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Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Please help. GF dis., pond      8/16/18
Dear WWM Crew
Can you please help me? I rescued 60 goldfishes 2 weeks ago at the time of rescuing they suffered extremely bad stress then I just got one day to set up the new pond.
<Mmm; how was the water, filter "conditioned"?>
Now all fine but one poorly sick, it sinks at the bottom of the pond, I quarantined it indoor, used Interpet First Aid salt and API Pimafix, the black border alongside the body faded after 7 days treatment so I placed it back to the pond then next day the black border comes back again and it seems has new wound. I tested the water it shows medium high NO2 and NO3 which I immediately change 50% water, bought it down to normal level now
but the question is SHOULD I USE THE SAME MEDICINE AGAIN or should I try something different?
<Mmm; actually, no medication needed or advised, BUT you need to step up the biological filtration here. Let me have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwno2faqs.htm
STOP feeding period; the fish won't starve, but driving the nitrite up higher may well kill all.
DO look for Dr. Tim's products: GET "One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria"
Bob Fenner>
Hopefully not viremia, pox, or furunculosis...

You think it might be swim bladder disease?      12/27/17
Hello. I have a 765 gallon pond with 10 adult goldfish and 5 tiny fry in it. I am trying to determine if one of my fish has a swim bladder disease problem.
<I'm a skeptic with regard to "swim bladder disease". Let's be clear, it's a symptom, and not a specific disease. It's not like a healthy fish is swimming about one day, gets infected with some type of bacteria, and that bacteria zips its way straight to the swim bladder, puffing it up and causing the fish to die! When most aquarists mention "swim bladder disease" what they mean is "my fish was fine before, but now it's swollen and swimming upside-down" -- a much different thing! Assuming the fish was healthy before, there's two main reasons for fish being both swollen and swimming upside-down. The first is constipation. Let me direct you to some reading here:
This is rare in pond fish because these fish consume green foods and algae naturally, keeping their digestive tracts in good health. The second cause is a systemic bacteria infection, of the sort often called Dropsy.
Crucially, as well as looking bloated, the scales on the fish will tend become raised from body, causing a "pine-cone" appearance when viewed from above. Fish with Dropsy will often also be lethargic and off their food,
whereas fish with constipation will be swimming about normally and eating normally. Systemic bacterial infections are usually caused by some sort of environmental stress, such as poor water quality or chilling, though I suppose it's possible bad luck or bad genes can play a role too. Fancy Goldfish in particular are sensitive to water temperatures much below 15 C/59 F.>7
The fish is a white Oranda. It has always stood on its head when feeding.
Here is a photo of the fish doing that. Sorry about the fuzzy quality. Here is another photo of the same fish swimming normally just the other day. She was feeding normally when I was feeding during the fall. But today my
father found her swimming upside down. She righted herself and swam away alright. But I am wondering, if it is swim bladder disease, should I take it out of the pond? Or should I let it continue to live in the pond where it has more room to swim and companions?
<Systemic bacterial infections are best treated indoors in a tank, using some sort of antibiotic. While Goldfish are social, they're fine on their own for a few weeks. This time of year be careful about moving fish between
ponds and tanks -- sudden temperature changes of more than a couple of degrees will be stressful, so you really want to fill the tank with pond water, set it up somewhere cool like a garage, and then put the Goldfish in so that any temperature changes are slight and gradual. As always, remember water quality in the hospital tank needs to be good, and remove carbon from the filter (if you use carbon) while medicating.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?      12/28/17
Thank you Neal. This is not my first time with swim bladder issues in my fish. I had one with genetic swim bladder disease years ago. She was fine, no dropsy, swam and ate normally. But when she would rest she would always turn upside down and float. She would right herself to eat and swim. But it was definitely not constipation.
<Genetic problems with swim bladders are very common in 'fancy' (i.e., inbred) varieties of fish. We sometimes call these fish "belly sliders" when they're newly hatched because they slide about the bottom of the tank on their bellies, rather than swimming normally like healthy fish fry. Ethical breeders will usually (humanely) destroy such fish, eliminating the faulty genes responsible from the gene pool, so that fewer fish in subsequent have the problem. Of course such fish can make perfectly serviceable pets, as yours seems to have done, but because these fish can't swim, feed, and interact socially in the normal ways, their long term wellbeing isn't assured.>
The disease eventually caused her to stop eating and she passed away. But she was a great and beautiful fancy goldfish while I had her. But I am wondering if my white Oranda might be developing it. It has always kind of stood on its head when feeding actively at the bottom of the pond. Do you think this head-standing is the start of a swim bladder disease problem?
<Possibly. As I say, genetic problems are usually obvious from birth. It's rather uncommon for genetics to explain how a fish can mature across, say, twelve months and go from being a perfectly healthy baby Goldfish into one that cannot swim at all. Of course it's not impossible, especially if some additional factor, such as vitamin deficiency or exposure to Mycobacteria are brought into the equation. Still, because fancy Goldfish have deformed swim bladders and spines, they are especially prone to swimming imbalances, not least of all when constipated (the solid mass of food shifts their centre of mass, so that they no longer balance as they should). That's why, by default, a 'floaty, Bloaty' Goldfish can be assumed to be constipated first, unless other obvious symptoms, such as bleeding sores on the skin and/or fins, imply something other than constipation.>
I can’t feed the afflicted fish right now and have not fed my fish in two weeks because the pond is in winter mode now and I am not supposed to feed them in winter.
<Quite right; hence, bringing Goldfish indoors for any treatment that requires feeding. I will observe that as a general rule fancy Goldfish are not well suited to overwintering outdoors where the water drops much below, say, 15 C/59 F, and I'd argue they're indoor fish unless you happen to live somewhere that winters happen to be mild (southern California, for example). Here in the UK, where ponds do ice over, it's generally considered safe enough leaving the hardy fancy varieties (such as Fantails) outside, but the more delicate varieties (like Pearlscales) are meant to be brought indoors for winter. Exposure to low temperatures causes a number of problems for fancy varieties of Goldfish, including a tendency towards bacterial infections once their immune systems become suppressed. Also, because fancy Goldfish have those deformed digestive tracts, if the gut hasn't been completely cleared out by the time it gets really wintery, there's a greater risk of undigested food 'sitting there' and causing problems when they're compared to their non-fancy cousins.>
So I don’t really think it is likely constipation related. And it’s definitely not dropsy related. Only conclusion I can make is that if it is swim bladder problems it might be genetic like my previous fish with swim bladder problems.
<As I say, possible, but if your Goldfish is 'floaty, Bloaty' completely out of the blue, I'd be thinking more about environment than genes.>
I just need some expert advice as I am not an expert.
<Let's see what Bob F has to say, he's the real fancy Goldfish guy around here!>
Thank you so much for your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second opinion please!!!)      12/29/17
Thank you Neal. I have been forbidden from keeping fish inside the house or anywhere but the pond. But the fish has not had a repeat of its upside down incident yet. Thank goodness. Thank you for your help and advice.
<Most welcome, and good luck! Neale.>
<<I'd have you re-read Sabrina's piece on "floaty Bloaty" goldfish...
Treatments for this genetic and often nutrition/food related syndrome are best done in temperature controlled aquariums, but you can likely do good by stopping feeding altogether (See, as in READ re pondfish feeding on WWM); as the water temp. is likely too low to allow digestion this time of year.
IF you'd like to try administering Epsom Salt to the pond en toto this may aid recovery as well. Bob Fenner>>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second opinion please!!!)   12/30/17
Thank you Bob.
Camron Buxton
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease? (RMF, second opinion please!!!)      12/31/17
He is doing his headstands again. He definitely seems to have a swim bladder problem. But how do I treat for the bacteria in my pond when I have no other real place to put them? Would the Epsom salt treat for the bacteria?
<Please re-re-read where you've been referred. B>

Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?     1/1/18
Thank you Bob.
Camron Buxton
<What do you gain from understanding Sabrina's article? B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?      1/1/18

What do I gain? Well, understand what the problem is a bit better. But I am having a little trouble clarifying the treatment in regards to ponds. Should I use Epsom salt in my pond like I would in an aquarium?
<You could. MgSO4 is very safe... and effective for what it does>
I think I ought to mention my fish has had this head standing issue for longer than 6 months.
And he has done this ever since I got him. Only now he is losing more of his balance. And I did have a goldfish with a genetic swim bladder disease once before years ago. But I kept that one in a tank not a pond. My current fish is stuck in the pond. I have no where else to put him. This is why I am asking if I should treat the whole pond. What are your thoughts on what I should do?
<T'were it me/mine; I'd stop feeding period as I've mentioned, and possibly go the Epsom route. B>
Re: You think it might be swim bladder disease?      1/1/18

Cool. Thank you so much Bob. It is much appreciated.

Re: Me again on the Oranda with swim bladder problem     1/7/17
Thank you Neal! :) I will continue to try out the Epsom salt baths for a few weeks. Around perhaps 3 weeks sound good to you?
<Sure, but provided the fish shows signs of improvement, and it's able to swim and feed, I'd be prepared to go on as long as it takes.>
And I was definitely not referring to using Epsom salt to euthanize my fish. I was just asking if you thought I should euthanize him.
And you answered my question beautifully. Thank you so much for all the help both you and Bob have been giving me. And your patience has been a godsend. Thank you so much! I will let you know if he gets any better.
Thank you. :)
<Most welcome, and thank you for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Growth Question      6/17/17
Hi Bob,
I came across your website and was wondering if you could help me out with a question. Sorry, I wasn't sure what email to use so sent it to both the general and your own email.
I noticed some of my pond goldfish have developed some bumps on their body.
I have come to the conclusion that they're carp pox as last year (in winter) I noticed that the same fish had some ulcers on them so I treated them with antibiotics,
<Mmm; not of much/any use here IF pox; which is virally mediated>

quarantined them and they all disappeared coming into summer. I didn't notice that there were lumps last year, more so ulcers into the middle of winter but I think I've caught onto it early this time.
The weather's getting colder again and we're going back into winter and these bumps have developed even though the water parameters have stayed fine/stable (currently at 0ppm Ammonia/Nitrites and Nitrates about 40-50ppm.
<Mmm; too high. See WWM re Nitrate control; keep under 20 ppm>
I will do a water change to clear the nitrates down, 30ppm General hardness, 0ppm Carbonate Hardness and pH 6.5):
<No images attached>
I've read there's nothing you can do to treat them except just wait it out, keep the water clean and support the fishes with a good diet.
<This is about it>
I'm thinking of getting a heater to bring the temperature up into the summer temps to help boost their immune system and replicate the environment that they went away in last year? What do you guys think?
<I wouldn't do this... for one, expensive to run/heat large volumes outdoors; for two, the possibility of heater, electric failure w/ disastrous temp. fluctuation... and thirdly, better to let the seasons gently cycle coming and going>
Do you agree that it's pox? They're still eating and behaving like normal but I noticed that it's the exact same fishes that had the ulcers last year in winter so it probably is viral/pox flaring up?
<Possibly... need well-resolved images to tell more. Might be Furunculosis, or even just reaction to something/s adverse in the environment. Do see/read on WWM Re:
and the linked (above) files in this series>
I would appreciate your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish Growth Question    6/18/17
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Henry>
I'll do some reading. The images should be attached now.
<Ahh; they are... and this does look like Carp Pox to me...>
Kind Regards,
<You should look carefully into your pond conditions ("dirty water") and do what you can to improve water quality, nutrition. There is no (other) direct cure (as far as I know). Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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