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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 49

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

Goldfish Disease by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4, Environmental 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

Why is my Goldfish bent at a right angle? 5/24/10
Dear Crew,
Whatever would we fish people do without you fish people? Thank you for always being there.
I've had this Fancy Oranda for almost 2 years now, and when purchased, I was told that he was "show size" and was probably 3-5 years old, but who knows.
Tank conditions:
Single BEAUTIFUL Redcap Oranda - about 7-8 inches, from tip of mouth to tip of tail.
20 High tank - unplanted
<Mmm, too small a volume, and I would add some purposeful real plants for reasons gone over on WWM>
Aqua Clear filter - regularly maintained
25% Water changed weekly
Air pump for up to 30 gallon tank with 2 long airstones
Water tested this week - Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia - all at "0".
<Wow! No nitrate?>
pH approx. 7.8 - which is normal for our water.
Light hood is not functional - and has not been for several months. There is adequate sunlight, both morning and evening, that comes directly to the tank from East and West windows for several hours each day, however, the light comes in at an angle - don't know if this matters, just thought I should mention everything in case.
<Doesn't matter, but good to mention>
There is currently no overhead lighting in this tank. I have read that the coloration can change with lack of sufficient UV. He had some dark markings on his body and fins, which have slowly gone away since the loss of overhead lights.
He's been healthy except for about a year ago, he developed swim bladder disease.
<Mmm, this is really "not a disease"... any more than obesity is in humans... but a syndrome of several disparate causes...>
I followed the recommended therapies - soaking food, reducing protein, feeding less, put on 2-3 day fast, and just when I was about to give up on recovery and began to consider euthanasia, he became healthy again. Also - a few weeks after we brought him home, from the fish shop, he developed Ich, which was treated successfully and has not recurred.
I have maintained the new diet and feeding regimen and had had no problems until about 10 days ago. I noticed he began to list to one side, but only slightly - maybe a few degrees from upright. The next day, I woke up to find him still swimming fine, but with his head almost at a complete right angle to his tail. He is bent toward his left side, if that makes any difference. On his right side, which is extended, he has lost a few scales - probably from brushing against the rocks too hard. I noticed that he would "swim" vigorously around and not be able to stop and would bang into the glass, or the rocks. I have since removed all the rocks as a precaution. When at the top of the tank, his whole body is sufficiently submerged below the surface of the waterline, so as not to concern me about any part of his body being exposed to the air for a prolonged period.
He seems not to be able to find his food - probably from not being able to swim on his own anymore.
My initial thinking was that this was swim bladder again, but the more reading I do, the less I think so. He takes food when hand-fed, and eats well. I have only been feeding peas, but will anchor some water cress in this evening, to see if he can graze on his own.
<Look into a good staple food... The Hikari or Spectrum lines are my favorites, what I use>
I am only feeding him every other day right now, and when fed, his stools seem normal - and green. He does not seem disoriented as he did with swim bladder. He does not, however, have complete control of his movements - almost like a person with a severe stiff neck.....
<Good descriptions>
Last week - about 5 days after this began, and after I put him on a pea diet, and fasted for a day, he swam quite normally for a few hours, even feeding fine on his own with sinking food, then went right back to being bent again that evening. I have maintained the pea diet every other day, feeding only once a day, and he has shown no more improvement since.
I also noticed that his respiration, at times, seems extremely slow. I can hardly see his gills moving at all - sometimes as little as 1 movement per 4 or 5 seconds. I therefore lowered the water level a few inches. I read that it would help with the water pressure on the fish - just in case it is swim bladder - and to create more splash from the filter to help with oxygenating the water. Does this work?
<Can help>
This evening, I found a light hood from a smaller tank and just put it on top of the tank and turned it on. He seemed to perk up a bit and was a bit more active than he has been - we'll see if it continues to help.
I went to www.wetwebmedia.com and searched for what it could be. I found a brief reference to one incidence of a bacterial infection that could be similar to mine, but I scrolled too quickly and could not find it again.
Do you know what this could be and how I may treat it?
<I would not "treat" this fish, water for what you describe>
As pitiful as this looks, I am hesitant to euthanize as the last time he was sick, I was about to euthanize and he made a complete recovery. If there is anything I can do to help him, please let me know.
She looks like this, but the bend is more extreme:
I am grateful for any help you can offer.
With kindest regards,
<Such "bending" is most often due to nutritional deficiencies... secondly to genetic issues... tertiarily to environmental issues. I would change the food as mentioned, keep up w/ your stated maintenance protocol, and do have your test kit checked against known values... Just in case. Such a large fish in a small volume should register some nitrogenous accumulation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Why is my Goldfish bent at a right angle? 5/25/10

Dear Bob,
Thanks for your response.
On recall, the last time I tested the water was shortly after a water change. I checked again before today's water change and Nitrate, Nitrite and ammonia are all "0".
swim to his food - eye/mouth coordination are not so good right now, so I had to hand-feed him, but he took to it fine...as expected.
I have already started adding some plants back in there for his benefit.
Do I then just see how this course of action goes for a while and hope for the best? For how long?
<Yes; indefinitely>
I just hate to think that he will be like this indefinitely.
<Oh! Good choice of adverbs. Perhaps this fish had a piscine stroke... BobF>
Stroke makes sense - Re: Why is my Goldfish bent at a right angle? 5/25/10
Sorry about the cut and paste error - I'm glad you figured it out.....
I got your very quick reply and immediately Googled "Piscine stroke goldfish" and came across this:
<Very interesting>
Some pretty fascinating stuff, but not much help to me. Describes the science behind a piscine stroke, ischemia, etc. but not much on what to do about it.... I read briefly - says not known to have any survivors...he seems to be slowing down even more, but we will persevere for the time being.
This makes sense when I think of a human stroke and how that can seem to happen suddenly, but is in fact a series of events -
Re: Tank size - as I do not have the means to move him to a larger tank any time soon, do you really feel that the 20 gallon tank is too small for him?
Thinking out loud - perhaps I am just asking you to help me feel better about his situation... I went and measured him holding a ruler against the tank and his body measures 3 inches and his tail is 4 inches long. I'm sure you are aware, the Aqua Clear filter is a 3-stage bio-filter - mine is rated for up to 50 gallons - and I am diligent about water changes and filter maintenance. I was under the impression that a 10 gallon tanks is the minimum for a single goldfish. Please advise.
<Well... some redundancy in "bio-filtration" is wise here... Perhaps adding another outside power filter... or even an internal one... will keep you out of trouble in terms of general metabolite bottle-necking... This and water changes weekly... Do read here:
and as much of the linked files above as you have time, interest. B>
Thanks again so much.

Sick Oranda 5/23/10
Dear WetWebMedia,
<Hello Tamara, Melinda with you here today.>
I have a beautiful 3 1/2 year old Oranda male. He is in a 41 gallon tank with a 2 year old Ryukin and a young Lionhead. About 3 or 4 weeks ago I noticed the Oranda's tail was looking very red (the veins look very red).
I know some stuff about fish so knew this isn't a good sign. I am diligent on water changes (once a week without fail 25-50% water changes each time)
<This is very good.>
and I treat the water with conditioner each time. So, when I saw my Oranda was sick I didn't think it was the water, but I tested anyway for ammonia, nitrates, ph, all the usuals. Every think looked within healthy levels.
<I really prefer numbers to subjective terminology when it comes to water quality. Hopefully, by "within healthy levels" you mean Ammonia and Nitrite at zero, Nitrate under 20. If they're not within these limits, then they are almost definitely the cause of your fish's illness.>
A week later he was still looking sick, I tested again and everything came out good, but I didn't trust myself so took a water sample to the wonderful aquarium store in my area. They tested and said everything looked right on and was all at good/great levels. The Oranda has no sign of any scrapes or wounds on the outside, but I thought maybe he cut his mouth or something on the inside and might have an infection. So I treated with aquarium salt and also treated with Melafix. over the next week.
<These don't do much good, as far as treatment. I'm thinking your fish may have hemorrhagic septicemia, which is a condition that arises due to poor water quality or other environmental factors. The first thing I would do is ensure that your water quality is matching what I outline above, and if it's not, you've found the cause of the issue. It will need to be fixed before your fish will get better. Once water quality is up to par, I would treat with Maracyn 2, per the directions on the package. Really, it would be better to quarantine the fish, but if that is not possible, just test for Ammonia and Nitrite frequently in case the medication negatively affects the biological cycle.>
Unfortunately, the Oranda is still looking red in this tails and fins.
Here is the weird part though, I can check on him say in the afternoon and he looks great, no sign of red, but I can check on him 6 hours later and he is very red in the tails and fins. He does at times sort seem like he isn't feeling well and will sit on the bottom for a little bit or just sort of hang in the water mid-tank. Other times he is swimming all around and seems to feel great, but just looks so red in the tail. The other two fish seem just fine and no signs of feeling poorly. What could be going on here? I thought maybe water temp since I am in AZ and the temps are rising
now. But the highest I have seen the water get so far this year is 75.9 degrees (from 72 degrees in the cooler months). Any thoughts on how to help my favorite fish feel better? Am I making much ado about nothing? I am worried about him. Much thanks to you for any advice or thoughts you can offer and thanks for being available to help folks like me.
<Tamara, I think you're right to be concerned. First, I would do a search on Google images for "hemorrhagic septicemia," and confirm whether or not you agree with my diagnosis. Then, I would proceed to right water quality
and treat if you see no improvement in his condition fairly quickly.
Please do write back if you have further questions.>
Re: Sick Oranda
Hi Melinda,
<Hi Tamara.>
Thanks for the thoughts on what might be going on with my Oranda. I just really struggled to believe it might be the water quality since I am so adamant about water changes, etc.. So I ran the gamut and below are my results:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate not quite 0, but less than 5
Phosphate .25
PH low 7.6
PH high 7.6
Carb/general hardness GH 120 KH 160
Calcium 80
Iron non-chelated 0, Iron Chelated 0
<These all do look good. I apologize if I sounded like I didn't believe you! The thing is, some fishkeepers think that low levels of Ammonia or Nitrite are acceptable, when of course they're not; in fact, they indicate big problems in the system. Thus, the beauty of numbers when it comes to ruling out water quality as a factor in illness.>
I think these are all right in line to where they should be, but would appreciate your input on the results.
<You are right.>
After reading online and looking at images of hemorrhagic septicemia I definitely do not think this is what we are dealing with.
<Well, this is good news and bad... good, because septicemia can be difficult to treat, and bad, because we still don't have a diagnosis! Do you think you could send some photos?>
I am really worried about treating with Maracyn 2 because I do not want to throw my whole system off. Is this an all natural product? I really do not like to use things that are not "natural".
<It is not natural, in the way that Melafix is natural, but Melafix really doesn't do much, so that's not helpful! It is an antibiotic, and so on that level, is similar to what we would take if we were sick. As far as throwing the system off, this is what I meant by a quarantine tank being a good option, but Maracyn is not as bad about this as other medications. In any case, frequent testing would reveal any issues with the biological cycle. After you're done treating, you'd just run some carbon and remove.
However, without a diagnosis, I wouldn't recommend using it.>
And I am concerned about my using it with the baby Lionhead and my live plants in the tank. Should I be worried? Any additional thoughts on what else could be going on?
<The fish and plants should be okay, but if you could isolate the sick fish, it's always a better option. So far, the symptoms we've got are red streaks in tail and fins, and sporadic lethargy. Red streaks often indicate bacterial infection; lethargy is usually related to water quality (we've ruled that out) or improper diet. For bacterial infection, I'd use Maracyn II, because that's what I have had success with in the past, and for the lethargy, I'd review feeding requirements here:
Thanks so much for everything!
<You're welcome! Please write back with any more questions.

Oranda... Mysterious origins of trouble, reading -- 05/21/10
Hi, we have something going on in our 56 gal tank. One morning- Monday- our one Oranda was fine- I just did a 30% water change and cleaned filter machine and new filters, we were out of town for the night and the next day Oranda's wren
<The bird?>
had big hole, he shares the tank with 4 other Orandas, (it was whitish in color around the damage area).
<Mmm, such damage can occur spontaneously... or can be resultant from trauma, even being picked on by others...>
Gave him (Gregory) a q-tip w peroxide on wounded /hurt area. I did not have a hosp tank as we have a bunch of baby Platies in there now, so I put him in a 10 gal bucket that I use for water changes and added medaflex (SP?).
<Not Melafix I hope... See WWM re>
I knew he would not make it in tank over night
<? Why?>
and thought my only option. We did loose
him this morning.
Now my daughters prize Oranda Ralph was fine this morning swimming and came up to see me when I turned lights on. I of course was on the look out for any one else with bad wrens.
When I went up a few hrs ago Ralph was sitting on bottom. At first I thought he was sleeping but sadly no. He was just sitting there while the other fish were swimming all around him. I threw in 2/3 sinking pellets by him to see
if he would go after them but, no. He is our largest Oranda and always the food hound. I now know something is up. I put a divider up in tank so no one would mess with him and did another 20% water change. Tested water also and all is perfect!! What now to do is my question...
<Perhaps add a bit of activated carbon to your filtration... And keep testing your water for issues with nitrification (ammonia, nitrite) as the "Fix" can/does interrupt biological filtration at times. Other than this, maybe setting out water for change-outs a week ahead of use... As your source water may have some issues, even be inconsistent in its make-up.
Read on WWM re "Goldfish, Environmental Disease"... the search tool, indices... Bob Fenner>
Re: mystery goldfish illness 5/10/10

Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
I thought you might be interested to learn that this goldfish of mine appears to have recovered. After spending several weeks, maybe it's been two months or more (I have forgotten), in the breeding net, I released it into the main tank yesterday and it has not yet gotten stuck under a plant or by the filter intake. I've tried this several other times but each time it got stuck somewhere and I ended up putting it back in the breeding net where it could rest and not get into difficulty.
I am very pleased! I was worried that by confining it I was going to kill it through lack of exercise. It seems however that the illness has passed.
<Ah good>
I have no idea what the problem was or whether it will recur, but since I expected this fish to die before now and was prepared to euthanize it to prevent extended suffering, I am delighted to see it swimming about the tank with the others, apparently quite happy.
Thanks for your advice!
<Thank you for this update. BobF>

goldfish bent and corkscrew swimming 4/20/10
can you be so kind as to tell me of any disease that may cause a cloudy ball to form in his one eye its about 2-3mm round. I was thinking a fungus??
because he had this before and since treating him for a fungus. it went away and I discontinued after the 5 days recommended and about 10 days later, it's back.
also I am going to school to become a vet tech and have ways of testing is there any data you could relay to me on how to perform a culture maybe from the mouth or even examining the blood because between me and my teachers we can do those things. thanks for the help and understanding. I really am trying here.
<... You need to work on your penmanship... or penwomanship... And look into a copy of Ed Noga, "Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. Bob Fenner>

Hello... Popeye... Ongoing iatrogenic prob.s... lack of reading, understanding re GF sys., health, mis and over-medicating 4/15/10
Hello once again, I am the one that is so trying to clear a Popeye problem in one of my fish, one other in different tank has cloudy eye, I change water almost daily and it is crystal clear, readings all good too, it is very alkaline, but always has been, I not long ago used Medi gold medicated food, no help, then I waited cleared tank of meds, and now am trying the first suggestion from someone, to try triple sulfa powder in water, They are all still acting very well and eating good, I wondered if you know anything about triple sulfa? Is it safe? I once not long ago used med for parasites too, and also cleared tank of that , but do you think this is safe to try? I was online and I think I read something like, Use if no problems with scales, the one with Popeye has scales missing and also some have changed color, do you know why it might have said this? Thank you all again
<Mmm, is this FW, marine? Please read here:
and the linked files above. If unilateral, no treatment is recommended/advised. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hello, Popeye, learning to use WWM 4/15/10

this is freshwater, and what do you mean by unilateral? Sorry for all the questions! Thanks again
<... one-sided... Read here in addition:
Popeye 4/15/10
Hello, I have been conversing with you for some time over the last few months on my goldfish with Popeye, I mentioned I have tried wonder shells medicated,
YUK!! Melafix, didn't work,
<Also useless.>
and treated for parasites,
<Nothing to do with Pop-eye.>
Keep cleaning tank and readings are good, I put triple sulfa in today and noticed that my healthy fish is swimming with head down, He will straighten up when I come near but I wonder if I should start removing med, I can add
carbon in filters and take a little water out now,
<Carbon not really needed, since filter bacteria break down medications within a day or two anyway.>
but I just put it out to set for a day this morning, not even 12 hours yet, Do you think I can remove the med and start treating with the Epsom salt, Not sure if it can be used with the triple sulfa?? Thanks a lot
<Do read:
Pop-eye is essentially a symptom rather than a disease, and can be caused in several ways. Physical damage is often the cause if only one eye is affected, and poor environmental conditions often the cause if both eyes are affected. Either way Epsom salt helps reduce the swelling but isn't a "cure" as such. The fish may heal naturally given optimal conditions, though antibiotics are usually required. Beyond a certain point I've yet to see Pop-eye heal, and normally the eye just falls off. Bob Fenner argues otherwise. Either way, successful recovery depends upon the right water chemistry, excellent water quality, and a healthy diet. Cheers, Neale.>
Re GF Popeye, ongoing treatment, sys., filtration ... Env. dis. 4/17/10

Hello ,Would you tell me if using two air stones in my tank with two separate pumps for added aeration will cause any problems, I have a lot of surface agitation and read that it can raise ph?? The ph is already a bit high and I don't want to raise it! it is around 8.5 and all other readings are good, I just wanted to add more oxygen as I read that if using carbon in filters can reduce dissolved oxygen in tanks, I change filter media about every 2-3 weeks and has carbon in it?? I only wonder if using two air stones will hurt them or raise ph?? I better mention that I have a 20
gallon freshwater tank after asking the question on aeration increase !
Thanks once again
<Aeration drives off CO2, and since CO2 lowers pH, then yes, aeration can cause pH to rise somewhat. In practise this is of no importance unless you're deliberately adding CO2 for the benefit of plant growth. The idea
you can "add" oxygen by increasing aeration is wrong. This isn't what happens at all. Aeration improves water circulation, and so ensures the oxygenated layer of water at the top of the tank by the air gets mixed with the deoxygenated layer at the bottom of the tank. This means bottom-dwelling fish will be happier. But the effect is small, and far less important than [a] having a tank big enough for the fish being kept and [b] having a filter with sufficient turnover for the aquarium size and loading.
Messing about with airstones, carbon and other knickknacks is irrelevant to the fundamentals of fishkeeping: the right size tank for the fish being kept, the right choices of fish for your local water chemistry, adequate filtration, regular water changes, and the right diet for the types of fish being kept. Concentrate on those. Cheers, Neale.>
Hello , I have been talking to you about 20 gallon tank with 3 goldfish in it, one got Popeye, I added new larger hang on back filter for more water flow, and wondered now about my Biowheel that I have had on the tank for about 9-10 years. I change the filter pad but have never touched the Biowheel, it looks ugly, turns slow but still turns.
<May well need cleaning or replacing.>
I mentioned I change the filter pads and I clean the entire housing once about every two months, could this be a problem if I don't get new Biowheel or larger Biowheel then what I have , I have a whisper 40 filter and Penguin 125 Biowheel filter.
<You should never replace more than 50% of the biological media [sponges, ceramic noodles, BioWheels] within a 6-week period. You can rinse these off in buckets of aquarium water as often as you want, and the freer of silt
and debris they're kept, the better they work.>
I change water twice weekly and all fish act fine. water parameters are as follows
GH 6
Nitrates less then 20
Nitrites 0
<Cheers, Neale.>
Fw: Filters
Again I forgot some things I wanted to ask in last message, I know I need a larger tank , is there any way possible to make this 20 gallon environment well enough to house the 3 goldfish I have,
<Not really. Regular water changes and a beefy biological filter such as an external canister filter rated at 4-6 times the volume of the tank per hour [e.g., an Eheim 2213] will help. Ensuring the water has adequate carbonate hardness will inhibit dangerous acidification between water changes [aim for at least 4 degrees KH, and ideally 5-6 degrees, for a steady pH around 7.5]. But even a slightly bigger tank, 30 or 40 gallons, would make a huge difference.>
I would have a hard time placing any larger a tank in my house and do not want to get rid of these fish, I have grown to really like them (I know that is strange)
<Not strange at all. Goldfish are excellent pets and among the few fish species that genuinely bond with their keepers. Did you know that in some lab experiments, they appear to learn faster than dolphins?>
and I have had them so very long already, I will do anything if there is anything I can do to keep them well in this tank??
<Cheers, Neale.>
Fw: Filters
One more thing I was reading about for freshwater goldfish, can you tell me if it is possible to use UV filter on 20 gallon tanks, if so would it help and how is it that they work. what actually do they do? Thanks in advance
to all of you, if you only knew how hard it is to get answers for these problems with fish you would know how much your appreciated, thanks!!!
<A UV filter is usually attached to the outgoing water from an external canister filter. What a UV filter does is kill -- most, not all -- of the micro-organisms floating in the water, including diatoms and some types of disease-causing parasites. Their usefulness in freshwater tanks is relatively low, and they don't suddenly make a 20 gallon tank as good as a 55 gallon one. They're also quite expensive and require a new UV tube every 12 months or so. By far the best value per pound/dollar/yen or whatever comes from a bigger glass box, i.e., the size of the tank. After that, a bigger filter is a sound investment. Everything else that supposedly improves water quality -- carbon, Zeolite, UV, ozone, etc. -- is just icing on the cake, and not even useful icing half the time. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fw: Filters
To increase the bio filtration I found an emperor 400 that I can take the two filters off my tank and replace with this one if you think it might help, it has two BioWheels and moves about 400 gpm , if I was to do this how can I without disrupting the biological filtration I already have on tank, as I would be removing my one whisper and one Biowheel filters to make room for this one.
<If adding new filters, either move at least 50% of the mature biological media from the old filter to the new one, or else have them both running on the tank together for about six weeks [you may need to reduce the flow rate a bit though, if you find the fish being buffeted about].>
Do you think this would help with my bioload from 3 goldfish in 20 gallon tank, I read I need a lot of biological filtration and I only have the small Biowheel on there now?? Thanks again
<Goldfish are messy fish, and anything that boosts biological and mechanical filtration is useful. On the other hand, too much water current can upset fancy Goldfish. Aim for 4-6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour where fancy Goldfish are being kept, a bit more for standard Goldfish [common, comets, Shubunkins, etc.]. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fw: Filters
Okay, I think I understand about the turnover rate, you mention 4 to 6 times so the Biowheel 400 might be a bit much, it also sells a smaller one with a 280 gph and if I add this to what I have the turns over 210, that is putting me at more rate then if I purchased the one that turns over 400 gph??It would then be 490, these are comet goldfish , can you explain what exactly you mean by 4-6 times the volume in a 20 gallon tank??
<If you're keeping Comets, which LOVE water current, then 6-8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour is good. In other words, if you have 20 gallons, you want a filter rated at between 6 x 20 = 120 gallons per hour and 8 x 20 = 160 gallons per hour. This is what we call turnover, and tells you how often, roughly, the water goes through the filter per hour. The bigger and messier the fish, the more you want it to go through the filter. Just going by the aquarium sizes quoted by manufacturers can be misleading, in the same way as the number of servings on cereal boxes, or miles per gallon of fuel for motor cars. The manufacturers quote best case scenarios, which in the case of filters is with small, clean fish like Neons. Obviously a 55 gallon tank with some Neons in it is a whole different proposition to a 55 gallon tank with a big messy catfish! So just because the filter rated for a 55 gallon tank would keep the Neons healthy and happy doesn't mean it'd work on the 55 gallon tank with the catfish.
Hence experienced aquarists look at the turnover rate as well. For want of a better term, it's a "reality check" against whatever the manufacturers put on the boxes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fw: Filters
So then which biofilter would be best? using one that turns over 400gph alone, or adding one that turns over 280 along with my whisper that turns over 210 gph?? Thanks so much , you've been very helpful
<The aim is to have one or more filters that added together come to about 6-8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. If you need to run two filters together for a while, so the bacteria from one can colonise the
other, then that's okay so long as the combined water current isn't so high the fish get buffeted about. If needs be, turn the filter flow rates down using whatever adjustment knobs they come with. Alternatively, aim the outflow into the glass or a big rock, so the water current gets spread out a bit. I don't know the precise filters you're talking about since they're not ones I've used, and frankly, I don't much care for hang-on-the-back filters. But the basic rules outlined here and earlier on should help you understand and make decisions yourself. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fw: Filters
Okay, thanks again, I am confused a bit now, as if I use these filters mentioned that turnover 400gpm or have two that turn over 490 gph together, then with what your saying about 6-8 times turnover then it sounds like I have way too much??
<At a turnover rate of 6 times per hour, a 400 gallon/hour filter would be about right for a 66 gallon tank, or 8 times per hour for a 50 gallon tank.
For a smaller tank than that, yes, it'd be overkill.>
Can this be a problem? I wont bother you anymore , at least for today! I appreciate all the help
<If the filters have flow rate adjusters, simply set them to half their maximum flow and you'll be fine. If not, then choose filters with less turnover. The numbers don't have to be dead-on, but if you're wildly out, that's bad. On a 20 gallon tank, a 400 gallon/hour filter is producing a turnover rate of 20 times per hour, which is far too much for Goldfish.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fw: Filters... 4/17/2010

Okay I just ordered an emperor 280 Biowheel filter, smallest one, that has gph of 280 , I will take off my whisper 40 with gph of 210 when it arrives, I will leave my old Biowheel with 125 gph on until new one seed so to speak, but with this I will have gph of 405 until new one seeds, will this hurt the fish,
<Potentially yes, if the fish are buffeted about.>
this is the only way I can think to make the change and add more biological filtration ,
<Hmm... can you not adjust the flow rate somehow? So each filter is operating at 50% full turnover?>
I will remove whisper after new Biowheel is seeded but will have this high gph for awhile, right now I am at 335 with the filters I have on there now, I also need to know if using just the new emperor 280 Biowheel is enough filtration if I remove the others when seeded, thanks again.
<Do read, review previous e-mails please. It's difficult for me to remember everything we've discussed so far. The main thing, as stated several times now, is to make sure the overall turnover at any one time is 6-8 times the volume of the tank in gallons per hour. Above that will cause problems.
Cheers, Neale.>
Problems.... same env. induced prob.s w/ Goldfish... still in too small worlds, repeatedly over/mis-medicating... - 4/19/10

Hello, I have been having problems with my comet goldfish housed in 2 twenty gallon tanks,
<Comets do better in ponds, to be honest.>
I have been treating one with Popeye to no avail and one with cloudy eye with nothing as they say the water needs to be pristine,
<Yes, but "pristine" water refers to ammonia and nitrite levels being zero. Medication is something else entirely, and if required, should be used. Indeed, most of the time medications will only achieve anything useful if used alongside pristine water conditions.>
Also many suggestions on changing to larger tank, My water parameters now are fine will ph being a bit high but always has been, 9.
<Yes, this is high, perhaps too high. You really want pH 7-8 for Goldfish.
Can you mix your presumably very hard tap water with rainwater or RO water?
On the other hand, if the water isn't all that hard, the high pH could *easily* come from non-zero ammonia levels. Ammonia is a base, and the more there is in the water, the higher the pH. Test the water for ammonia: if it isn't zero, this could easily be the problem. A big fish in a small tank, especially with a pokey filter, could easily create non-zero ammonia levels.>
My question , it was suggested by some others that I need 180 gallon tank, I CANNOT house this and cannot make a pond, I measured and can accommodate 2 45 gallon tanks if I can find them to be atop one another with stand of some sort,
<Not aware of commercial "racks" for fish tanks, but many hobbyist fish rooms have precisely this sort of arrangement. Because water is incredibly heavy, you need to approach this option carefully. With this said, a single
40-50 gallon tank should house 3-5 Goldfish just fine.>
I wondered if this is what will fix the problems with my fish as this is a big step for me here and don't want to go through it all if this is not the answer.
<Without being in your house and looking at the sick fish and testing the water myself, I can't guarantee anything. If this was me though, and I wanted to keep Goldfish, I'd certainly be looking to keep a small group in a 40+ gallon tank.>
I don't know if I can find this setup and hope I can, I want to help my fish but cannot go to 180 gallons!
<You don't need 180 gallons. Sure, Comets would love that amount of space, but it isn't essential.>
Please let me know all you can about this before I make the change, I plan on using there old water to get new tanks cycled faster
<Won't do this.>
(as I take out with water changed I will put in new tanks, ) is this okay.
<You need to move live biological media -- e.g., ceramic noodles, sponges -- from one tank to the other. The water itself contains virtually nothing useful. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
My ammonia and nitrites are at zero, is this why the ph is high <<?>>
<They're meant to be zero. If you have plain, hard water you should typically have a pH around 7.5 to 8, depending on how hard it is. A pH of 9 is quite basic (in the chemical sense of the word) and rather unusual. Do
check you are using your test kits correctly.>
Okay so if I get new tanks and don't use the old water but use the old media , this will help,
the filters I use now are overkill for the size of tanks I have, so do you think I need to medicate too?
<The two things are not related. Treat the diseases *and* provided correct, adequate filtration.>
I have been medicating the smaller fish , one with Popeye and nothing is happening , I am thinking with all said that it is the size tanks they are in, although the only parameter out of whack is the ph, fish store said it is always like this and they are used to it, a change might hurt them??
<Exposing fish to sudden water chemistry changes can be stressful, that is true. But at the same time leaving them in poor conditions doesn't help. If you need to acclimate a fish from one set of water conditions to another, then do what you'd do with a new fish: put the fish in a bucket a little more than covered with the water it shipped in (or lived in before) and slowly add half a cup of water every 10 minutes until the bucket is filled.
Then net the fish out and put into its new home.>
Why wouldn't you suggest using some of the old water in new tanks to help with cycling
<Because the nitrifying bacteria live attached to solid objects, primarily filter media. They aren't swimming about in the water. Moving water from one tank to another is pointless.>
as when I moved them a long time ago into the 20 gallons they almost died with spiking ammonia?
<Likely because you didn't have a mature filter -- or a new filter with mature media -- in the new aquarium. Do please read and try to *understand* what we're saying here. Rather than flailing about looking for quick answers to random questions, think about the science. The bacteria live on the media in filters. It takes 6 weeks for that media to become mature.
Only mature media can process the ammonia produced by bacteria. If the filter is too small for the number/size of the fish, there won't be a big enough population of bacteria to do this job. Fishkeeping the easy way relies upon careful cultivation of bacteria. It's really VERY SIMPLE once you understand that.>
Thanks again I am so stressed and need some advice, I am nervous to say the least about moving them but also have tried everything to help them with the problems, acting fine otherwise. If moving to larger tank will improve
there conditions I am willing but not sure now if it will help??
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
Okay, then in that case I do have problems since I have been treating them with different meds,
I have been changing the filter pads, so none have been left in for 6 weeks,
<Arghh! Do please please read the instructions that came with the filter!
I'm sure it states two things: [1] Don't change more than 50% of the biological media (ceramic noodles, sponges) within a 6-week period; and [2] don't clean biological media in anything other than a bucket of aquarium water or possibly a cool to luke-warm running tap. You can change Zeolite and carbon as often as you want, but they need to be changed something like once every 1-4 weeks to do the job you want from them. With that said, Zeolite ("ammonia remover") is worthless in a Goldfish tank, and carbon only marginally more useful.>
I would have to wait 6 weeks for these to grow bacteria in order to place them in new water correct?
<If you replace *only* 50% of the biological media per 6 week period, there's little/no time to wait because the remaining bacteria colonise the new stuff extremely quickly. But if you replace more than 50%, then the filter performance drops accordingly to how little mature media was left intact. If you change all the media, then yes, it'll take 6 weeks or thereabouts. Likely a bit less because there will be some bacteria on the gravel, but you'll still get non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels for at least a few days while those bacteria spread from the gravel into the
filter. UNLESS you have an undergravel filter, the number of bacteria on the gravel will not be NEARLY enough to handle the ammonia from your fish.
So you'll still have water quality problems in the short term.>
The only thing I have that has not been touched is the wheel on my Biowheel filter, it is not that big and I don't know if it would be enough bacteria for a 40 gallon tank, I have read that something called BioSpira is live bacteria, DO you know anything about that stuff
<At best, delivers mixed results. Will likely make little/no difference here because you *already* have some bacteria on the gravel, assuming you haven't cleaned the gravel under a hot tap or something silly. Would save your pennies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems... GF, ongoing lack
Hello again, I have a few more questions regarding biological needs for my fish, I am getting a product called 'One and Only' that says if added to aquarium it will help replace (quickly) any biological bacteria disturbed through meds, lots of water changes, filter media changes, etc,
<Possibly. But understand this: your aquarium ALREADY has starter populations of all the bacteria you need. Under most normal situations, there is NEVER a reason to add new colonies of bacteria just because you've done a water change. If money is burning a hole in your pocket, then by all means try the product out and let me know what happens. Would I buy such a product for this situation? No.>
all of which I have been doing with trying to help my fish with eye problems, Now I still have good readings, no ammonia, etc, I wondered why everyone is saying my fish will die if I don't get them into larger tank 180 gallons!
<I didn't say that.>
they move and eat fine, but can you tell me why if I improve the biological bacteria and have extra filtration in my tanks, that this will surely happen?
<Correct. While an aquarium needs to be above a certain size simply to be stable and provide the space Goldfish need, there is no reason at all why you cannot keep two healthy specimens in 30 gallons, or five healthy specimens in 55 gallons. Sure, 180 gallons would be nice, but it isn't essential.>
Is it possible that if I fix my biological needs in tank that they will heal up?
<It's not an either/or. Without ensuring good water quality via a working biological filter, your fish won't ever heal properly.>
again they do not have any issues with bad water parameters, except a higher ph around 9, that they tell me if they are used to that if is okay, the kH is around 200 and the dGH is around 25, with this said I also wanted to know if they are needing minerals to help with osmotic function? Could this be the problem?
<It isn't ideal, no. Firstly, find out if your test kits are quoting results in calcium oxide, CaO, or calcium carbonate, CaCO3. This makes a difference, and without units, it's like saying the temperature is 50 degrees -- is that 50 degrees C or 50 degrees F? Just so here. Carbonate hardness is normally measured in mg/l CaCO3, whilst general hardness may be measured in mg/l of either CaO or CaCO3. Once you know the actual measurements, you can compare them to the tables on this article:
Read and try to understand this article. Goldfish generally want moderately hard water, so around 200-300 mg/l CaCO3 for general hardness is about right, and around 200 mg/l CaCO3 for carbonate hardness is also good. If
the general hardness is rather low than this, as seems to be the case, I wouldn't worry too much if the carbonate hardness is still quite high, as also seems to be the case. What Goldfish dislike is soft water. For what it's worth, I doubt water chemistry is the issue here. Concentrate on filtration. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems (Bob, any common reasons for water of pH 9?)<<Likely additive abuse. RMF>> -- 04/22/10
Thank you very much, You guys are great!!
<Modesty forbids...>
I don't feel so stressed when I talk to you! I did see that the tetra liquid test I use is carbonate Hardness for the KH testing, it requires you to put 5ml in a tube then add one drop at a time until it turns from Blue to yellow, that is all it says, then the GH test is performed the same way and it says drops until it turns from Red to Green, then I just keep record of the drops used, on this test I get KH of 10,
<This is a fairly high carbonate hardness.>
GH 0f 4-6 (varies)
<While this is quite a low general hardness. Do look at the tables here:
and the rest of Ph at 9,
<This is rather high.>
Ammonia 0, Nitrite O , then I use the dip stick method and this is where I get the reading of GH at 25 and KH around 200-300 (cant tell as it is between colors) the rest is the same. Do I need to convert this to use the chart you sent me link to?
<If you want. What matters is you understand what the values imply; the measurement scale you prefer to use couldn't matter less. Just understand that you have fairly hard, mineral-rich water overall (by adding the carbonate and general hardness together) and that the pH is, for some reason, unusually high. Are you using well water or something? Sometimes unusual well water has above normal pH levels. Really, you want to lower this to 7.5 or 8, perhaps by mixing 50/50 with deionised water or rainwater. I wouldn't add "pH down" products though; altering pH without reducing carbonate hardness creates unstable, unhealthy conditions; if you are going to alter water chemistry, alter the hardness, and let pH go down by itself.>
The part you said in the first message below, after I asked question if this will surely happen, referring to the statement someone else on another site, Foster and smith, said they will surely die, you said correct, I wanted to make sure you know they are in a 20 gallon tank, 3 smaller ones in one and a larger one alone in another?
<Goldfish don't generally do well in 20 gallons, so if you keep them in a tank that small, and they're already sick one way or another, then the odds aren't in their favour.>
If water quality is good will they die as one stated from this other site??
<Impossible to say. Let me restate the case here: Goldfish need a good 30 gallons
<<More if these are Comets... and they are. RMF>>
if you're keeping 2-3 specimens, and anything less than that isn't likely to be successful in the long term, however good water quality might seem. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems

Just to let you know why I even bothered telling all this info to these Dr.s foster and smith people, it that I was looking at the new BioWheels thinking I might need new ones for my tanks, so I asked them if I should replace my old one of nine years
<Well, to be fair, replacing filter media is something one would do periodically. Changing sponges and wheels is probably worth doing every 5 years or so, though as stated before I think, you shouldn't change more than 50% of the biological media within a 6 week period.>
OF course the said yes need to buy new ones and bigger then after I answered all the questions, they said the fish will surely die if not in 180 gallon tank or give them away!
<Hmm... wouldn't do any harm to move them to 180 gallons, but for 3-4 Goldfish, that would be generous rather than absolutely essential.>
I didn't need to here that as I have had them 10-12 years!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
IF I was to try to move them to 30 gallon tanks, Could I take everything in there tanks all the water,
<Wouldn't move *all* the water, but filling the new tank with 50% of the water from the old tank and then filling it up with fresh tap water would be wise. Why? Nothing to do with bacteria, but to do with minimising changes in water chemistry.>
filters, gravel and fish and put them in a 30,
would this work and I would slowly add the extra water needed to fill the tanks? It would be 10 gallons short of water at first, would the filters still work?
Just trying to think of a way to move them without any stress or water chemistry change and still keep all the good bacteria?
<Bacteria are in the filter. THE FILTER! Not the water. So long as the filter is switched off for no more than 20 minutes, the bacteria inside the filter, i.e., on the sponges and ceramic noodles, will be fine. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
I know I am going to be told to stop mailing you !
I am sorry, I keep thinking on this and will try to move them to 30 gallon tanks, this is about all I can afford with space, It would be 2 -30 gallon tanks, I wondered with this idea, I get the new tanks, add water, I already have 2 new emperor BioWheels in boxes, can I take the wheels off these and lay them in the tanks they are in right not, 2-20 gallons, and let them get nitrified?
<I don't know these filters, so can't tell you if the BioWheels on your existing, already matured filters would be compatible with those of any new filters you may own or be about to buy. If this was me, I'd run the mature filters and the new filters on the tank together, and wait for about a month to six weeks, to the bacteria could colonise any new filter media.>
It will take 6 weeks I know, then place them along with the gravel in new tank,
<Gravel without an undergravel filter carries very few bacteria, so don't expect miracles simply by moving gravel. You need to have mature filter media in the filters.>
I could then also take the OLD Biowheel that is running now on the 20 tanks, then place it in the new tank water too??
<Yes, you can have two filters running simultaneously if you wanted. After 6 weeks, you can remove one of them if needs be.>
Would this avoid problems with ammonia?
<Provided there's at least one mature filter somewhere on the tank, you shouldn't have ammonia problems.>
I almost lost them in last move years ago. One more thing I would need to know, with the ph in there tanks now at 9 , I don't imagine the new water would have that ??
<What new water? What's the pH of your tap water?>
So how do I avoid ph shock when I place in new tank?
<You avoid exposing fish to different water chemistry by keeping water changes relatively small, maybe 25% during the normal 1-2 weekly water changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
Thanks again, Neale your very patient!!
<Would seem so.>
I wanted to clarify what I meant by the BioWheels, I wanted to take the non established BioWheels off the filter and lay it in the bottom of 20 gallon tank already established, just let it sit there to nitrify,
<Just sitting in the aquarium will help, but it will take a long time for a proper coating of bacteria. Remember, the filter works because it contains running water and lots of oxygen, but no light. If the object just sits in the tank, it will be exposed to light and not so much water current, so you'll get more algae and saprotrophic bacteria than nitrifying bacteria.>
then when I set up new tank with new water etc, I would take the Biowheel from inside tank floor and place it on its filter holder and start it running, just wondered if you think it would nitrify just setting at bottom of tank for some time in the established tank, once you say this is a good idea or bad,
<It might help, but it isn't the approach I'd recommend.>
I was after setting it in motion on new tank, I would take the old Biowheel off its filter holder (the one that is running on tank now, so it is well established) and place it on the floor of new tank, can this be beneficial along with of course using the filter media from established tank once I get new tank started. Do you see what I mean I was thinking of doing? Can this wheel I take off new filters from new box , if set in old tank for awhile on tank bottom nitrify?
<Filter media only really becomes inoculated with filter bacteria when somewhere dark, well oxygenated, and with a nice water current. That's what a filter is all about!>
I am going to get the new tanks tomorrow but will still have to wait some to nitrify some of my old media as I was changing it out some when treating and removing meds, now they need to nitrify if I want them to be beneficial to new tank, I will also add this one and only live bacteria in new tank too, it was made my Dr. Timothy A. Hovanec
<Adding potions [allegedly] containing live bacteria to tanks that have been established for more than a few weeks is, more than likely redundant. But it won't hurt.>
Thanks again for all the help, one more thing I know it is not much a change but I can afford with my space to increase from a 20 to a 30 gallon tank, will this help significantly with the problems I am having, I cannot get 180 gallons as recommended by another site I wont go back to!!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
Oh I forgot about the ph , you ask what new water when I said what about the ph change in new tank, they are in 9 now and my tap water is 7.8 , this would be a big change with new water in new tank??
<If the tap water has a pH of 7.8, that's fine, and good for Goldfish. Why is the pH of the aquarium so high? Do you add anything to the water? Are there calcareous materials, e.g., seashells, in the aquarium? Something is
happening between the tap water going into a bucket and the aquarium water.
Sometimes tap water contains CO2 that lowers pH, and after it "degasses" the pH goes up. Draw some tap water, test the pH, and then test the pH again 12 hours later. If the pH has gone up, then it is very likely this is the issue. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems
I've tried that test on my tap water , testing it out of tap , then letting it sit , and testing again,
<Twelve hours later...?>
it stays the same, I don't have anything in the tank, not even decorations .
<Test the carbonate hardness (degrees KH) of the tap water, the tap water after 12 hours, and then some aquarium water. If the carbonate hardness is the same in all three, then something else is happening. But if the aquarium water has a higher carbonate hardness than the tap water, then there's something in the aquarium.>
Could it be too much filtration or changing water too much?
<No. Cheers, Neale.>
Filtration... GF induced troubles... more? Again? The same? 4/26/10

Hello, I am the one that talks to you about the goldfish I have ,
<Believe me, you're not the only one...>
I have one with Popeye, and one in another tank alone with cloudy eye, I wondered if I beef up the biological filtration will this help improve the problems with eyes?
<Yes. But if there's too much water current for the kind of Goldfish being kept, you can buffet them about too much. For fancy Goldfish, turnover rates around 6 times per hour are good, perhaps up to 8 times if you can
spread the water current out, e.g., by using a spray bar. In other words, for a 200 litre aquarium, a filter rated at 6 x 200 = 1200 litres/hour would be appropriate. For fast-moving types like Standards and Comets, then 8 times or more will be better.>
I have the following parameters
GH 75
Nitrates less then 20
Nitrites 0
Ammonia 0
ph-8.4 or a bit higher
Shows 8.4 on one test and 9 on another
KH 180
I add a bit of Epsom salt and aquarium salts
<No need for this in the long term, just while medicating for specific things. Do read about the uses/abuses of salt in aquaria.>
I would like to know if this would help as I don't want to medicate
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Filtration
That is good news, as this is what I am going to try to improve , the biological filtration , could you explain how it would help with the eye problems, and thank you again!!
<It doesn't "cure" Pop-eye or damage to the cornea. But since these things develop under poor water quality conditions, anything that improves water conditions will prevent reoccurrence and speed up recovery.
Cheers, Neale.>

Listless Oranda -- 4/12/10
<Hi, Trevor. Melinda with you here tonight.>
I have a mature Oranda fish I bought about 6 months ago. It is in a 200 litre tank, with two smaller goldfish.
<Okay. This is a good-sized tank for three goldfish. What type of filtration are you employing, and often does it turn the tank's volume over per hour? What are your Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels? I'm asking these types of questions already because I see you haven't provided much information on the fish's environment, other than tank size and tankmates, more information would be helpful in figuring out what's going on with this guy.>
The Oranda had cotton wool infection, which I cured.
<Do you mean Columnaris? What did you use to treat, and how long ago did treatment end?>
However, he has now developed a growth on the side of his head, looks very unhappy and listless, and doesn't want to eat.
<First, I'd check water quality. When you say he looks unhappy and listless, do you mean that he's sitting at the bottom? Or is floating around and not swimming? In any case, what are you feeding? I'd first read on WWM re: Goldfish, goldfish systems, goldfish diet, and various common goldfish "illnesses," and see if that gives you a better idea of what's going on: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshdisease.htm
and linked files below the title of the page. Ultimately, in order to help you, a photo would be really useful, or at least a better description of this "growth." Does it look cottony/fuzzy? Clear and/or filled with fluid? Spongy? Red? Swollen?>
Any help would be appreciated
<I would like to help you more here, but I'll need more information on the system, and also on the previous treatment for illness, and as I mention, a photo of the area you mention would be great. Please write back if you
have any more questions after reading.>
yours sincerely
Trevor Potter

goldfish bent and corkscrew swimming 4/11/10
So I am new to asking but I have searched everywhere and am finding nothing. My telescope goldfish has been having a rough time lately.
<How big is the tank? What is the water quality like? Do read here:
Most Goldfish are killed because people keep them in tanks that are too small or not filtered. A single Goldfish needs at least 20 gallons, and since they should be kept in at least pairs, 30 gallons is the minimum for humane treatment.>
I noticed him floating oddly the one day, so I fasted him for 3 days, he got better. But then when I returned to my normal feedings he started doing it again so he went in the hospital tank. Where I proceeded to treat him with erythromycin, and had no luck hoping it was bacterial issue. Then I did a fungal treatment and it's when the weird things started happening. He is currently bent in half like his muscles had atrophied on the right side.
<Improper medication can do more harm than good. But more than likely poor conditions are killing this fish, in which case medicating will merely add stress to a bad situation.>
He still swims but it is no longer straight, he reminds me of a roller coaster ride that spirals. I don't know what else to do?!?!
<Read. Almost everyone with a sick Goldfish is keeping that Goldfish badly, often because they didn't read up on what Goldfish need to survive.
Contrary to popular myth, they aren't "easy" fish and aren't "cheap" pets.
Don't have space for a filtered 30 gallon tank? Don't keep Goldfish.>
Another odd thing is I have limited his diet to peas for the last week but one day I switched it up and gave him a soy bean, and it made him better. NO LIE! he was better for about 36 hours then he went back downhill. I'm so lost. help.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: goldfish bent and corkscrew swimming 4/11/10
Well that is the thing my water quality is great. And I do have 2 fish the other one is perfectly fine. They ate kept in a 55 gallon tank and I do know they are hard to take care of.
<Cool. But none of this information was in your earlier e-mail. Since the majority of messages we get about sick goldfish involve small tanks and no filter, that's what I tend to assume unless told otherwise.>
I am a great goldfish owner the only reason I think he is still alive is because I hand feed him everyday to make sure he gets enough food. So I am a very good fish owner I just need help with some ideas of what this might be.
<Do read the floaty, bloaty article, here:
And do also read here:
Without stats on water chemistry, water quality, there's not much I can say for sure. Do also consider whether the water could have been poisoned, e.g., with paint fumes or children dumping stuff in the water. Fancy goldfish are
predisposed to problems precisely because they're deformed and misshapen, so to a degree they're more likely to suffer seemingly random problems. Often what keepers consider "minor" pH, ammonia and/or nitrite problems affect them disproportionally. Cheers, Neale.>

Very Sick Fantail, poor advice, scant data 3/27/10
I have a fantail goldfish that has been sick for probably 3-4 weeks. I noticed that she wasn't well when she started getting a puffy "pine cone" appearance.
<A dropsical condition... can be caused by a few things... usually poor environment of some sorts>
I tried treating her with Melafix on my own.
<Worse than worthless>
Instead of getting any better she got worse and started just laying on her side on the bottom of the tank and not eating. I asked my pet store what to do and they said she had swim bladder
and to try Metronidazole.
<and dangerous>
They also tested my water and told me it was the best quality water they'd seen in weeks. I did the Metronidazole treatment and even mixed it with some food pellets that the pet store gave me (I had to bring the fish to the top of the tank by hand to help her eat) and that seemed to treat the puffiness but not the lethargy. She was still hanging around the bottom of the tank on her side and started to develop a black coating on her head, mouth, and some parts of her fins. I went back to the pet store and they told me to try Tetracycline. I did this treatment as well and didn't see any result in my fish. I've changed out the water pretty frequently between all of these treatments etc. and I've put in a new filter. The fish just seems to be staying the same/maybe getting a little worse. Now not only does she have the black coating and lethargy, but her mouth seems to be perpetually stuck open and her gills seem to be open wide which I can't remember seeing her do before. I thought maybe the problem was lock jaw and I've gently tried to close her mouth to realign it, but that hasn't worked either. We love our fish and feel terrible that she is in so much distress. If you could help shed some light on what we can do for her, we'd really appreciate it. Thanks!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm
and the linked files embedded there where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Pink Fish... GF? Hlth... 3/17/10
I have a fish that is usually white and orange but the white is now turning pink around its gills, chin, tail and where its fins connect to the body. I noticed it a couple of days ago and since then have cleaned the tank but Sparkles is still pink.
<Without a photo, I can't be sure. At a guess, this is likely Finrot. Goldfish may change colour as they mature, but that will be a slow process across months as the skin and even the scales themselves change colour.
Finrot is distinctive because it's a bacterial infection. Instead of a normal texture to the fin membranes and skin, you'll see it looks a little swollen or inflamed. Finrot is usually caused by either physical damage (e.g., when netting out the fish) or from poor environmental conditions.
Just to recap, let's remind ourselves that two Goldfish need an aquarium not less than 30 US gallons/115 litres in capacity, and the filtration system should be generous, rated at a turnover not less than 4 times the volume of the tank per hour, and preferably more. Water quality tests should reveal 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, and water chemistry should be hard and basic (a pH of 7.5 is ideal). If you aren't providing all these things, then Finrot is almost certainly the issue here.>
The second goldfish we have Goldie has not been affected however. They are not acting as if they are sick and are both very active and when either myself or my partner walk anywhere near the tank they nag us thinking it is dinner time. I am not all that concerned that Sparkles is ill however would just like some advice on what you may think is causing this and whether it is life threatening???
<Most Goldfish get sick because people choose not to care for them properly. Do read here:
All help is much appreciated.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

GF hlth., sans info. 3/15/10
Hey there,
I've kept a large variety of freshwater fish for ten years now so I've dealt with my fair share of fish diseases but right now I'm at a loss. The embarrassing thing is that of all the weird and wonderful species I've kept in the past, my problem is with a simple Red Comet Goldfish.
He's suddenly started to get extremely skinny but isn't showing any external signs of illness. He does appear to have some trouble finding food when I put it in but I know for a fact he isn't blind. Most of the time he behaves as normal but other times he just "sits" with his dorsal fin lowered like a sick fish might.
His three tank mates (all goldfish) are in perfect health and there's been no sign of them fighting with each other so I don't understand how a such a healthy fish can suddenly become so emaciated.
He's one of my favourites so any advice at all would be much appreciated.
<... need useful data to help you. System description, including filtration, water quality tests, history of maintenance, pix if you can send them... See here for examples of what we're looking for and input:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Further goldfish problems :( 2/25/10
Deeply sorry to bother you again but I can't work out what the problem is... Single goldfish, about 12 or 13 years old in a 100-odd litre filtered tank. Moved abroad last November, have had on-off problems ever since, two cases of fin rot so I've been changing the water regularly. Thought the tank had finally settled out, maybe not!
<Oh dear.>
Now I'm seeing a dark red sore at the base of the anal fin, far side of the fin from the anus. The fin itself seems okay but he keeps it folded up at the moment. He hasn't had this before.
<Likely some sort of Finrot; assuming that's the case, standard Finrot medication should do the trick. Avoid ones based on tea-tree oil (they're unreliable) and instead use a proper antibiotic or antibacterial. In the UK, I've found eSHa 2000 as being economical and effective. Do remember to remove carbon from the filter (if used) while medicating.>
While the sore is red, there's some white on or in it, but not outlining it, and something pale/white protruding from the red on one side, not long and stringy like I imagine a worm would be but more like when a potato starts to bud.
<Sounds like it's an ulcer.>
I can't tell if it's something growing out or like an infected spot swelling up. Can't see any other symptoms. Behaviour as normal, other fins open and he's swimming and eating as usual. The only change in diet is I recently gave him some lettuce. Otherwise nothing's changed. Do you have any idea what's causing the sore and what I need to do?
<See above.>
My access to treatments here is quite limited and I can't get water test kits to give you any values!
<Finrot is almost always down to water quality, so at minimum you need to have the nitrite and pH tested. Goldfish need hard, basic water, so a pH around 7.5 is good. Soft water isn't at all good for them, and should be hardened before use, for example by using a quarter to half dose of a Rift Valley salt mix (which is easy to make and costs very little).
As for nitrite and ammonia, these should be zero.>
I've done a 20-30% water change about every other day for the last week.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Further goldfish problems :(
Fabulous! Thanks so much. I have an old test kit but I don't really believe what it tells me. Can I have Finrot if the stats are pH7, NO2 0-0.3 (lowest category it can show), KH 2?
<Sure. Indeed, the carbonate hardness (KH) is so low, that you likely have soft water. This is common in some parts of the UK, notably Cornwall, West Wales, much of Scotland. Really anywhere not on limestone or chalk.
Goldfish hate soft water. Harden the water using a Rift Valley salt mix, which as indicated in the last e-mail, is easy to make and costs pennies a month.>
I think it must be past its sell by date... or maybe the softness is the real culprit behind these recurring problems?
<In part, likely yes.>
I'll treat with Ektol for Finrot/ulcers but it kills the filter bacteria- back to square 1. Again!
<Used correctly shouldn't kill filter bacteria. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish eye problem.. -- 02/24/10
Thank you for the expert advice. I have removed the Pleco to a smaller tank and there is no more eye injury in the tank for last two days which supports the doubt that it was the culprit. I have also checked the tank and can
confirm that there are no sharp corners or objects. About the injury, it is surely a physical injury and not cloudy eye. I am attaching here a photo of that fish. Please have look and let me know what you think of it. Also the water quality is good and also chemically ok, to be sure.
<The eye is, as you indicated, completely gone. What's left there on the fish appears to have healed quite well, and I see no evidence of infection in your photograph, so that's good.>
As for now the fish is still stable but moving a little slow and not moving with others i.e. in group. But surely coming to top at feeding time. It is slowly hovering at the middle layer rest of the day.
<The photo also indicates some breakage/shredding of the tail fin, and this, again, makes me wonder about water quality. Since you're not providing the numbers corresponding to what you test for, I can't make a determination on that. I would say that if you're finding Ammonia and Nitrite at zero, and Nitrate below 20, with a hardness of 5-19, and a pH which is within range of 6-8, all would appear to be well, but those fins sort of indicate otherwise. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have your local fish store double-check your results. I think your fish is looking great,
all things considered, but those torn fins do worry me a bit. Good luck with your fish, and please feel free to write back if you have further questions.

Problems with Goldfish 2/22/10
HI , I search and search to find some answers to goldfish problems I am recently experiencing, I have had them for 11 years, 3 - 4 inch gold fish in twenty gallon tank, with excellent extra filtration and air. One has a bulging eye, but has always had bad looking eyes, but never bulging. It also has scales missing.
<The short answer to damaged eyes is this: If a single eye is cloudy, then the chances are it is physical damage, likely bumping into something when scared, or else clumsy handling by someone when the fish was netted. If both eyes are cloudy, then the problem is almost certainly water quality.
Irrespective of whether you think the tank is clean and properly set-up, if both eyes are cloudy, then there *is* something wrong. I will observe at this point that a 20 gallon tank is really too small for Goldfish, and when Goldfish are kept in tanks this size, they may do okay for a while, but eventually something goes wrong. Your specimens are very small, indeed, undersized, for 11 years, and that also implies chronically inappropriate conditions, since fish this age should be around 20 cm/8 inches long.
Non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels could be to blame, or high levels of nitrate, or water chemistry that isn't appropriate to the species (it should be hard and basic, without salt added). Do read here:
You can't really "treat" Exophthalmia or damage to the cornea, though Epsom salt may reduce swelling. Mostly, your goal is to optimise conditions so the fish can heal naturally.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish
Thanks for the reply, however I hit the send button before I could finish!
<Oh, I see.>
If you don't mind I will do that now, as I am so frustrated when I was writing this and thought oh why bother, others have not answered,
<Who hasn't answered? We do try to answer queries within 24 hours, but we are all volunteers with lives filled with stuff other than fish, so can't promise to be any quicker than that.>
anyhow the 3 smaller goldfish in a 20 gallon tank, I know is to small, they swim and eat well and look to have enough room, I cannot change them at this point ,
<Well, you're kind of stuck then. If possible, replace the Goldfish with species better suited to such a small tank. Goldfish are less easy to maintain than many tropical fish, and even an unheated aquarium could be warm enough for subtropical fish, depending on whether the house is centrally heated or otherwise kept around 18 C/68 F at its coldest.>
I have no room for bigger tank and they almost died when I put them from a 10 to a twenty years ago.
The one with the Popeye also has scales that look moth eaten, I put in a medicated wonder shell
<Useless. This is essentially overpriced African Rift Valley cichlid salt mix in a solid lump, so you pay in dollars what costs pennies a time.
Used at about one-half the dose recommended for Malawi cichlids, a standard cichlid salt mix will keep your Goldfish healthy in terms of water chemistry. Of course it won't do anything about poor water quality, but then neither will fish medications. Yes, you can treat Finrot and Fungus, but if you don't fix the water quality problems, the fish will keep getting sick.>
as my water was bad, no ammonia, no hardness, no nitrates, no nitrites, HIGH ph at 9 (don't know why) there is nothing but the same stones in there tank,) my tap water measures about 7-8 ph. after using this medicated wonder shell, the water all test a lot better now, still high ph reading but at
least some hardness and KH.
<Sounds pretty awful, really. Overstocked tanks that have too many, too big fish aren't going to have healthy water.>
I was told to use salt (this is one reason for my frustration) I read and get so many different answers ,
<See above; you need to raise hardness and steady the pH, neither of which salt (sodium chloride) does. The ideal pH is around 7.5, and the fact it is 9 suggests you have all sorts of water chemistry problems, and quite possibly high levels of ammonia too.>
this one fish with the eye and scale problem does eat well, very well!
swims around even more now that water is better, I ordered a #3 sponge filter to help in filtration and Spirulina food. they are using a whisper 40 filter and air, and a BioWheel that also has filter, I have triple sulfa, maracyn2 and Maracyn plus , NONE of which I have used as in the past with other fish tanks, every time I start to medicate I lose them, I am attached to these fish, don't understand that!
<Medications that treat opportunistic infections won't prevent losses caused by, say, ammonia poisoning or excessive pH changes. You absolutely must concentrate on providing steady, healthy water chemistry and quality.>
Should I just keep using the medicated wonder shells
for now and add new sponge filter, I clean 20 percent on Thursdays and another gallon out on the following Sun every week for along time now, I add water conditioner and salt but will stop if this can be a problem,
<See above re: the correct mix of mineral salts to use. By all means replace the marine salt mix with the tonic salt you have, but note that it needs to be used *with* Epsom salt and baking soda. Both costs very little, and this is a very cheap way to steady water chemistry.>
I read somewhere that high ph can cause scales to peel off, his scales are only missing a few but in a lot of areas it looks as they are changing from orange to silverish and appears then that he has lost them but they are still there, This one fish has always had bad eyes meaning they looked like they were missing at times, like he had holes there, then one day this appeared, Thanks for your help, One person told me he is going to die, I have photo downloaded if you would like to see him, Cathy
<A photo might be helpful; do please send along images no larger than 500 KB though. Use iPhoto or whatever to resize, crop the image if necessary.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish
OH no it wasn't you folks that didn't answer!
It was other sites that may not even exist, and a lot of silly answers and confusion from Yahoo!
<Ah yes, the Yahoo Answers "service". Always good for a laugh, but I wouldn't trust it with anything meaningful.>
One of them told me to fry them up for dinner!
<Goldfish are edible, to be sure, but hardly a solution to your problem!>
The water parameters are all good now with exception of pH,
<Which is?>
I will send photo,
<Yes, I see. The white patches are skin, seemingly from missing scales. The all-white eye would seem to indicate blindness, through cause or causes unknown. The swollen eye on one side is Exophthalmia, and a combination of Epsom salt and an antibiotic should help.
The fish will be blind, that much is certain, but since Goldfish can navigate and find food using their other senses, and happily live in water so murky eyes are useless anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about the blindness. The fact it's one eye only suggests physical damage, and because the fins look good, I don't think Finrot or Fungus is an issue here.>
thanks so much for your time, Please again don't think I was referring to you and yours as the ones that didn't answer me, What do you think of my adding the sponge filter?
<More filtration is always good. On the other hand, be sure not to replace more than 50% of the biological filter media at any one time, and always take care to wash biological filter media in buckets of aquarium water, not under a hot tap. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish 2/22/10
Would it be okay to send you water parameters later after I test them?
And one more thing since I already purchased so many wonder shells along with several other items (meds etc) and it looked as though the recipe you gave is a lot the same as the shells, would it help at all to continue them
until I've used them up then go ahead with your recipe?
<If you want. But if you can return the silly shells, then by all means do so.>
I wont keep bothering you, but will send the parameter results if it is okay, THANKS SO MUCH!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish -- 02/22/10
Here are the water parameters I said I would sent to you , they are from two test first one is a Tetra Laborett kit,
Other is test strip from API
These parameter were (tetra test) before I was told to add those wonder shells, they have changed the parameters
Although I cant figure out this ph as it is good on one test and not good on another,
<The thing with test kits is that they're cheap. Compared to what you'd use in a lab, these are like comparing a disposable Biro to a Mont Blanc fountain pen. They both do the same thing, but one much better than the other, though at greater cost and difficulty. The main thing isn't to worry too much about the numbers, but at the trend. In all these cases, what you have is very hard, very basic water. In itself this isn't a disaster, and not something likely to stress or kill your Goldfish. I'd actually check your tap water. Provided it's in the healthy range (10-20 degrees dH, pH 7-8) then I'd just use plain vanilla tap water, with nothing added other than water conditioner. You might want to test the tap water, and then test some tap water left for 24 hours, and see how stable the water chemistry
is. Some well water supplies for example exhibit very strange water chemistry changes after being drawn from the ground.>
I have one more question until I use up these wonder shells, If I don't keep them in there now will the water parameters go to where they were just above again?
<Without adding anything to the water, you will have whatever water chemistry you have in your tap water. Note that you shouldn't use softened tap water (i.e., from a domestic water softener) and just straight tap water.>
And what do you make of the scales on the fish in photo,
<Not much. I think this is genetic, and not related to its ill-health. As stated, I think the one case of Pop-eye is likely caused by physical damage, though perhaps made worse by something inappropriate with water quality or chemistry.>
Thanks again Have a good day Cathy
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish 2/24/10
Hello again, I was wondering if it is okay to change water before I add a new sponge filter I have and would you explain the benefits of this type filter, I am adding this to my current ones 40 whisper and a BioWheel filter, I was just concerned with a water change as it is due before I place it in water? Thanks again Cathy
<Yes, you can change water before or at the same time as you change up to 50% of the biological media in a filter. Contrary to popular misconception, there are hardly any "good" bacteria in the water. They're mostly in the filter. So provided you don't remove more than 50% of the biological media at any one time, you can change everything else all you want. Cheers, Neale.>

Re Goldfish problem 3/26/10
HI I have been mailing you off and on now for sometime, mainly about a goldfish I have in a tank with another and has Popeye and scales missing,
<I do recall Cath>
I am treating it with Aquaprazi and Metro Gold medicated fish food, Only been 4 days but seems well, However another larger goldfish in another 20 gallon tank has cloudy eye and every once in awhile looks as he has a tiny
red spot on him somewhere at times then goes away, today I noticed he has one spot by his eye (see photo) and a few scales looks as though the have red behind them or at least along the sides of them, I cant get him to eat
the med food, and I had to remove the Aqua Prazi as with him not eating the food, the tank got messy, He is acting better in cleaner water and param.s are good, they were good even while medicating, He sits at bottom and goes
after food but wont eat the med food, so I need to start over with any ideas or suggestions on what to use, this has been going on since January, Only thing I never noticed the red around a few scales before now, Thanks again for all your help
<Such complaints are generally attributable to principal environmental factors... In this case, perhaps also genetic (many Comets have real troubles), and/or protozoan... But re the last, of what nature? W/o sampling and microscopic examination, it will be impossible to discern. I want to tell you, in the several times I've given "pathology" of fishes one-day courses, and used this U.S. sport, I've never NOT encountered six, ten, twelve or so pathogens in and on them. Bob Fenner>
better photo 3/26/10
Here is a better photo of the fish I sent with red spot on eye
<Still "could be anything"... perhaps just a sore from a physical trauma...
I'd have you review the needs of goldfish, particularly Comets, as they get so large, are so "messy". Take your time, make notes if you have questions:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish problem 3/28/10
Thank you for the reply, I have to say I have been trying to figure out what you meant and I think your saying if it is not the environment then he possibly has bacterial, if this is what a pathogen is??
<I can't state w/ any certainty what the root issue/s are here... but I am concerned that ongoing "treatment" is a problem>
I cant do a scrape so I wont know what it is, Should I do anything ?
Something that might cover all the bases but not hurt him? How do you clear cloudy eye, and these tiny red bleeds he will get occasionally??? But they will always go away!! I sent a photo of him or her?? Thanks again
<I would do what you can to stabilize and optimize the environment, principally water quality, and provide adequate nutrition. These are covered on WWM... and leave treatments out. BobF>

At my wits end with little comet 2/22/10
I hope you can offer me some advice.
<Will try!>
Have tank big enough for 5 fish, have four, one is 11 years old, one 8 and 2 are 5 years.
<When you say, "big enough", precisely how big? Five adult Goldfish would certainly need at least 210 l/55 US gallons, and Comets really should have more space than that, given how much they like to swim.>
One of the last two has constantly had problems with white/orange spots and have tried everything.
<Are the scales changing colour, or patches of white skin (Finrot) or cotton-wool-like patches (Fungus). Genes can cause fish to change colour, and among Goldfish, that's quite common, and totally harmless. Constant problems with Fungus and Finrot almost always imply poor environmental conditions. It's just as if someone had constant headaches and tiredness, and then examination of their home revealed carbon monoxide coming from the boiler, or mould on the walls. Given good conditions, things improve by themselves, and it's almost always the case when fish are constantly developing Finrot and/or Fungus. Sure, you can treat the symptoms, but it comes right back again a few weeks later. Why? Because the bacteria and fungi involved live in all aquaria, and normally are beneficial, being part of the biological filtration system. So you can't wipe them out. All you can do is ensure good health. If the fish are healthy, these bacteria and fungi mind their own business, and don't cause problems.>
All different kinds of medicine, the waters been checked over and over.
<Give me the numbers, not opinions. Specifically, Goldfish need hard, basic water (10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8). The water quality should be good (0 ammonia and 0 nitrite). If you don't have these, then that's your problem.
Do read here:
Had him in his own tank for months at a time, then back.
<Where Finrot/Fungus are concerned, moving fish is largely pointless, because the issue is environmental rather than contagious. So the goal is the improve conditions, treat the symptoms, and then hope everything clears up for good.>
The others are all fine.
<Keep an open mind here. If genetic, then yes, the other fish will be fine.
But if it's Finrot/Fungus, then do be aware the other fish may yet succumb.>
The spots come and go and recently they seemed less frequent, I've been changing more of the water more often and adding stuff to the tap water recommended by the aquarium shop - I was just breathing a sigh of relief when . . . . .
I noticed the little one (he's much smaller than the one I got at the same time and golder - the other is now all white) is swimming on his side a lot - both sides, just generally uncoordinated - is this nearing the end or is there anything I can do? I've tried so hard with the wee thing, if it's time for him to go fair enough but I don't want him to suffer any more.
<The "time to go" thing is irrelevant here, since I doubt the fish is dying from a disease but more likely having problems with constipation. Such fish remain strong swimmers and alert, they just can't balance properly. Do read here:
If it isn't diet, and the fish is lethargic and swims only weakly, then it's more likely that it is stressed by the conditions you're keeping it in. So it's crucial that you tell me more about the aquarium: size and the type of filter (especially turnover, which should be at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour). You also need to find out the water quality and chemistry, and tell me those values. Without that information, there's not much more I can offer beyond suggesting you read up on the maintenance of Goldfish. You've kept these things for 11 years, so I assume you know the basics, but that's still quite young, and obviously as fish grow, and as you add more Goldfish to the tank, an aquarium that worked fine initially may become less and less acceptable as the years pass. So again, be open minded>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Now, there are three things here. White patches on the fish may be genetic, and lack of balance could be constipation. But do please review environmental conditions, and improve them if necessary.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: At my wits end with little comet -- 02/22/10

Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly - I have had a look at the pages you recommended and will see what I can do to improve conditions further. I am aware of most of the stuff mentioned but there's a couple more things I hadn't heard before, thanks again I really appreciate it.
<Happy to help. Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish eye problem.. 2/20/10
Dear WWM crew,
Hope everything is fine & nice on your side.
<Hi! Doing fine here.>
Last night while feeding my goldfishes (6 of them, all of same size), I was shocked to notice one fantail has one eye missing. Missing in the sense the black ring is gone...and looking like the eye has been poked (horrible!!)...
<By black ring, do you mean the pupil? Can you see physical damage? Have you ever had experience (well, with your fish, I mean) with cloudy eye? If the eye becomes very, very cloudy, it can appear as if the pupil is gone.
Just something to consider.>
What can be the reason?
<If it's a physical injury, then it's either trauma from running into sharp decor, or injury from a tank mate. If it's cloudy eye, that's usually caused by poor water quality.>
There is only one small Plecostomus other than these goldfishes...and they are well with each other for last 10 months...the other fishes are all healthy..and even the one-eye-less fish is also good..feeding properly.
<It's good that he's still eating. There are plenty of accounts of folks who keep Plecos with goldfish, which really can't make either happy, anyway, since Plecos need warm water, and goldfish prefer relatively cool water, but in any case, sometimes Plecos get a taste for the slime coat on the fish. When you've got wobbly, bobbly goldfish in the tank, then they're sort of a sitting duck for this type of behavior. Have you ever witnessed anything like this in the tank?>
What should I do now?
<First, please make it a habit to capitalize the first word of your sentences. Second, check that water quality is pristine, and if it's not, do the maintenance to get it that way. If this is an injury, you need to do everything you can to ensure it doesn't become infected, and that prevention starts with clean water -- Ammonia and Nitrite at zero, Nitrates under 20. Keep a close eye on the problem and if you see signs of infection, remove the fish to a hospital tank with a mature, cycled filter, and treat with an antibiotic. However, don't jump to conclusions and do this unnecessarily, as it will only stress your fish more. Fish can heal quite well on their own, if you take steps to make sure their living conditions are clean. Third, do confirm this is an actual injury to the eye, rather than cloudy eye -- if you're unable to determine this, you can send us a photo and we'll help. Fourth, take a look around the tank.
Anything he could have injured his eye on needs to come out, and the Pleco may need to find another home, as well, if you suspect he's the cause of the issue. For additional information, please read here on WWM about eye injury in goldfish by entering "goldfish eye injury" into the Google search bar on the homepage. Lastly, if this fish has lost his eye, he'll likely still be okay. You might need to pay special attention to him at feeding time, but he'll be just fine, otherwise, so let's just focus on fixing what caused the problem so that this doesn't happen to anyone else.>
Please help.
Thank You a lot in advance
<You're very welcome... do write back if you have any more questions.>

Goldfish with cloudy and bloody eye 2/20/2010
Hi.. I Have 9 goldfishes growing in a somewhat big tank...
<How many gallons? What type/s of goldfish?>
but out of the 9 their is one that has one of its eyes a bit cloudy with 3 red dots that look like blood underneath...I saw some information that said I should remove it from the tank and place it in water with a certain amount of salt..
<I would not do this. Likely the problem here is environmental, or better treated by improved environment for all>
I don't know if I should do this or not, but I mostly concern that this fish will die and infect the others. I also read that maybe the cause is that its not receiving quality food..but if that were true than why aren't the other fishes the same? Please!! I need help soon I don't want to lose them!
_ Kathy Garcia
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My fantail goldfish...hlth. 2/18/10
I have 3 goldfish. I had 4, and they were all infected with Ich, but I saved the 3, but the fourth had died. r.i.p....
<No fish should die from Ick, it's really so easy to cure. In the case of Goldfish, which tolerate salt quite well, treating with the salt/heat method is cheap and reliable.>
One of the remaining fish has a reddish bump on it's lower lip, and appears to have a little redness under his right eye.
<Would observe this for now, and only treat for Finrot if it is obvious the wound isn't healing.>
also, his feces have been transparent since the day that I bought him.
<The transparent faeces may be down to an intestinal tract parasite like Hexamita; treatment with Metronidazole should help.
As with any medication, be sure to follow the instructions carefully, especially with regard to dosage, frequency, and removal of carbon during usage (if you use carbon).>
On top of the fact that her seems to not have many scales other than some random shiny spots . Other than that, the fish's activity seems normal.
<The lack of scales is VERY odd. Need a photo really to understand this.
Haven't seen a Goldfish without scales before. They sometimes lose one or two, but to lose them all is very odd.>
Could you maybe diagnose the problem, and possibly help me find a cure?
<Do review the basic needs of Goldfish, here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My fantail goldfish -- 02/19/10
sorry that didn't have the pictures. this one does. but I have to resend the other 2 pictures on a different email thank you for all the feedback. I have attached some pictures... the singled out shiny scales in pictures 1 and 4 are the only shiny parts on the fish besides around it's face.
<These are genetic; nothing to worry about.>
And pictures 2 and 3 are visuals on the bump on it's lip.
<This is some sort of wound, perhaps from rough handling if the fish was recently netted, or abrasive (i.e., sharp) gravel rather than smooth gravel or sand. Should heal by itself, assuming water quality is good. If you want to add something like Melafix, that wouldn't do any harm. If the wound gets worse, treat against Finrot with a suitable antibiotic.>
Thanks again
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moor sick 2/9/10
I have a black moor that up until now has not had any issues.
<Almost always this "up until now" statement reveals an aquarium that is too small for Goldfish. In other words, the fish was fin in small aquarium when it was a baby, but once it reached a certain size, the aquarium became
overloaded, water quality dropped, and the fish got sick. I'll remind you that two Goldfish will need a tank around 30 gallons in size. Nothing smaller will work reliably.>
I have kept it in a tank with his Oranda buddy and never had any problems.
All of a sudden, the other evening I noticed over his eyes it looked like blue-ish tinted patches. They were so light that I thought maybe I was seeing things and I'd keep an eye on it. The next morning, I found my poor black moor trapped in a plant, almost dead.
<Not good...>
I released him and he was covered in white patches and had also gotten a puncture wound and split his dorsal fin. I immediately moved him to a hospital tank and all I had at the time was Tetra Lifeguard.
<A scattergun medication that doesn't work reliably against Finrot, which is likely the problem here.>
I added the tablet and also used MelaFix and PimaFix.
<Even more useless than Lifeguard.>
He is eating and swimming around but I'm still concerned. His color went from black to a rust color, the end of his fins are still a bit ragged and I have no idea how to tell if he acquired any kind of infection. Am I doing everything right? I want him to make a full recovery, especially as he is my favorite little guy. At what point can he be returned to his regular tank? Can salt be used in addition to the MelaFix and PimaFix?
<Salt isn't what you need here. Goldfish want hard, basic water, not salty water. Aim for pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH.>
He is currently recuperating in a 5 gallon tank. Thanks for your help.
<5 gallon tanks are lethal. Treat him in the main aquarium, against Finrot, remembering to remove carbon first (if you use carbon in the filter).>
<Cheers, Neale.>

help... GF dis. 2/8/10
<Hi, Perie. Melinda with you here tonight.>
I have a problem with my gold fish I think he has a disease and I can not find what he has on any website and I was wondering if you could help me please.
<Have you read on WWM?>
My goldfish has little red spots staring at his head and down his back, it looks like chicken pox or white spot (but they are red spots), hope you can help me thank you.
<I'd like to help you, but you give no information as to water quality, system specifications, etc., and the majority of goldfish problems begin with environmental issues which then manifest themselves as physical problems with the fish. Please read here, and any linked file you see above... just read, read, read.
After you read, if you have further questions, please feel free to write back. If you do, please be thorough (I just information!). I know you're worried about your fish, and want to help him. So do I, but I can't do much with what you've provided. Are you testing your water? Before you even delve into what I've provided above, I'll go ahead and warn you that that's information I'll want to know -- Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate readings would be great, and pH and KH readings would be even better (actual numbers, please). Tank size, filtration, and tankmates are also great pieces of information to furnish. Anyone who can help wants a "picture" of the system, and these are included in that picture.>

help: my goldfish has dropsy -- 2/5/10
my 3 year old goldfish (Ryukin ~ 6-7 inches long in a 20 gallon aquarium) appeared to be a little swollen on the right hand side and would not eat her food (pellets in the morning, peas in the evening) 3 days ago. day before yesterday (3rd Feb.) I noticed her scales pineconing (matches with the pictures of dropsy). I clean her tank and change 3 gallons of her water once a week. she also has a filter rated for a 20 gallon tank.
<I see. Well, the fish is rather too big for this aquarium, and by far the most likely cause of sickness is poor water quality. That you are doing regular water changes is good, but 3 gallons per week for a 20 gallon tank is too little given the size of this fish. I would be changing 5-10 gallons per week. When you buy a filter "for a 20 gallon tank", that assumes small fish, like Guppies. It also assumes the tank is lightly stocked.
Manufacturers work this way because it makes their products look good. For Goldfish, you want an extra-large filter because they are so big and so messy.>
I read on your site about dropsy and removed all the pebbles from her aquarium bed and all decorative plants too. I am also doing water changes (~ 2 gallons) everyday and added 4 tbsp Epsom salt + 4 tsp baking soda + 4 tsp aquarium salt over the course of 2 days as per your recipe in the FAQ section.
<This will help water chemistry, but I think water quality is the issue.>
she is showing no signs of improving. she has still not eaten anything and now her tail is drooping and looking lighter colored than usual. I am afraid of raising the water temperature as I read that temperature shock can make the fish stressed and die. what should I do? please help.
thank you.
<I think the problem is water quality. Adult Goldfish really need big aquaria; 30 gallons or more. People do keep them in smaller tanks, yes. But as you see, what normally happens is the Goldfish gets to a certain size, then becomes ill, and then dies. Sad really, given Goldfish can live 20-30 years. Antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin or Minocycline) can sometimes help, but this assumes optimal water quality. Otherwise, euthanasia is necessary if the fish doesn't recover.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: calico fantail goldfish -- jaw problem 1/29/10
Hello again!
I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago about my goldfish's jaw problem. He (at least I'm assuming it's a he) overextended it or something, and it stopped functioning properly. You told me that he may have swallowed gravel or something, but he's too little to pick up the stones. He's practically a baby. The man at Petco suggested mouth rot,
<?... from what cause/s?>
and gave me some fish pills to drop into their tank every day.
His mouth improved slightly, becoming a little more mobile. He's mastered the scoop, in order to scoop up food from the surface of the water.
I've had the two of them for about a month, and the other goldfish is getting bigger (he's pretty chubby now) and seems to be doing fine. Bean (the ill fish) is the same size, if smaller, as when I got him.
He's been looking a little off for a week or two, and recently I noticed some white stuff on his back that wasn't there before.
<... the environment almost assuredly; though this one fish could be "bad" genetically.>
He also keeps his dorsal fin flat against his back, and today he stopped swimming around. He already had a deformed tail (he has twin tails, but one side goes up instead of down like the other. It looks like something he was born with: there is flesh in between the two tails.) and had some trouble swimming, but nothing like this. He's taken to hiding under the filter, behind the part that extends down and the glass. He floats either at the top of the water or the bottom. He isn't eating, and appears to have gotten smaller.
The area of his back near the white stuff looks like its sunken in a little, but that could just be my imagination.
Help! I don't want him to die.
Regan Tattersfield
<... Need data re the system, water quality, testing for same... Read here:
Bob Fenner>

Fin rot? Plus gray-ish spots... -- 01/28/09
My roommates and I bought this goldfish out of a feeder fish tank for a quarter when we were in college. It has spent six years in a very small tank, grew about three inches, and was always low-maintenance (no pH testing, no diseases, just tap water, etc...). I bought a plant for its old tank a few years ago, but it looked like it scratched itself, so we removed it. I recently bought it a larger tank, and it has been in the tank for about two weeks. It's showing signs of fin rot, and some of the scales, mostly near its tail are turning grey-ish (it now also has a little bit of darker colour at the ends of its fins). They're not black; they don't look like pictures I've seen of ammonia burns, they aren't raised, it's as if the scales are changing colour. It doesn't look like there are any problems with its slime coat; its gills look the same. I know it takes time for a new tank to stabilize, but I just want to make sure that it's not bacteria or an infection; I'm very attached to the fish! There was a decoration that came with the new tank; I took it out as a precaution. Also, the filter/pump is different from the one in the old tank. The old tank had an under gravel filter, and this one is attached to the side of the tank; when the fish was first in the new tank, it was hanging out under the new filter
- could it be an injury from that?
<Probably not. The most likely issue here is the "newness" of the system...
that it's likely not biologically cycled... along with whatever stress there is from so much new water>
The fish doesn't seem distressed, it is eating and its behaviour is normal.
<Good signs>
Thanks so much for your help; I scoured the posts already on your very informative site, but nothing quite matched what my poor fish looks like!
PS: The pictures are pretty terrible quality-wise, sorry!
<I'd be putting a good deal of the old gravel and possibly the filter in the new system. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My Goldfish... beh./hlth., no reading 1/13/10
I woke up this morning and found my goldfish facing the top of the water beside the filter. He looked like he was stuck and I was worried so I set him free.
<Fish don't get stuck when healthy. A fish with its fins in the filter is a weak, probably sick, fish. Review water conditions.>
he started swimming around the tank but he was facing the bottom and having a tough time swimming. That's when I noticed that the bottom of his primary swimming fin (the back one) was off.
<Could be physical damage from the incident with the filter, but that won't be the immediate problem. Be open minded, and check the aquarium is big enough, that the filter is adequate in size, and that water chemistry and
water quality are appropriate.>
He's having a tough time swimming. I normally feed them about this time so to help him get some food I made some of it drift to thee bottom of the tank. He ate it. That made me extremely happy to see that he was ok enough
to eat but then he spit it all back up.... is there anything I can do for him?
<The thing with Goldfish is that most people make no effort at all to keep them properly. A single Goldfish needs a tank above 20 gallons in size, and the filter should be robust and water changes regular. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
Without any additional information, I have to assume that your problem here is likely environmental.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Goldfish -- 01/13/2010

Thank you for your help. It was greatly appreciated.
<My pleasure. Good luck. Neale.>

Exploded goldfish... Hlth., sys., reading 1/9/10
So I promised my little brother we'd get a goldfish... Started with 2 goldfish and ten gallon tank
<Need more room than this...>
and some bamboo. Then got a algae eater <Please see the Net re Gyrinocheilus... if this is the fish, it is unsuitable as a tankmate>
and a snail. My black moor head always picked on my algae eater. Until I came home 3 days after buying my little algae eater and he was dead.
I noticed both my rycken (sorry about the spelling)
and my moor head were not swimming moving nothing. Just chillin depressed looking at the bottom of the tank.
<What re water quality tests?>
My brother (mind you he's 5 I'm 21 tank is in my room) dropped 6 algae tablets in the water. I immediately cleaned the tank and bought a filtration system. Only to come home to a dead rychen. Then Day after my moor head was happy again swimming all around eating etc. I came home 2 days later and my baby was being tossed around by the filter. Dead and looked like he exploded from the gills. I noticed the day before he had a long " string" hanging from his behind almost all day. Transparent white long "string" then exploded next day?
<Perhaps internal parasite/s, infectious disease... very common>
I made sure I had conditioned the water and fed him 2 times a day a few crisps? What happened to my baby? He literally exploded out the gills. Red "vein" looking things hanging out of his gills. Really disturbing... I want to get more fish but will this happen again? HELP
Chey-Anne (fish novice 101 please)
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish ? Data? 1/3/10
We have a goldfish that is about 4 yrs old. Lately he/she has been banging his head on the gravel/tank. He eats/swims normally and we have another fish in the water that does not seem to have any problems. Can you advise as to why he/she may be banging his head in the gravel/tank?
<Not w/o useful information... the size, shape of the system, water quality test results, foods used... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,

older goldfish... Hlth., reading 1/1/2010
I have a question, it's not an emergency though. I have a fantail that's seven years old.
<Not old... these fish live 20-30 years, so this one is really in the prime of its life, equivalent to the 20s, 30s in humans. If it isn't looking 100% healthy, review conditions, diet and act accordingly.
She is developing cataracts so she has been having a bit more trouble finding food than the others.
<If both eyes are cloudy, this typically implies water quality issues.>
A Ryukin mix, a Ranchu, and another seven year old fantail (whom is her best bud). She was losing weight, but not rapidly so I started giving her bits of fat (fish, chicken, egg yolks.) here and there in addition to hand feeding her.
<Do NOT feed fatty foods to Goldfish. Concentrate on plant-based foods plus some protein. A good rule of thumb is to think about what an animal evolved to eat. These fish fed on algae, organic detritus, and tiny invertebrates sifted out from mud and among aquatic plants. Not fat or chicken eggs! It's the same with people. The stuff that keeps us healthy (and at a healthy weight) is the stuff we evolved to eat on the plains of Africa: fruits,
vegetables, nuts, seeds, small amounts of protein. When we eat too much of the stuff we didn't evolved to eat, fatty foods, sugars, etc., we get unhealthy (and fat). Do read here re: feeding Goldfish:
She has since plumped back up and is more energetic. Anyway my question is will hurt her in the long run of having a little extra fat in her diet?
<Yes. There is a good evidence from autopsies of ornamental (pet) fish that fatty deposits around internal organs are common among fish that die prematurely. On top of that, you have to remember that fats that are liquid in warm blooded animals (like chickens) congeal in cold blooded animals, causing blockages. There are no good reasons to use such foods.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Finrot question 12/25/09
Hi- I hope you don't mind me asking about my goldfish- I've been Googling for about an hour and can't seem to find what I need to know. I'd be grateful for any help.
One old and beloved goldfish (about 12 years) in about 100L of conditioned water, filtered, no other fish.
<W/ regular water changes I hope/trust>
Tank has been running since mid Nov. Fish appears to have Finrot on front fin. Treated tank with 40% water change and Interpet Finrot med. day before yesterday. Since then, fish has been lying still on the bottom and not moving at all, no appetite.
<Mmm, not too surprising... large water changes alone can elicit this behavior>
Old test kit shows ammonia under 0.3
<Deadly toxic>
but I'm starting to doubt its reliability... Can't buy replacement test kits here unfortunately (in Finland), they're not available, so can't get any readings.
<Be very careful re feeding in the presence of ammonia>
Temp is 21C without any heater- we have one but we're not using it.
<I keep my goldfish heaters turned low, but still on, lest the ambient temperature take a dive>
Had trouble when the tank was new (we moved here from abroad and set up the new tank), it seemed to have settled out but obviously not. I don't remember him lying still at the bottom like this in previous cases of Finrot
though- is that normal after medication?
<Could be>
I'm not sure whether to change the water again (maybe the meds killed the filter or something?)
<Is possible, but I would not change the water... lest the ammonia rise even higher here>
or leave it for the meds to do their thing.
<Ah yes... This is what I would do>
How long should it be before we see some sign of recovery in behaviour?
<A few days>
I'm inclined to change the water but I'm not sure whether that will make things worse... Any advice?
Many many thanks
<Mmm, yes. To read re others similar experiences. Here:
and the linked files above. Happy holidays, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 12/27/09

Thanks for the response over Christmas! I didn't think anyone would see it.
And always good to hear there are namesakes doing well in the world.
<Jack actually rec'd a Presidential award for bravery... for pulling folks out of a burning aircraft!>
I should have explained that 'below 0.3' is the lowest level this nitrite test can display- it doesn't have a colour for zero (and it tests for nitrite rather than ammonia as I said, sorry for the mistake). But as I said I'm not convinced it's working anyway...
<I see>
Since then the tank has gone insane, so cloudy white we couldn't see the back. I'm afraid we panicked and did a 30% water change. It's actually cleared an awful lot now but still a little cloudy. I'm guessing the Finrot meds at least partially killed off the filter and maybe now it's re-cycling?
<Very common; as well as just interacting chemically and physically with other materials>
The fish is moving again now though but the Finrot looks terrible.
<Patience, oh and reading:
and the linked files above>
So ought I to do regular water changes starting now to improve the water
<Yes, I would>
or do I stick with the water that's in there and make up the medication we had to change out (and then do regular changes after the treatment week is up to try and manage the toxin levels)? Sorry to bother you again, I'm just not sure which is the priority- clean water or meds. We already stopped feeding. Many many thanks
<Do keep monitoring ammonia/nitrite... and keep below 1.0 ppm via what is written here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 12/28/09

Will do, many thanks, especially from the fish! You can spend hours reading and seem to find completely conflicting advice... It really helps to get a yes or no answer from someone.
Hey- have you ever thought of putting up some general flowcharts- might save you some repetitive questions where people aren't sure which FAQs apply to their situation? Just a suggestion! Thanks for the help.
<Thank you for this input. Yes to such "direction"-"decision" charts... I do think they have their place, utility. There are such in bound volumes (in-print works) in the aquatic life health/disease fields, and I will urge others, note to myself to generate summat like them for/on WWM. BobF>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 12/28/09

Will do, many thanks, especially from the fish! You can spend hours reading and seem to find completely conflicting advice... It really helps to get a yes or no answer from someone. Hey- have you ever thought of putting up some general flowcharts- might save you some repetitive questions where people aren't sure which FAQs apply to their situation? Just a suggestion!
Thanks for the help.
<Thank you for this input. Yes to such "direction"-"decision" charts... I do think they have their place, utility. There are such in bound volumes (in-print works) in the aquatic life health/disease fields, and I will urge others, note to myself to generate summat like them for/on WWM. BobF>
<<We do in fact have something along those lines already... do see here:
Is this what you're after?
Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question -- 01/03/10

I am so, so sorry to bother you again!
<Not a bother. If you are concerned, write>
I've been doing 20% water changes every day, not sure if the Finrot is clearing up or not to be honest but I'll keep going with the changes. But now there are what look like eggs and tiny white threads (larva?) washed up on the side of the glass and flies under the lid of the tank!
<Mmm, these are "other issues"... Do check your house window screens... and simply net or siphon out such matter>
There's nothing attached to the fish, just on the glass and I think they don't move but there's quite a lot of them. What am I doing wrong and what should I be doing?
<Not likely anything you are doing "wrong">
Do I need to cut back food again- I'm already feeding less than I normally would and vacuuming the gravel every day so I'm shocked if there's excess food lying around. How do I get rid of the flies?
<... "a swatter", really... and preventing new adults from getting into your home; their use of the tank for reproducing. They are very unlikely to be causing harm here>
Many many thanks,
I have never had a nightmare with a tank like this before.
<Not to worry. Please. Patience is key here... and simple routine care.
Take your time and all will likely be well. BobF>
Re: Goldfish Finrot question 1/3/10

Fantastic! That's really reassuring. Will look elsewhere for the source.
Thanks a lot!
<Welcome Jessica. BobF>

Please help! I cant diagnose what's wrong with my goldfish. The usual lack of reading, data 11/20/09
Please help me.
<Will certainly try.>
I've been having a lot of problems with my goldfish recently.
<Almost always come down to the environment; or more specifically, the fishkeeper making unwise decisions.>
And can't seem to find a solution to my problem.
<Let's see if we can do any better.>
I used to have just 3 goldfish (of which I have had for a few years) and all were healthy.
<Don't forget these fish grow. Since they live for up to 30 years, and in that time get to more than 30 cm in length from babies only a few mm long, as the years pass, the workload on the filter and aquarium gets greater. A tank that works for a couple of baby Goldfish 3 or 4 cm long will be hopelessly overstocked by the time they're a couple of years old and pushing 10-15 cm in length. Hence the observation that everything was fine for a few years, but now everything is going wrong. So let me direct you to this article that summarised what you need to know:
Deviate from the recommendations there, and you'll be setting the stage for trouble. I draw your particular attention to aquarium size, filtration, diet, and water chemistry.>
Till one day one of them died and I decided to get 3 of those goldfish that are like janitor fish along with 6 other goldfish.
<No such thing as a "Janitor Fish". Anything anyone sells you to "clean up" your aquarium is a con trick. I'm guessing these are the golden morph of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a big, aggressive, tropical fish that has NO business being kept with Goldfish.>
One of the janitor fish died that night and later on in the week I lost 3 more of my new fish. Then the smaller one of my old fish started to look sickly with a darkening face and died. Then another of the new fish died leaving only 2 new ones left and my large old one. I soon realized, that my big old fish had white spots on its head as well as a reddening tail, as well as a few bites on its body from the gold janitor fish.
<As is their wont. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri is a very bad fish for tanks like this for multiple reasons. In some cases, yes, they will attack slow-moving fish and feed on the mucous. This is most common when the aquarist has no idea what Gyrinocheilus needs to eat, so the poor Gyrinocheilus is half-starved, and forced to try out other ways of feeding.
But they are also aggressive fish, and will buffet (rather than bite) rivals.>
I then went to some fish specialists and they told me that my big fish was sick with white spot disease and that the gold janitor fish were biting him because he is ill.
<Doesn't sound much of a diagnosis to me. Whitespot (Ick) is very specific, and looks like salt grains on the fins and skin. It's easily treated, and generally shouldn't kill fish. Bloody sores, shredded fins and so on are likely to be Finrot, and this is indeed triggered by physical damage (as well as poor water quality).>
They gave me some medicine called TCD to treat it and to separate my janitor fish and gold fish. I did as I was told and the next day I came home to find that all my fish had bloodshot red vein like looking tails and fins, and the fins started looking shredded as if it was disintegrating and getting shorter.
I called the specialists and they told me to take out half of my water and replace it with a new batch.
<Is this really what they said? Or what you think they said? Sounds pretty dumb to me. Water quality is critical to avoiding Finrot, but once established, you have to medicate, and if you're doing that, you DO NOT do water changes until the course of medication is concluded (see the instructions that came with whatever medication you're using).>
I did so and since then their fins and tails seemed to stop disintegrating.
Apart from my big old one as he now almost has stubs for fins and his tail is so red and shorter. I am really worried as this is my oldest fish. And the white spots that were on its head have now seemed to scabbed over or something as the spots look slightly brown. Another worrying thing is that my big old fish has scratches all over its body and his face is darkening to an almost purple red colour and some scales seem to be missing and the fish looks paler than usual. In addition to that all of my fish including my big old one have started doing some crazy swimming in continuous patters.
The big one keeps swimming round the whole tank and under the filter where it gets pushed by the water and another fish keeps swimming up and down and the other just stays still. I find this very strange and worrying.
<I'd say!>
I really love my fish and I have done some research but I cant seem to diagnose what is wrong. And another thing is that the water has gone a milky colour even though I changed it a day ago.
<Bacterial bloom... again, tends to imply chronically poor conditions.>
I don't know whether or not I should keep medicating them.
<Don't know where to start answering this! You have a huge problem here.
Likely an overstocked tank that is inadequately filtered, so if that's the case, you'll need to upgrade the tank and upgrade the filter. If you are dealing with Finrot, you need to treat appropriately (e.g., with Maracyn, Paraguard, eSHa 2000 but not junk like Melafix or salt). You have to follow the instructions on those medications *to the letter* paying particular attention to things like when to do water changes and whether you need to remove carbon, if used (carbon removes medications). Obviously, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri cannot be kept with Goldfish, so these species need their own, appropriately large, aquaria. Three Goldfish need, let's say, 30 gallons, and Gyrinocheilus aymonieri isn't suitable for tanks less than 55 gallons, and even then, just one specimen alongside semi-aggressive, fast-moving tankmates, such as Central American cichlids.>
Please help me and my fish.
<I want to, but I'm not a mind reader or a miracle worker. I need data on the size of the tank, filtration, water quality, and water chemistry.>
I would really appreciate it.
<I'm always happy to help so far as I can.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Large ball of puss on common goldfish?? 10/27/09
I got my son 3 common goldfish Christmas 08'. Well, about 2 weeks ago, one of the fish had a large ball of puss oozing from its side.
<Very likely a bacterial infection caused by some environmental stress. The common mistake is to buy three Goldfish, throw them in a bowl or a small aquarium without a filter, and hope for the best. The almost inevitable result here is sick or dead Goldfish. So just to recap: three Standard Goldfish would need a 30 gallon/115 litre aquarium equipped with a filter rated at not less than 6 times the volume of the aquarium in turnover per hour, and ideally 8 times. In other words, for a 30 gallon tank, you'd want a filter rated at not less that 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour. You'd be doing 25% water changes weekly, and the water chemistry should be hard (10+ degrees dH) and basic (pH 7.5-8).>
The ball is now gone but it looks rough, like rocks, under the scales on both sides of the fish now. The fish became somewhat bloated too. Now another one of the fish has a large ball of puss oozing. Once the puss had oozed out, there was a hole in the fish's side What is going on?? All fish are acting && eating normally too.
<You will need an antibiotic to fix the immediate problem, something like Maracyn. This must be done alongside fixing any problems with the environment. I'm stressing this latter point because a lot of people buy Goldfish for their children without doing any research at all. Let's be crystal clear here, children shouldn't be given animals of any kind until they're old enough to take care of them; anything less that this leads to neglect and sick animals. Have a read here of what these fish need, and act accordingly:
I don't recommend parents buy Goldfish for children at all, because they are difficult and expensive to keep (much like children, in fact). Cheers, Neale.>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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