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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 23

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,

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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

Goldfish with laboured breathing 7/19/06 Hi, <<Hello, Kate. Tom>> I have looked at other sites but with fish it is so hard to tell what is wrong.  I don't want to treat my fish with the wrong thing and kill it.   <<Very wise here, Kate.>> First of all I admit that I could have been more frequent with the cleaning of my tank.  The fish is a common goldfish and he is about 13 years old.  He is generally quite hardy.  I cleaned the tank at the weekend and got some new large (smooth) stones and a plant for his tank.  This was on Saturday, he seemed fine until last night.  At around 9pm (just over 12 hours ago) I noticed that he was gasping for air near the top of the tank.  I thought it was strange because he didn't have his mouth "out" of the water although his back fin was.  However later he swam to the bottom and has mainly stayed there breathing heavily throughout.  I wondered if he could have a balance problem but he is the right way up and can swim when he makes a big effort.   <<By way of information, Kate, oxygen concentrations tend to be higher at the surface because that's where "oxygen exchange" takes place. Gulping for air (sometimes referred to as "piping") is the result of a variety of problems that usually stem from poor water conditions. Something here took several days to manifest itself, though, so I'm of the opinion that something related to but, outside of, the water change/cleaning is responsible.>> The thing is that I know he's sick because normally when it's time to be fed he swims straight to the top of the tank but now he can't move fast enough and is concentrating on breathing all the time.  From what I have read could it be bacterial gill infection?   <<I can't exclude this. You haven't given specifics regarding how long it's been since you cleaned your fish's tank so it's entirely possible that you "stirred up" a fair amount of "stuff", shall we say, when you accomplished this. The thought of rotting detritus/mulm being "inhaled" by your Goldfish makes me a little queasy so I can only imagine how he must have felt about it. ;)>> It just struck me as strange that once he was cleaned out he was fine but that it came on last night, 3 days after cleaning out the tank.  Could whatever is wrong with him have still been caused by the water quality before the tank was cleaned? <<Could be but ask yourself if this situation would have been forestalled if you had waited another week. He was fine until the cleaning so something was precipitated by this. I suspect that I know the answer but, did you "quarantine" the plant? Parasites such as Ich will "hitchhike" on plants as readily as other aquatic life. Also, how thoroughly did you wash the new gravel before placing it in the aquarium? This, frankly, is what I have some suspicions about. pH levels typically drop in aquariums over time. With "regular" water changes, these fluctuations are minimal and have little, if any, adverse affect. However, throw in a large water change along with the addition of new substrate, potentially leaching pH-increasing minerals, into the tank and you've got a good case for pH shock.>> I have removed the new plant and the stones from the tank and have changed a lot of the water.   <<Good on the removal of the new items but slow down on the water changes. You didn't mention anything about testing the water conditions so I have no idea what's currently going on in your tank. I'm thinking that you don't either. Invest in a test kit, Kate, or take a sample of water up to your local fish store for testing. Find out exactly what's going on in your pet's aquarium. Adaptive as they are, you're probably putting a lot on a thirteen-year-old Goldfish.>> I will readily admit that I am really not the best fish keeper and to be honest the fish has probably lived this long more because of luck than anything else. I am asking for your help because I don't want him to die and I don't want to do something which could make his condition worse. <<Nothing wrong with a little luck, Kate, but we can certainly "hedge" our bets. Again, find out what the parameters in the tank are regarding ammonia, nitrite and, especially, nitrate and pH levels. Aquarium salt at the rate of one tablespoon/five gallons of tank water can greatly assist in oxygen uptake - dissolved first in fresh, dechlorinated water.>> Many thanks for your help, Kate <<Always happy and ready to do so, Kate. Please get back to us if you need more input. Tom>> Kate Hopkinson

Sick goldfish?   7/18/06 <<Hi, Angel. Tom>> My daughter has two common goldfish; totaling up to about 4.5" combined in a 5 gallon tank. <<Far too small a tank for these fish, Angel. Surprising though it may be - and you wouldn't be alone, by any stretch - these Goldfish need to be in a 40-50 gallon tank. (No, I'm not making this up.) These fish can/will grow to be very large in the correct environment. If not, they'll be "stunted" and will die far before their time.>> She absolutely adores her fish and yesterday I noticed that the larger of the two is beginning to lose it's orange color and swimming very strangely. He's started shaking his head like a dog playing tug of war. <<Is the tank filtered? Has it cycled? Ammonia poisoning, particularly in small tanks like yours, will chemically burn the fish's gills. The approximate equivalent to being trapped in a burning home and having nothing but smoke to breathe.>> At first I thought he had eaten a piece of gravel, but there's nothing in his mouth. He also hasn't got any growths, spots or any other unusual markings at all. The smaller of the two is behaving normally, and most of the time, so is he, but about two to three times an hour he'll start swimming all over the place, not hitting anything, and shaking his head crazily. <<You need to get both of these fish into larger quarters. There isn't a Goldfish on Earth that will live long in a 5-gallon bowl. If this isn't feasible, then you need to find another home for them...quickly. If it is feasible, research what it takes - on our site - to cycle a fish tank and give them the home they need. Properly cared for, these animals might live to see your daughter graduate from college. :)>> This is not normal for him, and I don't know if there's something wrong there or not. Can you give me an idea what's going on here, please? <<Already have, Angel. Goldfish need "big" aquariums, regardless of the variety. Too few folks are aware of this. Hopefully, I've shared some insight with you.>> Angel <<My best. Tom>>

Potential parasites... Mmm, actually goldfish system "hitchhikers", or perhaps better put, "flyers in" 7/18/06 Morning all, from England! <And back to you from not yet sunny Southern Cal.> I have just passed my tank, and spotted lots of transparent, tubular lengths about a cm long on the front glass of my goldfish tank. <Ah, yes... likely tubiculous worms or aquatic insect larval stages. Not harmful> My tank is about 20 English gallons, and has one mature Black Moor goldfish (Bogglet) in it: unfortunately we lost his partner a while ago, but not to a disease. As I am sure you can understand, I definitely do not want to put Bogglet at any further risk, so I have searched the internet in order to identify these tubes. He has no visible parasites attached, and I have also seen what I think may have been a dragonfly nymph or a nymph of some sort swimming past: <These former (Odonatans) are generally quite large... of frightening apparition...> the tubular organisms do not seem to move. From reading through your site (I come back to it time and again: easily the most informative site on the entire internet!) I have come to suspect that they could be a larval stage of a parasite, (Anchorworm? They are whitish however, not brown as your help pages state.) <Mmm, no... this is not the nature of this organism> but I'm hoping that they aren't: I don't think the stress is exactly what he needs right now! Also, after losing his tank mate (Wobbly Fish) recently, I decided not to introduce any new fish because of the emotional shock, but now I am concerned that he may be bored or lonely. <Not to worry here. Goldfish are more "autistic" re tankmates... they don't "get lonely"> I would of course quarantine any new purchases, but I am unsure whether or not a new introduction would be successful. <Ah, good> Bogglet is about 25cm nose to tip, and all the pet shop moors seem tiny in comparison! <Indeed they are...> Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. <For this size system, I would stick with the one fish you have> Thank you not only for your advice, but for maintaining such a successful site: no other has helped me as much as yours! <Ahh, deeply gratifying to read/understand> Yours, Chloe. <Should you acquire larger quarters, a smaller fancy goldfish or two would be okay to start with your larger Moor. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Potential parasites    7/20/06
Thank you for your recent reply. After a visit to the local pet shop which proved utterly fruitless, I decided on a full tank change to eliminate any possible problems before they attached to my goldfish.  Upon closer inspection, the tubes yielded a twisting, slim red worm which I would assume was a blood worm: <Of sorts... and really, not deleterious, parasitic...> hopefully they're all gone now! I have kept a few along with the suspected dragonfly nymphs which I managed to scoop out in a separate tank outside, to check that they don't develop into anything nasty that would require further attention. <Okay...> I'm also glad to hear that he won't get too lonely without a mate: once the tank's settled back in I shall buy some new plants for him to shred: it usually keeps him entertained! <Ah, good> As always, thanks again for your quality advice, Chloe. <Welcome. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Fishy =[... Goldfish in a tiny, under-gravel plus filtered world... env. dis. 7/16/06 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Charlotte> I am hoping that you will have a possible answer as to why my Ryukin is at the bottom of her tank sucking (air?) in one spot?   <Not good signs...> She has been doing this now for maybe 2 days... only occasionally swimming about the tank. Her normal behavior has been to swim about in a 5-gallon tank <Too small...> with a bio-wheel filter, as well as an under-gravel filter. <Can be trouble with goldfish, systems...> The tank only has gravel at the bottom, and she seemed happy and healthy.    We have intention of purchasing a 20 gallon aquarium on our next trip to PetSmart. <Oh, good!> We love this fish and we are very concerned that she is in some kind of distress. I've read information at several different sites and have been unsuccessful in finding anything that seems similar to Fishy's latest questionable behavior.   Thank you in advance for any information or advise that you might offer. Regards, Charlotte Greene <Do you have tests for water quality? At any/all lengths the root of the situation here is very likely environmental... I would institute some one gallon water changes (daily)... with treated, stored water. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fishy =[... Goldfish in a tiny, under-gravel plus filtered world  7/18/06
Hi, me again!  I just wanted to send an update ... we bought a 47 gallon aquarium (I told you>>>we LOVE this fish!) and a little friend, too!  Fishy has been in her new environment now for almost 3 hours.  She's already making steady progress and is acting more like herself.  She is more animated; swimming up and down, and back and forth the entire length of the tank.  HooRAY!  We bought the two different types of water quality testing strips and will keep an eye on that... Thanks for writing...."Fishy" and "Fishy, too"!, appreciate your reply! Regards, Charlotte  =] <Ahh, thank you for this update, and good news! Bob Fenner>

Sick Pearlscale Goldfish... Aeromonad, Pseudomonad... Ana aki?    7/13/06 H, I have an adult Pearlscale goldfish in a 5 gallon sick tank with a bacterial ulcer.  I <I...> know the tank is small but I change 30% of the water daily so it stays within a good range for everything. <Numbers please> The question is when do I stop treatment?  He has been receiving Melafix <Worthless here> for his ulcer daily for about 1.5 weeks and it has gone from an open, red ulcer to a white scar. <Just actually just going into a "resting phase"...> He scar has covered the whole wound but it is still "lower" than the surrounding tissue.  Should I continue treating him till it is all even and scales have re-formed (will they re-form?) over the scar? <Mmm, up to you. I would treat as per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm and the linked files above> Also, he has white, stringy poop.  I read that this is a parasitic infection, but is it treatable? <Possibly> More importantly, is it communicable? <If this is a parasite, then yes> I plan on putting Fatty, his name, in my other tank when he heals, but will his poop-disease affect my other goldfish? <Very likely so. If this fish was with the others, they are almost all assuredly (sub-clinical expression) similarly infected>   Thank you for your help,   Meagan and Fatty <Read on my friend. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish With Bacterial Infections   7/7/06 I have a fancy goldfish with bubbles on its head. It has large white patches on both sides of the fish and some things going on with its tail. Yesterday I noticed that some red spots have developed under the white patches. I have been treating the tank with salt and quick cure(3 days) but this has not fixed the problem yet. Do you know what could be wrong with my fish? Dana Fowler <Your fish has a numerous bacterial infections. Probably caused by poor water quality. Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Treat the tank with Kanamycin or Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. This will affect your good biological filtration and you may need to add Bio-Spira from Marineland after treatment.-Chuck>
Re: Goldfish With Bacterial Infections, Finding Medications   7/7/06
Could there be another name for these I couldn't find any at the local pet store. Dana Fowler < Nitrofuranace can also be found under some trade names like Furan-2 or Furanace. The Kanamycin can be replaced with any of the -mycin suffixes. A pet shop may not have it so you may need to call a tropical fish store or get them online at DrsFostersmith.com.-Chuck>

My goldfish, no useful info.   7/7/06 Hello again its me Kenzi I just went to check on my goldfish and I noticed that he is covered with white bumps. They are on his tail, fins, and the back of his body.  What does this mean? Thanks for the help. -- Kenzi <... sounds, reads like some sort of reaction to something amiss or too changeable in its environment... Can't tell w/ the information offered. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the files linked above. Bob Fenner>

Panicked Black Moor   7/7/0

Re: Panicked Black Moor (For Tom)   7/10/06 Hello again Tom! <<Hi, Myrtle.>> I moved my black moor, Edgar into a plastic bin that held about two and half gallons of water while I found him an aquarium. (I regrettably admit that I didn't have the money for an aquarium when I first wrote you.) <<Happens to most of us at one time or another. :)>> I got a twenty gallon aquarium and set it up today, and was waiting  twenty-four hours for before putting him into it. <<Would like to have considerably more time but I don't think it wise to delay the move.>> I read more about keeping an  aquarium, I treated the water and got a filter, as well as other necessities for keeping a clean tank, like a gravel vacuum. <<Very good!>> I got medication for Ich. It says not to clean the tank or move the fish while treating him for Ich, so I was waiting till I put him in the aquarium to treat him. <<I'd prefer that you treat with aquarium salt for a couple of reasons - we may have to go in this direction, anyway. By way of explanation, certain medications are harmful to the beneficial bacteria we badly need at this point. Salt won't affect the bio-colonies. Next, and probably more important, we can easily maintain the prescribed concentration of salt while performing water changes. These will be inevitable until the tank cycles and will potentially need to be done on a regular/large scale. (As dangerous as Ich is, it's not as deadly as a sharp buildup of ammonia and nitrites will be.)>> (He did start eating, and I  didn't feed him while he was in the bag I brought home from the store, I just worded that wrong.) <<Good on both counts. I rather suspected you hadn't fed Edgar while he was still in the bag but we do run across some "funny" things from time to time. While we're on the subject, I'd like you to limit his feeding until things get more stable. Food breakdown and, likewise, fish waste will be "necessary evils" for the time being but we've got to make the effort to keep the coming spikes in ammonia and nitrites to manageable levels if possible. Any ensuing stress on your pet will only make problems harder to deal with as they come along. And, I do want to emphasize that we're going to have problems. It wouldn't be fair to tell you we're "out of the woods" by any stretch. Fortunately, Goldfish, as a general rule, are about as tolerant of less-than-optimal conditions as any fish can be. Doesn't mean we're going to let him "stew" in sewer-like water, though.>> Thank you again for your help! ~ Myrtle <<I do want you to consider a water test kit as your next investment. The fish store will test your parameters if you bring in a sample but this is hardly as convenient as having a kit at your fingertips and you're going to want to test frequently. Virtually everything you do over the coming weeks will be based largely on what your water parameters are. Without these, we'll be "flying blind". I'll be here if you need more assistance. My best. Tom>>
Re: Panicked Black Moor (For Tom)
  7/11/06 Hi, Tom. <<Greetings, Myrtle.>> I moved Edgar into the aquarium about five hours ago, and from what I can tell, he seems to be doing just fine. (Are goldfish supposed to suck up gravel and spit it back out again?)   <<First, I'm glad to hear that Edgar seems fine. As for sucking up and spitting out the gravel, this is very common for Goldfish. Part of their "scavenging" technique.>> I noticed that above his gills on his  back, and also the top of his tail, the black fades into a gray, and I wasn't really sure if this was a problem or just the color he is. I couldn't see this in the bowl he was in, the light in the aquarium made these marks more  visible. <<I wouldn't be concerned about coloring at this point. Goldfish, in general, can/will have "color shifts" during their lives. This may, or may not, be temporary. Good that you're keeping this close of an eye on him, though.>> I just read about Ich and other sickness and fungus freshwater fish can get and seem to have further confused myself and I'm not really sure what's wrong with Edgar. I went back to the store where I bought him and looked at the fish that were in the tank he came out of, and all of them have white spots all over them, some even to the point where their eyes are clouded over. I also noticed more white spots on the bottom of his jaw that I couldn't see while he was in the bowl. I haven't given him any medication because I'd rather follow your advice and treat him with salt. But I really have no idea how to treat him with salt. What kind of salt to I use, how often and how much? <<Use aquarium salt for this, Myrtle. There are other types like Kosher salt that will do the job but I'd rather keep your job simplified. (Do not confuse aquarium salt with Marine salt for saltwater aquaria. Aquarium salt is pure sodium chloride (NaCl) while Marine salt contains additives/buffers intended for our saltwater buddies.) The concentration we're looking to achieve is two to three tablespoons per gallon of water. This should be dissolved in fresh, dechlorinated water before adding it to the tank, not placed directly in with Edgar. So, how to go about this? Again, let's keep this simple. Take the plastic container you last kept your fish in and place two gallons of tap water in it (32 cups). Mark a line on the outside of the container so you'll have a reference when you remove this amount from the tank. Using your new gravel vacuum, remove a total of eight gallons of water from the aquarium. Prepare new dechlorinated (sounding redundant, aren't I :)) water in the same bin and dissolve ten fairly generous tablespoons of aquarium salt in each - a total of four times. Add these back into the tank and you'll have, at a minimum, a solution of 40 tablespoons/20 gallons of tank water or, a healthy 2/1 ratio, which is what we're looking for to start. Since salt can only be removed from the tank through water changes, the only time you'll need to add more salt is when you do a regular water change following the same method as what I've described. (Side note: This point won't be an issue for the upcoming weeks but bear in mind, for future reference, that salt will not "evaporate" with water. If water evaporates from the tank, the salt concentration will increase since we'd have the same amount of salt in less water. May sound like a "no-brainer" but if someone doesn't know this...)>> Am I wrong or is cycling the tank changing 25% of the water every two weeks, or did I get something mixed up?   <<Not "mixed up" really. You're just combining the "mechanics" of the process with the biology of it. Ammonia is the by-product of the breakdown of food/fish waste. "Mechanically", the ammonia can be removed through fresh water changes. "Biologically", we're fortunate enough to have a group of bacteria (Nitrobacter) that actually feeds on ammonia. As ammonia builds in the tank, this bio-colony grows with the increased "food supply". Unfortunately, the bacteria don't quite multiply in exact proportion to the ammonia buildup, particularly with heavy waste producers like Goldfish. During the cycling process, this ammonia build-up eventually peaks out, then plummets to zero as the bacteria multiply sufficiently to break it all down. All this sounds good but, there's a catch. The ammonia is broken down into nitrites, which are just as deadly to our fish as the ammonia is. Enter the Nitrospira bacteria which feed on the nitrites, breaking them down into far less harmful nitrates. The nitrites will spike, and plummet, just like the ammonia did and, when this is accomplished, the tank is "cycled". All of what I've explained is the reason why water testing is so critical during this time. We're actually caught doing a "balancing act" between water changes that remove the toxic ammonia and nitrites and leaving sufficient quantities behind to continue feeding the beneficial bacteria. Too much of the former will starve the bacteria. Too much of the latter can kill our pets. This is why we at WWM so adamantly recommend "fishless cycling". Using this method, there's no life put in harm's way.>> Also, how much should I limit his feeding? He was never really eating much to begin with, should I now only feed him once a day? <<Feed him once every other day for now. He may not be happy about it but I'd rather have him "cheesed off" than dead.>> I have one more question: When it comes time to vacuum the gravel, do I leave Edgar in the tank, or should I take him out first? <<Leave him in. Handling him is many times more stressful than potentially scaring him with the vacuum. Once he finds that there's no danger to him when you clean the tank he may come to see this as a "game" like my fish do.>> Thank you so much for you advice, its been a great help! ~Myrtle <<Always happy to help, Myrtle. Tom>>

Re: Panicked Black Moor (For Tom)
  7/12/06 Hello again Tom, and thank you so much for helping me get my aquarium   started, I really appreciate it. <<Hi, again, Myrtle. Glad to be of assistance.>> I changed out eight gallons of water and added salt just like you said. But the gray spots on Edgar turned into white spots and growths throughout the day. <<These spots are the parasites enlarging as they feed. After a few days, the parasite will break away from the fish and settle to the bottom of the tank where they will "encyst" themselves to reproduce. In these first two stages of life, the Ich is immune to both medications and our salt. When the juveniles break forth from their encysted shell, they will become free-swimming and it's at this stage that the salt will go to work. Note that they must find a new "host" in a very short time or die, regardless of any treatment in the tank.>> Now, he's become very lethargic. He's been just sitting in the water with his dorsal fin tucked in close to his body. Sometimes he swims around and shakes like he's trying to get the spots to fall off. <<Edgar is pretty stressed right now, which explains the lethargy and clamped fin. As for the shaking, this is to be expected. He may scratch at the bottom of the tank or against anything in the tank (referred to as "flashing") in order to get some relief from the itching he's going through. Something akin to insect bites to us.>> How long will it take before Edgar starts to clear up, or will he not start to clear up until the tank has cycled? <<This depends on a couple of factors, one being the degree of infestation, as you might imagine, and the other being the temperature of the water. Higher temperatures speed up the life cycle of the parasites and make the little rotters susceptible to treatment more quickly. We're hampered in the case of Goldfish because temperatures that wouldn't bother tropical fish (mid-eighties+ F.) would do more harm than good for your Black Moor. Directly speaking, having the tank cycled doesn't have much to do with treating Edgar but it will make it more difficult since we'll have two problems to contend with. All in all, don't be surprised if this runs for up to three weeks or so before we get this part of the battle cleared up.>> I tested the water, and it currently has no Ammonia or Nitrite. <<Once again, this is one of those situations that's to be expected. In fact, this often leads folks into trouble. They test regularly for a few days and find no traces of ammonia or nitrites and, unfortunately, convince themselves that their aquariums have magically cycled in less than a week as opposed to the six to eight weeks that this typically takes. Into the tank go the fish and we start getting panicked pleas for help because all of their livestock are sick or dying. BIO-Spira from Marineland is the only product that hobbyists can add that will come close to "instantly" cycling an aquarium since it actually contains the live bacteria they need. Other products that make claims of instant cycling are a waste of money.>> And, the directions said to test a new aquarium every other day for four weeks, so I was going to do that unless you had any objections. <<No objections to this whatsoever, Myrtle. In fact, at the first sign of the ammonia, I would probably opt to go with daily testing. This is something that we can't be too careful about.>> Thank you again! ~Myrtle <<You're welcome, as always. Tom>>

Re: Panicked Black Moor (For Tom)
  7/16/06 Hello again Tom. <<Hello, Myrtle.>> Edgar's spots have gone down, but I know that only means the parasite isn't on him at the moment. He has a tear in one of his fins, and I don't know if that's another sickness, or if he just happens to be injured. <<He may have injured the fin if he's been scratching (flashing). This wouldn't be unusual particularly if there are decorations/plastic plants in the tank with him.>> The ammonia level in the tank went up, so I changed out two gallons of water. But when I tested the ammonia level in the tank the next day, it was still up, so I changed out four gallons of water. The ammonia level was still the same after I changed out that water and Edgar has just been sitting on a fake plant most of the day, and it's worrying me. Should I change out more of the water, or will the ammonia level start to drop soon? <<Depending on the readings you're getting, Myrtle, what we would categorize as "massive" changes are in order. As much as 50%, sometimes even more, is warranted in order to get the readings down below 1 ppm (mg/L). With ammonia, this level is still "dangerous" but not necessarily considered life-threatening. Not uncommon for several large water changes per day to be required.>> Thank you again for your help! ~Myrtle <<As always, you're very welcome. Tom>>
Re: Panicked Black Moor (For Tom)
  7/16/06 Hello Tom. <<Hi, Myrtle.>> Edgar died several hours after I wrote you the last time. <<I'm very sorry to hear this, Myrtle. I know how hard you tried to save him.>> Thank you for all your help. I think I'll clean out the tank real well, and let it run for a few weeks and maybe try again with a comet goldfish. <<If I can make a recommendation here, Myrtle, don't go with a Comet. These can/will grow too large for your 20-gallon tank. The "conventional" thinking that a fish will only grow to the size of its tank is a complete myth. Their growth won't be "self-limiting" but, rather, stunted, decreasing the overall health and life span of the animal. Since you'll have some time to do more research, please look into the many, many varieties of FW fish that you can easily keep in the tank you have. An interesting thought, to me anyway, would be a Betta (so-called Siamese Fighting Fish). Compared to the cramped quarters these fish are typically kept in, your 20-gallon tank would be a "mansion". It would require a heater, however, since they appreciate water temperatures at or, slightly above, 80 degrees F.>> But thank you again so much for helping me out. ~Myrtle <<Again, I'm sorry about Edgar, Myrtle. Tom>>

Black Moor Problems...  7/5/06 Hi <Hello to you> What a fantastic website!!! Hours of VERY helpful reading.  I still haven't been able to find anything that exactly matches my problem, and I have not had much luck from pet shops or vets around my area. <Much to know just re companion animals...> I have 2 beloved gold fish that I have had for about 7 years. <Outstanding> I love them dearly and would do anything for them.  My fantail has currently got cloudy eyes and seems to be pretty much blind from my lack of knowledge about water quality when I first had my fish.  After much learning, I now seem to have the water quality very good.  My fantail is now quite happy, swims and eats well and seems generally pretty normal (apart from the eyes). <Ah, good. These may cure in time> The real problem is my black moor.  Over the last 12 months, one of her eyes (and I mean the googly part, not the actual eye) has been getting bigger and bigger in size.  It is now starting to affect her swimming and she is now listless and not eating much. <Likely internal, bacterial... in cause, secondary...> I recently took her to a local vet that sees fish and he drained the eye.  It does not seem to be a growth, but rather fluid build up in the eye. <Yes>   The vet tested the fluid that was drained from the eye and said that it contained crystals that were indicative of a liver problem. <Interesting> He prescribed some medication (I don't remember what it was called), so I separated her (both fish are normally in a 25litre tank and I put her alone in a 14 litre tank) and I treated her with 1/2 tablet every week.  When I water changed, it was from water from the main tank so that I could maintain the same water quality and environment.   <A good practice> She seemed quite happy at first and after about 4 weeks, so I put her back into the main tank and continued to treat her.  After about a week, she became very listless and would rest on the top of the filter and barely eat. <Takes a while for fish to recover> About a week after this, I separated her back into the small tank and continued treatment.  It has been about 2 weeks and she seems to be no better and her eye seems to be more swollen than ever. What can I do??? She is a part of the family and I would do anything that would help her. Can you suggest anything to try? Thank you so much in advance - I look forward to any advice you can offer!!! Cheers Shelley Brisbane, Australia <Mmm, well... there are possibilities of boosting your goldfish/Moors immune system, improving its liver function... Through the addition/soaking of foods with Vitamins and similar supplements. Additional to this I would try the safe and often effective cathartic use of Epsom Salt... at the rate of a level teaspoon per ten gallons of actual water volume, replaced with water changes. Bob Fenner, who has often transited through Brisbane on his way to Gladstone, Heron Island, points N.W.>

My sick goldfish   7/3/06 Hi, I was hoping you could help  me with my fish problem. I  have a bubble- eye, tri-tail goldfish. He seems very sick. both of his eyes are  very   cloudy and one of them is turning kind of orange. He is laying  on the bottom of the tank. <Bad signs> to be safe I put in some fungus eliminator. I was  wondering if there was anything else I should do? <Mmm, yes... read> In the tank I have  another fish a regular goldfish. he doesn't seem sick at all. So are there any  other medications I should try? <Be careful re pouring in "medicines"... more organisms are lost to mistreatment than pathogenic disease. Very likely your goldfish's problem(s) are environmental... and only being made worse by such "medicines". Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above. You need to test your water quality... Bob Fenner>

Sick goldfish   7/2/06 I stumbled across your website today trying to determine what is wrong with my goldfish.  I found her (I think) caught in my skimmer box <Mmm... if in good health shouldn't be caught thus> and quickly pulled her out and started 'swimming her through the water to get the water moving through her gills.  She is a big body white/gold fan tail that I have had for many years.  After I let her go I realized she wasn't swimming right (having a hard time staying upright) and after I pulled her out of a tight space she got caught in, I filled up a round preformed pond I keep for emergencies (using pond water and well water from hose).  I added Epsom salts and pond salt and put her in with a bubbler. <Good moves>   Getting out my fish book it said she could a: have gas bubble disease, b: be constipated, c: be full of eggs; d: have bacterial infection.  I tried gently squeezing between her fins where the book said to see if any eggs would release but I was too scared I would hurt her so I stopped.  The first day she was in the hospital tank I noticed a long thin clear mucousy stream coming from her behind.  I pulled it off.  She has been in the tank for 2 ½ days and I've been doing partial water changes and adding Epsom salts, pond salt.  A few other times I saw the clear stream coming from her.  What is this? <Don't know...>   Should I be doing something else?  She seems to be swimming a little better but still swims tilted sometimes.  I'm afraid to put her back in the pond. Adria <I would monitor water quality in this treatment container, change a part of the water out daily (replace with pond water) and otherwise hope for recovery with the salts treatment. Bob Fenner>

Marbled goldfish, no info. on system, water quality...    7/1/06 Hi, My Black eyed goldfish (Mr. Magoo) who is about 3 years old has come down with well what I'm not sure.  I've read several FAO with your website, but don't see this.  Basically he's turning well marbled.  He has white veins like running on the outside.. all over.. including his eyes. <Interesting> And as big of a clue he doesn't want to eat today.  He tried to go up for the food, and then seems to be exhausted.  I'm guessing an internal parasite issue.. <... from where?> just started yesterday.. worse today.. been fine since.  Haven't changed his routine.  I did do a partial today.  Any suggestions for my marble turning Black Bug eyed goldfish named Mr. Magoo (or Goo) who has been very entertaining to me?  Thanks! <I suspect something environmental is amiss for this change to occur so suddenly. I would be moving this fish to other established quarters if you have this... Otherwise... reviewing, testing your water... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Very listless Comet... you know what to do      7/1/06 My poor comet , Mr. Smith, as he is affectionately known has become very listless and just floats around the tank, <Bad> he seems to have given up the will to live, I cannot see any signs of Finrot or any other things like Ich etc. I am suspecting water problems, <Me too> as I have  had a lot of legal rubbish happening around me and I have forgotten to change water _ I know neglectful, but I would dearly like to help him, have had him for over 7 years any advice would be really appreciated Eileen <... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Re: Very listless Comet    7/1/06 Unfortunately Mr. Smith Died today, I brought him to an aquatic centre and they said he seemed too ill, and looked like he had dropsy, so they put him to sleep humanely. I am very upset as I have had him such a long time, and upset with myself as I should have noticed. Eileen <Very sorry to realize your loss. BobF>

Black Moor ASAP question for Gwen  - 06/30/06 Hello Gwen, <Is no longer with us... the last few years...> After reading several of the postings I feel that I have a general idea with what's wrong with 'Blackie' yet I still don't feel confident that I am treating her (or his) ailments correctly. History: I've had her for just over a year and in the same 3.5g tank with no problems. <Too small...> I feed her TetraFin Premium goldfish flakes twice a day (which sounds like it might be too much). <Inappropriate nutrition...> I did receive two other fancy fish as gifts that I had to put in there. <...> One died from lice about 8 months ago and the second just died about 6 weeks ago with swim bladder disease. <Environmental, stress....> Blackie never really got sick though all this. She's been by herself ever since. She's now 6 inches so I bought a 46g tank and set it up with a few gallons of water from her tank and cycled it for 24 hours. <Oh! Much better> I would have normally ran it for 2+ weeks before introducing her into the new tank however, the 'pet expert' at Petco stated that waiting was nonsense. This is where I feel my problems started. Setup: 46g Oceanic bowfront with a #305 Fluval canister filter and heater set at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. I have 5 medium large plants in there. I used Novaqua. Note: when I initially put Blackie in the tank I didn't use the heater since I wasn't using one on the 3.5g. I later found out, due to his lethargy, that the smaller tank ran the water warmer through the pump without a heater than did the 46g. <Yes. Good investigating, point> So I put in the heater to make the temp the same and Blackie became alive and happy again. I also added 1 tablespoon of sea salt for every 5 gallons. (I should have dissolved it first but didn't know that at the time.) A week or so later I found a couple white granular spots on her gills. Her behavior was still normal. Petco recommended Jungle Labs Ick Clear tabs. I treated her in the 46g tank and this is where I started running into trouble. <I'll bet... will kill off your biological filter/filtration micro-organisms... more environmental stress> I put in 4.5 tablets the first day and the spots were still present. The second day I followed instructions and changed 25% of the water and added another 4.5 tablets. <... toxic> Then Blackie showed signs of lethargy, fin/tail rot and was staying at the bottom corner. She was gasping for error. <And air> Even at times she would hang at the top breathing outside air. She would sometimes swim vertically with her head up and fall backwards. She didn't eat, either. <Would you while/if you were being poisoned?> I tested the water with the only kit I had which was an ammonia tester and it was 1.0. <Toxic...> I changed 50% of the water and added Novaqua. Petco recommended <Wait... stop! Please... you profess disdain for this amorphous information source, and yet you continue to blindly follow "their" advice...?> Jungle Labs Fungus Clear tablets so I added 4.5 tablets per the instructions - but I did 2 tablets on the first day, 1.5 on the next and 1 on the third. I did this because I thought I might be over medicating and the LFS really didn't know what to do. (I turned the canister off and put in a small Penn Plax Shark internal pump without filter to help circulate). I also used this because on her two lower fins leading edges she had small grayish white marks which she has always had (I believe) and thought it was just part of her traits. The LFS mentioned it could be a fungus. Blackie perked up and I thought all was fine. She was eating, swimming and looking better. I found some more info on the web (including your site) and later found it better to test more elements of the water so I bought a 'Master Test Kit' yesterday after work. <Better...> Coming home from work I found Blackie still alert, however her right eye looked severely infected. It was as if there was this huge yellow bubble attached over her eye. <I see it, ouch!> I know that when she was acting weird and not swimming well she did bump into several objects and the gravel which were all new. But I figured the Fungus Clear should have prevented this. <... no> The instructions don't mention anything about eye infections, though. Current Water Conditions: Ammonia 0.5, <Still toxic> Nitrite 10, High PH 8.0 (tap is 7.8). I also tested the NitrAte and I don't recall the readings however, based on the Master Test Kit instructions the readings were okay. Note: none (Ammonia and Nitrate) were zero, though. Based on what I've read on your site that is ideal. I went to PetSmart and spoke to the manager and she recommended Mardel's Maracyn-TC with tetracycline hydrochloride and MarOxy. <... hypochondria> Took a new 10g tank and put in 5g of Blackie's medicated water and then put in Blackie. I then gradually put in 5g of fresh tap water treated with Prime since your site recommends it. <The royal "we" recommend nothing. As individuals some of us propose a liking, disliking for certain procedures, products> Then I put in the small Shark filter with charcoal and ran it for 2 hours to help clean out more of the diluted meds. I then added the Mardel products per instructions. There are no rocks or anything else that she can bump into now - except for the Shark filter and thermometer. I didn't add anymore salt since I know there's some from above and I don't know how much I should add. Maybe you can tell me. <Yes. Read, educate yourself...> This morning Blackie ate a bit but I don't think she can see out of her one eye. I will test my water again tonight and probably change some of it before adding more of the Mardel meds. Am I going down the right track here? <Mmm, no... seem to be running circuitously around and around> Her eye infection doesn't sound like it' Popeye since it's not a donut but more of a yellowish clear bubble covering here  whole eyeball as if her membrane is filled with yellow liquid. Any advice is greatly appreciated and I really love your site! Thanks, John Daskaloff <You likely have incurred a situation of environmental "stress", compounded by earnest efforts at "treatment"... Only time will/can tell whether this Moor self-cures. Please re-read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Black Moor ASAP question for Gwen  - 06/30/06 A note on:   Current Water Conditions: Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 10, High PH 8.0 (tap is 7.8). I also tested the NitrAte and I don't recall the readings however, based on the Master Test Kit instructions the readings were okay. Note: none (Ammonia and Nitrate) were zero, though. Based on what I've read on your site that is ideal.      This is based on recollection and I will confirm the actual figures his evening. I.e. I think I mixed the Nitrite and Nitrate readings above.      Thanks, <Understood. RMF>
Re: Black Moor ASAP question for Gwen  - 06/30/06 Hello Gwen,   I also noticed that Blackie has white stringing like material hanging of the end of her fins. Is this calamatus (sp?) if so then I guess Maracyn-TC is not correct since it's for graham-negative infections. True or not?    <... Please... stop... treating...>   Could Blackie have gotten all of this from the new plants?    <... not... likely...> <... Bob... Fenner...>
Re: Black Moor ASAP question for Gwen  - 06/30/06 A follow-up on the water conditions (and correction to)   Today's test revealed the exact same values except for Ammonia,      Current Water Conditions: Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite 2.0, High PH 8.0 (tap is 7.8), NitrAte 10. I plan to do another water change prior to administering the Mardel products. I will also add 1tsp aquarium salt per gallon pre dissolved.      John <Read please... re ammonia, Goldfish Systems... no more buying necessary... just reading. BobF>

Sudden Goldfish Death/s...  - 06/30/06 Hi, how are you? (great I hope)   I had this red cap Oranda named carrot-top who died very recently. All morning he/she was fine, swimming up to the top every time I passed by, you know every typical greedy goldfish. <Yes, every healthy one> Then a few hours later, it started swimming VERY lopsided and going to the bottom of the tank. It looked as if it couldn't gain balance. I put him/her in a separate bowl, and about 20 min.s later it died. The same thing happened to my previous goldfish, who died the exact same way. Do you have any idea what can be causing this? <Something... toxic... perhaps a coating on the surface of the water that asphyxiated it, or maybe it swallowed a venomous insect that fell in...? Or a spray cleaner got into the water?> I don't want the same thing to happen to the rest of the goldfish because I love them so much, and part of being a goldfish keeper is learning how to take good care of them.                                                           god bless, Melyssa. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish died suddenly  6/29/06 Hi, WWM Crew:   <Susanna>   I've searched your WWM FAQs and Chat Forums, and didn't find the answer, so here I am.     I have 8 goldfish (2 each of bubble-eye, black Oranda, red/white  Ryukin, regular) for about 9 months.  They all look healthy (no  sign of disease), feeding and growing.  However, this morning, one  of the black Oranda was dead, floating sideway on top of the tank, with  the other fish nipping around it.    What could have happened, and how can I prevent that from happening to  the other fish?  (I maintain the tank regularly for proper ph,  cleanliness, etc.)  Thank you very much for your help.     Susanna   San Francisco, CA <Mmm, such "anomalous losses" are not uncommon in goldfish... even ones that are a bit older, larger... though after a few years, they seem to be almost immortal at times. If all else "checks out", and there are no signs of illness with the others, I would not be concerned. Could be an expression of a "genetic disorder"... Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish died suddenly
 - 06/30/06 Bob:  Thanks for responding.  Guess I'll just have to get a  replacement.  Better luck this time, I hope.  Thanks again.                    SSH <Mmm, if doing this, please do take care to thoroughly quarantine the new animal for several weeks. Am inclined to strongly encourage you to just keep what you presently have. Just too much trouble, potential for introducing pathogens, psychological stress. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish died suddenly
 - 06/30/06 Bob:  Will hold on getting a new fish, as suggested.  Thanks  again for your  help.             SSH <Thank you for this follow-up. I do want to make known how important this conversation is to me... I am a huge fan of "goldfish"... I have stated many times, "If you live long enough and well-enough, you'll start with goldfish as pets... and end up with them"... There are so many instances of such opaque troubles with fancy goldfish nowadays I am given to pause re my sense re this stmt.... Am very glad you will not have the chance of introduced troubles. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish care 6/28/6 Lisa, Thank you for your help. <<You're welcome.>> Unfortunately, both of my fantails died (they were purchased from Wal-Mart). <<Sorry to hear that.>> The comet is still alive, but I am concerned for him.  For the last couple of days, he's been swimming erratically.  Swims up and down and around very fast at times then swims up then also tries to swim up against the tank. I went searching on the site and think it might be a swim bladder problem, but not positive and not sure what to do if it is in fact this. <<Check the toxin levels in the water. Should read 0 ammonia and nitrites, <20 nitrates.>> He is in a 15 gallon tank, (I believe in the previous email I said it was a 10 gallon) and the only fish in the tank. <<Good.>> I noticed today, that there is a bit of food at the bottom of the tank. <<You should vacuum this up during water changes.>> I've been feeding him, the flakes and slow sinking granules.  But upon research on the web site, I've found out this isn't the best thing to feed them.  What exactly should I be feeding him? << http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm>> Thank you very much for you help, Marie <<Glad to help. Good luck. Lisa.>>

Re: is it ill  6/26/06 <<Hi, again, Norma.>> Thanks for your advice. Haven't been able to get a test kit; pet shop on holiday for two weeks but things seem to be looking up. <<This is good to hear!>> Anyway, the day after I e-mailed you I decided to put fish pellets in instead of the flakes  and I don't know what's in them but the fish in question is swimming round and seems to be following the smaller of the lemon ones. So, whether it has just had a couple of off weeks or it didn't like the flakes, only time will tell. <<Well, fish need variety in their diets just like we do. It's not unheard of for fish to develop health problems from diets of otherwise good-quality food when one type of food is all they ever get.>>    Oh, and I put a bit of cucumber in (read it was good for constipation). <<Zucchini, spinach, shelled peas, for example, are good sources of vegetable diet that can be mixed in with regular feedings. Keeps the fish smiling and I don't have to eat the stuff. :)>> Thanks again, Norma ..... p.s. Love the site. Quite informative. <<Happy to help, Norma, and thank you for the kind words. Tom>>

Just out of nowhere.. Fancy Goldfish systems, health    6/26/06 Good day. <And you> I have a 50 gallon fw tank with four goldfish fancies.  A black moor, two goldfishes, and a goldfish that is half gold/half black.  I used Bio-Spira to cycle the tank and directly added the fish.  It's been cycled for about 2 weeks with the fish with the following parameters: ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrates 5, ph 7.2 However, one day, the black moor just dies and I would guess that normally, a fish would float up in that case, but he was upside down at the bottom of the tank. <Do float or sink...> The water is crystal clear, but I immediately checked the water with the following parameters: ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrates 10, ph 7.2 A few days later the half black/half gold fish starts hiding in the bottom corner of the tank and I suddenly knew something was wrong as this guy always swam with the other two.  A few days later, that fish passed, upside down at the bottom of the tank.  They both don't look like they have dropsy, no bloating or expanded scales or anything.  Any ideas? <... likely cumulative stress... Fancy goldfish are not as "tough" as folks often believe... Are often "shaken up" from being moved around, and don't "like" all-new settings... best to wait a few to several weeks with new water, fine products like Bio-Spira added before adding them. I would wait a few weeks more and try some new specimens. Bob Fenner> Thank you. Joseph

Healing Injured Goldfish  6/26/06 Hi, <Hi Anthony, Pufferpunk here> I moved the goldfish into a tub (20-40 gallons) and have been treating  it with "heals all" and salt. <I'm not sure what "Heals All is but if it's working, that's good.> All of the fungus died off and the Oranda is finally eating regularly. Its Wen <fin?> is beginning to grow back (I can see little  pink "sprout-like" things). It's a miracle the Oranda is still alive, I guess goldfish are extremely resilient. There is one "bump in the road" remaining.  Where the fungus had penetrated the skin and it became a flap covered with fungus, the skin fell off, leaving a large (1" diameter) area of exposed flesh. The salt seems to irritate this flesh (obviously). What is the best thing to do? I was thinking of changing 50% of the water, daily and adding "heals all" proportional to the changed water. <Water changes are always good in situations like this.> I'm not sure if this would be ok, because "heals all" doesn't say a timetable for treating or should I just use "Aqua Safe"? Or something totally different? I am concerned this patch of skin will become infected again. What should I do? <Again, I've never heard of Aqua Safe.  I suggest stopping the salt, since it is irritating & add Melafix.  ~PP> Thanks, Anthony

Goldfish With Thickening Fins - 06/22/2006 Good evening team! <Hi, Resa!> My son won a Comet Goldfish in his first-grade reading contest almost four years ago.  We did our research, learned a lot about fish, and now have a beautiful 8-inch specimen with a gorgeous flowing tail kept in his own 20 gallon tank.   <Excellent.> He eats well and swims happily in water changed weekly @ 20%, all readings within range. <Delightful!> My concern is that several weeks ago he developed a thickening of the first and second ray (to a lighter degree on the second ray) of the dorsal fin.  Then, yesterday I noticed what appeared to be the same condition developing on the ventral fin.  Neither fin is red or irritated in any way, nor does it appear to be Ick related because the thickening, while showing as small clear nodules, is internal, not external.   <Hmm....  This may actually be normal, to some degree....> Am I incorrect in this diagnosis?   <What, that it's not Ich?  No, I'm pretty sure you're not facing Ich, here.> I am a late night internet searcher (love your site!) but have not been able to find this issue addressed positively or negatively.   <Thinking back to my pond fish....  I do believe their dorsal, ventral, and anal fins all had (and have) a thicker first ray than the rest....> I've found that "tubercules" grown on the gill covers and pectoral fins of nuptial males, but this is very different.  Is it related to maturity, or do I have a potential problem in the works?   <I would keep a close eye on this, and watch very closely at the base of the ray for any swelling or redness....  and otherwise just continue keeping good care of him.  It may very well just be that this is a normal transition for him.> Thanks so much for all that you do. <And thank you for your kind words!> Resa <Wishing you and your comet well,  -Sabrina>

Sick Bubble Eyed Goldfish... sans useful info.  6/21/06 Our goldfish Belle has been sick for over a week.  It all started when we noticed she would not leave the bottom of the tank unless it was feeding time.  After a few days, we noticed that her stomach was starting to turn blood red. <Bad signs> After reviewing several articles on your website, I felt that Belle had all the symptoms of a bacterial infection. <But from what root cause/s?>   I couldn't find any Furnace at the store, but I ordered it online and I'm still waiting.  I did buy some Maroxy by a company called Mardel in the meantime.  The blood red color disappeared from her stomach.  I should also mention that I did a water change and added salt to the tank. <What was, is your water quality?> The five days of recommended medicine have now expired  and while here color is back to normal, Belle is not.  She still stays at the bottom of the tank and is starting to even lose interest in feeding.  After attempting to eat tonight, she sunk back to the bottom of the tank and was breathing very heavily.  Can you please recommend some treatment that would get Belle back to normal? Thanks Clint <Not with the little information offered here. Understand that any/all such treatments rely on the environment... what the water chemistry has been, is currently, and the nutrition of this animal... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and write back with more, useful data. Bob Fenner> <<I think Bob meant to direct to this link:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm .>>
Re: Sick Bubble Eyed Goldfish... Poor env., not reading before writing  6/21/06
Thank you for getting back to me, I'm sorry that I did not provide you with enough information. We have a 7 gallon acrylic fish tank with carbon filter. <Ahh... this is much too small a volume for this fish. Too unstable, given to abrupt and too-large chemical, physical and biological changes.> We also have a bubble wand pumping some bubbles through.  Belle is the only fish in the tank.  We have had an algae problem the last two months, so I have been doing a full water change every 3 weeks. Leading up to the full water changes, <Also a dire practice... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above> I have been using a Magfloat magnet to remove some of the algae buildup on the sides of the tank.  It was during my use of the magnet that Belle first showed signs of sickness.  Shortly after that we saw the blood red color developing on her belly.  I read about bacterial infections on your website, and thought that might be what Belle had.  I followed the directions that you had given another fish owner with the same symptoms.  I removed the carbon from our filter.  I did a complete water change and I added a heaping tbs of aquarium salt for the 7 gallons of water.  I then began 5 days treatment per the directions of the Maroxy. I did a 30% water change once the treatment has expired.  As I mentioned previously, the discoloration is now gone, but Belle is lethargic and now she's not coming up for food.  I took a water sample to my local pet store yesterday and they found my PH to be low.  They recommended that I add the carbon back to my filer and us a product called Bullseye 7.0 to help regulate the PH.  The store gave me a few test strips and told me what to look for, but I don't have a chart for my PH.  Judging from the strips I was given, the PH has improved.  I will take a new water sample in today to confirm the PH results.  I hope this information  combined with that of my first e-mail will help you to better answer my questions. Best- Clint <The problems here are almost entirely environmental in origin. Fix the environment... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Bubble Eyed Goldfish
 6/21/06 What size tank do you recommend for a single bubble eyed goldfish? <As these fish can get up to 8-9" when full grown, and are quite messy (like all goldies), I'd suggest *no less* than 20 gal. for one...> <<A 30 for me. RMF>> Clint Schultz <Jorie>

Why are my fish dying? Goldfish sys. 6/20/6 Hi! <<Hello.>> I used to have 4 very small goldfish in a 10 litre tank (I know this is too small and I will be upgrading soon). <<Woefully overstocked.>> They were a Black Moor, Orange Bubble Eye, Fantail and a Red Cap Oranda. They have all died one after another (except for the Oranda he is perfectly healthy) with the same problem. They would start turning black (except for the Black Moor) then curl up into an arched position then die. Funnily enough, the healthy one (Red Cap Oranda) has no black on him whatsoever. Everyone says that they just change colour, but when that happened to my fish they died. Do you know the reason? <<This is likely an environmental problem.  Did you cycle your tank? If so, how? Did you do massive water changes very often to buy you (some, if any) time until you get a larger tank?>> I really want to know what the reason is so I can prevent my Oranda from getting the disease. <<As I said, I don't think this is a disease. Please read on WWM about cycling, and test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.  Ammonia and nitrite need to be 0 at all times, and nitrate under 20.>> Thanks for your help with all the confusing emails I send in! You've been a great help to me! Thanks again. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Goldfish lost part of tail fin  6/20/06 Hi there, < Hello! >    At 20 years of age our goldfish suddenly had the lower part of it's tailfin simply fall off it seems. < 20 years is an incredible time! You have truly done well! > We did not see this happen but as the fish is on it's own it was obviously not attacked. The resulting wound seems to be healing fine. < Have you tested your water for carbonate hardness and pH? Sometimes, especially in an older tank, the KH will be too low to hold a stable pH. When this happens, the immune system of the goldfish is put in question. Typically, loss of extremities is due to lowered oxygen content. If the KH/pH are not an issue, maybe there is too much dissolved organics in the water. I truly doubt this is the case, for anyone to have a 20 year old goldfish, I'm sure you are good with your water. >    On close examination the only other problem the fish has is that the lens over on eye seems blown up (more convex than the other), this can only be noticed viewing the fish 'head on'.    Can you shed any light on this strange event? < It could be a bacterial infection related to the water conditions. Before attempting to medicate, check the water. If the water is right, the fish normally follow! > Regards,     Andy House. England. < Best wishes, RichardB >

FW... dis. Goldfish?  6/20/06 Hi there. <<Hello, Norma. Tom with you today.>> I was wondering if you could help me. In March we bought 5 minnows and 2 lemon fantails and 2 orange fantails; thought it would be nice now we're retired to have some fish. <<I like your thinking. :)>> One of the lemon fantails is now about 3 inches long and the other isn't far behind but the orange ones don't seem to have grown at all. In fact, this last couple of weeks one of them seems to spend all it's time in the bottom corner of the tank only coming up for food. That's if the large lemon one doesn't beat the rest to it. The water and filtration, etc. seem fine but we did notice when we bought it that it has really bulging eyes. <<First, Norma, I'll see if I can shed some light and, then, I'm going to put you to work. (Think of it as coming out of retirement but, gently.) Okay, the fish with the problem shouldn't be spending its time in the corner of the tank. This indicates a problem that it's either ill or that it's "stressed". You'll see the reference to a fish being "stressed" but, so many times, folks don't know what it means. In simple terms, it means that the fish is being subjected to conditions that makes it feel "uncomfortable". It could be due to poor water conditions, too small of a tank, incompatible tankmates, lighting, etc. A generic term, if you will. The key here is that, when a fish feels stressed, it becomes susceptible to infections that a healthy, robust fish can easily fight off, even ignore. A healthy fish has a healthy immune system that helps to combat the "baddies" that exist in aquariums just like people do in our everyday world. Now, it's possible that your pet came from the store with an infection since you mention that its eyes were "bulging". We frequently refer to this as "Popeye" but it can be caused by a variety of maladies. It would be impossible to be specific here but, here's where I put you to work. You should have your aquarium water tested at your local fish store (LFS) or, you can buy a test kit that will tell you what the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels are. (These readings help us tremendously.) Next, the term "fantails" is non-descript. For instance, I don't know if these are Fantail Goldfish or Fantail Guppies. It makes a big difference. (The Latin names really clarify things for everyone in the Crew but me. I'm still working on the differences between English and American. :))>> The other fish don't seem to bother it so do you think it could be ill and what do you suggest? <<Bottom line here, Norma, is that I do believe your fish is unwell. I would be foolish to tell you to do anything specific to your aquarium without more information.>> Thank you for any advice ... Norma <<Please, do get back to us, Norma. Tom>>

Poor Goldfish, English   6/17/06 Hi, wonder if you can help, I have a 12 year old goldfish who has had a swollen tummy for a couple of months, now he is lying at the bottom of the tank upside down and hardly moving at all, I have removed him from his tank and into a smaller bowl and not fed him today, should I go on like this or be kind and let him go. Many thanks. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm And http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pigmentation Loss in Black Moor   6/17/06 Hello, I have two Black Moor goldfish.  One, which I'd only had for about 6 months, and was a "baby" when I got it recently started losing its pigmentation.  At first it was just a patch on the belly which turned white and then the fins started to turn clear on the ends.  Six days ago I noticed that it was hanging around the bottom of the tank with its fins slightly clamped - I knew it was in trouble.  The following day it was swimming happily and eating well in the morning.  That night, however, I found it belly up in the tank and it had lost all pigmentation! <Yowzah!> The entire body and even it's eyes were white and the fins and tail were completely clear.  My other Black Moor shows no signs of this malady.  Is this a disease which I should treat or possibly a genetic disorder?  Thank you for your help. MJH <Moors and other goldfish varieties do change color for varying reasons, but this is too quick. This very rapid change of color and behavior belies something serious either with the environment (which may be discounted as your other fish showed no symptoms), or genetic/developmental with this one specimen. I would do my best to keep this fish "comfortable", monitor water quality, but other than Epsom Salt, would not administer chemical treatments. Bob Fenner>

Black Moor, Bacterial Infection? - 06/14/2006 I need help right away!  I have looked on the web for some kind of treatment.  I have a black moor that had a small white spot on its side and up by his top fin.   I thought at first it may be Ick, but there were no other spots.  The one spot by his top fin is gone, but the one on his side seems to be larger and now looks like a hole in the center of the white spot.  What is this, <Possibly a bacterial infection....  many possibilities here, though.> and what can I do to treat this?    <Depends partly upon your system....  Provided all is IDEAL, I would consider treating with Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone....> I had another orange goldfish that had this similar problem and died. It did not show any signs beside the white patch for me to think it had a life-threatening illness. It ate and swam around like the other fish.  I think I might have waited to long to try to treat him, but I would like to know how to properly treat the black moor before it gets to this point.  My water quality is good, <'Good' means little to me....  Actual readings would be more helpful.> I do my weekly water changes, etc.   <Maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> Please let me know before this gets worse.   <Too little information here to give you any real feedback, but provided water quality is perfect, the tank is large enough, and all else is ideal, I'd consider medicating.> Thanks.  -Denise <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox or Coloration? - 06/07/2006 Dear Bob, <Sabrina with you today, chilling at the coffee shop to answer some questions.> My Lionhead made the transition to living at a friend's house while I was away for a month wonderfully, and seemed healthier than ever; thanks again for the advice (which I'm including below to jog your memory, as it was two months ago now.   <Thanks for adding previous correspondence - it's VERY helpful when folks do this.> I think the trip back stressed her out again, because we're back to the world of stringy poop, though she's eating, blowing bubbles, and sucking gravel like a champ.   <Hmm....> One thing I've noticed in the last few days (I've had her back here about two weeks now) is the appearance of some white blotches on her rear fins, all on one side.  I'm sorry I wasn't able to get a good picture of them, but she's not good at sitting still to be photographed.   <That she's active enough for you not to photograph her is preferable, I'm sure you'll agree!  But thanks for trying.> They only appear in the fin, and don't seem to be bothering her at all, but they do appear more pronounced in the last few days.  While ammonia and nitrite are still at 0, nitrate levels seem to have climbed from the 30 or so they were before to at least 60.   <Yikes.  This is very disturbingly high, in my opinion.  High enough to cause troubles, and perhaps make your fish more susceptible to bacterial or viral infection....  I might suspect "carp pox"/"fish pox" in this case, but not seeing the affected fish makes it tough if not impossible to diagnose for sure.  If it is this particular viral complaint, it will pass on its own with pristine water quality and good nutrition.  Though untreatable, it's rarely fatal and easy to get rid of by improving water quality.> Other than doing my research on the web site regarding taking nitrate levels down, and stepping up the water changes from about 10% per week (10 gallon tank), do you have any thoughts?   <You said it.  More frequent or larger water changes (or both) to lower nitrate.  I would also add some tasty live plants (see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm for some ideas) which will help reduce nitrate as well as provide better/more complete nutrition for your goldfish.> Any difference between spring water and treated tap water here?   <Test your tapwater and see if you have nitrate straight out of the tap.  Aside from that, though purified water does have some benefits, you're probably fine sticking with tapwater.  If you do decide to switch to a purified water, find a dedicated water store that sells reverse-osmosis filtered water for drinking; this will be cheaper than buying gallon jugs from the grocery store, and the water store's equipment is probably very well maintained.  You'll probably want to consider adding a mineral supplement to the water....  Several are available for aquarium use....  "RO Right" is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, made by either Seachem or Kent, I think.  Be sure to monitor the pH if you change water to be sure you don't have a major fluctuation, and make the switch slowly.> I can keep trying to get a picture of the tail if that would help, <It might.> it doesn't look like any pictures of Ich I've ever seen, the blotches seem bigger and cloudier. <I do suspect that this is from water quality.  Do some hefty water changes and watch the fish closely over the next few weeks.  If the stringy feces continue, you might consider treatment with Metronidazole/Flagyl in food.> Thanks again,  -John <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox or Coloration? - II - 06/10/2006
Sabrina, <Hi, John!> Thanks so much for the suggestions.   <Glad to be of service.> I'll step up the water changes-- any suggestions as to how much/often?   <As much and often as is realistically possible, until those nitrates are comfortably below 20ppm, and then as much/often as necessary to maintain them at that amount.> The tap water here seems to be  pretty much nitrate-free, and we seem to be slowly getting the nitrate level in the tank down, but not fast enough, I fear (50ish at this point, which still stinks but beats 60, anyway).   <Better, but still a long way to go.> And I'll go to my LFS and see about getting some new plants too.  The cloudy blotches at the end of one side of her tail seem to be increasing very slightly but appetite/activity/etc. are unchanged, <This could also very well be the beginnings of Finrot from the constant high nitrate in the water....  Do you have an undergravel filter in this system?  A canister filter that doesn't get cleaned often enough?  Plant or animal matter decaying in the substrate?  Or just an overstocked or under maintained system?  Something is causing the nitrate to be so high, just need to figure out what, and how to fix it.> and I've given her some Pepso Food.   <Probably not necessary in this case.  Likely reducing the nitrate will "cure" this alone.> They're nowhere else on her body, just at the end of her tail, and part of the problem in taking a picture is that they're blurry spots already! <Understood.> Just that they're bigger than I'd have expected from Ich.  I'll keep trying to get a picture.   <If you can, that'd be great; if you can't, keep getting that nitrate reading down.  Good water and good nutrition here are probably all you need.> Thanks again,  -John <All the best to you and your Lionhead,  -Sabrina>

Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox or Coloration? - III - 06/14/2006 Dear Sabrina, <Hi, John!> Thanks so much again for your time and attention.   <No problem.> After millions of tries and some well-timed and placed Formula Two, I got her to sit (sit?) still long enough to get at least a halfway decent shot of her tail.  I'm sorry it's not better than it is, but out of over a hundred shots (ok, the "millions" was a bit of hyperbole), this was the only one that was even sort of goodish, at least you can see some blotches on one side of the tail, and that's the only place she's got them.   <It does look a bit like "carp pox" to me.> Constipation/bloat has set in, <Yikes!> so I've added Epsom salts to the water and we'll be back on the pea diet as of suppertime.  Changing 20% of the water every couple days for now, and more than happy to do that or more for as long as it takes.   <Sounds great.> I also realized I probably wasn't putting enough aquarium salt in the water (10g tank), though I know from reading some recent comments of Bob's that that's a very inexact art.   <Agreed.  You don't necessarily "need" any salt in the water, but a little can be beneficial.> On the plus side, the poop is getting greener, though with the occasional air bubble in it.  I've been there before, and peas did the job.   <Fingers crossed....  Do please analyze this fishy's regular diet and change if necessary.> One point of clarification there, regarding preparation--I've read what seems like everything I can possibly find on the site regarding nutrition, <Oh, good.> and I'm still unclear as to what may be a really obvious point (just not to me)--I'm sticking a frozen pea in water in the microwave for a minute or so and then shelling it afterwards--should they be shelled and THEN blanched?   <Uhh, doesn't really matter, to be quite honest.  I think it's easier to blanch first.> Would make sense, but I've never actually seen it spelled out.  Anyway, thanks again, and I hope this picture is attached properly and works for you.   <Seems to be just fine.> I've cut it down to what I hope is a manageable size.   Please let me know if it's OK, I can make the tail a little bigger, but we're at the point where it degrades the photo quality.  Thanks again again,  -John  PS - Isn't she a cutie? <Indeed she is!  All the best to you both,  -Sabrina>

Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox or Coloration? - IV - 06/14/2006 Sabrina, <John,> I'm sorry--I forgot to answer your questions.  It's an AquaClear 30 filter, I change the filter elements regularly, though I try not to change them all together (I just changed the foam layer, and though I need to change the charcoal too, I hate to do them at the same time), do a vacuum with a 20% water change every two weeks, and there's just the one fish who gets primarily vegetable food (Formula Two, actually on your recommendation on the site and peas). <Gotcha.  Um, how big is the tank?> Thanks again! <Glad, as always, to be of service.> John <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox or Coloration? - V - 06/14/2006
Sabrina, <Hi, John!> Sorry for the barrage, <No worries.> but today there's a new development--it looks like her tail is beginning to split in a few places where the spots have been.   <Not terribly surprising....  but may be the start of fin rot, as a secondary infection from the viral "carp pox" (if that is, in fact, what she has.> Her small fin on the same side also appears to have lost a little bit.  I've added plants and have stepped up the water changes (LFS suggested 20-30% daily until the nitrates are down)<Can't hurt.> Seems more stress-related now but nothing is working yet, and I'm particularly concerned about the fin splitting and loss.    <Agreed.> The loss of even a tiny bit of surface area on that small side fin may be beginning to affect mobility.   <Disconcerting....> Might we just be looking at fin rot, and a case for a simple antibiotic treatment?   <Quite possibly.> I'm going to go back to my seat in the back of the class and be quiet now but I thought this change was important enough to be a pain one more time.   <Agreed.  I would monitor this VERY closely and have some Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone on hand "just in case"....  If at this time it is unchanged from when you last wrote, I would continue to just monitor it.  If it has worsened notably, of if she is beginning to clamp her fins, I would begin considering treatment.> Thanks again for all the help.   <No prob.> Annoyingly,   <Not in the least.> -John <-Sabrina>
Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox - High Nitrate - VI - 06/20/2006
Hi again Sabrina! <Hey there, John!> Well, in the last week, things have got better, and now worse again, it's very strange.  In answer to your question, it's a 10 gallon tank, <Ultimately, this is the root of your problem, my friend.  Though we recommend 10-20 gallons "per goldfish", a ten gallon tank is realistically too small for a goldfish as it grows up some.  Your ever-climbing nitrate level is evidence that this space is just too small a world for the "biomass" of your goldfish.  They're pretty poopy critters.> so changing 20% of the water every couple days is easy.  Got an AquaClear filter, and have recently changed both the foam and carbon elements (about 10 days apart).  The blotches on her tail have pretty much faded away, and the splits in her tail disappeared, <Very good signs.> but have re-appeared in the last day or two.    <Sigh....  likely all attributable to the nitrate level and this too-small space.> The side fin hasn't got any better, but I don't think it's worse either.   <That's good, at least.> Certainly no fin clamping.  My LFS sold me an Anacharis plant (not sure which but I think it's Elodea canadensis), <A coldwater plant - though a good choice for a coldwater goldfish tank, it may "melt down" if the water warms up.  A tasty goldie treat.> but it's one that, believe it or not, she isn't eating, <Uh, WOW.> though she attacks her food with a vengeance <Try withholding food for a few days....  even four or five days.  She'll start nibbling on it and discover what a wonder it is, I'll bet.> and a hornwort, not so much for munchies but for nitrate removal, but they're not really helping the nitrate level, <This will take time, and diligence on your part.> which is back up over 60.   <.... and a larger system is necessary, as evidenced by this....> It doesn't seem like antibiotics are called for here, <Agreed....  just a cleaner environment.> but I'm beginning to tear my abundant hair out over what is called for.   <Don't do that, you'll miss it later in life.> JUST water changes and Epsom salt for bloat?    <And an appropriate diet.> She seems a little distressed again now.   <Work on those nitrates....  maybe a hefty 50%-70% change is called for, today and in another 24-48 hours, to begin to get this manageable.> Thanks again,  -John <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox - High Nitrate - VII - 06/22/2006
Hi again again, Sabrina! <Hi, John!> Well, the nitrate level is improving with the water changes, <Ah, good.  Do please try to get/keep the nitrate below 20ppm....  And please very seriously consider a system of 20 or 30 gallons for her.> but I'm still concerned about the bloat and bit of tail fraying.   <Me too.> Even when I feed her peas the bloat isn't always fixed, and I've cut way back on feeding.  I'll not feed her for a few days if that's really wise.   <It is.> I know you've said that sucking air doesn't help cause the bloat problem, <Nah.  Goldfish can expel air from their swim bladder....  gulping/spitting air is okay.> but she's got a ritual of blowing bubbles for a couple hours (!) after every meal.   <.... does she gulp air at the top during this time?  Or just anomalously spit out air without approaching the surface at all?> No correlation to what, when, or how much she eats, she just does that every single time she's fed.  Poop is variable, sometimes white and stringy, sometimes dark green and normal, sometimes a grayish tape-like consistency, sometimes a very strange thick and pale green.   <This (the stringy or tape-like feces) is a little bit disconcerting, and *may* be a sign of internal parasites.  I wouldn't want to jump to that as a conclusion, though.> You'd mentioned an appropriate diet.  She basically gets only Formula Two, peas when she's floaty bloaty, <Peas and other veggies can be a permanent installment in her diet.  It'd actually be a good idea to use greens as her major food source, aside from live plants.  You can realistically give her plenty of plants and let her "fend for herself", so to speak, and just supplement this with the occasional small "treat"....  I actually don't feed my pond goldfish.... at all....  haven't in some years.> and the occasional meal of Jungle Pepso Food (LFS suggested giving it to her once a week).   <Maybe during this time of distress that'd be okay, but please don't make this a regular weekly offering; it does contain antibiotics, and a permanent offering of antibiotics can end up resulting in particularly strong/resistant bacterial strains, if she ever does contract a major illness....> I've long since cut out all the high profile foods.  And you're right, the lower leaves on one of the Elodea stalks are looking awfully thin all of a sudden.... <Heh!  I knew she'd go for it.  Leave her with just the Elodea for a while.  Four or five days, even, would be quite okay.  This will hopefully allow her some time to recover from her issues, and will help you by decreasing the amount of nitrogenous wastes in the tank.> Her tail has a few tiny splits at the end, and we're all keeping our fins crossed that the water changes help!   <Me, too!  Do please keep a very close eye on her; I know you will.  If anything worsens, or if she begins to clamp her fins, I would like to advise you to pursue other avenues - I would very much enjoy an update in any case.> Thanks again for everything.  Best,  -John <Take care - of her and of yourself.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox - High Nitrate - VIII - 07/18/2006
Hi again again again! <Hello again again again, echo, echo!> Well, the situation has been stable for a while, nitrates in the tank coming down, maybe 25-30 now, which is at least better than 60.   <Better, yes - keep 'em comin' down.> The situation with her pectoral fin, though, may be getting worse, because the area which was eaten away now seems to be red on the edge.  It hasn't got any bigger in the three or four weeks since I last wrote, but hasn't cleared up either, and the red outline along that edge has just turned up.  Is it time for medicine, do you think?   <Possibly.  I'd rather see that nitrate below 20ppm before considering medicating.  Once there, if the redness persists, you might consider using Nitrofurazone or Kanamycin, but do please keep in mind that this may set you yet further back on your nitrate issue.> As far as your questions, she gulps air from the top after meals for a couple hours, it's a regular ritual for her.   <Ah, no worries.  This is typical of goldfish, to some extent.> The poop is actually looking better most of the time, with occasional recurrences of stringiness, but not as often.   <Good!> Feeding her less has really helped.   <Excellent.> And the elodea leaves strangely disappear....   <Heh!  Mysterious, eh?> Anyway, what do you feel I should do about the redness around the edge of the bit of fin that has deteriorated?  <Keep on top of those nitrates till they're well below 20ppm (preferably 10-15ppm, less is always okay), and if the redness persists or worsens, consider Nitrofurazone or Kanamycin.> Thanks again so much for your concern.  Best always,  John <And my best to you also,  -Sabrina>

Traveling Lionhead - Carp Pox - High Nitrate - IX -  8/8/06
Hi hi hi etc etc etc! <Hello hello hello!  Um.  And please forgive the lateness that comes with this reply - Argh!  I can't wait until I finally move....> Well, we seem to be around or just under 20 on the nitrate front, at least according to the test strips.   <Right on!  Try a liquid reagent kit, too, or maybe have your local fish store double-check your results, if you can.  How exciting!> Doing lots of small water changes, and the fin's not getting any worse, at least.  Still haven't gone the antibiotic route, but I'm not thrilled with the overall condition of that fin.  I seem to mind it more than she does, though.   <Hopefully this will begin to heal on its own, now.> One stupid question--the hornwort seems to be collecting an awful lot of gunk on it after six weeks or so, and it makes the most horrible mess in the tank if I jostle it a bit, which will happen constantly during gravel vacuums, which I'm now doing weekly.   Is it OK to take it out of the tank and rinse some of that gunk out?   <Sure.  It's probably a diatom algae or something of that nature.  Maybe even just detritus.> Given the filter media, gravel, and elodea, as well as the tank itself, it shouldn't take out too many healthy bacteria, should it?   <Nah.> It would seem as though the mess that is attached to the plant seems more unhealthy than otherwise, but I don't know for sure, of course.  What do you think?   <Do as you like with the gunk - probably not damaging either way.> We're learning to do tricks together.  She eats off my finger, and she has her little scooting back and forth routine she pulls out for company.  Oh, and she wiggles like crazy when I wave at her.   <Awesome!  I'm sure she's totally digging her healthy environment, now!> And she sure is grooving on the elodea leaves now!   <I'm tellin' you, that stuff's tasty.  According to the fish, of course.> Thanks so much again, from all of us.   <Glad, as always, to help you out.> Best ever,  -John  PS I owe you! <Heh!  No, ya don't.  The only thing we would ask is that you continue enjoying learning and maybe help teach others along the way.  All the best to you and yours,  -Sabrina>
The Traveling Lionhead Travels On....  - 10/21/2006 Dear Sabrina, <John!  How are you?> I'm sorry to say that Clemmie passed away the other day.   <Ohhhhh, I am so terribly sorry to hear this....> She'd never been quite well since I first got her, and your help was key to the fact that she had a well cared for 10 months longer life, so thanks again for all the help.   <I'm glad I was able to assist in whatever small way I could.  Oh, what sad news!  I think this is the second time an email correspondence has made me cry.> I appreciate it, and so does she.   <How lucky she was to have been in your exceptional care....  Thank you for your dedication to her.> Services will be private.  Best always,  -John <Best to you, as well, John.  Thank you for your message, and may you always find beauty in life.  -Sabrina>

Re: Curing Lucy  6/12/06 Hello, Tom. <<Hi, Alfredo.>> I think you may have gotten my e-mails in the wrong order or there was a problem with e-mail delivery. Did you by chance get the long one where I mention Mimi passed away? <<No, I didn't and I hope you know how sorry I am to hear this. I know how hard you tried to save her. After all of this, I almost feel like I lost one of my own.>> I will try to rewrite it if not; I had several questions in that one. I noticed that Lucy has a bit of a frayed tail this morning. How can I fix that for her? <<The frayed tail is, with little or no doubt, connected to a bacterial infection, likely the same that affected Mimi. The medicated food you're feeding her should aid in correcting this.>> Thanks for alerting about Lucy. I appreciate it very much, Tom. All the Best, Alfredo <<My best to you as well, Alfredo, and, again, I'm very sorry about Mimi.>>

Re: troubling goldfish  6/12/06 Hi Tom, I am really sorry for bothering you. <<Not a problem, my friend.>> Lucy seems much thinner than she was, and she is somewhat active.  <<I'm, cautiously (after losing Mimi), glad to hear this.>> I have given her the medicated pellets and she eats them but a couple of minutes later she spits them out. <<For what it's worth, mine did the same thing.>> Her tail seems a lot more frayed than when I last wrote you. How can I get her to eat this food? If I leave the food in the water is it still effective even if she does not eat it?. <<Second question first. Yes. As I wrote to you before, Nitrofurazone will be absorbed through the skin and gills. Will it effective as quickly as if she ingests it? This, in all honesty, I don't know. Simple logic would dictate that dilution in the water would mean less medicine reaching the fish this way than if she consumes the medicated food. Stands to reason. As to the first question, if this is what it takes, crush the pellets and mix it on something that she likes. For example, if she likes brine shrimp, soak these in a solution containing the powderized pellets and feed her the entire mixture. Mix it with bloodworms. Again, whatever it takes, Alfredo.>> We have to save this fish. <<No one is more in agreement with you on this than I am!>> I am sorry for all the trouble. <<What trouble? ;)>> Thank you so much, Alfredo. <<Por nada, Amigo. Tom>>

Re: A Sad Occurrence  6/12/06 Hello again, Tom. <<Hello, Alfredo.>> I write to you with the sad news that Lucy has passed away as well. <<I'm fighting back something that I didn't think I'd be fighting back right now...tears.>> This has been a very sad occurrence, but I have decided to try to keep and raise some goldfish again. <<I'm glad to hear this, Alfredo.>> What could have caused that septicemia? <<Water conditions. Contact with infected fish. Handling. Transporting. Crowding.>> Is it contagious to human beings? <<No. Our immune systems are highly developed as compared to our aquatic pets.>> I am very puzzled as to why I have lost all of my fish. I know people who keep their goldfish in less than appropriate conditions and are not deeply concerned with giving their pets the very best care, and yet they thrive in these poor states. Where could I have gone wrong? <<You didn't go wrong, Alfredo. (I'll come down there and "smack" you if you don't get past that! :)) These bacteria exist in almost all aquaria. "Stress" is the biggest factor but, if a fish isn't exposed...>> I adored my little goldfish and really went out of my way to ensure that they were healthy and happy. <<I know you did.>> I thought of perhaps keeping a different type of fish but the truth is that I quite fell in love with the personalities that goldfish have.  <<Bob says that that the longer we're in the hobby, the more likely we are to come back to Goldfish.>>  I will have to  research the articles on WWM to be better prepared for the next time and I will have plenty of questions to bug you with. <<I'll look forward to these as well as to talking to you.>> I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all of the kind and wise help that you have given me, Tom. <<I wish I could have done so much more.>> Thank you very, very much, my friend.  :) Alfredo <<My very best to you, Alfredo. Tom>>

Alfredo's Angels, Goldfish     7/13/06 Tom, hello! <<Greetings, Alfredo!>> How have you been? <<I've been very well, Alfredo. It seems this summer has been busier than most what with work, weddings, graduation parties and the usual "un-ending" stream of around-the-house projects. And you?>> Your angel fish, how are they? <<Growing larger and more outgoing/curious by the day. They appear to have taken the lead role in "teaching" their tankmates the art of begging for food since even those who seemed "indifferent" in the past now rush the front of the tank whenever I come into the room. (They'd deny this, of course. :) ) Have you made plans to start a new Goldfish 'project', yet? I know you miss Mimi and Lucy but you, and I, learned much from the experience. I'd like to hear that you're ready to try again.>> I hope that all is well with you, my friend. Thanks again for all the help you have given me. <<All is, indeed, well and there's no need for thanks. It's my pleasure to help whenever possible.>> I send you my best regards and warmest greetings, Alfredo <<And I send mine back to you, Alfredo. Tom>>

Ammonia poisoning ... goldfish, sys., dis.  6/12/06 Hello <Hi there - you've got Jorie here> Please can you help me? <Will try...> I bought a tank and 4 goldfish 16 days and I stupidly thought that adding the fish straight away without leaving a tank to sit for a week would be ok<...> <I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say here.  I think you mean that you bought 4 goldfish in 16 days?  In any case, from your following statement indicating that you didn't let the water sit for a week, I think you are confusing two issues: (1) if you are using pure tap water, you need to either let the water sit to allow the chlorine/Chloramine levels to lower (a few days if there's no aeration in the water, less if you are aerating the H20), or you need to use a liquid dechlorinator, which works almost immediately to remove harmful chlorine/Chloramine from the water and (2) establishing the nitrogen cycle in the tank prior to introducing livestock.  Sounds to me like we need to start from the beginning - here are some very helpful articles/links:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm and  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  Additionally, there's a good beginner book out there by David E. Boruchowitz, which has a title something like "The Simple Guide for Freshwater Aquariums" (sorry I don't have the exact title - I've lent the book to my boyfriend's dad...do an author search on www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com)  Everything contained within that book is very helpful and I've found accurate, with the exception of his stocking suggestions - he tends to overcrowd his tanks a bit, in my opinion.   In any case, after reading the material I've linked you to, plus other material which you can readily find via www.google.com or the likes, you'll need to invest in a good test kit.  Personally, I like Tetra's Master Freshwater test kit.  Definitely stay away from dipstick type tests, as they are notoriously inaccurate.  When you are cycling your tank, you will need to take daily readings of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and you will see a spike, and subsequent reduction, in all three.  As long as there aren't fish in the tank, you can allow these three readings to spike, but, obviously, if you are cycling the tank with fish in it (which I don't recommend, as it is cruel...a small bit of fish food or a cocktail shrimp in the tank will achieve the same result), you need to do frequent water changes to get the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate out of the water, as all are toxic to livestock.> <...>as I had a goldfish when I was younger that lived in a bowl of tap water for 3 years but I have found out (in a very stressing way)  that this was the worst thing to do as the following occurred: Day 1 - put 4 fish (roughly 2.5cm each) into a 14 Litre tank with an air pump and filter <1 goldfish, let alone 4, DO NOT BELONG IN A 14 Litre tank (rough equivalent is less than 4 U.S. gallons).  This is cruel and unusual - there is not enough room for the fish to swim and thrive.  You need a min. of a 50-70 gal. tank for the four fish you have.  To be bluntly honest, for the purpose of sparing the poor fish, you should return whatever surviving fish you have and read and research prior to doing anything else with livestock.> Days 2 to 8 performed 20% water changes every other day... <In such a ridiculously small tank with 4 messy goldfish, this is totally inadequate.  Even if the 3-4 U.S. gal. tank were sufficient, you'd need to do at least 100% daily water changes to rid the water of the pollution left behind from 4 goldies.   <...adding Nutrafin Biological aquarium supplement and Nutrafin water conditioner each time, I have since found out should only have done this when there were no fish in the tank. <I am not a fan of using artificial supplements to "quicken" the cycling process.  It is totally not necessary if you've gone through the entire nitrogen cycle (without fish, preferably)> Days 9 and 10 Noticed the fish were not as active and seemed to lying at the bottom of the tank or hiding <Yes, they were likely dying a slow, painful death due to toxic poisoning.> Day 11 Noticed one of the fish had severe problems swimming and its tail was badly torn, then I seen one of the other fish take a bite out of it, so I  quickly put it in the jug I used for water changes but it died about 10 minutes later. Day 12 Another fish died I went to my local garden centre with a sample  of water from the tank and explained what I had done, the test showed the there was a very high level of ammonia in the water, I was advised to do an 80% water change that day and to add some King British Safe Water to get rid of the ammonia and to give a salt bath to the fish in the morning.   Day 13 Found another fish dead which just left one I removed her from the tank and gave her a salt bath and she immediately picked up when she was added back to the tank. I took another sample to get tested and the ammonia level had  gone down but I was told to perform partial water changes until the ammonia was  gone and to keep giving salt baths. Day 14 I went to check on her in the morning and she was at the side of the tank when she saw me she floated up to the top, the man at the garden centre told me I could give her a little food so I broke up 1 fish food flake and put it in the water beside her she followed it around the tank for a bit and did take a few bites but then she went back to the side of the tank again and spat it all back out. I gave her another salt bath and did a partial water change making sure the water was the same temp as the tank when I put her back in the tank she picked up but only for a short period of time and for the rest of the  day she never left the side of the tank she appeared to float at the top and  sometimes all her fins would come out and then she slowly pulled them back in at  the same time as sinking back to the bottom I went to a pet shop and I was  advised to put Sera water conditioner into the water. Day 15 I checked on her in the morning and she was still a the side of the tank sometimes at the top and sometimes at the bottom when she showed all her fins I noticed that she wasn't using her left fin very much and upon closer inspection  noticed that it was red  at the base. I took another sample to the garden centre, which showed there was  1.5 mg of ammonia in the tank. I spoke to the same man as I had done on my first  visit there and explained what had happened he told me to keep giving salt baths  and to add 75mg of soluble aspirin to the bath and use water from the tank for  the bath and to do a water change when she was in the bath and to put the Sera  water conditioner and King British safe water into the new water before adding it  to the tank. I also explained that she wasn't eating and that her fin was sore,  he told me to give her live feed and not to worry about her fin yet as getting rid of the ammonia was the main problem to sort out first. I came back and gave  her a salt bath with the aspirin and did a partial water change. When I put her  back in the tank she swam around for a while but then went back to the side, I  added the live feed and she showed no interest in it at all I then crumpled in 1 flake of food and again she followed the pieces but this time she didn't take any bits into her mouth so I removed the dried food. Today I went to check on her and she is now at the bottom of the tank  hiding behind an ornamental cave and she won't come up for food and she's not moving much she is opening her mouth but not frantically. I bought a water testing kit yesterday and I've tested the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate the ammonia level is 0.8mg the nitrite level is 0.1mg and the nitrate level is  0mg <You cannot have any traces of ammonia in the water when there are live fish in there!  First off - FIND ANOTHER HOME FOR YOUR FISH, unless you are capable of immediately providing a suitable sized home for the fish.  As mentioned above, you need a larger tank (by far), you need to make sure the tank is cycled prior adding any livestock.  I cannot condone you keeping your 4 fish in such cramped quarters, but if you insist, since you now have your own test kit now, keep doing water changes and keep the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels at ZERO.  That's the only thing you can do at the moment. In all honesty, I expect your fish to die if you keep there where they are now.> Please can you help it's so upsetting seeing her like this especially as  I know this is all my fault I really would appreciate any advice you can  offer I look forward to hearing from you soon <Dawn, I, too, am very distraught in reading this.  In all honesty, your fish are dying right now due to ammonia, nitrite and/or nitrate poisoning.  I'm glad you care and give you kudos for wanting to do what's right.  Please understanding I'm not trying to beat you up, and if I honestly thought there was another solution, I'd tell you.  You really aren't prepared for your fish at the current time, so please try to find another home for them ASAP.  If you absolutely cannot replace them, then keep doing water changes and keep testing the water.  You do not want any traces of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate.  For your water changes, use a liquid chlorine/Chloramine remover to make your tap water immediately suitable, and do water changes until all readings are at zero.  But please consider returning the fish, doing some homework, and returning to this hobby once you are better prepared.  In the meantime, please do peruse www.wetwebmedia.com for helpful information about fishkeeping.> Dawn Ord <Best regards, Jorie>
Re: Question I just replied to on WWM...  6/12/06
Hi Bob, Sabrina:    <Hi, Jorie!!>  I just answered a query entitled "Ammonia Poisoning", and I hope I wasn't too harsh.  Someone was/is trying to keep 4 goldies in a 3-4 gal. uncycled tank, and short of immediately purchasing a 50-60 gal. aquarium, the best advice I could give was to find a better home for the fish.  I did talk about the nitrogen cycle, water changes, etc., etc., but bottom line, I kept stressing getting rid of the fish ASAP.  I hope I wasn't out of line - of course feel free to amend my response before posting.        Thanks!    Jorie   <My take?  Say what you mean; don't skimp on truth to spare someone's pride at the risk of the life/lives in their care, be honest....  On queries that get me particularly incensed, I'll go have a coffee and chill out a bit before responding.  That doesn't usually change how I respond, though ;)  If you're comfortable with your replies, so am I.  But that's just my $0.02,

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

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