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FAQs on Goldfish Medications: eSHa

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antibiotics (e.g. Maracyn, Tetracycline), Organophosphates (e.g. Fluke Tabs, Dylox), Anthelminthics (de-wormers), Salts, Copper Compounds, Formalin, Malachite Green, Mela & Pima(not)Fix, 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  


Esha 2000:

6.3 mg ethacridine lactate (Rivanol)
1 mg proflavin
3.2 mg copper 2+
0.26 mg methyl orange


New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!) 4/24/2010
Good evening Neale (or another kind WWM crewmember),
I'm contacting you regarding an ongoing problem which you were kind enough to help me with earlier in the month - I hope you don't mind me checking something further with you.
<Fire away.>
The problem is some fungus which is growing on my goldfish's fin. I started treating this with eSHa 2000 just over three weeks ago, and the fungus has reduced remarkably, but a few faint spots have persisted. These are also decreasing, and I mean to continue with the eSHa according to your directions (changing 35% of the water after every course).
<Very good.>
I just wanted to check with you that it's all right to continue with the
medication for such a protracted period.
<Should be.>
It may take several more courses to finally get rid of the fungus, but I'm reluctant to stop the treatment unless necessary because the fungus has come back very quickly in the past. One of my goldfish doesn't seem terribly happy with the medication, which is what prompted me to get in touch (he seems a bit lethargic and fed up), so I would be grateful for your opinion on the best way forward.
<You may want to hold off after the current treatment is done, wait a week or two, and see what happens. The use of a little salt in the water has a mild antifungal effect, and at a dose of 2-3 grammes/litre won't harm Goldfish at all (Goldfish are actually surprisingly tolerant of brackish water, let alone traces of salt such as this). Alternatively, you might use Melafix. The aim here is to concentrate on ensuring optimal water quality, so the fish can fight off the remaining infection, whilst maybe adding just a little something to tip the odds in the fish's favour.>
As ever, thank you in advance for any advice and I offer my heartfelt thanks for all the help over the past four years.
All the best,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!)   4/25/10

Dear Neale,
Thank you very much as ever for your advice, which I'll put to use immediately. Hope you're enjoying the lovely weather!
<Glad to be of help. Weather today not so lovely: muggy, overcast and rainy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!)
Hi Neale,
Beg pardon for the second reply in a few hours - but when you say salt, do you mean table salt or a specific aquarium salt?
<Most folks use what's called aquarium salt or tonic salt. Don't use marine salt mix for this type of thing, because that'd raise the pH and hardness.
As for cooking/table salt, generally avoid because there are additives used to keep table salt free-flowing. Pure sea salt or kosher salt can be used though, provided these are 100% pure sodium chloride, and don't have anything added to them.>
(I've read that the additives in table salt can cause problems in aquariums, but frankly if it's not on WWM I'm reluctant to believe it!)
Thanks very much again for all your help (and patience),
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. ESHA (FAO Neale if possible - thanks!)
Hi Neale,
Thank you again for all your help, I really appreciate it and hope I won't have cause to trouble you again in the future!
All the best,
<Glad to have been of help. Good luck, Neale.>

Question re. eSHa 2000 and dechlorinator for goldfish -- 3/31/10
Hello WetWeb Crew,
Many thanks as always for this site, and all the help I have gained from it in the past. I've used the search function as usual, but couldn't find the answers I was after, so apologies if I missed them.
I have a brief question - based on Neale's recommendations on WWM, I am about to use eSHa 2000 to treat my goldfish's fungus/Finrot.
<Very good.>
However, the instructions are unclear on whether it is safe to use eSHa alongside dechlorinator (I currently use Interpet Fresh Start, though unfortunately I haven't been able to find any actual name for the chemical(s) on the box). The eSHa instructions say not to use other treatments alongside it, but if this applies to dechlorinator then I have to do a huge water change and dump in a load of untreated water, which I'm really not happy with. Hopefully Neale, or someone else who has used eSHA 2000, can let me know whether it is safe to use the two alongside each other.
<Yes, should be safe.>
One additional question, as I'm writing in anyway - the instructions for the eSHA only say that the medication should be added over three days, nothing about how long to leave it there afterwards. Should the water be
changed immediately afterwards, or should I just change it on my regular schedule a few days later?
<I think it's on the leaflet somewhere. Maybe do a water change 7 days from the last dose?>
Many, many thanks as always for your time and help,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. eSHa 2000 and dechlorinator for goldfish -- 3/31/10
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for the quick response; it's really appreciated. I'll let you know how things went in a few days, so someone else with the same question in the future can find their answer.
All the best,
<Glad to have helped. Good luck! Neale.>
Persistent goldfish fungus (FAO Neale, if possible - thank you!)   4/5/10

Good morning WetWeb,
I contacted you recently regarding whether it is safe to use eSHa 2000 alongside Interpet's Fresh Start dechlorinator, and promised to report back so that others can find the information on your site. I started using eSHa on Wednesday, and there have been no apparent side-effects due to the dechlorinator. Many thanks to Neale for his prompt response earlier in the week, and I hope this proves helpful to someone in the future.
<Let's hope!>
You've all been very kind in answering my occasional goldfish-related queries over the past four years, and I really appreciate it. Hopefully you'll be willing to answer one more.
<Fire away.>
My problem is that one of my goldfish developed fungus on his dorsal fin several weeks ago (there are several white patches on the fin, and the fin itself became opaque in patches and blood-streaked). I treated this with Interpet's fungus/Finrot medication - which has worked for me in the past - but, although it vastly reduced the problem, there were still some faint white patches after a couple of weeks of treatment. These didn't seem to improve during the second week - i.e. there was rapid improvement over the first few days, but this ground to a halt.
<Does absolutely depend on the environment. Finrot, Fungus and Mouth Fungus [Columnaris] won't get better if the triggering issues aren't fixed. And on the other hand, if the conditions get better, and the fish are basically sound in other respects, they should heal eventually.>
I was very reluctant to throw yet more medication at him, but when I stopped using the Interpet medication the fungus flared up again and the blood streaks returned - it became as bad as it had ever been within a day and a half. I therefore searched WWM for recommendations and found that Neale recommends eSHa 2000, which I tried earlier this week. On reaching the end of the treatment course (3 days), the fungus had substantially reduced and I hoped that it would continue to reduce, since the medication was still in the water. However, the following day the fungus flared up again. That brings us up to yesterday, when I added another dose of eSHa (on the grounds that the meds leaflet says it is acceptable in severe cases to prolong the treatment for a (unspecified) "number of days").
<Indeed, like most antimicrobial medications more than one course may be required. Do also check you aren't using carbon in the filter, and do be aware that the more organic "stuff" in the aquarium, like plants and biological filters, the faster medications can metabolise.>
That's the back-story; here are my questions:
1) Should I continue with the eSHa until the fungus is gone (if not, is there something else I need to try)? How long can I safely continue with the medication? The leaflet doesn't specify, but I know Neale uses this regularly and I'm hoping his experience may have some guidance for me.
<Yes, use again. Do a 25-50% water change in between courses.>
2) I've never seen fungus this persistent.
<Do compare with Columnaris, and of course consider Finrot.>
My three goldfish rarely get it - there has been the odd scrape or torn fin over the years, and fungus does tend to take advantage of the breach, but this has always reduced and disappeared within a week at the absolute most.
This has gone on for over a month now, and I suspect that there may be an underlying problem. My water chemistry is pH 7.5, ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrates under 5. Temperature is around 18.5 degrees C. The tank is well-filtered (filtration set to Neale's guidelines, which I believe was something like 6-8x what the manufacturers state is necessary). There is a thin layer of gravel (a couple of centimetres at most). Their diet is around 90% peas, supplemented by very small amounts of goldfish flakes every few days.
<You might balance the diet a bit towards the flake. Maybe 50/50 flake and greens. The extra protein will be handy.>
I currently have some Elodea in quarantine (well, in a bucket) which they'll get in a few weeks. I can't think of anything else to add off the top of my head. I don't think from my reading that there is anything wrong with the above, but I can't understand why this fungus isn't going away. If you have any thoughts, they would be most gratefully received.
Thank you very much as ever for your time,
<Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Sick goldfish - suspected velvet, but maybe not? -- 10/31/09
Hello Wet Web Crew,
<Hello Sara,>
Hope all's well with you.
<Indeed it is.>
I wonder if we could pick your brains on this one. Ten days ago our comet Arthur became jumpy. Violent somersaults, fast and erratic movements, breaking through the surface of the water... his tank-mate Daphne (redcap Oranda) seemed likewise agitated, but hard to say if she was herself displaying a symptom or was being stressed by his extreme behaviour.
<Can be a water quality issue, including sudden pH changes, particularly acidification. But there are other causes, including parasites irritating the gills as well as breeding season "high spirits".>
We initially suspected a nitrogen spike, but on inspection nitrite and ammonia were zero. Nitrate had crept up, and something was clearly wrong, so we did a 50% water change. Jumpiness continues, in between which both fish sit in corner making a strange shimmering twitchy movement - not flecking or scratching but as if wriggling.
<Ah, does seem like irritation of the gills.>
On close inspection we thought we could see some slight glittery iridescence - hard to tell for sure, and certainly not whitespot, but combined with the other symptoms we diagnosed velvet and began treating with EsHa Exit for 3 days, adding a total of 130g of aquarium salt over two days (35 litre tank), and overlapping on day 3 with EsHa 2000, for three days.
<Shouldn't really need to use both salt and medication, though Goldfish being salt-tolerant, I can't see there being any obvious reason why this combination would cause harm. But that said, do always bear in mind medications (as opposed to salt) can be toxic to fish. So mixing eSHa EXIT and eSHa 2000 at the same time isn't something I'd recommend, partly because they may react with each other, and partly because overlapping ingredients may take the concentration of a particular ingredient above safe levels.>
Instructions tell us we can do a second round of Exit 5 days after the first course finishes, so our plan was to do an aggressive water change on Sunday and start the treatment again.
We're keeping the tank dark and is always slightly warm, two pump filters going (no carbon or zeolite), and have removed plants and ornaments. They are feeding and excreting fine (frozen daphnia, peas, Nori) although I think the comet isn't competing as well as usual.
<Maybe the case if he isn't well, but wouldn't read too much into this just yet.>
In the last few hours, comet has developed little black line-like markings on gills and jaw, and does look slightly discoloured around the gills - a yellowy green iridescence like on fish at the fishmongers. Could be bruising from all the jumping about, but I've not seen it before.
<Nor I.>
As of 5 min.s ago, nitrite zero, nitrate trace, pH 7.6.
The real question is whether we've correctly diagnose and treated... if not, what do you think it is and what should we do, and if so, what's the best move forward?
<On the whole eSHa EXIT does a good job against both Whitespot and Velvet, so if these are issues, it should catch them. Goldfish are fairly nitrate tolerant, and provided levels weren't above 50 mg/l, I'd not expect them to get sick. Likewise, they do well in hard, basic water, so if you have such water conditions, they should be happy and the risks of sudden acidification shouldn't be very great. An exception to this is if you have large quantities of plants (like Vallisneria and Elodea) that remove bicarbonate from the water; under strong lighting, these can soften water quickly, allowing pH to fluctuate rapidly.>
We'd greatly appreciate your opinion on this.
Many thanks and very best wishes,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick goldfish - suspected velvet, but maybe not?  -- 11/1/09

Thanks Neale, v. interesting. Do you think salt for the gills and no more chemicals might be the way to go?
<Would complete the course of anti-Velvet/Ick medication you are on.
There's little use stopping halfway. Wouldn't use an anti-bacterial medication (like eSHa 2000) unless there were good reasons to do so. Salt isn't a miracle cure, and doesn't "help the gills" in any meaningful way.
Salt is specifically used to treat Ick (= Whitespot), and saltwater dips (as apposed to additions to the tank) are useful prior to physical removal of skin lice and flukes. Salt also helps detoxify nitrite and nitrate in
the short term. But ideas about salt helping "stimulate slime production" or "restore osmotic balance" are largely based on misunderstandings of the science. Goldfish evolved as freshwater fish, and always, repeat ALWAYS, do better in hard, basic freshwater conditions.>
Also, very interesting what you say about lighting and elodea... We do have these, although I did remove plants and kept the tank dark when I suspected velvet... Maybe this exacerbated the situation.
<Elodea will soften water, but this is only an issue if your water is pretty soft to begin with, and/or you don't do regular water changes to restore the background level of carbonate hardness. Ordinarily it's a
harmless plant that provides Goldfish something fibrous for them to eat.>
Will keep a closer eye on pH... Thanks again! Xxx
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish vs. child -- 07/17/09
Hello! I just found out that yesterday my child's friend was �playing� with our 5 -6 inch, 8 year old goldfish. Basically, she thought it would be fun to transfer the poor fish back and forth from the tank to the bucket of water that she filled up.
Upon inspection, the once beautiful fail tail looks like it's been plucked off leaving behind ½ inch nubs and the tail is visibly bruised and swollen.
<Should grow back, you'll be pleased to know.>
I'm feeling just sick about what's happened to her. I know 8 years is a pretty good lifespan for a tank gold fish, but is there anything I can do to help her tail mend and will the fan tail ever grow back?
<Eight years is still but a youngster in Goldfish terms; the record is some 30 odd years. Anyway, yes, you can do a lot to help. The main thing is to provide good water quality, i.e., zero ammonia and zero nitrite. I'm assuming this tank has a filter and you do regular water changes, so that shouldn't be too difficult. The next thing is to treat the aquarium with a suitable medication to prevent Finrot and Fungus. In the UK the medication I recommend is eSHa 2000, while in the US you'll find things like Seachem Paraguard and Mardel Maracyn should do the trick nicely. Similar products should be available in other parts of the world. Your pet shop might recommend something called Melafix based on tea-tree oil; while a fair antiseptic, it isn't terribly reliable. If you happen to have this stuff lying around by all means use it and see what happens, but I wouldn't go out and buy any, and I certainly wouldn't use it if there are obvious signs of fungus or Finrot (white threads, inflammation, dead white tissue, etc.).>
<Good luck, Neale.>

A quick goldfish Ich question and thank goodness for QT! 4/16/09
Hi all you fantastic WetWeb crew,
I just have a couple of Ich questions; I have used the search tool but I am a bit confused.
I have just purchased two new common goldfish to join a single one in a fully cycled 190 ltr tank.
Fortunately I put them in a 60 ltr fully cycled quarantine tank when I got them on Saturday. I am almost certain one of them has Ich. I am so pleased I did this!
<Agreed, should make treatment easier, but since the Ick parasite is highly mobile (e.g., on wet nets and hands) it is likely your other fish are at risk, so observe carefully.>
I have been testing the water each day and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 7 nitrates and the pH is 8.2.
<Sounds fine.>
I would really like to use a salt treatment to clear this up, rather than medicate the tank as I feel that they have been stressed enough from their move. However, I am not sure what dosage the salt should be in. I can find dosages but I am not sure if the crew member answering is using English gallons or US gallons.
<It's 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon.>
Could you tell me what the dosage is in English gallons (or Litres!).
<One US gallon is 3.78 litres. If your bucket or aquarium is rated in Imperial gallons, 12 US gallons are 10 Imperial gallons.>
I kind of assume that you add the salt over a period of time, not straight away, if this is so what sort of time period do you use to get the salinity up?
<Adding the salt straight away is fine; the salinity is very, very low.>
I am under the impression that salt treatment may affect my biological filter.
<It won't.>
Am I right in thinking that you continue treatment two weeks after the spots have fallen off?
<Correct; the salt doesn't kill the white spots on the fish: only the free living parasites.>
Once the Ich has gone, and I move my fish, I was going to take out my filter sponge and bioballs and place them in my external canister filter (so I always have spare mature filter media in an emergency). Should I
sterilise everything or just run the tank for 3 or 4 days without fish in it to get rid of any Ich?
<It's a good idea to sterilise hospital tanks, provided you can keep filter media alive someplace else. Of course, in the case of serious illnesses you would sterilise the filter media as well, and then re-cycle the hospital tank.>
My other little goldfish has had a bit of a white patch by her mouth which we never noticed until she was in QT. This has almost cleared right up but I guess the salt may help this little fish too.
<May help a little, but I'd observe, and if the white spot isn't clearing up (it may simply be a bruise) I'd treat for Finrot/Fungus; in the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000 as working on Finrot, Fungus, and Columnaris equally well.>
I can't say how brilliant QT is - both the fish looked fine in the tank at the LFS and also in the bag when we got home, but once in QT you can really get a good look at them.
It was very, very tempting to put them in our main tank, and thanks to your website, I'm so glad we didn't!
Many thanks in advance, Michelle
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

White growth between eyes!   2/22/09 Hi Neale, My filter conked out in a weekend away, and when I arrived home today, the water was sort of murky. Now both of my goldfish, a comet and a common, have developed a white growth about 4 mm in diameter on their faces, right between the eyes. The common seems to have a slight red tinge around the exterior. I've put in two new filters to try to clear the water and I've done a partial water change but I'm very worried. What are these growths and what else can I do to help them? Thanks so much for your help, I hope my fishies will be ok! Katie <Hi Katie. Could be nothing more than excess mucous, something that Goldfish do when irritated. But to be on the safe side, I'd treat against Finrot/Fungus using a reliable (not salt, not Melafix) medication of your choice. In the UK at least, I use a product called eSHa 2000 for this sort of thing. It's an Acriflavine/copper medication. Works well, and doesn't seem to harm plants or filter bacteria. Equivalent products are widely sold elsewhere. Cheers, Neale.>

My goldfish recently developed a yellowish stained color around the head and mouth as well as the base of the fins.   11/14/08 <Assume Finrot and/or Fungus and/or Mouth Fungus (this latter actually a bacterial infection called Columnaris). Treat with a suitable medication. Here in Europe I recommend eSHa 2000, but in the US you might want to use something like Maracyn. What you don't want to waste your time with is salt, Melafix, or any of those vague medications sold as "tonics".> Now I've tried to Google this even in Google images. Maybe tomorrow I'm going to try WebCrawler and Askjeeves, or maybe a library. Anyway the closest thing I've read about on this condition is velvet which involves a parasite. Now I guess that's possible but there are no bumps, it's just a yellowish stain. I'll get more into the details in a moment, allow me to verbose on my tank. Now my tank is a 20 gal that I use a full spectrum fluorescent aquarium light with. <Twenty gallons is really much too small for Goldfish. Contrary to what you might imagine, Goldfish don't do well in small tanks -- most Goldfish kept in bowls for example die very quickly! Always remember Goldfish are pond fish, bred for ponds and happiest in ponds. If you keep them indoors, you need to give them SPACE. Most of us here at WWM would recommend a minimum tank size of 30 gallons, and that's based on hard-earned experience!> So I can see colors fairly well. I have one angel Koi and one other goldfish as well as 3 fancy male guppies. My Koi and other Goldfish are about 3"-5." (It's hard to accurately measure length without actually pulling them out of the tank, and I don't feel it's that important to resort to pulling them out of the water.) My oddly colored goldfish is about 2"-4" and it's one of those feeders, and despite that it is a tough little fish. <Koi tend not to do well indoors, and in any case will eventually need a really big aquarium. We're talking 55 gallons upwards, minimum. Even allowing for the fact Koi stunt readily when kept indoors, they are still big, messy, but surprisingly delicate fish.> I brought it on a couple road trips while it was still within an inch and a half, one that lasted more then a couple days, and it survived pretty well, but that was almost a year ago. Anyhow about a month ago I changed them from a 10 gal to a 20 gal. I added some ghost shrimp back then as well in a special protective net. However I kept the ghost shrimp in a separate tank for about a week. I also added some plants I also kept in separate tank for about a week or so. My fish have since destroyed any resemblance that they were plants that were healthy and with leaves. I have some very destructive fish. <No, you have herbivorous fish. Goldfish and Koi eat plants. It's what they should be eating. Healthy fish are fed plants much more than pellets! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm By all means keep adding Elodea, Cabomba or whatever is cheap in your neighbourhood. The Goldfish and Koi will eat these, and if you add flake/pellets every 2-3 days instead of daily, you will have very healthy fish.> I have removed most of the plant material except maybe a stick I missed. The reason I kept them in a separate tank for about a week is because I had a battle with Ich on my Koi that just wouldn't go away. I used Ick-away, quick-cure, Aquari-sol, and then when none of that seemed to work, I hyper salinated the water to about 1 tbsp per gallon for about a month give or take. But nothing worked. <I suspect there's a bunch of things going on here. For a start, many aquarists are unaware they need to remove carbon from the filter before using medication. If you have carbon in the filter, you can add as much medication as you want, and the fish still won't get better. The carbon absorbs organic chemicals of all sorts, including medication. Next up, you're randomly adding stuff I suspect without first checking what the problem is. Whitespot/Ick follows the introduction of new fish. Once you've broken the cycle of infection in the aquarium, it should never return unless to add new fish (or somehow carry water from an infected tank into this tank, e.g., by sharing nets or buckets). If your fish keep getting sick, it's much more likely there's something wrong with the environment. That's why we insist people do a pH test and a nitrite test before anything else. Goldfish will not tolerate acidic pH levels, and must have hard, basic water conditions to do well. Salt, by the way, doesn't raise pH or help in the least. Goldfish are messy fish, and while hardy up to a point, prolonged exposure to ammonia and nitrite will stress them, and eventually kill them. Before they die, they commonly suffer from things like Finrot. It's critical you sit back and read over water chemistry and water quality.> Now because this Ick seemed to affect the Koi more then the goldfish I just moved them all including the guppies to a hospital tank. And then when it seemed the goldfish weren't having anymore troubles I moved them back while I left the Koi in the hospital tank. The reason I knew the Koi still had Ich was because of the tail fin. It had little bumps that wouldn't go away at the bottom and top of the tail fin And some larger bumps that would form and disappear from time to time. <I'm fairly sure what you're describing is Finrot. What happens is the bacteria cause blockages in the blood vessels (turning pink), these swell up, tissue dies (the white lumps) and then the fin membrane around that area dies.> Eventually I just bought some nail care scissors and alcohol to disinfect the scissors before cutting, and cut off the part of the fin with the bumps. <No no no! Put the darn scissors down! Unless you're a vet or a surgeon, you have no business doing this...> I used malachite green from the Ick away as the bacteriostatic to help in covering the wound from any infectious bacteria, and it's a good thing I did it then. Because afterwards I noticed a big red ball of a bump had just started to protrude outside of the skin on the bottom part of the tailfin I cut. <You likely made things worse, and in any case, now I'm 100% sure we're dealing with Finrot.> It seemed to work because no more bumps ever formed as of yet. But I do notice that sometimes the Koi will still brush up against the bottom of the tank. And will dart around every now and again when he's not looking for food among the pebbles. <Classic signs of stress from ammonia, pH instability...> And next is where it may pertain to my goldfish. Sometimes I wonder if what my Koi really had wasn't a case of velvet and Ick because most of the bumps were really small, and maybe had a light yellow tint to them at times. I just thought I'd throw that at you so you could consider it. And the bumps that I was sure were Ick usually where random and at different locations around the fins of my Koi and Goldfish, and the bumps were white, and a little bigger then the bumps on my Koi's tail fin and were much more well defined like speckles of salt they say Ick compares too. There haven't been any such bumps, small or well defined like salt that I've noticed since. But I haven't been checking lately very much which is why one of my goldfish got this yellowish stain all around his mouth and head and at the base of his fins, and maybe even a little down the belly before I noticed and changed the water. Oh one other issue my Koi hasn't got over yet is a splitting of the bottom, I think it's called, pelvic fins. I assume this is fin rot brought on by the stress of being in a 2 gallon hospital tank. <The Finrot is a bacterial infection, almost always caused by poor water quality. For gosh sakes, grab a nitrite or ammonia test kit and check your water quality!> But the fins haven't receded any or gotten any worse that I've noticed since I put him into the 20 gallon tank. His dorsal fin has a reddish tip and that happened I think during the hospital tank stay due to staying under the filter. I think he must have caught his fin in the propeller or something. But it doesn't seem to be getting worse. If I have to treat, I've already bought Melafix. One last thing I now use a salt concentration of 4tbsp's per 10 gallons. I do this to discourage infection and any Ick that may still be presently safe within the gills of my fish. <Melafix is garbage. Adding salt to the aquarium will do nothing if water quality is chronically bad. Almost certainly, the issue here isn't "disease" as such, but the fact the aquarium is unhealthy, dangerous even. Your job is to [a] check how bad the water quality is; and [b] understand why water quality is bad. Even without seeing your aquarium I can make some predications: It's overstocked, you're overfeeding the fish, and you filter isn't adequate. Goldfish need, at minimum, a 30 gallon tank with a filter rated at 6 times the volume in turnover per hour. If you have a 30 gallon tank, then the filter should be rated at 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour. This is non-negotiable. On top of that, you should be doing 25-50% weekly water changes, keeping pH levels constant. There's no need to add salt, but if the water is soft in your area (below 10 degrees dH general hardness) then hardening the water will be important. We can talk about that another time, if necessary. Koi are EVEN MORE fussy than Goldfish, so everything said here for Goldfish holds for them, except the tank should be at least twice as big. In any even, the ammonia has to be zero, the nitrite zero, and the pH around 7.5-8.0.> I also do this because I read somewhere that goldfish are naturally a brackish water fish. <No, they're not. They're freshwater fish. Wild (feral) Goldfish do indeed have some tolerance for brackish water, as do wild carp, but YOU DO NOT need to add salt to a Goldfish or Koi aquarium. Sometimes vets and aquarists will use salt to treat very specific conditions or diseases. But in general, leave the salt in the kitchen, not in your aquarium!> Now I don't know if that's true, but I'm sure that goldfish are more accustomed to salt in water then other freshwater fish. Now as for my yellowish goldfish I really think the reason my fish developed this is because I didn't change the water for like a month. <!!!!!> And even the water had a yellowish color to it for like a week give or take. And yes I tested the water about 2-3 weeks or so before I changed it and the nitrates were in the caution zone. Ammonia is usually always within the caution zone, almost never in the completely safe zone. <Let's be clear, there's no "caution" zone. There's SAFE, which is ZERO, and there's DANGEROUS, which is anything NOT ZERO. If you have ammonia in the water all the time, then your tank is overstocked, the fish overfed, and/or the filter under-powered. Possibly all three problems at once!> The nitrites are almost always non-existent, and the nitrates are usually in the caution zone as well.. So I'm bad I know, but my main concern is what could it be? <Have said above.> And yes, whenever I use tap water, I use AquaSafe water conditioner. And it says it's made for fresh and marine water. I know water conditions may have caused it, and for that I feel bad, but I'd really like to know if it's cause for concern, or should keeping clean water take care of it? Now as for how he's acting, he's pretty much himself, likes to eat, ravages the ghost shrimp net. Here's some more information I forgot to mention while explaining my tank. I have a couple fake plants. One of them is growing some sort of greenish fuzz on the flower parts, and my fish with the yellowish stain seems to love to eat it. Except for the guppies, the other fish don't eat this fuzz as far as I can tell. Do you think my fish could be eating too much of this fuzz that maybe he's getting too much of something the growth produces that's not good in large amounts for fish to consume? <The "fuzz" is either algae, if green, or bacteria, if grey and slimy, or fungus, if off-white and cotton-like. Not dangerous in themselves. But bacteria and fungi in large amounts do imply a "dirty" aquarium. Blue-green algae (which can also be red or black, not just blue/green) is another "danger sign". It has a distinctive musty smell and a slimy texture. It implies dirty water AND poor water circulation.> (Keep in mind no other fish seems to have this yellowish development.) As he swims he seems slightly less stable then usual in the water. I mean he still swims rather healthy and goes for food when I feed them, he just seems slightly less stable then usual, but only slightly. The other fish, including the guppies seem just fine, and slightly more stable against the currents made by the air pump and the filter. Well sorry I gave you so much useless information, the second paragraph really states the issues, but the first gives you a little background. Oh I have carbon filters, and when I was treating my fish for Ick, except for when I used exclusively salt, I cut open my filters and shook out as much carbon as I possibly could reach. I think I got it all except for the carbon dust stains that wouldn't come out even under rinse. Sincerely, John <John, you have your work cut out for you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Good luck, Neale.>

Pearlscale swim bladder    7/23/08 Bob Fenner, <In his absence, it's me, Neale.> Hello, I could do with some advice related to my goldfish , and three year old Pearlscale <Oh?> I found your email on WetWebMedia and have read many of the posts and advice you have given out before about swim bladder issues. I have fed my Pearlscale peas, veg, and frozen foods like daphnia and bloodworm for a many months, well proceeding the recent floating at the top of the tank. So I can rule out constipation. I think. <Well, keep plugging away at the veggie diet; will do your fish no harm and potentially much good.> Water quality is good - her tankmate is in good health. I have added aquarium salt <Neither helpful not required. Salt can cause various disorders in freshwater fish including Dropsy-like symptoms. Wild Carassius auratus are actually very salt tolerant and do fine in brackish water, but the inbred fancy forms may be less tolerant, and maybe even harmed.> and InterPet no.13 - and hope this works. <Useless. Never heard of a single case where it helped a fish. Right up there with Melafix as more placebo than treatment.> In the meantime I have constructed a temporary sling to hold her weight so that she doesn't lay on the top of the water with half her body exposed to the air. <Sounds quite clever!> In a week or two of treatment I will remove the sling and with hope all will be well. Anything else I might do? <If the infection is really a systemic bacterial one, you really will need something like Erythromycin to make much difference. In the US, there's a product called Maracyn that contains this. In the UK (and indeed most of the rest of the world) antibiotics are not available over-the-counter, though some aquarium stores will sell Erythromycin "under-the-counter", which is of course illegal. You can also buy the drug completely legally from your vet. The easiest thing is to pop in and talk to the nurse on duty. Explain the symptoms, and with luck they'll give you some pills for use. This isn't expensive, and nice vets (particularly ones you know through your dog or cat) will sell them at cost, which is no more expensive than the £5 or whatever for regular fish medications at the pet store. Alternatively, you can give a product called eSHa 2000 a whirl; although designed for Finrot and Fungus, it has strong antibacterial properties. It does appear to treat some internal infections, such as Dropsy, and my experience of the product is extremely positive. http://www.eshalabs.com/esha2000.htm As ever, the sooner you treat, the better. This is especially where antibacterial treatments are used, because they tend to be less effective than antibiotic ones.> Many thanks, Chris <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pearlscale swim bladder   7/23/08 I am off to the vets now, but in case they don't know how I can make the pills useful for a goldfish, do I grind them up and add them to the water? Many thanks, Chris <There are two ways. Commercial Erythromycin such as Maracyn is added to the water at a dose of 250 mg/40 litres. Alternatively, Furazolidone can be added to the food at 50-75mg/kg fish weight for 7-10 days, one meal per day. This is a good treatment for systemic bacterial infections. Other drugs used include Oxytetracycline at 6-75 mg/kg fish weight, 7-14 days, one meal per day; and sulphadimine at 200 mg/kg fish weight for up to 14 days, one meal per day. For these last two, the numbers are taken from 'The Interpet Manual of Fish Health' if your vet needs to check the reference. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pearlscale swim bladder   7/23/08 Thank you very much for your feedback - I'm off to see the vet today! I'll let you know how it goes. Chris <Very good! Hope it all goes well, Neale.>

Re: Pearlscale swim bladder  7/23/08 Thank you for your help. Sadly my fish died this afternoon, 36 hours after showing symptoms. <Too bad.> On closer inspection once dead, she had what looked like tissue/organ leaving her vent. Perhaps she was egg-bound, <Unlikely; Goldfish need to be very big to breed, and usually only do so in ponds.> or the swim bladder/internal organs were damaged. <Difficult to know really.> Either way, a sad way to go. Thank you for your help. At least the other goldfish in the tank is in good health. I have scrubbed the tank thoroughly. <Take care not to over-clean the tank. Wiping down the glass and rinsing the gravel through is fine, but leave the filter alone except perhaps for squeezing the sponge (or rinsing the ceramic noodles) in a bucket of aquarium water.> Many thanks, Chris <Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Orandas   7/25/08 Hello Crew, I have 2 Oranda Goldfish. I got them a week ago, after having a 20 gallon tank circulating for about 3 days. (As I have read in your FAQs this may not have been long enough.) <Indeed not. Cycling takes anything up to 6 weeks, and certainly at least a month. You can cycle a tank with fish, but it isn't recommended and requires frequent (daily) water changes of at least 25%. It's a lot easier to "jump start" the tank using live biological media from another tank. In any event, make sure you read and understand this issue -- this is basically what fishkeeping is all about! Get this right (and it's actually VERY EASY if you do things slowly) and EVERYTHING else in the hobby is a piece of cake. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > This is my first time with goldfish and the man at the pet store I got them from didn't tell me anything except "You don't need a heater, feed them only about 2 flakes each a day, and don't add anymore fish for a month". <Broadly true, but there's more to keeping Goldfish than this. They are herbivores for example, and do poorly fed nothing but flake. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm They also need quite a bit of space, and they grow quickly. You certainly need strong filtration and generous water changes if you want them to remain in good health. Otherwise they are very prone to Finrot, fungal infections and so on. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm > I noticed they had slightly cloudy eyes but didn't know if that was normal. <Not normal; commonly a sign of excess mucous, in turn revealing water quality is poor. Water changes and regular use of your nitrite test kit is ESSENTIAL.> After a few days, they are full blown SICK. One is hanging out at the bottom of the tank with drooping fins, and the other will stop swimming and float belly up for a little while, then flip over a swim a little bit. I have also noticed very small white specks on them, mostly on their tail fins but on their heads as well and their eyes are much cloudier. <Likely Finrot and/or Fungus. Treat at once using eSHa 2000 or Maracyn or some equivalent medication, but not Melafix or salt, even if the fish store guy recommends these. They don't work.> Unfortunately I read some other websites before finding yours and I may have taken some bad advice. I did a 50% water change, <Always a good idea!> added the recommended amount of aquarium salt, <There is NO recommended amount of salt for Goldfish; they are freshwater fish, and if adding salt is the "cure", then you have a problem. Adding salt is old school fishkeeping, and essentially trying to fix symptoms not the problem.> added Melafix, AND Ick Away. <Neither relevant here.> Now after reading your FAQs I'm scared that I did way too much, or possibly the wrong thing. Do you think I changed their environment too much and cause more damage than good? <Water changes -- provided water chemistry is constant -- never does any harm. The more, the better.> Should I change the water in 24 hours like it says on the Ick Away bottle? <Depends on whether they have Whitespot/Ick. This disease is very distinctive; it looks as if someone put salt on your fish. If your fish do have this (again, a sign of poor conditions) then complete the Ick treatment as explained on the package. Never, ever "improvise" with medications unless you know (or are told) to do otherwise. Most medications will only work/not do harm if used correctly.> Should I discontinue the use of the Melafix? <Yes.> Also I was wondering if they are sick because of something I do you think I bought them like this? Can you help me? <Yes and no. Many diseases on fish are caused by organisms that sit in the tank anyway. Finrot for example is caused by Aeromonas bacteria that ordinarily do good work breaking down organic matter in the substrate. They are part of the nitrogen cycle, and you need them. The problem is that when fish are stressed by poor conditions their immune systems stop working, and this allows otherwise harmless bacteria to cause problems. This is exactly the same thing as in humans, where people with compromised immune systems become far more vulnerable to pathogens most of us never even notice.> Thank you so much for any advice you can provide. Lynn <Please do review the needs of Goldfish, plus <<Was the end of the comm. RMF>>

Re: Sick Orandas   7/25/08 After reading your advice and researching Finrot and/or fungus. I now don't believe it's Ick because it doesn't look like salt on their bodies, just dust on them. The one that keeps turning belly-up, his tail looks like it's shredded. I'm going to find eSHa 2000 or Maracyn this morning, and I'll do another water change before adding it. Thank you for your help!!! Lynn <Hello Lynn. Looks as if you've diagnosed the problem. eSHa 2000 appears to be sold only in Europe, and that's why I recommend it, living in England. For Americans, Maracyn is the drug-of-choice. There should be other brands and products available in most countries though. Cheers, Neale.>

Growth on Tango Jasoshi's (?!) Tail :(   Goldfish hlth.    3/5/08 Hiya guys! have emailed you before concerning my regular old goldfish (that's all they were called at the pet store!) one orange, one yellow. After months of fighting which I think, turned out to be mating, (?!) I separated my fish for fear the orange one would eventually be eaten! Sadly, after all that trauma, I've noticed a little growth developing on the orange one's tail. I had noticed what appeared to be bubbles on or in his tail, but thought nothing more of it. Now, after months of them being there, they seem to have multiplied to form a pinkish-clearish blob on his tail fin. It doesn't seem to be causing him any real discomfort but how can you tell with a fish?! I had a fish with a growth before and he died :( Please help! What could this be and how can I treat it? thanks in advance! Chloe <Hi Chloe. Not quite enough to go on here, but in any event I'd be treating with a broad anti-Finrot/anti-Fungus medication. I happen to like eSHa 2000 which is good value and seems to work well against a variety of infections. Do remember to remove any carbon (if present) from your filter. Goldfish don't really fight, though they do chase one another rather strenuously if feeling the 'joys of spring'. Make sure the tank is big enough for them, and take care to [a] remove anything sharp or scratchy; and [b] provide some nice plastic plants the females can use as hiding places. Cheers, Neale.>

Air Pockets coming out of my Oranda Pearlfish   12/2/07 Hello, A couple of weeks ago my Oranda Pearlfish stared getting these little air pockets coming out of her scales mainly around the bottom of her tail). But now they seem to be spreading, and she just sits at the bottom of the tank. Now I have to confess I have been really slacking on the maintenance of the tank. I went out today and got new filters and will give it a proper cleaning. I would appreciate some help as to what else can be done to help her. Regards, Joe P.S There is a black Moor in the same tank as her <Hello Joe. Your fish almost certainly has some sort of fungal and/or bacterial infection brought about by the poor water conditions. It cannot be stated more strongly how letting water quality drop makes fish sick. So, the first thing to do is improve your water quality management. 50% water changes are essential with Goldfish, and you need a good filter turning the volume of the tank over at least 6 times per hour (i.e., in a 30 gallon tank, choose a filter that has 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour turnover). Clean the filter media once a month in a bucket of aquarium water. Clean the gravel each water change by stirring it up and siphoning out the dirt. The other thing to do is treat the tank for fungus/Finrot. There are numerous medications suitable for this: Maracyn or eSHa 2000 or Interpet Anti Fungus and Bacteria for example. Skip Melafix/Pimafix -- they don't work all that well. With luck, she'll fix right up in no time. Hope this helps, Neale.>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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