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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 51

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease, Goldfish, Goldfish Varieties, Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Livestock Treatment System, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHP, Hole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis,

Related FAQs: Goldfish Disease 1, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish Health 22, Goldfish Health 23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25, Goldfish Disease 26, Goldfish Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30, Goldfish Disease 31, Goldfish Disease 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Disease 38, Goldfish Disease 39 Goldfish Disease 39, Goldfish Disease 40, Goldfish Disease 41, Goldfish Disease 42, Goldfish Disease 43, Goldfish Disease 44, Goldfish Disease 45, Goldfish Disease 46, Goldfish Disease 47, Goldfish Disease 48, Goldfish Disease 49, Goldfish Disease 50, Goldfish Disease 51, Goldfish Disease 52, Goldfish Disease 53, Goldfish Disease 54, Goldfish Disease 55,

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

Contaminated Tank?      11/14/15
Hello Crew, it's been a while, but I'm back with fish. Glad ya'll still here! I have a 20 gal long with 1 Ranchu goldfish named Tangie. Here's the situation:
The tank has been cycled about 6 weeks now and have had Tangie for a month.
<? This system was established, that is biologically cycled in two weeks?>

I realize I was over feeding her plus she binged on the brown Java moss and became bloated. In addition she has periods where she is floating head down at a 45 degree angle at mid tank level at like 5-30 second intervals and then go back to swimming normally.
<Am sure you're re/read the piece and FAQs files Re "Floaty Bloaty Goldfish">

I dosed the tank with Epsom salt and fed peas and the bloating went away.
However sometimes she still does this periodic floating. In addition she had long white or sometimes short white poop. So I thought she had swim bladder problems due to constipation, but she is pooping just white.
<The breed, and feed...>
I was thinking of dosing her tank with Praziquantel and/ or Metronidazole because I thought she could have parasites,
but I didn't want to be too drastic so I contacted an online vet. I explained the situation to her and also told her about white debris and cloudy water surface. She says I have a bacterial bloom,
but I said it's only on the surface. However she says the filter is probably taking care of the rest. She says Tangie floats because of low oxygen from the bloom because after she floats she goes back to swimming normally.
Says it's not sbd due to constipation, but poor water quality.
<.... perhaps a contributing factor? What do your water tests read?>
Here's where it gets worst. I looked up causes of bacterial blooms and it said excess nutrients in the tank. Yes I learned I was using my vacuum wrong. Also realized I had a boat load of gunk in my filter and I fixed all that, but the this morning I remembered my detrimental mistake when I first set up my tank. :(
When I first set up the tank I needed rocks to attach my plants too. So I went to Home Depot. I saw these gorgeous shinny river rocks. I planed to get the regular ones but these were prettier. So I Googled and I decided to boil them to get the wax off. I boiled and boiled and boiled and there was oil and oil and more oil. I also soaked them in vinegar. However there was still a little film on the surface, but I decided to let them dry out and they appeared fine. So I attached them and put them in the tank. Immediately there was that fine debris. I contacted the company and I was told since it was a fresh water tank it should be ok, just do a water change to dilute it. That fine debris had always been there even with
almost complete water change. It's not going no where.
So I put Tangie in the tank within a few minutes she became stressed. I immediately took out all the plants attached to rocks and threw it all away:(. Then I did 90% water change and she was fine. However I believe this behavior is a result of the residue that's in the tank. If not directly from the pollutants in the stones then excess oil makes bacterial bloom etc. wow I really messed up and wasted so much time and money and caused my fish stress when I was trying to set up the ideal home for her. Now I gotta figure out my next move. Last night when I did my water change in the bottom of the Aquaclear there was a small puddle i.e. Nickle size of oil. I wonder if that's from the stone. None of my tools i.e.. Buckets, siphons have an oily residue. I gotta figure out what I can keep and what's has to be replaced. I have the HOB, internal filter and UV. I
could just keep the hob and possibly soak in vinegar and baking soda. I read that will clean oil. The contaminant could be everywhere. And what about the sponges. They would have definitely soaked it up. I should probably recycle :( however I could do it quickly with safe start in like three days to a week. This is so bad. Then there is the gravel, I could just replace or go bare bottom for now. And I have those three plants attached to rocks. Maybe I can keep them. They are healthy. Maybe not too many pollutants on them. Then it's my pride and joy the driftwood piece that I labored on so much to cure and prepped for the tank. Maybe I can't keep that :( maybe it soaked to much. It's all a crap shoot outside of throwing it all out and starting over.
I forgot to mention that the doc suggested I get a water clarifier.
<Not a good idea.... see WWM Re>
The cloudiness in gone from the surface only left with the fine debris which will never go away. Maybe it's not a bacterial bloom then, but she's simply reacting to the contaminate in the tank.
I've spent so much money if I go forward I gotta do it cheaply and quickly for Tangie's sake. She seemed slow this morning. I'm hoping to make my up mind and start soon.
I really appreciate the time and expertise!!
<The reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Contaminated Tank?      11/14/15

Hi Bob, thanks so much for your swift reply! Driving myself bonkers trying to figure this situation out!
<I can imagine>
Based on your response looks like Tangie is back to her floaty bloaty self.
Yes, I read the article on floaty bloaty, but could not open the attachment was that for the article or something else?
<It was... bothersome that the link didn't work>
I followed the instructions with the Epsom salt and peas and the bloat was gone and she was getting better, but the doc told me to get her back to her normal diet asap.
<Which is hopefully NOT dried flake or high protein dried food based>
When I saw her on my lunch break she's floating again and bloated, so back to the peas. With the peas she can only tolerate 1/8th of a pea and she's 2 inches. She goes absolutely crazy after the small three pieces. She swims around fast looking for food. I feed her twice per day, maybe I could try three, but I can't feed her mid day because I work, so the interval may be too short. I'll do the peas for another week and see what happens. How do I when her back to her regular food?
<Just grade some percentage in over time; weeks>
I read that the regular food should be less than 40% protein.
<Yes; better under this by far>
I usually feed with a gel food @45%.
<... no>
They also have a veggie formula for 30% protein, so I'll need to change it?

Also I read about the suggested food of Sushi Nori and I bought that so I can use later, but would it be good to put it on a clip because she can overeat? My same concerns for edible plants in the tank.
For the water parameters, I tested my water and I had 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate. So that's good.
<Yes; and sufficient hardness?>
Yes, the tank cycled in biologically in two weeks. I use a bacterial product and it works Everytime.
<Ah, good>
I do a water change 1-2 times per week and the water always has the fine particles,
<? I'd only change part of the water once a week; and store new water to be used during the week>
but usually with the cloudiness too. It got better when I added the filter floss, but it's still there. I read about micro or micron floss maybe better?
<Mmm; not in my experience>
I'm not sure what else I can do. With the clarifier I added last night it's the best it's been since I set up the tank, but I won't use it if it's bad. Should I do a water change to dilute the clarifier?
<Yes I would>
Thanks again! feeling better :)
<Ah, good. BobF>
Contaminated Tank? /Neale's go       11/14/15

Hello Crew, it's been a while, but I'm back with fish. Glad ya'll still here! I have a 20 gal long with 1 Ranchu goldfish named Tangie. Here's the situation:
The tank has been cycled about 6 weeks now and have had Tangie for a month.
I realize I was over feeding her plus she binged on the brown Java moss and became bloated. In addition she has periods where she is floating head down at a 45 degree angle at mid tank level at like 5-30 second intervals and then go back to swimming normally. I dosed the tank with Epsom salt and fed peas and the bloating went away. However sometimes she
still does this periodic floating. In addition she had long white or sometimes short white poop. So I thought she had swim bladder problems due to constipation, but she is pooping just white.
I was thinking of dosing her tank with Praziquantel and/ or Metronidazole because I thought she could have parasites, but I didn't want to be too drastic so I contacted an online vet. I explained the situation to her and also told her about white debris and cloudy water surface. She says I have a bacterial bloom, but I said it's only on the surface. However she says the filter is probably taking care of the rest. She says Tangie floats because of low oxygen from the bloom because after she floats she goes back to swimming normally. Says it's not sbd due to constipation, but poor water quality.
Here's where it gets worst. I looked up causes of bacterial blooms and it said excess nutrients in the tank. Yes I learned I was using my vacuum wrong. Also realized I had a boat load of gunk in my filter and I fixed all that, but the this morning I remembered my detrimental mistake when I first set up my tank. :(
When I first set up the tank I needed rocks to attach my plants too. So I went to Home Depot. I saw these gorgeous shinny river rocks. I planed to get the regular ones but these were prettier. So I Googled and I decided to boil them to get the wax off. I boiled and boiled and boiled and there was oil and oil and more oil. I also soaked them in vinegar. However there was still a little film on the surface, but I decided to let them dry out and they appeared fine. So I attached them and put them in the tank.
Immediately there was that fine debris. I contacted the company and I was told since it was a fresh water tank it should be ok, just do a water change to dilute it. That fine debris had always been there even with almost complete water change. It's not going no where.
So I put Tangie in the tank within a few minutes she became stressed. I immediately took out all the plants attached to rocks and threw it all away:(. Then I did 90% water change and she was fine. However I believe this behavior is a result of the residue that's in the tank. If not directly from the pollutants in the stones then excess oil makes bacterial bloom etc. wow I really messed up and wasted so much time and money and caused my fish stress when I was trying to set up the ideal home for her.
Now I gotta figure out my next move. Last night when I did my water change in the bottom of the Aquaclear there was a small puddle i.e. Nickle size of oil. I wonder if that's from the stone. None of my tools i.e.. Buckets, siphons have an oily residue. I gotta figure out what I can keep and what's has to be replaced. I have the HOB, internal filter and UV. I could just keep the hob and possibly soak in vinegar and baking soda. I read that will clean oil. The contaminant could be everywhere. And what about the sponges. They would have definitely soaked it up. I should probably recycle :( however I could do it quickly with safe start in like three days to a week. This is so bad. Then there is the gravel, I could just replace or go bare bottom for now. And I have those three plants attached to rocks. Maybe I can keep them. They are healthy. Maybe not too many pollutants on them. Then it's my pride and joy the driftwood piece that I labored on so much to cure and prepped for the tank. Maybe I can't keep that :( maybe it soaked to much. It's all a crap shoot outside of throwing it all out and starting over.
I forgot to mention that the doc suggested I get a water clarifier. The cloudiness in gone from the surface only left with the fine debris which will never go away. Maybe it's not a bacterial bloom then, but she's simply reacting to the contaminate in the tank.
I've spent so much money if I go forward I gotta do it cheaply and quickly for Tangie's sake. She seemed slow this morning. I'm hoping to make my up mind and start soon.
I really appreciate the time and expertise!!
<White mucous in the faeces is usually a sign the gut is being irritated. Parasites commonly, such as Hexamita. Could be worms I suppose. But protozoan parasites like Hexamita are more usual. Metronidazole is the standard medication for this. Safe and effective. As for the rest of the tank. 20 gallons is marginal for Goldfish; better than most experience for sure, but 30 gallons is the minimum safe size. Bear in mind Goldfish get to the size of a side plate without much trouble, usually after 2-3 years. In smaller tanks your main problem is water quality. Goldfish are heavy feeders, and tend to be overfed too. The oily scum implies two things: overfeeding and insufficient water movement at the surface. Cut back on the food, and use a filter that ruffles up the surface nicely. A canister (internal or external, as you prefer) with a spray bar is a good approach.
Choose a filter rated for an aquarium upwards of 30 gallons for your 20 gallons tank. Why? Because the rating on the filter assumes little fish like Neons. Not Goldfish! No need to run UV. A UV steriliser has very specific functions (e.g., killing mobile parasites) but their effectiveness is limited in homes (they're primarily useful in retail situations, so far as freshwater fish go) and unless you clean a UV system regularly, and replace the UV tube every six months, it isn't doing anything anyway. If an aquarium is irredeemably murky and dirty, then I'd strip the tank down, rebuild (perhaps with new gravel even) and certainly new water, keeping nothing except the mature filter media (thoroughly rinsed in old aquarium water or tap water of the same temperature) so that the aquarium was clean, but cycled, once rebuilt. Chuck out anything that can't be cleaned (like half-dead plants) and wash with hot water anything not living such as rocks. Flocculants can be used to clarify water, but remember they work by making the pumped particles easier for mechanical filter media (filter floss and fine sponges) to remove. That's all. If the filtration isn't good, then adding flocculants won't do anything. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Contaminated Tank?        11/16/15

Hi Neale thanks for replying, not sure if you knew, but Bob had already answered my question. However still good for me cause the focus was on different parts of my original questions.
<Glad to help.>
I put her back on the peas as suggested in my original post vs. medication and hoping that will help her. However with a pea diet how long should that take to work?
<Depends on a range of factors including ambient temperature (warmer water = faster digestion) but at room temperature should see some improvement (if not a complete cure) within a couple days.>
At what point do you know you should give meds?
<Without the fish in front of me, hard to say. But if the peas didn't help, even after, say, 5 days, then I'd treat.>
I actually tried Metro in her food for a couple days, but she got floaty again because she can only tolerate peas now. If I have to give Metro back to her will dosing in the water be just as good?
<No. Medicated food is always better. Known amount gets inside the fish. Adding to water is much less reliable
I ended up breaking my tank down yesterday. I do have good filters. One is an Aquaclear HOB (can we mention brands?)
<Sure you can! Name and shame, that's my motto!>
and its 200gph however on the setting the current is too strong.
<Try adding a spray bar that's directed towards the glass wall of the tank.
This will spread out the current very effectively. If your filter merely sluices the water back into the tank via a spout of some sort, then a tall vertical rock in the way could be used to achieve the same thing. I confess to not knowing much about hang-on-the-back filters. They are hardly used in the UK. Seem to be very much the American filter of choice! Here, we prefer canisters, internal at the low end, external at the high end.>
The other one is an internal filter for 157gph and it has a spray bar, but I had to point it at the wall again for the current.
<Ah! Yes.>
Maybe it's a problem because she's only two inches. My filters must be ok because I used the clumping product and all the debris was in the floss more than I ever saw.
I also wanted to know how are flocculants bad for the tank?
<Not, if used as directed. I wouldn't use them daily indefinitely, but once or twice a week for a few should do no harm. Would recommend using the evening before you do your water changes and filter cleans. Do a substantial water change (50%, say) and thoroughly rinse or replace the mechanical filter media, leaving the biological filter alone except for a
quick rinse to wash away any remaining debris.>
Hopefully the tear down will help the cloudiness.
<Should do. Try rinsing the gravel thoroughly before replacing. Hardly any filter bacteria there, so no worries about water quality.>
Thanks again
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Contaminated Tank?        11/17/15

Hi Neale, I broke down my tank on Saturday and I replaced everything even the filter media so I have to cycle again. I replaced the media because I was told it may be contaminated from the oil from those rocks.
<Doesn't seem very likely. Oil is insoluble, so tends to float rather than get sucked into filters. More to the point, once inside an active biological filter, most organic compounds break down quickly, and those that don't can normally be removed with activated carbon. Chucking out live filter media is something only to do when there really is no choice.>
All was ok 24 hours later, however last night she was swimming in place with her fins clamped to her body. This is another symptom!
<Possibly, but common to all sorts of stresses and diseases.>
I figured this must also be a symptom of parasites and I got afraid that I would loose her. I had been treating and treating with peas still white poop & lethargy. So I dosed the tank with Metroplex and Prazi pro. Amazing her fins weren't clamped this morning and she was not stuck in place, but swimming around!
<Ah, good news.>
These meds must be working!
<Sounds like it.>
However, this morning when I saw her, it looked like a piece of skin in the area above her upper lip was missing. It's usually orange like the rest of her body not clear. I don't think it was something attached to her because it formed a perfect triangle shape. I couldn't find my magnifying lens, but will look for it when I get home from work. Could this be the
Hexamita/ whole in the head correct?
<Unlikely. May be simple physical damage. I'd not overreact. If the fish is otherwise swimming normally, I'd ignore this symptom for now.>
I complicated the situation further because I added new filter media.
I'll have to change out some of her water nightly and redose the meds because I loss my cycle. The instructions on the Metroplex said dose 1-2 measures every two days. So I dosed 1 measure will change enough water tonight so there is no or low ammonia then dose another measure.
So I will dose the Metroplex daily, but over two days it's still only 2 measures, actually a little less because of the water change. Is this how you dose when the tank is not cycled?
<Well, the filter probably won't cycle at the normal rate if you're adding an antimicrobial. Might not prevent cycling, but will surely slow it down. I'd medicate as per the instructions, doing the water changes before dosing. That way you won't dilute the medication unduly.>
I'll add back the Prazi pro amount daily too. I can add the Metroplex to her peas since that's all she can eat. Is it ok to treat the Metroplex in the water and food?
<Should be, yes.>
I would want to do both for internal parasites and possible whole in the head? How long do I feed her the Metro food and/ or dose Metroplex in the water?
<Refer to the instructions on the packaging.>
I was going to dose one more time with the Prazi in 7 days, is this ok?
<Yes, but again, bear in mind with coldwater fish everything takes longer than with tropicals. So running a second series of medications may be necessary.>
Thanks a zillion!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Contaminated Tank?         11/19/15

Hi Neale, when I got home last night my fish was pooping up a storm! It was poop everywhere. The poop was white and short Turds (sorry I know it sounds gross, but that's the best description). She finally stopped going.
Glad I switched to a bare bottom in the breakdown because I used my super long turkey baster and sucked it all up! It was two days since I dosed Praziquantel and Metro. Also I'm feeding the Metro laced food. Do you think I the Prazi did this?
<Yes. It works by irritating the gut lining, causing worms to be shaken off and pushed out by the gut muscles, as you can see.>
Does this mean she actually has worms?
<Hard to be sure without examination of the faeces. Anything that pushes out worms could just as easily cause faecal matter to be pushed out too.>
The good news is her poop is not stringy and it's coming out. Her belly still looks a little bloated and she looks like she's lost a little weight. She still swims in place at times. I peek in the window before I come in the house and she's usually swimming in one place. Then when we come in she's more active. She seems like she is depressed or something.
<It can't be a pleasant experience. See how she reacts to food. If she's happy feeding, then all well and good. See what happens across the next couple of weeks.>
There are different treatment options on the Prazi bottle. It says repeat in 5-7 days, but not before 3 days. You have any suggestions as to dosing?
<Always follow the instructions unless you're a vet or you've consulted with one (I'm not one!).>
Thanks Donetta
<Welcome. Neale.>

goldfish belly help, env., nutr. 2/18/12
Hello WWM Crew,
I have a goldfish who for the past 2 months has gotten a huge belly. At first the belly was getting bigger but the fish was acting normal <ly>, then he was no longer able to swim and spent all his time on the bottom, but he was up rite. After some time he was no longer able to keep balance and was still on the bottom but now on his back. However his scales never stuck out, they stayed normal, and his appetite was normal. However his poo was like a long white string, with air bubbles in it. I did some research and came across some articles that talked about swim bladder disease, liver disease, cancer..etc. The only thing that I could conclude, without a fish doctor to look at him, was bloat, constipation, and diet. I have always fed flake food
<A poor choice>

and then switched to pelleted food (they have been on pelleted food for over a year now). So for the past month I have stopped feeding store brand fish food. I have been feeding frozen shelled peas (cooked) everyday. I have also made some food for them with vegetables and proteins; frozen peas, frozen mix vegetables, and tuna blended together into a baby food looking mush and then gelled. I feed a little of this gelled food with some peas. I have also done the epson <Epsom> salt treatments. With the food change and the epson salt treatments his poo is now normal and he looks less bloated, but he still stays on the bottom and some days can stay up rite and other days he is on his back. This week I have noticed that his belly is not even on both sides. I don't know if this is from him not being in a normal position and things are shifting or if there is a larger problem going on internally. Also because he is on his back and tried to swim around on the bottom over the rocks, he has started to rub off his scales and has some fin damage. I wish I had a picture of his when this all started but of course I didn't think he would make it this far. This is
what he looks like today, and yes he is smaller than what he was when this all started. I also do small water changes every week, this is a 10 gallon tank
<Too small a volume>

with a aua tech power filter for 10-20 gallon tank. I change the cartridge for the filter every 3 weeks when I do a 50% water change. I don't have live plants, just plastic. I'm just looking for some suggestions. He seems to be a fighter, I know he looks bad but it doesn't seem like he's ready to give up and so I will do what I can for him. I work in a vet clinic and see animals go through some trying ailments, it's never a easy decision to make, but it seems like the animal will give some sign of when they are ready to let go. This fish still seems like he is trying. Well that's my little rant. Any help or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
<A bigger world; read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
Likely this fish has been damaged by metabolite exposure (from the too-small system), and nutritionally. Read here re:
It may recover, but the odds are poor. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Goldfish with White on Tail 2/15/12
Good Morning Crew,
I'm sorry that I do not have a picture on me the time but I will try to explain this. I have 3 goldfish (2 black moor) in my 55gal tank. Two of them seem to be getting some white on their tails. They are NOT spots but look like streaks at the edges of the fin. I cannot seem to find what this could be.
<Highly likely a reaction to some aspect of water quality... When in doubt, test, do water changes...>
It certainly does not seem to be fin rot because the fins are intact and not frayed at all. It also does not seem to be Ich because they are not salt like spots. Any help with what this could be would be appreciated.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish on side, dying... No info. 1/18/12
I have a Goldfish that seems to have deteriorated rapidly over the last few hours.
He is lying on his side at the bottom of the tank and seems to be still breathing ok. The other fish keeps trying to nudge it upright and it seems to appreciate the help, but can't keep itself afloat. What can I do to help?
<Need data... re system, water quality, foods/feeding... Read here for input and examples of what we're looking for: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm
the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish on side 1/19/12

Hi Again,
I took 'Spiderman' to our local Aquarium today and he seems to think he may have ingested something.
<Perhaps the addition of a bit of Epsom Salt (see WWM re) will move this>
We had a few extra kids over yesterday and something may have been put in the tank. Still unsure about this. He was showing a lack of oxygen as he had veins showing in his tail.
<Very common appearance from any source of stress>
I have added am aerator to the tank and adjusted the ph level which was slightly out.
He showed mild improvement and has been attempting to right himself but largely
remains on his side.
<Hang in there! BobF>

Re: Goldfish on side 2/1/12

We went on holiday, and did not have the chance to add the Epsom salts before leaving. Spiderman has hung in there. I added the Epsom Salt today
- when can we expect some improvement?
<Can't say... read here:
and the linked files above>
My daughter seems to think that one of our little visitors may have put a bean bag bean in the tank, and he could quite possibly have ingested that.
<Welcome. B>

Please help, I think my fish is going to die! 10/11/11
I am absolutely heart broken about my goldfish. I have searched so many sites for answers and have come up with nothing that describes all of the symptoms he is having (it seems that there are too many to fit into one disease). I have a 35 gallon cool water tank with two goldfish (only one is sick).
<Mmm, unusual>
The sick one, Hadji, is 6 inches long and has never been sick before and I have had them both for over 5 years. Hadji became ill over night, literally. His symptoms are as follow: clamped fins, very red at the base of his fins (and spreading quickly), some red sores on body, white bumps (like small pimples) that are steadily multiplying as I write. He also has a bulge in his side, but that has been there for a while. These white bumps are mainly clustered on his tail fin. He just pooped a thin, clear, stringy material. Yesterday, it was thick, (dark red-brown) *very* long, with about one quarter of that completely clear. He has just started jetting back and forth in the tank. The tank is relatively new (about one month) and the cycling was executed per the guidelines on your site. I used AmQuel Plus and Prime (because AmQuel would lower the Ph after water change). All has gone exceedingly well, with no perceptible stress on my fish. The water has been closely monitored via the API Master Test Kit. I've tested the water twice a day for the last few days because I did a 25-30% water change and Hadji looked sick. The results were Nitrates 40ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Ph 7.6 and Am 0ppm. I feed them Tetra Fin Goldfish flakes, Top Fin Freeze-Dried Bloodworms and mashed peas. I don't know how this happened. I love my fish and I cannot imagine what I could have exposed them to that would result in this horrible illness. Please help me. I am in tears because I can't stand to see my fish hurting. I'm attaching some pictures so maybe you can put it all together as I have no clue when it comes to fish illness.
<The only "thing" that jumps out here is the high Nitrate... I'd get and keep this under 20 ppm maximum... other metabolite accumulation issues may be here... as shown by the too-high NO3. Please see here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/NO3ContrF.htm
and the linked files above. As it's only the one of two goldfish mal-affected I'm given to wonder if the stressed fish might have "swallowed a bug"... an insect that is, that somehow got into the tank... Or perhaps it has a genetic disposition that is expressing itself... At any length, I would do a series of 10-20 % water changes daily, vacuuming the gravel...
and look into Spectrum Pellets (is what I feed my fancy goldfish
exclusively) instead of the flake and FD chironomids. Bob Fenner>

Lisa T's previous email "Please help me I think my fish is going die! 10/11/11
I am so sorry that I did not thank you in advance for any help you can offer. When I hit the button that I was finished attaching my pictures files, it just sent it from there. By the way, I did make sure to keep the files small so your server wouldn't be overwhelmed.
<We thank you for your consideration>
I did not get to spell check my email or try to clarify that his fin areas are much more red than the pictures indicate. Please accept my apologies- I was shocked that it was sent even though I hadn't hit the send button.
I have learned so much from your website I cannot put into words just how grateful I am.
Sorting through the obtuse and contradicting information on the other sites has made things so complicated I have ended up screaming at the computer.
<Ahh, calm yourself>
So, I thank you for being there to help. I wouldn't trust my fish care to anyone else. I hope someday I become proficient enough to return the favor by volunteering my time as well. At this rate, That could come sooner rather than later.
-Thanks again and take care,
<Welcome. BobF>

A series of unfortunate events 9/16/11
Hi all!
<Hello Andrea.>
My adventures in fancy goldfish care have not been going well. Here's a (hopefully) brief narrative.
<Not even close to brief.>
I purchased a used 55 gallon tank early this year and started a fishless cycle in April or May. An Oranda and ranchu were shipped to my doorstep on June 30th. I had a sparse layer of river rocks which the ranchu had trouble with because she couldn't seem to go head down, tail up to eat sinking pellets; we exchanged emails about that (Thank you thank you thank you!). I ended up removing nearly all the rocks. On July 4th, she spawned! . . . and her oviduct prolapsed. She died, of course, and very quickly.
<Don't honestly think this is what happened or why she died. Oviducts are internal structures and deeply unlikely to become prolapsed. So let's be open minded about what happened here.>
Chapter two. Waking up to a tank full of eggs and a rapidly dying fish made me confused! But I could see that the Oranda was picking on her. In panic, I filled a 29 gallon with the old tank water, popped one of the hang-on-back filters on it, and isolated the Oranda. He seemed perfectly happy there while I considered my next move, so I bought a hood and other accessories for the 29g and returned to feeding ammonia to the now vacant 55g.
Chapter three. I do the sensible thing and order five more fish. Heh.
<Heh indeed. You should always wait at least 6 weeks after the death of a fish before ordering another. That way the aquarium has time to settle down, and you can discover whether the problem was a one-off with that dead fish, or a disease in the tank affecting the others, or a problem with the aquarium itself, such as filtration.>
They don't do as well in shipping as the last batch did; one fish's fins are torn in multiple places from base to tip, one has cloudy eyes and an irritated lateral line, lots of bottom sitting, etc. The cycle in the 55g bumped a little with stubborn trace nitrites, so I used salt at 0.3% for a week, Prime, and daily testing/changing/testing. On the bright side, I got a good system down for pH/temp matching! Between the bumps and bruises, the stress, and the fact one fish was full of eggs and not seeming to re-absorb nor drop them, I was advised to give antibiotic food. I gave them Medi-Gold (a sulfa cocktail?) for two weeks and things had improved; fins healed, lateral line normal, etc. So they did two weeks of pro-biotic pellets, and then back to gel food and blanched veggies.
<Antibiotics are useful whereas probiotics are nonsense. It's important to understand the difference when treating your fish.>
Chapter four. Then I get the /genius/ idea to try a planted tank!
<Not really possible with Goldfish.>
At this point I'd fallen in love with the bare bottom setup, but silk plants are so . . . meh. And I was hoping to encourage the telescope to drop her eggs. So I prepare a piece of Mopani wood, then order Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias, and Water Sprite. The Water Sprite goes in tiny pots and takes off; the Anubias gets covered in algae; the Java Fern has weird brown spots; and the Java Moss hates even overnight shipping and turns into a brown mess than I do my best to remove. Cue a fish scraping its wen on the now mostly bare Mopani wood, which I had picked for its smoothness and sanded and boiled and sanded and soaked and attempted to cover with the moss; I really thought it would be okay, because this fish had very little head growth and an agile physique for a fancy. At least, that's my guess--I was gone for four days while my roommate fed them (dated rations), and returned to find a big, weird head wound. This is the fish that also had the lateral line problem (the first three to four scales looking a bit raised and quite white-ish) which seemed to respond to the sulfa food. The head wound looked similarly white-ish (not really powdery, not slimy either, fluffy if anything), and the lateral line problem came back. I dragged my feet and did Google searches and came up with nothing quite like it. I was advised NOT to quarantine the fish to avoid the stress of being moved. Now the wen starts collapsing, and showing signs of redness as well as fluff, and I'm not comfortable with doing a topical treatment, so I put them back on Medi-Gold. I regret that.
Meanwhile, the water quality is deteriorating. Filters are getting full of mysterious brown scum even though all of the Java Moss is now removed and the only remaining plants, the Water Sprite, appear to be thriving. Water starts stinking. Water becomes cloudy.
<Goldfish eat plants, and damage those they can't consume. They also root about constantly, throwing silt into the water column, and that prevents light getting to the plants. Overall, don't add plants to a Goldfish aquarium.>
(I should mention that I sterilized the plants in potassium permanganate before adding them.)
Fish with head wound dies. My secretly favorite fish, of course. RIP.
Water gets cloudier. It reads ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate under 20ppm and pH stable at 7.7. Perfect water in text, right?
<Not perfect. Only means there's no nitrite and ammonia, and not much nitrate. You're saying nothing about hardness, and as for water clarity, crucial for plants, there's nothing said about that either.>
In practice, it's disgusting. All the partial water changes in the world are doing jack crap.
<I have no idea what this means.>
One fish develops about four small fuzzy white spots on the dorsal fin and one where the butterfly tail meets on top.
<Sounds like Fungus or Finrot.>
Meanwhile, the 29g is a picture of health! Water is crystal clear, parameters are the same as the 55g aquarium/cesspool, and fish are growing and active. "Ah-ha!" So, I take a 29g I found on the curb (leak-tested and sterilized). I toss the sterilized 300gph Aquaclear filter with ceramic media borrowed from the healthy tank onto it. I fill it with half healthy tank water and half conditioned with Prime, pH and temperature matched new water. Drop in a water diffuser. Surface agitation and circulation are good. I catch the fish and transfer them, with clean hands, to the new tank.
That was Sunday evening. The next morning, the now completely empty tank was cloudier still, and foaming around the water line! A fine, white foam. At one point I stuck my bare arm in and it dried to a slightly hair-tugging invisible film! I am quite okay with germs, snails, and puppy dog tails and I had tanks as a teenager and have helped friends cycle tanks in emergencies (the old "I bought a tank, too many fish, and obviously unsuitable plants all at the same time" emergency), and I have never encountered an aquarium so disgusting.
<Sounds under filtered and overstocked, or perhaps overfed, or stocked with dying plants, or with silt in the water'¦>
So that's the background. I couldn't write a "short narrative" to save my life! Luckily, I'm trying to save the lives of my fish, not myself.
I have learned a lot from these incidents, both from reading and just through 20/20 hindsight. Such as "when you're in over your head, don't don lead boots!" but there's still a lot of questions. Is this is a type of fungus?
<Fungus looks like white cotton wool, with distinct tufts. Finrot and Mouth Fungus (actually a bacterial infection) can look similar but usually less fluffy and more slimy or rotten-looking. Use Google and/or your favourite fish health book for clarification.>
(Oh, another odd thing. When I set to tearing down the nasty tank to start over, I found the gray plastic media basket had tiny pink freckles on it. It reminded me in color of a pink mold that tries to grow in my bathtub.) Bacterial bloom? Can aquariums be overtaken by yeast? The white foam reminded me of fermentation.
<Yeast isn't likely, but I suppose possible if the water is organic-rich with uneaten food.>
Was the dying Java Moss the cause--just too much crap in there, if only for a few days? Did the fish sustain a large wen injury that developed an opportunistic (Fungal? Bacterial? Both?) infection, or did the concentration of mystery microorganisms rise to a level that they were able to just start snacking on wen?
<Could be any of these. Plants dying often does trigger a cascade of bad effects.>
Obviously I made very, very stupid choices by combining Mopani wood with wen-bearing goldfish; by sterilizing but failing to quarantine plants; by over-medicating, waiting too long to medicate, and by medicating improperly . . . need I go on? I have so much respect for all y'all's expertise and enthusiasm. You certainly save many of us from re-inventing the wheel (and yes, the wheel I seem to have come up with is square).
So, I assume the refugees who are perking up in their new home should still finish the current course of antibiotic food (and I believe, because of asymmetrical bulging, that the telescope is still full of eggs). Should I do anything but maintain water quality while they heal? Salt voo-doo, Pima-Fix witchcraft, Methylene blue barbarism? A Maracyn? A hydrogen peroxide or iodine swab? So far I have succeeded in intervening when unnecessary, and not intervening when necessary.
<Would treat with a medication that does both Finrot and Fungus, like Seachem Paraguard or KanaPlex. I'd avoid tea-tree oil and pepper-tree oil products at this point. Salt could be used, as Goldfish tolerate it well, but I'd use it alongside a medication, not instead. Do remember to remove carbon while medication, if used.>
In the process of composing this Great American Novel, I've forgotten most of my specific questions (but I did try to write out many of the catch-phrases that I used in my own fruitless Google searches!).
Thanks so much for your time, and any advice you can offer (even if it is a link to something I missed). I do apologize for the length of this email.
Hope you have a great day. Thanks again,
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: A series of unfortunate events 9/16/11

Okay. I did have trouble finding information and pictures [about the possible prolapse] at the time. Perhaps it was intestines?
<Anal prolapses do happen with fish. Usually a minor problem put right with suitable antibiotics and a high-fibre, laxative diet.>
Heard splashing and witnessed them spawning at dawn, and when their lights came on at 9 there was about a 10 to 15mm long pink/red/white mass outside the cloaca. It was ragged and the male was biting it when not busy eating eggs. The male was significantly smaller, and there was no other visible damage to the female. The fish died within an hour of discovering its condition. So I certainly admit I have no idea what happened, and would have been caught off guard even with healthy spawning. If you have any idea, please share.
<Nothing obvious, I'm afraid. All sorts of things can manifest these sorts of symptoms.>
That is good advice that I'll follow in the future. After two weeks, the single fish in the 29g was fine, and I was getting sick of adding ammonia to the empty 55g. But, alas, no excuses.
Well, I've had excellent results from using probiotics on myself after destroying my gut flora with antibiotics. Do you think they are nonsense in general, just in regard to fish digestion, or that a dried form is bunk?
<Simply that the medical evidence in a scientific sense is ambiguous for probiotics generally. Things can work for people, like homeopathy to take an obvious example, but not in the way homeopaths believe. The placebo effect is obviously a massive issue in medicine, and far more powerful than non-medics imagine. In any event, I doubt probiotics will have a harmful effect on your fish, so if you want to use them alongside antibiotics, go ahead.>
I will clarify that I didn't use a substrate; this is a bare bottom tank, and I would like to grow plants for dietary reasons as well as decoration/filtration.
<Fair enough.>
Well, KH 89.5ppm/5 dKH, and GH 89-107ppm. Is water clarity measurable?
Serious question; I assumed it was subjective when I hear it referenced.
<Clarity is measured using penetration of light. The clearer the water, the deeper light penetrates. But that's academic here. Water clarity in fish tanks only really affects the plants, by making it difficult for them to grow. To a lesser degree, silt can clog up filters, slightly reducing their effectiveness.>
No substrate, 55g tank with 700gph filtration, three fish with a total length of about 13", and confident in my feeding. So, probably plant matter. I'll stick with terrestrial plants from now on. Blah.
Anyway--thank you so much. Definitely helpful, and I will procure medication (and books) ASAP. I don't know if I'm replying in the right format and I'm sorry for the lengths of these emails.
Thanks so much for your time.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re GF eyes 9/13/2011
I mailed you a few weeks ago regarding this fish I have with bad eyes, the white one has been like that for almost 2 years, the other one is new about 3 weeks, Can you tell me what you think it is,
<... same as before. An injury response>
he acts fine and eats well, but I would like to help him with his eyes if I could, we determined a few years ago that the white one may have been an injury, If he injured the second eye and they both get big and white, will this hurt him as I don't think he can see right now, but still acts fine.
Would increasing tank size make his eyes better?
<Not better, but better for the fish/es period, yes>
I fed him Medigold for 14 days , it did make the big white eye have a tiny bit more clarity instead of solid white, but did nothing for the other eye
Thank Cathy Hart
<Welcome. BobF>

Questions about my Comet goldfish 9/11/11
Hi WetWebMedia,
I have a question about my comet goldfish Pete. I've had Pete for almost 2 years now and he's only about 3 inches long including the tail. In the first 6 months that I had him he was kept in less than optimal conditions.
He was kept in a tiny 5 gallon tank with another comet goldfish. Well now he's in a 55 gallon tank with 3 other tanks mates named Jane, Mohawk and Two Face (Okay, my boyfriend named the last two lol). Yesterday night when I went to feed my little guys, I noticed that Pete had a small elevation on the top of his head. It's just a tiny elevation, no fungus or discoloration or anything weird growing on it. I'm just curious as to what it could be.....I'm a little freaked out. My pH is 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite and Nitrate 0. I have 2 filters running....one is a Aqueon 55 gallon and the other is a Aquaclear 70 or 150, I don't remember. I have attached a picture. Oh and I forgot to mention, my other goldfish are smaller than Pete. Thanks for your help!
<Hello Katherine. It's not obviously anything dangerous. Bacterial infections like Finrot are usually obvious -- red sore followed by the appearance of dead white skin. Skinniness caused by, for example, intestinal worms may cause bones to become obvious, but the sides of the abdomen usually pinch in first, followed by the overall impression of a head that's too large for the body. Spawning tubercles are distinctive white pits usually arranged on the face in patterns that are similar on each side of the head. For now, keep an eye on your Goldfish, read the following article, and act accordingly:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Please help me save my babies; GF? 9/7/11
Thank you so much for your quick reply Neale:-), and thank you for your valuable pearls of information to help me save them. I will do exactly what you've advised me to do for my gold fish friends. Also please forgive my misspelled words. I was very stressed, frantic, and desperate.
Very grateful,
<Glad to help. Do think you'd enjoy these two articles:
There's also a really interesting article by Judy Helfrich about dealing with fish that suddenly appear in your life, what she calls the "accidental aquarist". It's full of tips on how to house things well without spending a
whole bunch of money.
Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: Please help me save my babies; 9/10/11

Thank you Neale :), for the valuable information. I'll always use Wet Web Media as my informative tool to better equip myself with this knowledge and provide the very best to my fish babies.
Thanks again and very satisfied,
<Kind words indeed. You might enjoy our Forum, where folks share experiences in a more interactive way than we can do here.
Have fun! Neale.>
Re: Please help me save my babies; 9/14/11

Hello again Neal;
I hope that I'm not being a pest, however, I do want to update you on a few things as well as glean some more from you valuable treasures of information. Since we last communicated some vast changes has taken place.
I set up that 75 gallon tank I've mentioned to you before. I moved the media from the old still cycling filter into the new Penn Plex cascade canister filter (265 gph) as well as added a bottle of Tetra Aqua safe start to that. I also placed a Marineland Penguin Biowheel filter (300 gph) on this tank. I treated this filter with an additional whole bottle of Tetra Aqua safe start also.
Question number one would be, "I have a total of 565 gph which is slightly over the 6x filtration that is the minimum that I need for this size tank; should I also get another Penn Plex cascade canister filter for a 55 gallon tank to compensate for the 185 gph that I want to have in the tank for 10x the filtration of this 75 gallon tank? I also thought about putting another Marineland Penguin Biowheel filter (300 gph) which might be a bit of an overkill. Or would any one of these be too much for them (meaning the 10x filtration I have in mind)? I do value your opinion.
<Provided the fish you choose are small things -- Tetras, Gouramis, Angels, Platies, etc. -- turnover rates 4-6 times the volume of the tank will be ample. These are very much guidelines, and really, the main thing is that you have zero ammonia and nitrite levels. If you can do that with a turnover rate of 4 times the volume of the tank, well, that's just fine!
It's only a few species -- Loaches, Black Ghost Knifefish, Redline Torpedo Barbs -- that come from fast-flowing water and really do need turnover rates 6, 8 or even 10 times the volume of the tank. For those fish,
turnover is important because it ensures proper oxygenation. Tetras and other "ordinary" fish aren't so bothered because they come from sluggish streams, ponds, even ditches in the case of things like Gouramis.>
Since putting the Tetra Aqua safe start live bacteria in these filters my readings have been ph 7.6, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, nitrate 5 ppm.
These have been the water test readings for the last three days now for both morning and the evening testing that I do. The second question is this; "Should I still not feed my gold fish for the continuation of the 7 day fast that they have been on? Or could I start feeding them again? If so, I do plan on using you gel goldfish food recipe you wrote about, along with a few live salad bars and anchored spinach blanched.
<If ammonia and nitrite are zero, you're good to go! Yes, by all means go easy with the food for the first couple weeks, and yes, plants contain less protein so they place less strain on the filter while still giving the fish all the energy they need to stay healthy.>
Oh, by the way all five of my babies thank you and I do to:-).
Thank you so much, never been so happy,
<Thanks for the kind words, and well done so far! Cheers, Neale.>

Injured goldfish 9/4/11
Greetings to you, WWM!
<Salutations Eve>
I have a 4 year old common goldfish named Potty (a comet, I believe) that my son won at a carnival.
<Ah yes. Likely a Comet>
He currently lives in a 50 gallon acrylic tank with his buddy Prozac, also a common goldfish. Both fish are about six inches in length. They have always been together and are the epitome of health, no problems at all.
There are no other fish in the tank.
<Ah, good>
In the top of the tank, there is a small cut-out where you would put a heater. We have a feeding ring there instead of a heater, since heat is not necessary for them. There are no other open holes in the tank, as they are covered with the light canopy. About a month ago, Potty decides he is going to jump out of this little hole at some point during the day. When I found him at feeding time, he was very dry and very stuck to the carpet. Not knowing what else to do (and with my son in tears watching) I picked him up and plopped him back in the tank.
It was very weird, he hit the bottom with a thud and I knew he was dead. As I was apologizing to my son, that fish made a big heave with his gills, wound up upside-down for about an hour, righted himself and was somewhat back to normal within a few days. He was missing quite a few scales and had carpet fibers stuck to him for a little while but other than this he was his same old self. Once I saw he was going to live after righting himself , I did add aquarium salt to the tank according to the directions on the box for a stressed goldfish. I thought I was going to be smart and put a cup over the hole so he could not pull that trick again...
<Mmm, better to use "duct tape" or such>
Two nights ago I go in to feed my fish. The cup I placed over the hole was on the floor about two feet from the tank. I found Potty behind the tank with his tailfin on the surge suppressor and his body stuck to the carpet.
Same side that was injured before. Once again, I said a few choice words and pried his body off of the carpet and plopped him back in the tank. Of course he lived. But, almost all the scales on his left side were gone, his tail that was on the surge suppressor looks like it has been totally shredded, (maybe he got a little jolt of power from that stunt?)
and he had managed to get a piece of glitter stuck to his head. Since I had done a 25% water change the week before and also replaced the filters I wasn't worried about the cleanliness of the tank, and I figured there still should have been a sufficient amount of salt in there for him. Today I have had my eye on Potty though, and he looks absolutely horrid. He has this white fuzzy stuff, looks like cotton candy, all over his injured side. His left gill had a blister looking thing with that fuzzy looking stuff on it until he saw it was feeding time, got excited, brushed against a plant and popped the blister thing and a huge chunk came off. Now his left gill has an open sore on it. Thinking I needed to do something, I went to the store and purchased a box of Tetracycline and a filter that does not have any charcoal or carbon in it (it is actually a filter for a different type of system, it really seems like nothing more than a glorified sponge) because I wanted something in there at least to catch the poo and spent food from the water. I followed the directions on the box for the size of my tank, then thought perhaps I had better write in for some advice. I was thinking that this stuff on Potty was some sort of a bacterial fungal infection from his injuries. It looks very similar to the photos I have seen on the web.
And with his newly gaping raw hole near his gill, I thought the Tetracycline would be the right choice. I have come to love this fish, and don't want to end up poisoning him to death with this medicine if it is something he does not need. Please, what are your thoughts on this and what advice can you offer? Thank you in advance!
<I would likely leave off w/ treating w/ the/this antibiotic... Not likely helpful, and too likely to interrupt bio-filtration. I urge your doing what you did the first time... the salt use and patience. Bob Fenner>

Black <Archie?> Moore Inquiry 9/4/11
To whom it may concern:
My husband and I purchased a small
<Not small; young, a few months old; these fish grow fast! Expect 5-6 inches within 12 months, and ultimately 8 inches within 2-3 years.>
black moore about a month and a half along with a few other fish to add to his 30 gallon freshwater aquarium. A week or so afterward, the tank came down with a really terrible case of ich, and we lost a good number of fish to the disease before we could cure it.
<That's odd. Whitespot/Ick isn't normally fatal. It's easy to diagnose, easy to treat, and generally proceeds slowly. HOWEVER, Ick often comes alongside other, more serious problems. Ick may be the sort of thing fish can fend off when healthy, but succumb from when stressed. So be open minded here: Did your fish die because they were added to an aquarium that hadn't been cycled? Did you fail to quarantine new livestock? Were you adding too many fish to the tank all at once? Is water quality and water chemistry appropriate? Since Goldfish are fish for non-heated tanks, while tropical fish need tropical temperatures (which vary, depending on the species) it's entirely possible you have an aquarium too hot or too cold for the species in question. Thermal stress is a major source of mortality for fish. Do start by reading:
Luckily our Moore survived and was thriving as of a week ago. I noticed that he has a small, white spike penetrating out of his nose. It is a translucent white, 1/16 of an inch long, but doesn't seem to bother him or change his behavior as of yet. I also saw that he has a large growth of some sort growing in his mouth, right below the spike. I have done some research online as to what it could be, but have not found a lot of information. Some of the signs point to anchor worms, however his spike is not as long, he is not lethargic, rubbing, or showing much sign of discomfort. If you could help, I would appreciate it! Thanks!
<Anchor Worms are distinctive and usually appear on the fins or flanks, though I dare say they can attach to the nostrils too. Do Google some images of this parasite. Anchor Worm medications are available and should be used as instructed. Take care to remove carbon during medication (and I'd argue don't waste filter space with carbon at all). Physical damage and Finrot can also cause white specks and strands as the skin dies, so you should be alert to those, too.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black Moore Inquiry 9/4/11
Dear Neale
Thank you for such quick response!
<Most welcome.>
After I wrote you yesterday my husband came home, and we took another look at our fish. He had been convinced that the spike was some sort of scale and that it would go away on its own, however, after he saw the growth in the fish's mouth he agreed that it was definitely not normal. We decided to see if we could remove whatever it was through his mouth, and after donning latex gloves and tweezers, he finally caught him. Turns out that the white spike was part of a very hard, white, bisymmetrical object with two, very sharp spikes which punctured the roof of the fish's mouth.
Its about 3/4 of a centimeter from spike to spike in the shape of a V.
That was the only thing that came out, and we are not sure if there is more still inside the fish. We have been trying to find pictures of what it could be with no avail. We kept it, and I will try to get a picture if that would be helpful. Again, any insight would be greatly appreciated!
<Goldfish are "snufflers" and they like to root about the bottom eating whatever they can find. If there's a dead fish on the bottom, they'll eat that, and it's possible that your chap got a fish bone stuck in his nose.
Now, the nostrils of a (bony) fish are not connected to his throat, so this isn't a choking hazard or anything like that. The nostrils should heal without any further effort on your part, provided water quality is good.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Retail Questions. FW Algae control and GF issues 8/23/11
Hello everyone,
<Hi Jessica>
Thank you for such a great website, I use WWM as a reference quite frequently. I could use a little advice about a few things. I am currently employed as the 'aquatics specialist' at a locally owned business. I am looking to improve things, and possibly make my job a tad easier. We have 9 four foot sections of Marineland Retail Systems.
<Am familiar w/ these>
I recently did away with the marine side of things as I felt it was a disservice to the great industry, and went ahead and converted everything to fresh.
One of my biggest issues is the management of algae buildup. It seems that to keep everything algae free, I must physically scrub each tank nearly twice weekly. I find it hard to keep up. The two sections I converted from marine to fresh, are not on drip systems, are also our community fish-I am able to keep a Chinese Algae Eater (I don't care for them, but admit they do a good job)
<Only when small... these are very predaceous fishes... dangerously so; and very lazy cleaner-uppers w/ size. If you can keep track, placing small Loricariids (even the big/ger Plecos, though Ancistrus et al. are better) in each sub-unit/tank and selling them off as they age can be of use...>
in each tank and those sections do well. The rest of the sections are on drips, and even with peaceful fish the CAEs tend to die off. These tanks test 0/0/0, and despite algaecides (which I despise using, and only tried for a short while) and UV sterilization, I get brown diatom and green spot algae. I have tried phosphate removers with little success. It is difficult to use long handled algae removal tools, with the lack of space in the openings of the MARS tanks. The lights are on 12 hours a day..which is a problem in itself..but not one that I can resolve. All tanks are bare bottom, gravel was removed years ago.
<Mmm, I would not use Algicides of any sort, but would advise the use of good quality activated carbon in your filter flow path... switched out half every half month... See WWM re this practice and rationale; and being careful re introducing excess nutrient (rinse all frozen and live foods ahead of feeding most importantly), AND the growing of as much live plants as you can order and practically keep. Further, you might want to study re the lamps used and switch out ones that culture algae in the non-planted tanks>
The other issue I wanted to check on, is that I frequently have issues with diseases of the goldfish sections in general.
<VERY common... the quality of goldfish in the trade overall is appalling.
MOST all have parasitic, infectious and handling issues>
Very unfortunately the feeder fish are kept in the same sections with the other fancy goldfish and cold water fish.
<NO! These MUST go on a separate system. Have whomever is in charge here contact me directly re>
Solutions I have come up with have not interested management. Every week I wonder if it is going to be a "good" or "bad" week with the goldfish. I do feel that this is a supplier issue,
<Not altogether, no>
but have not been able to resolve it. It seems that sometimes when the feeder fish come in, either immediately or a few days after, most of the fish will mostly end up laying on the bottom. The next day, most are showing signs of what I've assumed is columnaris (they appear to rot)
<Environmental, handling...>
it runs through them quickly and I lose most. This usually carries over to a few tanks in the sections, despite UV, although sometimes the fancy goldfish seem to be the 'initial' carriers. I have not found effective treatment or prevention. The larger, hardier
fish may show signs of tail rot or hemorrhagic septicemia. The fish do, however, appear healthy before they go into the tanks, so I'm not sure where the blame lies. Everything would point to poor water conditions, but I have tested again and again and the two sections test at 0/0/0. I frequently joke I can keep the most difficult fish alive, but not a single goldfish.
I would appreciate any help you can offer, I'm not sure if there is a way to improve filtration or something else in the systems that would help turn things around. I realize there are many cons to these systems, but I am trying to work with what I have. Thank you very much.
<Much to relate re the GF issue... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
and the linked files above as you have time... Take notes down to share w/ mgmt.... And have them contact me. Bob Fenner>

Black Moor 6/23/11
I have 2 black moor fish, iv had it for a month now. I have recently noticed that once of them is not as active as it was, It sits at the bottom of the tank and it looks like its scales are going white and peeling off,
can you help??
<Hello Melanie. Start by reading here:
Most of the problems people have with Goldfish come through a lack of research and the consequent failure to plan for their needs. So check that you're providing everything two Goldfish need -- in particular a tank at least 115 litres/30 gallons in size and a decent, heavy-duty filter that provides a water turnover rate at least four times the volume of the tank (so if it's a 30 gallon tank, that's 4 x 30 = 120 gallons per hour). If you haven't provided these things, then your problems are likely related to these. And yes, before you ask, even "baby" Goldfish need big tanks, 20 gallons for specimens up to about 8 cm/3 inches, and 30 gallons for specimens longer than that. You can't expect to keep Goldfish healthy in tanks smaller than 20 gallons, and definitely not in bowls. And no, filters aren't optional, they're essential. If you're providing both the big tank and then filter, then write back and tell me more about your aquarium, particularly things like water quality (measured using your nitrite test kit) and water chemistry (pH and ideally hardness too). Hope this clears things up. Cheers, Neale.>

Carassius auratus; health; no real data -- 06/18/11
GF, sacks on bellies

I have looked through your website trying to find an answer for what is going on with my fish. I have and 80 gallon tank, fresh water, I have 8 goldfish, 3 of which are a lot larger and older then then the other 5, I also have a bottom feeder. Now the question I have is with one of my older goldfish, which iv had for about almost 2 years. I noticed about 1 week ago that his belly was swollen, a couple days after that it was just lingering in the corner of the tank not being as active as it usually is.
Then I noticed it would always have a string of clear poop hanging off it, and with its belly still swollen, its belly looks really sore and red inside, and along the base of its back fin, as well as its scales are slightly standing up on its belly(which I assume is due to its swollen belly). I pretty much stopped feeding them only a tiny bit trying to only feed the other ones over the week from which I first noticed. Today, I noticed now the fish has clear bubbles (sacks) about 5 ranging small to large on its belly. They are not definitely not air bubbles sitting on it, but looks somewhat like a blister people would get, but completely clear. Do you know what may be going on with my fish? I expect it has some sort of disease and will eventually just die, but I do not want it to spread (if it is a disease) to my other fish. So if there is something that I should do if you know what possibly is happening to my fish, to prevent the other ones from getting sick or diseased some info would be great. I had thought of removing it from the tank and putting it in separate water but I did not want to risk moving it and causing stress for it.
Thank you
<Hello Maggie. I can't answer this question without more details on your tank, specifically, the size of the Goldfish, the size of the filter, and, most importantly, at the very least the nitrite level and ideally the ammonia level too. Virtually all problems with Goldfish are caused by the aquarist, typically by either keeping them in poor living conditions or offering them the wrong diet. In your case, water quality is very likely to blame. Eight adult Goldfish in an 80 gallon tank is too many, and the addition of a "bottom feeder" throws a spanner in the works as well. One common mistake is to buy either a Plec (typically a Pterygoplichthys species) or a Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, and neither Chinese nor a worthwhile algae eater). Both of these, but especially the Plec, can cause damage to Goldfish, especially slow-moving varieties like Moors, Ranchus, etc. So start by reading here:
Almost certainly you're doing something wrong, and fixing that problem, together with treating with antibiotics to help heal any external wounds, should improve things. Cheers, Neale.>

The death of my Goldfish, env., nutr. -- 05/07/11
My goldfish died today and all seemed well. I cycled the water before I got him. The tank is 10 gallons (I read that you need 1 gallon per 1 in of fish and should have at least 10 gallons per fish)
<... no my friend. Think on this... this tank could not support a ten inch goldfish... nor even a two inch one.
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm>
and my Fantail was only 2 in. (including tail). We had him for about 3 months and he was a happy little fish. The day before he died he spent more time at the bottom than usual. I fed him once a day (there is a lot of dispute on how often to feed a goldfish) and he never showed a lack of interest in eating. His gills looked fine, had a good slime coat and his coloring was always bright and beautiful. I did a 30 % water change every week and a 50% every month (I also changed the filter at this time).
We had great water filtration (they say that goldfish are very dirty so we always have a bubbler going along with the filter). I tested the water before and after water changes and it was always ideal. I also added a little salt
<Not a good idea. Please read here:
to the water when I did water changes (it was recommended to me to do 1 T per 10 gallons for freshwater). He didn't like the pellets ( I tried a few different kinds) so he ate flake food.
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm
I would like to get another fish (my son is so upset), but don't know how long I need to wait till I can do that. Please help. I don't want to lose another fish!
Tiffany O'Connor
<Bob Fenner>

Please help! GF Auschwitz 3/16/11
I have a red eared slider and a yellow bellied slider turtle and I purchased a bunch of feeder fish (both minnows and small goldfish) about 1 1/2 years ago. A few of the minnows survived and 1 one of the goldfish, I became attached to the surviving fish and figured they had outwitted the turtles. I kept the fish in the same tank and they seemed to learn how to hide/out run the turtles. Unfortunately, however, one of my cats became interested in the tank once the turtles came out of hibernation. The cat grabbed hold of the goldfish (I have no idea how he caught him but he grabbed hold and carried him in his mouth for about 30 seconds.) I was able to retrieve the fish and place him in a separate tank due to his injuries
and keep him separate from the turtles. He has two puncture wounds on symmetrical sides of his abdomen, scales are no longer there and there seems to be some internal damage. He has survived the past week....I have no idea how....but now he seems to be defecating out of one of the wounds. The wounds seem to be healing, they are minimizing in size, he is moving around a lot more and are not as evasive as they were but I am positive that fecal matter coming out of an internal wound is not a good sign. Please help....he is going to be ok or should I put him out of his misery?
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
<I'd leave this fish be... and be more careful w/ my "pets". Bob Fenner>

Please help my goldfish... using WWM 3/4/11
I inherited a fancy fantail from my sis. I am new to fish, but fell in love w/this one. He was stuck in a 10 gal tank, I decided he needed a larger home and a companion. I purchased a used 55 gal, cleaned it, set it up, but did not know it had to be cycled. He seemed so happy and healthy. I then purchased a shubunkin, they seemed to get along fine."Napoleon "the fantail developed white cottony growths on his back, the pet store recommended Melafix & pimasomething,
<Both worse than worthless... see WWM re...<>
treated the tank for 7 days, they said remove the filters for the first 3 days.
They did not tell me about ammonia poisoning. The fantail turned horribly red around his fins, face tail. The shubunkin has some red as well. When I found out about Amonia,did an immediate test, changed 1/2 the
water, used ammonia clear.
<Won't solve the real problem here>
The water is testing good now, but they are both huddling together face down in a corner near the oxygen stone. His outward appearance has improved dramatically, but they do not swim hardly at all, the shubunkin more than the fantail. They are hardly eating, I feel awful!! Is there anything else I can do??? Is there a chance they will completely recover, PLEASE HELP... Thank-You Tara
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. For ammonia read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Black moor with digestive troubles (RMF, feel free to comment on me 'channeling' you here!)<<I agree>> 2/17/11
Hello Neale:
I am sorry to trouble you but I need you advice regarding the little black moor again. Thankfully, the prolapse has healed very well.
I completed a two week course of Metronidazole to clear any internal bacteria but as you suspected the little fish seems to have another intestinal problem as he is still presenting with long, trailing feces and still has slightly ragged edges of to his fins.
<The faeces are a symptom of gut irritation, and there can be other reasons beyond parasitic or bacterial infection. Sometimes, all you can do is hope for the best. Provide good conditions, use Metronidazole, feed lots of fibre, and see what happens.>
Incidentally, have a second fish in the tank- they were purchased together and were both the same size (approximately 1 inch long tip to tail) when I bought them. This second fish never grew any larger and I am wondering if it is due to the same internal parasite/bacterium that has afflicted the first fish (though this little fry is asymptomatic).
<Could very easily be the case. Fish grow throughout their lives, but their growth rate slows down as they age. If a fish is being "held back" because it's sick through its first year, then it might never really get particularly big however long it lives.>
The first fish is a little more than twice the size of his tankmate, despite his digestive woes. Would this 'failure to thrive' be indicative of a particular type of parasite?
<Could be, but hard to prove either way. There are genetic issues at play, as well as social ones -- dominant fish suppress the growth of the others in the school.>
I am wondering if I should proceed with anti-Helminth meds at this time. I do have Fenbendazole on hand and after a great deal of searching on the internet I found someone who had used this medication successfully to treat Callamanus worms. (Just to be clear, the fish do not appear to have Callamanus worm but you mentioned this medication as an anti Helminth treatment).).
<Let me channel Bob F. for a moment here. All medications are toxic to some degree. The gamble we take is that they kill the parasite or bacterial infection before the fish. But the more medications we use, the worse the odds become. At minimum, antibiotics and anti-parasitic medications can kill of the "good bacteria" and symbiotic Protozoans that live in the guts of our fish. So at some point, medications start to do more harm than good.
Ultimately, you may reach a point where stepping back, optimising diet and water quality, and then letting Nature take its course becomes the wise approach. We can't cure every malaise, not in humans and not in fish. Much of human medicine is little more than treating the immediate threat and then letting our bodies heal themselves. If you've already use three or four different medications, you may well be at this point where further treatment could do more harm than good.>
The article recommended the following dosage:
Dissolve 3CC of powdered Fenbendazole in 100ml of water.
Mix well, then add as many bloodworms as you need to feed your fish. Soak for 30 min.s to 1 hour, then dump the entire container in the tank, water and all.
Feed the fish 2x a day for 2 days.
Watch the affected fish carefully.
Follow up with a good gravel vac and a large water change.
Repeat this treatment in 2 weeks time, and then again in 2 weeks following if need be.
Unfortunately, this doesn't take into account the weight of the fish but consulting a vet is not an option. Do you have any suggestions? The product is actually a dog dewormer called Panacur C, comes in 4 gram packets each of which contains 22.2% Fenbendazole granules. It says that each packet treats a 40 lb dog... I hate using medications at all and this does seem rather risky, especially when I am not certain what I am treating. If the fish does have helminthes I am terrified of inadvertently cross-contaminating my other tanks. Any advice would be most welcome!
Thank you, Neale!
<I would not recommend using medications for animal species X on animal species Y without consulting a vet. I just don't know how safe such an approach would be. But as I say above, it may be best to stop medicating for a period, perhaps 6-8 weeks, just to see what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black moor with digestive troubles (RMF, feel free to comment on me 'channeling' you here!) 2/17/11
Thank you, Neale:
I am actually rather relived at your advice as I use medications very reluctantly and only when I feel I know what I am up against (which, in this case I do not). I was hoping to introduce these fish into my 50 gallon tank in a few months but can keep them segregated until I am sure they are healthy.
I have access to decent microscopes at work so maybe I'll take a few samples with me to see if I can positively identify the problem.
Many thanks:
<Sounds like you have a good plan. Let me know what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black moor with digestive troubles (RMF, feel free to comment on me 'channeling' you here!) <<Hypo->> 2/19/11

Sorry to bother you yet again, Neale, but the little fish is swimming backwards this morning. A Google search came up with Hexamita as the probable culprit (white, slimy feces, loss of appetite, backward swimming); the symptoms match what I am observing.
<Could well be, but please understand Hexamita is merely a genus of protozoan known to inhabit the guts of fish. There are many others, and doubtless some can cause similar problems. The slimy faeces are a symptom reflecting irritation of the bowel rather than any one particular pathogen.>
If this is the case I have already treated the fish twice (albeit unsuccessfully) with Metronidazole. The last round was about a month ago- just before the fish developed the prolapsed anus. I mixed the met with gel food and treated both fish in the tank for 14 days.
I read that Metronidazole is the recommended treatment for Hexamita BUT also read Bob's excellent article
[ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm] on its applications and know that prolonged or repeated use can cause renal failure. Is there another alternative?
<For Hexamita? No, none that I'm aware of.>
The fish has a tankmate who is asymptomatic- would I have to treat this fish as well? I'd rather not subject him to unnecessary treatment.
Water quality is excellent and I test weekly (pH: 8.25,
<A notch high for Goldfish; aim for 7.5, if necessary by lowering carbonate hardness.>
ammonia zero, nitrite zero, nitrate 8), maintained with small twice weekly water changes/vacuuming; food is vegetable gel food that I make with a wide variety of steamed organic vegetables, Vegegreens vitamins, cream of brown rice, and approximately 20% protein from a salmon fillet a few fresh shrimp and air-dried Spirulina. Treats include fruit and vegetables and occasionally frozen brine shrimp. Because these fish are actively growing I do provide a bit more protein than I do for my larger fish. I don't think that this could be a nutritional or water quality issue.
When the fish had the prolapsed anus I used Nitrofuran added to the water for the recommended three-day dosage. Some of the WetWeb articles recommend the use of Nitrofuran and Metronidazole together to treat Hexamita. Should I consider this course or just treat with patience?
<I would wait and see.><<No more drugs for you!!>>
Thank you kindly:
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black moor with digestive troubles 2/21/11

Hello again, Neale (and Bob):
Re: high pH
I hope I might run something by you both since you have each been helping me with separate fish troubles. I have been doing some research on fish diseases and found some very interesting information regarding high alkalinity from a book by Edward J Noga. I noticed that some of the WetWeb articles make reference to Mr. Noga's writings so I thought he must be a viable resource. In one of his text he writes that there may be a relationship between high alkalinity and exopthalmia (perhaps even dropsy).
<Mmm, not likely direct>
This evening's foray into fish medicine arises from concern for a telescope-eyed goldfish that has a fluid-filled cyst that recently burst.
When I went to take some photos of the cyst for Bob I also noticed that the fish had quite a bit of fluid in the sac around his eye (so much that it wobbles when he swims).
This prompted my to examine my other telescopes/moors and sure enough I discovered the same thing in another (also affecting only one eye). This fish's eye is quite a bit larger than the other and I had assumed the cause to be injury; upon close inspection it is due to substantial fluid build-up forming a ring around the eye. Is this what the industry refers to as "pop-eye"?
I also have a very large, old Oranda who has recently developed flotation issues and has been "headstanding". She has never had this problem before and it has been developing over the past couple of months (much to her and my great panic).
All of the fish mentioned are in different tanks- all the tanks are cycled and I do small water changes/vacuuming twice weekly to ensure my nitrate levels remain low. The Oranda is in a 72 gallon tank with one (much smaller) black moor, the telescope with the cyst and fluid in the eye socket is alone in a 25 gallon tank and the other telescope is in a 50 gallon tank with a small black moor and a small Lionhead.
I moved about 5 months ago from Vancouver, which had a KH and GH of zero and pH of 7.0. I had to buffer the water there to get my tanks to cycle.
<Yes, need alkalinity>
The city I moved to (Kelowna) has a natural pH of 8.2 (right out of the tap), a KH of 6 degrees and a GH of 8 degrees. Two of my five tanks actually test a little higher than the tap water pH (as high as 8.4) and I think it is due to the bio-mech media in the Eheim filters.
Curiously, the three fish that are experiencing pseudo pop-eye and swim bladder issues are my three oldest- all purchased in Vancouver and relocated to Kelowna. The remainder of my stock are very young goldfish that were purchased here. While I had a terrible time trying to cycle my tank in the neutral water of Vancouver I certainly did not have problems of the kind I seem to be having here. In your experience could the high alkalinity be causing fluid build-up in my fish?
<As I stated, no>
If the fish were all in the same tank I would suspect an immediate cause but they are not.
It is so frustrating and discouraging to have a spate of problems with no apparent etiology... in your experience can high alkalinity lead to fluid retention problems in goldfish?
<For the third time... Most of the apparent difficulties you're experiencing are due to "poor genetics"... the initial "quality" of the fish stock you're dealing with. Yes, to put it/this in another way, IF you were able to start w/ better quality goldfish you wouldn't have near the anxiety...>
I tried to ask one of my local fish stores but it was rapidly apparent that they had not even tested their own water and had no idea that the pH was so high (their poor Betta fish looked half-dead). Sigh.
Thank you for being so patient with my numerous questions- I have been so grateful for your advice these past months and am becoming a much better fish keeper thanks to you!
Gina de Almeida
<Do take a look/see about the Net... you read as a person who can and will appreciate dealing directly w/ goldfish breeders, importers who can and will provide you w/ better stock. BobF>

Re: Black moor with digestive troubles 3/31/2011

Hello Neale:
Well, here is chapter twelve of the ongoing saga of the black moor... I spent my grocery budget for the next several months and bought a lovely compound binocular microscope. I tested all five of my tanks and the results were not exactly as I expected:
The two largest tanks (which, incidentally, have UV sterilizers) had very little action under the scope. I did a slime coat swipe and took samples of fecal matter from the fish in these tanks and everything looked great.
I tested my smallest tank and could not find any trace of worms or parasites.
My two medium tanks (including the tank housing my poor black moor) were teeming with all kinds of critters. A water sample revealed what I believe to be a type of monogenean- I wish I had been able to afford the camera attachment but hopefully I can describe the creatures with some degree of accuracy.
They were approximately 125 micrometres with broadly segmented bodies that were wider in the middle and tapered at the ends. The distal end was more tapered and had some sort of hooks at the base with a distinct second set of hooks very slightly above the first. The head was also tapered though not as much as the base.
The head was flat and had a thin lateral extension at the "mouth" (reminiscent of the cephalofoil on a hammerhead shark). Just below the head was a single, small, tentacle-like protrusion with a rounded end (very much like the stalk and eye of a snail). The creatures were quite independent, moving in a caterpillar-like fashion. They often halted, anchoring themselves to organic material on the slide and twisting about (perhaps searching for food).
<Well, doesn't really help me much'¦ was never much of a parasitologist!>
Along with the flukes were dozens of small rounded to tear-drop shaped creatures, propelled by an even border of cilia. They moved very erratically and often in a bizarre, circular fashion. Initially I thought them to be paramecium until I observed larger ones that appeared to be taking on the shape of the flukes- I do believe them to be an early stage of fluke development (my book calls them Oncomiracidia).
<I see.>
I also observed a few very thin, transparent worms, actively writhing (but remaining in the same place). The worms were perhaps 200 to 500 micrometres in length. I was not able to identify them as I suspect there may be many worms that suit this description.
<Could easily be harmless, free-living nematodes.>
Lastly, I observed several very tiny and very fast creatures- all I can say is that they are ovoid in shape. I was unable to discover their means of motility.
<Likely infusoria of the type common in aquaria -- Paramecium spp. for example.>
I took samples from the inside of my filter and found dozens of the very same fluke creatures tearing at organic matter with their mouths. I found a few sites with photographs of flukes but could not find this exact species. I am not sure if this is a sort that would be harmful to my fish, but I did discover that a drop of Praziquantel added to my slide dispatched the flukes and worms instantly.
<As it would do'¦ such medications kill all sorts of things, harmless and pestilential. Plus, simply adding any sort of chemical, even salt, would dramatically alter the concentration gradient in the medium (water) relative to the insides of the microbes, and so they'd likely dehydrate or otherwise be affected by purely physical changes to their environment.>
Samples taken from the slime coat of the fish in these tanks did not contain any flukes or other parasites. Fecal samples did not reveal flukes but I did observe a few of the same (?) thin, transparent worms (these were not moving). One fecal sample had a much longer worm (also not moving). I cannot tell if it is of the same species as the smaller worms, nor can I be sure that they are from the lumen of the fish. They may have inhabited the feces post-deposition.
I wonder if you are familiar with the species of fluke that I have described and if they may be partially responsible for the problems I have been having with my moor? The flukes did seem to be interested in organic matter so I am hoping this means they have been staying away from fish parts.
<Alas, no, can't help identify these things'¦ surely need a fish parasite specialist or microbiologist to do that.>
I am also wondering if the worms might possibly be nematodes- is there anything diagnostic about their appearance that I might look for? Do you have any advice as to what and where I should sample to check for parasites?
<Nematodes are very conservative -- simple, thread-like worms with few if any obvious external features.>
Thanks again for all your help- I am sorry for all the email but I am really hoping to save my little fish!
<Cannot offer any great wisdom here. You're at a level of investigation beyond which I can comment on. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black moor with digestive troubles 3/31/2011
Well thank you all the same, Neale!
<Glad to help.>
When I do get the camera attachment for the scope I will begin to document these microorganisms on a blog or website to help other aquarists. I may be able to call upon some of my old acquaintances from the Department of Fisheries to aid in identification.
(I hope someday to have enough knowledge and experience to submit and article to this fine website since I have learned so much from the articles and forums contained herein).
<By all means do so! Please read the latest WWM Digital for tips and ideas.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sick, or just stressed? 1/15/11
Hi, I have a question about a new goldfish I just got about six days ago.
To start: I have a 10 gallon tank with the usual accessories (filter, plants, gravel).
<Much too small for long-term success, and may be causing immediate problems right now. I'm assuming this tank wasn't cycled with an ammonia source (such as household ammonia or pinches of fish food) for 4-6 weeks before you added the fish. Therefore the tank is going through its cycling phase. In a 30 or 55 gallon tank, the ammonia and nitrite levels through the cycling phase may be dilute enough not to cause harm, but a 10 gallon tank will have three times the concentration of ammonia as a 30 gallon tank if both are stocked with one goldfish, so obviously that's three times more dangerous.>
I had one common goldfish and decided to get two more--and yes, I am looking into getting a larger tank, despite the fact that the aquarium folks assure me that 3 small commons are okay in a 10 gal tank.
<They took advantage of your lack of reading. Don't get mad at them for seeing an opportunity; they're in retail!>
For now, water quality is good, except for slightly high nitrates (going to hold off feeding for a few days and do a water change to get at that) and I have two filters running.
<A new aquarium will not have "good" water quality, not for at least 4 weeks of running with an ammonia source. Remember, for the first week, you'll only see ammonia levels rise above zero, and it can take some days before nitrite rises above zero. So if you have only a nitrite test kit, water quality might *seem* good despite being nothing of the sort. It WILL take at least 4 weeks for you to have anything close to a properly cycled aquarium. Any sickness or lethargy you see in those first weeks will almost certainly be because you're exposing your fish to poor environmental conditions.>
While two fish are fine, something appears "off" with one of the new ones.
Symptoms are: clamped fins, lethargic, mostly hanging out on the bottom of the tank with the occasionally odd twitch/spasm. I'm keeping an eye out for signs of parasites and notice some white spots on its tail/gills. It doesn't quite look like Ich to me (I wouldn't call it "salt-like," more like a small white patch or fuzz), perhaps something else? I've tried to get a picture (attached), but fish aren't always so cooperative getting
their portraits taken. The aquarium store suggests it could just be that the fish needs an adjustment period to get used to its new surroundings, but given that it was more active when I first got it I'm a bit skeptical
of that assessment. Any ideas?
<Do read here:
Finrot and Fungus are both very common in new aquaria because ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic. Medicating against these will be necessary, but bear in mind that without improvements to water quality, i.e., a properly cycled tank, your fish won't heal, or if they do, they'll quickly become sick again. For three Goldfish, anything less than 30 gallons is a total waste of time and money. Remember, standard Goldfish will each get to an easy 20 cm/8 inches in length, potentially quite a bit more, and they'll do so within a couple of years. Read up on the needs of any pet animal prior to purchase, whether a Goldfish or a German Shepherd Dog. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick, or just stressed? 1/16/11
Thanks for the input--
<Always happy to help.>
I should have explained that by "good" water quality I meant that the tank is cycled, with ammonia at 0, nitrites 0, ph 7.5.
<Real good.>
As I said, the only real issue (water quality-wise, that is) is nitrates at about 1.
<Not high enough to cause problems. If it was 50 mg/l, then that'd be more serious.>
I agree on the 30 gal. tank in the future, but I don't think that's what is causing the immediate problem here.
On the advice of said aquarium folks, I'm doing a "general cure" for parasites with a combo of Metronidazole and Praziquantel, leaving me with two questions that I neglected to ask about parasite treatments: 1. Would you recommend removing the live plants while I medicate the tank?
<Generally medications don't harm plants, with the notable exception of potassium permanganate, which is hardly ever used anymore.>
No mention of this on the instructions, but I notice it's recommended in a few places online. 2. While the "general" parasite treatment is a good one (if price is any indicator), it's not the best for Ich.
<Correct. General cures are not normally worthwhile, in much the same way your doctor probably doesn't prescribe general cures for your illnesses.
It's best to try and narrow down the problem and treat with something specific, even if that takes a day or two to figure out.>
I could conceivably throw some salt in the tank on the off chance the fish does have Ich, but would rather not go overboard with the medicating unless necessary. Do you think it would be a good idea?
<Low salt concentrations around 2 grammes/litre have little/no impact on filter bacteria or plants, so can be used fairly freely as "better than nothing" type approaches. But on the flip side, they can lull you into not treating at all, and if the problem isn't something salt will treat, then that's time wasted. Would review the symptoms of Finrot, Fungus, Mouth Fungus (Columnaris) and possibly the uncommon viral infection Fish Pox and then act accordingly.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick, or just stressed? 1/16/11
It's a hard case to diagnose, as the spots I'm seeing on the tail look more like Ich, while I notice a few white patches near the gills that suggest fungus or a different parasite. Perhaps it has both, poor fish.
<Some medications, such as Seachem ParaGuard and eSHa 2000 will treat both, and are well worth using if you're unsure.>
I'm going to continue the general parasite treatment (since I've already started that) and give the salt a try to see if that improves things. If not (and assuming the fish makes it for another few days), I'll see if an
anti-fungal med works. Thanks again for the advice.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick, or just stressed? 1/19/11

Unfortunately the little guy didn't make it.
<Too bad.>
I'm beginning to suspect an internal bacterial infection, along with the fungus.
<Possibly, but these internal bacterial infections are usually caused by stress and/or bad fishkeeping, at least in the sense that the fish would have fought off that infection if it wasn't already unhappy. So while your analysis may be correct, temper your conclusion with some degree of reflection -- what did you do that might have made the fish more disease-prone? Once you've thought about things that way, you'll be more *justifiably* confident about moving forwards.>
The good news is that at least the other two fish in the tank are doing well, so far. Also, I think I now know all there is to know about goldfish disease...Do you think there is any chance of them picking up the bacteria themselves,
<Possibly, but it's difficult to say, and most Goldfish die because they're "killed" one way or another.>
and if so would you recommend anything to try to keep that from happening?
In the meantime, I'm going to start shopping for a larger tank. Any size recommendations?
<For 3-4 fancy Goldfish like Moors or Fantails -- the hardiest fancy varieties to start with -- a 30-40 gallon tank is ideal. I wouldn't waste my time on anything smaller than that. If you're limited in terms of space, there are some tropical fish that do fine at room temperature, including Danios, Variatus Platies, Florida Flagfish and Mountain Minnows, so it's perfectly possible to set up a coldwater tank at 10 or 20 gallons in size and have success, without having to buy Goldfish!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Tiny Black dots and blood in fins 1/15/11
My goldfish "Crackers" had a kidney-shaped lump behind each gill slit mirroring the shape. Because they were even, I thought that was just how my fish was growing. When one of the lumps developed a white peak (like a pimple), I relocated Crackers to the sick tank and treated him with Melafix (a joke, I now know). The lump burst and became a red sore. I started to notice tiny black specks on Crackers. They were smaller than salt and almost jagged, like ink that has bled on skin or rough paper. The next day Crackers rolled over on his back. The day after he died.
Overwhelmed with concern that my other fish may be in danger, I spent a few hours on Google, your website, and a few others. Here is the current situation: I have a 55 gallon tank that has been set up for almost 5 years. The water temperature is 72 degrees kept that way with a small heater. I have an aqua-tech 30-60 filter. I do a 25% - 30% water change about every two weeks. I put Stress Coat water conditioner in the water every water change. I rinse the carbon filters if I'm not changing them.
I change the filters about once a month to every 6 weeks. I use Jungle Brand Quick Dip strips. The day I took Crackers out of the main tank, the levels are as follows: PH 8.4, Total Alkalinity was bluer than High 300 KH ppm, Total Hardness (GH)ppm 0 - 25, Nitrite 0 (No2 ppm mg/L), Nitrate 20 ppm (mg/L). I'm copying the ppm info off of the side of the bottle. The results are identical to my tap water. I always do a tap water control. We have soft water and our local water bubbles up through limestone so the PH is very high. I have five goldfish - two Fantails and three Ryukins. I feed them Tetra brand goldfish flakes once a day. I have a Dixie cup that I scoop up water in, put the flakes in the cup, and then pour the cup in the tank. This has cut down on the swim bladder disorders. They also have lettuce and orange slices regularly. If a fish appears constipated, they get peas. Two days after Crackers died, I noticed some tiny black dots on my two Fantail fish "Susan" and "Gertrude". They were different than Cracker's spots as these appeared to be circular and under the skin, but still smaller than salt. Susan has a long white tail that showed some blood streaking. Susan was also occasionally flashing and tipping up on her nose. Other than that, her behavior and appearance are normal.
Gertrude appeared and behaved normally. I immediately checked the tank water and the levels are what they were up above. More Googling suggested Susan may have Hemorrhagic Septicemia, but I couldn't find the black spot info. What I did find make me suspicious of the three apple snails, Ramshorn snails, and pond snails. I removed them and all live plants from my tank. I salted according to the directions on my aquarium salt (which was not previously in the water, but I had on hand for emergencies). The other fish appear normal. I was at PetSmart as soon as they opened the next morning. They hadn't heard of Hemorrhagic Septicemia or tiny black spots, but after trying to sell me Melafix, they directed me to Mardel brand Maracyn-Two which had Septicemia written on the box. I took out my carbon filters and treated the entire tank. I know this may wreck the balance of my tank, but I was worried Susan may have something contagious. I am on day 4 of a 5 day treatment. Gertrude has developed a whitish area coated with a black/grayish dust, like she rubbed her face on a newspaper and the ink transferred. The Quick Dip strip show a slight elevation of the Nitrite to 0.5 or 'caution' as it says on the bottle. Do I change the water or wait until the day after tomorrow when the antibiotic treatment is done? Should I be treating with CopperSafe for a parasite or something for a fungus? I'm including two photos - one of Susan's black dots and one of Gertrude's dusty gray face. The large black spot at the top of the photo is part of Susan's natural coloring. You can see the white discoloration and grey on Gertrude's face. They didn't want to hold still for photos, so I brought them up in the net. They weren't happy about it, but if it helps you help me, then it was worth it! (I'm sorry if the photos aren't super-helpful. It's hard taking pictures of fish! ) Thank you so much. -
<Hello Lori. Black spots on Goldfish are normally one of two things:
ammonia burns and "Black Spot Disease". Ammonia burns are, as the name suggests, reactions to non-zero ammonia levels in the aquaria. Untreatable in themselves, they can become sites for secondary bacterial infections such as Finrot, but given better environmental conditions should clear up by themselves. Black Spot Disease is normally seen on pond fish. The parasites that cause it can't survive in aquaria for more than one generation, so once the parasites mature, the black spots eventually fade away, never to be seen again. There's no treatment as such. Again, the spots can become sites for secondary bacterial infections. What I'd do is first make sure ammonia and nitrite levels are zero -- if they're not, there's a good chance your tank is either [a] overstocked; [b] under-filtered; or [c] the fish are overfed. Review and act accordingly. I would treat with anti-Finrot medication unless I was concerned the fish was succumbing to a secondary infection, i.e., you could see patches of red inflammation or dead white skin, or the fins were looking a bit moth-eating. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Tiny Black dots and blood in fins 1/16/11
Hi Neale,
Thank you for taking the time to answer my letter. It sounds like I should to buy a test kit specifically for ammonia.
<Wouldn't worry about it. If you've got nitrite above zero, you probably have ammonia above zero. If nitrite goes below zero, then ammonia probably will too. But do check your water conditioner removes any ammonia present in your tap water.>
I gave you my Nitrate and Nitrite levels previously. I thought my test strips that said my Nitrates at 20ppm and Nitrites at 0ppm ruled out ammonia poisoning as an initial cause.
<Yes, I would agree with your analysis here. But keep checking nitrite levels daily for the next week, and see how things look. If you get a non-zero nitrite level at some point, then ammonia burns start sounding like a possibility.>
My tap water reads identical to my tank so I thought it was safe and those levels are 'safe' on the side of the test strip bottle. My Nitrite reading didn't go up until day 4 of the antibiotic treatment (it went up slightly to 'caution', but has since gone back down). I considered Black Spot disease for the spots, but had ruled it out because the black dots were much less than 2mm and they didn't appear raised.
<I see.>
However, I did have snails in the tank and the apple snails were relatively new.
<Aquarium snails shouldn't carry Black Spot Disease parasites unless recently harvested from a garden pond. That won't be the case with Apple snails or most of the other tropical aquarium snails. But pond snails like Giant Ramshorn snails might have been collected from a pond. Still, it's very unlikely this is how Black Spot Disease gets into aquaria. It's almost always seen on fish that were kept in a pond for some months and then brought indoors.>
Maybe Black Spot disease presents itself in many forms and doesn't always look like the Internet photos?
<Possible, but it's a very rare disease and rarely causes health problems.>
I will try the anti-fin rot medication you suggested to see if this helps with the mystery spots and the white/gray discolored area on Gertrude's face. The 5 day course of antibiotics for the suspected hemorrhagic septicemia is done now. Susan is still flashing/head tipping with blood streaked in her fins. Hopefully the anti-fin rot medication will help with her too. Thank you again for your help.
<Your plan sounds sensible. Good luck, Neale.>

Soft Growths, GF 12/28/10
Hi Crew!
Thank you so much for volunteering your time to such a wonderful cause. In a world full of retail chain pet stores, sometimes it is hard to find good, intelligent advice.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I came across your website while trying to research the issues I'm having with my bubble eye, Cupcake. I searched thoroughly through your past FAQ's and could not find anything quite like what is wrong with my fish.
<I see.>
Cupcake has gotten very bloated, to a point where his scales look stretched. On one side of his body it looks as if a few of each individual scale has ballooned up. It is not a fungus. The growths are soft looking
and transparent.
<Sounds like Dropsy. This is difficult to treat, but a combination of antibiotics and Epsom salt can help, together with fixing whatever problems there were in the tank. Do read here:
Generally, Dropsy is caused by some sort of chronic environmental stress.
It's different from constipation, which may cause fish to bloat, but won't cause the scales to "pine cone" out.
Whilst Goldfish aren't particularly delicate, they are large and messy fish, and their demands are quite specific. Dropsy tends to be more of a problem in soft water than in hard water.
I have two other fish in the 50 gallon tank with Cupcake and they are all healthy and showing none of these symptoms. Cupcake is the only one with diarrhea.
I do use salt in my tank with every water change, and the local pet store recommended a de-stresser to be added to the tank every week. It has not helped.
<Routinely adding aquarium salt -- sodium chloride -- is not beneficial and in fact is associated with Dropsy-like conditions in freshwater fish because it stresses the internal organs. The idea adding salt helps is completely wrong.
Used in the short-term salt has its uses, but shouldn't be added every week.>
Any insights to help my Cupcake would be great.
Thank you so much!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help! We have a very poorly Goldfish 12/23/10
Hi, six days ago we woke up to find our goldfish on his side at the bottom of the tank. He has a 60 gallon tank - he is the only fish in there. We have treated him for swim bladder,
<How so?>
added salt to the tank, been partially changing water everyday and added baking soda to raise the Ph levels.
<Mmm, from?>
There has been no change at all. He tries to swim but is either on his side or upside down. His breathing seems laboured and he looks as if he can't close his mouth, he's unable to eat too.
<What have you historically fed this fish?>
He looks a little swollen on one side, but always has been since we got him 12 years ago. (he's around 14 now we think). His eyes look a little cloudy and a slightly swollen.
<Mmm, water quality issues generally. You have tests for at least Nitrates?>
He seems to also keep having fits a few times a day where he just shakes and appears to not breathe.
We are trying to get him better, but we are worried he is in distress and would euthanasia be kinder for him?
A very worried Wayne (Nottingham UK)
<Please respond to my questions. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help! We have a very poorly Goldfish 12/23/10
Hi Bob, thanks for the email - We treated him for swim bladder using Interpet swim bladder treatment - We've been doing this for 6 days now. We started swim bladder treatment as we thought this was the problem due to the swimming issues.
<Mmm, no... Not really. T'other way around. Such issues are due to other factors... not caused by these fish's hydrostatic mechanisms>
We've been using salt in small quantities for 4 days and added Epsom salts to raise the PH levels
<Magnesium sulfate won't do this>
(sorry not baking soda!) we did this last night.
We've always fed him fish flakes and occasionally blood worm.
<Both are real trouble. Please read here:
He also has a plant which he eats in his tank.
Nitrates were a little high
<... again, what is "high?". Anything more than 20 ppm is trouble long-term>
in the tank but we've monitoring those closely for the last 6 days
Nitrates:NO3 around 10,
<Oh! Not problematical>
NO2 0
PH: 6.8
<A bit low...>
<Welcome! BobF>
Re: Help! We have a very poorly Goldfish 12/23/10
Thanks Bob, any ideas what it might be?
<... food/nutrition likely...>
We're really worried about him.
We weren't sure if he was fitting as sometimes he just stops moving and then twitches... not moving his gills or him mouth, then he seems OK again after about 30 seconds.
<Perhaps genetics. I've just had a four year old white/red Oranda perish... from seemingly nothing. Happens. Perhaps they both ingested a toxic bug of some sort>
His eyes don't appear to be moving around either... they seem fixed.
Thanks again for any help.
<Welcome. B>
Re: Help! We have a very poorly Goldfish 12/23/10
We did add baking soda my wife tells me for the PH level.. the baking soda was because we thought he may be bloated.
<Sodium bicarbonate is fine to pre-add, mix in new change out water... for elevating pH>
Also he's not been eating for the last 6 days... seems unable to ?
Anyway any help would be gratefully appreciated.
Thanks again
Re: Help! We have a very poorly Goldfish 12/24/10
Hi, just to let you know our goldfish passed away last night while we were sleeping. Upset but also a little relieved as we were worried that he was suffering. Thanks for all your help.
Take care and have a good Christmas
<Thank you Wayne. BobF>

Pearl Scale Goldfish... beh., hlth., need for data 12/21/10
Hi crew! I have owned a pearl scale goldfish for just over three years now.
She recently has stopped swimming around and now just sits in one spot on the bottom of the tank. She has also developed these bubble/blister like things all over her body. I have searched the net for answers as well as going to the pet store and still no answers. please help me Thanks Jaddean
<The sitting on the bottom can be due to a few influences... Too much flake/dried food, perhaps of too-high a concentration of protein... Environmental issues, particularly metabolite build-up/concentration... even just "loneliness"... The blisters point to the middle set of possibilities. Do read/peruse here:
scroll down to the tray on Goldfish... their Systems, Environmental Diseases... and do send along a photo or two if/when you can, as well as water quality test results, data on the system, set-up, maintenance. Bob

Missing scales and bulging bloodshot eyes. 12/12/10
Hello, Can anyone help me please!! I have 4 common Goldfish all aged approx 6yrs old. Their water is changed weekly and tank is scrubbed with water only no detergents. The problem. I have noticed that they are all missing some scales, But only one fish has developed two bulging eyes and they are also bloodshot. What is wrong and how can I help him? And should I put him in a separate tank? Thanks, Kerry-Anne
<Hello Kerry-Anne. Do please start by reading here:
Most Goldfish are made sick and ultimately killed by the poor environmental conditions their owners provide for them. Goldfish need large, filtered aquaria; for 4 standard Goldfish, we're talking at least 50 gallons. At six-years-old they should be a good 30 cm/12 inches long. The filter should be rated at 6-8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, so assuming a minimum aquarium of 50 gallons, that's 300 to 400 gallons/hour. Water chemistry isn't critical but shouldn't be too soft. Water changes DO NOT replace filtration, so don't make the mistake of confusing the two.
Filtration removes ammonia and nitrite, while water changes remove nitrate.
Very, VERY different things. The reason your fish are sickening is very likely poor environmental conditions, and without fixing their environment, they'll soon die. So your fish have lived for 6 years without problems?
Doesn't mean much of anything. Like many problems in life, from home repairs to cancer, timing is everything, and what seems fine for a while can be catastrophic in the long term. So, your solution is two-fold.
Firstly, ensure they have a 50 gallon or larger aquarium with a big filter.
Secondly, medicate as per Finrot and Fungus, in the UK, I'd recommend a medication called eSHa 2000 that treats both at the same time. Just medicating without ensuring a good living environment won't help in the long term because it's the environment that has probably made these fish sick, so even if you "cure" them this week, they'll be sick again after another few weeks. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

black moor, hlth., nutr., a new ploy to urge folks to use proper English 11/21/10
hi my black moor I've only had him about 10 days and after 3 days his poop was white and stringy and trailing and has been ever since. I feed him flakes and pellets on alternate days once a day.
I took a sample of poop to the vet and the results were not parasites or bacterial infection. when the nurse rang me back with the results. she said the fish diet was too high in fibre. I think what she meant to say it wasn't getting enough fibre. also I've noticed his belly is a little swollen too.
the protein in the flakes and pellets are 43% and 32% ,I also soak them before feeding them to my fish.
I've ordered some Epsom salts from my local pharmacy and will be trying that method out.
also the other day I gave him a shelled pea and some broccoli and later his poop was green and fairly normal looking.
should I stop giving him the flakes and pellets and just give him fresh blanched veggies everyday.
also today I haven't fed him just to see if that cleanses his system out.
and maybe tomorrow give him the shelled peas .
can you give me any more help and advice.
I've also been recommended to make my own gel food and to put some vegi tuna and also some crushed garlic with the gel and feed my fish this.
<Hello Sharon. Do please read these two articles:
Pay particular attention to [a] the need for fresh greens (not tuna!) and [b] the minimum aquarium size of 30 gallons for Goldfish. Also note that filtration is essential, and doing water changes DOES NOT remove the need for a filter. Once you've read those articles, you'll see what Goldfish need to stay healthy. Make the changes, and he should improve. If you're still unclear, e-mail back and we'll do our best to help. But please, do use capital letters in their traditional places. Psychoanalysts have a field day with people who use lower case "I" to identify themselves rather than the traditional capital "I" -- indicates a lack of self-respect and status! Cheers, Neale.>

for my birthday about 8 months ago my mum bought me a tank and 3 fancy goldfish. I do not know a lot about goldfish but I have a basic knowledge and cleaned it out every week and kept a good eye on the health of my fish. about a week ago the smallest of the 3s scales began to look very red, bruised and quite puffy then a few hours later it looked like her scales had fallen off. I took the biggest fish out of the tank in case he was bullying her but by the next day she had died. I was just wondering if you had any ideas as to what it may have been and whether it could have been avoided? thank you
<Hello Anna. Without any further details, my guess here would be that the problems you're experiencing are environmental. Three fancy goldfish would need at least 150 litres/30 Imperial gallons, plus decent filtration. Do read here:
Re: 11/17/10
The tank is about 40 gallons and I have a filter/air pump. will my other fish that are still in the tank be ok or could the same thing happen to them? I am sorry I don't really have any more information
<Hello Anna. Difficult to say whether the other fish will be healthy. Let me be crystal clear: most Goldfish sicken and die because of environmental conditions. In other words, they're killed through neglect and/or mistreatment. Once stressed, fish become subject to a variety of diseases including Finrot, Dropsy, Fungus and others. Very few die from diseases that randomly pop up in healthy aquaria, and Goldfish should live between 15-30 years given good conditions. At minimum, have the pH and nitrite (with an "I", not nitrate with an "a") tested at your local fish shop. Or better still, but these two test kits. Also be under no misunderstandings about the differences between filters and air pumps. Adding bubbles to the water makes no difference to water quality! A filter is a contraption through which water is pumped and within which filter bacteria can work to remove ammonia and nitrite. A healthy aquarium will have zero ammonia and zero nitrite. Anything above zero in either case implies poor filtration, overstocking, or overfeeding. Goldfish prefer hard, alkaline water. If you live in a soft water area, you'll need to harden the water. Read:
Cheers, Neale.>
While smaller tanks and even bowls are sometimes sold as goldfish homes, in practise goldfish rarely live for long in such containers. If you have a small aquarium, try something else.
Any questions, write back. Cheers, Neale.>*

Sick Fantail 11/14/10
Hello, I hope you can help me save a sick fish.
<Me too>
I have 7 Fantail goldfish, all around 3 inches long, in a 55 gallon tank.
<Ahh, a bit too crowded>
I've had all of them except one over a year (the other around 6 months). Ammonia is 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, pH 7.4.
<Good values>
A few days ago, one of the fish started staying on the bottom most of the time, only moving to feed. The next day, I woke up to find it laying on the bottom sideways. It would still swim around, but never able to stay upright. I moved it to a separate tank, and began trying to find out what was wrong. It wasn't eating when I moved, and hasn't since - I also haven't seen any feces since the move. I've even tried force feeding in case it was having trouble getting to the food, but it won't eat.
I feed all of them flake food, peas, and green beans (not the actual beans though), and they've always done really well until this point.
<Mmm, I would drop the flake food entirely. I feed my "fancies" Spectrum Pellets solely... Please read here re:
Any ideas?
<And be looking for a larger system. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish disease problem 11/11/10
Good evening crew,
Thank you very much for your time. I have been a keen reader for the last few years, but I am struggling to solve this problem. To medicate or to just do water changes daily.
<Let's see>
I have a 3ft (about 180 litres) setup with 9 goldfish, 6 with 3-4 inch bodies and 3 less than 2 inches in body and I have plans to move to much larger tank (300 litres) when they are all stable.
<Need more room than this, now>
They are fantails with two black moors and one comet. I have a Fluval 205 canister filter (680 litres per hour), two air stones, lighting, live plants and usually they are all happy, 3 I have had 8-9 years. I vacuum and water change weekly.
Ammonia is 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates currently 5. Ph I keep around 7.2-7.4, GH is about 200 ppm and kH around 100 ppm.
<Good water quality values>
Problem began when I did what I knew not to and introduced without quarantining. Within a couple of weeks they were picking up after food, sluggish awhile after eating, flashing, shimmying, some hanging near
surface and some with laboured breathing. And of course half the tank looking absolutely fine...Treated first with Promethyasul.
<...? Promethyasul, for Ich?>
Then later treated with white spot cure (formaldehyde and malachite green)
and then lastly with Prazi feeling very likely it was internal parasites.
<I'd have treated for crustacean parasites and this last, for worms...>
Voluminous poo after Prazi. Did water changes between. I lost one of the new fish but everyone
else improved including my larger black moor who had become very ill during this period.
At the end of the second Prazi treatment I did a large water change and filter rinse and my helpful partner forgot to turn back on the filter. It is so quiet compared to previous systems I have used, that I didn't notice for two days. Instead of gutting it, I turned it on.... I lost Ruby who I'd had 4-5 years within 3 days. I had done another water change in this time but she died very quickly. She hung near the surface and gasped. I am concerned that it was due to the anaerobic bacteria (nitrates have reduced during this time). I have continued with 25% or so water changes every couple of days since but a week later one of my 8-9 year olds is also hanging near surface with laboured breathing. She has clear poo. Still has a very good appetite and brightens up after food and water changes. Tonight her poo was clear and thin. I am thinking she may have an internal bacterial infection. Another smaller fantail sold as a 'feeder' who is the more hardy little fish has a couple of fungal patches on her body.
<You may benefit from adding a purposeful bacteria product to urge nitrification>
What I am struggling with is whether to try and medicate or just keep up water changes.
<What is your water quality like now?>
I am scared regarding how quickly I lost my last fish and how quickly Poppy is deteriorating. I don't have Metronidazole and will see if I can source it. I realise that tetracycline is fraught re/ ph and also possibly temperature of my tank, as well as all the drawbacks of nuking my tank.
<... Mmm, I'd do a bit of reading while NOT treating these goldfishes right now. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind1.htm
scroll down to Goldfish Disease>
Thank you again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/11/10

Thank you Bob for your reply and the link. Those pages have been a great reference for me and unfortunately I know I have gone and done the opposite e.g./ quarantine. I know I have really failed them. I haven't been able to identify for certain what I am dealing with through copious reading and talking with the two good retailers here in Canberra (Australia). The two that read most likely are parasite and bacterial (although there is no external evidence). We don't use fly spray etc and I am very careful to have clean hands etc.
<I see... do you have a low power microscope handy? Some simple skin slime smear/views can be very revealing>
I am pretty confident parasites have/are an issue as my Black Moor really improved after Prazi.
<Might well be Flukes (monogenetic Trematodes) you're dealing with. Very common nowadays, in the season you're in there>
The unquarantined fish may have had Ick but did not have spots on them and none have developed them. There may also be an issue re/ internal bacterial infection and then there is the turned off filter for 48 hours and associated issues :-( I try to be light handed with medicating and have been heavy handed as the new fish and then Ruby both deteriorated and then died with 48 hours as now Poppy. She was a very gorgeous fantail.
I lost Poppy last night, like Ruby she went very quickly. I haven't had fish die so quickly in eight years. Yesterday I treated again with Prazi and Epsom salts because she was swollen looking and had a white/translucent very fine strand hanging from her vent, about 2 inches long. I haven't seen anything like it before. It was different to a bit constipated. All the others munched their peas but she was beyond eating. Her body had no obvious marks on it aside from slight colour change, paler. She hung 1-2 inches below surface and gasped very quickly and strongly. Her Gills looked o.k.
Today the ph is 7 (has dropped), nitrites 0, ammonia 0 and nitrates between
5 and 10ppm. I have been adding Nutrafin cycle daily as well as Prime with the water changes.
I had used Promethyasul as like now I am not really confident what I am treating.
<Hard on fishes to suffer such treatments>
I am thinking a 50% change tonight and daily 20% changes. I will put bio-balls (new ones) back in. I took out the materials aside from sponges after it had been left off.
Thank you again for your time. I have this awful feeling of 'which one next'.
May on Matthew's email
<And you, BobF>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/12/10
Thanks again Bob. I don't have a microscope and she is buried next to Ruby now.
I will look into getting one or seeing if the aquarium shop has one.
Flukes were what I initially thought. I might hold the water change until tomorrow and that will mean they will have the 48 hours prior to partial water change recommended on the bottle. Hopefully as a third treatment they
will all be killed off. Thank you again, May
<Welcome May. BobF>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/13/10

Thanks Bob. After 50-odd hours of the 3rd Prazi treatment, there was quite a bit of glancing and yawning. White/clearish poop as well amongst some of the tankmates. I have done a water change. The GH was crazy, guessing from the Epsom salt.
<Mmm, likely so>
All looking much happier this evening. Eating with their usual gusto. Using a strong torch, I can see that Sara fantail has frayed gills, symmetrically on the top side of about 1mm.
There has been quite a bit of scale loss amongst them as well. I am planning to keep doing 25% water
changes every second day. I added lots of ceramic noodles, more Nutrafin cycle and extra filter media. Feeling a bit more hopeful now. I will be enacting the tank upgrade soon. Thinking 300 litres for my remaining eight.
I will never not quarantine again. Thank you for all your help, I am pretty sure that it is flukes. I hope to update in the future with a good news story :-) Regards, May
<Thank you May. B>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/16/10

Hi Bob, Sadly my overcrowded tank is being sorted :-( lost little Milly the tough feeder fish today. Found her when I got home and it was too late to try and locate a microscope. I have added (I know shudder) Protozin by Waterlife. I really don't know what else to do now. Do you think an internal infection as well as flukes could be responsible?
<Could be... I want to relate to you that I've regularly used (feeder) goldfish for pathology demo.s... They never disappoint>
They have all passed the same. Day one beginning with frequent breathing but with good appetite and within day two laboured and rapid breathing and death. The last three have looked rounded/full not wasted. It is so damn quick. Now Sara who had the frayed gills is breathing more rapidly and if following the pattern will be dead tomorrow. It looks like I am losing my tank.... Regards, May
<I would treat with an antiprotozoal (Metronidazole/Flagyl) AND antihelminthic (Praziquantel/Levamisole) simultaneously, per what is posted on WWM or in works by Ed Noga. Now. BobF>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/17/10

Hi Bob,
Thanks again for your time. I have done 50% or so change of water (they liked that). I have Myxazin. I have 400mg tablets of Metronidazole. I have looked and looked at your website and aside from mixing in huge quantities of food I have not been able to find a ratio for dry tablets. My partner collected from a lovely aquarium shop but was sold the Metronidazole with just the two tabs and no direction.
<Try the search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
w/ the spelling: Metronidazole>
We were given the Myxazin. I have directions for the Myxazin which I can do after carbon for 24 hours. I am sorry, I am so frustrated, we have spent several hours trawling for dosage rates for the Metronidazole
<This is misspelled>
after business hours - have the drugs but really worried about overdosing and harming their kidneys/or worse. Trying to determine your recommendation or to just go the Myxazin if we can't sort out
the dosage. Feel like a twit.
With regards,
<Not to worry. Try... "... in food", read the cached views. BobF>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/19/10

Hi Bob,
Yes it is, it was a misspell from the toolbar from numerous searches.
<Ahh, not able to find things if not spelled correctly>
We have done hours of reading and it got confusing as some posts were regarding liquid treatment and the most direct talked about 100mg to 1 kilo of food and I didn't have that quantity of food but need to do the maths but it gets very finite re/ cutting pills and worrying about potential overdose. Can you please suggest how to use a 400mg tablet with 7 small fish in 180litres?
<... I'd add it to the water, after crushing it up... You'll need more tablets if you're treating the whole gallonage... 250 mg./10 gal... every other day for 3 days... Do put the two words: Metronidazole dosage
into the search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
and read the cached views... for more important background>
Two nights ago I dosed the Myxazin and then did again today. Two nights ago I also crushed 1 tablet Prazi and mixed with food. No more deaths but still 3 of the 7 not looking great re/ breathing but all eating with gusto still.
The lower bellies are shaped much lower than normal of all 7, bloated and convex as they did with the four I have lost.
When I sort the dose, can Metronidazole and Myxazin be very problematic?
<Mmm, Myxazin is malachite green, formaldehyde and Acriflavine... all but the last is quite toxic... Can be mixed/treated at the same time though>
Still very worried about losing the tank.
Many thanks again, May
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Goldfish disease problem 11/24/10

Hi Bob, Thank you for that, I really appreciate your time. An update...
I followed your advice with the Metronidazole and also dosed again with Prazi (I wasn't clear had searched under correct name as well and got jumbled with feeding info). I went back to said aquarium shop for follow-up meds two days later and they were out of stock of Metronidazole... Spoke with vets for 3 days, lost a lot of time and another fish, Gough my black moor of some 4-5 years. I finally found one vet in this city that actually sees let alone treats fish. No others would dispense Metronidazole, it is a prescription drug here... Awfully frustrating and upsetting experience.
The vet saw Sara who has lasted longer than any others upon developing symptoms of gasping and hanging 2-3 inches from surface of the tank presentation, it has been over a week now. Hopefully in part (or totally) due to the Metronidazole. She has not eaten now though for 4 days.
The vet also did an autopsy on Gough but didn't have all the bits of equipment needed. Next death I can chill and courier to another city that has pathologists with the right set-up although I am not sure if I will do that as his concern is that this might be viral.
<Mmm, maybe>
He couldn't see any sign of fluke or other in Gills, doesn't think gill flukes are at play. Gough had no body fat:-( Organs looked o.k. aside from swim bladder which had bloated in his last few hours with air. That being said, no meaningful slides, but he though possibly viral.
Vet prescribed 1000mg Metronidazole yesterday (I did near 50% water change first as I had been leaving medication in for quite a few days) followed by 25% water change today and another 500mg with the water change and 500mg and 25% water change daily for 5 more days. He discussed trying Doxycycline if this doesn't work, just in case it is bacterial and not viral. I have 3 ostensibly doing well and 3 clearly not. All 6 now have the same shape which I find very depressing, low convex and distended guts, not swollen to the sides like you see with constipation or overfeeding.
Thanks for your time,
<And you for this report. BobF>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 12/3/10

Hi Bob, Sad update. 6 days of Metronidazole and 2 further days I now have 4 fish. Lost another 8+ year old Lily and gorgeous Sara who tried to stay alive whilst busy gasping for nearly two weeks. She looked towards the end like she might just have turned the corner and kept bolstering my decision not to euthanise but of course now wish I had. Of my 4 there is still distended bellies and some unhappy behaviours at times. I have done large water changes and not added anything further. They are eating well and more active. My new-found vet has been amazing with many follow-up phone calls and researching.
<Have any of the lost fish been examined, necropsied, cultures done?>
The next if taken step is Doxycycline or Tetracycline just in case it isn't viral. I am leaving the tank alone aside from trying to generate some beneficial bacteria and I will try the last bastion of medication if the remaining 4 deteriorate. I only hold hope that the Metronidazole helped the 4 that were healthiest from succumbing to getting worse, and possibly if viral some immunity is developing. Regards, May
<... BobF>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 12/3/10

Hi Bob, Only Gough was necropsied. No body fat and no sign of parasites but the vet didn't have a very strong microscope.
There isn't any facility in this town for pathology. For over $300 I can have one couriered 700km.
<Whoa! Where do you live May?>
I haven't done this as yet. I am hoping I won't have to but do realise it is the only way to get a firm diagnosis. Regards, May
<And you, B>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 12/3/10

Hi Bob, Believe it or not the capital of Australia Canberra.... really just a big town sadly.
<Wow... I taught in a High School district purposely because they had a two year exchange program w/ Canberra>
Melbourne is where the pathology lab my vet uses is.
Sydney is closer. I can't remember the details re/ microscope but he indicated that it wasn't the right type for this purpose.
<Mmm, really just need an oil immersion compound...>
He didn't see any evidence of parasites, but wouldn't have been able to detect bacterial or viral presence. Not sure if he could exclude all parasites either. Thanks for your time Bob
<And yours May. B>
Re: Goldfish disease problem 1/3/11

Hi Bob and Crew,
Hope you all had a good new year.
<Thank you>
Not a great update. I still have four left
<... four of what?>
and have treated again with Metronidazole this last week as Raphael my foundation fish is ill with same symptoms - gasping and now twitching. Her (she was named before I could sex them) tail fin is now frayed and slightly milky. I am thinking that is deterioration from still undiagnosed illness/es and stress from the antibiotic. I don't know of anything I can do further apart from frequent water changes??? My vet has exhausted his knowledge of goldfish.
<I do agree w/ the water changes and patience>
Is it possible that if it is a virus Raphael's demise like Sara's a month ago, is longer than the other 7 because of partial immunity?
<Not likely, no>
Also wondering if it is viral, and I do end up with what seems possible - losing the whole tank - whether bleach will be effective when I gut and clean the tank and filter? I am hoping of course that this won't be needed...
<I would hold off on bleaching>
Of the four, my smallest a tiny Black Moor is the only one that still seems very healthy. Halle who is about 4 inches in body and a comet is less active and lost a couple of scales.
<... how big a volume is this? Do you test for water quality? The vast majority of goldfish problems are self-induced by people keeping them in inappropriate conditions>
Angus a very small fantail is very bloated and starting in to gasp. I am thinking that I could move the black moor to another tank, as if it is viral she could pass it on to introduced fish.
Also wondering whether I should be moving her now regardless. She has been in the tank during the whole episode which is now 4 months.
Thank you again for your time.
<I see this below in our prev. corr.: "> > > > > > > > > > > I have a 3ft (about 180 litres) setup with 9 goldfish"
This system may harbour biological disease, but I fully suspect a large contributing factor is environment. I would "thin the herd", particularly the comet... continue w/ regular water change-outs, scant feeding, and reading:
scroll down to "the goldfish tray", re GF Systems, Disease... Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish disease problem
Hi Bob,
<Hey May>
Sorry Bob, I didn't write considering the volume of emails you receive. I was in contact a lot a month or so ago - live in Canberra with Goldfish where there is no pathology available and only one vet with an interest but not extensive experience with fish. I had 9 which was overcrowded when I first wrote to you, but now only 4, two with 1 inch body size and the other two about 4 inches
The volume is 180 and ph is 7.2, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates and 0 ammonia. GH is about 150 ppm and KH 60ppm.
<These measures are all fine>
Fluval filter that turns over 650 litres per hour or so.
<Need more filtration than this... by about twice>
Temperature is 20 degrees Celsius. Feed is mostly plant, pea, spinach, high grade goldfish food (vegetable based) with the odd brine shrimp.
I hadn't quarantined and seem to have brought in internal parasite approximately 4 months ago, treated with Prazi a few times and then in late November upon yours and newly found vet with Metronidazole. Had reduced cause to internal bacteria and/or viral at that point. My vet thinks most likely viral but without pathology to confirm. Raphael might be sent to Sydney or Melbourne for necropsy and pathology, budget allowing...
Kind regards,
<I'd just leave all run as it is for now... Viral complaints as causes of death in Cyprinids is rare indeed... Bacterial issues are almost always environmental in origin. BobF>

Oranda with Weak Immune System 11/4/10
Good morning,
I have a 3 year old Oranda named Sashimi that has always had a very low immune system. He's grown bigger and currently has a small ulcer that's reducing in size because I've been better at maintaining the water quality.
I have him with two smaller Ryukins in a 35 gallon tank. Sashimi has always had a semi transparent brain but lately I've been noticing dark orange spots growing primarily at the center on top of his head. The only
reason why this may occur is possibly be the Epsom salts I added to the water after I did the recent water change. Should I be concerned? As he's growing bigger in size he tends to like to lay at the bottom of the gravel. I've been trying to change the water more often, usually around 10% of the water once every week. Is there anything else that I can do to help him out?
<Greetings. The "semi transparent brain" isn't actually his brain, but a fleshy growth on the top of his head called a "Wen". Basically a deformity.
Anyway, it traps mucous, and in less that perfect water conditions you'll often see grey slime on the "Wen". Likewise, red sores and ulcers tend to be caused by poor water quality, and should go away given good conditions.
It's hard to tell from your photo, but my guess would be that one or other of these things is occurring. Concentrate on water quality, and read these articles:
Black spots on Goldfish are usually ammonia burns, but I don't see any ammonia burns on the fish in your photo. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Help! 10/26/10
Hi, I have three Goldfish in a tank I have noticed on one a cotton wool like roundish growth on both sides of flanks. What is causing this, and how can I treat? Thanks Karen
<How big is your tank? I assume at least 55 gallons; any less than that, and the "cause" is poor water quality caused by the cramped conditions. The cotton wool threads are fungus, and if you treat with anti-fungus medication should clear up. Remove carbon, if used, before treatment. Do understand that treatment is pointless without fixing the environment. Fungus is almost always a result of either physical damage or poor environmental conditions. Rarely, if ever, does it turn up by itself in healthy aquaria. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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