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FAQs on Goldfish Medications: The Non-"Fixes": Melafix, Pimafix

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antibiotics (e.g. Maracyn, Tetracycline), Organophosphates (e.g. Fluke Tabs, Dylox), Anthelminthics (de-wormers), Salts, eSHa, Copper Compounds, Formalin, Malachite Green, Metronidazole (Flagyl), Sulfa Drugs, All Others...

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

Related Goldfish Disease FAQs:  Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3Environmental 4, & Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, 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 Disease 22, Goldfish Health 23, Goldfish Disease 24, Goldfish Health 25, Goldfish Disease 26, Goldfish Disease 27, Goldfish Disease 28, Goldfish Disease 29, Goldfish Disease 30, Goldfish Disease 31, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38, 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, & Koi/Pondfish Disease

Placebos at best, toxic, denitrifier-killers and even worse

Forget these leaf extracts... Determine the root cause/s of your goldfish ills and remedy THEM

Goldfish Disease by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4Environmental 5,  Environmental ,  (Absolutely the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Eye Troubles
Lumps/Bumps/Growths (including idiopathic tumors)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal Infectious
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans, Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/ Anchorworms/Lernaeids, ) Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder Problems
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

GF Qs 08/02/09
> Bob, Neale- As I'm going through the GF disease FAQs ("summarizing" and sorting), I have few questions... 1) a lot of the early crew members frequently recommend Melafix. Does this work for goldfish?
<Marginally in some types of circumstances (my best attempt at a fair assessment)... Really, more a hindrance, obstacle to folks further investigating, seeking real cures in many more percentage cases>
> 2) There seems to be some disagreement over the use of "freshwater" salt to ease water quality issues and stress on the fish. What is the > logic behind the use of this salt? ...and do you two recommend it?
<The change in osmotic pressure is more easily tolerated than some ext. complaints... and the placebo effect, granted... getting folks to not do more harm>
3) Is it not a "myth" that goldfish will only grow as large as their home will provide?
<Sigh... absolutely>
...do they just grow very slowly in small containers?
<They stunt, suffer and die prematurely... Thank you for asking. BobF, who would include this corr... so he's going to.>
> Thanks,
> Sara M.
Re: GF Qs 08/02/09

> Hi Sara,
> I tend to agree with Bob the Melafix is of little to no value. It's an antiseptic at best, and consequently best considered a preventative, to keep minor wounds from becoming infected. I'd never recommend it as something to use once fish have obvious signs of Finrot or fungus.
> Sodium chloride is known to reduce the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate. As such, it can be used at low doses (1-3 grammes/litre) to help fish tolerate periods of poor water quality. Sodium chloride can also be used to treat a variety of external parasites including Whitespot (Ick) and leeches. On the other hand, what sodium chloride won't do is raise pH or increase hardness. It's therefore of no value in aquaria where the main problems are to do with water chemistry.
> Goldfish have a very high tolerance for brackish water, so the use of salt at low doses on a continual basis won't do any harm, but on the flip side, it won't do any good either, if other issues, particularly water chemistry, aren't fixed first.
> Carp, including goldfish, are known to stunt in the wild as well as in captivity. I disagree with Bob with regard to the potential for harm; there's no clear evidence that stunting causes any problems at all.
> However, having said that, keeping fish in tanks that are too small for them -- and thereby causing stunting -- also tends to imply the fish is being exposed to poor water quality, unstable water chemistry, and low levels of dissolved oxygen. All of these things are liable to reduce overall health and disease resistance. So while stunting _per se_ probably doesn't cause problems, the conditions that promote stunting almost certainly do.
> It's worth mentioning fish grow their entire lives, as you probably know, and once a stunted fish is removed to bigger quarters, it will begin growing again. Of course, the rate of growth decreases with age, so a fish that was stunted when young will not get dramatically larger if moved into a big tank as an adult.
> Cheers, Neale

Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? Mela-not-fix... getting to... identifying an treating root cause/s, not symptoms  7/13/08 Hi Crew, <Jennifer> Thank you in advance for your help! I have a beautiful 4-inch (body + tail) Shubunkin goldfish living in a 27-gal tank with a 40-gal Power filter and a large air stone. He is the only fish in the tank and it has been established for over 6 months. About 6 weeks ago, I noticed the beginning stages of what I think is fin rot on both caudal tail tips. I hate to admit it, but I'm afraid we neglected his tank cleaning a bit and I suspect the slight ammonia increase (0.25ppm when I first tested it after noticing the frayed fins) made his susceptible to infection. <Mmm, maybe... there should not be any ammonia present. Perhaps some other/redundant biological filtration> First, I tried vacuuming gravel along with 50% water change and adding Amquel+ in the recommended dose to detoxify any remaining ammonia. After about a week, the rot continued to get worse, so I tried what I thought would be a "gentle" approach and added Melafix <...> for the recommended 7-day treatment. This did absolutely nothing <What it does> and the rot only got worse because it became red along the frayed edges. I performed a 25% water change and replaced the activated carbon to get rid of the medication. <Not really a medication> I did nothing except monitor water quality for a few days. Ammonia fluctuated between 0 and 0.25ppm, Nitrite was always 0, and Nitrates stayed around 10-15ppm. As I said, this was a well-established tank, but the fact that I could not get the ammonia to stabilize at 0 made me think the Melafix destroyed by biological filtration. <Does this as well> It is important to mention that I was having to add a standard dose of Amquel+ every evening to keep the water quality at the levels I just mentioned. At this point, a fish-hobbyist friend told me to try Maracyn since the redness had not gone away and the rot was progressing. I followed the 5-day treatment and the redness was reduced, but not eliminated and the fins did not start growing back. <The environment...> Again, I did a 25% water change, replaced the carbon for a day, then started a treatment of Maracyn-Two. I thought maybe the bacterial infection was gram- rather than gram+. <Rather rare actually> After this 5-day treatment, there was no improvement at all, and all the while I'm having to still add Amquel+ every other day to keep the aforementioned levels. (I added a dose of Cycle <This Hagen product rarely works...> at the start of the Maracyn-Two treatment, which is I think why I was able to get away with less frequent doses of Amquel+.) At this point, I was really alarmed at the fin rot progression and resistance, so I went back to the only treatment that showed any signs of improvement, which was the Maracyn. On the advice of my friend, I treated with Maracyn concurrently with Maroxy, as he started to wonder if this was a fungal fin rot. <Not per accidens... not the immediate cause... the environment> I am currently on my third day of treatment with these medications, but I haven't seen much, if any, improvement. I will say it doesn't seem to be getting any worse at the moment. Today was the first day that the Nitrite level went above 0 to 0.25ppm, and the ammonia was zero. Perhaps this is my tank starting to re-cycle? <Seems so> I am just so upset that I've tried everything I can think of to help my fish, but nothing is really working. The only comfort I have is that he is behaving 100% normally and eating with a very healthy appetite. I am also purposely trying to feed less and vacuum his tank every other day. I test water quality 2 times per day. Whew! That was an earful, I know, but I wanted to make sure you had all the info. Do you think there is anything else going on with my poor fish instead of/in addition to the bacterial fin rot? <I don't think this is the actual problem here... "It" is the env.> The frays are now about 1/2 an inch long on his tail. What should I do once the Maracyn/Maroxy combo treatment is over in two more days? I have a bad feeling the infection will still be active. Is this at all normal? I'm desperate to stop the rot from reaching his body, because I've read that will at the very least mean his fin won't grow back and at the worst will kill him! Thank you, again, for you patience with a worried Mom. Sincerely, Jennifer <Again; some simple additional filtration that incorporates a mechanical media... that will act along with the hang on power filter... Perhaps a sponge filter, an inside power filter, some live plant material... even a simple small undergravel filter plate... The nitrogenous trouble was the real root cause here... All the treatments were attempts at treating symptoms, not the cause. Fix the environment, fix this fish. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? - 07/13/08 Thank you for your advice, Bob. Honestly, I searched your site for many hours looking for specific info on resistant fin rot, <Mmm, likely because... there really isn't such a thing... Really> and although I didn't find much (perhaps I wasn't looking in the right spots), I did read a lot of info on goldfish systems and environment, which was very helpful. Tonight is the last dose of the Maracyn/Maroxy combo. I was thinking of vacuuming gravel and doing a 50% water change while replacing the carbon filter to clean the water. <Don't vacuum the bottom... too likely to impair the biological filter> Also, I have a spare hang-on filter I could add to the tank, as well. <Ah, great!> I was wondering what you thought about continuing with another round of Maracyn/Maroxy (the box says a second round of treatment is okay to use). <Not worthwhile. Good products, but don't address the real issue here> I understand completely that fixing the environment is a must, but until the tank is finished re-cycling, all I know to do is control the water chemistry with water changes, vacuuming and Amquel+. <I would stop using the Amquel as well... this fine Novalek product contains other chemicals you'd do best avoiding...> In the meantime, should I continue to treat my fish's symptoms with medication? <No> I'm afraid if I stop medication and the infection is still present with redness and everything, that the bacteria will become resistant and render further medication useless. My friend suggested, as a last resort, to dab some iodine solution directly on the fin damage without letting it get in the water or the fish's eyes. <Not worthwhile either> Have you heard of this being successful, or is it more of a gamble? My gut tells me just to keep doing water changes until the tank stabilizes, but I'm by no means any kind of expert and I would hate to think that my inaction will make my fish worse. I know you are very busy, and I really do appreciate your help. And I know my poor fish does, too! Sincerely, Jennifer <Best to just monitor ammonia, nitrite, not feed period if these are detectable... RMF>
Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot?
- 07/14/08 Once, again, thank you for your help. I actually just have one last question, not specifically related to the fin rot issue, but important none-the-less. Maybe other relatively new fish hobbyists like myself will also find it helpful. In all my fish tanks, I have always used a specific brand of natural spring water that I've found through chemical testing to have ideal water chemistry for my goldfish. <Interesting... most tap waters are fine for goldfish... provided they don't have too much sanitizer. I simply vac, drain about a quarter of my goldfish systems every week and replace with straight outdoor hose tap (nothing else)... perhaps with a pickle bucket (four or so gallons) of heated indoor water about the same time every week> It is also very convenient not to have to pre-treat the water other than letting the temperature equalize with that of the tank water. However, after this round of trouble with my Shubunkin, this method is becoming very expensive to keep up water changes! <Is there some aspect of your source/house water that you think/consider problematical?> I tested my tap water, and all water chemistry is very similar to the spring water (pH especially), but it contains 1.0 ppm of ammonia <!? Surprising> (and chlorine which I would obviously let evaporate). <This last "takes" about a week nowadays... Chloramine, not chlorine> Is the only way to "condition" the water for use in my tank a product like Amquel+? <Mmm, no... the simplest is to let the water set for the duration interval twixt change-outs... or "take a/the risk" as I do, and only change part...> In the previous email, you mentioned I should discontinue use of this product, <Correct. I would NOT use daily... for the purpose of arresting ammonia presence... see WWM, elsewhere re... will forestall the establishment of nitrification (does this make sense?) among other things it is best to avoid while the fish is weakened> so I'm worried I shouldn't use it to condition the tap water. I should mention I also have API's Stress Coat on hand. <A very similar product. I also would not use daily> Would this be a better alternative, or would I encounter the same problem of extra unwanted chemicals? <Yes...> Hopefully this will be the last time I have to bug you so you can do your wonderful work with others in need. Thank you! Sincerely, Jennifer <I do hope I am being clear, complete-enough here Jennifer. You are an exemplary aquarist... conscientious beyond fault. I realize there is much conflicting information to be had via the Net, stores, even in-print books... Best to read good sources, like Goldfish Connection, WWM, and determine what is factual, useful for your situation yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot?   7/27/08 Hi there, Bob (and Crew!) <Jennifer> I have just spent several hours researching your and other sites for information on pH in my ongoing saga to save my poor goldfish from a mysterious fin rot issue. All the local pet stores I've visited have been perplexed at why I can't seem to rid my fish of this problem. As a brief refresher, I have a 27-gal tank with a single 4-in Shubunkin who presented with bacterial fin rot 8 weeks ago. After incorrectly treating with *many*meds, I took Bob's much-appreciated advice and stopped all meds, focused on getting the tank re-cycled and keeping the water in pristine conditions. About a week ago, the tank finished cycling and the readings have been steady at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5-10 nitrates. <Ah, good!> However, the fin rot STILL has not cleared up. <This will likely take weeks time> Since Bob's last reply, it actually got slightly worse, but since the tank has finished cycling, the redness on the edges of the frays has completely disappeared, which I'm taking as a good sign, yes? <Correct> However, there have been no signs of fin regrowth. <If not "too rotted back" they will regenerate in time> My continued efforts to understand the underlying problem in this tank led me to m y current question on pH. When the fin rot first appeared, the pH in the tank was testing at 7.4-7.6 range (hard to get a precise reading against a color chart). The spring water <Mmm... often this sort of water is inferior to simple dechloraminated tap use...> I use for partial water changes tests at 7.6-7.8. Oddly enough, however, the tank water now tests at 8.0-8.2. Looking back, the large doses of Amquel+ I was using could have lowered the tank pH to the 7.4-7.6 level, but I'm not certain. After my first round of research on Goldfish connection and Koko's goldfish site, I learned to try the test of letting some of the spring water sit in a cup for 24 hrs, then re-testing the pH. Oddly enough, after sitting out, it was testing at 8.2! This explains why my tank pH is high, but for the life of me, I can't find an explanation for how the pH of the plain water can go up by itself. <Mmm, likely a/the loss of oxygen...> Has anyone else seen this problem? <Oh yes... does happen. Again, a reason to just use tap...> If so, is there anything I can do to fix it or is it something I don't need to necessarily worry about? <... I'd use tap...> A post on Goldfish Connection stated that a goldfish will do fine in pH up to 8.4 and that he wouldn't bother taking action unless it goes above 9.0. <Mmm... as an upper limit> A pH of 8.2 just seems so high to me, though and I want to make sure it isn't the reason my fish hasn't healed. I've strongly considered switching to tap water, but there is so much chlorine, ammonia and chloramines in Tampa, FL tap water that I have to add 5-times the recommended dose of AmQuel+ just to get a 0 reading for ammonia. <Store it in a loose- fitting topped container for a week or more ahead of use...> LPS employees have told me I can just dump the untreated water directly in the tank and add a standard dose, but this didn't sound like a good idea to me (then again, what do I know?). <This is... actually what I do, have done for many years with my fancy goldfish systems in S. Cal.... mostly w/ no dechloraminator at all> I'd prefer to keep using the spring water (from Silver Springs in FL), but I'm willing to stop if you all think the pH is too high. <I wouldn't use because I'm cheap, and not necessary, better than tap> Thank you so much... my little guy would probably be dead from over-medication if I hadn't listened to your advice two weeks ago, so please know how truly grateful I am. With much respect, Jennifer <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot?   8/12/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Jennifer> I have to say I'm on the verge of giving up hope. As you know, I've been battling a persistent fin rot issue for 10 weeks. Despite consistent good water quality since my last post on July 27 (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate, pH=8.2), my Shubunkin goldfish became re-infected with the same fin rot infection he had before. In my last post, I had reported the redness surrounding the rot had completely cleared up. I was so excited! But, this was short lived as I noticed the redness was beginning to return on 8/7. I immediately began feeding a medicated food because I wanted to stop the infection before it got out of control, but to no avail. It is now a full-blown infection again with the rot progressing. Although the infection had previously cleared, his fins never did start to regrow. This will probably be my last post on the issue because I feel that I've done all that is humanly possible. I even removed the large cave that has been in his 27gal aquarium for 2 years "just in case" it was starting to leech toxins! My LFSs have given up on me as they say there is nothing left to try. I do regular maintenance on the filters, keep the tank clean and still perform an approx. 20% water change once per week to maintain excellent water conditions. The main reason for my post is to see if anyone can think of something I've overlooked. If not, I fear the worst may happen. It's so sad...he really is a trooper, because despite his persistent illness, he still eats and swims normally, although perhaps a little slower than in his healthier days. Please tell me, is there anything else I can do? Thank you for your time. With hope fading, Jennifer <Mmm, nothing more... only more patience. Do hang in there Jen. BobF>

Bloated goldfish, skip the tea, read  - 7/1/08 Hi! <Brett> I have a goldfish (white and gold comet) that's become bloated, with its scales sticking out (like dropsy?) and bubbles forming on its skin. <Doesn't sound good does it?> It had become bloated once before, after getting a fungal infection - on that occasion I treated it with product called Pimafix (active ingredient is Bay oil) <Worthless> which is both an anti-fungal and an antibacterial treatment (according to the label), and the goldfish recovered, with only a couple of discolored spots on its skin where the fungus has been. This time there has been no sign of fungal infection, and the other goldfish in the tank are unaffected. It started as an odd looking lump on the underbelly, and some deterioration of the dorsal fin, but in the space of a couple of days the goldfish became quite bloated. I went to my local pet store and they were out of Pimafix, but said that it sounded like a bacterial infection this time, and sold me another treatment called Melafix <Also> (active ingredient is Cajeput (Tea tree) oil). However, after a week of treating the tank (and feeding it some peas), the only result has been the appearance of these bubbles on the skin. <...> I have checked the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels in my tank - ammonia and nitrite are zero, nitrate less than 5 ppm. (The tank is 80 litres, and currently has only three goldfish and one large freshwater snail in it.) <These readings and tank size are all fine...> I'm now wondering if the problem is not bacterial at all, but maybe fungal or some sort of parasite. The goldfish is still active and feeding well, but obviously not getting better. Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated. Brett <Actual bacterial, fungal "causes" of disease in captive aquatics are rare as chicken's teeth... these are almost always secondary effects of other etiologies... poor water quality, some sort of challenge otherwise... I suspect a root issue and cure here are nutritive in nature. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

From the WetWebMedia Crew, about your goldfish Goldfish, Water Quality, Stress, and Melafix - 06/10/2008 Hi, I have a 30 gallon aquarium and 3 goldfish and 1 algae eater in it. <I'm not fond of some of the fish that are called "algae eater" - if this is the common "Chinese algae eater", he will eventually grow into a big, mean fish that will harass your other fish. It'll take a while, though.> They had Ick and their tails were a little bit ripped so I looked up 'Ick' in WWM and I read that it could be treated with salt so I tried it and one algae eater died and the rest of the fish were all sad. So I changed the water and after 2 days tried the salt treatment again but this time I took the algae eater out. The goldfish were all sad again so I changed the water again and bought a remedy called 'Melafix' <This will do nothing at all for Ich or any other parasitic problems.... and some folks feel that Melafix (extract of the Melaleuca tree) can be irritating to fish as well. I do not use or recommend it.> and I did just what the bottle said and the fish's tail got better and the Ick didn't get worse or better. <Melafix will not treat Ich.> Then I left for vacations so I told my friend to take care of the fish when I came back one of them was on the floor and it was breathing very fast and its tail, head, eye, and fin were red; it doesn't move much and it doesn't eat it still breathes fast (it has been like that for 2 days). Please help me with an advise, at this moment we're on the second week of Melafix treatment with a 25% water change after the first week. <Were it me and my fish, I would discontinue using Melafix, as it will do nothing for Ich at all. I strongly recommend that you test your water for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate - Ammonia and Nitrite must be ZERO, Nitrate less than 20ppm. If these are above these levels, do water changes immediately to bring them down. Again, Ammonia and Nitrite must be ZERO; this is vitally important, and I suspect this may be the cause of why the fish's fins, eyes and skin are red and he is breathing fast. Once Ammonia and Nitrite are zero and Nitrate is less than 20ppm, I would recommend using salt or one of the common Ich treatments, like Rid-Ich, to treat the Ich. I, personally, prefer to use salt and heat to treat Ich, but it seems to me you are concerned about it after your experience. Make sure you do some big water changes before you use any medications to get the Melafix out first; please don't try to mix medications. Be sure to use a dechlorinator for the new water and try to match the pH of the new water to the pH in the tank as closely as possible. You might want to read here for a bit more about goldfish systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm . Wishing you and your goldfish well, -Sabrina>

About my goldfish, dis. & homeopathics... avoiding non "fixes"   10/23/07 My two new goldfish have recently been developing small white spots on their back fins and I was wondering if that might be Ich and if there is a homeopathy remedy that can cure that? If not what else would you suggest? Thanks for your help! Concerned Fish owner <Sounds like Whitespot/Ick. No homeopathic remedy that I know of. Various tea-tree derivatives (Melafix, Pimafix, etc.) are on the market but they don't really work reliably. Avoid them. Don't mess about with this, because Ick is a killer. Go straight for medications that work. Your local retailer will have a variety based on copper and/or formalin. Do also review aquarium conditions -- fish get sick because of the aquarium, nine times out of ten. Review our articles on goldfish care. Cheers, Neale>

Last Chance For A <sic> Sic Fish... Doing your best for a Comet  03/22/07 After 2 months of searching, reading, attempting, and calling... I'm now writing you in a last ditch effort to save my goldfish Columbo.  He has been unable to open his mouth for going on 2 months now.  He's managed to stay healthy until just the past 2 weeks when its finally started to catch up to him.  Currently am force feeding him with a syringe of which he manages to get a quarter of the food down that I give him.  He's become decidedly emaciated and is starting to slow down. <Not good> His lives in a 20 Gallon tank with a rubber nosed Pleco as his only tank mate.  I'm very aggressive about the water conditions and keep the tank chemistry fairly steady.   78deg F, 7.2pH, 0amonia, 0nitrite, and  trace nitrates.   He's had a varied diet of TetraFin goldfish flakes, Brine shrimp, and algae tablets. <Not enough greenery...> He has a congenital defect in his left eye.  That particular eye is malformed and what my wife describes as a proteoeye.. i.e... much smaller not well formed but has some function. He shows no other signs of illness except that he cannot open his mouth to eat and not from lack of trying.  On occasion I have seen him open his mouth to "yawn" and then jerk after the fact (Pain?).  I've read about rocks being stuck.. checked none found. <Good> Read about Columnaris disease... other than being unable to open his mouth no other symptoms, but tried an antibiotic anyway.  I've read about poor nutrition, as I've stated his diet has been varied so not sure what else to do there.  I've tried MelaFix treatments multiple times. <Worthless>   I have noticed that he will be able to open his mouth for a few seconds after adding a dose of MelaFix to the tank.  I've tried finding a vet in the area that treats fish and I've had no luck, none here (major metropolitan area) treat fish. I'm running out of options and time.  If I can find a cure soon I'm going to have to euthanize him.  I know he's in pain, and the added injury of allowing him to starve to death would be just plain wrong. PS I would have tried the forum first, but your account creation seems to be down. <Please contact Zo there... he runs such, not us> Thank you for your time Wes <Likely there is not anything that can actually be done here... This condition is likely congenital... If your goldfish does appear to be suffering, I would euthanize it. I do encourage you to try another variety (other than Comet) of goldfish, as these are very poorly produced, treated in culture. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Environment 6.12.05 Over the past five days I've had a range of problems with my five goldfish. <I thought you said 4 goldfish.> Firstly, my comet has a " air sack" in its belly and its not eating, so I transferred it in a 10 litre container and added the inside of peas (for it to eat), MelaFix and a water conditioner. is this right ? should I double the MelaFix formula? <So far as I know Melafix is not going to help the swim bladder issue. 10 litres is too small.> Second, my fantail got caught in a sandstone rock on Wednesday and I separated it into a 3 litre (with MelaFix formula) ceramic container. Now it lies at the bottom and hasn't eaten for five days the wound is healing slowly though. Is this also right what I've done? <way to small, he will use up the oxygen in the water and foul the water super fast.> Last, my large red Oranda, black Moor and white fantail have been put back into the 20 litre tank with 2 ml of MelaFix to fix the blood hemorrhaging. Again, Is what I've done right? Why are all these problems happening and how can I prevent it? also,  what other food could I feed them apart from flakes? <This is what I would do in this situation.  Get at least a 75 liter (20gallon) aquarium, (Please let me know if my conversion are wrong, it is very possible).  Do not use any sharp/rough decorations, goldfish are big fat and clumsy.  Put them all back in the same tank, it does not sound like they have diseases that are going to spread to one another.  Feed them peeled peas, thawed frozen goldfish food, or soak your dry flaked or pelleted food in a small container of tank water prior to feeding.  Do not skimp on the filtration or aeration.  If possible add some Elodea/Anacharis to the tank, this is a live plant that is good for digestion among other things. Best of Luck, Gage>

Red and Black Fin Streaks Dear Crew, <Hello, Mike G with you this evening.> We have 2 goldfish which we have had for about 2.5 years and acquired them both when they were roughly 1 inch in length.  We went from a 3 gallon Eclipse system to a 6 gallon, then a 12 gallon and most recently to a 29 gallon Eclipse system which required a lot of "new" dechlorinated water.  The 2 goldfish are now between 5 & 7 inches in length.  There was some expected stress the first day or so after the introduction to the new tank and we saw one of the fish lose part of its fin.   <You didn't cycle?> They eventually settled in and have been feeding very well. After a few days to week, we noticed the water appearing a little cloudy (we had introduced new plastic tank "rocks" etc and didn't know if the cloudiness was some sort of residue).   <Probably a bacterial bloom, as the tank was uncycled when the fish were introduced.> It has been approximately 3 - 4 weeks in their new aquarium and the 2 goldfish seem happy with normal activity and eating habits but one has in the last day or so developed RED streaks in its fins (almost like red ink) and the OTHER fish has developed a few BLACK spots on its scales and BLACK streaks in its fins (especially near the edges).   <Hmm... Red sounds like a bacterial infection, black streaks in those places can also indicate "ammonia burns." Both are caused by poor water quality, which happens when a tank is not cycled. test your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.> There food has not changed and consists of a mixture of Nutrafin Goldfish flakes and goldfish floating pellets (I thought that using some pellet food would lessen the amount of uneaten flake food particles that would sink to the bottom and add to the protein/nitrate levels of the tank). Tomorrow, I plan to test the water and do an exchange.  Do you have any ideas as to the cause of these newly developed RED fin-streaks on one fish and the BLACK fin-streaks and small spots on the other?   <Bacteria/poor water quality/not cycling. Try a nice big water change and dose some MelaFix for the bacterial infection. Good luck. Mike G> Thanks very much! David
Red and Black Fin Streaks
Dear Mike, <That's me> Thanks so much for the response. <No problem. Glad I helped.> I tested the water today and the Ammonia level was high  (8) <Woah! 8 parts per million? That is absolutely deadly. 1ppm is considered high. 2 is considered massively high. But 8? Well, that is in a class of its own! And your fish only have red and black streaks! A testament to the hardiness of goldfish!> the nitrites were in a normal range as was the pH and hardness.  I did a 25 - 30 % water change and treated the  tank with AmmoLock 2. <A good call. Keep up with those water changes!> The fish are still doing relatively well;  one still has the red streaks in fins and the other still has the black near the fin tips. <It will take a while to fully disappear once conditions are corrected.> The one with black is now showing more black "spots" on scales and some black discoloration on one of the gills. <Ammonia is still burning it. Test again, change more water... > I will obtain some MelaFix.  Do you think I need to think about salt, copper or formalin at all? <No, right now I think you only need to worry about that ammonia level.> Can you please tell me what would have been the proper way to cycle the water in this case going from a 12 to 29 gallon tank?  I'm still very much a novice but learning quickly from my mistakes. <We were all once there! I am glad to see you taking the initiative to help your fish/learn form your mistakes. Okay, now for "Cycling 101" Ammonia is a compound toxic to aquatic life, and is also produced by all aquatic life through everyday bodily functions, such as respiration and the passing of feces. Decaying organic matter also produces Ammonia. Certain beneficial bacteria consume Ammonia and convert it to Nitrites in the process. When a tank is first set up, there are no substantial colonies of the said bacteria, so the Ammonia level quickly rises. As time goes by, these bacteria will build their populations up to colonies large enough to effectively convert all Ammonia to Nitrite on an as-produced basis. Nitrite, though much less toxic than Ammonia, is quite a deadly compound itself, and approximately 1ppm of Ammonia would convert to somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5ppm Nitrite, so you could imagine it builds up rather quickly. The Nitrite is converted to Nitrate in much the same way as Ammonia into Nitrite, except a different species of bacteria is responsible for the said conversion. Nitrate is nowhere near as toxic as Ammonia, and pales in comparison to Nitrite. However, around 2.5ppm of Nitrite will convert to approximately 6ppm of Nitrate. So, you can see, as the cycle is going on, a lot of Nitrate is produced. Nitrate is the "end product" of the conversions, and there is no aerobic species of bacteria that consumes it. However, things like plant life and water changes will all help absorb Nitrates, emphasis being placed upon water changes. Best of luck, and keep me in the loop. Mike G.> Thanks a bunch! David
Goldfish with Red and Black Fin Streaks
Back again.  Now I'm REALLY bewildered. After my successful reduction of ammonia to 2 ppm, I did another 25 - 30% water exchange followed by a second 25 - 30% exchange to find that the next morning the ammonia level was back up to 4 ppm this morning.  Today, I did a 30% exchange this am and this pm, the ammonia level was again at 4 ppm.  I followed this with a 50 % water exchange because the fish are now starting to show some wear....much more black spots (burns?) and the smaller fish is now starting to suggest some encephalopathy, i.e. darting around and crashing into the sides of the tank etc.  The bewildering things is that after the 50% water exchange, I tested the water again and it was STILL at 4 ppm. What's going on here? Should or should I not be using the bacterial cultures such as Stability or StressZyme in an attempt to build the nitrifying bacterial populations? I would REALLY like any suggestions that you could give.  Otherwise, I will keep doing daily water exchanges until SOMETHING happens. Thanks, David <Try Bio Spira for an instant cycle. Expensive and hard to find, but it will work. Other than that, you need time and lots of water changes. Avoid all chemicals except dechlorinator. And keep the water changes going strong. 50% daily is not too much. Don><<The "Fix" did it... killed off the nitrifiers. RMF>>

Goldfish with mouth rot Hello, <Hi there> I got a goldfish at a local fair (I know, I know, I hate that, but I thought I could save one by taking one home). <This is how many of us got started...> We had two and one died this week from what looked like swim bladder. This other fish seemed fine - strong and healthy. Then, unfortunately, I took another of these fish from a friend and introduced it to the tank right away. Shortly after, our original healthy fish developed what looks to me like mouth rot. I am heartbroken as this fish seems to be suffering. I put it into a hospital tank and treated with Melafix and Pimafix. It's been on Melafix for 2 days and I just put the Pimafix in. The problem seems to be getting worse. Should I switch medications and try some other anti-bacterial medication? <I would give up on these leaf-extracts and add aquarium salt...> Please answer soon as it's getting very bad and I know it's because of the other fish and I feel terrible. I'm not sure where to find your answer. Is it possible to e-mail me at: <Please take a read on WWM re goldfish disease, systems... there are articles and FAQs files there to answer your questions. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much. Carol Pugliano-Martin

FW disease city, hypochondria Hi, my name is Brandi and I have a few problems (I think) with my fish. I have an orange and white fantail in my ten gallon tank and his dorsal fin is laying down. He stays at the top of the water a little, but he's not gasping or flopping or anything. I can see no other signs of sickness, and my other goldfish (in the same tank) is healthy and active. My water seems to be okay, except not quite as acidic as it might should be.   <Mmm, actually, better to keep goldfish in slightly alkaline water... 7.2-7.5 or so is ideal. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm > Should I add aquarium salt or any kind of acid-upper? <... not for this purpose, but some salt addition may be a good idea. As stated, you may be confused re what pH is... Please read WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm > Also, I have a female Betta who has had her dorsal fin ripped off. She's swimming fine, and eats well, and recognizes me when I come to the tank. I'm treating her by herself in a 2.5 gallon tank with Melafix. <I would NOT use this product... or herbal remedies period> Her wound seems grave, but she seems okay. Is there anything else I should be doing for her? <Please read WWM re...> Finally, I'm treating my mollies for some kind of weird shimmy/clamped fins combo with Quick Cure.  They seem all better now, but how long should I continue the treatment? <Please see...> How do I clean their tank (it's got snails in it and how they got there, I have no idea but I like them)?  <Please...> Any help would be very much appreciated, and I apologize if these questions have already been answered, but I couldn't find anything with the search tool that quite fit my situation. Thank you again! <Umm, see the list of suggestions re querying us? Please use the materials archived on WetWebMedia... the search tool, indices... Bob Fenner...>

Goldfish in Distress Hi there. One month ago we brought home two fantail goldfish and both were doing well up until a few days ago when Ariel was resting at the bottom of the 10 gallon Eclipse EXPLORER II tank with a pump filtration system. Until last night, she would rest and then swim erratically around, spiraling and then come to rest on her side at the bottom. Her sides seem a bit distended and pointy. She was fed every other day and sometimes every day and pinch Omega One Natural Protein Formula Goldfish flakes. Our LPS tested the water this morning and it tested fine. He thought it may be a parasite infection and told us to give 1/2 teaspoon of MELA/FIX every day for one week. It has been less then a day but I am worried about her. Is there a chance she will swim again? She's just hanging out around the intake tube. Her fins seem fine. The top one just drapes over her little body. Any suggestions?  Thank You! Maryann in Connecticut <Yep, a couple. Start doing large water changes to get rid of that #$*%ing MelaFix. 50% at a time. Two the first day, a few hours apart, then daily. I have read too many reports of someone using it because of a little rip in a fin only to have their fish end up unable to breath. Look for the "active ingredients". There are none. This is boiled tree bark or some other nonsense. And I have never heard of using it for a parasitic infection, if that's what your fish has. The water changes alone by be enough to get the fish back swimming. If not, look for a medicine with Metronidazole listed on it. If the fish is eating, flake food treated with Metronidazole would be best. You can get the flake online here:  http://www.guppiesplus.safeshopper.com Good luck. Don

Moldy fish fins Hello, I have a little fan-tail goldfish (Art).  6 days ago Art developed a small black spot on his dorsal fin.  I quarantined him into a tank and gave a dose of Melafix and commenced a salt treatment.  The tank he came from was also given Melafix, but his other friends all look fine.  The black spot grew and now covers his tail, dorsal fin and the top of his head.  The black growth looks like mould, yet it doesn't appear to effect his happiness (he was a little depressed when I put him into the hospital tank, but cheered up after a day).  He is eating fine.  I have reached the suggested salt/water ratio, and his tank has aeration. I'm keeping up the Melafix.  I have looked through FAQ's and have found answers relating to a change of colour, but this appears to be a substance growing across his surface.  I am worried as he hasn't improved  - and I've totally run out of ideas to try.  I hope you may be able to answer my question, and I sincerely thank you in advance (as does Art), Cheers, Michelle >>Dear Michelle; It sounds like your goldfish has a bacterial infection. You will need to treat with a stronger medication than Melafix. Ask at your Local Fish Store for a good antibiotic for goldfish. You will need to remove your carbon from the filter when you treat, since carbon removes meds. Also, make sure your water quality is good. Please test your water! You need to know the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Test it during the treatment, also, as antibiotics will kill your beneficial bacteria colonies in the filter. -Gwen<<
Moldy Fish Fins
Hello Gwen, Thank you very much for your help.   With gratitude, Michelle and Art Michelle, hello, how is Art doing? Did you have any luck finding medication? I forgot to mention you can buy all the required test kits at your local fish store, or they will probably test your water for free, or for a small sum (couple of dollars) for you. If you do have ammonia or nitrite in your water, you must do frequent partial water changes to keep the levels low. Same for nitrates, only it is not quite so toxic. Since it is the fish that produce the ammonia, you will need to test the water during the time you are treating him with medication, as I mentioned earlier, due to the fact that the meds will kill the bacteria that are oxidizing the ammonia and nitrites and reducing them to the less toxic form, nitrate. The ammonia will then build up in the water, which will stress the fish. Sorry I did not go into more detail in my previous email. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask! -Gwen > Hello, I have a little fan-tail goldfish (Art).  6 days ago Art developed a small black spot on his dorsal fin.  I quarantined him into a tank and gave a dose of Melafix and commenced a salt treatment.  The tank he came from was also given Melafix, but his other friends all look fine.  The black spot grew and now covers his tail, dorsal fin and the top of his head.  The black growth looks like mould, yet it doesn't appear to effect his happiness (he was a little depressed when I put him into the hospital tank, but cheered up after a day).  He is eating fine.  I have reached the suggested salt/water ratio, and his tank has aeration. I'm keeping up the Melafix.  I have looked through FAQ's and have found answers relating to a change of colour, but this appears to be a substance growing across his surface.  I am worried as he hasn't improved  - and I've totally run out of ideas to try.  I hope you may be able to answer my question, and I sincerely thank you in advance (as does A! >  RT), Cheers, Michelle > >>Dear Michelle; It sounds like your goldfish has a bacterial infection. You will need to treat with a stronger medication than Melafix. Ask at your Local Fish Store for a good antibiotic for goldfish. You will need to remove your carbon from the filter when you treat, since carbon removes meds. Also, make sure your water quality is good. Please test your water! You need to know the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Test it during the treatment, also, as antibiotics will kill your beneficial bacteria colonies in the filter. -Gwen<<

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