FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 48
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, Goldfish, Goldfish Varieties, Koi/Pond
Fish Disease, Livestock
Treatment System, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish,
Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control
with DTHP, Hole in the Side
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,
23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25,
Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30,
Disease 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35,
Health 37, Goldfish
Disease 38, Goldfish
Disease 39 Goldfish Disease
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Disease 46, Goldfish Disease
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Goldfish Disease 50, Goldfish Disease 51,
FAQs on Goldfish Medicines:
Antifungals, Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals (
Copper, eSHa, Metronidazole, Formalin, Copper,
Malachite Green), Dewormers, Organophosphates, Salts, Mela- et
al. non-fixes, Misc.
Goldfish Disease by "Types",
Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4, Environmental 5, Environmental ,
(Absolutely the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans,
Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/ Anchorworms/Lernaeids, ) Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Sick goldfish 10/20/2009
Dear crew, I have two goldfish in a 36 gal tank. I monitor the water
water es). The oldest fish is 12 years old.
<Just entering middle age by Goldfish standards!>
My problem is with the 4 year old fish. I recently went on vacation and
when I returned the 4 year old was not eating as usual. I checked the
water and did my regular water change. Now the 4 year old is not eating
at all (for 4-5 days) looks bloated/ swollen. The rectum area is very
enlarged and four days ago scales loosened on each side of the rectum
(1/2 inch are on each side) and two days age those scales fell off
exposing the white skin underneath.
<Sounds like a bacterial infection, probably opportunistic, and
brought on by a water quality problem. Might conceivably be related to
constipation, but this doesn't usually lead to scale loss or an
So while I would certainly use the standard Epsom salt/cooked peas
treatment as per constipation, I'd also be treating with an
antibiotic (such as KanaPlex or Maracyn). Outside of the US these are
available only from a vet.>
No more scales have loosened or fallen of since then. He swims near the
top, kind of floats but is stable and swim normal when he wants. I had
not seen him poop 3-5 days. Three days ago I did another water change
60% and added mineral sea salts 2 tablespoons per 10 gallon. The next
day he started excreting a long thin algae colored poop. He has done
this several times that I have seen. My best guess is that he was over
feed while I was gone and has become constipated and swollen to the
point that he loosen some scales.
- should I just continue the salt treatment till better? - will the
scales grow back? - how long can a 10 inch goldfish live without
<Tonic/aquarium salt will have no benefit here. It's very
important to understand salt isn't a cure-all -- if it was,
healthcare provision for people, let alone fish, would be very cheap!
In fact salt fixes almost nothing, and it's pushed by retailers
more because it's profitable than anything else. It can be used for
saltwater dips in a bucket, which shift things like fish lice and
flukes, and at lower doses in the aquarium to combat Ick/Whitespot.
Very low concentrations offer some benefit in badly maintained/immature
tanks by reducing (though not eliminating) the toxicity of nitrite and
nitrate. But that's it. It doesn't cure anything else.
There's no need to add salt to any freshwater aquarium except for
those very specific reasons. Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) is
something else entirely, and while it doesn't cure anything either,
it does help reduce swelling and acts as a muscle relaxant, and
it's this latter benefit that makes it useful for combating
constipation. A dosage of 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons should do the
tick. By feeding the fish high-fibre foods like peas, and providing the
muscle relaxant, blockages in the gut can be cleared. But as I say, I
don't think this is the prime issue here, given the other symptoms.
I'd treat with Epsom salt and peas anyway, just in case (it
won't do any harm) but I'd also treat with an antibiotic, since
this sounds like a bacterial infection of the gut.>
Any help would greatly be appreciated.
I bought a bubble eyed gold fish for my nephew (he is 3)...
<Hmm... lesson learned, I suspect, judging by the rest of your
missive. But for everyone else out there: never, ever buy an animal for
a child too young to accept full responsibility. Buy the animal for
yourself, and let children share the pleasure. Few children make
sensible decisions about pets, though we'd certainly encourage
adults to introduce children to pet ownership, teaching them the
responsibilities alongside the fun.>
He insisted on putting in the tank with his dragon fish and it bit one
of the bubbles and the bubble is completely torn and ripped and
basically gone completely except for a few shreds here and there...
<No real surprise. I assume a "Dragon Fish" is some sort
Scleropages spp.? In any event, fancy Goldfish are ALWAYS to be kept
among their own kind, other fancy Goldfish, and ideally (and in the
case of Bubble-eyes, certainly) with their own breed. Fancy Goldfish
are so easily damaged and bullied that doing anything else is cruel and
I have separated the fish and put the bubble eyed gold fish in a bare
bottom tank and all alone...
<Do make sure you read up on what Goldfish need. Lots of people
labour under the misconception they can be kept in bowls, without
filters, etc. A single Goldfish (heaven forbid, since they're
social fish!) would need 20 gallons, at least, once mature, and
realistically 30 gallons for two specimens so they'd be happy. Bear
in mind how big Goldfish get (20 cm/8 inches, at least) and that they
live for 30 years when kept properly. See here:
my question is what else should I do... and is it going to live?
<Yes, it should live, though the "bubbles" won't grow
back. The risk of secondary infection is significant though, and
pro-active use of an antibiotic such as Maracyn would be important.
Obviously, water conditions need to be perfect, otherwise the risk of
infection dramatically increases.
Bubble-eye Goldfish are hideously prone to bacterial infections because
of their extreme breeding, and can't be kept in anything less than
ideal conditions for long. The majority of specimens likely die grim
the hands of inexpert aquarists who buy them on a whim... you have been
warned! Cheers, Neale>
goldfish has bulged eyes 8/30/2009
Hey I have had help with my fish so I was wondering about some goldfish
that we have gotten & 1 has its eyes bulged out of his head. The
rest of the goldfish do not have this. Is this a disease that I need to
get taken care of?
<Mmm, likely not... Most probably an expression of genetic
variability... IF pathogenic, likely all others would be similarly
& do I need to separate it form the others.
<No need to separate, but would like you to review the needs, esp.
environment and nutrition of this animal. Read here:
and the linked files above. Plus, do send along a clear image if you
Angels on your pillows, Judy
<Maybe if they're cute. Bob Fenner>
GF... hlth., no data, image... 8/30/2009
I have a 5 year old goldfish about 1 and a half lbs.
<A comet variety>
about a month ago I noticed on top of his head he has growth
<Can you send along a clear photo?>
It is orange in color , the same as the fish. it starts above its eyes
and goes across top from left to right. A little history, all the fish
were wounded badly by a heron that found the pond. most had holes and
pretty bad but all survived, that was a few months ago. All wounds were
on the sides of fish not around the head though. A pet store employee,
they said possible tumor. Did notice color a little lighter than usual
too. Can you help? Bonnie
<... likely this is a tumorous growth... Not much to state w/o an
But most of these are not directly treat-able... But instead held in
check with good nutrition and husbandry (e.g. water quality). Read
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Help! Sick goldfish! A joke? Env....
Hello, please help! I have searched your site and have found that my 2
large goldfish have symptoms which may be attributed to septicemia,
fungus, and perhaps parasites as well. I am writing because I don't
know if it's safe to treat for all these things at the same time,
if the product "Pimafix
" which I have already added once to the water is a good product,
and because of the appearance of two symptoms which I don't
recognize: swimming backwards and long feces which is light brown in
color and suddenly floating to the top of the tank (100 gallons). I am
very worried and am hoping your expert advice will help my poor guys.
The red streaking throughout their scales, the red splotches at the
base of a fin, and the sort of strange orange tint (they are mostly
white) sounds like it could be septicemia (I read this on your
website). Few small white tufts/bumps on fins and tail sound like they
could be due to fungus. I saw one fish one time scrape/rub his body
along the gravel. Parasites? How would I tell what kind? They are
the bottom of the tank and their dorsal fins are not erect. They are
still eating but the zeal is gone. I am very worried.
The ammonia is 1.0,
<... deadly toxic>
nitrites are zero but nitrates very high,
along with pH of 6.4
<Too low for goldfish>
, water tested hard. I have added "Prime", which is supposed
to reduce ammonia and nitrates
<... see WWM re>
and add slime,
<So will vinegar>
and the "Pimafix" which is for fungus and I think bacteria.
What about Ick? I'm very, very worried. Please help! Thank you very
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. This system,
water is un-live-able. Bob Fenner>
Goldfish with Dropsy 8/25/09
Hi Crew at WetWebMedia,
I am writing from UK and have a 7 year old goldfish which, 16 days ago,
started to show the symptoms of dropsy ( swollen belly and raised
I immediately added a 0.3% concentration of aquarium salt and put her
on a course of 'Interpet' Anti Internal Bacteria Treatment for
<Have to say, this is a medication for which I've yet found no
use. It's pretty hopeless, really.>
The condition did not improve and so after a 50% water change and
insertion of a carbon filter for 24 hours to remove residual treatment
I put her on a course of 'Waterlife' Myxazin using the
recommended dose for 5 days. This did not appear to improve the
<Again, a limited use medication unlikely to fix systemic
infections. The problem for UK fishkeepers is that bacterial infections
inside the body need to be treated with antibiotics. Americans
aquarists can get some of these over the counter, for example Maracyn,
which contains erythromycin. British aquarists, and indeed aquarists in
most other countries, live in places where antibiotics are only sold
with a prescription, and so to use erythromycin, you will need to ask
your vet. This isn't expensive, but it is another step, and for
that reason, tends to be something aquarists don't do. Last time I
checked, erythromycin from the vet cost Â£20 including the
consultation. That sounds a lot, but each of the medications you bought
probably cost Â£5-6, and achieved precisely nothing, so
coupled with the reassurance that a vet provides in selecting the right
medication for the particular complaint, it's not a bad deal. Not
all vets treat fish as such, but those that handle "exotics"
such as reptiles will prescribe the necessary medications fishkeepers
need as well.>
I have read on web sites that Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) can be
beneficial and so I added this yesterday. The concentration of the
aquarium salt is now approximately 0.13% due to water changes
<Epsom salt can moderate swelling by drawing out fluid. It is also
acts as a muscle relaxant, making constipation easier to deal with. Do
Constipation is very common among Goldfish, and the symptoms are
strikingly similar to Dropsy.>
I have re-commenced treatment with Myxazin on the assumption that it
may take a long time for it to destroy the internal bacteria.
<Are there other symptoms that suggest bacterial infections?>
The fish is strong in itself and still has a hearty appetite but is
obviously weakening because of its swollen abdomen.
<Sounds more like constipation than Dropsy; when fish develop
Dropsy, it's because certain organs have failed and fluids are
building up inside their bodies. Such fish have little interest in
food, swimming, or interacting with other fish.>
I am feeding daphnia and shelled peas because I strongly suspect that
she is constipated.
One unusual symptom is that dark patches have become apparent on some
of her scales.
<Well, sometimes Goldfish "change colour" with age. This
is normal. Provide the scales look normal and there's no sign of
bleeding or dead tissue around them, I wouldn't worry.>
Nitrate, nitrite and Ph level are within normal tolerances and the tank
capacity is approximately 65 litres although currently less than this
because I have lowered the depth of water by about 1/3 to reduce stress
on the fish.
<Fill the tank back up! Now, 65 litres is way too small for
Goldfish, and your problems are certainly in part caused by this. I
wouldn't keep Goldfish in less than 110 litres/30 gallons for the
first pair (they're social) and another 30-40 litres per additional
Goldfish. Do read here:
Your advice would be very much appreciated.
Re: Goldfish with Dropsy 8/29/2009
Thanks very much for your reply to my goldfish query.
<Happy to help.>
I have now contacted a local vet who specialises in fish and he has
Initially, we are giving her a daily bath for just over an hour in an
antibiotic solution to the vets recommendation and if that is
ineffective then, after 5 days, she is to be injected with an
<Sounds about right.>
However, I must say that we believe that the condition is starting to
improve at least in terms of the swelling which appears to have
reduced. I guess that this could well be due to the Epsom salts drawing
out fluid and acting as a muscle relaxant.
<Can work well, though does depend (as you'd expect) on the fish
otherwise recovering so that fluid accumulation stops.>
I have dosed with Epsom salts at one and a half tablespoons per ten
gallons as recommended in the article you referred me to. My only query
is whether I am correct in assuming that the Epsom salts will, apart
from the effects of water changes, remain at the applied concentration
and not therefore need topping up?
<Correct; add the dose mentioned, and similarly to each new bucket
of water during water changes (i.e., if you remove 5 gallons, add
another 5 gallons with one-quarter teaspoon Epsom salt added).
Evaporation is added with plain water, no Epsom salt.>
She still has an excellent appetite and is decidedly more active!
Many thanks again for the help you have provided - very much
<Good luck, Neale.>
Blind goldfish tilts to the side when not
My almost two year old goldie has been having problems with buoyancy.
He swims normal but when he isn't swimming he will either tilt to
one side or end up with his nose pointing down. He's eating fine
and other than that looks healthy. He's in a 40 gallon tank
that's been up & running for 1 year with two hobs (BioWheel 350
& an Aquaclear 70) and a 23" bubble wand. Ammonia &
nitrites are at 0. Nitrates are between 5-10. PH is 8.0. I do monthly
water changes of 25 % water with a gravel vac.
<I would (and do) these sorts of percentage change outs weekly (part
of my Sunday routine)>
He shares the tank with another comet that is a year old.
<Mmm, this variety of goldfish (all are the same species, actually
dihybrid cross) gets too big for this volume>
About 3 months ago I noticed goldie bumping into everything and
swimming past his food (omega one flakes. Pre-soaked) so I started
feeding him omega one sinking pellets.
<More of the pellets are better... more substantial than flake food
(the analogy of you or I trying to live on corn flakes alone)... Adding
some purposeful "greenery" (e.g. Egeria/Anacharis, or such)
would be greatly beneficial in many ways as well; including
After a month I noticed his balance issues. He swims around normal
it's just when he stops. I thought he might be constipated, so I
added Epsom salt(1/8tsp per 5 gallons)on Friday but I can't tell
any difference. I tried peas but his tank mate gobbles it up before it
has a chance to sink. I don't want to lose him as my family has
gotten very attached.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give.
<Try the changes mentioned above... and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above for background. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blind goldfish tilts to the side when not swimming
Thank you so much for such a speedy reply. I have one more question. I
spoke to someone at the LFS yesterday and they said Goldie's
problems were due to two things, over filtration & the
I didn't think you could over filer with goldfish. What are your
thoughts on that?
<Ludicrous... unless the water movement from same is buffeting the
Then the owner informed me I was cruel for keeping a blind fish alive
because he'll eventually starve to death.
<Not so either. I have had/kept quite a few blind goldfish and
Koi... They have sharpened "other senses" that help them get
As I said in previous email he eats fine. Also, I'm planning on
upgrading to 100 gallons.
Would this be a good size?
<Yes... your comets will grow to about a foot long t/here... and not
be "too" stunted to live long, happy lives>
I ask because my wonderful(not)LFS says 40 gallons is plenty big for
just the two goldfish.
<Not for this American variety of GF, no>
Thanks again for all your help & all of your team for providing
such wonderful info.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Help! My Lionhead has hemorrhaging around its mouth and
under its chin 8/23/2009
My little Lionhead has what I can only describe as hemorrhaging around
its mouth and under its chin.
<Very likely Finrot, in other words, an opportunistic bacterial
infection almost always caused by poor water quality (i.e., nitrite and
ammonia levels that aren't zero) or physical damage (e.g., by
clumsy netting or
sharp gravel). Fix the background problem to prevent reoccurrence, and
treat against Finrot using some appropriate medication, e.g., in the
UK, products such as eSHa 2000 or Interpet No. 8. Don't bother with
tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) as these don't work reliably.>
I only got him the other day with another little Oranda to go with my
larger Oranda and Lionhead that are in a 60lt tank.
<Sixty litres is adequate as a quarantine tank for a few weeks, but
simply isn't close to viable in the long term. For three Goldfish,
you're looking at 110 litres (30 US gallons) minimum. Anything
less, and you'll be
constantly fighting against sickness, and your Goldfish will
"enjoy" short, sickly lives. Do bear in mind your Goldfish
will get to some 20 cm/8 inches in length, and they are big, messy
They all get along fine and the newbies were fine being introduced and
everything. But this morning I noticed it on the Lionhead and now the
other little Oranda has a small red patch starting to show around its
mouth. What could it be? They both seem happy and are eating.
<Almost certainly you don't have good water quality, in part
because the tank is too small, and likely also served with an
Upgrade to a sensible tank, treat against Finrot, and enjoy your
SOS...Goldfish Disease...Pls Help... 8/22/09
today morning my 5 goldfishes were fine when I went to work..in the
evening they have developed some white granular spots all over the
body, specially visible in the long fins. Is this some fungal
<Possibly, or else Finrot. Do see here to try and identify the
Note than Fungus tends to be thread-like, often appearing as cotton
wool patches. Finrot is more like specks of dead white tissue, often
associated with bloody or pink patches, as well as frayed fins. When
you're done with that, have a look at the possible options in terms
Some work on both Fungus and Finrot, for example eSHa 2000 and Seachem
Paraguard, and these can be useful if you aren't sure which disease
you're dealing with. Although Maracyn is listed as doing both,
it's actually more for Finrot than Fungus. Similarly, while Melafix
seems like an option, it's a mild remedy at best, and you may find
it better to use a stronger remedy straight away.>
please tell me how ro cure them. I also have 3 white Cory catfish who
seems unaffected (but I'm not sure because of their white
Help with a worm issue please
My Husband went home today and found our Goldfish dead. There was a
worm that was working it's way out from inside of the gill. It was
as wide as a pencil eraser, It was white with reddish orange, maybe an
inch long but it was coming out of the gill and then going back into
the fish through his side. VERY nasty!!! What is this? I have 3 other
fish in the tank. A catfish and 2 black goldfish. Do you think they are
<Possibly. You will need to use a proprietary anti-Helminth
medication since there's a chance the other fish are carrying worms
Medications that contain Levamisole, Piperazine and Praziquantel are
often recommended, but they don't work reliably, so if you can, use
medications with Fenbendazole or Flubendazole instead. Do also be aware
that some crustacean parasites, such as Anchor Worms and Gill Lice can
look worm-like at first glance, and nothing you have said here helps me
identify the problem either way, so you should use a search engine of
your choice to find photos of these, and then act accordingly, since
different medications will be required. Do be aware that some
medications can be toxic to catfish, and do also remember that
parasites often become problematic only when the fish are stressed, so
review environmental conditions. Three Goldfish would need 40 gallons
or more, and big catfish, such as "Plecs" (usually
Pterygoplichthys species) can't be kept safely in tanks less than
55 gallons in size. So if you have a small tank, less than 55 gallons,
environmental conditions could easily be part of the problem. Cheers,
Comet Goldfish Death 8/21/09
Good Evening Crew,
I have just lost my largest comet goldfish of 4 years tonight. It
onset quickly and I'm at a loss to explain it.
Last night I fed the fish their normal feed (Algae wafers - they
love these things and avoid their other food for them). The fish
in question had no problems and was swimming around
However, this morning I woke up to find him resting on the bottom
of the tank and one side was completely puffed up. I feared the
worst, and didn't know what to do as I was off to work and he
was sort of floating around and stuff, but kept listing to the
side that wasn't puffy.
Tonight, I thought it might be dropsy (although there was no
porcupine effect) so I immediately set up my hospital tank and
got water, Prime, some ParaGuard, a power filter, a heater, and a
table spoon of Epsom salts going in a 10G tank.
<Too small a volume>
When I took the fish out of the main tank (I have another comet
and a Pleco) there was a bit of red, round things that came out
of the fish.
I thought they might be eggs,
<Mmm, no... Cyprinid eggs are small, not red>
but I couldn't tell for sure. I was reading and eggs should
be clear/white from what I have seen, so I didn't know what
it was. I thought perhaps the fish was backed up or
I'm not sure at all what's wrong, and sadly as I was out
tonight to try to find medicated food, I came home to it
Does any of this ring a bell? Can a fish die from being full of
eggs if that's what it is?
<Can die from consequences of being egg-bound... but usually
The other fish appear fine in the tank, though the other comet is
swimming around a lot (not flashing, but very active and digging
for food/substrate) more than usual.
I'm wondering, could an internal injury overnight have caused
<Could; yes... but the largest source of goldfish mortality is
"environmental"... poor water quality,
There appears to be no trauma on the surface of the fish - but a
blunt blow might have ruptured something?
<Unlikely, but a small possibility>
Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Hard to believe a fish can go
from fine to dead in less than 24 hours...
<...? What re the system, chemical and physical test results?
and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>
Re: Comet Goldfish Death 8/22/09
Apologize for the lack of system information. Was a bit
distracted last night writing that e-mail.
The system is a 75 gallon FW tank with a HOB overflow into a 20G
sump with a 6" Fluorite Black Sand bed for Anacharis
I have all T5 lighting (4x54W up top and 4x24W on refugium). The
pump is an Eheim 1262 back into the tank through a 1/5HP chiller
from JBJ. Temp is constant at 75F as I have a Pleco in the tank.
I have attached postmortem pictures for you detailing the size of
the fish and the area near the back where there were red liquids
I'm beginning to think something ruptured inside the poor
fish as it was "bleeding" on the plate in the pictures.
I will do tests tonight as I did recently (on the 12th of August)
have to tear down the tank for a move and reset it up again.
Water shouldn't have affected as I just moved next door but
Again, other two fish show no signs of stress, and they are the
weaker fish. The fish that died was the biggest and strongest I
have ever seen/had.
As for the hospital tank being too small... it was all I had at
the time and I used what I could at the time hoping that the
smaller volume would be okay for the fish and that I would be
able to use less medicine as it would be more potent for the fish
at that volume.
<John, what do you feed these fish? And, if you're not too
squeamish re, would you open this fish up ( a single edged razor
blade will do), abdominally... from the vent to the isthmus (the
area at the apex of the
gills underneath) and upward of the gill openings, to reveal the
coelomic area? We should be able to see grossly if there is egg
accumulation, fatty degeneration... Bob Fenner>
I have a goldfish problem. No data or reading
I have searched on several sites on fish disease and I can not
for the life of me figure out what is going on with my fish. I
have a 75 gallon tank with an assortment of 6 goldfish. One has
recently developed some dark green spots on his left gill and on
his fins, he also appears to look like some of his scales are
missing on one of his sides, and I'm not entirely sure but
his body looks a tad swollen.
I also have another on that has a bump on his tail. (It is a
yellowish gold color with black dots on it) I am having problems
figuring out if it is a tumorous growth or a parasite.
<Highly unlikely either.>
All of the other fish are doing well and I have confined the two
of those to a separate 20 gallon hospital tank. I will try to
upload some pictures so you can help me decipher exactly what
these sicknesses are and help me figure out what treatments will
be necessary to get these guys back to good health. Thank you in
advance for you help. (sorry the fish did not want to cooperate
on the pictures so these are the best I could do.
<Uhh... need information re water quality, foods/feeding,
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm
and the linked files above till you have a gist of what we're
diseased tank... goldfish, learning
Hi, after several goldfish died in my tank with Ick, fin rot and red
spot, I cannot keep new fish live for long.
<No, you are not seeing the big picture. When fish persistently die
from a variety of causes it is almost always because you, the
fishkeeper, have given them the wrong conditions. In the case of
Goldfish, there are a bunch of things you need to get right. The
starting point is a big tank (realistically, 20 gallons for juveniles
up to 10 cm/4 inches, but 30+ gallons for adults). They also need a
strong filter, regular water changes, and the right water chemistry: pH
7-8, 10+ degrees dH. Common mistakes include keeping them in soft water
and not providing sufficient filtration, such that ammonia and nitrite
are not zero. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
Can I let the tank be dry for certain period and get rid of all the
disease causing germ?
<No, that's a terrible idea, and not scientific either. If you
leave the tank empty of fish, let alone dry, the filter bacteria will
If yes, how long should I keep the tank dry? Thanks.
<Read and learn, spend the money on the right equipment, and act
accordingly before you kill any more fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: diseased tank 8/18/09
Neal, Thank you for your help.
<You are welcome.>
I find two flaws in the water. One is I use Prime to get rid of
Chloramines. Right after I apply it the free ammonia is 0. But after a
half day I tested for ammonia, free ammonia showed up.
<Find a water conditioner that explicitly states it treats ammonia,
chlorine, and Chloramine.>
I don't know exactly how long can Prime keep the water ammonia
<Doesn't work like this. Ammonia is either [a] present in the
water as soon as you draw it from the tap; or is [b] produced when
Chloramine reacts with a dechlorinator not designed to safely
neutralise it. Of course, ammonia will be produced by your fish, but if
we're talking about a cup of water sitting on a table, these are
the two sources of ammonia.>
Before I use to add Prime than wait for half day to a few days to use
the water. And the water already has about 1ppm total ammonia in
<That's a lot, far beyond the safe level, which in the UK at
least is 0.5 mg/l (0.5 ppt).>
Should we always use water conditioner right before we use the
<Yes. Look for a brand that treats ammonia, chlorine, and
The other flaw is our water is very soft. GH 1 and KH 1. I got Seachem
Livebearer Salt to raise GH. Do you think this is suitable?
<No, not really. Expensive for one thing, and doesn't really
change the hardness much. As you'd expect, a product that is mostly
cooking salt raises salinity more than anything else. Take a look at
If you scroll about halfway down, there's a "Rift Valley
Cichlid Salt Mix" that uses baking soda, Epsom salt, and marine
salt mix. Instead of marine salt mix, you could use your Livebearer
Salt, but when it's finished, go buy some proper marine salt mix
instead -- it's better. Anyway, use about one-quarter to one-half
the dosage on that recipe. Start off with one-quarter teaspoon baking
soda, one-quarter tablespoon Epsom salt, and one-quarter marine salt
mix (or Livebearer Salt) per 5 US gallons. See how that works. If needs
be, use twice that much.>
I use to only add it until GH reach 4. Now I am try to reach at least
GH 10 like you suggested. I also have Seachem Gold Buffer to raise KH.
Which is said to buffer between 7.2 to 7.8. How much KH should I try to
reach? Thank you! Ying.
GF Qs 08/02/09
> Bob, Neale- As I'm going through the GF disease FAQs
("summarizing" and sorting), I have few questions... 1) a lot
of the early crew members frequently recommend Melafix. Does this work
<Marginally in some types of circumstances (my best attempt at a
fair assessment)... Really, more a hindrance, obstacle to folks further
investigating, seeking real cures in many more percentage cases>
> 2) There seems to be some disagreement over the use of
"freshwater" salt to ease water quality issues and stress on
the fish. What is the > logic behind the use of this salt? ...and do
you two recommend it?
<The change in osmotic pressure is more easily tolerated than some
ext. complaints... and the placebo effect, granted... getting folks to
not do more harm>
3) Is it not a "myth" that goldfish will only grow as large
as their home will provide?
...do they just grow very slowly in small containers?
<They stunt, suffer and die prematurely... Thank you for asking.
BobF, who would include this corr... so he's going to.>
> Sara M.
Re: GF Qs 08/02/09
> Hi Sara,
> I tend to agree with Bob the Melafix is of little to no value.
It's an antiseptic at best, and consequently best considered a
preventative, to keep minor wounds from becoming infected. I'd
never recommend it as something to use once fish have obvious signs of
Finrot or fungus.
> Sodium chloride is known to reduce the toxicity of nitrite and
nitrate. As such, it can be used at low doses (1-3 grammes/litre) to
help fish tolerate periods of poor water quality. Sodium chloride can
also be used to treat a variety of external parasites including
Whitespot (Ick) and leeches. On the other hand, what sodium chloride
won't do is raise pH or increase hardness. It's therefore of no
value in aquaria where the main problems are to do with water
> Goldfish have a very high tolerance for brackish water, so the use
of salt at low doses on a continual basis won't do any harm, but on
the flip side, it won't do any good either, if other issues,
particularly water chemistry, aren't fixed first.
> Carp, including goldfish, are known to stunt in the wild as well
as in captivity. I disagree with Bob with regard to the potential for
harm; there's no clear evidence that stunting causes any problems
> However, having said that, keeping fish in tanks that are too
small for them -- and thereby causing stunting -- also tends to imply
the fish is being exposed to poor water quality, unstable water
chemistry, and low levels of dissolved oxygen. All of these things are
liable to reduce overall health and disease resistance. So while
stunting _per se_ probably doesn't cause problems, the conditions
that promote stunting almost certainly do.
> It's worth mentioning fish grow their entire lives, as you
probably know, and once a stunted fish is removed to bigger quarters,
it will begin growing again. Of course, the rate of growth decreases
with age, so a fish that was stunted when young will not get
dramatically larger if moved into a big tank as an adult.
> Cheers, Neale
Goldfish stung by a bee...? 7/31/09
Afternoon folks....I have a Shubunkin..that I think may have been stung
by a bee or maybe bitten by a dragon/damsel fly nymph.
He was fine first thing in the am.....I ran back in the house to get my
morning boiled peas...and upon my return....he was struggling to swim
and unable to stay on the
bottom of my pond. He has no marks on him...his fins are all perfect,
no red steaks or any tell-tale signs. And...this seems strange to
say...but his pupils look way too dilated (I spend a lot of time
<Most teleost (bony) fish cannot change the size of their pupils.
Some catfish can, but that's exceptional. So whatever else is
happening, I doubt your Goldfish has "dilated" pupils. A
photo would help.>
Everyone else is fine. Any suggestions or thoughts?....thank you ever
so much Laurie
<Fish don't normally get stung by bees, and unless these fish
are tiny, and I mean minnow-sized, a Dragonfly nymph isn't going to
cause them any harm at all. Same for water beetles. Most bites/cuts on
Goldfish are from water birds (particularly Herons) and of course
housecats. As for what makes a Goldfish go loopy, the most common
reason is a dietary issue, essentially constipation.
But this is very uncommon in pond specimens because Goldfish in ponds
usually have access to lots of algae, plants, and organic detritus, so
they aren't likely to be lacking fibre. Still, if the fish is
otherwise healthy, and doesn't, for example, show signs of Dropsy
(raises scales, like a pine cone) or bacterial infection (bloody
patches, tattered fins) then do think about constipation and act
accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
What is this white stuff on my black moor
Hi, my name is Betty. We purchased 2 Black Mohr's about 2 years
<It's 'Moor' as in the Moor of Venice. It's a
pejorative term taken from an old word used for the North African
Moslems, and some publishers now actually won't use the word
'Moor' to describe these fish because, when you think about it,
it really isn't nice.>
There is also 1 Shubunkin living in an outside pond with them. One of
the Black Moor's is turning white around his eyes and about half
way down on both sides. He acts fine, eats good, but doesn't look
<It's not normal as such. Moors, being black, show up excessive
amounts of mucous more easily than other Goldfish. When Goldfish are
stressed or irritated, they produce extra mucous. Therefore, if your
Goldfish have been stressed or irritated about something, you're
more likely to notice your Moors developing this off-white slime on
their bodies than other types of Goldfish. It's very different from
Finrot, which looks like what it is, dead white tissue, often
associated with patches of blood and shredded fins. It's also
different to eye damage, which usually looks like white
"scuffing" on the cornea of one or both eyes.>
We have 2 pumps with filters, water lilies and water iris in the pond.
Is this Ich?
<No. Ick looks like grains of salt.>
The only thing we have done differently recently is clean the statue
with a little vinegar water.
<In itself, should be harmless, and acetic acid will be quickly
metabolised by the filter bacteria anyway.>
The pond is about 900 gallons. What do you suggest.
<Review basic conditions in the pond first: at minimum, check pH and
nitrite. Goldfish are acutely sensitive to acidic conditions, and if
the pH is below 7, they will get stressed. Check the nitrite is 0. If
it isn't, then your filter may need cleaning and/or
Thank you Betty.
Injured goldfish 7/30/09
I changed my goldfish bowl today, and as I poured the new water in the
force of it squashed him against the gravel at the bottom of the
He ended up with a cut tail and red dots on his body from the gravel.
I'm really worried that he won't survive, I've had him 13
years and he has always been healthy before, no problems and now I go
and injure him like this!
<How big is this Goldfish? At 13 years old, he should be a good 20
cm/8 inches in length, so I'm surprised he even fits into a
I kept him in the same water because I always leave new water 24 hours
before I put him in it to settle chlorine, but I've been told to
change his water ASAP because their blood poisons them, is this
<No, it's not true. Anyway, you should be using water
conditioner in each new batch of water. While "standing" the
water overnight will remove chlorine, it won't remove Chloramine or
copper from the water, and won't necessarily remove ammonia from
the water either, if there's ammonia present.>
Also, I know it causes them stress moving them.
He has no pump or anything, just a bowl.
<Don't approve of this at all. Honestly, if your fish has lived
13 years, it's a miracle; the vast majority, and I mean 99 out of a
100 Goldfish, kept in bowls die within a short period of time, months
at most. Now, while I'm sure you're fond of your fish and treat
it very well, for everyone else reading this reply, please understand
that BOWLS ARE CRUEL. Do please see here:
At the minute he is in the dark, nice and quiet and he is foraging for
food, which is promising, but he keeps floating sideways to the surface
and trying to swim against it to the bottom again. Is there anything
I'm doing wrong, also do I feed him?
<If the fish has signs of blood or dead tissue, then treat for
Finrot; I'd recommend eSHa 2000 as the most reliable medication
available in the UK without visiting a vet.>
I give him dry food,
<Do also read here:
I don't know if it will get into his cuts.
<Not sure what you mean here. If the bowl has no filter, water
quality will be dire, and the bacteria can, will infect the wounds.
Adding food will make things worse, so don't feed until you're
happy the fish is healing properly.>
Our beloved Goldfish: Goldfish Health\Disease No useful
I'm in a panic.
<I'm sure there is no reason to panic.>
My Goldfish has suddenly stopped eating and is hovering towards back of
aquarium and occasionally will tilt to the side.
<Ok, could be a number of causes. How big of a tank is he in, what
are the water's parameters, what is the goldfish fed?>
This little guy has been through a lot, he is disfigured, but it has
never affected his swimming before.
<I see. What is the fish's disfigurement?>
I am very worried about him.
<Understandingly so, but unfortunately, you haven't given me any
information to be able to help you. Information such as tank size and
water tests can tell me if this is a water quality issue, what you
feeding can tell me if this is simple constipation or something
<I suggest you start reading here:
as well as the linked articles on the top of that page. Do get back to
me with the data I've requested.>
diseased fish w/ picture (Goldfish; the usual)
I have a goldfish that my daughter won at a fair 2 weeks ago.
<Be sure to read up on what Goldfish need; although cheap
enough to obtain, Goldfish are very demanding pets to keep, and
the vast majority have short, unpleasant lives. I'm glad to
say Goldfish-as-prizes is steadily being outlawed in Europe, and
perhaps one day the idea you can give away a living animal as a
gift will die a death! In any case, read here:
Virtually all problems with Goldfish come down to inadequate
care: not enough living space and poor water quality being the
prime issues. Goldfish need to be kept in groups, and two or
three specimens will need a 30 gallon tank, and that tank will
need a filter adequate to the size of the tank, such that ammonia
and nitrite levels stay consistently at zero. On top of these
demands, you'll need to change 25% of the water per
It was one of two goldfish, but the second one died a day or two
after we got it. He seemed really stressed. The one we have left
is turning black from the front the back.
<This happens sometimes; it's genetic, and there's
nothing "wrong" as such. Where Goldfish have been
accidentally or otherwise released into the wild, over the
generations they return to the dark green colour their ancestors
It started just at the head and now it's moved towards the
body and the top fin. There are also a couple places where there
is a small white pussy looking spot.
<That's more serious. I'm guessing this is early
Finrot or Fungus, the former tends to look bloody while the
second usually has fluffy white threads. Some medications, such
as eSHa 200 and Seachem Paraguard will treat both complaints.
Avoid bogus cures like salt and tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) as
these have little/no useful effect.>
I looked through all the pictures on your website and I
didn't find anything that looked quite like this. We have had
other fish in this tank before but none ever had this
<Goldfish should live 20-30 years; if your previous Goldfish
didn't live that long, I'd be very suspicious of the
aquarium being adequate! I mention this because plastic theme
tanks with cartoon characters are largely gimmicks designed to
extract cash from pressurized parents. Their value for keeping
fish is almost nil. Unless the tank has 20 gallons capacity while
the Goldfish are juveniles (to 3 inches/10 cm) and 30 gallons for
adults above that size, it's worthless, and anything I say
about fixing this poor Goldfish is whistling into the wind: the
Goldfish will never be healthy.>
For the first couple days we fed the goldfish bread because we
didn't have any fish food. Then I bought tropical fish food
because the store was out of goldfish food. I read on your
website that they need goldfish food rather than tropical fish
food so I bought some about four days ago hoping it would
<We don't actually recommend Goldfish Food, so I'm not
sure where you read this. In fact Goldfish are classic herbivores
and you likely have many foods they enjoy in the fresh salads and
vegetables section of your fridge!
Do read here:
Pellet/flake foods are fine 3-4 times a week, but otherwise use
cooked peas, cheap aquarium plants, and other similar green
We also did a couple partial water refills with tap water that we
left in a pan overnight, which is what I have always thought was
good enough but now don't know if it is.
<It isn't. Water companies nowadays add various chemicals,
not just chlorine, so you need to add a proper water conditioner.
Also check your water is hard and alkaline, since that's what
About five days ago we did a full water change and cleaned
everything in the tank because there was a lot of bread, food,
etc., on the bottom. The water didn't look too bad, but the
bottom was really full of gunk.
<Then you're overfeeding and/or under-filtering.>
So far it doesn't seem to have helped because the black has
moved farther back and onto it's fin. Can you tell me if
there is something I can put in the water to help him?
Thank you for your help.
<Read, understand the needs of these demanding fish, and act
accordingly. I simply don't recommend people buy Goldfish
without first reviewing what they require to do well: they're
expensive animals, and not at all easy to keep. Ideas they can
live in bowls are outdated and misleading. Cheers, Neale.>
| Ho buoy...
My Black Moor seems to be dying. 7/19/09
I have searched this website and have found multiple explanations of
the different symptoms my Black Moor is expressing, but haven't
found a case yet where one fish had all of these problems: My black
moor is in a 40 gal tank with another black moor, and two
<Do be careful mixing the rather boisterous Moor with varieties as
delicate as Pearlscales; the latter are easily damaged, and best kept
among their own kind.>
They are all about two inches. A few days ago I noticed my guy (or gal)
was not being as active as usual, and seemed to be hanging out around
the bottom a lot. Upon further inspection, I noticed what almost looked
like a white tubular-ish, fuzzy, cotton-ish protrusion from right
behind his gill (about a half inch long and a quarter inch wide), and
was also slightly red around the edge of the 'hole'.
<Is this protrusion coming out from the gill opening itself, or is
coming from a patch of skin somewhere behind the gill opening?>
I thought it might be an organ or tissue coming out of a hole in his
body, but nothing in my tank is sharp and he doesn't fight with the
My husband thought it might be a fungus so we treated it with
Anti-Fungus with Malachite Green and Acriflavine Hydrochloride, as
directed. Almost immediately the white stuff lessened until it finally
went away, leaving a small dent in it's side, which looks like a
small puncture wound that is healing.
<Good; fungal infections often get into wounds, and so it's
entirely likely your diagnosis here is accurate.>
We thought he was getting better and seemed to be more active until
yesterday, when we noticed it was back on the bottom again. Now he
won't eat, his color appears to be lightening on most of his body,
his scales seem a little puffy, he has one patch of about 5 dark black
scales on one side, and one remaining black scale on the other side,
and the rest of him is mostly gold. Also, this morning he developed a
white film on his head, and we treated him for Ich, with CopperSafe.
His dorsal fin is rapidly deteriorating, and his anal fins are getting
more transparent in places. I should point out that none of the other
fish have ANY of these problems.
<These are all fairly generic, "I'm stressed" symptoms
caused by poor water quality or inappropriate water chemistry. Black
Moors often show excess mucous patches as white patches because
they're black fish; other varieties of Goldfish may be reacting in
a similar way, but because they aren't black, the white mucous
isn't so obvious. In any case, unless this fish was recently
purchased, in which case it might have come into the tank infected with
a bacterial infection, I'd assume water quality or water
Just to recap, Goldfish need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH between 7.5 to
8, and fairly hard water, ideally 10-20 degrees dH. What they don't
like is soft, acidic water; dirty water with ammonia and nitrite; or
poor water circulation.>
We are completely baffled, please help, I love my fish and would hate
to lose any of them. The tank is 2 years old, with an under gravel
filter, a Top Fin filter, we do bi-weekly water changes, the last one
Thank you in advance!
<Do need some water quality/chemistry statistics to offer more help,
and a photograph of the sick fish would really help.>
Goldfish vs. child -- 07/17/09
Hello! I just found out that yesterday my child's friend was
ï¿½playingï¿½ with our 5 -6 inch, 8 year
old goldfish. Basically, she thought it would be fun to transfer the
poor fish back and forth from the tank to the bucket of water that she
Upon inspection, the once beautiful fail tail looks like it's been
plucked off leaving behind Â½ inch nubs and the tail is
visibly bruised and swollen.
<Should grow back, you'll be pleased to know.>
I'm feeling just sick about what's happened to her. I know 8
years is a pretty good lifespan for a tank gold fish, but is there
anything I can do to help her tail mend and will the fan tail ever grow
<Eight years is still but a youngster in Goldfish terms; the record
is some 30 odd years. Anyway, yes, you can do a lot to help. The main
thing is to provide good water quality, i.e., zero ammonia and zero
nitrite. I'm assuming this tank has a filter and you do regular
water changes, so that shouldn't be too difficult. The next thing
is to treat the aquarium with a suitable medication to prevent Finrot
and Fungus. In the UK the medication I recommend is eSHa 2000, while in
the US you'll find things like Seachem Paraguard and Mardel Maracyn
should do the trick nicely. Similar products should be available in
other parts of the world. Your pet shop might recommend something
called Melafix based on tea-tree oil; while a fair antiseptic, it
isn't terribly reliable. If you happen to have this stuff lying
around by all means use it and see what happens, but I wouldn't go
out and buy any, and I certainly wouldn't use it if there are
obvious signs of fungus or Finrot (white threads, inflammation, dead
white tissue, etc.).>
<Good luck, Neale.>
Question RE Shubunkin clamping 7/12/09
I hope you can help me as I'm concerned about my little Shubunkin,
Molly. I have searched extensively on the Web, and have not been able
to find an answer.
We have a 70 liter tank, which was inhabited by three young fish - a
fantail named Felix, a calico fantail named Wilbur, and Molly the
<Far, far too small for Goldfish. Three juvenile Goldfish could be
kept in 20 US gallons/75 litres, but once they're above 3 inches/8
cm in length, they will need a 30-40 gallon/115-150 litre tank. They
also need a filter, preferably a reasonably robust one, rated at not
less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and
preferably 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour; in
other words, for a 150 litre tank, you'd choose a filter rated at 4
x 150 = 600 litres per hour, minimum. I mention these issues because
they're often ignored, with the result that the VAST majority of
Goldfish deaths come down to inadequate environmental (housing)
As recently as three or four days ago, I found Wilbur entangled in some
grass and after freeing him, it appeared that he had somehow damaged
his swim bladder - he was swimming side-on, and trying to reach the
surface, then sinking repeatedly.
<Somehow, I doubt "swim bladder disease" was the issue.
When fish are sick, they lose the ability to swim properly; the result
is that many aquarists see a fish that can't swim, and assume the
swim bladder is infected or damaged. In fact all they're looking at
is a symptom of an underlying problem, the VAST majority of the time
issues with water quality, water chemistry, and diet, in that order of
After seeking advice from the local pet store, we relocated him to a
makeshift hospital tank, where his condition seemed to deteriorate. he
began lying on his side and contorting himself so that his tail was
oriented at 90 degrees to his body. We tried feeding him shelled peas,
but to no avail. We even tried reintroducing him to the tank, as the
hospital tank was quite shallow, and we wanted to see if he would at
least try to swim in the deeper water. When he sank and sat gasping at
the bottom of the tank, we removed him again.
Unfortunately, despite our efforts he died after two days in isolation,
just as we began trying to face the unpleasant prospect of euthanizing
the poor little guy, and researching humane methods.
Meanwhile, the Shubunkin Molly has began acting strangely - hiding in
the corner of the tank, acting unresponsive, and clamping her fins.
Suspecting that perhaps a water quality issue may be the cause, we took
a sample of the water to the local pet store, and had them test the
sample. They told us that the various levels were all in the
"good" range, and it appears our water quality is not the
cause of the problem.
<I'd put money on this being a FALSE statement. For a start,
your use of the word "range" is worrying; there are no safe
"ranges" for ammonia and nitrite; these should be ZERO. If
you detect any ammonia or any nitrite, even small amounts, then at
least one of your problems is poor water quality. This in turn usually
comes about from overstocking the aquarium, overfeeding the fish, or
under-filtering the water. Goldfish specifically need 0 ammonia, 0
nitrite, a pH between 7.5 and 8, and a hardness level above 10 degrees
dH (i.e., "hard, alkaline water"). Aquarium shops are
notoriously unreliable when it comes to giving shoppers advice about
water quality; instead, ask them to write down the specific values,
including the units where relevant, and then e-mail me back with them,
and *I'll* tell you whether the water is safe or dangerous.>
Is it possible that the Shubunkin is simply stressed?
<Why would it be?>
No discoloration is apparent, and Felix the fantail appears to be in
<Often, after some of the fish have died, an overstocked tank now
becomes properly stocked. The aquarium conditions improve, and the
remaining fish seem fine. The mistake people make is that they view
things as having "got better" and go buy some more fish. This
instantly overstocks the aquarium again, the fish get sick, and the
cycle starts over.>
As strange as it may sound although the fish are new additions to the
family, we have become very fond of them in a short period of time, and
are already very sad over the loss of the little Calico fantail,
would like to do whatever we can to ensure the Shubunkin, whom we have
named Molly, survives, but are at a loss as to what to do next.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this question, and for
any advice you can give us.
<Do read here:
White lump, GF, reading 7/13/09
I recently got two fish from a coworker who no longer wanted them. Both
goldfish are a bit large, but young. They look like fantail goldfish,
but I am not sure of the breed.
<A pic please>
I got the fish on Thursday (today is Sunday) and the tank is new, about
2 weeks old.
<... is it cycled? Do you know what this is? Please read here:
The fish were bought anywhere from two weeks ago to two months ago. We
are unsure of the purchase date. There is a filter in the tank along
with some fake plants and gravel. They eat Goldfish Floating
<And read the linked files above>
The larger one of the two seems relatively healthy as far as I can
tell. The smaller goldfish has a bump on its side that at first looked
like a scar. It looks smooth and is a lighter orange color, but not
white. It also looks like there is a smaller version of this on its top
(dorsal fin, correct?).
Anyways, I have tried looking it up on the internet and there is no
luck in finding an answer. It looks like an irritation but I'm not
sure. Do you have any idea of what it could be?
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
Help my poor fat goldfish! 7/9/09
First I want to thank you and the whole crew for having such a
wonderful site. I have used it on many occasions and told others about
<Glad to have helped.>
My problem is that a couple of weeks ago I was given 3 long tailed
goldfish to go in a outdoor pond of approx. 350-400 gallons. One of the
goldfish appeared to be ready to spawn. She is a beautiful fish but she
is not spawning. One day she spawned some eggs that was in the water
hyacinths, but she still looks like she is full of eggs. She now stays
to herself in the corner of the pond and has begun to lean to one side.
I am not sure if I have males that are ready to help her in the
<Sounds more like constipation than anything else; there's
nothing to stop a female Goldfish being both ripe with eggs *and*
constipated, all at the same time! Do see here for proper feeding of
Constipation is very common when Goldfish are fed pellet foods
I have held her and in the beginning her abdomen was tight, it is not
tight now but she is so swollen. Her eyes are clear and she still has
the slimy feeling coat but she is not eating like she was. The water
tests out to Nitrate is 5, Nitrite is zero, Hardness is 150, Alkalinity
is 180 and the ph is 7.5.
<All sounds fine.>
I have done partial water changes thinking that my water might be
different from the one she came from. My pond is about 2-3 months old
and just getting started. I want to know if there is anything I can do
to help her out. And should she have been moved this close to her
<Shouldn't make a huge difference either way, but move her using
a container (like an plastic carton) rather than a net, so she's
lifted out in a "bath" of water that supports her body,
rather than without any water, as would be the case if you used a net.
It is possible, though uncommon, for fish to become egg-bound, the
causes for which are unknown. Certainly, rough handling could be one
About half the time when she is in the corner there is one other one
there with her just being so still I have to check to make sure she is
still alive. Help!
Thank you so much,
Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the
I am truly a novice.
<Luckily, there are lots of good books for beginners to read
*before* they buy their first fish.>
I have a 5 gal. tank which previously had a Black Moor in it.
<Too small for Goldfish.>
Learned the Black Moor needed a bigger tank (even though I was
told when we bought it that the 5 gal. was fine).
<Don't trust everything someone says when they're
trying to sell you something...>
So got a bigger tank for it (10 gal.)
<Wasted your money right there. Let's be crystal clear on
something: you cannot keep Goldfish in 5 or 10 gallon tanks, end
of story. Even 20 gallon tanks are too small in the long term,
though they'd be fine for juveniles across perhaps the first
12-18 months. Adult Goldfish will need 30 gallons or more, and
certainly more than that if you want more than two specimens (or
for that matter other species, such as Weather Loaches, alongside
I thought, since I had this 5 gal. tank, I'd put some smaller
more colorful fish in it.
<No; a 5-gallon tank is basically a bucket. With the best will
in the world, you can't keep much in them beyond Bettas, and
in the hands of "novice" fishkeepers they're death
traps. Do read here:
Sales people will tell you anything can live in very small tanks;
they are wrong, as the endless chain of people asking for help at
this web site should make abundantly clear. For novice
fishkeepers, the single best thing they can do is not waste their
money on anything less than a 20-gallon "long" tank
(avoid "deep" tanks for now).>
I changed out about 75% of the water (learned that Black Moors
are quite dirty), put in Stress Coat+ and waited a week and then
put 2 male guppies and 1 catfish in.
<No, no, no... male Guppies are aggressive and will need 20+
gallons to get along; "catfish" covers a lot of ground,
but assuming these are Corydoras, then you'd need to keep
them in a group of 5+ specimens in a 20+ gallon tank. Even if you
bought the other popular catfish, the Plec, while fine on its
own, that's a fish that needs 55+ gallons once it matures to
its full size of 18+ inches, which will happen within 1-2 years,
assuming you don't kill it first.>
The salesperson at the fish store said I'd be able to have up
to five guppies and 1 catfish in the tank but to start with the
three, wait a week and then add the other 3.
It's been three days with the 2 guppies and 1 catfish.
I've noticed the 2 guppies seem to be fighting.
<What a total surprise (irony).>
Both are aggressive towards each other.
<Of course. Any aquarium book would have told you
I don't have a way to separate them. I've read all the
posts and I think I'm getting that I should put female
guppies in but I really don't want to breed them.
<No, you don't have to keep them with females. But if you
do keep females with them, the females need to outnumber the
males by 2 to 1.>
What do you suggest?
On another note...the Black Moor developed a white spot on
<Another total surprise (irony as well). You can't keep a
Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank and then expect it to stay healthy.
It's like feeding someone fried foods every meal and then
being surprised that they have a heart
attack. Your Goldfish likely has an opportunistic bacterial
infection caused by poor water quality. The cure? Move to a 30
gallon tank, install an adequate filter (at least 6 times the
volume of the tank in turnover per
hour, i.e., 120-180 gallons per hour for a 30 gallon tank) and
then treat with a reliable Finrot antibacterial or antibiotic,
such as eSHa 2000 or Maracyn.>
First several weeks ago, it lasted three days and then it
disappeared. It came back about 2 weeks later.
<May simply be mucous production; when fish are irritated by
poor conditions, they produce more mucous, and in the case of
black fish, the mucous appears as white patches. These are a good
sign the fish is
stressed, and quite possibly suffering a bacterial
"assault" for want of a better term.>
After consulting a staff person at the local pet store, I treated
it with Furan-2. I did two cycles with no improvement.
<Antibiotics will cure the bacterial infection, but they
won't stop excess mucous production if living conditions are
bad, and without fixing the environment, such symptoms will keep
reappearing until the fish gets something so major it
After reading the packages at the store I decided to treat with
<Totally unreliable; you'd probably have more fun throwing
money down the nearest hole.>
I'm on the 2nd cycling of that and still no improvement.
The fish seems healthy otherwise and seems also to have adjusted
nicely to the larger tank.
<Define "healthy otherwise" and "adjusted
I was thinking it's an injury since I had seen the fish bump
it's eye on the artificial plant when in the 5 gal. tank.
<Not what happened; wishful thinking on your part.>
I do not have any plants in the new tank, just an artificial
<Not my cup of tea in terms of decor, but won't cause the
symptoms you are describing.>
What are your thoughts on this?
<That you need to read before you spend money.
Hope you don't mind having your advice served "straight
up", but you've done practically everything wrong so
far, so it's time to buckle down and read about what fish
need rather than trusting to luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the usual)
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my
questions. I also really appreciate how quickly you
I've read and re-read your emailed response. I want to do
right by the fish I foolishly purchased (the Black Moor, two
guppies and one Corydoras). I am totally guilty of believing the
store personnel on all accounts.
<Not an uncommon situation. But always remember, they're
salesmen first, and their job is to sell you stuff. While some
stores certainly do employ people who know the hobby well, not
all of them do, and the Big Box stores especially can be very
hit-and-miss in this regard.>
Thought they'd be knowledgeable and would want me as a
returning customer so I assumed they would have sound advice for
a novice. Never thought to research anything as I prefer to speak
with people in person and thought I was seeking professional
<Well, lesson learned!>
Anyway, I fell for everything the salespeople at two different
stores have told me. Hook, line and sinker. Guilty as charged.
So, now I have a Black Moor that has the potential to live 25+
years if I don't inadvertently kill it. AND, I have two
adorable guppies and a Corydoras who aren't happy in their
SO, I read the articles you recommended and I hate to ask, but
would you let me know if I'm on the right track before I go
and spend more money and screw things up even further I mean how
many tanks can I purchase before getting this right, huh Maybe
that's why the store personnel ill advised me. I am a repeat
customer after all.
<An old friend of mine used to comment that Medical Doctors
don't particularly want people to be healthy, they want them
to simply not die, because the longer they're ill, the more
medication and medical treatment they'll buy. While
that's perhaps a bit cynical, there's always good sense
at seeing where the money goes. If your fish keep dying, so you
keep needing to buy more fish, that's good for business.
Likewise medications and bolt-on goodies supposed to fix all your
woes. A pet shop that sells you a Goldfish with a good-sized tank
and filter isn't going to see you for maybe another twenty
years! Much less good for business. I simplify a bit, but you can
see my point. So, to be a sensible shopper, it's a good idea
to research precisely what you need for the maximum odds of
success, and take it from there.>
I get that I need to purchase yet another tank of at least 30
gallons for the Black Moor. If I want the Black Moor to have
company, I need to get one even larger. Yes If so, how much
<Thirty gallons should be fine for 2 adult specimens at least,
perhaps 3 if you have a really good, strong filter. Bear in mind
an adult Goldfish is bigger than a man's hand, so while a
30-gallon tank might look huge, it's actually perfectly in
order for such big fish.>
And, I get that not only do I need to get a larger tank for the
two guppies and the one Corydoras (at least 20 gallons) but I
also need to get at least another 4 Corydoras.
So, how big of a tank do I get for these guys Guppies.com says
"A maximum of 1" of fish per gallon of water is a good
rule of thumb for beginners."
Yet, it also states that a 10 gallon tank is fine for the guppies
but I'm pretty sure I read in the articles you recommended
that the guppies needed no less than a 20 gallon tank.
<You certainly could keep a few male Guppies in a 10-gallon
tank, but if you review other people's experiences of that,
you'll see things like aggression are much more serious, and
that means stress and possibly Finrot when fins get nipped. You
certainly couldn't keep females with males in a 10-gallon
tank because they'd be harassed. Hence, my advice is to go
for 20 gallons when male and females are being kept, or where you
want to keep a few male Guppies peacefully alongside some other
I would love to have a half dozen guppies and the 5 Corydoras.
Perhaps some other fish too later on down the road after I do
much more research.
<So 20 gallons makes much more sense. There's really no
point choosing a 10 gallon tank: price and the space the tank
takes up is very similar to the 20 gallon one, and yet a 10
gallon tank is much less stable and much less useful.>
Perhaps this is a stupid question but hey, evidently, I've
done everything wrong so far and probably seem like an idiot to
you anyway...any chance the guppies, Corydoras and Black Moor
could live in the same tank Is there any size tank big enough to
keep the Goldfish from eating the little guys
<You certainly *can* keep Corydoras and Goldfish together. The
trick is to choose the low-end tropical Corydoras species
(Peppered Corydoras, Bronze Corydoras, and Albino Corydoras) and
then use a heater to take the tank to about 24 degrees C. This
will suit both Corydoras and Goldfish perfectly well. Goldfish
are messy fish, so you do need to watch water quality and install
a strong filter, but apart from that, the two species get along
fine. Guppies are less of an option; Fancy Guppies are delicate
and need warm water, around 26-28 C, to do well; so even if they
weren't eaten, I'd not expect them to thrive in the
conditions Goldfish need. As it happens, I'd sooner keep
Corydoras with the Goldfish than the Guppies; partly because
Corydoras don't like the very warm water Fancy Guppies need,
and partly because without Corydoras, you have the option to add
a little salt to the water, which does make keeping Guppies a
Didn't think so. Stupid question, right
<The stupid questions are the ones not asked.>
Thank you again, for taking the time to answer my questions. I
honestly do want to do right by the fish. Any living thing
deserves the best of care.
Re: Goldfish (in a 10 gallon aquarium; sick; the usual)
I tried to find this email exchange on the wetwebmedia.com but to
Anyway, wanted to give you an update and get your take on what I
should do next.
I moved our Black Moor into a 30 gallon tank with a great filter,
and treated the tank with Maracyn per your recommendation. The
tank set up (had to get a table for it as well) was a very
expensive task and so my guppies are having to make due in the
Black Moor's previous 10 gallon tank. Can't afford the 20
gallon tank yet but may soon get one from a friend.
<I'm sure they'll be fine for now.>
Anyway, guppies seem much happier and I got a couple of friends
for the Corydoras. All seems well so far in the 10 gallon
My Black Moor however, even after the treatment with Maracyn
hasn't improved. To help you recall the situation, my Black
Moor has a white dot on it's eyeball.
It's very pronounced and perfectly round, not like Ick.
I'm familiar with Ick.
<It isn't Ick.>
Before counseling from you, I did two treatments of Furan-2. No
change. Did two treatment of Melafix. No change. Then consulted
with you and did as you recommended. Got the 30 gallon tank and
treated with Maracyn. Her other "normal" eye developed
cloudiness. Did another treatment with Maracyn and saw some
improvement in the cloudy eye but no change in the eye with the
white dot. Did another treatment with Furan-2 and saw additional
improvement with the cloudy eye but still no improvement with the
eye with the white dot.
<It actually looks like your Black Moor has much more
"googly" eyes than usual, and I'm concerned
you're dealing with Pop-eye. The white layer on the outside
of the eye is essentially irritated or dead tissue on the cornea;
it will eventually heal by itself given good water quality.
It's a reaction to things like elevate levels of ammonia and
nitrite, inadequate use of dechlorinator, or overdosed
medications. Poor diet, specifically a vitamin deficiency, can
also cause this problem; Goldfish, being herbivores, need lots of
greens to get the vitamins they need, with bunches of cheap
aquarium plants like Elodea probably being the easiest approach.
The Pop-eye will usually go away by itself given time, and
assuming optimal water conditions. Epsom salt can be beneficial
by "drawing out" some of the fluid; a dose of a
teaspoon or two per 10 gallons should do the trick.>
So, now, what to do I've attached a couple of pictures, and a
short video, hoping this will help you help me. Although, must
admit, just looks like flash is kicking back. I took the picture
w/o a flash though.
Thanks again for all your help and interest in helping me help my
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
|Re: Goldfish (in a 10 gallon
aquarium; sick; the usual) 7/19/09
Thank you, Neale. You've given me direction and that means a
I've been checking the Ammonia since we first corresponded.
It's been zero all along.
Don't know about the Nitrite but will look into it. It's
possible I've overdone the dechlorinator but not likely that
I've underdone it. I did put the salt in when I first set up
the 30 gallon tank which was about 2 weeks ago. I've done at
least 2 water changes since then. Is it okay to add 3 tsp of salt
<I'd only add Epsom Salt for now, not regular salt (sodium
chloride). To be honest the addition of regular salt to freshwater
aquaria isn't terribly useful in most situations. Epsom Salt
(magnesium sulphate) is the thing you want when treating swellings
and constipation; it's a mild laxative and also tweaks the
osmotic balance between the fish and its environment. For reasons
not entirely clear to me, it does seem to work wonders. It's
also very cheap, and most drug stores and pharmacies have the
stuff. It's used for all sorts of household medical
I will purchase the Elodea today. Do I just put it in the tank and
let it float or should it be planted in the gravel.
<Either; it's probably easiest to leave the lead weight on
the bunch, and just let the thing float about. The Goldfish will
happily eat the stuff *if you don't feed them too much*.
It's a good idea to feed them flake/pellets 3-4 times per week,
and let them eat plants the rest of the time. If you're on a
holiday, just stick a couple of bunches in, and they can eat the
Elodea and be happy for weeks on end.>
Do I need to do anything special to care for the plant.
Will it need replacing every now and then or should it just
<Unless you have bright lights it probably won' grow, so
just replace it periodically.>
We've been feeding the Black Moor TetraFin Goldfish Flakes.
Glad to supplement her diet with the Elodea. Is there anything else
to use as a supplement.
<Other, alternative greens include cooked peas, blanched lettuce
leaves, cooked spinach, Sushi Nori, sliced cucumber... really
anything soft and green will do. Some Goldfish enjoy rice and even
bits of boiled potato, but I wouldn't use these starchy foods
too often. There's an excellent article on the topic, here:
If so, should we feed alternate what we feed her
Sorry to continue to bombard you with so many questions. I just
really want to do right by this fish.
<Happy to help. Good luck! Neale.>
Fantail goldfish, nasal growth, no data --
Hi I have a fan tail goldfish about 6 inches long in the body not
including head and tail. I have noticed in the last 2 months that
a vein behind his eye is clotted or blocked as it seems to be
getting bigger and his eye is
starting to pop out (see photo).
What can I do to help him. He can still see through the eye but I
fear that this clot is going to get bigger and bigger.
Please can you give me some advice.
<Nothing you can really do re such growths... They often
resolve on their own... I would not try surgery at this
juncture... There is a bit of bleeding in this fish's
caudal... likely environmental, for which you proffer no info.
and the linked files above... Need data re NH3, NO2, NO3.... and
Black Moor very sick... reading --
I have a black moor that about 7in "BUGS". I have noticed
that in the last wk he has been a little lethargic. He was in a 14 gal
<Way too small... Read here:
I have been so worried about him losing an eye because he could barely
make a u-turn. I set up a 32 gal tank. He injured an eye last wk and I
have been in panic mode every since along with other symptoms.
<Likely residual from environmental damage in the previous
I have put him and another black moor 1/3 his size and an algae eater
in the tank.
<What type of algae eater? See here:
These 3 have been together from the beginning. He is swimming sideways,
laying on the bottom.
Seems so not in control of himself and movements. Almost gets turned
<... what are you feeding?>
Checked the ammonia levels and they were .05 and yesterday 1.0
I used the Ammo Lock and it is still .05
<Can't be chemically ameliorated... See here:
and the pH is 7.5.
I am so worried about him, I want have any funds till tomorrow and it
want be much. Single mom, recently laid off. Please help me to help
I so love him ..
<Our definitions are different>
When the electricity cuts off in storms I always pull my jeep up to the
apt and run him elec from my inverter. Thanks for listening
Holly & Hunter
<See, read the above references and the linked files above. Bob
Two cases of fantail dropsy? (Goldfish, plural; 10 gallons;
sickness; the usual...) 6/29/09
Hi, I have two calico fantail goldfish. I got the first one a week ago
and got the second one 2 days ago (both from the same store, even the
same tank, they know each other from before). They live in a 10 gallon
tank with a Whisper internal filter and (because 10 gallons for 2 fish
is a bit small) I do a 25% water change every couple days and a
"poop scoop" once a week.
<A ten gallon tank really isn't going to work in the long term.
Your Goldfish will get to about 20 cm/8 inches in length when mature,
and it doesn't take much imagination to realise that big, solid
fish that size will barely FIT into a 10 gallon tank, let alone be
healthy in one! So before you do anything else, start saving up for a
30 gallon tank. Believe me, the money spent on a bigger tank will be
more than earned back in terms of time wasted, medications bought, and
fish lives saved. If you don't have space for more than 10 gallons,
then don't keep Goldfish. It's really as simple as
I had pellets to feed them, but they do not seem interested in eating
The pellets usually just end up sinking to the bottom un-eaten.
<And, I trust, promptly removed; all uneaten food must be removed
after 5 minutes, tops.>
The water in the tank is well water (I drink it straight from the tap,
so I'm hoping it's ok for fish), I'm wondering if they eat
stuff that's in the water.
I have natural rocks in the tank as well. Perhaps they're eating
algae off the rocks.
<Unlikely you'd have enough in a 10 gallon tank. It's much
more probably water quality is SO POOR that the fish are stressed, and
consequently not interested in food. Remember how your appetite fades
to nothing when you're sick? That's what's happening here.
Do start by reading what Goldfish need:
Then move on to understand what they need in terms of food:
Virtually everything you think you know about Goldfish is wrong. They
can't live in bowls. They can't live in small tanks. They
won't survive on pellets or flake. They aren't cheap or easy to
keep. If you are stuck with 10 gallons, then there surely are some
great options in terms of tropical fish; see here:
But Goldfish are not an option!>
Anyway, I was reading around on the site and came across some cases
that sound similar to mine. The fish are in-active (sitting on the
bottom of the tank) and a little bloated looking and not eating (this
is why I am wondering if maybe they're eating what might be in the
water). I'm wondering if my little guys have dropsy.
<Dropsy is a symptom, most commonly of systemic bacterial infection
brought about by chronically poor water conditions. It's the way
fish say "you kept us badly, and now we're going to die, and
nothing you can do will save us".
Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that's almost always what's
going when Dropsy appears.>
As a precaution, I started doing 25% water changes daily and keeping an
eye that their scales aren't sticking out. So far, they're not.
I don't have any Epsom salts right now, but would 1 or 2 table
spoons mixed in the water help?
<Not in itself. Epsom Salt at a dose of around 1 teaspoon per 5-10
gallons will help WHEN USED ALONGSIDE suitable antibiotics, typically
Erythromycin or Minocycline. But in itself, no, it won't cure
Dropsy. And even when used with antibiotics, this all depends on water
quality being extremely good:
zero ammonia, zero nitrite, a stable pH, and preferably low levels of
nitrate (sub-20 mg/l).>
I'm new to having fish. Help is much appreciated!
<Read, understand, act accordingly.>
Hi, so, the one fantail now is looking a little bit scaly, but not
fully pine-coned yet. Since the last e-mail I have moved both fish into
a 'hospital tank', but do not have any medicine or Epsom salts
yet (it is late, and everything is already closed).
<How is the "hospital tank" any better? Is it smaller? I
assume so, and that means it's only going to make things worse.
It's amusing (in a grim sort of way) you have two aquaria, but
neither of them big enough for the fish you have. Just one tank the
right size is much, much better than a whole battery of undersized
I thought at least the water in the hospital tank is clean, and there
is nothing else in the tank but some pebbles on the bottom. Both fish
seem to be moving around much more than before though.
<Likely because the water is cleaner, in terms of not having any
ammonia or nitrite in it... yet. Give it 24 hours, and they'll be
miserable again, unless by some miracle the hospital tank is 30 gallons
in size, equipped with a robust and fully matured filter.>
<The outlook for your fish is extremely bleak without a bigger
Floaty Belly Up Goldfish 6/27/09
A few things I should mention or backtrack from this point:
- Fed them around the afternoon, turned off the filter in our 10
gallon tank to let them eat.
<10 gallons isn't nearly enough space for Goldfish; they
need a minimum of thirty gallons for 1-3 specimens. Also, you
shouldn't ever turn a filter off except for maintenance; when
you switch a filter off, the bacteria within are starved of
oxygen, and the end result is poor water quality.>
- I accidentally left the filter off for about five hours....
- A week ago, I did a 45% change of water
<Aim for 25% per week.>
I arrived home to find my female fantail goldfish (Vivi)
belly-up! I immediately freaked out thinking she was a goner, but
came to realize that she was still alive (gills still moving, and
she slightly moves her side fins from time to time). Her fishbowl
mate, a Oranda, seems to be doing well.
Her underside seems a bit bloated and I've just noticed her
anus is opened and something is protruding outwards (nothing that
resembles poop). I've attached pictures of her. Please let me
know as soon as possible if you're able to diagnose anything
or possibly anything that I could do to get her back to normal
and swimming happily.
<If you're lucky, this is "merely" constipation,
and switching to an entirely greens-based diet (cooked peas and
soft aquarium plants such as Elodea) may do the trick. Don't
use any flake or dried foods until this fish is healthy.
If you're unlucky, then you're looking at a negative
reaction to poor water quality. At minimum, check the nitrite
level in the aquarium (your tropical fish shop may do this if you
don't have a kit). Goldfish need 0 nitrite and 0 ammonia, and
one of the common mistakes people make is to under-filter and
over-stock their tanks, exposing their pets to high levels of
both these highly toxic chemicals.
Goldfish need a reasonably big tank with a strong filter: they
are, after all, pond fish that get to 30+ cm in length and live
for 20-30 years, so it doesn't take much imagination to see
that they aren't going to do well in a 10 gallon tank (let
alone a bowl!). The vast majority of Goldfish that die
prematurely do so because people don't keep them
Thank you (:
Goldfish death and strange markings 6/27/09
Hello Guys. I have recently (last 2 weeks) started up my second
goldfish tank. I am very impressed with your website and would
therefore like to ask for your advice/experiences on a subject.
I am running a Fluval 2 filter (about 8 inches in length) with separate
air pump on a fairly vigorous setting. The tank is a hex fronted, 120
gal (I think: W=44', H=32', D=16').
<The easy way to estimate how much water is in an odd-shaped
aquarium is this: take out 25% or 50% of the water, and then count how
many buckets you need to fill the tank again. If you remove 50% of the
water, and it takes five 5-gallon buckets to fill the tank (i.e., 25
gallons) then the aquarium holds 50 gallons altogether. It's not
100% accurate, but it's "good enough for government
after running the filter for a week I introduced 5 goldfish all very
1x fantail, 2x common, and 2x comet (one black, one red and white). All
fish have been swimming freely and eating well (Aquarian advanced
nutrition goldfish flake food). After a few days the fantail was
sitting on the bottom in a little "cave" of stones I had made
in the tank. I thought this may have been a water current issue (as
there was no evidence of bullying) as when I turned the filter off she
generally came out. She has since made a complete recovery.
<I will make a general warning here: Goldfish with two tail fins
(i.e., Fancy Goldfish) don't mix well with Goldfish with normal
fins (i.e., Commons, Shubunkins and Comets). There's a little
wiggle room here to be sure, Black Moors and Fantails generally working
better than the other, less robust, varieties. But you should still
look out for signs of bullying or inability to compete for
However the red and white comet has unexpectedly died. He was one of
bigger fish and was a very vigorant, playful swimmer. He showed signs
of illness about a day before he died by sitting on the bottom of the
cave. I didn't act as I thought it may have been a water current
<While Fancy Goldfish don't like very strong water currents,
Comets and Standards do, so water current shouldn't be an issue for
them. Regardless, you want a filter offering around 6 times the volume
of the tank in turnover per hour. Anything less than this and
you're going to have three problems: lack of circulation (meaning
poor oxygen distribution); lack of mechanical filtration (meaning
cloudy water); and lack of biological filtration (meaning levels of
ammonia and nitrite that aren't zero). I mention this because the
Fluval 2 is rated at about 100 gallons per hour, so your turnover is a
bit less than once per hour (i.e., 100 divided by 120). Now, you do
have a big tank to be sure, and that will make a difference in terms of
how quickly water quality problems cause sickness.
But still, I'd reflect on this, and consider adding a big external
canister filter or undergravel filter, either of which would supplement
things nicely. Undergravels have the benefit of not producing
excessively turbulent water currents, but you can mitigate this issue
with canisters by adding a spray-bar.>
He subsequently lost the ability to swim correctly and was seen
breathing very heavily. After I came home from work he was dead.
Upon fishing him out I noticed a large green stain on his belly. Does
this mean he was diseased? Should I be concerned about my other fish
who are all acting normally?
<It's impossible to say for sure, but I'd be looking at
environmental issues more than anything else. Goldfish like hard, basic
water (pH 7.5-8, 10-25 degrees dH) with zero ammonia and zero nitrite.
Grab a test kits or two, or have your local pet store test your nitrite
and pH levels at minimum.>
Thanks, keep up the good work
<We plan to!>
Jaws... GF hlth. 6/21/09
We have a Veiltail Goldfish that is about 3 years old. Don't know
how you tell if the 'fish child' is a boy or girl?
<Sexually mature Goldfish, which are typically around 10 cm/4 inches
in length, can be sexed most readily in spring, when males develop
"spawning tubercles" on the their heads. These look a bit
like small white pimples, but unlike, say, Ick, they are arranged more
or less symmetrically on either side of the face.>
The question I have is.... Jaws has been losing scales. He will scrap
the rocks on his side at the bottom of the tank. Then will stay in one
corner and kind of sit upright where he is looking at the top of his
tank, that's where the filtered water comes out of and goes back
into the tank.
<Fish will, occasionally, lose the odd scale. That's quite
normal. So if we're talking about a missing scale every six months,
don't lose any sleep.
But if the fish is losing scales on a regular basis, then you might
have a more serious problem. Infections of the skin can cause problems
that mean the tissue that attaches the scale to the body, so one
possible problem is environmental stress or physical damage, either of
which can allow bacterial infections to get started. In terms of
environmental factors, review what Goldfish generally need: clean water
(0 ammonia, 0 nitrite); a fair amount of space (30 gallons for a single
goldfish, another 10-15 gallons for each extra specimen); moderate
temperature (for fancy varieties, 15-24 degrees C is ideal); and water
that is moderately hard and alkaline (10+ degrees dH, 5+ degrees KH, pH
7.5-8.0). Now, while Goldfish are very definitely gregarious fish that
aren't happy kept singly, in very small groups, say, 2-3 specimens,
bullying can occur. This will evidence itself as chasing, nuzzling and
other such behaviours. In the process the fish can damage themselves,
especially if the tank is on the small side.>
However, I did notice that on his tail on the right side and
'only' on his tail, I can see round white spots. Does this mean
he has Ick?
<Ick looks like salt grains and is usually very distinctively pure
white in colour. Velvet is similar, but looks finer, more like
confectioners/icing sugar, and often has a golden tint. Finally,
there's Finrot, which initially looks like white speckles where
blood vessels become clogged and the skin around them dies. These are
often off-white in colour, since it's necrotic tissue we're
looking at. Eventually the dead skin falls away and you seen bloody
patches. Again, Finrot is very closely related to environmental stress,
and could easily be related to the falling scales.>
If so, what is the best medication to treat him with.
<For Finrot, antibiotics such as Maracyn (in the US) or
antibacterials like eSHa 2000 (in Europe) are essential. Ick may be
treated with either commercial Ick medicine or with a combination of
aquarium salt and heat; in that case, a brine solution containing 2 to
3 teaspoons of salt per gallon of aquarium water needs to be added to
the tank, and the temperature raised to around 28 or even 30 C if your
Goldfish will tolerate it. Leave thus for at least 2 weeks, and at
least 4 weeks if the tank is unheated. However, I'd think about
Finrot rather than Ick first, since the loss of scales is much more
consistent with Finrot, and that in turn is an issue to do with
environmental quality, indicating you may (probably) have some work to
do in that regard. Be under no illusions: without fixing the
environment, curing Finrot becomes a constant battle.>
(Elandrea, Fountain, CO )
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What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner