all to the food. He will perk his back fin up all the way when he sees me now, but that's the only "positive" development.
I called the aquarium store again this morning and the guy suggested that I try a gram-negative antibiotic like tetracycline. Then he was out of ideas. I haven't gotten the tetracycline yet, because I wanted to get advice from an actual veterinarian. But fish vets are quite hard to find. I live in ****, so it would be very difficult to
get Gary out to where you are, and I think the stress might do him in.
If you are willing, would you please be able to help me out based on this e-mail and the pictures I have attached? I am heartbroken over this little guy and I hate that he is suffering like this...I am actually crying just writing this e-mail!
E-mail #2, reply from vet, sent 10/16/12:
I am sorry to hear that Gary is not doing well. I do have a couple of questions:
·         What size tank and type of filtration is on it?
·         When you have been doing the water changes, what type of water conditioner / chlorine remover have you been using, if any?
·         Have you had the water checked with a test kit other than the strips, i.e. at the aquarium store?
·         When you added salt, what type of salt and how much?
·         Did the “white” spots develop on any other part of its body, other than the eyes?
·         How long have the red blotchy spots been developing on the sides and have they been spreading?
E-mail #3, reply from me, sent 10/16/12:
- It's a 20 gallon tank with a hang-on-the-back Penguin 100 Bio-Wheel filter that uses Size A activated carbon filters. It's the same tank and filtration system that he's had for several years, if not his entire life. For the past four days, I have removed the carbon filter cartridge as directed on the medication package.
- When changing the water, I've been using API Tap Water Conditioner, which says it instantly removes chlorine and chloramines and detoxifies heavy metals. Again, it was part of the Gary inheritance package - it's the stuff his previous family had been using for a while.
- I have not had the water checked other than with the strips. I asked at the aquarium store how accurate they were and he said they were pretty accurate but not as good  as the liquid kits.
- When I added salt, it was non-iodized, no additive kosher salt, pre-dissolved in water. I added one teaspoon per gallon (20 tsp total, in increments), then after doing more research online, I added 15 more teaspoons. I will say that after the first salt addition, he seemed to perk up a bit, but then got worse as described.
That was last week, and no salt has been added since Friday night.
- There do appear to be extremely tiny white spots on his fins, but they are so small they can barely be seen. They may have always been there and I just never noticed because he used to move around so much. They don't look like the pictures of Ich that I've seen, but what do I know?
They are still there, although like I said, the spots on the eyes are getting better.
- I first noticed the red about two weeks ago on his belly and his "chin" a few days after I did the full water change, but it seemed to diminish after I started doing
 partial water changes. I was also wondering if it was irritation from sitting on the gravel. Then I noticed it in his fin veins. But as far as it being on the actual body, I noticed it near his left gill Thursday night. Since then, it has disappeared from that particular spot but is now all over his sides as evident in the pictures. I would say in the past two days, he has developed a lot of the redness on the sides.
This medication he's been on directed me not to change the water for four days (I am supposed to change 25% tonight), so I'm wondering if this is making him worse. Although I did a check just now, and here are the latest test strip readings:
Ammonia: Somewhere between 0 and .5 ppm
NitrAte: Somewhere between 20 and 40 ppm (it was at 0 when I was changing the water)
NitrIte: Somewhere between 0 and .5 ppm (had been at 0)
pH: 7
Is it possible that this is a combination of many things? His previous family never once tested the water, so could it be that he was accustomed to living in bad water conditions and I made it worse by trying to fix them? But then the white spots on the eyes and the redness make me think that it's not just the water... I don't know.
E-mail #4, reply from vet, sent 10/16/12:
I think you have the right thought process as Gary acclimating to poor living conditions / water quality. Over time they will adjust to elevated NH3 / nitrite / nitrate levels if the develop slowly. Also over time the pH of the water slowly acidify. But this causes stress on the body lowering the immune system. With the change to your house and the addition of the new fish Gary was most likely in a weakened state and any new bacteria or parasites are able to take over.
So, I don’t think you caused this but Gary was set up.
Having any elevated ammonia and nitrite is a problem. As soon as you can replace the carbon in the filter do so. Continue the 25% water changes every other day and replace the salt . Make sure only to add enough salt for the water you remove each time. Salt helps with reducing osmotic stress form disease, parasites and reduces the toxicity of the ammonia. When you clean the filter in the future don’t over clean it as this will remove ALL of the good bacteria and can cause the ammonia spikes until the bacterial multiply again.
The red lesions on the sides and fins are an indication of sepsis. Antibiotics may be needed but I don’t know if tetracycline is the right drug. Also, using the antibiotics in the water can affect the filter bacteria and therefore make controlling the water quality harder.
That is where I would start. Let me know how it goes and if you have any other questions.

Re: Very Sick Goldfish 10/16/12     10/18/12
Good morning,
Thank you so much for your quick reply and suggestions. I read the article you sent and did some related searches. From what I gathered, it seems like it might be best not to medicate and just to maintain good water in the hopes that it will allow him to fight it  off on his own. And if it is a mycobacteriosis-type disease, there's not much that can be done anyway. Is that accurate? Is that what you would do?
<If the fish seems to be recovering then keep doing what you have been doing, but be ready to medicate if necessary.>
Some of Gary's redness seemed to diminish last night and this morning. I do think it might be some sort of opportunistic bacterial infection, but I'm not sure if it's sepsis/mycobacteriosis...if it was, would the redness come and go, or would
 it just stay red and get worse? Because some blotches have appeared and disappeared during the time he's been sick.
<If the fish's immune system is fighting the infection off, then the red spots will diminish, so this is a very good sign.>
At any rate, he actually did eat a little this morning--definitely not with the same enthusiasm as when he was healthy, but I was still impressed that he even showed the slightest interest.
Although when he ate, it seemed like it was pretty hard for him. He was making very rapid mouth movements and trembling/spasming/jerking. He also seemed like he wanted to get excited when he saw the food, but had a really hard time getting off the bottom. I do think he's making progress, or at least more than I've seen for the past nearly three weeks. He holds his fin up for longer when he sees me, and he started swimming a bit last night and a bit more this morning, but for the most part he still sits on the bottom of the tank with his fin clamped.
<Takes time to recover.>
This morning when he was swimming, I saw him come up and gulp air twice. I know this means he's feeling that he's not getting enough oxygen, so I'm worried about that now as well. I was trying to see if anything was stuck in his throat, but I couldn't tell.
<Do you have any air running in the tank? If not, recommended to increase dissolved oxygen content.>
 Do you think it's possible that maybe he swallowed a piece of gravel and can't get it out? Would he be having all of these symptoms if that was the case?
<I suppose it's possible but I don't think it would explain the gasping at the surface.>
 He hasn't been pooping, but I assumed that was because he wasn't eating. When he first started feeling bad, he was still eating and pooping, so I didn't think it was constipation or a blockage.
<Try feeding pea after removing the shell. It makes a good laxative.>
 If he did swallow a piece of gravel, is there anything that can be done about it if it can't be seen? And would he have lasted this long if that was the case?
<Probably would need to knock the fish out with clove oil and use forceps.
In his weakened state, it might kill the fish. And, that's starting to get very close to doing a veterinarian's job. Anyway, I think a piece of gravel is unlikely from what you described.>
I did do a 25% water change with salt and added the carbon filter back last night.
<If you think constipation is an issue, you might use Epsom salt instead of sodium chloride. Keep the water clean, that's very important here.>
As I said, he does seem like he has made a little progress...I might just be wanting that too bad, so I'll try not to get my hopes up and will continue to monitor him and his water.
<As Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.>
I really appreciate your assistance.
Thanks again,
<Most welcome.>
Re: Very Sick Goldfish 10/16/12    10/24/12

Good morning,
<Good morning>
Just wanted to give you an update... after nearly three excruciating weeks during which Gary seemed to be getting worse by
 the day (hence my desperate e-mails to you toward the end), the little guy made a miraculous recovery, practically overnight! He's like a whole new fish! Redness is gone, fins are up, appetite is definitely back! I don't really know exactly how or why it happened, but I'm so glad he pulled through.
<That is terrific news. Congratulations.>
I really appreciate your time, advice, and guidance in this matter...you were very helpful.
<You are very welcome.>
Thanks again for everything!
<- Rick> 

Many Questions Following the Unexpected Death of One of My Goldfish      9/23/12
First, I'd like to say your site has been a Godsend to me. I sincerely doubt my fish would have lived this long had I not been fortunate enough to stumble across this site while I was gathering information.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I've searched your site all day for some insight regarding my question but so far I've found nothing. I'm writing to see if one of you good people can help me figure out why my "baby," a 2 1/2 year old, 4.5" common goldfish, suddenly died yesterday without warning. Here are the basics: I inherited Jonah (the dearly departed and much beloved goldfish) and her two tank mates from my sister and her kids a little more than two years ago. Jonah shared a 40-gallon tank with two equally beloved common goldfish of approximately the same age and size (about 4.75"-6"). I'm aware that the tank is a little small by some people's standards but please keep in mind that it's much larger than the original 2.5 gallon tank the idiot at a certain large chain pet store convinced my sister would be "more than big enough" to contain the original 4 goldfish said tank was supposed to house.
<Agreed. In any case, 40 gallons should be sufficient to keep up to four Goldfish perfectly well. Admittedly, the "fancy" varieties don't get so big and tend to do better in tanks than the "standard" sort (which really should be considered as pond fish).>
Needless to say, the fourth fish died two weeks afterwards from what I am now certain was ammonia poisoning (as nitrites and nitrates were both zero at this time). It took the tank weeks to cycle, and even then I had a devil of a time keeping it that way. I researched fish care for two months before settling on the 40 gallon (not realizing until shortly afterwards that the sites I'd visited were referring to tanks of this size for "fancy" goldfish and not commons like mine) and haven't had this problem since. As a matter of fact, the parameters of the water immediately after removing Jonah's body from the tank were Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 10 PPM (according to the API vial tests I took).  The temp in the tank was 78 degrees.
<A bit warm, to be honest. Room temperature works fine for these naturally warm-temperate to subtropical fish.>
The tank has two hang on the back filters- an Emperor 400 for tanks up to 90 gallons and a Penguin 200 Bio-Wheel for tanks up to 50 gallons. In addition to this, it has two 18" bubble curtains running end to end along the back wall. At 3:45 AM yesterday morning all my fish appeared to be perfectly healthy (or so I thought). As of that time they could be seen actively engaging in any one of their three favorite pastimes: eating, foraging for food or sleeping.  They also enjoyed long, leisure swims through their bubble curtain. Their standard diet consists of homemade gel food (their favorites include organic spinach, shrimp and fresh garlic or peas and carrots- both of which are fortified with liquid Vita-Chem vitamins) in addition to the occasional shelled sweet peas, baked sweet potatoes, Nori seaweed sheets, orange slices, and anything else they like to eat. I feed them once a day because they snack on aquatic plants throughout the day (Elodea and Amazon Swords are their favorites). I clean the tank once a week (or more if indicated which is very rare, as the tank has been fully cycled for months), with a deep vacuum of the gravel until the water in the vacuum tube is free of anything but water and gravel. I rinse the filter cartridges in tank water whenever they appear to be clogged. I refrain from bothering the actual canisters unless they're clogged in order to preserve the biological filter. I check the water parameters (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) once immediately before and again about two hours after cleaning the tank each week. Every morning shortly after waking, I take a peek in the tank to be sure nothing is amiss. After the cursory pulse check I look for any obvious signs of parasites, infections or injuries. I also check for any behavioral changes and clamped fins. The fish may be a little "groggy" depending on how soon I check on them after the lights pop on but no one thus far has ever showed any signs of lethargy. Such was the case yesterday morning when I left my house for work.
<All sounds good so far.>
When I returned from work yesterday evening I immediately dropped a cube of gel food into the tank (my normal routine). I knew something was amiss when only two of my favorite piglets materialized. It was upon searching for the missing fish that I came across Jonah's somewhat pale, lifeless body which was trapped between a toy log she'd (at least I'm assuming it was a "she") loved to play in and one of the filter intake tubes in an unnaturally vertical position. I've no idea whether she was trapped before or after her death, but when I moved the hollow log she floated to the surface of the tank.
<Usually it's the filter sucks the dead (or at least moribund) body of the fish, rather than the filter sucking up a healthy fish and causing its death.>
Upon removing her from the tank I immediately checked to see what may have caused her demise. Aside from the fact that she was not moving and was slightly bloated from the early stages of decomposition, absolutely nothing appeared to be amiss. There were no obvious signs of injury or illness (i.e. bleeding or blood streaks, fungus, parasites, ulcers, etc.) I gave her a gentle squeeze to see if she may have inadvertently swallowed gravel but I felt nothing unusual. As mentioned above, the water parameters were also well within normal range so I don't think she'd been dead too long.
Still, I buried her in my backyard and performed a partial water change just in case.
In addition to being devastated by the sudden loss I'm also really concerned because I don't know if it's safe to leave her tank mates in the tank.
<Do suspect this is "one of those things". But review the other causes of sudden death. Is the heater working properly (i.e., fish weren't boiled)?
Have any chemicals been used in the house that might have gotten into the water via circulation or air bubbles (e.g., paint fumes, bug sprays)? Is the food being used fresh and/or within its use-by date? Have any children visited recently who might have dropped something potentially toxic into the tank?>
So far I've been watching them like a hawk and they're behaving normally but maybe I should add an antibiotic just in case (if you think that's appropriate.) I've spoiled these fish from Day 1 and love them beyond reason (if that's at all possible). I'd really like to understand where I went wrong so I can prevent it from happening again. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
<Doing a series of water changes is a good idea to flush out any possible toxins; e.g., 50% now, 50% a few hours later, and another 50% tomorrow.
Look at the filter and check it's working properly and rinse off any media.
Throw out any carbon (if used) because carbon adsorbs toxins and it's theoretically possible it could release them again under certain conditions. If you can, install some fresh carbon or better still a high-end chemical medium (such as Polyfilter) that removes a wider range of toxins than carbon. Again, dispose of this after it's useful life, which, like carbon, is around a couple of weeks, certainly less than a month.
Don't feed the fish at all for a day or two, at least until you're sure things are normal in the tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Many Questions Following the Unexpected Death of One of My Goldfish      9/23/12

Dear Neale,
Thanks for the speedy reply.
Here are my responses to the points you mentioned:
There is no heater in the tank.  The water was a  little warm because I live in the high desert.  We've been experiencing  triple digits recently so I figured a "cool" 78 degrees, while on the high end  for coldwater fish, was an acceptable alternative for what the rest of us were experiencing.  I have central heating and air but I try to keep the  temperature set so that it won't cause huge fluctuations that could stress the  fish. Just in case you're wondering, the tank is not in the direct pathway of any drafts. As for toxins that may have gotten into the water, I'm the  only person who handles the tank and I'm very careful with what I do around the tank. Visitors know how protective I am of my pets so they know to watch  them from a distance. I even watch what I cook for fear that any smoke or steam may bind to the oxygen in their tank and make it difficult for them to  breathe. Their tank isn't in the kitchen but I do have to be mindful of  this since my house is rather small. Since all the food I give them is  freshly made by me I check it very closely before dropping it in the  tank.  If it looks or smells even slightly off it is never introduced to  the tank.
<All sounds very careful and conscientious.>
I've cleaned the  tank twice since the initial cleaning just in case toxins were lurking in the water.  I forgot to mention in my previous email that I changed the filter cartridges the night the fish died.  I'll definitely purchase the Polyfilter though (thanks for the tip).  I've also been keeping an eye on  the water parameters and they're still well within normal range (Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 10). Thankfully, the remaining fish are still showing no signs of  illness.  I'm crossing my fingers that remains to be the case.
<Let's hope the fish gods are feeling benevolent!>
Thanks again for all your help. You guys are the BEST fish site on the Internet =0)!
<And thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Swollen Nostril on Goldfish    7/20/12
Howdy, folks. 
I have searched the web, including WWM, and have not found anything quite pertinent to my goldfish's malady.  The fish's name is Wanda and she is a common type won by my daughter at a fair four years ago.
<A comet... gets quite large; can live a couple decades w/ good care>
 She is about six inches long and until three days ago seemingly quite healthy.  She shares a 75 gallon tank with one other goldfish, a rhino Pleco and few smaller fish.  I have a 400 GPH HOT filter with dual BioWheels plus two 350 GPH canister filters running all the time, one with a micron filter, the other carbon.  I do a one-third water change every week or two.
<I'd do regularly every week... In fact, this IS what I do>
  The tank is partially planted, consuming nitrates, and some Nerite snails and freshwater clams keep the gravel pretty clean.  I use water from the softener at pH 8.3, KH 8+ and GH, of course, zero due to the softener. 
Water temp 78 F.
So back to Wanda ... three days ago I noticed that one of her (I actually do not know her gender, but my kids gave her a girl's name, so we refer to her as if she were a her) nostrils was slightly swollen with some black discoloration inside.  Within a day this condition worsened so that it is now quite a pronounced swelling.  The nostril is gaping on both sides of what appears to be a septum.  She also has a scale or two loose on one side, uncertain of the relevance.
<Mmm, do you suspect the Rhino Plec may be riding Wanda? I'd keep my eyes open (esp. at night) for such abuse>
Last night I carefully applied Mecuriclear to the nostril as a prophylaxis for secondary bacterial infection.  No way to tell if that did any good.
<Yes; not likely "catching" here in cause>
 This afternoon I moved her into a ten gallon quarantine tank with 5 tsp aquarium salt and one dose each of Fungus Guard and General Cure, hoping to wipe out any bacterial, fungal or parasitic pathogens.  She was acting fine, swimming and eating normally ... at least until I incarcerated her in that little 10 gallon tank ... she is not happy now!  Bouncing off the walls.
<I'd replace, return this fish to the 75... needs the space; diluted wastes that only more volume can provide>
Any ideas?  Suggestions? Wanna see a photo?
<T'were it me, mine, I'd keep all in the 75, increase water changes, assure nitrates are being kept under 20 ppm as a measure... and be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Swollen Nostril on Goldfish    7/21/12
Thanks, David, for the response!
<Still Bob here>
Attached are photos of the inflamed nostril taken Friday afternoon, 24 hours into quarantine.  The swelling seems reduced about 25% and the redness also.
<These excellent photos show this to be highly likely a physical trauma... an injury>
Yesterday I moved into a 40 gallon breeder similarly medicated.  She immediately calmed down and is swimming like a goldfish again.  With a 40g to herself, I figure she's got a bigger share of litter in her box than in the 75g with two other big fish.
I just measured nitrates in the 75g, with no water changes since moving her out, at 40 ppm.  Ammonia and nitrites both zero.
<The NO3 needs to be kept under 20 ppm... Please read here re:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

HELP, Comet GF... beh.       7/5/12
I have been in contact with you folks for two years about a comet goldfish I have with large white bulging eye, this fish has never acted like this and is sitting on bottom of tank, is it constipation??
<... can't tell>
It is scaring me a lot! It is usually my fistiest <?> fish, has never done this, I checked water, changed a bit for now and added Epsom salt, should I add aquarium salt too? What do I do, I just fed it a cooked shelled pea?
<Don't panic... just regular care; time going by. B>
Re: HELP     7/5/12

It seems a bit better , I fed the peas and water change and Epsom salt, How long can the salt be left in the tank?
Can I keep feeding it peas everyday??
<Yes. B>
Re: HELP     7/5/12

Thanks again , I did want to ask another question, about 3 months ago I was giving them antibiotic food called Medigold, (I think) Then was told to try Jump start when they finished the meds, It has probiotics in it??
<... search w/ this string: Medigold fish food ingredients>
I have had the bag for 3 months and used it once, it made them poo a lot so I stopped, Should I use this and would it still be good(not spoiled)?? They have this very thin stringy poop, what could that be from?
<See WWM re. B>
I wont bother again today!!
Hope you have a good evening, Thanks
Re: HELP     7/5/12

HI again, I am worried about this fish, can you tell me a bit more on what you may think could be wrong?? Am I doing everything I should??
<What? Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/
Salt     7/6/12

Yesterday I was asking about a comet goldfish I have with bulging eye, I have emailed you a lot about him and other things, I try to go to another site to ask and they are so very mean!! They think I am a chemist!! I have been feeding this one I mentioned yesterday peas for two days , it seems to be somewhat better, I changed water, added stress coat and they
told me to add salt, I have told everyone I use a water softener and have for 12 yrs on these fish, I don't have another source,
<The outside spigots are surely not softened>
they have lived in this for all this time and do fine, However last night this man told me to add salt, I asked a simple question, would my using a softener tank for my water and THEN add aquarium salt, will it make my water more soft, You don't even want to know how rude he was and never answered my question. He don't even know if peas are good for fish. He
talks about RedOx??? And other things when all I want is basic answers, to help my fish to the best of MY ability.
Yesterday I added the Epsom salt and fed peas, seemed to help, then I changed out some more water and added stress coat, but didn't add the salt he told me to.
He said fish act like this , it is common, I DON'T think it is common for a fish to sit on bottom of tank. He is swimming now, What are your thoughts on this, the water chemistry is good, except it does always read GH at 0
<Not good... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshH2OF.htm
comet goldfish     7/8/12

I have noticed something on this goldfish I keep asking you about why it might be laying on gravel, it has a bit of a swelling near the anal area, what does this mean, the others have a nice shape going after the fin right before anal area, but this one has a swelling that starts about there and goes to end of tail??
I fed peas and Epsom salt in tank, I noticed that is has a very slight swelling in where I would think it is its stomach down to tail on its left side? What part of the fish is this, is it the stomach ? It looks like a very slight swelling along about its middle to tail on one side? It is not like a lump. Any ideas? If a fish swallows a stone , do they die , just asking , I don't know if that is what happened but wondering about this area of swelling?? It is hungry now, going to feed today. Moves about more through the day then at night, I feed in the morning then at night it lays at bottom of tank.
Upon a closer look yet I found that in the fish I described in last message and several others, that this swelling, Not a lump, is on the area of the fin near anal area??  on his right side, not on both sides, swimming around today and ate some Spirulina flakes. still looks like he will soon lay in corner later!
Thanks again
<Hello Cathy. If the fish swims normally when feeding but rests on the bottom when it isn't swimming, then the problem may not be too serious, so I'd just observe. Fancy Goldfish are inbred and their swim bladder and spines severely deformed; benign tumours are also not uncommon among Fancy Goldfish. Often they find it difficult to swim if even slightly constipated and constipation can cause solid lumps to be apparent in the abdomen. If the fish does spend too much time sat on the bottom it can abrade their skin and scales, and that in turn promotes Finrot and fungus. Using smooth gravel or smooth silica sand (= pool filter sand) should avoid this problem. But for now, review the environment, review their diet, and act accordingly. Keep up with the peas and the Epsom salt. Swallowing gravel/sand is not normally a problem.
As Bob would say, "read, don't write". What you're describing is not uncommon, and with a little effort, you should be able to find plenty of extra information by following the links on the articles mentioned above.
Do also read Bob's piece on fish health; it's relevant. Most fish health issues are made, not a result of bad luck, and if you can understand that and work around it, you're all set.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: comet goldfish     7/8/12

I knew from the beginning when reading this it was Neale, your so kind,
<Most welcome.>
One thing though with all this info  is your reply still the same if this is NOT a fancy goldfish, it is a Comet goldfish??
Thanks so much
<Less common for standard Goldfish, but everything stated still holds true.
So for now, observe, read, provide optimal conditions, and maintain the right diet and Epsom salt addition. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: comet goldfish     7/9/12

Hi Neale, My goldfish with the big eye and slight swelling had to be put down today, I got up this morning and it was swimming in spirals, I put it in a few drops of clove oil, I would have tried more for it if it wasn't blind, I would have kept trying with the peas and Epsom salt but it had a hard enough time when he wasn't whirling, I noticed his tail might have looked bent because he was trying to stay upright, I hated this so much, I thank you for all your help!
<Welcome. But doesn't sound like I did much to help!>
Now if I can keep the ones I have left healthy enough! Thank you again
<Hmm… do read about their needs and ensure good environmental conditions.>
<<Comets can NOT live long or well at large size in aquariums of less than hundreds of gallons... and NOT in water of 0 GH. This has been gone over and over. B>>

Oh I wanted to ask, do you think this fish with having this eye problem for 3 yrs would have had anything other then constipation that might be contagious to the other two in tank??
<Unlikely. Swollen/Pop Eyes tend to be opportunistic infections; in other words, the fish is harmed or damaged somehow around the eye, and bacteria get into the eye and multiply, and as they multiply and body fluids build up, the eye pops up. If the damage is slight and the fish is in otherwise good health, the swelling can go down. Antibiotics, Epsom salt, and good water quality all help. But really, the way to look at Pop Eye is that it's a symptom that can be prevented by ensuring [a] good water quality and [b] the eye isn't damaged.>
They are fine but just want to be sure. This fish that died only had the symptoms of bladder problem or constipation, can worms be a problem if they have never had any live food or any ornaments introduced in tank for 12 yrs?? Nothing but the water and food
<Look over the size of the tank, filtration, water quality/chemistry, temperature, diet. Poisoning can happen, so do think about paint fumes, insecticides, etc., and though these tend to be immediate killers if present, I suppose long-term very low levels might be stress factors. Goldfish can, do live 20+ years under good conditions. Cheers, Neale.>

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