Goldfish Issues, pond, comm. svc. acct.
I have a client with a pond, who has some goldfish that need your
The fish are between 3-5 years old. Two are bloated (thought to
be from improper nutrition/environment/husbandry) and one I am
unsure what to think could be the problem. Possibly an infection
of the liver? Or gases built up around the intestines from
<Likely the latter, along w/ aspects of the
I have attached pictures to this email, these are the only three
out of 8 fish to be affected in a 350 gallon pond.
Any suggestions on what to do would be greatly appreciated.
So far, here is what has rolled out since I took over the pond.
After the consultation, I immediately came up with an action
plan, and cross-referenced it through your site ( as I do when I
am uncertain in the least! ). I tested the pond's water and
the only issue was mild ammonia,
which alleviated after the water change/debris removal. This was
2 weeks ago. The water is still testing zero ammonia, zero
nitrites, 15ppm nitrates, and the pH is stable around 7.3-7.5. I
added magnesium sulfate at the rate of 1 g/L directly following
the water change, and after a week of no feeding I bumped the
level to around 2.0-2.3 g/L based on my calculations (hard to say
due to a storm we had during the first week, the pond had
overflowed some, so I dosed enough to bring the level from 1 to
2.5 g/L) I also started feeding a few peas every few days at the
second visit. Still no results in the affected fish.
<These will take months>
I am also having issues obtaining pond plants that the fish will
find palatable, as the owner agreed to have plants in the pond
for proper nutrition. The reason I am having issues is the plants
that are suggested on WWM are either illegal in South Carolina
(Egeria sp., Pistia sp.) or are not being carried yet by my local
nurseries, as it is still early in the pond season here. Do you
have any other suggestions for palatable pond plants (palatable
to the goldfish, of course!)?
<What do you have available?>
And do you have any suggestions for a quality commercial goldfish
<Mmm, yes... low protein... no more than 20%... ten would be
My client loves to feed his fish, and has been asking me when he
can resume feeding, and what (although he does understand he
cannot feed the fish until they are in better condition.)
<Emphasize this every time you're there. He needs to
MINIMALLY feed these fish/es>
He is a busy man, so I don't see him preparing peas and the
like for his fish. He just wants a bag/container that he can pick
up when relaxing in his backyard and feed a handful to his
Should I tell him to stick to a spring/fall diet, and only to
feed sparingly (as long as I can find suitable plants for the
fish to eat on a daily basis?)
A couple of questions:
What is the highest/most effective concentration of Epsom Salt
for bloat/dropsy? Would the affected fish benefit more from a
1-hour high-concentration bath?
<Possibly. Please read here:
and the linked FAQs file above labeled MgSO4>
Please let me know what direction I should take, I want to help
my client's goldfish live happy lives! I thank you in advance
for all of your help!
P.S.: Sorry about the glare in the pictures, it was the best
quality I could get out of my travel camera.
*Ebb and Flow Aquatics*
<Really only improved and diminished nutrition, sustained high
water quality and time will improve these fish's health.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Issues 4/19/11
Thank you for the info Bob,
What would you suggest I offer the customer? Weekly/Bi-weekly
water changes with debris removal and cleaning of filters?
Feeding schedule/guidelines along with this?
<As posted on WWM... none, once, twice per day depending on
Or should I feed once per week if we choose to go with a weekly
maintenance schedule? The customer wants some sort of time frame,
is there no real reliable way to estimate this?
<... please refer him to WWM is you don't care to look
I am not as much concerned with short-term revenue, as with long
<You are wise here>
The customer has indicated that a routine maintenance contract is
viable as long as I can fix this problem. Should I tell him the
only way to fix the problem is through a maintenance
<My stock statement here: I would NOT do any work nowadays w/
out a signed, written contract>
I pride myself in honest, excellent customer service at a price
that is better than my competition as well as a superior quality
I normally maintain aquariums, and my background is heavily in
reefs and tropicals (where most issues I have either dealt with
personally, or researched and assisted customers in resolving). I
have been drawn more and more to ponds for various reasons ( both
personal attraction as well as business reasons $$$) I want to
keep this customer! I don't want to scare him off, resulting
in another company immediately dosing the pond with loads of
Antibacterials before looking into the problem thoroughly
(potentially causing more issues than before). The only reason I
could think of to use Antibacterials would be on the food
(Kanamycin possibly?), after 2-3 months of consistent, optimal
water quality and nutrition. Do you agree?
<Mmm, at times/places, injectibles are of use... Definitely
NOT poured into the water>
I have been in the hobby for almost 16 years, 7 of which have
been in the service/retail industries. Any insight from someone
with much more experience than myself is always appreciated.
<Oh, do also peruse our Business SubWeb when you have
Also, did the pictures indicate nutritional issues?
<Possibly, along w/ env.>
The two that are bloated seem to be, but the one with the lump
under the skin I am curious about.
Thanks as always,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>