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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 7

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Disease, GoldfishGoldfish Varieties Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment SystemBloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHPHole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis,

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Disease 1, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish Disease 22, Goldfish Health 23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25, Goldfish Disease 26, Goldfish Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30, Goldfish Disease 31, Goldfish Disease 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38

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

A fish louse... Argulus species.

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 behaviour 7/4/05 Hi <Hello there> I have a very large garden pond - twenty foot by forty plus foot, four feet plus deep at one side, lots of goldfish which do breed and so on.  However they do this every year and I now feel I need to know why. They are mostly just hanging suspended in the water, like they were asleep, although they did consent to eat a little yesterday and in the post dawn period they make little bubbles on the surface which linger most of the day. <Ah, yes> Can anyone tell me what they are doing and why?  No filter or oxygenator alas but I have lived here for more than ten years now and have managed so far okay. Thanks very much Angie Watts <They are experiencing changes in the pond due to the season... in essence being poisoned... changes in pH, mixing of bottom water... You might consider adding aeration, biological filtration... that will make this system overall more homeostatic throughout the year. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond Goldfish behaviour 7/5/05
Thanks very much for your reply.  I found the credit note from the water company when we had to have the concrete pond relined with a butyl liner as it had cracked (September 2003) and I found I reclaimed for 35metres3 not put back into the sewage system. <A good note... in the States we also can at times realize such a saving from notifying our water/sewage service provider> Add to that the contents of 2 x 45 gallon containers, one large fish tank and a paddling pool (for the marginals) I think that works out a pond approx 7,800 gallons, am I about right?   <Mmm, 35 cubic meters of water is about 9,409 gallons...> About a hundred goldfish (although most of them have bred black).  I have ordered a solar powered oxygenator to help things & use barley straw in old tights (last added about three weeks ago) but I guess 2 and half inches of rain the other day really upset my systems. Although I have to confess I was in there the week before taking out some weed!  At the moment I am just spraying the water a little each day to add oxygen. <All good techniques> The fish seem to be okay but after looking through your web site I am resolved to feed them less often than the several times a day they have got into the habit of begging for. It's a great site - I have learnt so much from looking at it. Cheers Angie Watts <Thank you for your kind words, caring and sharing your experiences. Bob Fenner>

Bubble eye goldfish About a month ago my bubble eyed goldfish, Squishy, had what looked like a popped blood vessel under his eye. The eye was all red but nothing was leaking from it. <This does happen... for no apparent "reason"... in this variety of goldfish... and cures itself in time almost always> I treated him in a hospital tank with Maracyn- Two for the instructed amount of time. Then he stayed in the hospital tank until completely healed. Squishy went back into the main tank, where there are 3 fancy goldfish and a bottom feeder. After about 2 weeks of being in the tank, I came home from work to him missing the eye. It was just gone. No where to be found in the tank. That morning his eye was still there! Squish is now in the hospital tank again, on Maracyn-Two so as to avoid any possible infection. So, my question really is how did this happen? <Likely either a physical/mechanical injury (getting caught on something sharp, sucked onto a pump intake...) or negative interaction with other livestock> And, someone told me that bubble eyed goldfish can simply lose their eye(s) if the bubbles get too big.... any truth to that? <Does play a role> Thanks for you help, Lindsay <Sorry to read of your fish's plight. Rest-assured it can still live a quality life in your good care. Bob Fenner>
Re: HELP!!!!!!!Re: bubble- eye goldfish
It appears now that my fish has dropsy! Bloated and scales sticking out! <Argghhh, "when it rains..."> I just finished treating him with Maracyn- Two for fighting injury. Should I start the process over again?! Can I even keep medicating him?! <You can, with Mardel Lab's fine products.> He's looking pretty bad!  Thanks, Lindsay <Do add some Epsom Salt (one teaspoon per five gallons) as well... will help alleviate the swelling, pressure. Good luck. Bob Fenner>

Oranda died Thank you for your responses to my earlier emails. Unfortunately, our Oranda died. It all happened very very suddenly. He was fine last weekend and on Monday started hanging out at the bottom. when I emailed on Tuesday, I had a feeling he was spiraling downward--he just seemed so completely weak and out of control of his swimming. Of course, we are all very sad. I wish I could figure out what it was that caused this. Maybe it was some weird fish illness that just managed to take hold. One person on the WWM Chat Forum thought our pH was too high (it ran about 8.0 to 8.2 on a regular basis), but so many folks (on this site as well as at our local fish store) had told me that although that is higher than what is recommended, it is within the range of what goldfish will adapt to. <This is a "high" pH, in the upper range for the species... but mostly a problem with presence of nitrogenous waste... turns out ammonia is MUCH more toxic at elevated pH> I religiously tested the water weekly, and the readings were always good. (Nitrates went up recently, but only to about 10 or so.) So, we will try, try again. As I explained in an earlier email, this was our second attempt, and we are finding that having a fish is more challenging than most people think! This is my sons' first pet experience, and although it has been bittersweet, we are all committed to creating a good home for some fish. <Mmm, am tempted to insert a comment here... times were that goldfish were TOUGH, good choices for/as beginner fish... such is not really the case in modern times... due to quick grow-out, damage in handling, crowded shipping, who knows what... you might be better off starting this tank with some simple, hardy tropical fishes... Platies, Danios, Rasboras... Corydoras Catfish/es... your LFS should be able to show you what is carte blanche VERY likely compatible... If you would, make a tentative list of species, varieties, numbers you'd like to keep and send it back to us for review> Questions: I think we will probably stick with a goldfish again, but do you have any other recommendations for types of fish that are hardy and engaging for kids? <Oh! I guess I should read ahead> Our little Orangy had so much personality! And what is the protocol for cleaning the tank after a fish dies and starting over--just draining it and rinsing it all out (I know, no soap) And then once we fill it with dechlorinated water, should we wait for anything to get established or just get the fish right away? <Please do wait... a few weeks> I think last time I added the enzymes to help get the biologic filter started and then waited for a few days. <Even with their use, a good idea to take your time> Thanks for your wonderful site, your support and advice, Judy <A pleasure to serve. Bob Fenner>

Panda Oranda Hi guys, <Liam> Thanks for the help you've given me in the past, and now onto business ;-) I have a query from a colleague of mine: He has a Panda Oranda which is mainly white, with brownish patches.  Recently he has noticed that the head and tail of the fish are turning a yellowish colour. The fish seems happy enough, swimming ok, eating etc etc.  No obvious signs of disease on any of the other fish in the tank and ammonium/nitrate/nitrite levels are negligible. The fish is being fed a regular flake mixture. <I would expand this fish's diet... not feed it exclusively on dried-prepared foods... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm > My immediate reaction was that it was probably a natural colour change, but any help would be most appreciated. Thanks!  Liam <Is very likely as you state, a genetic unfolding... though color, health could/would be improved with a broader diet, close care as to water quality. Bob Fenner>

Urgent! Please Help!! We have 2 goldfish in a 28 gallon tank. One of them, Albert, has developed a red sore/pimple type thing on the back of his body where a dorsal fin would be (he does not, however, have a dorsal). <Ah, yes... a "Lionhead" goldfish variety likely> There are low levels of nitrite (0.15 ppm) and all other levels appear fine. For the past few days, he's been hiding and sleeping much more than his normal. Teena, his tankmate, has also started sleeping somewhat more than normal. Their appetites remain very good, but we are extremely concerned. <I would stop, NOT feed these fish while there is detectable nitrite (or ammonia)> We recently relocated them to this larger tank (which has been fully cycled and has been running for weeks with all levels fine). There are no other signs of distress. Would you please advise? We'll do anything for them. Thank you so much,  Marcellino & Alice <Let time go by at this point... Bob Fenner>

Lethargic Oranda Hi there, <Judy> You guys were a great help when I was setting up my tank a few months ago. (A 10 gallon tank with one Oranda (Orangey); we have an over the back filter and a bubbler for aeration.) Now we have a problem. Orangy has hunkered down to the bottom of the tank; he swims about occasionally but for the past two days has been spending a lot of time still at the bottom. Right now he is holed up with his face between a rock and an Anacharis--pretty much motionless. I've been testing water quality weekly since we got him in October. Nothing dramatic: our pH runs a bit high (around 8.2), and ammonia, and nitrites have been 0; lately, nitrates have gotten up to around 10, but then go back down with a weekly 25 percent water change. I took some water into our local fish store today for testing, just in case I missed something. They found all levels at zero (I did a 25 percent change last night. we have been getting brown algae since December; I purchased a phosphate filter and it seems to have cut back the algae growth somewhat, but we're still getting it. We feed our fish flakes every morning and mashed peas a few times a week in the evening. Per advice of our fish store, I added aquarium salt to the tank today. I'm getting worried, since we lost our first goldfish earlier this year (that fish was given to us by my sister in law with no warning as a gift for our 5 year old, and we had no idea what we were doing. By the time we figured it out the fish had gotten very sick. I thought everything was going so well this time, but now all of a sudden he's so still and sad looking. Am I missing something obvious? <Not from what you relate... or intuitive sense> Orangy is showing no outward physical signs--no discoloration, coating, etc. Back when we had the first fish, I found a vet who sees fish--when is it time to take him in, or does that just cause more stress than it's worth? <The latter in my estimation... When, where in doubt with aquariums of almost all sorts, "do a water change"... Do change out about a quarter of this fish's water... and add a teaspoon of salt to it... likely this is "just" a psychological slump... does happen...> Do fish come out of these things on their own? I'm just terrified that he's going to start going irreversibly downhill, like last time...  Thanks for your advice,  Judy <You're doing fine my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: addendum to lethargic Oranda question
Hi, not sure what the proper procedure is for adding information to a question before a reply has been received on the original question... <You're doing it> ...but I wanted you to have all the info. I wrote a question yesterday about our lethargic Oranda. Today he was swimming around a bit, but having a lot of trouble. It seems he's not in control of his buoyancy or movements; he kept getting caught in the current from the aerator and just sort of floating around, tilting to the side a little, using his fins a little, but like he has no muscle control. Perhaps that's why he's at the bottom just sitting there--it probably feels much safer than being carried about. I did another water change today (about 40 percent, although the problem doesn't seem environmental, since the water readings have been okay. A couple of times today he got caught up against the intake of the filter and apparently didn't have the strength to swim away; I turned the filter off to let him get away and then put it back on. He was not interested in eating at all today. He's also looking like his breathing is much more labored today. <Good observations, bad signs> Anyway, any ideas about what's going on? I'm afraid we're going to wake up tomorrow and find him floating. I truly hope not and wish there was something I could do. Does this sound recoverable? <There is always hope> It really came from out of the blue--three days ago, he looked totally fine! Thanks for your advice, Judy <May have "eaten a bug" that dropped, flew into its tank... Have you tried adding salt to the water? Have you read over the accounts of others with Goldfish ailments (some similar): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  see the Related FAQs (above, in blue). Bob Fenner>

Floating Oranda! My tank is two years old (ten gallon) and contains three goldfish - one black moor, a fantail, and a white and orange Oranda. I just did a 50% water change this morning and ever since my Oranda has been hanging at the top of the tank. It seems like it has to fight to go to the bottom. Plus now my black moor won't leave the Oranda alone.  My black moor was constipated (at least that was what I was told by the pet shop staff) last year and kept on floating to the surface, but that was butt first to it's underside. That was fixed with some vegetables. This one is not flipping to it's stomach though.  Thanks, Jess <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  and the Related Goldfish Disease FAQs (linked, above, in blue). Do any of these folks circumstances... set-ups, histories... seem similar to yours? Perhaps Epsom Salt added to your system, changing foods will help here. Be careful with the amount of water you change... fifty percent is too much... I would not switch out any more than a quarter of your water at a time... and use pre-conditioned and stored water for replacement at that. Bob Fenner> 

The Confusion Explained, Sort of - GH Follow-up with Marina >Thank you, now everything is clear to me. >>Great, I'm glad the information was helpful. >But my tank is not a new set up, it is 4 months old and perfectly cycled. >>Alright, clearly I misunderstood. As I understand you now, the system already went through a first cycle, but you're experiencing problems at this point, which include raised nitrite levels, yes? >This is the reason of my worrying. After my usual partial water changes, which I do every week or two, I still find the same level of nitrite 0.15ppm while all the other levels are ok. >>Yes, this IS confusing, and it's not the first time I've had questions regarding such a situation (with both saltwater and freshwater systems), but have never directly experienced myself. >I had it for weeks running perfectly. My question reformulated is: In an established tank like mine with a nitrate value of 8ppm and perfect levels why doesn't the nitrite go down to zero like it was before? >>That's a very good question, and I can only surmise that, for some reason, the bacteria that oxidize ammonia into nitrite are not large enough. In the States we can buy a very good product called "Bio-Spira" (for both fresh and saltwater) that is a live inoculation of these two bacterial cultures - those that oxidize ammonia into nitrite (the ones you may be in need of), as well as those that oxidize nitrite further into nitrate. Amazing readings on the nitrate levels, by the way. However, it occurs to me that the nitrate readings may be so low BECAUSE the nitrite isn't being converted in the first place. I cannot tell you definitively *why* your nitrifying bacteria seem to have, um, "pooped out", but it's possible that they have. In any event, this still means that at this point it's better to let the tank be, as though it were brand new, rather than gravel vacuum or handle the inside tank surfaces too much (benthos). >What's happening in my tank that I am not aware of it? >>At this point I'm not certain. Have you medicated for any problems recently? Had anyone else care for the tank?  >Could it be the castle decoration that got discolored a bit that causes this constant low level of nitrite or is it something else? >>I very much doubt the castle could be the cause, assuming it was sold for use in aquariums. >I am sorry if I couldn't explain it any better before, I am Italian and I try to do my best. >>Not to worry, Marcellino, you speak EXCELLENT English (or at least, you WRITE excellent English).  >It's two days that one of my goldfish is sleeping too much. >>As I understand you to say, the fish has become lethargic, where it wasn't before. >During the day he never sleeped [slept] before, now he goes back and forth sleeping out of the castle. >>Alright, at this point I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this correct - the fish in question, now that it has the castle, seems to prefer being in the castle? As I understand you, he stays in the castle, swimming in and out at times, but remaining there when it chooses? If this is the case, then I might surmise that he's made that HIS castle. Now, in relation to the elevated nitrite this might or might not be a problem. If the fish is gasping at the surface, has developed more slime than usual, or is "flashing" (rubbing himself on things), then we can assume that there is a problem developing, possibly because of this. Otherwise, I'm going to suggest that you consider the sizes of the fishes (I'm sorry, without the previous messages included I cannot remember how many fish you have in the tank) in relation to the size of their home. Goldfishes are "dirty" in that they produce a great deal of nitrogenous wastes - both from direct excretion of ammonia and from decomposition of sloughed slime coat. Goldfish produce both prodigiously, but there's a little fix you may want to try and see what happens. It is salt. Plain, uniodized salt, at the ratio of one teaspoon per gallon (this is a prophylactic amount, not disease-treating). If you have live plants, you'll either have to remove them, or not use the salt. >Why is he stressed? >>I'm not so sure he's actually stressed, but we'll try to get to the bottom of the behavior change. Remember, also, that if your weather has been cool and it is now warming up, this will make the goldfish to want to mate. They can behave rather oddly, and sometimes become downright aggressive with each other. >Could it be this nitrite level that I can't get rid of it? He also yawns often, the other one too. For the rest no other signs. >>I would have salt on hand (sea salt can work well, too, in the same amounts), and when doing a water change I would not touch the gravel or the sides of the tank. Watch for the gasping, and I also suggest you look through our freshwater fish section of the site, read the disease and goldfish FAQs for other signs of disease or trouble. >Thanks again Marina and sorry about all these messages to you. Marcellino >>Don't apologize for wanting clarification, sometimes I don't convey my meanings as well as I'd like (thusly, the novels). You are more than welcome, Marcellino, I am happy to help, as we all are happy to here. AHA! Marcellino, I would like you to test the new water you put into the tank for nitrite and ammonia. (A little light bulb just went off in my head.) If you get any readings from the source water, then we will have that problem solved.. sort of. Marina 
Marcellino's Goldfish - cont'd.
>Marina, >>Hello, Marcellino. >Thank you for your response. >>You're welcome. >We have 2 goldfish in a 28 gallon tank. One of them (the one who keeps sleeping in the castle, Albert) has developed a red sore on his back, near where a dorsal fin would be if he had one. >>Ah, if it's an "open" sore, I would suspect Furunculosis. Search our database and Google for Furunculosis to see treatment options. These always work better with the addition of the salt, as I'd mentioned in one of our previous correspondences. If it is NOT an open sore, I'm only able to venture a guess. Some goldfish get these things that look like pimples, and we have another crewmember who is more expert on the subject than I. I believe he's answered some questions regarding this, again, Googling our site on "goldfish pimple" would yield good results. >We're very worried, and trying to figure out how to treat him. It looks sort of like a red pimple. >>Well, there you go! Now, here's the thing, if it's the pimple, as I recollect it is easily more treatable and curable than Furunculosis. Furunculosis, in my own experience, tends to happen during warm weather, spring and more often summer.  >There is no white edge or anything, it's just red. It looks like he may have scraped himself, but we don't know if it's a parasite. There is no blood. Thank you so much! >>I do not believe it's a parasite, Marcellino. It also sounds like you may have a "Lionhead" goldfish, which would mean you'll need to be careful what decorations and tankmates are with Albert, as these fancy goldfishes are more delicate. Eventually, Albert and friend will need a larger tank. In any event, I can only venture a guess, and prefer to take a prudent route. If you believe he may need medication, I advise getting a container or another aquarium to create a quarantine or hospital system for him. A photo might be helpful, too. Marina
More Marcellino's Goldfish - Chapter Three
>Hi Marina, I've send you a previous message describing this red spot/patch on the back of the body of my goldfish. I remind you I have two goldfish in a 28 gal tank.  >>Hi Marcellino, I certainly remember. >Now this red patch has like a white film on it, I see the redness under and this whitish film on it. Please help me diagnose what my fish has got. Is it Costia? >>If it is Costia (a parasite of goldfish and Koi), then salt would be a very easy answer. I'm afraid of Furunculosis, which absolutely would require a hospital tank (any inert, watertight container will do). It proves to be difficult to treat, very difficult, I must be honest with you. You will know if it's Furunculosis if the red area opens up into an ulcer. Believe me, my friend, you WILL know if it's ulcers. If you have live plants, remove them, then begin treatment with salt. I would go with one (1) tablespoon per gallon of water. Part of the reason for using the salt is to equalize the difference between the fish's body and the water (fish, freshwater) is more salty than the water. >He doesn't show any sign of flushing [flashing], scratching at all. He is happy but like I said in previous messages he is sleeping more than usual, yawning and nitrite levels of .20ppm. I did test my tap water and these are the results: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Ph 7.3, but the nitrate are 10ppm and strangely the test for chlorine/Chloramine are 0. >>That *is* odd, unless your water district/municipality does not require water to be treated if it's already clean (this is not a bad thing, and quite possible if your city's water is coming from a good, deep well). >I tested my tap water with an other kit specifically for tap water and there is a tiny little like 0.2 of total chlorine, iron 0, zero copper, no iron bacteria, no hydrogen sulfide. Is this Ok? >>Sounds excellent, better than a lot of places in the U.S. >And my nitrite in the tank have now climbed to 0.25ppm, but all the other levels are perfect. I am getting scared along with this whitish little patch on the dorsal area of my goldfish but not on the dorsal fin because he doesn't have one. He doesn't scratch at all, he seems happy. >>Lethargy is a sign of a problem, unfortunately, we're still left with guessing. How are his feces? If they are white and stringy, then we can say with a fair degree of certainty that he's got an internal bacterial infection. >Could it be that if there is not chlorine/Chloramine in my tap water I am actually intoxicating it adding a dechlorinator to it for partial water change? >>No, that is least likely. These products are usually a dilute solution of sodium thiosulfate, and even if double dosage is used, it is not harmful to the fish. I am still thinking that in order to allow nitrite to go down, you may have to stop doing water changes.  >Thanks for following my problem. I really appreciate it! Marcellino >>Watch for open sores, if it's Furunculosis it will happen VERY quickly. Remember, the salt cannot be iodized. Marina 

Goldfish fatality I'm trying to figure out what killed our goldfish so we know what to do if it should happen again. It happened very fast and we all felt helpless. <Let's see...> Our two fish are about 5 years old and 5 inches long. We bought the .12¢ feeder fish and were surprised at how large they had become.  <Yes, can grow to more than a foot, live for more than two decades, given adequate space, care...> For Christmas we bought them a new 20 gal. tank with a lighted hood. Yesterday morning, one of our fish, Markey, began to list to one side. He kept trying to swim upright and then would fall over again. Our other fish, Sushi, kept trying to help him, he would actually get under him and prop him up when he fell over. Anyway, after a few minutes of this he stayed on his side and couldn't get up. I noticed as he died his mouth stayed wide open and his throat and gills began to swell. <Good observations> The local pet store says that it was just his time to go and that feeder fish don't live more than 5-8 years anyway. <Mmm, they are partially correct... most "feeders" (comet goldfish are a variety... somewhat akin to domestic dogs... all goldfish are of the same species, actually dihybrid cross.) Most goldfish are prematurely "killed off" by less than ideal circumstances> After moving Sushi to our fish bucket, I had the water tested and found the nitrates and nitrites were very high and the ammonia level was fine. I did a 50% water change, treated the water with something to neutralize the nitrates and nitrites, changed the sponge and Zeolite in the filter (it was red), removed the carbon, added about 3oz. of Cycle and added Melafix. We then put a depressed looking Sushi back in the tank and with the blessing of the pet store added a new, somewhat smaller, about 2 1/4 inches, friend, Ammon. <... all your actions were perfect, but the addition of another source of wastes...> I don't know if it was the Melafix or the new fish, but Sushi began swimming around again and acting like his/her old self.  My purpose for this e-mail is to determine what went wrong so we don't have to bury another friend. I have a feeling that mistakes were made because our fish were bigger than they were when we started their first tank and they produced waste faster than could be dealt with in a tank that had not yet established enough good bacteria to compensate.  Thank you, Angela. <Likely the cumulative effects of previous crowding, the new tank (better, but the change a large source of stress) and likely nitrogenous waste poisoning (the nitrite you mention, ammonia might well have been present at the time...) are largely at fault here. Hopefully the larger system, regular maintenance will forestall future losses. Bob Fenner>

Fantail with Hanging Sac Hi, I found this website very informative, and I was hoping you could help me with a goldfish problem. I have an orange-with-black patches fantail goldfish, probably male. About three weeks ago, he was having problems swimming straight - he was "standing on his tail." <Not good> However, he spawned two weeks ago.. <!> ..and we noticed a dark green half-inch saclike bulge on his tail fin. The bulge is blackish at the bottom. We treated him with Naladin (Tetra, Angelfish and African Cichlid Specific), the only available antibiotic at the time, and later we moved him to a shallow water tank. He is still not regaining balance. How can I help him? Thanks, Tim <Likely what you so well describe is part of this fish's intestinal tract. Often, these two spontaneously withdraw... I would add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per five gallons of the system water and replace this with water changes... and this is all. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fantail with Hanging Sac
Thanks so much for your advice! I was checking the site and my email every hour and I'm doing the salt bath now. Kim <Mmm, okay... but not a bath per se... but the salt added directly to your tank. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fantail with Hanging Sac
Just a question: the bulge is coming at the joint of his two tails...I don't see it connected to his anus. Wouldn't the intestines, if they were to come out of his body, come out through the anus? I do see white stringy feces in the tank. <These sort of prolapses do occur at what we would consider the anus... the pore/opening is actually a communal opening for the excretory and reproductive products. Bob Fenner> 

What's up With This Goldfish? A few weeks ago I bought 4 fish. The calico goldfish and one of the other fish that looks like a goldfish but is much darker [I don't remember what the name of the fish is] kept chasing each other. it wasn't aggressive chasing like the rainbow shark was doing. kind of like mating chasing and they both kept wiggling. I swear I didn't get 2 goldfishes.  I had 2 mice that had 10 babies and I DO NOT want to go through THAT again! <Mmm, well, goldfish are not quite as likely to reproduce> The fish did the whole chasing thing for a whole week, now the goldfish has dug a hole in the gravel in one of the corners of the tank [I have a 10~gallen by the way] directly under the heat pump. We have 2 ponds [not for show, for fishing out of] and I only know when our bass and catfish do this it's when they mate. <Yes... but not goldfish, I assure you> PLEASE tell me the goldfish is sick and that I can cure the fish by giving the fish some medicine or something. I really don't want baby fishies swimming in the tank. <Don't know that it IS sick... likely your system... and the fish/es being new is at play here> until you reply I'm going to put the goldfish into a quart jar that has marbles at the bottom and an air stone, and I'll transfer the heat pump from the two containers every two hours so the fishes won't get too cold. [I am REALLY hoping the goldfish is just sick] PLEASE!!! EMAIL ME BACK! Kacy <Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and the linked files (above, in blue). Bob Fenner> Oh, also... I feel really bad for putting my little fishy in the quart jar, but I can't afford 2 tanks. but that's all I have. :( so that will just have to do for right now. I plan on going to Wal-mart tomorrow and getting a Betta tank [5~gallon] and keeping it in there until it gets better so it won't look so un comfy. :( <Ah, good. Bob Fenner> 

Bubble eye I bought a bubble eye from Wal-Mart on Sunday. I also bought a black moor and a Lionhead none of which are real big. They are in pre-cycled clean 10 gallon tank... <This tank is too small for these fish...> ...and have been doing great. Now today on Thursday all of a sudden the bubble eyes' eyes have deflated. He looks healthy and still eats good but I don't know what happened. <Your system is going through "another cycle"... with too much waste...> When I got up this morning he was fine and now all of a sudden when I got home this evening he has deflated. I have some plastic plants but nothing that I think would puncture him. I also have some natural plants that will start to grow shortly. <Ah, good> Could you please help me and also tell me what food is better between the pellets and that flakes? <Good question... there are actually good/bad of both... I/we will gladly comment on the brands if you want to state which you're referring to. Better/best to supplement your fish's diets with some frozen/defrosted food occasionally, offer some fresh greens (like peas, boiled...) on a daily basis. Really though, your system is likely inadequate... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the links (above, in blue). Bob Fenner> Thanks, Brandi

Listless Goldfish I need help with a small orange Oranda who's about as big as a human thumb. I bought it last week at a local pet store who has a good reputation for taking good care of their fish. I brought it home and placed it in the 3 gal. tank with the other pearl scale goldfish that was already there. <This is way too small a volume both these two fish> The first few days it was in the tank it was swimming around happy and feeding well. Then it started staying at the bottom and not wanting to move, so I took it out and put it in a separate tank. I haven't noticed any outward signs of Ich so I thought that maybe it was an internal parasite. I put Rid Ich plus disease treatment in the tank and changed about 25% of the water every other day, most recent change was yesterday. <Uh oh... this medication will effectively kill off your biological filtration> Unfortunately the fish still stays the same not moving just staying at one place on the bottom of the tank. I don't believe its the water quality of the main tank since the pearl scale is happily swimming around and feeding without problems. Can you please suggest any other treatments or ideas as to what can be done to help my fish? Thanks, Sharon <Good move on the water changes... Likely the first and primary cause of the listlessness was just "being new" to your system... secondly, the inability of the small system to "ramp up" to processing carbon dioxide, nitrogenous wastes... Short answer: three gallons is too small for even one of these fish. Then the "Ich" treatment... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and the Related Links (in blue above)... and over to what parts of the site you lead yourself to on Cycling. Bob Fenner> 

I have a goldfish that has a Nemo problem. <He's been captured and sold to a dentist in Sydney?> One fin is normal size, the other fin is very minimal.   <Oh... no big deal... a genetic anomaly> When we bought the fish, it was about 1", and the tail and fins look normal. Now, the fish body is about 2-1/2" long, but the tail hasn't grown much. The fish is getting so big that it has problem balancing.  The other goldfish I have in the same tank is normal.  Is there anything I can feed him to make his fins grow?  D <Mmm, not as far as I know... all will likely work out in time... with the tail growing some, balancing the fish. Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish breeding A few years ago I bought a goldfish. recently I bought another Goldfish that has white spots all over it's body, <Mmm, not all over... this is a disease> could this be a male? the first goldfish has never had white spots but is generally big. how can I get them to mate, they don't really seem to notice each other. the male is smaller than the female. Do I need to raise the temperature in the tank or give them a different diet or what? regards Martin <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish.htm and the blue links above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Betta, Goldfish Thanks for getting back to me sooo fast My pH is Either 7.4 or 7.6 my regular Ph test says 7.6 and my high Ph says 7.4 this is high which probably isn't that good but Ph changes quite a lot and it says that a Ph of 7.5 is ideal for goldfish which I have one mysterious one  who poops all day as mentioned before. <These ranges, readings are fine> Ammonia and Nitrite are both 0 ppm my KH is about 35.8 ppm (supposed to be 0-50 for Neons and cardinals which  I have and 50-100 for tetras which I have also) I gave him the inside of a thawed pea yesterday and have cut back food a little on all fish. He ate the peas right away which made me laugh because that was the most active he had been in a while but he is still hanging out in the bottom corner looking sad. I do know that goldfish grow very fast and poop a lot (24-7 practically) which is kind of irritating seeing as I took this fish after my neighbors turtle wouldn't eat it. <Good for you> My Pleco is not a regular one and should get at the most about 4 to 6 inches... my last one died after three and a half years at about 6 1/2 inches I called him pucker lol but this one is a rubber Pleco and I've had him for about a year and he's only grown about half an inch so he's up to three inches  now. <A much slower growing species> About adding the Epsom salt... should I just put it into the tank and let  it evaporate or should I put it by my filter and have it go into the water that way? <Better the latter, or to pre-dissolve and pour in> Also I cannot move my Betta to another tank because A we can't buy another and B we can't buy another heater which he would need because going from a maintained 76-80 degrees to a 72 room temperature might be more harmful than good. <Yes> I'd much rather just give the goldfish to someone or put the goldfish in a regular tank with no heater. <Agreed> As I am typing this Jaz is trying to move around the tank which is quite funny because he almost sinks to the bottom but the other fish are leaving him alone and are actually kinda scared of him which is an advantage. Other than that I think that's all I have to say Thank you soooo much for your wonderful help and promptness it really  helped me and will hopefully help Jaz get better <Me too. Bob Fenner>

Copepod or parasite on Calico Ryukin Great website and FAQ section, folks! <Thank you> I recently picked up a gorgeous calico Ryukin for my newly setup goldfish tank.  After many years of tropical freshwater and marine setups, I'm back to my first love, goldfish! <Ah, outstanding... one of my fave petfish statements is: "Most people start with goldfish, and if they live long enough, well enough (go through cichlids, exotics, marine...) they end up back with goldfish">   Three 3-inch goldies in a 60 gallon at the moment.  Bio-bed still being established and there's a dual mechanical filtration setup (undergravel plus over tank). <Some folks would encourage getting rid of the UG> The calico looks and acts fine.  No stress whatsoever.  So it was with a bit of surprise that I noticed this 1-2 mm nearly invisible creature on it's caudal tail.  I'm surprised I missed it while examining the fishy.  Mind you, the calico is multi-colored so it was a challenge. <Neat, and good pic> With a tweezers, a Q-tip, bowl of aquarium water and shaky hands, I was able to scrape this little baddie of the tail and take a pic of it (Ahh...the wonders of a digital camera!).  Any idea what I'm dealing with here? (pic attached)  The calico's two other companions (a feisty black moor and a dopey Lionhead) are just fine and dandy.  Thanks in advance! Regards, Ted <Yes... is actually a Branchiuran, genus Argulus, a "fish louse"... Please place these terms in your search tools... and look for a DTHP or Dimilin based treatment (there are other, acetylcholinesterase inhibitor/insecticides as well) to take out the less than adult parasitic forms that are likely now in your system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Copepod or parasite on Calico Ryukin Thank you for the prompt reply. <Welcome> After much research regarding your alternatives, I will look into getting my hands on some Dimilin (otherwise known as Diflubenzuron, as I just learned!) <Yes> as it is the only one that will not affect my bio filter.  Apparently, DTHP (otherwise known as Dylox, D50, Dipterex, Masoten, Trichlorofon, Foschlor or Neguvon) does affect the bio bed; not a good thing in my eyes for entire tank treatments. <Mmm, DTHP is about as efficacious as Dimilin in regard to nitrification> A very interesting piece of tidbit I've learned from my research.  Some people swear by the use of Tin-Foil Barbs as a way to control fish lice.   <Interesting... had not heard this before> Yes, it is a myth to others, but some of the posts I've seen appear to back up this claim.  Obviously, it would work in ponds for 12" Koi, but I'm curious as to what would happen if I plopped in a small barb in my tank with my 3-4" goldies?  Might be worth exploring. <Mmm, their mouths are quite small...> One more question.  Your initial reply mentioned that some folks would discourage against the use of an UG filter.  Why would that be? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ug5proscons.htm and the linked files (in blue, above)> I see it as a way to have a primary mechanical filter (in addition to the tank mounted one) and with a powerhead, there is aerobic activity (to foster the bio filter) as opposed to anaerobic activity (very very bad) with no water flow through the gravel.  We all agree goldies are messy.  Detritus will end up in the gravel no matter what.  But at least with an UG filter, aerobic activity can take place. <Trouble... in regards to reductive nature principally here, though TBC's are elevated as well, with concomitant metabolite challenges.> Thanks for your valuable advice, once again!  Even a vet like me can always learn more. :) Ted <Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

The disappearing goldfish... with help In August I bought some goldfish. The unfortunate part is that he left me in charge of the tank and I did not do my homework!!!! I was confused when my fish started dying in December. <Hey, this could pass for a Hemingway entrance.> I was changing the water, etc... apparently the filter needs to be changed. <Eureka!> We managed to save one out of the five fish. Calie, my calico fantail. We continued cleaning and checking the pH level and, after two weeks, I decided to buy Calie a couple of friends. We bought a sucky fish, two small calico fantails and a bug-eyed fantail. <Uhh, for how large a system?> Calie did not seem to like her new friends and within a couple of days she developed white spots. I asked other fish owners and was told to by Ick treatment. I did and tried treating her but after 3 days her tail started to look shredded. I went to the fish store where I bought her and they gave me some treatment for fin rot - just in case. Well, she died the next day. Over the next few days the other fish (Who had also developed some spots) started to get better. Patches, the larger of my two little calico fantails, just had a couple of spots left. That was yesterday. This morning she was gone. I've checked every where in and around the tank. She was active yesterday - I can't see her dying overnight. And I think she was too big for my other fish to just eat. And there are no signs that she was even in the tank!! Do you think it's possible that she was ate?! If so, is my smaller fish safe?!   Ainslie <Ains, take a read through our goldfish pieces... Look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Read, learn, stop killing your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Bloated Goldfish Good Day, I have had 3 pond goldfish (2 with fantails) for around 6 years.  They have thrived and are now approx 8 in big (not including tail). I have them in a 55 gallon tank. In the last couple of months one of the fish has become bloated to the point that it looks like it is going to explode. I have not noticed it pooping and there doesn't seem to be a poop hole to speak of. <Mmmm, what do you feed these fish?> I have kept the water clean, and clean it weekly,  all tests are good, temperature is good.  I have chained their diet to Spirulina and put some live plants in the tank. <Ahh, good move> The fish seems to still be active, maybe even a bit slower than the others, and seems to try and eat a bit some times. Is there anything else I can do to eliminate this bloating. thanks so much for any help you can give me. Peg Sulivan <I would try adding Epsom Salt per others experiences related re Goldfish Disease. Our input archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Bob Fenner>

Chocolate Oranda sickness query hi there <Hello> I have a problem with one of my tanks - a chocolate Oranda in particular -  it has now died but I need to protect the other fish in the tank  so here goes... Background: 60l tank with 1xblack moor (3"), orange/black Oranda  (3")-recent addition, 2x fantail (1-1 1/2"), 1x chocolate Oranda (1 1/2")  (deceased) and 1x what I believe to be an Oranda (has small head formation but  only itchy (1")) Big Oranda was moved into tank 5weeks ago as it was getting bullied in  other tank. About a week after moving the Oranda I noticed two white spots on  the head and one white spot on the chocolate, thinking as the big Oranda was new   - bringing disease - I treat the full tank with white spot treatment, (but have  noticed that the first tank he was in is fine). <Mmmm< After the treatment they both seemed fine with no spots so done 15% water change and put in carbon filter.  Current situation: looked in tank 2 days ago and found chocolate Oranda (what I thought) was stuck behind filter (Rena) so moved him out and shifted filter back.  But I noticed he had on his head white, almost stringy,  strands floating off it. Later on in day (showing my partner) he was behind  filter again, his head looked a bit worse, so we moved him out again  and watched tank - the moor and the big Oranda were bullying him, biting at his  tail and fins.   He was trying to get back behind the filter, so we set up a  quarantine tank for him, moved him in and treat the water with Doc Wellfish's  Melafix. As the day progressed his head became worse with the White stuff moving  back across his head, pretty much 3/4 of the head formation ended up affected  with it looking red but transparent underneath.  it's almost as if the head  formation was being eaten away. <Actually... just a highly vascularized area, mal-affected by the medicine (Ich, herbal...) and mucus production resultant from their poisoning... as well as the ill-effects of these chemicals on your biological filter... exacerbated by the crowding in this tank... 15 gallons is too small a volume for these fish> His swim bladder was affected - upside  down, on his head and sideways - but seemed to get better later as he kept  himself upright.  A few hours later he died. <...> Due to the progressive nature of the disease/injury we suspect it might be disease, but as he was stuck and getting bullied it could be injury, but then again he could have been getting eaten as he was on the way out.  We don't know.  In the original tank, all seems fine at the moment but I don't want  to leave it incase 1. it's disease or 2. the new Orandas arrival is  causing problems. <A type of disease... environmental... once again, you are very likely right re the initial troubles being imported with the new fish... but all has to do with capacity of your system, the loss of nitrifying bacteria by way of the "treatments"... ongoing poor water quality> Any advice you have will be a great help as we are just undecided as to the   cause of the chocolate's death.   Much Appreciated Amanda & Phil <Where to start... I would NOT continue to put in the Melafix... WOULD test for ammonia, nitrite, and TREAT for same or execute water changes to keep lower than 1.0 ppm... WOULD add aquarium salt/s... Would NOT worry re the apparent dissolving of the Wen/hood of the fish... WOULD read through our goldfish postings: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm You obviously care dearly for your wet pets... and with a bit of further understanding, will be able to rectify the situation here, decide whether you want to up-size their system, give some away... Bob Fenner>

Not sure if treatment is needed, sick goldfish? Hello, I have been trying to match up my fishes problem with the list of things that can go wrong and am in need of some advice! I have a young Oranda I've had in a 10gal tank for over 7mo. alone. Water param.s. are 0 am, 0 Nit I, 30 Nit A (home water starts at 15-20 baseline... <Something is wrong here... you should NOT have this much nitrate in your tapwater... much more than the EPA allows... not good for your health>) and PH 7.6-7.8. Plenty of aeration and penguin bio wheel filter. <Rest sounds good> Symptoms: yesterday- fish was lethargic, long whitish stringy feces or casings, laying at bottom with slightly clamped fins- would swim when disturbed. Ate if offered in front of. <What sort/s of food/s?> Seemed uncomfortable. I took him out and examined gills- nice and red, not mucousy, not shredded. The gills do have an area very deep in the crevice that looks pale or grayish (can't tell), both sides have this and I'm not sure if it's a normal structure as I've never examined gills before. <Might be the branchiostegals... gill arches, supports> The fish has no sores, and the slime coat is normal- color is good. I had assumed one of the behaviors I noticed for months was just a "personality" quirk- he swims up to the surface, grabs a mouthful of air, swims down "chewing" this then spits it out, but he doesn't hang constantly at the surface or by the filter outlet. No flashing or glancing noticed. <All normal> I purchased some antibiotic food yesterday thinking a possible gut problem from constipation and have been feeding that from last night- he seemed a bit better, fins are not clamped, but he still retreats and "rests" on the bottom often. He does come out, swim around and nose for food in the gravel, but seems tired. The more I read- the more I think flukes? <No... not if you've had the fish by itself for months... where would they come from? And, don't tell me this is a fluke!> Could a fish kept alone for months, seemingly healthy suddenly come down with a symptomatic case of flukes. And if so- what would be the best meds that would not kill my bio-filter? <Not possible, and no need for medication per se. I would however add some aquarium salt, try some foods like frozen brine shrimp or krill that have laxative action> Please let me know if you have any input on this- thanks! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs (see the links above?). Bob Fenner>

My Goldfish Sorry to bother you again. but I have one more question for you...Is it possible for a fish to go blind...but only in one eye? <Yes> I think that Nemo may be blind in his left eye...because he seems to get frantic when something moves on that side of him. And he also runs into things (rocks...walls...plants) but only on that side. And there is a smallish white-grey blotch in that eye. What do you think? Thanks!!! Sincerely, Kara <Am hopeful your goldfish will recover its vision, but if not, that it will adjust to being blind in one eye (as a personal note, I am... and not great at depth perception, sports... but do okay!). Bob Fenner>

Orandas with impaired equilibrium Dear Mr. Fenner, <Kim> I have had 2 Orandas in a 55 gallon aquarium by themselves for the past 2 years. All has been great with water changes weekly and all ammonia , pH , nitrate levels correct. About one month ago my one large Oranda started swimming upside down and  had trouble righting herself. She now stays at the top of the tank upside down. My second Oranda about 2 weeks ago almost stopped eating entirely and has lost a lot of weight. I have tried an all vegetable diet, peas, green beans, etc. but to no avail there has been no improvement with either one of them. I have tried the over the counter medications from the LFS for swim bladder disease but this has not helped either. <They almost never do> I have also tried the Epsom salts in the tank. Is there anything else I can do? I do not want to lose them and I really need help. Thanks, Kim <This condition is truly a heartbreaker... and all-too-common in "roundish" breeds of goldfishes... The best one can do is to prevent such by good maintenance and avoidance of exclusively dried food diets... once the condition occurs, placing the affected specimens in shallow water (still filtered...) adding Epsom Salt, waiting and keeping trying foods is about all one can do as far as I'm aware. Once the fish/s loose enough body fat, they often do right themselves. Bob Fenner>

Injured goldfish Hi! I have a bubble-eye goldfish that has got his bubble stuck in the return water filter. When I came home he was "attached" to the filter water return. I turned the filter off and was able to unstick him without any damage I think... but he went to the bottom of the tank. He is "breathing and uses his gills no problem and periodically tried to move a little. I think he is probably stressed and exhausted from his ordeal. I remove water from the tank and removed the fish into a container with this water so that he can "rest". I have put a little food in the water and he has tried to eat. I am removing any excess. I want to give him the greatest chance of survival! Is there anything else I could or should be doing. Eternally grateful for any advice you can give. Mark Devereux <Please read through our Goldfish Disease FAQs starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm and beyond (the links are above, in blue). People try various chemical remedies for these physical injuries... salts are often a good idea. Bob Fenner>

Rose the Floaty 01/11/2005 My daughters goldfish, 'Rose', is 8 years old.  Just recently, 'Rose' has developed what looks like a bubble growing out of her side.  The tail is also getting more and more crooked because of the bubble in its side.  It's hard for 'Rose' to swim and it looks like if she stops swimming, she starts floating little.  Is she sick, is there anything I can do or is this it for 'Rose'?   <The deformation of the tail may be normal, and just a result of old age, but the bubble as you describe sounds like fish/carp pox.  This is a viral illness, and is not curable, but may go away on its own if the fish is provided with pristine water conditions.  Almost invariably, this issue is linked with high nitrates please test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and let us know the results.  If you do not have test kits, you can bring a sample of water to most any fish store, and they will likely be willing to test it for you.  The floating may be related to a nitrate issue, as well, but is more likely linked with dietary issues be sure to offer her lots of vegetable matter for munching.  Plants like Anacharis/elodea are excellent for goldfish to just have on hand to eat as they like.  Also, feeding things like thawed frozen peas (squeeze the shell off first) are excellent dietary supplements.  Other human-consumption veggies, like fresh spinach, can be blanched and then offered as food.  There are some good frozen foods available, as well, like Ocean Nutritions Formula Two.> She is approx 7 inches long, in a 10 gallon tank by herself, she is a dirty fish and we change her tank's water approx every other month.   <Mm, Im almost convinced that there is probably a nitrate issue at play, here; I would strongly urge you to do water changes much more often monthly at the very least, preferably every couple of weeks.  If at all possible, this fish really ought to be in a larger tank.... as you pointed out, goldfish are very messy critters.  If you were to aim for something as large as 30-40 gallons or larger, Rose would be able to have a friend or two goldfish are very social animals.  If a larger tank is simply not possible, do most definitely start changing the water more often....  50% every two weeks would be a good idea.> She loves to eat but is not eating as much as usual.  We do have a carbon filter attached to the tank that hangs on the side.  Can you tell me if there is anything I can do for 'Rose'. <Just as above.  Sounds like youve been doing very well to get Rose this far with proper care and a little luck, you should have many years left to spend with her!> Thanks,  Karen <Any time, Karen.  Wishing you, your daughter, and Rose good health and long life,  -Sabrina>

Sick Goldfish Please can you help.  Goldfish lives with one other in an Aquarium (16 litres),  It started drifting round tank with nose in the air, it seemed healthy in every other way - eating, swimming now and again, no spots, ragged fins or ulcers.  It has now gone to the bottom and seems to want to just lie there. It does swim around now and then, but seems very lethargic. (Could it have Dropsy?) <Not likely... do you see it so bloated that it's scales are sticking out like a pinecone?> Have treated with Disease Safe, but have a carbon filter - which forgot to remove.  Can I treat with anything else?   Hoping you can help before I lose him. Laura <Laura, do you have water quality test kits? If not, and you haven't done so already, do start making some successive (daily) large water changes... a quarter to half the tank... refilling with treated tap. This is very likely an environmental issue... maybe "something" fell, got in to the tank... Best to dilute the effects, and not add to them by blindly pouring toxic medicines in. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Goldfish
PLEASE HELP - EMERGENCY! Hi,  I sent you an email yesterday re. my sick fish.  It now seems to have got worse and looks like it is dying.  I have moved it to a small bowl with treated water, disease safe and a measure of Aqualibrium Salt.  It lies belly up most of the time and swims around like this.  Obviously it will not eat.  I did think it would die overnight, but it still seems to be hanging in.  Is there anything I can do!!!!!! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) for further input. Bob Fenner>

Fantail goldfish I have had Jaws (our goldfish) for 13 years. He was a bully, but recently has allowed 2 other fish in his 100 gallon tank. They both recently died of dropsy. <What do you think the cause of this condition was?> He has quit eating on top of the water like he use to. And his eyes are a little cloudy. My husband said they always looked like that, I don't agree. He has hurt his fins 2 different times. Which he has never done before. I thought he may be lonely since he liked the other fish I got him a new friend white Koi. He finally decided it could stay in the tank. He only picks up rocks now instead of coming to the top to eat. For 13 years he has ate on top of the water. Could he be blind ?? <Is possible> I thought maybe he couldn't see the food or objects in tank anymore , and that could be the cause of his eating and wounds lately. How do you tell if your fish is blind.       Mechelle <By observing its behavior, and lack of response to usual stimuli as you state... Do you check water quality? Do regular water changes? I would vacuum the bottom (gravel) and replace a good twenty percent of the water, daily, for the next week or so... and do look into improving the diet of your fishes... Perhaps a better brand with more nutrition will provide needed vitamins, restoring the goldfish's sight. I do hope so. Bob Fenner>
Re: fantail goldfish
I check the water quality , everything is showing up normal .I recently did a cleaning of rocks sides and over half of his water. Our electric was off for 8 days because of ice storm. I hooked his tank to the generator for about an hour or more a day. But he was sick before then. I have only fed him Wardley goldfish pellets and Wardley Tubifex worms. What is the best food to feed goldfish? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshfdgfaqs.htm> Thank you for your quick reply, Jaws is part of our family and we want to help him feel better as quick as possible. <Bob Fenner>

Fantail Goldfish - red rash on belly I have had two Fantail Goldfish for almost 3 years.  One is orange and one is white with red & orange spots.  The orange one has never had a problem. The other spotty one has had the bladder problem on and off for almost 1 ½ years. <A too-common complaint... almost always nutritionally related> I change tank, add salt, and change his diet (to peas) and it corrects the problem for months at a time.  For a couple of weeks now, the spotty fish has been swimming upside down and I just saw a red rash with bubbles on his belly. Attached is a picture of the rash.  Would like to help the fish.  Thanks for any help you can give me. <Good photo... likely your fish has scraped its underside and this has become infected... with the salt treatments, regular water changes, and improved nutrition, this should go away on its own. Bob Fenner> Mary Rose

A Black area on my goldfish My goldfish has got a black area.  It has black areas on both its sides and it's mouth.  When I looked at it for closer inspection one of the spots seemed to be covered with a white filmy substance.  The other side looked like the scales might just be coming off but there were none to be found in the tank. I have a 5 gallon freshwater tank with 2 goldfish, an algae eater, and three ghost shrimp.  Both fish were won at the fair in October 2004.  They have been in good health since.  But recently the fish with black spots has been jumping in the water and there are bubbles lining the sides of the tank.  I have a whisper filter and use tap water to fill the tank. PLEASE HURRY WITH THE ANSWER, THE FISH DOES NOT LOOK LIKE IT HAS THAT MUCH TIME LEFT. <I would change a good half of the water in the tank, replace with water about the same temperature, with conditioner to remove the tapwater sanitizer. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). The change in color alone is not problematical, but the behavior you list is indicative of some sort of environmental trouble. Bob Fenner>

Upside down goldfish after a move Today I transported my goldfish to a new apartment.  Prior to moving them they were fine; they were swimming and eating.  To move them (I am relocating and they came with me) I placed them in a bucket of tank water (they were in there for only about 2 hours.)  When I got them to new the place I set up the tank (29 gallons.) I used the same filter and then filled up the tank. <Hopefully you moved a good deal of their old water with them as well...> It has been about 4 hours since they have been in the tank (there are only two of them) and they are not doing well.  Neither one will eat, and the larger one is floating upside down.  I read your website and I am getting ready to go out and buy some peas. <Not useful here... your fish have been poisoned by the new water. You did treat it I hope>   But I am wondering if the move could have done something to them, and if there is anything I can do for them?  I moved them three years ago and nothing like this happened. Thanks for taking the time to read this and to answer it. Ana Zelia <Look for "Prime", "Amquel", or "StressCoat"... and apply liberally. Bob Fenner>

Sick Fantail I purchased a 10 gallon aquarium last July.  It was the home for a small celestial goldfish and a fantail goldfish.  The aquarium was originally housed at the office I worked at but in October, I decided to move the aquarium home, as the building does not provide heat on the weekends and the aquarium does not have a heater.   <Okay... a heater may not be necessary if this tank is in part of your home where the temperature is pretty stable (not near an outside door, window, close to an outside wall)> I ran into some rather substantial problems when I moved the tank home, as when I went to purchase some new floss for my filter I received some rather unfortunate advice at the pet store.  They advised me that I had to replace all the rocks in the tank, the vegetation and the water <What?> as I should not have an algae problem and should not need to clean my filter floss in such a short period of time.  Although I was skeptical (I know goldfish produce a lot of waste) I followed the advice given and this dramatic step sent my poor fish into shock and weakened their immune systems as they developed a rather nasty white infection.  I was able to successfully treat the infection with one cycle of Nitrofura-G antibiotics and managed to stabilize the aquarium water.  The fish both recovered beautifully.   <Great! Well done> At the beginning of December I purchased a small algae eater to prevent over-tampering with the aquatic environment - I figured it would be a natural way to keep the tank clean.  Within a week, of his introduction to the tank my fantail goldfish developed a swimbladder problem.  He had to be isolated to a hospital tank with shallow water.  I tried feeding him peas and adding aquarium salt to the water.   This was not successful.  I then tried another cycle of the Nitrofura-G antibiotics.  This seemed to be effective again and soon he was swimming much better.   <Good... if there is a next time, try Epsom Salts instead of "aquarium"> Unfortunately by this stage, my celestial goldfish also seemed to be getting ill.  He was forming a white mucous/fuzz around the globes of his beautiful eyes.  I decided to transfer him to the hospital tank.  Unfortunately, he did not survive a full day before he expired.  I am quite confused by his rapid decline and sudden death as I had only noticed the infection the previous day. In the meantime, my fantail goldfish had been returned to the original tank for a week and has now become ill again with swim bladder problems.  He has the same symptoms as before and I am trying to treat him as I had done previously.  However in addition to the swim bladder symptoms (floating on his side near the top, the bloated lower abdomen, the lack of bowel movements, and listlessness) he has developed a large clear bubble over each gill flap. Any idea what could be causing this?  I have found no information on-line or in books.   <Likely environmental... with some influence from nutrition, genetics. This is the time to try the Epsom (one level teaspoon per five gallons> Any help would be appreciated as I suspect he may be suffering.  I am trying to keep him in a quite area and have even tried to intermittently apply air flow to reduce the stress on his body.   I had to see him go through this again... Darlene <I do hope the best for you and your goldfish. Bob Fenner>

The Fish-Eating Filter 1.8.05 Hi WWM, <Hi! Ryan helping you today.> I have read over your site and found a few articles about fish meeting their end by getting sucked into their filter. From July until today I have had a total of three fish get stuck in the filter, a black moor (Buddy), a comet (Ace), and a calico (Daryl). We have tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and our water is fine. All of our fish seem perfectly healthy and happy before they get "sucked". We have five goldfish (each about 1 and a half inches long) that  live in a wide 30 gallon tank. We do a 25% water change once a week and we recently started feeding them gel food because of swim bladder disease caused by flake food. <Great move for overall health as well- Gel contains nutrients which would be destroyed by the drying process.> I was wondering if you could suggest what the cause might be and how we can fix the problem. <Id suggest using a sponge over the filter inlet.  They make a variety of circular and tubular sponges for this purposeMany of which can be easily attached with a needle and fishing line.> I am very attached to my fish, and was very devastated when I woke up this morning to find Daryl stuck to the filter. I was also wondering if there is anyway to save a fish after being sucked. <A solitary area, typically called quarantine, would be in order.  There, you could make sure hes eating, and not being harassed by his fellow tenants.  You could also medicate the water in an effort to rebuild his damaged tissues.> Each of my fish are unique and have vibrant personalities, I just want to save my babies. <Youre on the right track- And you may want to consider adding a small powerhead once you make the sponge covering- It may reduce water flow.  Good luck! Ryan> Please help!

Treat for Ich, End Up With Fin Rot Hi, My comet goldfish is sick (I think). You see, he had Ick so I treated him with Aquarium Products Quick Cure. He seemed to be getting better before his tail seemed to shed and turned white. The white was almost all gone but I came home today and it had gotten a bit whiter and the end of the tail looked like a black/red color. Is this Normal results for the medicine? Tomorrow I'm going to replace half of the water in the tank because it has been 6 days which the medicine says to wait until to replace the water. Should I still do this? Is my Fish just getting better or is this fin rot or something? Please send me information as soon as possible! I don't want my little fishy to pass away! Other information: My comet goldfish is in a 10 gallon tank by himself. I have removed the filter cartridge because it had charcoal in it and the medicine couldn't get to the fish with it in there. The filter is still working though. I am feeding him Wardley Tropical Flakes right now and he seems to be eating alright. He's swimming alright now and he still acts the same. There are no other fish with him. I REALLY HOPE YOU CAN HELP ME Shelby <Are you sure he had Ich? It would show as tiny white spots on the fish. If he did it is important to run the full course of treatment. Don't stop just because the spots are gone. It will come back. But you can still do water changes. You just have to replace the meds in the new water. If you're doing a 50% water change, put a half dose in before you add it to the tank. The meds can cause an ammonia spike that could cause the fin problems your seeing, so water changes are very important. If you did not see the Ich spots, then discontinue the meds and do daily 50% water changes for a week. Add one tbls of aquarium salt for every 3 gallons of water to help him heal. Don>   

Sick Goldfish Hi! I really need your help! FAST!  I have a 55 gallon tank  with 3 very sick goldfish. My levels as of this morning are Ammonia .5, Nitrite  .5, Nitrate 5.0, and ph 7.4. I know the ammonia is a little high but I have  done quite a few water changes recently trying to cure these poor guys. I am a  little wary of changing it again. Here is what has taken place in the course of  2 to 2 1/2 weeks. I had 5 fish originally and have had to put 2 to sleep. Very  sad, hard thing to do!  The first one had been floating upside down  for about 3 weeks and I tried everything I could to save her. She was a rescue  from the pet store, as she only had  one eye. It just got to the point  where I felt bad for her and she developed what looked like the beginnings of  dropsy. The other fish that I put to sleep had been really "mopey" for  about a week and then developed some kind of lump on his side and had some sort  of white thing coming out from under his scales. That one went away and then  another one came out on the same side. He also started to look as if he was  developing dropsy and was not eating. I treated the tank with Melafix and all  symptoms progressed. The 3 remaining fish at this point have red streaks in  their fins and on their bodies. Then they all got small white bumps on their  tails and then on their bodies. It doesn't look like Ich to me. So I went back  to the pet store and bought Parasite Clear. The fish did not seem to get any  better and were actually kind of floating head down. Occasionally they would  swim around frantically as if they were trying to get away from something or  trying to knock something off of themselves. They are doing a lot of  flashing and scratching. I then did a major water  change, vacuuming the gravel really good to get all the "bad stuff" out.  One fish has SEVERE fin damage on his tail fins. I have now treated one  time with Anti-fungus (active ingred. -Malachite green, Arciflavine hydrochloride) directions say to treat once every 48 hours for  2 treatments. It says it is a fungus and fin rot treatment but  I really do not see much of a change in the symptoms. Should I wait  until tomorrow and treat with that again so that I will have done a full  treatment and see if it helps? The dots are still there. The one fish  that was floating head down is just kind of hanging out at the top of the tank.  They all are still eating and I gave them some peas this morning and they ate  them. They normally eat ALL of the peas I give them but that was not the  case this morning. I am wondering what my next step should be? Maybe it is Ich  and I should go get the treatment for that. If so, should I do another major  water change to get the anti -fungus treatment out? I have aquarium salt but  have not added any as I keep reading varying opinions about its use. I  have one snail in my aquarium who is doing fine, if I should add the salt  what should I do about the snail? Help me please!!!   I really love  these guys and am trying desperately to save them!!!! And once I get this  mess figured out how long should I wait to add a new fish? I would like to add a  Moor to my fish family. By the way do you know of any good dealers/ breeders in  the Richmond, VA area? I don't think my local PetSmart knows very much about  goldfish! Thanks for your time and your help! < First of all you have a sick tank. Go to Marineland.com and look at Dr. Tim's library and look at an article titled "The First 30 Days". It will explain why you tank has such high levels of pollutants. I would clean the gravel with a 30% water change and clean the filter. Do not feed the fish until you have cleared up some of the problems and the pollution problems have settled down. Treat the tank with Nitrofuranace to clear up the bacterial problems. Treat the water every other day. On the days you don't treat you will need to change 50% of the water. At the end of the last day then do a water change and add carbon to the filter to remove the rest of the medication. Feed you fish some high quality goldfish food instead of peas. Give them only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes every day. Add some BioSpira by Marineland to replace the good bacteria needed to break down the fish waste. Change 25% of the water weekly and clean the filter once every two weeks. On the week you do not clean the filter then vacuum the gravel during the water change. When you get the tank straightened out then write back about adding new fish.-Chuck> Kerry

Re: Help with Goldfish Okay I have read the article and we are in the process of cleaning  the gravel now. This isn't a new tank though. I have had 2 of the 3 fish for  3  years and the other one for a year. What should I do about the fin rot  and the white bumps or will these problems be taken care of by the Nitrofuranace?  Thank you for your help! Kerry <Please read here re Goldfish Disease: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Likely, improved water quality, nutrition will solve these other troubles. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help with Goldfish
Also I don't know where to get the Nitrofuranace  you told me to get in your first response. I looked on the Marineland  site and they didn't have any listings for it there. <Use your computer search tools... most all online aquarium supply etailers sell this compound. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish sudden sideways floatation I have small feeder goldfish that is 7 years old this month. <Still small? This fish could be more than a foot in length by now> I have had "him" in a round bowl by himself without an air filter for all of this time.  I clean his bowl with a 100% water change every two weeks and feed him tetra flakes.  Today I noticed in the afternoon he suddenly started floating sideways and there seems to be some eye bulge.  When I go over to the tank and tap on it he will respond and move rapidly.  I read in some other entries about your suggestion for Epsom salts, would this apply to my fish or is he dying of old age?  Am worried....Deborah <Might well be this fish's time. Pre-mature though... Comets can live for tens of years given better environments. The Epsom would be worth trying if you had a larger system... the addition in a bowl will likely push this fish over the edge. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish poisoned by tap Hi Robert, <Betty> I have owned a goldfish for the past 6 months.  Since then I have changed the water once every day and feed it twice a day. The past 2 weeks when I change the water, the gold fish goes to the bottom upside down for about 24 hours. <Yikes... your tapwater may not be as consistent a product as you believe. I encourage you to set out next week's water ahead of time... like in gallon jugs.> After adjusting to the water, it is back in form again. But during that time it does not eat and it has no bowel movements.  And her belly is expanding. My immediate thought is to change the water once a week, but I am unsure if there is something more I should be doing? I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks! Betty <Likely you are seeing the consequences of sanitizer (Chloramine) poisoning... Not easy to treat fishes in bowls... as water quality vacillates highly and adding chemicals reduces the fishes capacity to breath. If you have an aquarium with aeration, filtration, I would administer a teaspoon of Epsom Salt per five gallons to its water. Bob Fenner>

Fantail gold fish Dear Robert, We have a pond with various cold water fish including a fan tail goldfish who is about 11 years old. It is bloated up to about treble its size and the scales are protruding out, it also lies upside down at the bottom of the pond. <Yikes... not good... your venerable goldfish displays a condition called dropsy... or pinecone disease (in Japanese)> when we move it swims fine but soon turns over again. We have read your site and are going to try and the Epsom salts as it sounds like dropsy. <Yes, this is about the only practical course. Your fish is quite old and likely its age is a factor here.> we have also read about the frozen peas bit but are not sure what to do with the peas, therefore please could you tell us. Thanks Jean and Dave Walker. <The peas are best blanched... either parboiled or lightly microwaved, cooled, offered pinched (the skin broken) right in front of the fish. Bob Fenner>

Messing with pH Help! I have a small tank (6 gallons) with two tiny calico goldfish. I checked the pH and it was low, so I put in some powdered stuff they recommended at the pet shop according to the directions. One of the fish died within two days, now the other one has been lying on his side for the last day and appears to be dying. To top it all off, the pH hasn't come up at all into normal range. I feel terrible for my sick goldfish, I need help right away. I want to change the water, but I don't know if this would be worse. By the way, I have another larger orange goldfish who hasn't seemed to be affected by any of this at all, he looks fine. <Do change the water. About 50%. Do this daily for a week or so. Do not worry about your pH reading. It's not an "incorrect" pH that is harmful in most cases. It's the change in pH that kills. Goldfish can adapt to a wide range. A steady pH is the best pH. Also, this is far too small a tank for goldfish. Your problem may not be pH related but poor water quality in general. Test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Keep the first two at zero, nitrates below 20ppm. Either way, water changes are the answer. Don>

Red Veined Redcap Hi, you have a great website, but I couldn't find an answer for my situation. My Redcap Oranda (lives alone) has discolored areas in his head. He started hiding out, and not coming to the side of the tank when I went to feed him.  It's been about a week now. In doing the water change, I got a chance to look closer at his head. It looks like certain sections have lightened to an orange, rather than a reddish-orange color. I also noticed for the first time that he has a couple little red veins in his tail. I read on you site about adding salt, in case the problem was a disease, but I am not sure how much salt to add. So here are the stats: 10 gal tank (I know - too small - saving for 29 gal), BioWheel filtration system, eats Bioblend pellets and Tetra Baby Shrimp. Tonight, I fed him a couple of thawed frozen peas after visiting your site again. His appetite is great, but he is so reclusive lately. He used to get all *excited* when I showed up to feed him, madly wiggling his tail and everything. I've had him for a couple of years, and would hate to lose him. I just don't know what to do. Can you help me, please?   Patricia <Hi Patricia, Don here. Sounds like your fish are affected by Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia. A big name for dirty tank disease. Up your water change schedule, a goldfish can foul a ten very quickly. A few 50% water changes done daily will help him greatly. Always use a gravel vac to remove the uneaten food and waste out with the old water. If he is not improving in a week treat with Oxytetracycline. Do not treat until you try the fresh water. Salt may help. You can try that with the water changes. Use one tbls for every 3 gallons. Make sure you mix in the correct concentration of salt into the new water before you add it to the tank. Good luck>   
Re: Discoloration on head of Redcap Oranda
Don, thank you so much for the assistance. I have started doing daily water changes. I do use a gravel vac, but was wondering if I should change the gravel too, and get new gravel. I tested the pH of the water and it came out at 7.4.  Is that too high?  I am afraid to add any salt to the water, because doesn't that also affect the pH balance?  If 7.4 is okay and I can add salt, please let me know. When I went to the pet store, they have Tetracycline, but not Oxytetracycline. I'll call around to find out if there is a store that carries the Oxytetracycline. I have Melafix on hand, but don't know if that would help any. So far, Chewy has been eating okay, and I am feeding him less, especially since I added peas to his diet. He still hides out a bit, and the discoloration doesn't seem to have worsened. Please let me know your thoughts on the pH, gravel, salt, and medicine. I appreciate your help. I am learning fast how much I didn't know. Your website is great! Patricia <No need to replace the gravel, just keep it clean. Your pH is fine. Goldfish can adapt to a wide range. It's not an "incorrect" pH that causes problems, it's a swing in pH that can kill. Far better to leave as is. Also check the pH of your tap. As long as it is the same as your tank you can go nuts with water changes. Don't worry about salt changing pH. If the clean up and salt do not help you can try the Tetracycline, but continue to test. Both can kill off the good bacteria with the bad, causing ammonia spikes. That's the reason you medicate as a last resort only. Throw the Melafix away. Snake oil, IMO. Don>    

Coppered Goldfish Hi there, I have a 55 gallon tank that had 10 Oranda Goldfish in it. I recently lost half my tank to a very strange happening. My fish showed no sign of illness and one by one they would die. I added CopperSafe and aquarium salt to the water and did daily water changes for two weeks. I also tested for poor water quality and nothing was amuck. The remaining fish were doing much better for the past 4 days but this morning they looked like someone smeared mud all over them and they are really listless at the bottom of the tank. My question to you is what is the brown stuff on the fish? How do I get rid of it? And does fishkeeping get any easier? HELP! Thanks, Tina <Hi Tina, Don here. Not sure what you tested for. And giving us the numbers would be very helpful. It sounds like the Copper nuked the good bacteria in your tank. This would cause ammonia to buildup and cause the problems you are seeing. I suggest you start doing a few large water changes. 50% at a time, at least one a day for a week. Test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Keep the first two at zero, nitrate below 20ppm. Do even more water changes to correct any spikes>
Re: Coppered Goldfish
Thank you Don.  Would it help to put some Cycle bacteria in the tank?  I test with the strips and all came back no nitrate peak, no nitrite problem and the ammonia tester comes up light yellow, which is perfect. The water hardness is neutral and the pH is neutral. The fish look like they are smeared with mud. It is the weirdest thing that I have ever seen. Thank you for getting back to me. I can use all the help that I can get! I'm almost tempted to buy a hamster! <The only product that will instantly cycle your tank is Bio Spira. It will not work until all trace of the copper is out. Do several large water changes, then run some fresh carbon for a day. A good idea because I really think you have a problem with water quality. I also suggest a better test kit. Your readings are too perfect. pH and hardness(?) neutral, with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all zero! Or at least nitrate not spiking. Not possible. The ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all the same thing, one being converted to the next by bacterial action. The ammonia in the fish's waste has to be going somewhere. If it's not being converted to nitrite, then nitrate, it is still in your water. And since copper will kill the good bacteria in the filter it is more likely old test strips are giving you bad readings, or in this case no readings at all. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a good Master Test Kit which will give you everything you need except nitrate. Purchase that one separately. Don>    

Overstocked Tank/Overmedicated Fish Hi Don, I followed your advise in getting rid of the under gravel stuff. Thank you muchly. Yes, it makes no sense. The "problem" fish got worse. As mentioned, I had brought her to two shops. Anyway, my original shop said they would take her and medicate her. I went yesterday after two days. [they gave her two kinds of  additional medications]  It was awful. She grew fungus again, and was floating at the top. So, it was a fungus deal in the end. Cotton-like. Clout didn't work nor Maracyn (which killed 3 fish). I'm writing because I'm really concerned about a fancy gold which is starting to display similar symptoms. Again, I think her mouth is starting to be surrounded by a dark circle. She breathes really heavily. And rarely strays from one spot in the tank. Her tails seem to me a bit white-ish. [she does eat like the other fish] I brought her to the original shop. I bought "PimaFix" (an organic thing which I started yesterday). I actually think she responds to sunlight. A co-incidence of bringing her to the shop. Today she's on my patio. I'm worried and think she may die too. [I have too many dead fish, and have taken much time on them.] She is a beauty. She is my last favorite fish. Thanks much for your time, and if you have any thoughts of course I'll appreciate it. Happy New Year, Maryann    <Hi Maryann, Don again. Sorry to hear of the losses, but I did warn your problems would continue if you tried to keep seven goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. IMO your fish do not need more meds. They need fresh, clean water. And maybe a little salt. I'm not sure how many are left, but two is your limit. And that's pushing it in a 10 gallon. Each will need 20 gallons as they grow. If you continue to keep more than two the following advice is for naught. For right now change 50% of their water daily, don't miss a day. Use the gravel vac to get all the waste out. Limit feeding to a tiny pinch once a day. Not sure which tank they are in right now, but add 1 tbls of aquarium salt for every 3 gallons. Replace the salt by mixing in a half dose with every 50% water change before adding it to the tank. I suggest you do this in the 1.5 gallon. I would then do a 100% water change in the fishless ten and add a small raw shrimp to start the cycling. You need to be able to test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. After the first two have spiked and crashed and nitrate is rising you can do a 50% water change and add the TWO goldfish. Expect this to take about 4 to 6 weeks. Until then you need to do daily 50% water changes in the 1.5 gallon. No water changes in the fishless ten until it is ready for stocking. After adding the fish continue to test and do water changes to correct any ammonia or nitrite spike. When they stay at zero set a water change schedule that keeps nitrate below 20ppm. But the very bottom line is that goldfish grow too large for your tank. After cycling I suggest you look for some White Cloud Minnows. A group of 6 to 8 would do well in an unheated 10 gallon tank. Good luck. Don>      

My Black Moor's eye! My black moor, Nein, suddenly got some bleeding in one of his eyes.  At least, I think it's blood.  it's not leaking out, just pooling inside, and I can't tell whether it's bleeding from the pupil or anywhere else.  I tested the water right afterwards, and it's a-ok in ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and pH levels.  The tank's been established for nearly a year and Nein's other companions are other goldfish and a couple of snails.  All my decorations aren't pointy  and my plants are just a bunch of Anacharis. The only causes I could think of for causing Nein's bloody eye is the my feeding him (I've been a bit gung-ho on the feeding because of Christmas) and recent addition of a powerhead aerator to replace my old noisy air pump.  Would these merit him bleeding? < The power head is no problem but the overfeeding has probably caused ammonia spikes that have stressed the fish. The blood in the eye may be a bacterial problem. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Treat with Nitrofuranace.>   Is there anyway to prevent it from happening again? < Keep the water clean and only feed enough food so that all of it is consumed in a couple of minutes once a day.> Also, my tank is regularly at 77 Fahrenheit because of my house's heating and possibly the hood light, and I want to keep it at a lower temperature.  How can I do that, if at all possible?? < By increasing the aeration the temperature will become lower.-Chuck>

Red Streaks in Goldfish Please, if you can tell me what is happening to my eight year old white goldfish I would be forever grateful!  I noticed yesterday he appeared to be swimming near the top of the thirty gallon tall tank. He does this when he wants food in the evening, but as I looked closer he appeared to have red streaks on his tail and the bottom fins. It appears that several other small goldfish were nipping at him and had caused red tiny spots in other places. We have a Rena Filstar XP eternal filter. I immediately changed 25% of the tank's water. Can you tell me what is wrong with my 10 inch white, eight year old goldfish that was named Survivor because he literally survived a 30 mile trip eight years ago that would have killed any ordinary fish. I have called the pet stores, and they say he has tail rot which I don't think he does. His tail is in perfect condition, and I have seen fish with tail rot before. HELP! Mary <Sounds like your fish is affected by bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. Continue with a few more large water changes. If he does not improve, or should continue to decline, treat with Oxytetracycline. Please ensure the water is pristine before treating. Use a gravel vac to remove waste and uneaten food with the old water. This is usually caused by poor water quality. If you are not testing, please start. Get tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The first two must be kept at zero, nitrate below 20ppm. Do water changes to correct spikes. It is very important to test whenever treating as most meds will kill the beneficial bacteria needed to remove ammonia and nitrite. A spike in either can kill. This is why you should first try to let him heal on his own in pristine water. If you must treat, correct the resulting spikes with large water changes, replacing the med after each. If only one fish is effected it would be easier and cheaper to treat in a smaller QT tank. Either way, you should test the main and do the water changes and gravel cleaning to correct the underlying cause. Don>  
Red Streaks in Goldfish pt2
Don, thanks a million for your help! Our eight year old white goldfish of 10 inches is back in good health again. His color is perfect, no red streaks or spots anywhere. I am still making sure his water is pristine by vacuuming the bottom of the tank and adding fresh water daily. Thanks so, so much.  Mary <Hi Mary. Great news! I really do suggest a test kit. If ammonia and nitrite are staying at zero you only need to do enough water changes to keep nitrates below 20ppm. It depends on the bio load of your tank, but once or twice a week should maintain him just fine. However "Without a test, it's all a guess". Don>
Red Streaks in Goldfish pt 3
Hi Don. I got a test kit today, and thanks to you my beautiful white goldfish has the chance now to make many more than eight years. You will never know how very, very much I appreciate you. The very best of new years to you! Mary <Thank you for the kind words. Don>

Fancy goldfish issue (not yet urgent) Hi Don, I am just seeing this today, because I have rarely checked this e-mail account (and the message was sent from it, and I didn't think it got through). Anyway, thanks a lot!!! Current situation:  Not good. I brought the fish to one place which sold me "Clout":  he recommended that one tablet should work and use it on the whole tank.  I used it for two days. Note: the only odd behavior was that the fish rarely strayed from one stop in the tank. After a few days I brought the fish to another place.  This guy (supposedly expert) said no Clout is for parasites and this has got tail rot (I think) yes I thought a top fin looked eaten off] -- and her eyes were bad.  He sold me Mardel's Maracyn.  He said to use it for 5 days (but first replace 30% water).  I used it for 2 days.  After this, I first found one fish on the floor (dead), then during the second day, found 2 more dead in the tank (including my favorite black moor!!) I moved the remaining 4 to a 1 & half holding tank to get them out of that water. I'm so busy right now, but guess I should just empty the 10 gallon tank, refill it. Well, now you see it wouldn't be over-crowded-- The "problem fish" has turned blacker, but moves around and eats. <Only medicate as a last resort. And always do several large water changes if you switch meds. You don't want to mix most. If you start over with the 10 gallon read up on doing a fishless cycle. Make sure you continue with daily water changes until then. Very important you keep a flow of fresh water going into the smaller tank while the 10 cycles. Don>

Black Moor with White Film We recently purchased a black moor and added him to our 50 gallon tank, that we have had for ten months. We have three other goldfish with it. The next morning I noticed that there was a white film on the moor's head. What is this and what may have caused this reaction? Thank you, Eric <Sounds like a pH swing. A sudden change in pH can cause the white patch you are seeing. Nothing we can do about it now, but he should be fine. Goldfish can adapt to a wide range of pH. Just takes time. A big swing can kill. It sometimes takes as long as three or four days. If he makes it that long, he should be fine. If you are not testing pH always mix in small amounts of tank water to the bag before releasing. How fast or slow depends on the differences in the two pHs. Without a test, it's all a guess. Email us back if it gets worse or spreads to other fish. Don>  

Goldfish in pond Question I have a goldfish in my small outdoor pond who has recently become very sluggish.  A close inspection today revealed that she has a little round white thing attached to the "fin" under her body.  Is  she in the process of laying eggs?  Actually, I'm not totally sure she is a she.  Otherwise, his/her body, scales, and fins look healthy.  All of the other goldfish seem to be in good condition.   Any ideas?  Thanks.  Also - thanks for your site. < If it is an ectoparasites then treat  the fish with clout in a separate container as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Fantail Failing Hi again. I seem to be having a problem with a fantail I have. Its about 2 and a half to 3 inches long. I am keeping it in a large hexifun tank with  dual function pump and filter. I am having to keep it in here as when I put in to bigger tank with other fish it started too attack them. However problem I'm having is that over the last week it has been lying on bottom of tank most of the time. Only obvious thing I can see wrong with it (sorry to keep saying "it" but have no idea whether male or female. Has been named Plop) is like a reddened area where the chin would be. I've been treating Plop with general tonic over last few days with not much difference. I also notice dorsal fin is bent over although does straighten it up at times. Can you help please? Looking forward in anticipation to your reply and thanking you in advance. yours sincerely Karen <Hi Karen, Don again. How long has this tank been running? Have you started testing water yet? This sounds like you have him in an uncycled tank. Start with some large water changes and see if his energy improves. It will take a little longer to see the red area get better. But if, and only if, it gets worse after a few water changes, treat with Oxytetracycline. This can kill off the good bacteria along with the bad which will harm your water quality. You will need to test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate if you treat. Do more water changes to correct any spikes in the first two. Keep nitrates below 20ppm. Do not treat until the water is pristine in any case>

Help for my beloved goldfish!!!! Dear Bob, <You've got Jorie here, actually> Hello.  I found your website, and you seemed like you know so much about fish!! <Bob's the best...we all pretty much agree!> I was wondering if you might be so kind as to advise me about my goldfish, Shakespeare.  We've had him for six years and he is a wonderful and beautiful fish that is almost like a puppy, he swims up to you to say hello.  Recently I had to change the rocks in his tank because I accidentally spilled the charcoal into the rocks.  Since he got the new rocks his eyes have started bulging out a bit and if I feed him even a little he starts floating belly up. <What kind of charcoal did you spill? The filtration media kind? I would suggest doing several large water changes to make sure you got everything out of the water...I suspect it isn't the rocks causing problems, but rather the charcoal you spilled.> He was floating belly up a few months ago and stopped after I bought sinking pellets.  I really thought he would be one of those special goldfish who lived a long time, and now I think I've hurt him by changing the tank rocks.  When I added the new rocks I rinsed them and added all new water and put in the drops to the water.... I haven't fed him anything today because I thought maybe he just needed to swim around a bit.  He has a pretty huge belly.  He's gotten very, very big over the past six years - about four inches with his beautiful fins... Oh what should I do?  Poor Shakey. <First off, increase water changes.  Secondly, sounds as though Shakey may be constipated...try feeding him a couple of halved frozen, then thawed and shelled peas.  Have you seen him pooping at all lately? If he is constipation, this can affect his balance.  If it isn't constipation, it could be that he's developed some sort of swim bladder disorder...again, water changes  are in order if this is the case.  Just take some extra good care of the tank water over the next week or so and keep an eye on your Goldie...see if the combination of water changes and fasting/feeding a couple of peas might do the trick.  Keep me posted!> Sincerely, KT <Sounds like you take great care of your fish to have had him for 6 years! Let's try the above and go from there...best of luck, Jorie.>

pH Swings Dear Don:  I am at my wits' end with my tank and you were such a huge help to me before I thought I'd try one last time to see what on earth I'm doing wrong.  To refresh, I have a 10-gallon freshwater tank with 1 Oranda, 1 calico goldie and 1 Pleco.  Major new tank syndrome which you advised me to do daily water changes until tank was established.  Things improved until Oranda got white body slime on her so I contacted WWM again - advised to continue water changes, wean from ammonia pillow and medicate in qt tank if necessary, which was not necessary as Oranda improved.  However, she seemed to "shrink" - she was somehow smaller and skinnier overnight.  My whole family noticed it.  But she was eating well and had lots of energy and very friendly.  Ammonia pillow was removed and levels did not change for the worse. Then my filter motor went kaput  Nov. 30.  Had not changed filter yet as I'm still trying to establish tank and was advised not to until levels were better.  Old filter was gunked out with slime and was disposed of; new filter was installed - have done almost daily water tests but started again with daily/every other day water changes as seemed necessary due to increased levels of nitrate and ph.  I have not changed more than 50% at a time and last 2 changes only 25%.  Nitrite level remains at 0.  Have added up to 1 heaping tablespoon of salt each water change depending on amount of new water. My Pleco up and died 12/5.  No signs of problems before, just dead in the tank that morning.  Water test that day: nitrite 0; nitrate 20; Alk 120; ph 7.8; ammo .25. Ammonia level has remained at .25 forever - my water is well water - even RO water is .25.  Aging water does not lower level.  Did 50% water change. 12/6 got new Pleco; rocks and plants (plastic) are slimy; water is clear; new Pleco is sucking on everything and his digestive system works QUITE well if you know what I mean.  He's just a tad smaller than my original.  Have not noticed any waste from either Oranda or goldie but goldie is growing like mad and noticeably healthy so I know it's happening even though I don't see it, so really not sure about Oranda either. 12/7 Oranda not eating and not moving right front flipper fin.  I'm thinking she rubbed up against a rock maybe? and hurt herself so she's not hungry?  Is it possible for a fish NOT to be hungry?  No visible signs of problems on fin.  Tested water: nitrate 20-40; nitrite 0; Alk 120; ph 7.2; ammo .25.  Did small vacuuming/25% water change. 12/8 Oranda eating flakes and peas; hangs out at top of water in corner of tank and barely swims so not sure of condition of fin; water test nitrate 20-40; nitrite 0; Alk 120; ph 7.2; ammo .25.  Did small vacuuming/25% w/c. 12/9 Oranda not eating; refusing peas which she loves; still hanging at top corner of tank, no swimming; water test nitrate 20; nitrite 0; Alk 120; ph 7.8; ammo .25.  ph has climbed again but nitrate has lowered. At this point I just don't know what to do.  I'm afraid I'm doing too many water changes but still have not established tank.  Don't know how to get the ammonia out of the water but have been advised not to use bottled water.  How do you establish if you keep changing the water?  How long should all this take?  How do you keep your tank established when you replace filters?  Should there be a bunch of green slime where the water empties out of the filter into the tank?  I don't have that but I've seen it elsewhere.  Any idea why my Oranda is getting smaller instead of bigger even when she eats?  or why she's at the top of the water only? or why she has no energy?  Even when I vacuum the tank there's still a bunch of gunk and debris in the gravel afterwards but unless I do a huge water change I can't get all of it.  How do you do that, or should you?  Am I supposed to be washing this stuff off?  Because if so how do you get established? I am unemployed and can't afford the more expensive aquarium or test equipment.   I feel like everything I'm doing is prohibiting development of fish and tank but when I don't, fish either get sick or die.  After 3 months, shouldn't I be farther along than this?  I'm trying not to get too discouraged, but... Any advice you can give is certainly appreciated.  Thanks very much for your time and your help.   Robin <Hi Robin, Don again. I see two problems. Your pH is jumping all over the place. Not good. One of the signs of pH shock is excess body slime and white patches on skin. Check the pH of your tap water and the tank. If they are off by more than 2 or 3 tenths do smaller water changes more often. If they are very close together increase to 50% to control water quality until your filter is established. For help with that please read here.  http://www.marineland.com/articles/1firstthirty.asp Doing water changes will slow, but not stop, the process. but you need to do them to save the fish in there now. The other problem is replacing the filter. I forget what type you have, but the idea here is to establish that bacteria. Replacing the filter starts the process all over again. If your filter has some sort of "Bio Media" that is what you should NOT clean. The charcoal and floss can be replaced. If this is a sponge filter, either leave it alone or rinse it out slightly with old tank water. Never tap. It usually takes about four to six weeks to cycle. And if you are getting a reading of .25 on every thing you test, the problem is the test. R/O water will read zero. Why your fish seemed to get smaller is a puzzle. Thinner I can understand, but not shorter. Did he loose some tail?>    

Oranda Troubles Hello, I hope you can help me. I have 2 Orandas in a 65 gal. Aquarium. I have had them for 2 years. About 2 weeks ago, 1 of them started to stay upside down. He cannot stay right side up. I thought it was swim bladder infection so I treated the tank with Maracyn 2. That did not work. After waiting my local fish store suggested Maracyn plus. So I did that treatment. It did not work. I went on your site 5 days ago and read, not to feed them for 3 days, and then feed peas ( With no skin). I have now completed that and there is no sign of improvement what so ever. It has a hard time eating because it is upside down. I have no clue what to do next and I am afraid I am going to loose her. Water & pH is fine. I do a large water change every week from some advice from your site I got a while back ago. I do my water changes religiously. Can you please, please help, Thanks Scott <Hi Scott, Don here. There are a few causes of swim bladder problems. If it is from an injury or genetic, there is little that can be done. If from an infection we have a chance. Quinine Sulfate is suggested as a cure by fishyfarmacy.com. This will kill off your Bio filtration, so you will have to test for ammonia and nitrite and do large water changes to control any spikes. Good luck>
Oranda Troubles - II - 12/13/2004
Thanks for the quick response, I was wondering if it could be anything else though. <Very often, this condition in goldfish can be related to ongoing dietary issues....  Keep going with the peas, also offer blanched zucchini, cucumber, or spinach, possibly adult freeze-dried brine shrimp or daphnia, or other foods of high roughage content.  A goldfish's diet should consist mainly of plant material anyway, and often the pellet and flake food sold for them is too high in protein.  Use pellet and flake foods only as supplements, not as their staple diet.  Offer Spirulina, unflavored sushi Nori seaweed, and veggies like those mentioned above (remember to squeeze the pea out of the shell and discard the shell).> I did notice her belly Is hard and huge. I noticed that she seems to always have a little poo hanging out of her. <I'm leaning more toward a dietary problem, but this might in fact be bacterial.  To immediately help to alleviate some of the swelling and possible constipation, I would add Epsom salts to the water at a rate of one or two tablespoons per ten gallons of water.  Repeat this dose in a few days, if necessary.  And as always, be sure to keep water quality pristine - be testing your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate!> I am not sure if this matters but I also see it is always floating and she seems to have a lot of poo lately. <Again, makes me think nutrition.> When I turn her right side up she always goes to the top and gasps for air. She seems more content floating upside down. Is this definitely swim bladder trouble? <Not definitely, no, but that is a distinct possibility.  And, as Don said, if it is, there really isn't much you can do.  If it is damage to the swimbladder due to a bacterial issue, you might find some success with feeding the fish food medicated with an antibiotic like Oxytetracycline....  I believe Jungle has begun offering a product you might try, but I am still inclined to suggest that you try offering the foods mentioned exclusively for a while.  Also, I strongly urge you to avoid flake and pelleted foods as a main staple from here on - goldies need their greens!> Thanks, Scott <Wishing you and your bloaty goldie well,  -Sabrina>

Oranda looking lethargic Hello, and thanks for your great web site. <Hi...Jorie here...I often find answers to many of my questions on this site, also...the learning process never stops!> We're pretty new to the goldfish world. We have had an Oranda for almost 2 months now. He's in a 10 gallon tank--size okay? <Should be OK for one or two goldfish; if you ever want more than two, I would suggest upgrading to a 29 gal.> I've been regularly testing water for ammonia (0) pH (runs high, at about 8.0 to 8.2), nitrite (0) and nitrate (currently at 5 ppm, but usually has been 0). <Great measurements, but do a water change to get that nitrate out of the water. Granted, it's the least harmful of the three toxins mentioned, but it is still toxic to fish.> Anyway, fish has been doing fine, but in the past week there are a few things happening that are concerning me. One, we are getting a huge brown algae bloom on the large rocks and ornamental shark statue we have in the tank, also some on glass. I've read some of your FAQs about it and am learning a bit about it. My local fish store has told me that the algae is not harmful to the fish--is this true? The reason I ask is because since I have noticed the algae, I have also noticed our fish going up to the surface more. Can't tell if there's gasping--are there other reasons goldfish go up to the top, or is it always a sign of distress? <Algae in and of itself isn't harmful to fish, but sometimes if there's an excess of algae in a tank, it's due to the owner's not doing water changes.  How often are you changing this tank's water? If you parameters are at zero, I'm imagining you do regular water changes, but just want to double check.  In a tank that size with just the one goldfish, maybe shoot for a 25% water change weekly? If you add another goldie, maybe up that to 50%? (Remember to match the pH and temp. of the old and new water when doing changes).  Algae can also be caused by light...is the tank in direct sunlight? If so, consider moving it (also, the goldfish prefer cooler water, so direct sunlight wouldn't be best for such a tank).  Also, if you are concerned about the fish gasping at the surface (it could just be that he's looking for food...I've got mollies, and it seems that's all they do, all day long:-) ), you should have a chart in your test kit that is able to calculate the oxygen content of the water...you may want to check that out if you get a chance.> Not happening all the time, but more so in the past few days. Also, tonight he has really settled down at the bottom and has been looking very lethargic. he has always gotten a little still in the evening, but it's much more pronounced tonight...looks like something's wrong as opposed to an evening habit).  As I'm reading more FAQs tonight, I'm thinking maybe I should try a dietary approach; perhaps he is bloated. (we feed him Pro Balance Goldfish flakes once a day.) I don't think he's been pooping all that much, unless he does it when I'm not looking. <You should be seeing poop around on the bottom of the tank, unless you've got a super-strong filtration system.  You may have hit the nail on the head with regards to constipation...many people try feeding their constipated goldies frozen, then thawed peas to relieve this problem.  If that doesn't work, Epsom salt is another route you could try.  I suggest the peas first.> I haven't actually seen him poop in a while. <Keep a close eye on this. When you do your water changes, try to siphon water from the bottom of the tank...you will be able to find feces this way, also.> Anyway, I'm just wondering if his behavior could have something to do with the algae bloom (and perhaps some specific advice about what to do about that) or just how I should be thinking about this. <In general, to combat algae, you need to a) feed less (only what the fish can consume in 2-3 minutes...maybe go from once per day to twice per day, but with smaller amounts - less waste this way),  and b) more water changes.  Also, you can try a product called a PolyFilter...I've had some success on my FW planted tank in controlling algae, in conjunction with the water changes and less feeding I mentioned before. Also, check on the sunlight issue.> One other bit of info that may or may not be helpful: Since setting up the tank, I have tested water pretty regularly. I haven't seen any huge spikes in any of the things we test for--all pretty much how I describe it above with maybe a small change here and there. Is this a sign the tank hasn't cycled properly? Any advice on that? <It's great that you are doing water changes frequently and testing your water.  In all honesty, when I cycled my tanks, I never saw huge spikes in any of the readings either, but likely that's because I was doing water changes since I had fish in the tanks.  How long have you had this tank set up?  As long as you are monitoring the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels and they are at zero, you're doing great! Just remember that if/when you add another fish, your bioload will increase and you should continue to check regularly.> We were just about to add a friend for this guy, but obviously I want to make sure this is a healthy system before we bring in another fish. I'm really trying to get it right--we lost our first goldfish earlier this year (a surprise present to my son from my sister-in-law; we were totally unprepared and unknowledgeable, and by the time we started learning, the fish was stressed and sick). So now anytime I see anything that looks suspicious with our current fish, I find myself getting worried. <Kudos to you for doing your homework and learning from your mistakes.  Too many people continue to repeat their mistakes over and over again.  Sounds like your fish is very, very lucky to have you as parents! Just keep an eye on the fish's constipation.  In general, if the fish is swimming and eating, in absence of any physical signs of ailment, everything should be OK.  Great job on being so vigilant, though.> Thanks so much for your time. <You are welcome.  It sounds as though you are doing everything correctly, and you are just nervous as a result of your last fish experience, which is totally understandable.  It's great to take it slow - many people do just the opposite.  As long as you've had steady "zero" readings on your water parameters for 3-4 weeks, I'd say you can introduce a goldfish friend to the tank! Jorie>
Re: Oranda looking lethargic--addendum to question
Just sent you the question about the lethargic Oranda. Wanted to add that we do have filtration--an over the top Rio filter. Also, I just recently added aeration to the tank. Thanks, Judy <Excellent, Judy.  Again, sounds as though everything is well thought out and set up.  Try adding some decorations to the tank (hiding spots, plants, etc.) if you don't have any/many, as maybe the fish is just bored?  Also, once you get the constipation issue ironed out, a friend might be just what he needs for stimulation.  Enjoy your fish! Jorie>
Re: Follow-up on Oranda looking lethargic
Thanks for your reply, Jorie. It is very helpful to have some perspective on what I'm doing. <Totally understandable...I'm the exactly same way!> I did try giving him a pea, and I have to say, he seemed to love it! (This guy loves food...we feed him when we have breakfast, and when he sees us come into the dining room in the morning, he heads to the surface and looks at us until we feed him. So maybe he has been up at the surface more because he's looking for food.) Also, the pea really perked him up, and he was swimming all over the place, picking up and spitting out rocks looking for more. Which begs the question, how many peas at once? How often? And in what form? Whole, cut up? With the skin on the pea or without? I was very cautious...gave him one, cut in half, which seemed big for him to get down at first, but he did, and then proceeded to look for more. And I noticed him pooping later that evening, so I think this was part of his problem. Are the peas in addition to what I would give in flakes, or replacing part of it? Are other vegetables or foods good, or just stick with peas? <Sounds like you went about this the right way...slowly and cautiously. I'd stick with the half-pea size, maybe let him eat that, then give him one or two more if he's still interested. That could replace an entire "meal".  The general rule of thumb re: fish feeding is to only give what the fish can consume  within 2-3 minutes.  I'd maybe give him this vegetarian meal once or twice per week, in lieu of his standard food.  As long as he's eating it, of course! With regards to other veggies, you could try giving him a blanched small piece of zucchini and see if he's interested...cut it into a small piece about the same size as the half-pea.  I'm not sure how he'll respond, but it certainly won't hurt him, and variety in a fish's diet is a good thing!> Regarding the sunlight issue: the tank's not in direct sunlight per se (not right next to a window, but a few feet from the window and against a wall without windows, but I guess this room gets a fair amount of natural light, and the algae is on surfaces facing the window. I might think about moving it, although that will take some doing. <I understand.  Try the PolyFilter (that's a brand name...many on-line fish supply stores carry it) - that might really help you out.  I find it to be a great product.> And regarding the pH. Is 8.0 to 8.2 okay? That's our consistent reading. I thought it was better to be lower, but that's just where ours seems to be. <Consistency is *far* more important than precision.  As long as that remains constant, I think it's absolutely fine for your goldie.> Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it, Judy <You are most welcome! Keep up the good work, Jorie>

Floating Goldfish Dear Crew, I recently found your website and have found it to be extremely helpful. I have checked all the links and whilst some of the problems my fish are displaying have been answered - some of the factors I have ruled out. I currently have 3 goldfish in a 5 gallon tank.  The water quality is good -we test regularly for ammonia, nitrates and PH - not a problem there. We do regular 30-40% water changes on a weekly basis and are feeding them a varied diet (flake food and granular). We also strip the tank down every 3 months (under gravel filtration) to clear out any debris before doing a partial water change and rehousing the fish. We also add aquarium salt (to the instructions) only replacing it to the appropriate amount of water when doing a water change. 2 of the goldfish we have had for about 5 months.  Others that have been introduced last only about 2-3 weeks before getting swim bladder disease (floating on their side) before lying on the bottom, curling up entirely, and within 4-6 days are usually knocking on those pearly gates.  Other than the buoyancy issues - there are no other outward appearances of being sick. Now one of the originals - Mr. Silverman - has started with buoyancy problems. He kept flipping on to his side for a couple of days when at the top of the tank.  I fed him peas as was suggested and he seems to have perked up a little and his buoyancy is now OK.  However, he is now hiding under leaves and in a log we have. He is feeding fine but once fed goes back to hiding.  His poo is not the same as it used to be (he used to do a lot of fishy farts with the silver casing!) I have tried putting some Melafix into the tank (also with the introduction of the new one) to see if this may help any. <If the peas helped he did not have a swim bladder problem. Moe likely he was constipated and had gas build up. Try switching to sinking foods so they do not gulp air while feeding. Continue with the peas. I'm a little concerned about the timing, right after the new additions. The underlying cause may be an infection. Melafix will not help. Please do not use it. Medicated flake would be far better>    Whilst Mr. Silverman has been a little unwell, we introduced a new fish to the tank (not the best idea I know) but someone at work was going overseas and it needed a home. It too is a fantail. Since being introduced to the tank, he is a little more active than the others and tends to nip a little bit at one of the other fish (not at Mr. Silverman fortunately).  All the other readers have found that the new fish is bullied not the other way round. How can we counteract this?? <I have to suggest finding him a new home. A 5 gallon tank is too small for a single goldfish. Overcrowding leads to aggression and health problems. Add a heater and it would be a great home for a Betta> We really love our fish - and are concerned that may be we are loving them a little too much - hence some of the problems we are having with fish mortality.  Could we be cleaning the tank too much and clearing out too much of the healthy bacteria - how can we test for this? <With the ammonia test. If you remove too much bacteria you will get a spike. You should also check for nitrite. If you see either spike do water changes to get at zero. If both stay at zero, you're OK. Adjust your water change schedule to keep nitrate below 20ppm> I am writing from Australia so some of the cures you suggest are not available out here - so any tips you can give me would be much appreciated. I look forward to hearing from you. Melanie <Good luck with them, Don>

Lump on Goldfish My goldfish is about 12 and although seems healthy enough it has had a  black lump on his back for a while now and now seems to be protruding more. It is between his head and fin and it is under his scales. He has also turned a silver   colour over a long period of time. Any suggestions what this is and how I can help him? <Hi, Don here. There is a parasite that would cause this black lump. And it is more common in fish breed or raised outdoors, as are most goldfish. However it has a complex lifecycle involving a bird as a secondary host. Unless the fish is eaten by a bird, the parasite can not reproduce. So this is unlikely unless he is a pond fish. No cure, but they cause little harm. More likely it is a tumor. No real cure for a tumor either, but many fish can live years with one. As to his color change, it is normal for a goldfish to change color as they mature. But it could also be a sign of poor water quality. Increase the number of water changes and see if it helps. Good luck>

Goldfish problems :( Hi, <Hello...Jorie here> I've had a goldfish for a few years now, and he seems to be having a few problems. He tries to swims and moves his fins frantically. He gets off the bottom but when he stops he just goes straight to the bottom, and can't seem to get to the top. <Hmmm, could be swim bladder disorder or constipation.  The former is a condition that can be caused from various things, ranging from bacterial to viral.  You need to make sure your water conditions are near-perfect - what is your water change schedule like? How big is the tank he lives in, and how many other fish are in there?  If adding more water changes to your regular schedule doesn't help, you could start a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics (only in a separate hospital tank, of course) in case the culprit is a bacterial infection.  As for constipation, if that's what we are up against, you'll know because you won't see any feces from the fish.  If this is the case, try adding Epsom salt to the tank and/or feeding a few frozen, then thawed peas.> He'll be alright won't he? Thanks for the help. Dan <I certainly hope your fish will be OK.  Start off by doing some additional water changes, observe your fish closely, and progress from there.  In any event, I would suggest separating him into his own tank for the time being, just in case this is something communicable.  Best of luck...Jorie> P.S apart from that he seems fine.

Goldfish losses Hi! I have a goldfish tank that I have run for the past 3 years or so without any problems at all. This week within 2 days we lost all of the fish in the tank. I have not a clue as to why this has happened. We did nothing different in the tank. No new food, didn't change the water, didn't change the filtration system, didn't clean the glass outside, nothing. Do you have any articles or ideas that might help me understand what happened and how to avoid this again? I'd like to change over to tropical fish in the tank (it is 29 gal.) but am cautious till I know what happened to those fish. Thank you for any help that you can give me. < A couple of things come to mind. If you live an  area with soft water then the build up of wastes could of triggered a pH crash. The nitrification process adds extra H+ ions to the water and if they are not removed with water changes or bonded with other ions (Buffering) then they accumulate until they reach toxic levels and kill all the fish. Another reason may simply be overfeeding. Too much food causes a bacteria bloom and the bacteria absorb all the oxygen leaving none for the fish. Diseases rarely kill off all the fish very suddenly like you describe.-Chuck> Kathy

Goldfish problem Good day! I have a black moor and fantail in a 10 gal. for 6 months now. They were very active, but when I got up this morning my black moor is dead, it turned white with big red spot on the belly. What did you think might have caused it? < Bacterial infection.> My fantail is not as active as before and it looks thinner. The tail used to be spread beautifully, but now  it's just clamped in and mouth is open constantly. I introduced three more goldfish last week (while waiting for my 50 gal. to cycle), do you think they have anything to do with it. < New fish should always be quarantined for a few weeks so that any diseases they carry can be treated in the quarantine tank and not damage the already established.> aquarium I am just new to this and would like to know how to spot a problem at an early time. Please help, I don't want to lose any more fish. < I think they are coming down with Ich and need to be treated with a malachite green/formalin mixture. Raising the water temp will help too.-Chuck> May

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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