Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 31

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease, GoldfishGoldfish Varieties Koi/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 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38

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

Sick Pearlscale, please help!   5/24/07 Hi there! <Hoh there!> I've spent a while looking around your site over the last couple of days, and have found it immensely useful, but unfortunately my specific question hasn't been answered (that I can see) so I hope you don't mind me bending your ear for a minute. I hope you can help me. <Me too> Last February I bought a Pearlscale (Horatio!), who I installed in a new 50 gallon tank with a filter, a heater and gravel. I've been scrupulous about cleaning his tank out, I never leave uneaten food in the tank and he's generally seemed very perky and happy. It's my first time owning a fish so I'm doing the best I can. <Good> A couple of weeks ago Horatio started gasping at the surface of the water occasionally; I spoke to some people and was told that this either meant lack of oxygen or that he was snapping at food particles on the surface. <Maybe> Given that Horatio is only 4 inches long (including his tail) and his tank is large, I was told it was probably not the oxygen. <Hard to say... can be tested for directly... You do have surface agitation I take it... could be a nitrogenous, other chemical anomaly... Other possibilities> Today he started gasping much more over about an hour; I took a close look at him and saw a kind of clear mucus bubble/blob under each gill (more pronounced on one side than the other). He is gasping less again now, but the mucus bubbles are still there. I spend a lot of time playing with him so I would've noticed any changes before. His gills also looked purple this morning, which I investigated online and found out this means ammonium poisoning, but the ammonium levels are well below accepted levels (according to the leaflets which came with the tests). <Must need be zero, zip, nada... Not "Below" anything... None> Nitrate levels are similarly extremely low, <Need actual values... not subjective evaluations re...> and pH is approximately neutral or slightly above (i.e. somewhere between pH 7 and 7.5). The only disease I've come across that's even remotely similar is gill flukes - <Mmm, no... not after being in place so long... More likely environmental and or nutritional issues at play here> however, although Horatio does gasp at the surface and has mucus around his gills, he is definitely not lethargic (he does occasionally sit on the bottom of the tank, but is usually very active) and still both gobbles his food in the morning and nips at his weed during the day - I believe gill flukes also show up as lethargy, "scraping" and loss of appetite. <Yes, well put> On the advice of my pet store, I have used Aquarium Treatment 7 (Anti Slime and Velvet) to hopefully deal with the presumed parasites. I put it in the tank this afternoon. <Mmm, I would NOT do this... hurts the animal even more...> I'd just like to know what advice you have please. Have I done something wrong; if so, what? <Likely feeding dried prepared food exclusively... perhaps too high protein content...> Is it even gill flukes at all? <Not Trematodes, no... Where would they come from?> And is there anything I can do to help make Horatio better? <Improve the environment and nutrition... add some Egeria...> I love my fish to bits and it's horrible to see him struggling to breath. Thanks a lot for any help you can give me, Sarah <Mmm, please (re?)read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the gold bar... peruse the articles on Goldfish Systems and Mal-Nutrition... Consider storing new water for the week interval, perhaps adding the plant mentioned above (will help nutritionally, improve the environment...). Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Pearlscale, please help!   5/25/07
Hello WWM! <Sarah> First of all, thank you so much to Bob Fenner for answering my original email so quickly and so thoroughly; it's terrific to have found WWM and have a ready and willing source of expert advice. You guys are an absolute godsend and I can't thank you enough (Horatio is very grateful too!). I hope you don't mind if I ask you a few more questions. I'm afraid it's quite a long email but I want to learn as much as I can, so hopefully you'll humour me...? <Glad to> The first point I need to make is regarding an error I made in my first email; I stated that Horatio lives in a 50 gallon tank, whereas it's actually a 50 LITRE tank, or around 11 gallons (I guess being up all night fretting about him didn't do my accuracy any good *sigh*). <Yikes... you're likely aware this is too small to be stable... unpolluted twixt maintenance/water changes> I'm really sorry about that. Anyway, I've spent the last couple of days reading everything I can on your site, and I've noticed that the WWM experts tend to recommend at least 10 gallons per fish, absolute minimum. <Yes> Given that Horatio is about four inches long, including his tail, (obviously this is an approximation; he won't cooperate and sit still to be measured!), is this bad for him? <Unfortunately, yes> It seems like it would be far better if he had too much rather than just enough room/water. If so, what would be a suitable size? <Mmm, as you hint, the bigger the better... Maybe a 29 gallon...> Now, onto your remarks on my enquiry. Again, thank you for your thoroughness, I can imagine how busy you must be so I'm very grateful for you taking so much time to help me. <Am happy to assist you> You asked if I have surface agitation; I do have the filter positioned so the outgoing water - for want of a better word - "ruffles" the surface; I understand this increases O2/CO2 diffusion in/out of the water by increasing the surface area. <Good> The filter also blows bubbles, which the bloke in the aquarium said increased O2 diffusion too (although this same guy neglected to mention that testing the water for ammonia, nitrate etc was vital, so I'm not sure how much I should trust his advice - <Likely there is just "too much" that needs relating...> luckily I found this out for myself). Does this do any good or harm? Does it matter? <Does help> You also wanted clarification on the various levels in the tank. I've been testing him every day since he got sick and the results have remained stable at the following values: pH - 7.5 Ammonia - 0mg/L Nitrite - 0mg/L Nitrate - below 5mg/L, but not 0. I can't be more accurate than that with my test kit. <Good readings> I believe from my research that these levels are quite good, though please correct me if I've been misinformed. Regarding Horatio's diet; your theory that he is being fed high-protein food was bang on. He is given two pieces of something called Golden Sinkers (sinking food because I believe some fish can get swim bladder problems from eating flakes off the surface) every morning; these are 40% protein. <Yes... too high> I do soak them in his tank water before letting him have them as I think this aids digestion. However, he is not exclusively fed this; he only gets those two bits a day and the rest of his food is composed of Egeria (the plant you suggested - at least I'm doing something right!) - he's had that type since I got him, but I've changed the plants once as just after I got him he hoovered most of it up. <Ah, good> He settled down after a week though. I did try him on a different kind with broader leaves as well, but he didn't like it and stuck with the Egeria, so I took the other plant out. Horatio also gets a shelled pea two or three times a week, as I read that this can help prevent constipation. Is that right? What else can I do to improve his nutrition? <Mmm, perhaps a bit less of the high-protein food, some added vegetable based substituted...> Given your response to gill flukes, I can't say I'm surprised that you consider it unlikely - I was advised to try him on the parasite medicine by a pet shop assistant I spoke to, and I didn't want to argue because of my inexperience. I actually really thought he had ammonia poisoning as his symptoms were bang on, but given the results of the tests this can't be, can it? <Not likely, though ammonia et al. can be very transient... and the damage from "spike" exposures can take weeks to repair> Presumably I should change the water to remove the medicine, as you said it was bad for the fish - please let me know ASAP. <I would change a good bit out... 25% or so per day... for a few days> I'm reluctant to mess him about any more in case I do more harm than good - for instance, removing large amounts of water at a time can take away too many of the "good" bacteria, right? <Yes... and "upset" the metabolic activity of those remaining> Incidentally, my plan for future water-changes is 10% every week. But advice on this is conflicting - 50% every week, 20% every three weeks, 10% per week...Argh! What's your recommendation? <About a quarter per week> What do I do about the medicine? Horatio has actually been gasping less and looking generally better since I put the stuff in, but given your response I'm inclined to call that a coincidence. Please, please let me know what to do about this as soon as you can. <I would serially dilute as stated above> So, the situation now is as follows: Horatio has returned to his usual happy self. I haven't observed him sitting on the bottom of the tank since the night after I wrote to you (23/05/07) and he isn't exhibiting any signs I'd associate with a sick fish - no clamped fins, healthy, brightly coloured scales, breathing and swimming normally and eating enthusiastically. I've been keeping a very close eye on him (you'd probably think I'm daft if I told you I kipped on the floor beside his tank on that night and woke myself up frequently to check he was okay, only I was really worried about him! *embarrassed face*)...one of the few benefits of not being able to work because I'm ill! In any case, rest assured I've spent a lot of time watching him for any deterioration/improvement (he's much better than the TV *grin*) <Heeee!> and he's definitely much perkier now. At feeding time and whenever I come into the room he swims up and down the nearest bit of glass, as he usually does (incredibly cute!), and he spends most of the day swimming around biting his large rock (it gives him something to retreat to if he wants, which I understand helps to reduce stress, right?) <Yes... I have clay flower pots in with my Goldfishes for this purpose> and chewing bits of gravel, as well as eating his weed a fair bit. He's also gasping at the air much less than he has been for the last fortnight (maybe once an hour or even less than that). The only abnormality apart from this is the weird clear stuff under his gills. <Maybe just connective tissue...> I've managed to get a closer look at this since last contacting you and it's odd, but I don't think it's mucus at all, despite what I was advised; rather it looks as if there's a clear layer attached to the underside of the gill covers and it's slipped out a bit. When I look... er... if I said "up his gills", would that make sense?...anyway, there's no visible blockage, just these little bits of clear stuff waving out beyond his gill covers. My first thought was that there was damage to the covers, but they look whole and normal...is it possible for a bit of the gill to "poke out"? <Mmm, yes...> There are a couple of emails on WWM describing something similar; apparently it could be caused by trauma, but it's a bit strange for it to affect both gills, though it could explain why it's worse on one side. <I suspect this is "genetic expression"... Is part of this specimen> Horatio has been slightly jumpy since the clear bits appeared, but I assumed he was panicking because he couldn't breathe properly. Maybe he hurt himself and is subsequently a bit stressed? What do you reckon? Am I talking rubbish? This is mostly supposition on my part, unfortunately. <All speculation...> There is one other thing - last one, I promise. I haven't been able to find anything on this at all. Yesterday Horatio had two periods, lasting about 15 minutes each, when he was gasping almost constantly. However, at all other times he virtually never does it. The first time I couldn't work out what was wrong - the only thing that had changed was that the oven was on and the place had heated up significantly (I only have a small flat!). I looked at the tank thermometer and, sure enough, the temperature had risen by 0.5 degrees Celsius. <Wow!> I turned off the oven, opened all the windows, the tank temperature dropped and Horatio quit gasping. I assumed it was a coincidence, given that I thought I'd found the problem in the clear bits on his gills. <There is also an issue possibly with CO2 going into solution here... with the windows closed, your breathing... any gas appliance in operation... this gas can/does solubilize readily in aquarium water... this can cause Horatio stress as you relate... The/a real solution here: A larger system really> However, that evening, again the oven was on, again the temperature went up half a degree and again Horatio started gasping. <Yes... increasing metabolic activity while lowering oxygen solubility> Again I opened the windows, cooled the tank and when the temperature dropped Horatio went back to normal. Surely not a coincidence, so my conclusion is a) there is something wrong with his gills and b) when the temperature increases, there is less oxygen available in the water. I believe I remember from high school biology that cold water can hold more dissolved oxygen than warm water, <This is correct> but that may be wrong...it was a long time ago. Maybe just the fact that fish are cold-blooded and breathe less often in cold water is what did it. You'll know much better than me! <Apparently not!> Making the assumption that Horatio's tank was unhealthily warm (and so any slight increase could cause breathing difficulty, perhaps worsened by this gill problem - or maybe the warmth caused the problem in the first place) I started researching the ideal temperature for a Pearlscale. Again, differences of opinion abound. I haven't found a majority consensus anywhere; the closest I have is a couple of websites claiming that around 15-20 degrees Celsius is good (that's about 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, if you prefer that measurement). <Correct also> Horatio's tank last night was about 21.5 degrees Celsius, rising to 22 degrees when the oven was on, at which point he started gasping air. I turned down the heater by about half a degree Celsius (all too aware that a rapid change could cause major problems in itself) and this morning the tank is bang on 21 degrees Celsius and Horatio has barely been gasping at all. Subject to your recommendation, I believe it may be helpful to him to continue dropping the temperature, as he may be too warm at the moment. (In my defense, the aquarium did advise 20-25 degrees Celsius when we bought Horatio.) I won't do anything until I hear from you, though, in case I'm only worsening things. <A lower temperature is advised> Wow, I feel like gasping myself now I'm finally done writing. I'm really sorry about the length of this but, as you can see, I'm in dire need of aid! Horatio doesn't seem to be in any immediate danger (despite his funny-looking gills and very occasional gasping he is acting like a perfectly healthy fish in all other respects) but I would like to do whatever I can to make him healthier and happier. Once again, thank you so much for helping me (and for slogging through this desperately overlong email). Feel free to edit it before you post it, if you want! From the very grateful Sarah and Horatio <Thank you Sarah! Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Pearlscale - please help!  - 05/26/07
Hi Bob! <Sarah> Just to thank you very much for all your help; I'll be getting Horatio a new tank (around 30 gallons, as you advised - I'll see what's available in town; <Perhaps even a little larger... if you intend to keep other... I have four goldfish in a 90...> luckily I live in a major city so there's plenty choice). <Do measure around for available space/s... and make sure the floor, what you will set this system on is sturdy!> I'll maintain the tank temperature at around 17 degrees Celsius (but drop it down slowly so I don't shock him). Do you think that's alright? <Yes> I'm also immediately implementing the serial dilution you described, starting as soon as I send this email. <Good> You mentioned changing his diet; what proportions of food are good? <Depends on the material/s... some pelleted foods are "complete" (really... like "all in one" dog foods...)> Should I switch to a lower-protein food and give him one lump every morning instead of two - and what should I make up the difference with? Is giving him a pea every night a good idea, or should I give him two every two days instead? <Either of these intervals would be fine> I also understand that fish can eat a lot of vegetables, including lettuce and carrots - any particular favourites of yours? <I use live plants... I do NOT like terrestrial vegetables for captive aquatics... too likely troubles with nutrients and to a lesser extent, pesticide residues (yes)> And how much of them? You also mentioned vegetable-based food - forgive me, but I didn't know if you meant actual vegetables or a different kind of manufactured food? <For the most part the latter> Assuming once I correct what you've pointed out so far (as I've described above), Horatio should hopefully stop gasping - my only worry therefore is the exposed tissue at his gills. Whether it's a genetic expression or not, it concerned me that this tissue should presumably normally be covered and may be at greater risk of infection/harm - for instance, ammonia burns would, I expect, be devastating... even more than usual. <Mmm, perhaps... though such nitrogenous difficulties are damaging to all... Very likely still the principal cause of death of captive ornamentals...> I'm going to test Horatio's water at least twice a week to keep a look out for any rising levels, but is there anything else I could use and any other tips for keeping his tank extra clean? <Redundant bio-filtration mainly...> Once again thank you very much for all your help, we really appreciate it! Sarah and Horatio <Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Pearlscale, please help!   5/27/07
Hello Bob, <Hi Sarah> I'm writing to you, hopefully for the last time for a while, to thank you very much for your advice on my Pearlscale Horatio. I'm very grateful for your patience and the time you obviously took to go over my emails - I've been following your advice and I'm happy to report he's already gasping less, isn't sitting on the bottom of the tank any more and generally looks really good. I can't thank you enough for your help! <You're certainly welcome> I've also read a lot of the relevant articles and FAQs on WWM over the past week or so, and I've found it an incredibly useful resource - I've trebled my knowledge of goldfish over the last few days and fully intend to keep working on it over the coming months. It's a terrific website (my boyfriend thinks it's strange that I'm spending all day reading on WWM now; he thinks I may be addicted!) - I'll definitely be lurking around for a good while yet. <Ah good> No doubt I'll be in touch again soon (with a new tank to set up, I'll probably run into something unfamiliar!) but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your time. Again, my very grateful thanks and I hope you're enjoying your weekend! Sarah <Ah yes... a bit of gardening, some article work... made a faux meat loaf for dinner later, and am about off with the dogs for our walk. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Hi there a wee problem. Goldfish sys., dis.     5/20/07 <<Hello, Lewis. Tom here.>> First let me say your site is wonderful and very interesting. <<Thanks for the kind words, Lewis.>> I have a very basic fish tank bought for my son by his aunt. We have two fan tails and a black moor. We used to have a bubble eye but it got stuck in a tank ornament and had worn away its side. I never thought anything of it but unfortunately the fish passed. <<You don't say how large the tank is, Lewis, but I'm going to guess that it's on the small side. Don't give me too much credit on that score because anything less than 60 gallons, bare minimum, is too small for four Goldfish no matter how old they are. Goldfish are one of the hardest fish to keep and the ones most unknowledgeable people will tell you are 'great' to start with. Nothing could be further from the truth.>> On checking the tank today I noticed the black moor has a similar sore on his side, his scales are gone and all that can be seen is a flaky white sore with two red spots. He is also very lifeless and I fear he is not long for this world. <<Other influences aside, I think you can see what I'm getting at about Goldfish. There should be no sharp objects (decorations) in the tank whatsoever. These are fairly active fish and it requires very little to damage their bodies/fins. Once an injury occurs, it can lead to bacterial infections quite readily, particularly if the water quality isn't where it should be. Messy as Goldfish are, only very large aquariums with substantial filtration are capable of maintaining stable conditions for these fish. There are some who would argue that the filtering system for a Goldfish tank should be capable of turning over 7-12 times the volume of the tank per hour. By comparison,  my 50-gallon tropical tank has a realistic turnover rate of between five and six times per hour and I consider that a lot for the average community-type aquarium.>> Any help would be great to save him or to identify something more sinister going on, maybe bacteria or virus. <<It's just about certain that your issues are going to deal with water quality/conditions, the decoration injury to your late Bubble Eye notwithstanding. Fish can/will heal quite nicely from injuries on their own provided they have tip-top conditions to live in. A small, unhealthy system leads to stress on the fish lowering their immune systems and leaving them very susceptible to secondary problems/infections. There are different bacteria in all aquariums. The trick is to keep the fish healthy so their immune systems can deal with these naturally.>>   Many thanks for your help   Lewis <<As a practical matter, I can only recommend that you keep the tank very clean and perform water changes religiously. Don't overfeed your fish as this will only contribute to poor water quality. If your tank is as small as I suspect it is, you should be changing no less than 50% of the water each week along with a good vacuuming of the gravel (DEEP vacuuming) with each change.  If your Moor doesn't make it, absolutely do not replace it with another fish. You already have your hands full. Best of luck to you. Tom>>

Goldfish Question, hlth.   5/20/07 Hello Crew!   <Claudine> I am so glad I found your site. I have learned much from reading your articles and archives.  What an invaluable site full of useful information!  I hope you can help me.  I am newbie and this is my very first tank.  Unfortunately, I think one of my Orandas has septicemia but before I get into that, here are the particulars involved: 55 gallon tank (cycled) 2 - Aqua Clear 70 filters 1 - 12" Bubble Wand 1 Whisper 60 air pump Plastic Plants (No live plants.  Silk plants on the way) Temp:  75 degrees PH:  7.6 Hardness:  Soft Alkalinity:  80 Moderate Ammonia:  0 Nitrite:  0 Nitrate:  20 PPM <Yikes... toward the upper limit... is malaffecting your livestock at this concentration... I would research, look into means of lowering by about half at least... Posted on WWM...> Water Treatments:  API Stress Coat & API Salt (1 tbsp per 5 gallons) <Mmm, unless your water is very salt/s deficient, I would NOT add/expose your goldfish to constantly present added salt> Water Test:  API Master Test Kit.  Tests performed weekly at minimum. Maintenance:  Weekly 50% water change with gravel cleaning <Mmm... well, I would either limit these change %s to 25 % or so, or make sure you store the new water for the week, in anticipation of use... rationale posted...> Tank Occupants:  5 Orandas (ranging from 3" to 5" but growing) <Need more room than this... or addition of other types of filtration... e.g. a live plant refugium tied in...> Future Plans:  No additional fish to be added to this tank. 2 other tanks currently fishless cycling to make room for more fish Four (out of five) fish were treated simultaneously for flukes using Prazi-Q. All five fish were fed Medi-Gold food for their first 14 days, followed by 14 days of Jump Start, and then on to Pro Gold.    About 1 month ago I bought my biggest fish (#5) named Monster from the LFS (he's a red Oranda).  I thought I was buying a nice, chubby, fat fish.  I soon discovered that Monster was not chubby; he was bloated!  Within a week, he went from being a chubby monster to a full blown pine cone!   <Yikes!> At the time I didn't know about dropsy, so sadly he suffered in this condition for a few days.  In complete desperation I ordered some Metro-Meds and then started him on that in conjunction with a course of Maracyn Two treatment.  I really thought Monster would not make it but I wanted to give it my best shot to save him.   Amazingly he started eating, started shrinking, and he survived!  Once he recovered and I returned him from the hospital tank to the main tank, he came alive.  He actively swims the tank, has a great appetite, normal fecal matter, and socializes with the other four Orandas.  Three days ago I noticed that Monster had red veins in his tail. <Don't be overly surprised or eager to "treat" for this... a normal reaction event to the med.s, salt exposure> At first it was a grouping of light red lines on one side of the tail.  Now those particular lines are bright fire-truck red and easily noticed.  Today, I was able to spot more of these vein things on the same side and many on the other side of the tail.  The only difference is that these newer lines are very fine compared to the first grouping which are more prominent and brighter red.  He has no other visible signs of injury, red patches, etc on his other fins or the rest of his body.  So far it is all isolated to the tail fin and tail base.  His four tank mates show no signs of this or any other problem. I have not found much detail on septicemia, but this is the closest disease <Is not really a disease per se, but a symptom... "bacteria in the blood"... the red streaking can be/is caused/related to a number of circumstances... in this case a few types of stress...> I could come up with to match what I am seeing, despite the fact that Monster is not sluggish, is behaving normally, has a good appetite and continues to eat.  I know I may have jumped the gun, but I have removed Monster from the main tank and have put him in a hospital tank. <I would not have done this. I WOULD move this fish back to the better circumstances... likely the main/display tank> Today I started him back on the Metro-Med food and the Maracyn Two treatment in hopes that this will make the red veins go away.    I am hoping that this was appropriate. <Not usually IMO... providing an optimized, stable environment, regular nutrition, maintenance will see this situation self cure in time (weeks to a few months)... Stressing only forestalls cure> Does this sound like septicemia or are there other diseases that may have caused this? <There are other causes...> Is it contagious and if so should I treat the other 4 fish even though they show no symptoms? <Depends on the net cause/s... I suspect this is NOT catching> Is septicemia something that can be cured or is this something that is chronic that I should anticipate reoccurring with Monster? <Is curable... fix the environment, fix the affected fishes> If it is chronic does that mean Monster should be kept alone (that would be so sad)?  I've checked my water quality 4 times this week and the figures noted above have been consistent and identical each time. PS:  This is my first shot at fishkeeping and I am only 3 months into the hobby.  I think I am doing pretty good for a newbie with setup, care, water quality, and maintenance.   <Does read like you are passionate, earnest, informed...> So far I have only lost one fish which came down with (my guess) Hexamita or Hole-In-The-Head during its quarantine period.  It happened so fast I didn't know what to do to stop it. Thanks in advance for any info or guidance you may be able to offer! Aloha (yep, from Hawaii) Claudine <A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Question (Bob Fenner)    5/21/07
Bob, <I am NOT a goldfish! Heeeeeee!> Thank you so much for your quick reply.  I will be doing a water change tomorrow to try to bring down the nitrates and will look into other means of nitrate removal.  What level should Nitrates be at?   <... you haven't been reading... Less than 20 ppm, ten would be better, zip is ideal> I have also been adding salt per the instruction of the LFS.  Now I feel foolish for doing so.  What are the benefits or effects of salt in a freshwater tank? <Mmm, osmotic pressure raised, some physiological adaptation/accommodation necessary... harder for fishes to "pump" sodium, its effects (negative) on respiration, increasing in proteinaceous production (mucus, body slime), it's further negative effects on respiration, excretion (through the skin)... Many more...> When I stocked my tank I followed information I found on the internet and in books suggesting that goldfish require 10 gallons each. <Depends on the variety, size... as well as filtration/mechanicals, water quality/maintenance... likely 15-20 per specimen is about right, except for large systems (let's say a hundred or more gallons), where one can "cheat" a bit more>   I have 5 goldfish in my 55 gallon tank and you mentioned that this is not enough space for them.   <Correct. Your water testing indicates this...> What would be the appropriate number of gallons per fish to follow for Oranda goldfish? <15-20...> Bob, thanks again for your help.   Aloha! Claudine <Welcome! BobF>

Please Help Me, they are all dying. FW/Goldfish env. dis.   5/17/07 Hello, I hope that you can help me <Hello, will try my best!> I have a 29 gallon aquarium, with gravel and everything it actually holds about 27, that I set up in January, I was worried about the city water supply, tests over 2 ppm for ammonia and about 6 ppm for nitrate right out of the tap (Chloramine) so I thought it was best to use reverse osmosis filtered water from the store, I added Aqua-Safe... <The nitrate level is fine, actually very good. The ammonia level is suspiciously high. Even in London, 0.5 ppm ammonia is the standard. Regardless, 2 ppm is lethal to all aquarium fish. Who told you the water contains 2 ppm ammonia? A test kit or the guys in the store? You shouldn't need RO water for goldfish. For one thing, it is far too soft and acidic for goldfish. They like pH 7.2-7.5 and moderate to high levels of hardness.> ...and some aquarium salt, ( at the recommendation of the people at the pet store) and set it up. <Repeat after me: Freshwater fish do not need salt. Freshwater fish do not need salt. The only fish that need salt are brackish water fish and marine fish. Please stop using the salt for anything other that specific treatments, not as a everyday aquarium additive. To harden very soft water, it is best to mix the RO water with some tap water, around 50:50, or else use a small dose (say, 25-50% the recommended dosage) of Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyikan salts as sold for use with cichlids.> I got an Oranda about 4" long, a Black Moor about the same size and a Calico Ryukin that was slightly smaller that the other fish. <Far too many, big fishes for a brand new aquarium. And WAYYYY too many for a 29 gallon tank. Goldfish are totally unsuited to life in a small aquarium because they are big (30 cm or so when mature) and extremely messy (requiring lots of filtration). While you often see goldfish in aquaria, this hides the fact that a large percentage (the majority probably) die prematurely.> I do approx 35 to 40 % water changes weekly, using the bottled water, treating with 3 drops per gallon API PH Up, and the recommended amount of Aqua-Safe, and just as much salt to replace what is being taken out with the water changes. <In a tank with goldfish, 50% water changes are in order. The additives you're using are worthwhile, except the salt, so good job there.> Since my tank cycled, which took longer than expected because I did not know to just rinse the filter, I changed the cartridge the first time, but no more, I thought everything was fine.  My ph is always 7.2, ammonia is 0, nitrites 0 and I keep the nitrates less than 20, at 20 I do a partial change, temp between 72 and 74. <All sounds fine. Goldfish certainly don't need 72-74 F temperatures. They want room temperature or slightly less. While fancy goldfish shouldn't be overwintered outdoors under ice, they are otherwise just as much COLDWATER fish as regular goldfish. So switch the heater off! Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm > I read that fancies need 100 gal per hour per fish of filter so I added an additional filter/pump unit to match the one that came with kit, the 2 combined are rated at 300 gallon per hour, and I have added a bubbler for air. <There isn't a fixed "gallons per hour per fish" rating. What you want is aquarium turnover, i.e., a 30 gallon tank should have all its water passed through the filter 6 or more times per hour. So you need filtration rated at 180 gallons per hour. Now, aquarium filters do not provide all the filtration it says on the box for a variety of mechanical reasons, so you want to choose a bit more than the minimum required. So on a 30 gallon tank, instead of 180 gallons per hour filtration, go for 220-250 gallons per hour.> About 7 weeks in I lost the moor, he was fine then one day he was just drifting with currents in the tank, completely unresponsive.  I had no idea what to do, I took him out of the tank and put him in a bucket as I do not yet have a quarantine tank.  The people at the pet store (big help they were) sold me Mela-fix and told me it would do the trick-it did not, my moor died 2 days later. Now I have read that this product is not really a medicine but just an herbal remedy, and usually never does anything.   <Melafix doesn't really cure things, it's more like antiseptic cream we'd use on cuts and bruises. It helps keep wounds clean, and so promotes the natural recovery of a fish over time, but don't expect miracles. As for the quality of advice from pet stores, it can be very variable. Nothing beats reading and learning yourself from web sites and above all good books.> Well I thought it was just my fault for stressing him with the filter change and that the cycle was just too much for him- this happened right as the tank cycled.  So I got another Moor and moved on. <This is a common mistake. Never, ever buy another fish until you've established why the last one died.> Then my Daughter's pride and joy - the Oranda died, he started showing signs of bloating, and his scales started to stick out- possibly dropsy- which generally is incurable- from what I have read, we stopped feeding him, he was such a pig, just charging around the tank like a vacuum cleaner, we thought he was just bloated, he seemed to get a little better for a couple of days, then died, we did not replace him, we could not find another as beautiful as he was, just gorgeous, big eye brows, wonderful long flowing fins, his Wen was just starting to grow, I still shed a tear. <Dropsy is a symptom, not a disease. It's like a fever in humans. Can be caused by all kinds of things. Commonly, but not always, incurable because by the time dropsy sets in, the damage to the organs is so severe that nothing can save the fish.> Now my Ryukin is going, he always seemed so vigorous, oddly enough from day one he has always slept on the bottom of the tank, but in the morning turning on the light he would always jump right up and swim all day.  He has slowly lost the ability to control his movements, I thought, once again,  that he was actually looking better yesterday, since the onset of this, he has always been responsive, swimming some to come over and see us, but then settling down to the bottom, now he can barley swim, but still fighting hard, and he is bent in half and loosing his brilliant coloration, he is still alive but it would seem just barely, as I do not yet have a quarantine tank, I do not have any place else to put him, and being relatively new to this hobby I really don't know what to do. <Please do a big (50%) water change straightaway. Do the same thing the next day, and so on until he peps up. Almost all diseases in fish are caused directly or indirectly by water quality/chemistry problems.> I have been reading as much as I can on the web, I am a single father of 2 very active 10 year olds and work full time, so my time is somewhat stretched, but I have become so attached to these little guys that I would do just about anything for them- he is the last of the original 3, I really do not want to loose him but I realize that it looks hopeless. <Not hopeless. But your tank *is* overstocked for goldfish, and your life would orders of magnitude easier if you went with fishes appropriate to this size aquarium. Danios, peppered catfish, and blue gouramis, for example.> I have seen and read conflicting things about salt, water type, and temperature for fancies. <Fancy goldfish are very similar to regular goldfish, except they do not do well overwintering in ponds under ice. As with all other coldwater fish, they don't do as well under tropical temperatures on a permanent basis. Room temperature is usually fine. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm > Also, does the type of light matter, mine is florescent. <No, lighting doesn't matter. Some lights warm up the water to an unacceptable degree, and no fish likes living without at least one shady corner it can rest in, but other than that, they're fine with the lights you have.> And about food, I have read that Ryukins have unusual digestive tracts and should not eat pellet type food, I have seen this in my Ryukin (when he was still eating) if he ate a pellet he would pop to the surface like a cork as soon as he would quit moving, he could always get down but it was a struggle, so I started mashing his food with a drop of tank water and would spoon feed him. <Never heard this. All goldfish do best (read: demand) a plant-based diet, because they're herbivores in the wild. Flake alone isn't all that good for them. Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > Please help, I cannot bear to loose another, although I know the Ryukin is probably beyond help, and what is the best way to euthanize, I do not think I can bear to watch him suffer if nothing can be done, and I do want my kids to see it either, they have seen enough. <I hope you won't need to destroy the goldfish you have. Please do a big water change, and then check the pH is between 7 and 7.5, and the hardness around 10-20 dH. Ammonia and nitrite should be 0. Nitrates less important, but ideally below 50 mg/l. Temperature between 60 and 70 F is fine. Do weekly 50% water changes. Provided you keep the water parameters in the range given above, any goldfish should thrive, all else being equal. If your fish is truly beyond help, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm > Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can give me, I think you have an incredible web site. <Thanks for the compliment.> Sincerely, Bill Lux <I hope things work out. Your experience is not an uncommon one (sadly) and often misleads people to think fishkeeping is hard. It really isn't, but you do need to research things first, and start off with small/easy fishes rather than jumping in at the deep end with big/messy fishes like goldfish. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Please Help Me, they are all dying
 5/17/07 Thank you so much for your quick reply, I will read the articles, start changing water, and stop the salt. <No problems, and very good.> As for the water here I used an API test kit to test my tap water before using it in the aquarium, it shows 2 ppm on the color bars (Omaha NE, USA). <Odd. I lived in Lincoln for some time and never had this problem. What I think is happening is you are using a dechlorinator that converts the Chloramine to ammonia but does nothing with the ammonia afterwards. That is what your test kit is measuring. Try using the test kit on water straight from the tap. Anyway, if find 0 ammonia in the water from the tap but 2 ppm after dechlorinating it, then your problem is the Chloramine. You need a dechlorinator that specifically neutralizes ammonia. Some do, some don't.> As for the size of the aquarium vs. the amount of fish, the pet store people ( I know, I know) said 10 gal per fish, and that it would fine with 3 fish 3" to 4" in size and still give them room to grow. <10 gallon per goldfish is way too little. Goldfish can easily get to 30 cm long and the record is something like twice that size.> I have a heater in the tank but it is off, I know the heat is a problem, but that is just room temp here-do they sell aquarium chillers? <Yes they do but they're expensive. Why is the room so warm? Must be pretty uncomfortable for the humans, let alone the fish! At the very least, consider switching the heat in the room off at night (if you can). Goldfish will adjust to ambient changes in summer and winter, and in fact quite like them. Also make sure the tank isn't directly in sunshine, as that warms up the water. Consider adding some additional aeration to keep the water moving and improve the level of oxygen in the water. A simple air pump and airstone will do, or you can go for something more fancy like a spray bar for the filter. There are some cool toys here in England that combine an airpump with a coloured light, and these are fun and effective ways to move the water about the aquarium.> Thank you again so very much, I have to go change some water now Bill <Hah! Don't forget plants love fish tank water, so don't waste it! Cheers, Neale>
Re: Please Help Me, they are all dying, goldfish hlth.
   5/24/07 Hello again, I have been reading the articles, and changing water, I thought things were going to be ok, but my Ryukin, which I discovered was actually not a Ryukin at all but a Bristol Shubunkin, has now died too. <Oh dear. Obvious do the usual things: check water quality, temperature, diet, etc.> After doing some water changes I thought he was looking better, but I was wrong, he is gone.  Even with that, I still have a black moor, the one I bought to replace the first fish that died, he was looking just fine, no changes in behavior, swimming around all the time, now, as if overnight, he is not looking well either. <Again, focus on water quality.> I came home from work to find him stuck to one of the updraft tubes on my filter, he was not swimming as actively this morning, so I came home at lunch and did a 5 gal change, then coming home as I said he was stuck to the tube, almost as if dazed, I opened the lid to the tank and he took off swimming but he now has the indentation of the slits from the draft tube on his little head. <Healthy fish have no problem keeping away from the filter inlet. If a fish seems to get stuck on/in a filter, more often than not the fish was so weak it couldn't swim away.> He is not nearly as active as usual and his tail fins look terrible. They are a little discolored with faint white streaks that has the appearance of velvet that has gotten wet. Any suggestions would be great. <Likely Finrot. Treat accordingly.> As for the Omaha water, there have been local concerns for a couple of years since the switch to Chloramine, some days when I test it (straight out of the tap) it tests about .5, some days 1 some days nearly 2, that is why I was using the bottled OR water. <I'll put this simply. Goldfish need water at pH 7-7.5, with moderate to high hardness. Zero ammonia, zero nitrite. No salt. Temperature between 10 and 20 degrees C. If you aren't providing those conditions, then find a way to do so. This is non-negotiable. Anything deviating from these conditions -- such as soft water -- will cause harm. If you simply cannot maintain these conditions because of the water you have available to you, then sadly you must switch from goldfish to pet rocks or something. You simply cannot maintain fish in an aquarium where the ammonia level is consistently at 0.5 mg/l. Just not possible. Quite possibly the workaround is to use ammonia remover in a filter placed in drum of dechlorinated water and then use that filter to remove the ammonia. Once the ammonia has gone down to zero, use it for water changes. Also look for products that chemically remove ammonia and Chloramine from the tap water. These will work at low doses. Maybe even call your water supplier and ask they what their standards are for ammonia in water. Frankly, it should be zero.> Thanks, Bill <Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish lice    5/16/07 I have 8 Oranda goldfish and a black moor. 3 days before my all fish got fish lice. Hence I remove them in a tub and kept in 0.3% salt water. <The salt bath you were using probably isn't saline enough. For external parasites like leeches and lice, dipping fish into full-strength seawater for 2-20 minutes depending on the species usually works much better. In other words, prepare a bath containing 35 grammes of marine salt mix (or un-iodized cooking salt) per litre. Put the fish in a net, dip into the bath, for a period of time depending on the size of the goldfish. Start off with 2 minute dips, and if that doesn't work, do 4 minutes the next day, 6 the next, and so on. For large pond goldfish and Koi, up to 20 minutes is safe. However, you must observe the fish, and if it has trouble keeping itself upright, it should be taken out the bath and put back in the aquarium/pond.> And them remove lice from each of them. I also put potassium permanganate and kept them over night in tub. <Potassium permanganate is a traditional remedy for fish lice. 10-20 mg/l for NO MORE than 30 minutes per day. It is fairly nasty stuff, and if used carelessly will harm your fish at this concentration.> I cleaned the tank and then put all fishes in it the next day. But then all of them sat at bottom upside down. <Sounds very bad. I hope you didn't disturb the filter?> Later they start recovering and then sat at bottom. But however my black moor died. Now of 8 only 4 are coming up and eating food while others are just crawling at bottom. They do not eat food. <This sounds more systemic than simple fish lice. Fish lice are an irritant, and the damage they cause can allow secondary infections to set in. But fish lice don't immediately cause the sort of symptoms described here. What is pH, hardness, ammonia, and nitrite in the aquarium? Eight goldfish will need a BIG aquarium with LOTS of filtration to stay healthy. No smaller an aquarium than 55 gallons (200 litres), in my opinion. Actually, I think goldfish are best kept in ponds.> Also their endings of fins are turning black. Also their scales have been removed. Pls help me. <Sounds like Finrot is setting in. This is an opportunistic bacterial infection that is most easily treated with commercial medications. Salt water dips may help, but alone won't cure the problem. High levels of ammonia tend to cause this problems in fancy goldfish.> Also pls tell me that how it happened and pls guide me how I can make my fish normal. <Have a read of this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and then browse some of the other pages. Goldfish are tough animals, and if you fix things, they will probably recover and provide you with many years of pleasure.> I live in Mumbai, India. Pls guide me <Well, I hope this helps, and good luck! Neale>
Re: Goldfish lice  5/17/07 Thank you very much for your advice. <No problems.> Now my fishes are eating food except one. <Always a good sign. But go easy on the food to start with. Just like people, after sickness they need time to recover, so small rather than big meals and lots of water changes will help.> Also I have added Epsom salt. In how much quantity should we add it. <1 teaspoon per five gallons (19 litres). This is a *short term* remedy, and once the fish are healthy, stop adding it to the water. Also, don't add directly to the tank: stir into each bucket of water you add to the tank during water changes.> Also one of my fish is swimming upside down. At first it used to eat food but now it has stopped. But it is swimming upside down. Pls give me the remedy. <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > I don't think it is having swim bladder disease because it also sometimes swim straight. <I agree. Probably a diet issue.> Also the scales of the fishes have been removed. Can we get them back. <Yes, they will grow back. They're like hair or fingernails.> Also their dorsal fin is very reduced. <Fin rot. Fix the water quality, and the fin will grow back. Treat with fin rot remedy.> Pls guide me. And once again thank for your previous advice. <No problems, a good luck! Neale>
Re: Goldfish lice   5/18/07 Thank you for your opinion. <You are welcome.> Some question I wanted to ask. <OK.> What is the fin rot remedy which you had mentioned. When I am asking to my local pet stores they are telling that they don't have medicine for it. <Oh, there are many brands. I happen to like eSHa 2000, but there are others like Interpet Anti Fungus & Bacteria No.8. As far as I know, these remedies are based on mixtures of malachite green and formalin. Some people have good success with Melafix, which is tea tree oil.> Actually they even don't know what is ammonia test kit. <Oh dear.> Also at what interval we should go for half and full water changes now and afterwards when are fish will be fine. <While they're sick, do 50% water changes every day or two. Once you have added a medication, follow the instructions. In most cases, you MUST NOT do water changes while the medication is in the water, because removing the water would dilute the medicine. When the fish are healthy again, do 50% water changes once a week.> Indeed the ingredient like fish meal is written on the fish food can. I feed them round red coloured pellets twice a day. But you said that we should feed them some peas etc. Pls tell me the exact procedure. <Please read the article about feeding goldfish, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > Can we feed this to normal fishes also. <Yes. Many fishes enjoy peas, sometimes cooked, sometimes raw. I have a pufferfish that eats them!> Since their scales have been removed. So is there any medicine that we can apply or give them. <Not really. Just let nature take its course. So long as the water is clean, the scales will grow back in their own good time.> What we have to put in tank when we do a full water change. <Nothing, apart from chlorine remover.> I am adding Terramycin and becosules capsules. Is it good. What are they put for. <I have no idea why you are using these. Terramycin is an antibiotics, and while it might help with fin rot, in most countries its use is only with medical or veterinarian advice. Please consult a vet. Becosules are apparently multivitamins for humans, and I have no idea if these are even safe for fish.> Can you give me the direct link of you page where there are list of various antibiotics that we can give them when they are suffering from various disease. <Outside of the United States, use of antibiotics usually depends upon getting a prescription from a vet or doctor. They will tell you how to use drugs, and if you need them at all. Please use the safer mineral salt and formalin cures (such as those mentioned above) instead. Above all else, improve water quality: Finrot is (almost always) caused by poor water conditions, and unless you fix the water quality, the Finrot will keep coming back. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Goldfish lice...   5/19/07 Well today <Where is the prev. corr.?> I have fed them cucumber. I first cut them into small pieces and then put them in boiling water for 15 sec and fed them. Is this method right. <Is one method... am not a fan of cucumber...> First time in my life I have fed them anything apart from pellets. Also but my inverted fish did not eat it. How should I feed it. <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above> Since it is upside down it doesn't eat anything. <... you need to READ... this fish should be kept in shallow water...> Also in your website there you have mentioned some live plants which we can feed them. From where we can get them. Can we grow them in our house. Also will it not decay if it stays in water for long time. <Yes, buy them from a fish store, likely Anacharis/Elodea/Egeria... and can be grown at home> Can we feed them coarsely grounded biscuits. <... I would NOT> Is there any book for them with all these written. <Ah yes... http://www.goldfishconnection.com/shop/details.php?productId=1&parentId=3&catId=3 This is the best complete, useful in-print work on Goldfish husbandry I am aware of> also just see my goldfish photo <Good pix, bad situation. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish lice... Neale's turn    5/20/07 <We meet again, Mr. Bond. May I mention that in this corner of England it is traditional to say thank-you after someone has been helpful, especially if you're about to dump another bundle of questions on their desk.> Well today I have fed them cucumber. I first cut them into small pieces and then put them in boiling water for 15 sec and fed them. Is this method right. <Soon find out. If they ate them, yes. If they don't, try raw cucumber. Please read that WetWebMedia article I've suggested about 7 times, about goldfish nutrition.> First time in my life I have fed them anything apart from pellets. <Very good.> Also but my inverted fish did not eat it. How should I feed it. Since it is upside down it doesn't eat anything. <Well, it's probably dying. Have you done anything to improve water quality? Have you tested for ammonia or nitrite?> Also in your website there you have mentioned some live plants which we can feed them. From where we can get them. <An aquarium shop. Or from the wild perhaps, if you know what to look for.> Can we grow them in our house. <I grow aquarium plants in the garden pond, so yes.> Also will it not decay if it stays in water for long time. <Remove when it decays. But usually the goldfish eat them first.> Can we feed them coarsely grounded biscuits. <No.> Is there any book for them with all these written. <Hundreds. Go to your bookstore and ask for a book on Goldfish.> also just see my goldfish photo <Very very sick goldfish. Some have Finrot (severe) and some have dropsy. Those fish are going to die. They aren't "wounded" as you seem to think, but infected. Obviously VERY POOR water quality. Without knowing more, I had to assume you have TOO MANY fish in TOO SMALL an aquarium WITHOUT ENOUGH filtration. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish lice    5/20/07 Sorry for not telling you thank you. <That's OK.> Actually I am very much upset with my goldfish and also my medical entrance exam just finished. <Ah, you are a medic, eh? I better keep things simple then.> I am really sorry. <Don't worry.> You said that all my fishes are going to die. <Unless things improve, yes.> Pls can't we do something to save them. <Many, many things. Currently they are showing a variety of symptoms indicating toxic water conditions. What we need here is the "toxicology" report, if this was a medical case. In other words, the pH, temperature, ammonia, and nitrite (NO2-). When fish get sick, these 4 things are almost always the underlying causes.> They eat their food properly and also roam here and there. Pls. <This is good, and goldfish have very strong recuperative abilities. In fact, fish are amazingly good at repairing physical damage. Piranha fish are famous for re-growing entire muscle blocks, even where they are bitten down to the bone. Anyway, assuming water conditions are optimal, and you use the correct treatment for the *opportunistic infections* your goldfish have (apparently Finrot and possibly fungus), your goldfish will recover quickly.> I have also referred the article on malnutrition. But I wanted to ask that my inverted goldfish does not eat. So can I catch it with my hands make it straight and then feed it. <Don't bother. Fish can survive for weeks without food, and goldfish for months. In England they survive under the ice, not eating anything, for 2-3 months at a time. Fish are not "warm blooded" so do not need a constant supply of food. (As you probably recall from physiology class, a LARGE percentage of the food we eat goes straight into homeostasis, in particular keeping our body warm. Cold-blooded animals like fish don't have this constant expenditure, and can do without food for VERY long periods and not come to harm. In fact, feeding fish too much is more of a problem than not feeding them enough. Anyway, force feeding a fish will stress it, and make things worse.> I have a 55 gallon water tank which has 8 goldfish and 1 small black moor. <OK. That's a perfect size aquarium for goldfish. Is this where the sick goldfish live? Or in some other, smaller aquarium?> Also I change my half water daily. All the ammonia and nitrates level are under control. <When you say "under control" what do you mean? Ammonia and NITRITE must me ZERO. NITRATE can be anything up to 50-100 mg/l for goldfish, though the lower the better.> Pls save my fishes <We can certainly try. But your fish must be treated for the Finrot (caused by Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp. bacteria). There are good commercial treatments for this, like eSHa 2000. Antibiotic or antibacterial drugs may work, but I can't give advice on those. Once the bacterial infection is cured, the fish will heal. BUT, you must also ensure that aquarium conditions are optimal: NO LESS than 20 gallons for a goldfish tank; pH 7.0-7.5; temperature 15-24C; hardness "hard"; NH3 and NO2- at ZERO; NO3- at (ideally) less than 50 mg/l.> and once again thank you for the useful advice which you are giving us. <Well, I hope this helps. Good luck! Neale>

Goldfish lice  6/3/07 thank you for all ur efforts which u hv shown towards me. <No problems.> but my that inverted fish died yesterday. she was lion head. <Too bad. Not surprised though.> now my all fishes are fine and are healthy. their dropsy also got over. if I introduce 2 new fishes then will it be ok. will there be any harm <Whoa there! You've lost some fish. Time to let things settle down. Do water tests. Wait a few weeks to see if the other fish STAY healthy. You take things slow. Make sure the water quality has stabilized. Make sure the ammonia and nitrites stay at zero week in, week out. Make sure all the other fish are healthy. Look out for things like Whitespot and fungus and Finrot. After a couple of months, if everything is fine, you can add one more fish. Then wait again for another few weeks. Then add another. All aquaria have a "carrying capacity" set by things like filtration. When you go above that level, the fish die. When the number of fishes drops down, the tank *seems* okay again. You add more fish, and it goes over the carrying capacity, and more fish die. So if you have a 10 gallon tank with 5 fish, and then 2 die, it doesn't always mean you should add 2 more fish. Sometimes it means your fish tank can only hold 3 fish. Bottom line, leave things alone for now. Only add new fish after a couple of months when you are 100% sure the tank is stable and you have the space/filtration for additional fish. Cheers, Neale>

A Tale of" two gold fish problems   5/14/07 Hello everyone!! <Howdy> I have been reading your site for a while and have emailed in a few times, LOVE THE SITE!! and I'm back again with more gold fish questions. These fish, although my favorite, have hands down been the hardest to level out. I have a 55gal tropical tank, and not to say it came without obstacles, but now is leveled out and the fish are all doing great. Anywho....back to the goldies... I'm going to include pictures this time. pictures will include: the 2 goldfish I'm having problems with, Pictures of the tank (mostly to show the filters), Ammonia test results, 5 in 1 Mardel test strip results, liquid nitrite and nitrate test results. (I'm including these to prove I'm not nuts and I'm reading my tests correctly hehe) As you'll see in my pictures the levels are fine (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20-40ppm) <Do keep this last below 20 ppm... weakens the fish...> Temp 72F First is the Calico Fantail, he is listless, he sits in that spot for hours at a time and moves around much less then he sits in that spot, he is showing no signs on the out side of disease. <Mmm, the listless behavior is a sign of disease> He is a larger fish, and color seems to be good, that picture is of him is right after a small feeding, he ate a little but not much. I Feed them a small amount of flake food and sinking pellets. <Mmm, do check out the FAQs files, article/s on goldfish care, feeding on WWM... this may be a contributing factor here> Occasionally I cook up peas and shell them one at a time and feed them the inside of the peas. All the reading I have done indicates that this is a diet or temp problem, hoping for your insight and advice. <Is environmental (the nitrates) and likely nutritional as you state...> Second is my Black Oranda. He has a large white spot on his tail, I could not really get the picture too clear because he kept moving, but it is not a spot that is external or raised, it is a faded spot, you can see through it, it looks like a drop of bleach landed on his tail and all the color was lost in that one spot. Is this fin rot or anything else to be concerned about?? <Mmm, no... Very likely simply a pinched fin ray that is healing...> When I first got him his fins were really stout and erect all the time, now they seem to be getting more limp, and his dorsal fin which was always erect at the store and when I first got him, now is always kind of folded, not clinched, just limp and folded. <The same "causes" as above> I think it is important to note that this tank has been set up for 2 weeks, and started up with a product called Turbo Start (similar to bio Spira, <Uh, no...> which I know you guys back the heck out of, but the LFS said they got more consistent results with turbo start, subsequently they stopped carrying Bio Spira and picked up TS) also I transferred Half the gravel from their old tank (a 45gal tall) and put their old filter on the 75, you'll see in the pics a bio wheel hanging off the side of the tank, that was the old filter which had been cycled. <Good move> The LFS said with Turbo Start, not to touch the tank for a month and only add water that had evaporated, this seems silly to me, it seems like the water is what contains the crap you don't want, and the filters hold all the good stuff, so why would I not water change?? <Perhaps the logic is not to "upset" the new nitrifying microbes...> none the less, I have been listening to them and I have been really itching to do a water change, think I should??? <I would be testing your water for ammonia, nitrite... but if it were me/mine and I had more than at most 20 ppm of nitrate, I would be changing water and more... Reading, doing what you can/want to to permanently disallow its accumulation. Again... see WWM re...> I always write you guys long a** emails, sorry about that. <No worries> thanks for any help you can provide! take care guys! --Robb <The indices, search tool... Bob Fenner>

Oranda, bumps/pimples on Wen   5/14/07 Hello there, <Hi> First I would like to thank you all for running such a fantastic website.  I am a frequent visitor and the site proves to be very informational.   <Ah, good> A couple months ago, my female Oranda came down with some fin rot while I was on vacation.  Happily, the area "burned" and is now in the process of growing back.  My pair spawned afterwards and now we have six fry (lowly number due to "bad aim" by the female). <Mmmm, practice makes something...> Now, the same Oranda who had problems a few months back seems to have some sort of Wen fungus.  That's my guess at least (please see attached pictures).  I have now been treating the aquarium with API's Triple Sulfa.  It is difficult for me to determine if she is in fact getting better because I haven't been able to conclude definitely that it is fungus or what the process of healing is.  There is also what appears to be a cottony blob located on one of her back fins.  To me, this has reaffirmed the fungus diagnosis. <Mmm, not to worry... not atypical growth here... not pathogenic> Please advise as to what you feel this ailment is and what the best plan of attack may be. Thanks a million, Brian <Continue with good maintenance, feeding and all should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Help EMERGENCY!!! Poor set-up, maintenance... FW dis., env./infectious   5/14/07 I have attached 3 images I have two fish and in the photos I have circled the point where the problem is, their tails are starting to rip and developing some white stuff what should I do? I previously had red sword fish which developed this problem and died so can you please help me before these fish die? <Greetings. The immediate problem is Finrot, which can be cured using any one of various commercial medications. However, the cause of the Finrot is almost certainly poor water quality. Check the ammonia or nitrite levels in the aquarium and also the pH. Goldfish need zero ammonia and zero nitrite, and a pH of 7.0-7.5. Your photos seem to suggest a small aquarium with cloudy water, suggesting inadequate filtration. Goldfish need a big tank (30 gallons minimum) with a filter that provides at least 5-6 times to volume of the tank in turnover per hour. This is slightly *more* than small tropical fish, which is one reason goldfish are *more* demanding than, say, guppies and Danios. Big weekly water changes are essential, at least 50% per week. Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  Cheers, Neale>
Re: Help EMERGENCY!!!  Goldfish... ? Neale... better, amended, re-used titles, PLEASE!    5/15/07 my fish tank is 22L and has a filter running at 400L/H I'm sure that's enough? <In theory the filter should be fine. But 22 litres is nothing. I have buckets that hold that much water. Are you sure you don't mean 22 GALLONS? If really 22 litres -- that's far too small for goldfish. Goldfish need something not less than 100 litres (~30 US gallons), and ideally substantially more. As for the filter, a 400 litre per hour filter would be less than I'd recommend for a 100 litre / 30 US gallon tank. The problem is goldfish are [a] big, so they eat a lot; and [b] messy, meaning they root about the bottom kicking up sediment into the water which clogs the filter media. So you need something like a 600 litre per hour filter for a 100 litre tank to give you enough flow of water to compensate for the messiness of these fish. (In other words, the filter processes the water 6 times per hour, 6 x 100 = 600.) Otherwise, the water will constantly be cloudy and chances are the water quality not that great either. Small tropical fish (Neons and guppies) can work with a filter having turnover of just 4 x volume of the water per hour, but marines need as much as 10 x the volume per hour. Goldfish, big catfish, cichlids, and so on are somewhere between the two.> I recently bought this new fish tank because they were crowded in my little tank, I have cared for these fish since they were on 5cm long <Cool! Goldfish are lovely animals, and it's great when people bond with them and take good care of them. I'm sure they appreciate it. Good luck! Neale> sorry about this extra one, the seaweed was moved from the red sword fish tank and it has been aprox 2 weeks    5/15/07 <Sorry, what's this about? Neale>

Confused with stringy white poop answers and questions, Goldfish sys./hlth., fdg.   5/12/07 Hi WWM crew, <Greetings.> I currently own 2 fantail goldfish, 1 being 4" long; YJ and the other 1 1/2" long; Brandy, both excluding the tail. I have had YJ for over a year now and she is doing wonderfully well (i.e.: extremely active and always begging for food =) She even puts up with me petting her whenever I feed her). She used to live in a small tank on her own and 2 months ago, when I decided to get her a bigger tank, I also decided to get her a friend (Brandy). <Goldfish are indeed sociable, and respond positively to having tankmates of their own kind as well as affection from their owners.> They both live in a 10 gallon tank (which I've now found out is not big enough, after reading your website). <Indeed. Realistically, you want something 30 gallons plus. Goldfish routinely reach around 25-30 cm in length, and at that size need more swimming space than 10 or 20 gallon tanks provide.> I use an under-gravel filter. <Which is fine, provided you maintain it properly, specifically give it a good stir with a rod of some sort each couple of weeks and then siphon out the gunk along with the water. Do a 50% water change weekly.> I currently don't do any checks on the nitrate/ ammonia etc levels as I wasn't told to when I first got the tank and still have no idea how to go about this. Will this seriously effect their quality of life? <Long term/short term? Short term you'll probably be fine. Lots of people manage to keep fish without test kits. But in the long term, being able to monitor things like pH and nitrite is very, VERY helpful when things go wrong. 90% of problems with fish come down to the wrong water chemistry or poor water quality. Even things caused by obvious pathogens (like Whitespot/Ick) are usually provoked by changes (declines) in water quality. If you're cheap like me, go buy the dip-stick test kits. Here in the UK they're around 10 pounds for 25 tests. But better yet, you can slice them down the middle with a scalpel or scissors and make twice as many tests! Each one has colour pads indicating multiple tests including water chemistry ones and water quality ones. While not as accurate as traditional test kits, their price/convenience factor is very high.> I do 1/4 tank water changes every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. <Not enough. Do twice as much, weekly. While you might see this as more work, in the long term it massively reduces the hassle factor by helping keep the aquarium cleaner and the fish healthier than otherwise.> When I first got Brandy, I assumed it was a female as it was quite round and heavy in the belly although I am not very sure of this anymore. <Sexing goldfish is essentially impossible until they start spawning. Swelling in the belly by females and the appearances of "tubercles" on the head of the males are the clues.> This is because a couple of weeks ago, to my surprise and delight, YJ spawned! =) So now I'm assuming that Brandy is in fact a male, which YJ knew from the start although he was too young to do anything about it. <Not quite sure this is how it works. Are you sure the eggs aren't snail eggs? Very common mistake. Fish eggs are small things about 1 mm across and laid separately usually on leaves. Snail eggs are in lumps of jelly and form small masses around 5-10 mm long and often appear on the glass. Anyway, fish don't usually release eggs unless actively spawning with a male. With goldfish, which spawn first when between 2-4 year old, courtship is very vigorous and difficult to ignore. Much chasing and splashing!> My main question is, however, is if Brandy has internal parasites. Just today, I noticed that there was white stringy poop on the bottom of the tank (and I'm assuming it's from Brandy as the thickness of the poop is rather thin, compared to YJ's, whose poop is usually thicker). <Probably fine. Internal parasites are far less common than people think. The best sign of parasites is rapid emaciation, that is, however much the fish eats, it gets thinner. Differences in the texture of the faeces are more about dietary factors than parasites.> The thing is, I've searched your website for answers to this question and I'm starting to get a little confused as to what it could be as most of the responses say that it MAY be internal parasites, although not necessarily. I'm also starting to think that maybe Brandy isn't round and heavy in the belly but bloated due to the internal parasites? <Fancy goldfish are notoriously difficult to diagnose in this regard because they have such mutated shapes. The deformities bred into them make it difficult to tell "normal" from "abnormal" body shape. If a fish is loaded with internal (gut) parasites such as worms, the body cavity will be swollen but typically the fish will also lose swimming ability too. This may be deliberate on the part of the parasite, since it "wants" the fish to be eaten by a predator so the parasite can make its way into the next host in its life cycle. If your fish is swimming and feeding normally, then chances are it is fine.> Both of them seem fine and are eating well. I feed them JBL Goldperls and some thawed peas every time I do a water change. <Try varying the diet a little more. Goldfish are omnivores and respond positively to as mixed diet as possible. Lean towards plant material, and use meaty foods sparingly. I'd suggest a ratio of 4 parts plant food to one part animal (or flake) food. Floating plants are a convenient way to start here, using things like Elodea. Skip feeding them once or twice a week and the goldfish will nibble contentedly on this stuff. Because these foods are low protein but high fibre, they "fill up" the goldfish nicely, keeping its guts nice and clean. Goldfish are essentially similar to humans in dietary needs, more veggies, less meat being the key to good health. You can raid your salad bowl for goldfish food, too. Most anything green leafy is good for them. Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > I'm very concerned about them, although this may seem like a small matter to others as I've grown very attached to both of them and I don't want them to be sick, not even slightly. <An excellent attitude!> Your help and advice is very much appreciated. Sincerely, Phylicia <Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish mouth problem   5/10/07 Hello,   <Laura>   We have two goldfish, who have always seemed healthy and are about two years old.  However, one of them has recently developed a problem with his mouth.  He rarely opens it and when he does he doesn't open it as wide as he used to.  He is eating, though not nearly as much as before, and is still active.  There don't seem to be any marks on him and the other fish is fine.    <Mmm, there are some (unfortunately) developmental/genetic disorders that express themselves as this...>   We've spoken to our vets and they don't seem to know anything about this kind of problem.  Please advise!   Thank you,   Laura and Ruth. <Well, there is always a chance of spontaneous remission, or that the fish has damaged its mouth and that it will heal... Perhaps smaller pellets and softer/smooshed food like cooked peas will be easier for this fish to ingest. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish mouth problem   5/10/07
Thank you, we will try mushing his food up smaller.   Laura and Ruth <Real good. BobF>

Fancy Fantail, dis., env.     5/10/07 Hi Mr. Fenner <Susie>     I have a 30 gallon tank with 4 goldfish. I  am very meticulous in changing water and keeping ammonia at 0 and ph in the  comfortable range for my goldfish. I also test for Nitrate and Nitrite  and my water testing shows none of each.  I am having a problem with  my Fancy Fantail. He has developed Finrot on his dorsal fin. As well as  some small blood streaks on his rear fins.  I have treated him with  tetracycline and have also tried MelaFix in combination with PimaFix. Nothing  seems to be working to stop the Finrot. I have been able to get the Septicemia  to go away. I don't know what to do anymore. He is my 1st goldfish... He is  almost 2 yrs old. He eats great looks beautiful... and is very active. Just the  one spot on the fin right in the middle!!!! Please help me. I've tried  everything!!!! Susie <Mmm... likely there are other chemical (accumulations) at play here... that aren't measurable as ammonia et al... If there is someway to move the mal-affected fish to other, larger quarters, this would be best... Otherwise "stepping up" the rate of water changes, using activated carbon in the filter flow path, perhaps administering a bit of aquarium salt (Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm) is what I would do... Not antibiotic or "Fix" fixable. Bob Fenner>

Need help on calico, using WWM  5/8/07 SOOO here's the deal. I can't register on your website to use the forums and I've checked online for the little problem I have. I just started a new aquarium. The water levels are normal: Ammonia .25 (that is safe right?) <Mmm, no... any registerable quantity is toxic, stressful... the more, the worse> Alkaline normal Ph 7.5 to 8 <This is a bit high> Nitrite and Nitrate 0 same with chlorine. I feed my fish omega one fish flakes. ( I plan on adding other dietary foods ex lettuce peas etc.) The plants I have are Anacharis and red wodobiga or something like that.  And I have a total of 5 fish, <In how large a volume?> 2 black moor, a red and black Oranda, a bottom feeder (I think its a plecostomus...) and the problem fish, the RED CALICO. So, now that the intro's over, here's my problem. All the other fish are acting normal. Floating around doing there thing you know. THEN my red calico just goes crazy sometimes and on one occasion attempted to jump out of the water. He seldom goes into the middle of the tank and usually hugs the glass. He goes up and down and stuff. I don't know if you know my e-mail. It's XXXX.com. If you can render any assistance I would be MUCH obliged. If any is needed. <Much to relate... and all that is necessary you can find by self-direction. Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and on to the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish - Septicemia, Possible Swim Bladder, Bending U-Shaped    5/7/07 Fish is a 7-year-old Comet.  Of my all fish (4 Comets, 2 Fantails, 1 Pleco), Fish has always been the largest and most delicate one. The past 6 months, I have dealt with septicemia twice. <This is a condition... most often related to something/s amiss in the environment... Akin to "colds" in humans... many causes...> None of the other fish are effected.  Fish has always been the plow horse in the tank and often had his nose scraped by gravel.  For the past 6 months I have been trying to heal his nose which will lose flesh and start turning dark red before the septicemia sets in.  I have treated him with Maracyn 2 both times. Now, the raw nose and septicemia have returned.  He is back in the hospital tank but with new symptoms.  Along with the nose and bloody tail streaking, he is having trouble with his balance.  As he swims, he often wobbles like he is about to flip over, and sometimes does.  Today, his body has started taking on a U-shape and sometimes he swims in a circle and acts like he can't straighten his body. I have him in the 10 gallon hospital tank with Maracyn 2, aquarium salt and a heater at 75 degrees.  I have also purchased MelaFix to use on his nose. I plan on a 50% water change tonight and will add Epson <Epsom... magnesium sulfate... not the printer co.> Salts.  I am just all torn up about Fish and don't know what else I can do for him.  It breaks my heart to see him looking so miserable. Dolores <Your treatment regimen reads as okay... but you supply no useful data re the system, maint., water quality tests, foods and feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Very likely the root of the troubles here are a mix of environment and nutrition... Bob Fenner> Re: Goldfish - Septicemia, Possible Swim Bladder, Bending U-Shaped Thank you for your response.  Fish passed peacefully a couple hours ago. <Sorry for the loss... please do refer where you were referred to... for the sake of your other livestock. BobF>

please help.. Youngster, goldfish    5/7/07 Hi please can you help me I found you on the net but I could not find what I was looking for my goldfish is swimming on its side and looks like it is going to die I have had it for about 4 month I have always had fish and this has never happened before if you could tell me what to do I would be very very grateful please help me                                    thank you                                            yours Sarah <... Need much more information Sarah... Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... What sort of system do you have this fish in? What re maintenance, water quality, foods, feeding... You need to read, and soon... time, as usual, is of essence. Bob Fenner>

Shall I kill or let die?  Goldfish hlth. -- 5/5/07 Dear crew, <Hello!> I've lost a Pearlscale from dropsy. It was hard on us, and we tried everything you mentioned in your article. I've learned a lot from that disease and changed their feeding completely (according to your guidelines). I now have a 55 gallons tank with 4 gold fish. All testings are normal. <Please define "normal". Most fish sickness is caused by poor water quality and/or the wrong water chemistry. Dropsy especially is a symptom not a disease (like a fever in humans) and can be caused by all sorts of different things. So, what's the pH and hardness? What are the nitrate and nitrite levels? What sort of filter are you using? With goldfish being so messy, you want a filter providing turnover at least 5-6 times the volume of the tank, i.e., in your case a filter with a turnover around 250-300 gallons per hour. Anything less is unlikely to remove the ammonia fast enough, resulting in chronically poor water quality and eventually sick fish.> Our uranasocope is now bloated, sinks at the bottom and is tilted on the side. <Not good. Do bear in mind that all, repeat all, fancy goldfish are bred to look a certain way rather than for hardiness. Invariably, the more extreme the variety of goldfish, the less robust it is. The best goldfish (in terms of hardiness) are ones only slightly different to their wild ancestors, such as comets. In other words, if the aquarium isn't perfectly maintained, fancy goldfish are "delicate" animals likely to become sick.> I've placed him in an hospital tank with Epsom salt and feed him small amount of peas. I hate watching him die slowly, as it looks like he is agonizing. <It's hard to know if he's dying without any context. If he's unwell because of the wrong diet, he may recover. If the tank has the wrong water chemistry or poor water quality, then he's being poisoned to death, and isn't otherwise "sick". So, first reflect on the conditions of the aquarium, then try and diagnose the problem, and only when it is clear the problem is unsolvable do you consider euthanasia. Anything else is just laziness. Far too often people kill "sick" fish so they can go buy new ones instead of trying to fix the problems in the tank. I guess because goldfish cost next to nothing, so replacing them is cheaper than buying another filter, upgrading the tank, dosing with medication, etc. May be cheaper, but it isn't nice to kill animals for no reason.> Do fish hurt? <Yes. Until fairly recently it was assumed not, because they lack the "pain" nerves mammals have. However, work by Lynne Sneddon at the University of Liverpool has demonstrated that fish respond to certain things in a way analogous to pain, even if not precisely the same thing. For example, if an acid is (temporarily) put in the lips, the fish will avoid biting or chewing things, in exactly the same way humans will not put weight on a twisted ankle. In other words, fish feel damage and avoid things that make it worse.> Would it be better to sacrifice him and if yes, what is the more humane way of doing it. <It is only ever best to destroy an animal when it is quite clear that there is no hope. As said above, this isn't an excuse to get rid of a problem fish so you can go buy another. Make 100% sure that the problem is a disease that cannot be cured, and not, for example, a problem with the way you are keeping the fish. The reality is that destroying a fish is something that need only ever be done very, very rarely. For specific details either see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm or else contact your local animal welfare charity or veterinarian. Destroying large fish, such as adult goldfish, is not easy, and done clumsily causes a great deal of stress on the poor fish.> We buried the other one in the garden. It helped my daughter who is putting flowers on the grave. <For all children, learning about the cycle of life and death is important. However, do bear in mind the natural lifespan of a goldfish is something like 20 years, and many specimens reach more than 30 years. A fish that only lives a year or two will almost always have died because of something the aquarist did (or failed to do) rather than "natural causes". While I think it is nice that you and your daughter show this sort of affection towards your fish, it's also important for children to learn that animals aren't toys and they aren't living cartoon characters or even little people with fins instead of feet. What matters is children learn that animals place demands on their keepers -- whether aquarists, farmers, scientists, park rangers or whoever -- and that satisfying those needs is very, very important.> Sadly, Carole <Good luck! Neale>
Re: Shall I kill or let die?
 -- 05/07/07 Thank you Neil for your response. <Hello Carole.> I guess that I wanted to keep the e-mail short, but do not think that we do not want to try everything, or that we'll rush to buy another fish. We had 'Billy' for 6 months (now 2 inches), but he lived in a small 10 gallons with 4 other fish (10 inches total) until 3 weeks ago. <10 gallons is far too small for goldfish. To be honest, I don't think goldfish are good indoor fish. They need a big tank and lots of filtration, and really aren't ideal "beginners" fish.> I've bought a 55 gallons Jebo, which I paid $700 to make sure that the water quality was perfect. <Sounds expensive!> I don't know the filtration rate, need to look it up. <Should be on the packaging, on the filter itself, or on the pump inside the filter.> It has 2 large bacterial filters with ceramic pellets, an activated charcoal filter and one to remove ammonia, which was recommended for the first 2 months by the salesperson. <Both of dubious value to the aquarist but very useful for fish product manufacturers, as they are extremely good at extracting money from inexperienced aquarists. You don't need either, and I'd strongly recommend throwing both of them out. Ammonia remover will be overwhelmed with goldfish unless you're using literally kilogrammes of the stuff. Carbon is simply a waste of money in almost all freshwater aquaria; far better to do 50% water changes that will not only removed the dissolved organics the carbon removes but also remove nitrate and phosphate, improving fish health and reducing algae growth.> I do partial water change weekly (treated to remove chlorine), but did every 2-3 days initially. <Sounds just about perfect. With goldfish, 50% per week is a good baseline water change regimen.> I keep the T0 constant at 75C. Introduced 2 fish for a week than the other 2. I've tested the ph, nitrites, nitrate and ammonia. ph is 7.5, all others read 0  and have been reading 0 since the new tank got started 3 weeks ago. <OK, zero nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia are all good. The pH is just about perfect for goldfish, but the temperature is way too high. Switch the heater off, and let the fish warm up in summer and cool down in winter naturally.> I've also added 'Cycle' which contains good bacteria, and add some weekly. <I'm rather dubious about "Cycle" -- and in a mature aquarium it is almost certainly a waste of money. But if you have money to burn, then it certainly won't do any harm.> I've been feeding my fish your recommended diet for a month now (mainly fresh veggie and brine shrimp), but made the mistake at the beginning to give my fish the dry pellets, until the first fish got sick and I found your web site. <This happens. Sadly, standard flake food just isn't as good for many fish as you'd imagine, but then humans eating just Cheerios wouldn't be that healthy either, whatever the "nutritional balance" on the box suggests. When keeping fish, just as when feeding children, your maxim should be a little of everything but in moderation. Goldfish are omnivores in the wild feeding primarily on algae, decaying plant material, and small invertebrates in the mud. Try and replicate that in the aquaria, and you're halfway to success already.> I think that I followed all your instructions by the book. So I'm a little discouraged and don't know what else to do. <Almost always, stepping back and applying logic helps. Your tank is too warm, so fix that. Your filter contains rubbish you don't need, so remove that and replace with something that supports biological filtration, such as filter wool or ceramic "hoops". I don't know your precise water management routine, but certainly skipping the Cycle product in favour of weekly 50% water changes will help a lot. A 55 gallon tank is about the ideal for goldfish when kept indoors, but if the worst happens and Billy succumbs, then my honest advice is to step away from the "really fancy" goldfish and go for the hardier, less inbred varieties like comets, Shubunkins, and even the plain vanilla goldfish. Goldfish are wonderful animals in their way: they can be trained and are easy to feed from your fingers (though make sure you/the kids wash your hands afterwards because there is a small, but real, salmonella risk). A goldfish tank was my first experience keeping aquatic life, and that morphed into a science at school, a marine zoology degree, a PhD, and then a career writing (in part) about fish. So teaching kids about aquatic animals and how they work is potentially very valuable and a great intro to the science we call Biology.> Thanks for the info on euthanasia. I'll try to nurse Billy, just hard to seem him suffer. <Good luck (to you both).> Very attached, Carole <Cheers, Neale>
Re: Shall I kill or let die?
 -- 05/07/07 Thank you so much for such valuable advices. I really appreciate the fact  that you are taking the time to write so many details. <Not a problem, and thanks for the thanks!> You must be very  passionate about your work. Sadly, Billy passed away today. I was expecting  it, as he didn't want to eat this morning. <Too bad. I'm sorry.> After debating the euthanasia  issue at home, we decided to let nature takes it course. We buried him  today in the garden, next to Bouboule (French name for fatty), close to my favorite rose bushes. <Cue the "Circle of Life" from the Lion King movie...> So today, more testing. I never tested the hardness.  The dh is low, around 5. Should I treat it? <Goldfish like a little more hardness than this. The easiest approach would be to use some Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyikan salts, but at a 25-50% dosage. You can buy these salts from good aquarium shops. Alternatively you can add some calcareous material to the aquarium (e.g. coral sand) or to the filter. Finally, you can even using ordinary baking soda, at a dosage of a 2-5 teaspoons / 40 litres (you'll need to do a water test to get the exact level you want. I'd recommend pH 7.2-7.5, hardness 10-15 dH). NOTE: "tonic salt" and "aquarium salt" do not harden the water, and should not be used.> I'm a bit mixed up with KH or  alkalinity. <In this instance, don't worry about them. Harden the water as suggested above, and the rest will take care of itself.> That tests reveals a level of 50 which suggests acidity and is  not good. Should be closer to 80.  When I do the ph (from Nutrafin bottle  kit). I get a result around 7.5. I've tried using our pool kit strips to  compare. That also reveals a low ph and low alkalinity (closer to KH  results).  Maybe that is the problem. I don't know which test to trust. <No idea which test kits to say is "best" as all have margins of error. Question: are you using softened water? Or is your local water naturally soft? If you have softened water in your house, use the unsoftened water instead.> Suggestions? As for the filters, I have the filter wool (does that need  cleaning/rinsing, how often?) <Cleaning, yes, in buckets of aquarium water. Replace 30-50% of the wool every few months, when impossible to clean.> ...and bio-filter (ceramic hoops). <Good.> I will get rid  of the ammonia and charcoal filters, wasn't very expensive. <Good.> I guess the best is to do 50% water change weekly. I'll stick to this from now on (was only  doing about 20%, but will go up to 50%). <Agreed. Changing water is so inexpensive, and if you're doing 20% or 50%, the amount of extra work is minimal. Some people do 90% water changes and get good results!> I don't have any heater, but T0 is  always  around 72-74F, what can I do to cool it? Should I add cooler water with the water change? <Goldfish quite like cool water, but don't do massive temperature changes, just a few degrees at a time. If the tank is warm because it is in a warm room, then don't worry too much. The fish will be fine, provided the aquarium is not overstocked.> I usually tried to add the fresh water at the same T as the tank. <A good plan.> I use the vacuum cleaner that you connect directly to the tap  to fill the tank. Is that a problem? (difficult for me to lift bucket of  water). <If the cleaner is pumping in water straight from the tap, yes, this is a problem. The chlorine is not removed, and chlorine is harmful to fish (it burns them).> I pre-treat the aquarium water first, than add tap water. <I see the logic to this, but it isn't the ideal approach. The best approach is the dechlorinate the water fish, and then add it to the tank. If lifting buckets is difficult, you could do this: Take water from the tap into a large (5 gallon) bucket. Dechlorinate. Use an electric pump to pump the water into the aquarium. Such pumps are called powerheads, cost ~$20 for a small one from the aquarium shop.> Thanks for answering all questions and for your utmost dedication, Carole----- PS: I'm French speaking, so there could be English mistakes. <No problem, and much better than my French, limited to buying vegetables and asking the way to the Post Office. Cheers, Neale>

Shubunkin with raised discoloration  -- 5/5/07 First off: I promise I've searched the internet and your website prior to sending this. <Very good.> All issues pertaining to 'discoloration' with the word 'goldfish' on the page usually say 'this is normal if it is not raised or depressed' then proceed to not explain what raised/depressed discolorations might mean! Oh the frustration. Anyway... <Hmm...> I have a 55 gallon tank, residents of which are: a 4" Pleco, a 5" Oranda, the 8" Shubunkin, and a relatively new arrival (been in for a month) 4" blood red parrot cichlid. (all sizes estimated) <A very odd selection of fish. As you know the Plec and the cichlid need tropical conditions (25C), whereas the goldfish wants cooler water, ideally around room temperature or slightly less (~15-18C). Parrot cichlids are hybrid cichlids and tend to be rather unpredictable in terms of behaviour, but certainly have the potential to be extremely aggressive, whereas goldfish are mild, sociable animals that are stressed when kept with aggressive tankmates.> My 3 year old Shubunkin has developed a raised, discolored area behind his right gill (pictures attached--any spots other than the large orangish one are actually on the sides of the tank). <Looks like a bruise, in other words, a slight swelling caused by physical damage. Should heal by itself over time, but ensure water quality is excellent to reduce the risk of secondary infections.> Observation of all other fish shows they are 'fine'. <Define "fine". The water temperature at the very least is definitely un-fine for either the goldfish or the cichlid/catfish.> The Shubunkin is lively, interested in eating and in all other ways acting normal--but I just noticed this development about 40 minutes ago, so this may change. <Sounds as if he bumped into something. Usually happens when fish are alarmed and swim away from what they perceive as danger. Very common when peaceful fish are kept with aggressive or territorial tankmates. Can also happen when fish are kept nearby slamming doors, noisy TVs, and other things that can alarm them.> We had a rash of dropsy earlier this year, which I fervently hope is unrelated. <Please understand this: dropsy isn't a disease, it's a symptom, so you can't have an epidemic of it, any more than you can have an epidemic of twisted ankles. Dropsy is caused by problems in the aquarium that prevent the internal organs (usually) of the fish from working properly. Gross overstocking, poor water quality, the wrong water chemistry, etc. all can lead to dropsy. In other words, if you have five fish die from dropsy, it doesn't mean the "dropsy germ" snuck into the tank and carried off your livestock; it means you failed to keep your fish healthy. One case of dropsy in five or ten years of fishkeeping is bad luck and happens to the best of us. A bunch of cases of dropsy all at the same time isn't bad luck but bad fishkeeping.> Dropsy seems to have gone away after too many aquatic deaths and a complete drain, strip, rinse, remove, etc.. 5 hour ordeal with the 55 gallon tank. <Why on Earth did you break down the aquarium? Doing this was at best a colossal waste of time, and at worst destroyed some of the filter bacteria reducing the effectiveness of the biological filter. When fish get sick you should do the following: [a] check water quality and chemistry and [b] try and identify any other possible causative factors. Always bear in mind that water quality and water chemistry trump everything else, so lots of diseases (such as Finrot and fungus) are provoked into happening because of poor water quality, rather than happening out of the blue by themselves.> If I can provide any other information that may be of use, please let me know. I don't feel like losing another wonderful fishy this year. <Let's have the pH, hardness, nitrate, and nitrite levels. Also the temperature, and what sort of filter you are using. For these big, messy fish you need a filter with a turnover around 5-6 times the volume of the tank, i.e., around 250-300 gallons per hour. You should also be doing 50% water changes per week. Goldfish and plecs are notoriously messy fish.> Thank you <No probs. Cheers, Neale>

Goldfish... hlth... no useful info... not reading, spellchecking...    5/5/07 Hi there, This is my first time coming across <?> your website and I really hope you can help me out. I have already called the local pet stores and the vet is closed. One of my goldfish (3-4 Years old) seems to be sick and I was wondering if there was anything to help him. My goldfish had problems in the past and has over come them, he now has a bloody lip and it appears to be swollen making it hard for him to eat or breath. His lip and body has skin flaking off and peeling. He has lost a lot of his color and at the tips of all his fins it looks almost burnt. His fin on the top of his body is almost gone also left with a black looking outskirt. I attempted taking photos and didn't get a real good one but I will send it attached to this e mail as you may be able to see some of what I am talking about. Thanks in advance!!! Rose <...? What re the system, maintenance, foods/feeding, water quality tests? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. BobF, not the Amazing Kreskin>

Fancy Goldfish problems... iatrogenic, env.     5/5/07 Hi, <Hello there> About a month ago I purchased a 10x10x18 inch aquarium, with a internal sponge filter, some gravel at the bottom and a couple of plastic plants.  We got one fantail goldfish, about 2" long including the tail, which was doing very well.  A week ago (so roughly three weeks after we bought two more fish - a redcap and an orange and white goldfish. <... this is too small a volume...>   Two days after we got them, the redcap started sitting on the bottom with it's fins looking lifeless. <Environmental... nitrogenous et al. poisoning> I 20% water change for a few days.  The following day it was gasping at the top and I went to the pet shop and they gave me Myxazin <...> and advised I should position the filter to make more ripples, which I've done.  After a day or two of gasping at the top, the redcap spent another couple of days sitting on the bottom.  I went back to the pet shop after work and bought a water test kit, <For?> aquarium salt and some Interpet "Disease safe".  Unfortunately, by the time I was home, the redcap was dead. <... killed> That was yesterday - now we've got two fish.  I carried out a water test <...?> and everything seems to me to be fairly normal - general hardness 180; carbonate hardness 240, ph 7.0, nitrite 1ppm, <Toxic> nitrate 20ppm. <As well>   The problem is that the original goldfish is starting to display a few signs that are worrying me.  He's still swimming around, but is spending a lot of time at the surface gasping, OR in his little hiding place a the back of the aquarium, behind a plant.  He normally likes to swim around with his friend, but he seems to be spending more time on his own.  I've also noticed that the silver circle around his eyes have little black marks in the middle.  The problem is, I don't know if I am being paranoid and these marks have been there all the time. What should I do?  Should I administer some of the disease safe?  Or the aquarium salt?  Or should I wait and see what happens for a while?  Or is there anything else I can do? Thanks very much, Kevin <Have just skipped down. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Possible Furunculosis   5/5/07 Hi Guys, Well I starting doing my 25% water changes with reverse osmosis water. We bought it buy <by> the gallon. We do have an RO system , but haven't had it installed yet. <? Easy to do...> My remaining baseball sized Ryukin didn't eat for 2 weeks, seemed to be in a trance and just sat gasping at the surface. He was following exactly the symptoms of the 2 dead Orandas. He had a lump on his tail which burst open into a huge red ulcer. Then he bloated up to the point that his scales were starting to stick out. I added Epsom Salts and in four days the bloat went down. Then since he hadn't eaten in so long, I mashed up some peas and added a few soaked Spectrum pellets and used a syringe to force feed him. After a few days he seemed to snap out of it and became really hungry and swam normally and acts fine. But!!!! That massive ulcer is still there, a fierce red deep ulcer and his tail fins sometimes get red streaks then the streaks go away. Ammonia 0 nitrites0 ph 7 nitrates still at 20. <More water changes...> Should I move him to a hospital tank and treat him with something? <Given?> That ulcer really bothers me. He loves peas and I'm feeding Spectrum very lightly. I really think he has an infection. Thanks. Linda <I would carry on... BobF>

My 5 year old Comet just "peed"! -- 5/4/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a Comet that is almost full grown (about 8") <Actually... depending on how measured... get about twice this length> and has had external and internal parasites (think the internal are still there) fungal growths and bacteria problems. For all the problems the poor little guy has had, this is a first - and I know it isn't possible so what's going on - I just saw him pee! <Mmm, do this all the time> Dark, not quite dry blood colored, and trailing out his rectum in several swirly bursts! <Yikes...> Please tell me the parasites aren't that bad! We just dosed him for them and we thought he was doing so much better! <What parasites?> His eyes are finally clear, the worms aren't hanging off him <Lernaea?> and the only other thing we can't seem to get rid of are the red streaks on his tail - which he's had for three years - <This is environmental...> and for the last couple days he's' been hanging out in the same corner - not quite on the bottom - and twitching every so often (the man in the house swears he twitches like that to stay afloat when he's not swimming, but it doesn't seem right to me...) like a quick short jerk to the left. the pee really concerns me though. I can't find anything about it anywhere online - other than fish don't actually pee, but I know that! - and there aren't any other goldfish in the tank with him (just a few Mountain Minnows and Danios - the occasional eating of which we assume is where the intestinal friends came from).  I like Phil and I don't want to have to bury him! What's up and what should I do? Thanks!! <Mmm, where to start? Goldfish Systems? Disease? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm If/when you write  back, please provide useful information re the system, maint., foods/feeding, water quality tests... BobF>

Goldfish Help....Sick -- 5/4/07 Hi, I've had my goldfish fancytail- Goldie- for 9 years. She was doing great up to a month ago. I have treated the tank with Fungus Clear and now Ampicillin. What is going on is that Goldie is on the bottom of the tank will eat, <What?> and swim around on her side (not a lot). Will stand up right with help... and then just fall over. She has not swam up to the top of the tank in awhile, or even half way up. There is a sore that is red and swollen on the left side that is about 1/4 to1/2 an inch round. The same side that she lays on. She looks like she needs a sling. I thought that she had swim bladder or fish bloat or Dropsy. The tank # are all normal.  Now heck if I know....  What is it, and what can I do about it? Thank-you, for your Help!  Amy <Mmm... could be a few things at play here... likely a bit of environment and nutrition... coupled with age in captive conditions... You proffer no useful information re system, maint., water quality tests... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish, env. dis.   5/2/07 My adult daughter bought 2 "feeder" goldfish, which she put in a tiny 1 gallon tank. <Much too little volume... unsustainable> They are about 1 1/2 -2 inches long, one orange, one silver. They could hardly swim in that tank... They were unhappy, but eating... the orange fish kept  wigging out and flailing around the bowl. It's gills and top of it's head were turning black. I finally felt for them and have temporarily put them in a 10 gallon tank, <Better, but will still need more room than this...> until the daughter gets set up in her new home. I kept the water fairly clean, and fed them 2 X a day... now the fins are turning black. It's actually rather lovely, but I don't think it's supposed to do that. The silver one tries to comfort the orange and keep him calm...almost trapping it in a corner when it flails around, then floats just under it or side by side...this seems to help, but the black is spreading. The silver fish is fine. If I wasn't such a softy, I'd flush the darn .15 cent things!!! What do I do? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: