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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 45

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease, GoldfishGoldfish VarietiesKoi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment SystemBloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHPHole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis,

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Disease 1, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, 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 Health 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 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Disease 38, Goldfish Disease 39 Goldfish Disease 39, Goldfish Disease 40, Goldfish Disease 41, Goldfish Disease 42, Goldfish Disease 43, Goldfish Disease 44, Goldfish Disease 46, Goldfish Disease 47, Goldfish Disease 48,

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antifungals, Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals ( Copper, eSHa, Metronidazole, Formalin, Copper, Malachite Green), Dewormers, Organophosphates, Salts, Mela- et al. non-fixes, Misc. Med.s,

Goldfish Disease by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4Environmental 5,  Environmental ,  (Absolutely the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Eye Troubles
Lumps/Bumps/Growths (including idiopathic tumors)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal Infectious
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans, Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/ Anchorworms/Lernaeids, ) Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder Problems
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Raised spots, some appear fluffy on goldfish tail, Is this fungus?  4/19/09
Dear WWM crew,
Thank you very much for your hugely informative website, which I read almost every day! I have searched for an answer to my query, but not found anything clear. Hence the email.
<Fire away!>
I have a 220 litre "planted cool water community tank", which includes the following livestock:
- 4 fantail goldfish (currently they are approximately 4.5 inches, 4 inches, 3 inches and 2 inches in body length).
- 5 Siamese algae eaters (Crossocheilus siamensis)
- 1 female Betta
- 4 Corydoras (2 panda, 2 trilineatus)
- a colony of guppy x Endler's livebearers, breeding. Enough of the babies make it that the population of these seems fairly steady at about 10 adults and a bunch of babies at any given time.
<Sounds an interesting mix; while the Betta might find a low-tropical temperature below its comfort zone, the others should be fine.>
An unusual mixture, I know, but I believe that the water chemistry and temperature are OK for everyone. This tank is the result of my having to downsize my collection of aquariums to fit our baby (who is arriving any day now! :) ) into our small flat. When I realised that my new goldfish tank was holding at about 24 degrees C, due to the T5 lighting, I figured it would be OK to put the Betta and Corys in with the others who were already there, rather than give them away to someone that I don't know would care for them as I do.
<The daytime temperature is one thing, but you do need to make sure it doesn't get too cold at night; a low of 18 C at night would be the least I'd expect to be safe.>
Anyway, the water parameters are consistently:
- ammonia 0
- nitrite 0
- nitrate 10ppm
- pH 7.2
- temperature 24 C (kept thus by the lights and heaters to make sure it doesn't drop at night, in summer it went a lot warmer than that for several weeks at a time, this time of year it is constant)
- KH 5 degrees
- GH 8 degrees
<All sounds good. You're using a heater, which is good.>
The tank is filtered by a Fluval 305, lit with 2 39W high-output T5s, and planted with mostly fast-growing stem plants and elodea densa (which the goldfish eat about as fast as I can grow them), plus some water sprite floating on the top.
<All sounds fine, though the Fluval 305 might be a bit overloaded. It's rated at 1000 litres/hour, which is slightly better than 4 times the volume of the tank per hour. Acceptable for small community tropicals, but
borderline, at best, for Goldfish.>
I do regular water changes of around 15% once or twice a week, which seems to maintain the nitrate levels at a good point (no nitrate in my tap water here, so I am removing a little, but not much - the plants seem to keep the nitrates in check anyway). I fertilize with Seachem Flourish and the substrate is gravel mixed with Fluorite.
Everyone in the tank is peaceful as far as I have observed. The most aggressive thing I've seen is the Siamese algae eaters sometimes chasing each other around, which I believe is normal behaviour and not a sign of particular stress or problems.
<Is normal, but can result in split fins and the like, and the species is best kept in groups of 6+. Do observe, and act accordingly.>
All of the fish are active and eating, involved in mating (the guppies and Corys), schooling (the algae eaters) or just swimming around munching plants (the goldfish). What I mean is that as far as I can see, nobody feels sick at all.
<Sounds nice.>
Anyway, my problem is with the goldfish. One in particular, though I suspect that it's not limited just to "him" (not sure if he's a he or a she really). This is a petshop-bought fantail with a very long tail, like all of my goldies. The fish is about 2 years old and not very large, at 3 inches of body length. He's the runt of the three I bought at the same time. A couple of months ago I noticed a couple of small white spots, about 1-2mm in diameter, on the edge of his tail. They disappeared and then came back in different places. I worried a bit, looked online, decided that it might be something like carp pox, and stopped worrying.
They did not look fluffy, though they did look raised a bit.
<These are, I believe, incipient Finrot infections. What happens with Finrot is bacteria invade the thin fin tissues, clog the blood vessels (causing the swelling), then inflammation sets in, and then as the tissue
dies from lack of blood, you get the characteristic "rot" as the fin decays. There are viral infections that can cause similar things, in Goldfish for example Fish Pox, but these are uncommon.>
Now, a couple of months on, there are more spots, maybe 15 or 20 in total, mostly located along the edge of this fish's tail. They mostly look like smooth, slightly raised, white circular bumps that are about 1-2mm in diameter. However a couple of them do now look a bit fluffy to me, as though little bits
of white fluff, the size of a matchstick head, are coming off them. The other goldfish have one or two each as well, as far as I can tell (they are harder to spot on the white tails). It seems clear that these things are spreading and that they might be getting worse, maybe by getting fungus involved when it wasn't before (or maybe it was always there and I didn't see it, or maybe this isn't fungus).
<Again, both viral and bacterial infections can appear on several fish at the same time, for broadly the same reason: both infections tend to follow some type of environmental stress that lowers immunity.>
Now, I've taken the best photo I can manage tonight, but it's very hard (impossible?) to get a focused shot of these spots on a moving tail. I hope you can see well enough to get some idea of the things, anyway.
<Images are fine.>
I have searched online to try to figure out if this is some specific disease, but so far not found anything clear. It certainly doesn't look like Whitespot.
<Is not Whitespot.>
It is moving too slowly to be columnaris.
<Don't think this is Columnaris, or true Fungus either.>
It doesn't look like photos I've found of fish that were very badly infected with a fungus, though I haven't found a photo of very minor fungal infections. I'm worried this could be the start of something that could
get more drastic.
<I'd assume bacterial to start with, and use something like eSHa 2000 or Maracyn to treat. If the infection fails to respond, but the spots don't result in bloody streaks or damage to the fin membrane, then may be viral, in which case there's nothing you can do beyond wait.>
Would you worry?
Do you think it could be a fungus?
<Don't think so.>
Do you think it could be something else?
How would you treat this in a planted tank? I am reluctant to medicate the whole tank, even recognizing that this thing has probably been all over it for a couple of months now. I'd hate to mess up my filter bacteria or the plants, and I can't see any problems on any of the other fish at all. But if necessary I'll medicate.
<Modern medications, used correctly, should neither harm your plants or your filter.>
I can isolate one or two goldfish at a time into a quarantine tank for treatment, but I don't think my pair of 22 litre quarantine tanks would handle the bioload of pulling all four goldfish out at the same time, even
if I didn't feed them.
<Treat the tank.>
I do have a 24W UV sterilizer, one of the "portable" ones, that I have hooked up on the tank today, to help reduce the chance of whatever this is spreading further.
<These have minimal/no impact on bacterial/viral pathogens.>
I'm wondering whether it might just be worth leaving it running on the tank for a month or two and seeing whether these spots go away of themselves. Being in Australia, the medications I have access to are limited compared with some countries. In particular we can't get hold of many of the antibiotic things that seem to be easily found in the US.
<Any standard Finrot medication should do the trick. Avoid snake-oil remedies such as salt and tea-tree oil.>
I would greatly appreciate anything you can suggest that might help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: raised spots, some appear fluffy on goldfish tail, Is this fungus? -- 04/20/09
Dear Neale (or whoever reads this),
<'Tis I.>
Thanks very much for your advice. I hadn't thought that my problem could be a form of fin rot, but what you say makes sense.
The ESHa and Maracyn medications are not available in Australia, unfortunately. I've considered the current contents of my fishy medicine cupboard (tetracycline, Melafix, malachite green + formaldehyde, salt, Methylene blue) and decided none of those were obviously likely to work.
So I went out and bought some malachite green (0.4 mg/ml) + Acriflavine (2.0mg/ml). The bottle says it's for fungus, but this same combination is sold by another company here as being for "Finrot and fungus", so I am hoping it will do the trick.
<Sounds like it should.>
I have added this medication at half-strength, following the suggestion to spare my baby guppies and Corys the full strength dose
<Can't think why a full dose would harm them. It's quite normal to use these medications in breeding tanks, even around fish eggs. But by all means see what happens, and if it doesn't work, do the full dose.>
I have turned off the UV sterilizer for the duration, and added a bubble wall to the tank, as I read that malachite green can reduce the oxygen levels. Hopefully nobody will be bothered by the medication and it will fix the goldfish's problems quickly.
<Hope so too.>
If this doesn't work, would it be worth trying tetracycline (that's the only antibiotic we can easily get here, as far as I know), Methylene blue, or triple-sulpha tablets The shop suggested the last, but they were out of stock. I can order some online if need be.
Anyway, I'll let you know how I go with this. Thanks again for the advice.
<Sounds as if you have a good plan of attack. Good luck, Neale.>
<<RMF wants to toss in his dos centavos... The pattern of breaks and nodes here are likely indicative of a "bend/break" in the fin... and repair occurring t/here... I would not treat for a pathogen per se.>>

More: Re: raised spots, some appear fluffy on goldfish tail, Is this fungus? 4/20/2009
<<RMF wants to toss in his dos centavos... The pattern of breaks and nodes here are likely indicative of a "bend/break" in the fin... and repair
occurring t/here... I would not treat for a pathogen per se.>>
<Thanks Bob. So what's the deal? Tank too small? Fighting? Overly strong water current? Cheers, Neale.>
<<Can be just the ding dang fish swimming into a corner! Or caught in a plastic plant, ornament... As you know, goldfish can be a bit "autistic".

Question about septicemia, GF  4/19/09
Hello, I have, what I think is, septicemia in two of my goldfish.
<Oh dear.>
I only noticed today, but there is clearly blood right at the base of both of their pectoral fins and spots of blood right under their throat, between the gill covers. I have dealt with septicemia before and treated it
successfully in the same fish, however, before the symptoms were blood streaks in the tail.
<If the red spots are on the fin membranes, that's normally Finrot, which is caused by the same bacteria, it's just they haven't penetrated so far through the fish. Finrot is relatively easy to cure, assuming that the
environment is sound and their diet healthy, but once septicaemia occurs, that usually means the bacteria are in the internal organs, and cures are more difficult. The same antibiotics will help, but the odds of success are lower.>
I just wanted to make sure that what I am trying to treat now is also septicemia. One of the fish looks more affected by it than the other. It tends to go between resting near the surface, head pointed up, fins clamped
shut, and acting very jittery and flashing. They are both still very active when food is put in, so I'm hoping I have caught whatever is wrong with them on the early side. I have already started a treatment of
Maracyn-two as I was worried about waiting much longer to treat. Is this what you would suggest?
<Of the over-the-counter options, yes, Maracyn 2 is the one usually used for this.>
There is also an odd, light silvery slime which is on spots of one of my goldfish. This has been around for a while and I have had a really hard time diagnosing it. It isn't fuzzy or cottony. Nor is it small spots like
Ich. I have tried to treat it as body fungus, but that hasn't made it go away.
<This is likely what we call sometimes "Slime Disease", basically excessive mucous production by the fish. It can be caused by systemic bacterial infections, but it can also be a reaction to adverse environmental
conditions, such as high levels of ammonia and nitrite.>
It hasn't seemed to have affected the energy or activity of my fish and it doesn't seem to spread, but I'd like to know what it is so I can try to treat it. However, currently right now, I am very concerned about the
internal bleeding.
<That is indeed serious, but do remember septicaemia and internal bleeding (haemorrhaging) aren't the same thing. Septicaemia is a bacterial infection of the blood, whereas haemorrhaging is where internal blood vessels have been broken open, and blood is leaking into the body cavity. People sometimes confuse the two things, so it's worth reminding ourselves that they're different, and caused by different things.>
I have my fish in a 35 gallon tank. They are between 4 and 6 years old. I have checked the ammonia and nitrite levels, which are fine.
<What do you mean by "fine". Zero is what you want here, not "low levels".>
And I have recently finished doing several water exchanges over a few days as there was an unexplained spike in the nitrite levels.
<Nitrite spikes are rarely inexplicable! Because your fish have been ill for a long time, off and on, I'm fairly confident the water quality is an issue. The tank is a good size, but what about the filter? Goldfish are
heavy polluters, and things like hang-on-the-back filters are easily overwhelmed by them and shouldn't be used. You need a good canister filter, ideally external, rated at 6 times (or more) the volume of the tank in
turnover per hour; so for your 35 gallons tank, you'd want a canister filter rated at 6 x 35 = 210 gallons per hour. Sounds a lot, but trust me, it's the minimum for Goldfish. The filter needs to have plenty of
biological media and a bit of mechanical media, but stuff like carbon and Zeolite are worthless in Goldfish systems. Avoid any filter with "modules" or "cartridges" that you buy and replace, as these invariably waste space for the plastic media holders. You want a filter that's basically a bucket into which you put whatever sponges or ceramic noodles you want.>
The filters have also been recently changed as well (the changing of the two filters was staggered). I have been feeding them small pellets and thawed peas and they munch on the live plants in the tank. I hope that is all the information you need. Thank you for your time, Gillian
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

A quick goldfish Ich question and thank goodness for QT! 4/16/09
Hi all you fantastic WetWeb crew,
I just have a couple of Ich questions; I have used the search tool but I am a bit confused.
I have just purchased two new common goldfish to join a single one in a fully cycled 190 ltr tank.
Fortunately I put them in a 60 ltr fully cycled quarantine tank when I got them on Saturday. I am almost certain one of them has Ich. I am so pleased I did this!
<Agreed, should make treatment easier, but since the Ick parasite is highly mobile (e.g., on wet nets and hands) it is likely your other fish are at risk, so observe carefully.>
I have been testing the water each day and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 7 nitrates and the pH is 8.2.
<Sounds fine.>
I would really like to use a salt treatment to clear this up, rather than medicate the tank as I feel that they have been stressed enough from their move. However, I am not sure what dosage the salt should be in. I can find dosages but I am not sure if the crew member answering is using English gallons or US gallons.
<It's 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon.>
Could you tell me what the dosage is in English gallons (or Litres!).
<One US gallon is 3.78 litres. If your bucket or aquarium is rated in Imperial gallons, 12 US gallons are 10 Imperial gallons.>
I kind of assume that you add the salt over a period of time, not straight away, if this is so what sort of time period do you use to get the salinity up?
<Adding the salt straight away is fine; the salinity is very, very low.>
I am under the impression that salt treatment may affect my biological filter.
<It won't.>
Am I right in thinking that you continue treatment two weeks after the spots have fallen off?
<Correct; the salt doesn't kill the white spots on the fish: only the free living parasites.>
Once the Ich has gone, and I move my fish, I was going to take out my filter sponge and bioballs and place them in my external canister filter (so I always have spare mature filter media in an emergency). Should I
sterilise everything or just run the tank for 3 or 4 days without fish in it to get rid of any Ich?
<It's a good idea to sterilise hospital tanks, provided you can keep filter media alive someplace else. Of course, in the case of serious illnesses you would sterilise the filter media as well, and then re-cycle the hospital tank.>
My other little goldfish has had a bit of a white patch by her mouth which we never noticed until she was in QT. This has almost cleared right up but I guess the salt may help this little fish too.
<May help a little, but I'd observe, and if the white spot isn't clearing up (it may simply be a bruise) I'd treat for Finrot/Fungus; in the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000 as working on Finrot, Fungus, and Columnaris equally well.>
I can't say how brilliant QT is - both the fish looked fine in the tank at the LFS and also in the bag when we got home, but once in QT you can really get a good look at them.
It was very, very tempting to put them in our main tank, and thanks to your website, I'm so glad we didn't!
Many thanks in advance, Michelle
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick fantail 4/14/2009
I have been scouring your website for data. I feel I have tried everything.
Our 6-year-old fantail began with an air bladder problem about a month ago.
I did the usual green pea remedy as often before. He rallied from that, then developed white (not fuzzy) patches on his sides and head.
<Could be Finrot or Mouth "Fungus" (Columnaris bacteria); almost always environmental.>
I fed him antibiotic food for a week; no help.
<Ah, alongside the "cure" you also need to fix the background cause, which almost always involves reviewing environmental conditions.>
I routinely have the water tested at PetSmart, and do weekly 20% changes of his 20-gallon tank (with a filter plus airstone) and vacuum the bottom (aquarium stones, about 2 stones deep).
<Tank is too small, by about 50%. How big is the filter? For Goldfish, the filter should have six times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour; e.g., a 30 gallon tank needs a 6 x 30 = 180 gallon/hour filter. Because Goldfish are so messy, I wouldn't recommend wasting your money on air-powered filters or hang-on-the-back filters; a decent internal or ideally external canister filter is needed.>
Water was OK.
<Define "OK". What were the values? Just to summarise: Goldfish need hard (10+ degrees dH), basic (pH 7.5-8) water with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite.
Anything other than these values will cause problems.>
This time, the fish expert suggested an antibiotic for possible Ick, which I administered for the prescribed time. It did not help; wasn't really Ick.
<Dismal. Some fish expert!>
Another employee then suggested a different broad-spectrum antibiotic, which also produced no result.
<It won't, if you don't fix the background problem as well.>
Meanwhile, the fish has become more lethargic, seemed to quit defecating, hangs upside in the corners, had no appetite for a week.
<Oh dear.>
This caused imbalance in the water because of uneaten food, so ammonia burn was added to his misery.
<Nah... his unhappiness didn't cause ammonia burn; the same amount of ammonia gets into the water whether the fish eats X grammes of food per day or X grammes of food just sits there are rots. Nitrogen is nitrogen is nitrogen. If there's ammonia in the water, it's because the filter isn't up to the job.>
Changed the water right away (half of it this time). His diet has been pellets for the past year, sometimes flakes, which had been his previous diet. I recently learned, too late, that I should have been soaking the
<You really don't need to soak the pellets. Who suggested this?>
Over the past week I have had him in a separate tank with shallow water for a day , salt added as advised, to give him a rest.
<He's a fish, not a person who just had a hip replacement. He doesn't need a rest. If you move him from a 20 gallon tank with a filter (albeit a poor one) and stick him in a smaller tank with no filter and less volume of
water to dilute the ammonia, he'll get worse. Please, think logically about each thing you do.>
Then gave him Epsom-salt soaked food, then no food for 3 days followed by peas. Finally observed a little bit of pale fasces, looked like former green peas. Back in his big tank, he went straight to the bottom corners. I have wandered by his tank at night and found him swimming normally a couple of times. He can't get out of the corners without extreme effort; I think the swim bladder is permanently damaged and that his intestinal tract may be permanently blocked.
Maybe a stone?
Or diseased?
<At some level yes, but I'd bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that it's because of his environment.>
Also, due to the ammonia burn, I was told, he now has black spots on his underside and black streaks in his beautiful tailfins.
<Ammonia burns will heal, assuming all else is good and healthy.>
He can't find food unless it falls right in front of his face. He seems very hungry. I think I have really overstressed him by all this attempted help.
<I'll say!>
I think he may be suffering and that I should humanely euthanise him.
<Not yet. Trust me: upgrade the tank, upgrade the filter, treat for Finrot/Fungus and you'll see him pep right up. The choice is basically this: kill the fish because spending the money on what he needs is inconvenient, or save the fish by giving him the environment he needed right from the start.
Unfortunately, too many Goldfish end up like yours.>
He is not happy like he used to be; very very sick. So finally my question is, should I give it up?
<Up to you; I wouldn't, and there's no reason you should either.>
Is the more humane method to use clove oil solution as I read on one site, rather than apparently painful slow freezing?
<See here:
But in any case, you're not at this point yet, unless you just don't want him any more. In which case, kill the now-inconvenient Goldfish, and use the 20 gallon tank for the types of fish that actually fit in such systems,
i.e., not Goldfish.
Thank you for your attention.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: sick fantail  4/15/09

Dear Neale,
I really appreciated all your responses; I read them just before I went to work today.
<Glad to help.>
Some of the advice I took was from websites similar to yours though apparently the advice was not always sound nor logical.
Point taken; I need to think it through myself.
<Yes. You can save much money and effort this way; all too often we hear from people who have fish with fungus but have treated with Whitespot remedy, or their freshwater fish are sick, so they added salt. A little
thought helps!>
I took a water sample to PetSmart again; all numbers were within your parameters.
I am tracking down a 30-gallon tank, and meanwhile upgraded to a much stronger filter system--good enough for up to a 50-gallon tank, and added a fungus treatment to the water.
<Also good.>
I am hopeful that cleaning up his environment and keeping it stable will enable him to recover.
<Confident that it will; Goldfish are tough, and if you provide good water conditions and the right medication, they usually recover. Lots of stories of Goldfish coming back from seemingly dire situations!>
I definitely do not want to end his life; he means a lot to my daughter and me.
He has been a very alert and communicative fish and we love him. I will try to remember to update you :)
<Please do. A photo is always welcome (500 KB or less, please) and with a photo we can provide more accurate diagnoses of problems.>
Thank you, Linnah
<You are most welcome, Neale.>
Re: sick fantail - 05/03/09

Our fantail fish has recovered from those black spots; seems the fungus treatment did the trick. And he eats and eliminates again, so that is good too. I think though that he may never swim normally again. He spends all his time in one corner or another; eats there, swims across the tank to the next corner, never swims around like he used to. The water quality is monitored and stable. Perhaps his air bladder is permanently damaged. Have done the usual green-pea remedy that used to work but no change. Not much of a quality life for the little guy.
<Hello Linnah. Glad the fungus treatment worked, and that his digestive system is working again. It's unlikely his swim bladder has been permanently damaged; most cases of what people call "swim bladder disease" are actually something else entirely! I'd be thinking along the lines of either genetics or constipation. The latter you can do something about, but alas, the former is just one of those things you come across with fancy Goldfish. The use of Epsom salt alongside fibre-rich foods can help fish restore their normal buoyancy, so that's worth a shot; see the WWM article on "floaty, bloaty goldfish" for more. In any case, good luck. Neale.>

Chasing tails, goldfish beh., iatrogenic env. disease -- 04/12/09
I am so confused as what to do with my tank. We have had our tank since January and started off with two little fancy gold fish, it has been one nightmare after another.
<How big is the Goldfish tank? Almost all problems come down to keeping them in inadequate housing. Two Goldfish need 125 l/30 gallons, minimum.
The filter should offer 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and hang-on-the-back filters tend to get overwhelmed by these messy fish. So if you aren't [a] keeping them in a big tank; and [b] aren't using a heavy duty canister filter, then those are you key problems.>
In hopes to clean our tank of diatoms we got two snails (which I read made no sense - from your live in maid)
We just recently purchased two snails, an orange and an ivory mystery snail.
<Can't be kept with Goldfish indefinitely; their long-term requirements are too different.>
Our orange guy, James Clerk Maxwell, was purchased with his tip of his shell broken off. I noticed last week his shell looked off in color and went back to your site and found out about calcium for shell care. So we got a calcium turtle for him and algae chips (which the fish steal from them). We thought they were starving since they seemed to not move as much as they used to.
<Pomacea spp. snails need hard, alkaline, as do Goldfish.>
Our little guy might have just passed, he laid on his side, came all the way out, some stringy secretion came out and then he twitched and worked his way back in his shell (like an animal taking their last breaths) (not giving up till I smell the death stench you guys talk about). We have James Clerk Maxwell in a hospital tank (thanks to your site) If he makes it how can we keep him happy and healthy, if he does not make it, we still have quadratic equation who is still in the tank with his fish brothers. I am probably understanding wrong but it seems like snails and fish have two different ways they prefer to have their tanks kept.
Tank history:
We are new to this so we do have the carbon filters, they have a power head, plus a floor filter.
2 plants, one came to us in several pieces the other a big plant with big leaves (reminds me of spinach)
Our tank is at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tank gets 50% water changes at least once a week, sometimes every couple of days. here are the scary test results from the 6th of April: pH 6.0, Nitrite 5.0, High Range pH 7.4, Nitrite 40ppm, and Ammonia 8.0 (we have tried everything to get that down and nothing works, hence every other day tank changes as needed). Tank is a 20 gal.
What can I do to keep these guys healthy and happy because nothing we have read and tried is working.
Thank you for your help.
<Melissa, let's cut to the chase here. Your tank is too small, certainly not adequately filtered, and the fact you're concentrating on carbon but not mentioning biological filtration implies you haven't yet understood how filtration works. Ammonia and nitrite levels at those reported (which to be honest I doubt) would be lethal, but assuming you just aren't reading the test kits properly, let's assume you have both ammonia and nitrite in the tank at some level. Go, run, to the nearest pet store and buy an aquarium at least 30 gallons in size. Install a canister (internal or external, but ideally external) rated at 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour (minimum) and stock with 2/3rds biological media such as sponges and ceramic noodles, and 1/3rd mechanical media such as coarse sponges or filter wool. Cycle the aquarium as described elsewhere on WWM, taking great care not to overfeed your Goldfish. Read here:
Nothing beyond this prescription will make fishkeeping a fun hobby for you, and for your snails and fish, the outcome at the moment is dire. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish with swelling after medication... Poisoning   4/8/09
Firstly I want to thank you for setting up this website. My problem is I have a common goldfish in a 20 gallon tank that recently developed swelling around his gills a couple hours after I medicated his tank.
<Mmm... with what?>
He never had the pine cone effect so I don't think its dropsy.
<Dropsy is a condition with several possible etiologies>
I had another common goldfish in with him but he developed swim bladder
and sadly died. I had first medicated with interpret
general tonic
<Am decidedly NOT a fan of such general "cures"... too often are the cause of loss of water quality through poisoning of beneficial microbes>
when the now dead goldfish first showed signs of being ill but with no identifiable symptoms. Two days later
we discovered it was swim bladder
<... no>
and I bought interpret swim bladder disease medicine. It said not to mix the medicine with another medicine
and to wait 7 days but we wanted to try and save the fish so I did a 70% water change over two days to try and remove the first medicine
and then only gave half the dose of the second medicine. The next day the fish died and since then I have been changing 30% of the water every day and the other fishes swelling has gone down dramatically but is still present around his gills and recently he has developed a bit of swelling on his body underneath his
dorsal fin on one side of his body. Could this swelling be long term damage to his internal organs?
<... What re water quality, foods/feeding?>
Is there any way to help him recover from it? The ph is 7.2 and the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all 0.
I would appreciate any advice as I would hate to lose this fish and I can't seem to find anything on the internet about it.
Yours sincerely,
<Unfortunately, there is much more one needs to know to render useful "advice" here. Please read:
and the linked files above... to gain an understanding of what sorts of information we're looking for, as well as the gist of the environmental nature of the issue here.
Further I would eschew use of any Interpet product period... I find it disingenuous that the company does NOT list the ingredients in their products. As they say in the U.S., "they should be sued". Bob Fenner>

Sick Lionhead - white growth on head and rapid mouth/gill movements 4/6/2009
Hi WetWeb Crew:
I've put this together online also with a post to GAB - trying to get as much input on my little buddy's problem as I can, so I've used their water/environment questions as the basis for my report on the
current tank chemical values/etc.
We have one sick Lionhead goldfish, we've just put him in a hospital tank almost three days ago. The details of the two tanks are:
His "Home" tank:
Water Test Readings:
-Ammonia= 0
-NitrIte= 0
-NitrAte= currently approx 5, we never let it get above 20
-pH= 7.8
-KH= 6
-GH= 6
-Water Temperature: 71 F (room temperature)
-Tank size= 90 US gal
-Filtration (Make, and GPH): Eheim Professionel II (Mod 2808), 231 Gph
<This set up is very similar to my GF system>
-Is there gravel/sand/rocks in the tank? If so how deep? Yes: river rock gravel (smooth), about 1 to 1.5 inches in depth
-Tank Inhabitants (How many, how big?): 7 total 3-4 inches each
-How long the tank has been set up: Since Jan 2nd this year. Replaces a 47 gal tank that we had for one year prior that kept 4 fish
-Frequency and amount of routine water changes: at least weekly, typically 1/3. If Nitrates go > 10, typically do two changes a week until they go back down. Use a gravel vacuum. Typically let water rest
24 hours and use API stress coat and usually one tsp of API aquarium salt per 5 gal bucket. Use Seachem Refresh to raise GH to 6 (tap water has 0 in this area), and Seachem alkaline buffer to raise KH to 6 as well.
-What you feed them, how much, & how often: twice per day: varied:
brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, blood worms for protein, peas, oranges and sometimes spinach.
-City or well water: City water. It is quite soft here
-Water conditioner used: API Stress Coat
-any extras (i.e.; air pumps, and air stones?) Air pump with two outputs, and three airstones
-New fish or plants added to the tank? What type and when? Were they quarantined?: None - the new fish were added in January
-Medications used: PraziPro when we initially thought that it was a parasitic infection
His "hospital" tank: we started it off with water removed from the home tank to reduce stress and bring some of the biological filter along for the ride. Also brought some of the gravel along to give him
something to do... though he hasn't been interested (part of the problem)
-Water Test Readings:
-Ammonia= 0
-NitrIte= 0
-NitrAte= 0 (or very close: can't detect anything)
-pH= 7.5
-KH= 6
-GH= 6
-Water Temperature: 71 F (room temperature, but since this is a smaller tank there is a heater to prevent the temperature from dropping too quickly)
-Tank size= 10 gal (this is only used as a hospital tank)
-Filtration (Make, and GPH) - AquaClear 20 / 100 gph
-Is there gravel/sand/rocks in the tank? If so how deep? same river rock as home tank, just about one stone deep
-Tank Inhabitants (How many, how big?): None
-How long the tank has been set up: 2 days
-Frequency and amount of routine water changes: every 2nd day, 50%
-What you feed them, how much, & how often: offering food twice a day
- but not interested
-City or well water: city water
-Water conditioner used: API Stress Coat
-any extras (i.e.; air pumps, and air stones?) One air stone running on a dedicated pump
-New fish or plants added to the tank? What type and when? Were they quarantined?: None
-Medications used: Maracyn Plus
<Neither medication is of use here>
-Describe the problems you are seeing:
Several days ago, Tao seemed to be sleeping a lot -- or at least resting near the bottom of the tank (not actually on the bottom, but just above the gravel). We noticed that his mouth was moving more than
usual and he seemed lethargic, though he would come and eat food normally with the rest of the 'gang'. I wondered if he might have gill flukes as he became less active and we had seen a case of that with
one of the other fish late last year. This was slightly different because Tao wasn't completely lying in the gravel and didn't have his pectoral fins 'clenched'. I thought we might be seeing the early signs
of a fluke infestation, so since PraziPro worked well for the problem we had previously, I added that to the tank.
<Just time...>
About 2 days went by, and Tao wasn't getting better. In fact he seemed even more lethargic and wasn't eating. He'd largely find a place to go and rest.. If other fish swam by, he'd pay no attention and they'd
often 'run over' him with him reacting very little. We noticed at this point that he was getting white cottony growth around his Wen only.
<Does happen... not nec. a disease>
Our other fish have had their Wens growing, but they seem to get the 'pimple' type of growth, so this seemed unusual, but a search on the web seemed to imply that his Wen might be growing and this was just a
different way it occurred, so we waited another day.
The following day, his Wen looked quite bad: almost like eczema or something like it. His mouth movements seemed to have sped up and he was really non-interactive. I got his hospital tank set up, used some
of the home tank water and gravel to start it off and put in all brand new filter media (just foam and 'BioMax' bio-media). We let him settle in for a couple of hours, and noticed a very very long string of feces
that was caught around the tube to the airstone. Then, based on the assumption that we might be looking at a bacterial infection based on some reading on the web, I added Maracyn Plus to the his hospital tank.
It has been two days since we initially set up the tank. This morning I did about a 40% water change (just Stress Coat added, water sat 24 hours) and gave Tao the 2nd dose of Maracyn Plus (each time it has
been one capful as per the directions since this is a 10 gal tank). He hasn't been interested in any food the entire time.
I checked the water parameters and they are all in line with what I expect to be close to perfect (see above).
I know this is only the 3rd day after the Maracyn has been added, and perhaps I'm just expecting a recovery to come too soon, but he has been moving his mouth constantly and seems to be moving his mouth
faster than previously. Other than that, it's hard to say if much else has changed. He looks sad to me, but perhaps that's just my empathy.
His Wen still has the white areas, and parts of his Wen look darker than normal - it does look like the descriptions I've read about Wen growth, so perhaps that's a red herring?
<Yes... likely so>
I'm wondering if I've missed something. As far as I can tell, there is nothing lodged in his mouth, which was another theory I had for his mouth movements, but that doesn't seem to have panned out. It has been
suggested that this might be Hole in the Head Disease, but the pics online don't quite look right (I looked at jbl.de and Google Images)... but perhaps this is an early stage?
<Not likely>
I've uploaded a video of Tao to YouTube but the quality isn't very good and for some reason the aspect ratio is wrong, but perhaps it would be useful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0kx2NLTAx4
I've put a higher quality video in my home webspace, but it needs QuickTime: http://www.sfu.ca/~mstanger/TaoNotFeelingWell/  . In the same space, for reference, I've got an early video in my home web space that shows Tao before he was sick and in his "home" tank:
I'd appreciate any thoughts on items we may have missed in trying to help out our little buddy. Hate to see him sick :-(
Thank you
<I suspect this material is "normal", that the lethargic behavior is due to handling stress and treatment exposure... I would cut back on meaty foods... and return this fish to the main display. Bob Fenner>

Pearlscale spots, GF env. dis.  4/6/2009
I have a approx. 2" Pearlscale and a 2" fantail in a 8 gallon
<Too small>
BiOrb since November 2008 , and carry out 35% water changes every 4 days, plus water tests every 2-3 days. The Pearlscale developed first one, then 3 small clear shiny blisters around the body - at first I thought this might be constipation or related to gas bubble disease,
<Genetically, this breed is prone to this condition>
but all remedial actions like pea-feeding, less feeding and letting the replacement water rest longer do
not eliminate bubbles. It's not resembling lice, either....Fish has now developed a kind of tiny blood spot. Could this be injury or infection?
<Developmental... the too-small system, hereditary propensity...>
Fish behaves normal and feeds. Fantail has no symptoms. Water tests ok.
A plant I bought apparently 'imported' a bladder snail, which is busy depositing eggs. Is this actually a benefit or do I need to remove it?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Pearlscale spots

<Kerstin... have another friend of your name...>
Thank you - looks as if I'm going on a snail hunt and build a larger tank.
Great advice, and on a weekend - much appreciated.
<Glad to assist your efforts. BobF>
Re: Pearlscale spots

Is your friend German....
<? In ref. to what?><<Oh, her/your name... Mmm, is an American citizen>>
Just to let you know- blood spot disappeared over night after medicating with Tetra Goldmed - I was worried it might be Costia.
<I see... is a good product in my estimation. Cheers, BobF>

Goldfish Fin Damage  4/5/09
<Hello there>
I have received some fantastic advice from you all before now and am rather hoping you may be able to help me again?
<Am endeavouring to do so>
Before I start, here's the background info -- hopefully I'll included everything (fingers crossed)...
<And my toes>
Tank: 35 gallons, set up for 6 months now. Currently running an internal Juwel 600 filter plus an external TetraTec 600. Both filters have been running since the tank was set up and both just have the mechanical filtration media in (just the filter sponges, noodles etc and not any carbon).
Fish: 1 Black moor, 1 Oranda, 1 Ranchu - all less than a year old. Somewhere amongst the plants is also a lone fugitive Amano shrimp which has (thus far) escaped all efforts of capture.
<Mmm, will need more room/volume than this 35 in time... to dilute wastes/their effects, swim about...>
Water: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate, 7.4 ph -- these levels have remained identical since the tank cycled 4+ months ago with the exception of nitrate levels fluctuating +/- 5. I change 20% once or twice a week using Seachem Prime to dechlorinate the new water. I live in London so my water is very hard.
<These are good values, practices... and the hard water is fine>
2.5 weeks ago I noticed the smaller fins on the black moor suddenly looked scuffed. This was just down one side and looked (to me) more like mechanical damage. I suspected he'd got himself stuck somewhere and scuffed himself against the gravel getting out. I wasn't overly worried but just to be safe, checked my water parameters (which were as above), did an immediate 20% water change anyway just to ensure the water was ultra-clean and kept my eye on him. His fins seemed to heal a little (albeit, slowly) for the following week.
<Good move>
Then, overnight his tail fins started to disintegrate. The 'corners' of them were suddenly very pale grey; the membranes between the rays seemed to disappear and leave just the rays intact. Although I had been checking water quality more closely I again did an immediate test, all parameters the same as above.
Reading on your site that these kinds of things are almost always a result of water quality I tested with a different test (I use API liquid tests normally, I double-checked with strip tests) and got the same results. I did a 40% water change anyway over the course of the day and stepped up my water changes to 20% every day -- again just to be
really sure I kept the water absolutely clean. I also added some salt to the water (approx 1tsp per gallon) in the mind that a little salt would help ensure any wounds remained clean so as to try and prevent secondary infections. I reduced the hours that the tank lights were on a little (from 10 hrs per day to 2-3 hours per day) to try and keep stress levels at an absolute minimum. I normally feed the fish a variety of pellet foods, live foods and (mostly) vegetables like cucumber or courgette. I moved the diet more heavily in favour of veggies and stepped up the variety in the hope it would give the little guy extra vitamins. In short, my reasoning was that (as your site says) if I can make sure he has the healthiest environment possible the chances are high that he can mend himself.
I kept this up for another week and a half, during which time the rays that had been left intact also disappeared. Some days it seemed the fins were a little worse, some days a little better. During all this time he was just as active as normal, swimming, eating, taking an interest when I came up to the tank.
<Good behavior>
After a week and a half things really hadn't got any better and the top tips of his fins had gone completely (about 2-3mm worth). Again, reading through your answers to previous questions I saw that Neale (amongst others) recommended ESHa 2000 when fish wounds like this don't seem to be healing so I got some and have dosed the tank for the last 2 days (today we are due the 3rd and final dose). In the last 2 days my Black moor's fins have got neither better nor worse. My concern is that overnight my Oranda's fins are suddenly looked a little tatty. The damage is very small, with what used to be a smooth line along the top of the fins now being a bumpy line with the rays sticking out a mm or so beyond the membrane. However, as this hasn't happened before and as it now coincides with the problems with the Black moor I am starting to worry that we are losing the battle. I have tested my water again this morning and again I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 7.4 ph and 5-10 nitrate.
The Oranda, just like the Black moor, is swimming about as normal and shows no other signs of being sick.
I have attached 2 photos -- one of the Oranda in which you can clearly see the tatty line across the dorsal fin; it might not be clear from the photo but all his fins look like this; one of the Black moor in which you can see two of the corners of his damaged tail fins.
<I see this>
I'll give today's ESHa treatment which is meant to be the final of a 3 day course. Should I extend for a further 2 days? Should I try something else?
<Mmm, actually... I don't think this issue is pathogenic (induced by a biological agent), nor able to be rectified with medication>
Please would you help us? I'm so worried my I am making the wrong decisions for these guys.
<If it were me, mine, I'd consider this "tattiness" as a transient, maybe a "growth" incident, and move back to your regular maintenance/operation. I do think your fish's fins will grow back in time. The only change in procedure I'd make is to store your new water (to replace that which you change out weekly) ahead of time... for "conditioning"... I'm thinking that your municipality's water treatment facility is likely using flocculant or other chemical additive/s that are at root cause here. The fact that this (whatever "it" is) has not affected your live plants, Amano Shrimp... is telling. To reiterate, I do think you, your fish will be fine with time going by, will regenerate their trimmed finnage. Bob Fenner> 


Re: Goldfish Fin Damage 4/9/09
Hi again,
Just checking in quickly to let you know that all fish have indeed returned to full health with all fins growing back just as you predicted. Thank you so much for some great advice - I really do appreciate it.
<Ahh, thank you for this good news of your success. BobF>

Finrot & Fin trimming 03/24/09
Hello WWM,
We are contacting you for your expert advice.
We bought a very cute fantail 2 weeks ago. We put him in 18 litres quarantine tank & the next day he has Finrot or something we are not sure of.
<I assume you have a bigger tank for him? 18-litres is simply not viable for Goldfish even as a short term quarantine tank, and any attempt to use this tank to treat or hold the fish for more than a few days will very likely expose the Goldfish to chronically poor water conditions. Finrot and Fungal infections are extremely common in tanks that are too small.>
It is not like the typical Finrot (at the edges & frayed or with blood), it started half way up on the outer edges of his caudal fins, cutting inwards like a scissor snip, exactly on the same spot on both fins. It has an opaque white surrounding. The fins are bending downwards from the point of the scissor snip. One very slightly but the other is bending about 20 ° downwards with a cut about 2MM in depth.
<Sounds much like Finrot to me.>
We don't think it will knit together & we are worried it will stay this way. One of the fins has started to curl from the point of the cut. We would like to know if you think it would be best if we cut the fins!
<No. Unless you are a vet or a surgeon, do not even think about this. Finrot is caused by the exposure of sensitive tissues to ambient and otherwise harmless bacteria. Healthy fish shirk off these bacteria without problems, but weak fish (e.g., when kept in poor conditions) lack sufficient immune response. The ambient bacteria eat away at the sensitive tissue just like they'd eat rotting organic matter on the gravel, and the result is Finrot. Cutting fins exposes even more tissue to the bacteria, and this would just make things worse. A vet or surgeon would know how to sterilize the wound and would use antibiotics to kill any bacteria in the water, but you wouldn't be able to do these things.>
If we have to do this how do we go about it. Do we have to sedate him? Would it be like chopping our legs off?
<Pretty much, yes. Fins aren't "inert" like hair, nails, or the outer layer of our skin; they're living tissue, more like the bottom layers of our skin.>
Do we cut just the part infected, (cutting in to the fin with a depth of 3MM) or do we cut in a straight line until the whole part of the fin comes away? Do we cut just the one which hangs down the most or would it be better to cut them both. Would it be better to wait until the filter has cycled?
<Look, the fish is almost certainly sick because he's being kept in poor water conditions. Review these rather than worrying about cutting the fins. If you fix the water quality, and treat for Finrot, the fins WILL grow back to normal. Under healthy conditions, fins grow back extremely rapidly.>
We have attached photos which are not great, he moves so fast also. The black are from ammonia burns. We did not have a filter ready when we bought him, we used filter material from the main tank which is now in a bucket going through a nitrite spike, hence the poor guy suffered the ammonia spike which went up to 0.25mg/L.
<Hmm... if you "clone" a filter, you should not see any ammonia at all. Remember, a mature filter (one more than 3 months old) can lose 50% of its biological media without any problems. When you put new media in the mature filter, the remaining bacteria will immediately colonize the new media. You can use the donated media to instantly cycle a new aquarium. So long as you have a sufficient quantity of donated media for the fish being kept, you can (and should) add fish to the new aquarium AT ONCE without problems. You need to add new fish quickly to provide ammonia "food" for the bacteria. You do also need to make sure the water chemistry in the new tank is similar to the water chemistry in the old tank.>
We are changing 50% water twice a day to keep the ammonia at zero. He has been on Kanaplex SeaChem's (in a pea) for 7 days also vitamins & salt in the water. The temps is at 24 degrees. The Finrot is not progressing. he's lost three scales in the last 2 days (wondering if to scope to see if there are any flukes)?
<Scales will grow back; unlikely it is Flukes.>
Now he is starting to get fine red lines in his tail.
<Clotted blood; this is the first sign of Finrot. The blood clots kill the surrounding tissue, and after that, the fin tissue decays.>
The poor guy is so stressed out & is looking a real mess. Having no filter ready really does not help the problem at all. We need to make a decision in the next few days.
Thanks in advance
Jeanette & Antony
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Health\Water Fleas\ Lymphocystis 3/19/2009
<Hi Carolina>
We had have a fresh water tank for at least three years, recently we noted little bugs in the water.
<Likely Cladocerans or Daphnia (water fleas) They are usually harmless, although they can indicate that you are overfeeding. You can read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwcrustfaq4.htm>
One of our fancy gold fish (we have 2 in a 30 gal tank) has two white growths: one on its head, and the other on its body side. It does not look like cotton, but we treated against fungus with no results, it is not shiny but looks similar to cauliflower.
<Likely Lymphocystis, a viral disease in fresh and saltwater fish. There is no real treatment other than to keep your water quality up and letting the virus run its course. You can read more about it here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/virdislymphf.htm and here:
http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/management/Lawler_Lymphocystis.html >
If you can give me some advice I'd appreciate it.
<See above>
<You're Welcome>

Goldfish blister, env.  3/16/2009
<Hi there>
I have had two 2" lemon goldfish for about a month now, they are in 30 litre tank
<Too small...>
with a Rena filter, airstone, live plants and gravel. They both feed well on flakes and cooked peas, they are always active and enjoy 'playing' in the bubbles of the airstone so I don't think there can be much wrong with them. I noticed this morning that one of them has a 'bubble' on its chin area. It is a pinky see through colour and about the size of a petis pois.
<I see>
I have been carrying out partial water changes every other day and adding King British Safe Water and some tonic salts now and again. If anyone could maybe point me in the right direction as to what this 'bubble' could be I would be very grateful
<Perhaps a bit of fluid filled area from a mechanical injury... akin to a puss-filled blister let's say... But really... the environment is trouble here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish blister 3/16/2009

Hi Bob thank you for your reply
The bubble seems to have gone this morning and I think it may have been a friction blister because he swims up and down the glass quite a lot pressing his 'chin' on the glass.
What size tank would you recommend for two small goldfish - what size will they grow to?
<Please read where you were referred to. BobF>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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