Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Goldfish Environmental Disease 2

(ex: issues of poor water quality, overcrowding, unfavorable tank/water conditions, temperature, etc.)


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

Related Goldfish Disease FAQs: Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 3, Environmental 4, Environmental 5, Environmental 6Environmental 7Environmental 8Environmental 9Environmental 10Environmental 11Environmental 12& Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 8, Goldfish Disease 9, Goldfish Disease 10, Goldfish Disease 11, Goldfish Disease 12, Goldfish Disease 13, Goldfish Disease 14, Goldfish Disease 15, Goldfish Disease 16, Goldfish Disease 17, Goldfish Disease 18, Goldfish Disease 19, Goldfish Disease 20, Goldfish Disease 21, Goldfish 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 & Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling, Koi/Pondfish Disease, Goldfish in General, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Feeding, Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction,

Bowls make goldfish sick and sad.
Give them more room and they'll be glad!
- Sara M.

Key Points/Notes:


  • It is a myth that goldfish will not grow past the capacity of their containers. If kept in a small container/bowl their growth will be slow and stunted but they will grow (and likely eventually die prematurely due to poor environmental conditions).
  • Dropsy is a condition, not a disease. Dropsy is a build up of internal pressure that can be caused by any number of different things. The internal pressure can be caused by gas, swelling, tumors, constipation, etc. (infection is sometimes, but not always, the root cause of these problems). Whatever the cause, the fish will appear bloated, sometimes to the extent that the scales protrude and the eyes bulge.
  • Goldfish are best kept by themselves or with other goldfish (not with "community fish")
  • Goldfish need colder water (~60 to 70F)
  • Goldfish are very messy (and foul the water quickly).
  • Ideally, you should have as a bare minimum at least 10g for every Goldfish.
  • Avoid using spray or aerosol cleaners near the aquarium (these can poison the fish).
  • Water changes should be at least 20% once a week in a well filtered system (up to 90%/week if in a "bowl" or other vessel with no filter).
  • When acclimating fish, do watch/test for differences in the pH of the water from which it is coming and the water into which it is going.
  • In systems that are too small, lack of dissolved oxygen can cause illness. Adding an airstone can temporarily help the problem, but is not a long-term solution.
  • Goldfish prefer alkaline water.
  • Some crew members suggest using "freshwater" aquarium salt with suffering goldfish (at least one crew member disagrees).
  • pH swings are much more dangerous/harmful than an "imperfect" but stable pH. pH swings can cause excess slime coat and white patches on the body of the fish.

Some of these points, stated in context and elaborated on below, are highlighted in blue to make them easier to find.


New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner


Calico fantail goldfish -- jaw problem. Learning to help yourself, your livestock -- 01/03/10
I have two small goldfish, who I have only owned for one week.
<... in an uncycled system>
They live in a ten-gallon tank (small I know, but should do until they get bigger?)
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm>
with two plastic ornamental rocks with some fake flowers growing out of them.
They have a filter.
I feed them a flake each in the morning and the evening of Aqueon Goldfish Flakes.
<Improper. Read here:
The water is dechlorinated, supplemented, and microbed, according to the fish man at my local Petco.
The problem is: today, when I fed them, a piece of food hit the filter return and shot down towards the pebbles. My calico fantail goldfish, Bean, made a grab for it, and appeared to overextend his jaw. I know that Bean has a tail problem, because one side of his tail goes upwards instead of remaining normal. I don't know if this is related, but Bean can't seem to close his mouth properly, and I am concerned that this will affect his ability to eat.
Any advice is extremely appreciated. Thank you!
<May have "swallowed" a piece/bit of gravel... Put the words/string:
"Goldfish jaw problem" in the search tool here:
and read the cached views. Bob Fenner>


what's wrong with my fish. GF, typical 1/1/2010
My goldfish (Nemo) is the size of 1 1/2 of my hands and is 5 1/2 years old.
It is in a 55gal. tank with one algae eater (Charlie) 2 hands in size. About 3 weeks ago I noticed Nemo's dorsal fin was laying down. The next week he started sitting on the bottom of the tank. He still eats and every now and
then we catch him swimming around. I promise it seems that he is playing tricks on me. I came into the room the other day and he was swimming all around the tank but as soon as he saw me he stopped and slowly sat back
down on the bottom of the tank. He has done this several times now that silly fish. In all seriousness what could be wrong with him? I just checked the pH and it is 6.0. Temp. stays between 75 and 80.
<What are your Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels? These numbers could reveal a lot here. The low pH could also be indicative of a lot of dissolved waste in the water, so those numbers are going to be helpful. What are you feeding the fish? It is best to feed a mix of foods and limit the use of the typical goldfish "flake," as these can lead to constipation. Does your fish appear to be bloated at all? I think that if you'll answer these questions, we'll be a lot closer to figuring out what is wrong with your fish.


New goldfish tank, lots of problems 12/31/09
We got a brand new 20 gallon tank for Christmas.
<Great! Obviously 20 gallons is too small for Goldfish, and since cycling takes at least 3 weeks, you won't be adding any fish until the middle of January... right?>
We set up the tank, added the water conditioner treatment, and waited 24 hrs before we took a water sample to PetSmart.
<You see, the 24 hours means nothing. Without a source of ammonia, all you have is a wet fish tank. Cycling a tank requires a source of ammonia for filter bacteria to use as they multiply up in numbers. Some folks use plain household ammonia, others add a pinch of fish food. Add the right amount of either each day, and off you go.>
Since the water tested fine, (except for the fact that the water is hard, we live in Florida), we purchased several fish: 2 Calico Ryukins, 1 is about 3 inches, the other about 1 inch, a Black Moor about 3 inches long, a 2 inch bubble eye, a 2 inch calico telescope, and a small Pleco.
<Not a chance in a tank this size. Let's start with the obvious. A "small" Plec is simply a baby Plec, and since they reach full size (45 cm/18 inches) within a year or two, they need a big tank. We're talking 55 gallons upwards. Anyone who sold you one for a 20 gallon tank took you for a ride. As for Goldfish, 20 gallons is really too small for even one specimen. Bear in mind a healthy fancy Goldfish will reach a body length of 20 cm/8 inches plus the tail within a couple of years. These fish could create a lot of waste, part ammonia, part faeces, and in small tanks things become filthy real fast. I'd go with 30 gallons for the first two, and another 10 gallons for each additional fish. That assumes a generous filtration system, something with a turnover rate 6 times the volume of the tank per hour. So for a 55 gallon tank, that'd be 6 x 55 = 330 gallons per hour. Ignore the aquarium size estimate on the box the filter shipped in.
Think about it: manufacturers put the best spin on these values just as they do gasoline mileage on cars or numbers of servings on cereal cartons.
In this case, they're assuming small, clean fish like Neons or Guppies. Not Goldfish. The difference between a Neon and a Goldfish is like comparing how much waste a hamster makes compared to a horse. Well, I exaggerate slightly, but not much.>
This was 2 days ago. During the first day, the Telescope started getting a white slime-looking buildup that began to trail off of him. He was dead by the next morning.
<Not even remotely surprised. Did you check the ammonia levels? Or nitrite?>
The next day, we noticed the Bubble-eye and Black Moor all getting the same white stuff, the Calico Ryukins began to get it as well but not as bad.
<Fungus and Finrot, likely caused by chronically poor water conditions.>
We had the water tested again at PetSmart who again said it was fine, that the fish was probably just stressed and that's why he died.
Not believing that answer, we did some research and decided to call another fish store who recommended we put some Tetra Lifeguard in the tank.
<Largely useless product sold to inexperienced aquarists. Like many things in life, what's needed is time, not a product. Cycling a tank will happen perfectly well, for free, given time. At least 3 weeks, and certainly within 6 weeks, you can cycle a new aquarium. Add a pinch of flake each day, and let nature takes it course. That's all there is to it. But beginners often try to rush things -- usually having not read a book beforehand -- and so end up spending money on dubious remedies with little practical benefit.>
We started that yesterday. The directions called for removing the carbon filter, so we removed the cartridge but left the fitter on and running.
<Carbon is of zero use with Goldfish; remove from the filter, and replace with some more useful biological media, e.g., ceramic noodles or a sponge.
Note that filters with "slot in" modules often don't allow this degree of flexibility, which is why they're rubbish and not normally purchased by experienced hobbyists.>
This morning all of the fish we alive but the Bubble-eye had it's bubble stuck in the filter!
<Dying... healthy fish aren't sucked into filters.>
We managed to get him out but tore the bubble in freeing him.
<Secondary infection risk is severe. These Bubble-Eye fish are an abomination so far as I'm concerned simply because they are so mutated and delicate, but if you insist on keeping these poor animals, never mix with anything other than other Bubble-Eye fish. This will be clearly stated in any Goldfish book, and isn't just me being awkward. Goldfish are fairly boisterous, and the more delicate varieties can, will be damaged by the other varieties, and will also lose out at feeding time.>
I am afraid to find another container to put him in until it heals because the Tetra Lifeguard treatment needs to be done for 4 more days. We also noticed that the large Calico becomes almost vertical with his head up and has a long trail of feces that doesn't seem to fall off.
<Dismal. Do research WWM re: diet, water quality for Goldfish.>
We really felt that this tank would be our starter tank in years of fish keeping but in only three days we seem to be failing miserably!
Please help!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New goldfish tank, lots of problems
OK so the "experts" at PetSmart steered us wrong.
We did intend to upgrade the tank in about 6 mos.
The Bubble-Eye is now dead. We desperately want to try to save the others.
How can we remedy the fungus/Finrot if we can't expect the Lifeguard to do it?
<Find a good combination medication, e.g., Seachem Paraguard or eSHa 2000 and use as instructed. Avoid tea-tree oil remedies except for preventing, rather than curing, these diseases.>
Is it too late to add ammonia?
Additionally, should we add Epsom salts to help with the Ryukins swim bladder problem?
<If it makes you feel better. "Swim Bladder Disease" is usually nothing of the sort, but a symptom following on from a range of problems, such as constipation on the one hand through to systemic bacterial infection on the other. Without other data, it's impossible for me to say what the situation is here, and hence can't recommend what remedy to employ.>
We clearly will back away from the goldfish flakes.
<Cheers, Neale.>


Please help!!! My Fancy Goldfish looks bruised!! 12/25/09
I am at a loss for what to do.. I have two small (one is about 1 1/2 inches, the other is about 2 1/2 inches) Fancy Goldfish in a 20 gallon tank. I have been treating for Ick for the past two weeks and am pretty sure that I've eliminated that but am still going to continue for a few more days- I started out with heat and salt for the first week then lowered the temp when I had a second wave of Ick and switched to Ick Attack.
A few nights ago, one of my fish had a huge piece of gravel stuck in his throat- I have no idea how he even got it in his mouth!
<Unfortunately, goldfish all too often can/do pick up such themselves>
Fortunately, I happened to be awake and saw him lying limp at the bottom of the tank with the rock in his mouth: I think he was almost dead. I grabbed a pair of tweezers and lifted him very carefully, close to the surface and after a couple of tries was able to get the rock out. It was the size and shape and colour of a pea so I think he might have mistaken it for a treat.
I continued to hold him near the top of the tank for a while until he recovered and swam away. The next day I ran to the pet store and replaced all of my gravel with much larger river stone gravel.
At that time, I noticed that he had what looked to be bruising under one gill, along his belly and just under his mouth. Today it is much darker and I am terrified that he is really ill. I can't find anything that sounds similar.. could it be bruising from the stone?
I was very, very careful when I removed it and he did not struggle at all.
I really doubt that it is ammonia burn- I test my water daily with a Master test kit. In the very first week I had trouble with ammonia levels, but began doing 25 to 30% water/vacuum change daily to keep levels down and also because of the Ick. I treat the new water with Prime and a product called Stability when I do changes.
Because I do not know what this "bruising" is caused by, I have started both fish on a 5-day antibiotic (using Jungle anti-bacterial food pellets which I crush and soak before feeding to the fish). I am on day two of this routine.
<Mmm, this bruising will likely heal on its own. The antibacterial may cause a loss of biofiltration>
More information that might help: the injured fish is eating well. He was very, very listless and was being harassed by his tank-mate so I put up a tank separator and ever since he has been fairly active and loves to play in his bubble wall. I have not noticed and flashing, and his eyes are clear. He has no red spots or streaks, no signs of Ick. His skin is clear- no parasites or grayness. His feces was stringy and thin but since the antibiotics has been normal. Occasionally, though, I catch him resting on the bottom of the tank, very still and when I approach he does not move at all.
<Good report/ing>
What could this bruise-like darkening be?
<Likely a physical trauma... a "bump in the night". Again, usually self-repairing>
I encountered one other forum with this condition and no one knew what it could be and the girl's fish died. I have all kinds of stuff here on the ready: Maracyn, Jungle Paracide clear, TC Tetracycline, Melafix and Jungle antibiotic and Jungle anti-parasite food. I read that you should always treat with anti-biotics before anti-parasite medication to prevent an opportunistic infection from taking hold so this is why I have stated on a course of anti-biotic food.
Normally both fish have a varied diet of lettuce, crushed peas, the occasional mushed carrot, blood worms and brine shrimp. I sometimes give them a sprinkle of Goldfish flakes (not very often).
If they are due for a tank change I feed them, wait 10 minutes then do a vacuum/water change to prevent food from building up and rotting. They are not at all afraid of the vacuum.
<I don't feed my fancy goldfish till after cleaning their tank (once a week partial water change et al.)
Right now, all I have used to treat the tank is Prime and Stability and a bit of Ick Attack. All parameters are normal: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites, pH is 7.2. The temperature is 72 (as Fancies like the temp a touch warmer).
<Yes; this is so>
Is there anything I can do for my poor little buddy??
<Patience; time going by>
I am sick at the thought of losing him. I'm planning to halt Ick treatment on the 28th (the fish have not had any sign of Ick for about 4 days now but I want to be dead sure that it is gone so I don't have to put the poor fish through this again..). I've ruled out septicemia (so far) because there are no streaks or red spots at all.. however, the food they are getting now treats for that condition anyways.
Thanks for your help and advice in advance.. Seasons Greetings!
Gina de Almeida
<Thank you Gina. I'd back off the chemical treatments for now. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help!!! My Fancy Goldfish looks bruised!! 12/26/09
Thank you for taking time out of your holiday to answer my concerns. I will halt the antibiotics, but am still not entirely convinced that it is bruising due to the fish bumping against things: it is too extensive and almost looks like blood pooling. I am including a picture (the bruising is actually darker than it appears in the photo- under the right gill it is almost black).
<Mmm, no pic attached>
Bob, what happens if a fish actually manages to swallow a piece of gravel?
Could it result in internal bleeding?
<Not usually, no. A few general statement re fish hematology... they have a very high hematocrit (packed cell volume)... and need all their RBCs... as water at saturation has only 7-10 ppm of Oxygen in most circumstances...
IF your fish had bruised its circulatory system in its buccal cavity, it would likely be dead>
I know I will have to wait this out, but I sure feel helpless.
<Mmm, don't feel so. You've done about all that can be... and this fish will likely be fine in time.>
He is a really nice Fancy (and as you can see he has unusual markings- a little black nose and a black mustache on his upper lip).
Thanks, Bob and Happy Holidays.
Gina de Almeida
<To you and yours as well Gina. BobF>

Fw: re: Please help!!! My Fancy Goldfish looks bruised!! With photograph.. 12/26/09
Terribly sorry- this time the attachment came through!
<Oh! This looks like "stress melanization" here. Again, not to worry. The dark coloring may be present long-term, but it is not deleterious. B>

Re: Please help!!! My Fancy Goldfish looks bruised!! With photograph.. 12/26/09
Hello Bob:
<Ms. de Almeida>
I am sorry to be a pest, but my goldfish does not seem to be doing very well today. I am not sure if there is anything I can do, but if there is then I will make every effort to help him.
I have tested my water and all parameters are perfectly normal- the ammonia is 0, the nitrites are 0, nitrates are 0 and the pH is steady at 7.2. The water is very soft- I don't know if this is a huge concern.
<It can be with this and other Cypriniiform fishes, yes. You can read re>
I still have Ick Attack in the water but can halt treatment now as I have not seen any traces of Ick for many days. I do not have any aquarium salt in the water at all.
<I would cease with the medication, not add salt/s>
The fish is almost always at the top of the tank gulping air. He also spends time in his bubble wall- at first I thought he was playing but I am beginning to suspect that he is trying to get air. The tank has a filter, a bubble stone and a bubble wall. Is it possible that, despite my best attempts, the water is not carrying enough dissolved oxygen?
<Mmm, not the dissolved oxygen, but likely this fish's capacity to respire (electron transport)... I hinted at this some email ago. Less handling, changes, exposure to medicines the better>
The smaller fish also visits the top of the tank, but not as often.
The inside of his gills seem quite red, and the area surrounding his gills seems to have darkened (the latter observation is as of last night). The inside of his gills were always quite red so I am not sure if this indicates trouble of if it is natural: given his apparent oxygen distress, I am wondering if he is not able to conduct proper oxygen exchange. It is so strange that the colour change and oxygen distress have all occurred so soon after the incident with the gravel.
I was thinking of purchasing a breeding house so that he can rest closer to the top of the tank- do you have any suggestions (patience, of course).
Would doing a water exchange and adding aquarium salt be of any benefit?
<I would do none of this/these at this juncture. Best by far to just wait, be patient. BobF>
Thank you for your advice:
Gina de Almeida

Re: Please help!!! My Fancy Goldfish looks bruised!! With photograph.. 12/27/09
I shall then be patient.. I just wanted to let you know that I read your excellent article on proper cycling of aquariums: I purchased a lovely, 36 gallon, bow-front aquarium today and plan to set it up and let it cycle as
you have suggested. This time I will wait until it has cycled to introduce the fish.
<Ah good... do use some of the "old water", filter material, perhaps substrate et al. from your established system to speed establishment along here>
I am sure they will be much happier in the larger space and my hope is that it will cut down on meal time bullying.
<Indeed it will>
Kind Regards:
Gina de Almeida
<Gina. Bob Fenner>

cloudy water; listless goldfish and limp fins 12/17/09
<Hello Becca>
I am concerned about my son's goldfish. We recently added new fish, a black moor (still alive) & a goldfish (deceased), <yes they were acclimated to the tank prior to insertion> to the current occupants - our 2" favorite
goldfish and our Pleco. There are multiple fake plants and a vase also in the tank. The fish had been fine but recently last solid week I would say, we have noticed that the tank is cloudy. It looked like on our favorite that he had some small white dots. Our tank is not currently heated and located in the kitchen with plenty of sunlight but it is near a door. We started treatment for Ick - but that isn't seeming to solve the problems.
The dots aren't spreading to the other fish & our favorite is hiding in the back bottom corner of the tank. He shows no interest in either pellets or flake food. And hubby thinks that his fins look "depressed" or limp. (It's not erectile dysfunction!)
Do we add a heater? We have done a filter change and a 50% water change but the tank remains cloudy with no signs of improvement. We have not tested for pH, etc as we are on a limited budget. Your advice would be greatly
<Hi Becca. The levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are absolutely necessary here. If you can't afford to actually buy the tests, most local fish stores will test your water for free or a very low fee. The symptoms your favorite fish is experiencing are indicative of poor water quality, and we need to figure out what's going on, but can't do that without real data. When you changed the filter, what did you do? Did you remove the media/filter bag completely and replace it? You may have removed the bulk of your biological bacteria if you threw out the media inside of the filter.
What temperature is the tank? Check it a few times tomorrow -- in the morning, once in the afternoon, and in the evening -- since it's not heated (and shouldn't be, for goldfish, but may need to be heated for the Pleco) the water temperature may be fluctuating, which could also stress the fish.
It's the "lots of light," which would heat the tank up, and the "near a door," which means it's in a drafty area, that worries me here. If there is wild fluctuation throughout the day, yes, a heater may be a good idea.
The other fish may have ich, but this is due to something -- either not properly quarantining the new additions, or the problems they may be experiencing with temperature. Is he "flashing" -- rubbing on rocks and decor? Breathing heavily?
What size tank is this, and what type of filtration are you running? How large are these fish? Is it right that there are now two goldfish and one Pleco? Plecos produce a huge bioload -- they poop a lot. In addition, the "common" ones grow very large -- over a foot long! They don't do so well in unheated tanks, either, as they are tropical fish. So, some more details on the system and how it is stocked would be useful, but I urge you to do some reading on WWM about Plecos and their needs. Try entering "Pleco goldfish" in the Google search bar on WWM for information on their (in)compatibility.
Why did the goldfish you recently added die? Did you suspect illness or anything? What symptoms did he have prior to his death, if any?
Lastly, please take the time to peruse WWM. There is so much information archived on goldfish that it's a shame not to take a look at it. Here is the link:
Please write back if you have any further questions or would like to provide some data so that I can help you a little better.


Black moor, eye injury 12/15/09
<Hi Gerald.>
My black moor must have injured one of his eyes.
<Does this look like a physical injury? Is there anything sharp in his tank that he could have bumped into?>
One eye has deflated.
Do they heal and grow back?
<A photo of the eye would help. Is the actual eye itself injured, or just what's behind it (skin/scales/etc.)? It also depends on what's wrong.... if it's physical trauma or other. (See below for "other.")>
If so, how long?
<Well, this really depends on so much, Gerald. Please let me know if you actually see anything around the eye that resembles a physical injury.
Again, look out for any type of sharp decor which could have caused this problem. Does he have any rambunctious tank mates who could have injured him? Black Moors, and fancy goldfish in general, were bred to look a certain way, but the result is that they swim rather slowly and clumsily.
They're not exactly built for speed. So, mis-stocking a tank can spell trouble for fancy goldfish. If none of the above, then this is likely related to how you're keeping the fish. What are Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels in his tank? What size tank is he in, with what type of filtration? Do you test KH and pH? What are those levels? There's
another reason to know what kind of water quality your fish is dealing with. Sure, it could be the cause of the problem in the first place.
However, even if it's not the direct cause, your goldfish will need pristine water quality in order to heal. Injured fish in dirty tanks commonly become afflicted with bacterial/fungal infections. So, there's a lot more information needed in order to figure out what caused it, and how well he's going to heal. A photo would help determine how permanent this is; my biggest worry is making sure he heals properly, even if he may be a little lopsided from now on..>
thanks for all the great help!
<You're welcome. If you'd like to explore what I'm saying about the needs of goldfish further, here is the link to the many, many pages on WWM about goldfish.
Information found here may help point to what's going on with your fish.
Just check out those links above the title.>
<Oh, and one more question. Have you attempted to treat this at all as of yet? If so, with what? --Melinda>

Mystery goldfish illness--30 second video 12/5/09
The gold fish are the fat fluffy kind--only 1 seems to be "infected"--they may be called "Orandas"
<Hi Jaline. I believe they are Pearlscales.>
I changed the water 30%, 10 days ago. (10 gallon tank with a carbon filter).
<The tank is much too small. Read here about the needs of the seemingly humble goldfish:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm and any of those linked files above the title of the article... I think many of them will be of use to you.>
I normally do not change the water
<Why not?>
--for the past 12 months I have only changed the water 30% 3 times.
<What is your reasoning for this maintenance schedule (or lack thereof)? These are heavy waste-producing fish in a tank that's much too small for them. Please read information, linked below, about the nitrogen cycle. Let's talk about water changes. Why do them? Well, your fish poop. The poop that they produce creates ammonia, which is then converted to nitrite, and then to nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic in any concentration above 0 ppm; nitrate is less toxic, and generally thought to be best if kept below 20 ppm. Water changes remove this nitrate, as well as all other sorts of waste products that we don't have a handy test for. You're adding new water to dilute the waste. The aquarium is a closed system, and the waste isn't going anywhere. It's there. So you have to dilute that waste and keep it down to a healthy level in order to have healthy fish.> This time, I stirred the rocks good b/c there was visible debris down there and I knew it was overdue. <Do you not own a gravel vacuum? These are about ten bucks in the local fish store... it allows you to remove such debris without actually releasing that debris into the water column by sucking the debris up from the gravel. There are really fancy ones out there that cost more, but the basic one works for what you need to do.>
About 1 week after the cleaning, I noticed clear blisters on 1 fish--they almost look like clear circular eggs and they are growing in number. The one above both of his eyes is the largest--started off as 3 small ones which migrated to 1 big one. <I'd like to know your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. Please test and provide actual numbers. Also, please provide KH and pH readings, as the problem here is likely water quality, but could be (a small "could be") water chemistry. Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? I fear that this "interruption" after the system being untouched for so long has interrupted the cycle. Please read here:
He is swimming & eating and acting normal.
I bought your 'Prime' solution Tuesday after a water test--didn't notice any change.
<It could not have been my Prime, as both of my bottles are still here at the house! Aside from that, why were you adding the Prime?>
Treated Wednesday--same.
Then in a panic--after I began to see white substance on the fish (still acting normal) I feared he had a parasite and a fungus and I bought Lifeguard tablets from Wal-Mart; an "all in one treatment"...
<Did you attempt to properly diagnose this? A parasite is unlikely, seeing as how you've seemingly had these fish for a while. Fungus, possibly. But why would a fish who was fine a few days ago suddenly show signs of problems with fungus? The answer has nothing to do with a fungus fairy, and everything to do with your water quality. When fish are kept in less-than-ideal conditions, they become more and more susceptible to the yuckies that exist in their aquarium, and eventually fall ill.>
2 (Wal-Mart) treatments <I'd avoid randomly medicating. It can make things worse, rather than better, as well as being a waste of money.> and the OTHER (non-sick) fish started laying down on the bottom of the tank/eyes glossed and I presumed there was too much stuff in the water.
<A good guess, but could also just be bad water quality and the stronger fish held out a little longer than the other guy.>
So, this morning, I filled pitchers with tap water and let them sit out for 2hrs in an effort to reach room temperature; and I changed the water 30% again today and chlorine remover.
For about 30 minutes, they both stayed toward the bottom but now they are swimming & acting normally--both are eating just fine. <They are probably relishing the decreased concentration of toxic ammonia and/or nitrate that came as a benefit of the water change.>
For the life of me, I cannot determine what these "pox" or "blisters" are on my fish and I'd like to know how to treat him. <As I've been saying, it's likely environmental. This means that dumping in various products isn't going to do anything -- fixing water quality will. You've got to fix the conditions they live in. That starts with testing the water (this will provide an "aha!" moment, most likely), but also with getting them in a sufficient volume and providing sufficient filtration. I think you'll find those articles/FAQs on Goldfish care enlightening. Please ask if there's anything you need clarification on after you've read.>
Because the blisters are clear, they are almost impossible to get on still picture b/c the fish keeps moving and with the flash--you can't see the blisters in still pictures.
So I've attached a QuickTime video and I hope you can view it to determine a solution. <I did view it. It is a huge file, though, and we really don't care for huge files... the email box gets full and then other folks with queries find their e-mails bounced back to them. On this page, which includes the link you used to e-mail, we specify this:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm, so please take care to follow these guidelines in the future so that we can help as many as possible. With that being said, I think more research, knowledge on your part about your fish will lead you to some answers. You may find that these blisters shrink once the fish find themselves in better conditions. Remove anything from the tank that's sharp; if they pop, it will create an open-wound type sore, and this will expose the fish to bacterial infection, which they're more susceptible to right now.
Obviously, if they do pop, we'll have to deal with that, but hopefully we'll find that fixing water quality will make this problem disappear altogether.>
Feel free to email me back or call xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thanks for your time!
<You're welcome. Please read, read, read and let me know if there's anything you need help with.>

Calico Fancy Tailed Gold Fish, Lernaea, more hlth. issues 11/24/09
Hi Crew
Please could you help?
<Will try.>
I purchased a Calico, Red Cap Oranda Gold Fish 18 days ago. He is about 14 centimeters in length.
<Good size!>
He was put into a quarantine, when purchased. Its a 40 liter tank and all basics in water quality have been checked and are good.
<Good? Not in a 40 litre tank they're not. Seriously, this tank IS TOO SMALL for a Goldfish this size. Indeed, it's too small for a Goldfish of any size. I cannot stress this point too strongly. Minimum aquarium size for Goldfish is around 110 litres.>
On close inspection when I got his home I discovered he had 3 anchor worms.
I am treating with Parazin. First treatment of 14 days released 2 of the worms. (I did a 50% water changed after completion of the first 14 day treatment), waited 48 hours, and now have added a second table of Parazin, for a second 14 day treatment to try and rid him of the one stubborn anchor worm. I have also added 1 teaspoon of salt, per 2 liters of water.
My concern is he also has two dark black foreign clumps of matter, (Never seen this before) about 2 mm in size, embedded into his Wen, both, just above his right eye.
<Black specks on Goldfish are typically ammonia burns. They can be caused by other types of physical damage, but ammonia burns are the most common.
Because the aquarium is so small, I have little doubt that water quality is either the direct cause or aggravating whatever background problem there might be.>
These were present when I bought him, don't seem to worry him and have not changed is size, colour or shape, over the 18 day period. There are no other visible signs of these black crustaceans anywhere on his body. It is more visible with the first 2 days of treatment of using the Parazin, as the flesh directly above these spots, seem to open up a little, giving a visual of the dark black spots embedded into the skin. They are berried about 2mm into the skin. By day 3 of the Parazin treatment, the (Hole) tiny opening seems to close, and the black spots are once again covered by the flesh of his Wen and look like dark black shadows, under his orange Wen, almost undetectable.
He is eating well, has a varied diet of green peas, bloodworm, daphnia, flake and pellets, and on the whole, looks pretty healthy, swimming actively with his dorsal fin extended.
Do you have any idea what this would be? and what and how I could treat it.
<Do read here:
Almost all problems with Goldfish come down to people keeping them badly.>
Your assistance is appreciated ....
Many Thanks
<Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>


Goldfish with bump on caudal peduncle (RMF? Second opinion) <<See in sertis below>> 11/21/09
I am a beginner aquarist and I just bought a have a 55 gallon tank for my goldfish a week and two days ago. When I first got it I installed a water filter with 55 gallon capacity and a long air stone. I added 55ml of API Stress Coat water conditioner and about 50lbs of gravel, which cover about three inches of the bottom of the tank. I also put in three plants: a Crinum thaianum "Onion Plant" (which they had in their previous tank), an Amazon sword, and the third one I believe was a Lanceolota (Anubias lanceolota).
<Three good, Goldfish-proof plants. I would add some edible plants as well though, like Indian Fern or Canadian Pondweed, so the Goldfish have something to eat. Letting the graze from the salad bar instead of eating pellets for a couple days out of the week is a very good approach.>
I also added two mineral stones in it. I put my five goldfish in it, who about two inches in length each (two red cap Orandas, one blue Oranda, one calico Ryukin, and two comet goldfish). I kept my eye on them, and they seemed fine. A week later (this past Thursday) I performed a weekly water change (about 75 - 70% of the water) and again added the appropriate amount of Stress coat water conditioner (about 40 ml). I also added a secondary filtration system -a sponge bio filter with a 65 gallon capacity)
and took measurements for ammonia, ph, and nitrite levels. The ph level was low (6.6) so the next day I bought API's ph down and added 5ml (the recommended dose) which brought the water up to 7.2.
<I would actually NOT use pH potions here. Goldfish need hard, alkaline water. The use of Rift Valley salt mix is very useful. By a commercial brand, or else use the (very cheap) DIY mix given in this article:
At half the dose required for cichlids, you should find this buffers the pH around 7.5 quite nicely. This means you can add the mix to each new bucket of water (for pennies a month) and that's about all you'll need to do!>
<<And this jump/rapid change in pH is way TOO much in such a short while>>
I also replaced the Lanceolota with an Anacharis plant, since the Lanceolota had been grazed down. In terms of food, I have divided their meals so that its closer to how they would naturally eat. I feed them a varied diet. Generally in the morning they get Aqueon goldfish flakes, and in the afternoon they either get live blackworms (bought in the petstore), organic green peas, or organic beets.
<Cool.><<RMF would NOT feed goldfish black worms or Tubificids of any sort. I should, want to and will state that I feed my fancy goldfish almost exclusively Spectrum pellets>>
This morning I noticed that my orange comet had a bump on his caudal peduncle (I have attached a picture). He seems fine otherwise. He was eating fine this morning. And except for not liking my taking him out of his tank to take a picture, did not seem stressed otherwise. The bump is orange as well, except that instead of being a shiny orange, like the rest of his scales, it is a matte color. I looked up information from your site, and it suggested that it could be Lymphocystis or a tumor, but the appearance of the bump doesn't exactly fit, and I wanted to make sure. I haven't separated him from the rest of the fish, because otherwise he appears in good health.
<This looks like a tumour to me. The question is did it come out of nowhere? Tumours are generally slow growing, and mostly benign, so often don't cause any real problems. So far as I know, Goldfish don't get Lymphocystis, which affects primarily Perciform fish (cichlids, surgeonfish, etc.) But they do get Fish Pox (Cyprinid Herpesvirus I), a similar but distinct disease. Fish Pox isn't lethal, and given good water conditions goes away by itself. Fish Pox tends to look like blobs of wax, as if wax from a candle has been dribbled on the fish.><<I concur... due to colour, shape/size... tumorous. RMF>>
What should be my next course of action?
<None; whether viral or genetic, this will either get better by itself or not, as the case may be. Medications are more likely to cause harm than cure anything.><<Agreed>>
P.S. I hope I have given you the right information. As a beginner aquarist I'm still learning the terms and proper care of my goldfish. And sorry for the quality of the picture, it's hard to keep a fish from moving.
<Good enough for government work!>
<Have asked Bob F. to chime in, and he'll likely add his comments to the message posted on the Daily FAQ page, here:
<<Neale, FYI, I respond directly back to queriors as well as the original respondent. BobF, who would remove the two Comets here... as they're really not compatible with fancy goldfish, and this system is too small to support all>>
So be sure and check this page tomorrow to see what's been added, if anything. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish with bump on caudal peduncle 11/21/09
Thanks. I will check the response online tomorrow.
About the bump appearing overnight, to the best of my knowledge he didn't have it yesterday.
<Oh... in that case, it's more likely a bruise than a tumour. Bruises should go away by themselves if the fish is otherwise healthy. Tumours (including Fish Pox) take weeks to develop.>
Also I forgot to say that I keep the temperature between 69 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the tank.
<Should be fine.>
Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish with bump on caudal peduncle (RMF? Second opinion) 11/22/09
Quick question, could the bump be a chemical burn from the ph solution?
<Only if you added the pH potion directly to the water in the aquarium -- which you should NEVER do. Yes, pH potions contain chemicals that can be irritants, perhaps dangerously so. You add them to each bucket of water, at the dose particular to THAT BUCKET not the whole tank, and stir well. Then pour into the aquarium.>
I just thought about it, since you said that I shouldn't use ph chemicals on my aquarium.
<Generally, casual aquarists end up doing more harm than good when using pH buffers, so I recommend against them. Used properly, they're safe, but for whatever reason people are apt to misunderstand how they should be used.
The Rift Valley salt mix method is far safer, since you're simply adding a teaspoon or tablespoon of three different chemicals to each bucket of water. For Goldfish, it's something like half-teaspoons of baking soda and marine salt mix, and a half-tablespoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallon/20 litre bucket. Pretty well foolproof! Slight errors either way aren't going to cause any problems.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish with bump on caudal peduncle 11/22/09
I did add the solution directly to the water.
<Yikes! Do understand that these are simply acids or bases. They are certainly irritants and potentially dangerous.>
I will make sure I don't do that again.
I will get the Rift Valley salt mix and add it as indicated to the bucket of water, not the aquarium.
<Precisely. Add the amount required per bucket to each bucket. Don't add the amount needed for the whole tank into one bucket. If you change 5 gallons, then only add enough buffer for 5 gallons of water. Ignore the size of the tank.>
In terms of my fish, should I just let his tail heal alone, or is there something I should be doing?
<Best left alone for now. The damage is done.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

More re: Goldfish with bump on caudal peduncle (RMF? Second opinion) -- 11/22/09
and took measurements for ammonia, ph, and nitrite levels. The ph level was low (6.6) so the next day I bought API's ph down and added 5ml (the recommended dose) which brought the water up to 7.2.
<I would actually NOT use pH potions here. Goldfish need hard, alkaline water. The use of Rift Valley salt mix is very useful. By a commercial brand, or else use the (very cheap) DIY mix given in this article:
At half the dose required for cichlids, you should find this buffers the pH around 7.5 quite nicely. This means you can add the mix to each new bucket of water (for pennies a month) and that's about all you'll need to do!>
<<And this jump/rapid change in pH is way TOO much in such a short while>>
<<<Hi Lourdes, Bob. The point to adding Rift Valley salt mix to buckets of water is precisely this. If you do a 20% water change, and replace soft water with the "hardened" water, water chemistry will change only slightly.
<<Mmm, yes; my comment was/is in pertinence to Lourdes previous action, not your recommended. RMF>>
Across the weeks you'll slowly change the water chemistry. So just in case it isn't crystal clear, add hardened water on a per-bucket basis, as part of your normal water change schedule. While there's some argument over how quickly fish adapt to pH changes -- in the wild they can be exposed to very dramatic pH changes thanks to things like photosynthesis -- in terms of aquarium care it is UNQUESTIONABLY better to minimise pH changes as far as possible. Cheers, Neale.>>>

Re: More re: Goldfish with bump on caudal peduncle. Comet/Fancy GF incomp. -- 11/23/09
On that same note, I'd like to ask why would comets not get along with the Orandas or Ryukin? Thus far I haven't seen any problems. They all seem to get along (although just in case I've decided to start cycling new water on a 20 gal tank I have at home)
<Hello Lourdes, the issue is [a] bulling when sexually mature and [b] access to food. Since Fancy Goldfish can't swim as well as Standards (like Comets), they can be harassed and/or half-starved when kept with more active varieties. This is by no means always the case, and Common Fantails and Black Moors both have solid reputations as handling life with Standard Goldfish very well. But the more delicate (i.e., deformed) the Fancy Goldfish, the riskier the combination. Cheers, Neale.>


Goldfish Help! (no real data) 11/20/09
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hello Caroline,>
I stumbled upon your site while looking for answers to my goldfish's mysterious problems.
<Before we go any further, can I please make it very clear that almost all problems with Goldfish are not mysterious in the least. Most specimens get sick and die precisely because people don't keep them properly.
Goldfish need a big, filtered aquarium. At minimum, a tank 20 gallons in size. The filter needs to be robust, i.e., with a turnover of at least 4, and preferably 6, times the volume of the tank per hour (i.e., for a 20 gallon tank, an 80-120 gallon/hour filter is needed).>
We got, what I assume to be, a Fancy Calico Fantail goldfish about 2 weeks ago. He appeared healthy at the pet store and we knew the store we got him from was reliable one.
<Again, this is often the case. The problems being when people take them home. I cannot stress this strongly enough.>
However, just 3 days after we got him another fancy goldfish we had gotten with him began to relentlessly ram him! He was a slow moving fish and didn't fight back, so in fear of his safety we took him out of the tank.
<Hmm... these are schooling fish, and under normal circumstances get along well in groups.>
We put him in a much smaller 2 gallon hospital tank with the same water as the other tank.
<Unacceptable. This is far too small, smaller than a bucket, and WILL kill this fish.>
We kept the water at a constant 78 degrees and put in a stress coat, incase he was having trouble adjusting. He ate well, but did appear to have some swim bladder issues (he was listing to one side and seemed constipated).
<I've said this about seventeen times this week, but "swim bladder issues" are usually nothing of the sort.>
We didn't feed him for 36 hours and it seemed to do the trick, he was acting more sociable and regained his balance. We fed him just as we fed our other fish for approximately 4 days. But he began acting odd again.
He seemed hungry all the time, but we thought nothing of it because that's how we thought goldfish were and that it was a good thing. Soon he started losing his balance again and slowed down a lot. 2 days ago when I got home he was flipped upside down at the bottom of his tank, not moving. I thought he was dead but when I looked closer I saw his gills moving and his eyes following me.
<I see.>
After noticing me he quickly turned himself right side up and began searching for food at the top of his tank. He must be extremely weak because he can't even swim against the flow of water from the filter which is just enough to oxygenate the water. He soon turned over on his back and sank to the bottom of the tank again. It may just be me but I think his coloring is fading on his sides too. We have searched his entire body and couldn't find anything like fish lice or ich that would cause his to act this way. Today he seems even weaker! He can still turn himself around but he gets tired more easily.. He also appears to have a small amount of pineconing... I fear it could be Dropsy!!!
<Dropsy is usually a bacterial infection caused by chronically poor environmental conditions. You haven't supplied me any useful data here, so I can't say whether that's the case. It's crucially important you understand (and provide) the basics: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, temperature around 15-20 degrees C, at least 20 gallons of space, and a good filter.
While Goldfish can muddle through the cycling process, it's better not to do it this way, but to cycle the aquarium before you add them. Note that simply filling the tank for water and running it for a couple of days ISN'T cycling anything; you need a source of ammonia (e.g., flake food) and time enough for the bacteria to grow (at least three weeks). Water chemistry isn't critical, but water chemistry should be at least moderately hard (above 10 degrees dH) and the water basic (above pH 7).>
I don't want to give up on my fish, so is there anything you know of that could help him? Or what is wrong with him?
<Can't possibly answer this without more data. Cheers, Neale.>


Swim bladder problems... GF, env. troubles, induced 11/20/09
Twelve months ago I set up a 10 gallon tank with a good filter, plants and do regular water changes.
<Too small for Goldfish.>
I have one medium sized beautiful orange Oranda (Albert), and one very small Pearlscale golf ball goldfish.
<Cannot possibly stay healthy in a tank this size.>
For most of the year they existed very happily but for the last few weeks the poor Pearlscale (Brian) has been exhibiting signs of swim bladder disease.
<Yet another "swim bladder disease" statement. Seriously, I've answered a whole bunch of e-mails this week where people mention this non-existent complaint. Let's be clear here: "swim bladder disease" is a vague name given by fishkeepers to what is basically a variety of chronic problems affecting the internal organs. Because your tank is not big enough for Goldfish, I'd bet the money in my pockets that the problem is down to chronically poor water quality.>
I have done extensive research and tried everything suggested;
<Yet you still have a 10 gallon tank... above ALL ELSE, a bigger tank is what you need here.>
feeding changes, water changes, removed a plant I was worried had contaminated the tank, peas, everything!
Brian is still feeding (although I am trying to feed both fish as little as possible) but he is obviously in distress and often wedges himself into plants or under the filter to prevent himself from floating upside down at
the top of the water. He has been stable, but it's terrible seeing him being so uncomfortable and I would do anything if it would fix his swim bladder.
<Do read here:
Albert remains a very happy, extremely active fish, although he was listless for a few days but after some frantic water changes he has returned to normal.
<Needs a bigger, healthier tank, likely with upgraded filtration and appropriate water chemistry.>
I have been extremely impressed by the sound advice you have offered others; I am very fond of my beautiful fish and just want to make sure I am maintaining the best possible environment for them, both to help Brian now, and to prevent disease in the future.
<Well, I've offered my advice "straight up" and hope you don't mind.>
Many thanks for your help,
<Can't offer much help without actual data, i.e., filter type, water quality, water chemistry.>
<Cheers, Neale.>


Goldfish Help 11/19/09
I have 3 goldfish which are about 1 month old. I was changing the water today and i noticed one of them had their tail missing. Will the fish still be able to survive without its tail or will it die. The other 2 fish are
fine and still have their tails. The fish seems fine and never seemed sick or anything.
<Hello Michelle. It's likely your fish has Finrot, a disease where the fin membranes are eaten away by bacteria. This is VERY COMMON when people try to keep Goldfish in bowls or tanks without filters. Goldfish need a tank 20 gallons or larger in size, and it must have a filter. Change 25% of the
water every week or two, adding dechlorinated tap water each time. The idea you can keep fish in a bowl or tank without a filter simply by changing the water is hopelessly outdate (not to mention cruel) and I would encourage you to read the article linked below:
Goldfish can live for 30 years, and get to about 20-30 cm long if kept properly. Managing to keep them for one month therefore doesn't prove anything about them being "fine". So be open minded, and keep your fish
correctly. Treat Finrot with a medication like eSHa 2000, but be aware this won't prevent problems if you're not keeping them properly to begin with. Cheers, Neale.>


Our Blackmoore w/ very red throat and getting worse w/ treatment
Black Moor hlth, water quality -- 11/19/2009

We have known he's been sick for about 36-48 hours.
<I can only presume that you are referring to the Black Moor you mention in the subject of the email here...>
The first symptom we noticed was he very red under his throat at that time he was still eating well and swimming around, I tried searching up the redness but after couple hours I gave up and started treating him w/ an all in one treatment from Petsmart I had in the house already.
<What all-in-one treatment? A large portion of these medications are largely useless, and may cause more problems than they'll prevent.>
As the yesterday evening/night progressed I noticed him resting more and more on the bottom. The past few hours now he seems to be just getting weaker, the water filter seems to pull him more and more to it and he's fighting it less.
<Sounds like environmental issues/water quality problems to me...>
The recent environmental conditions, well the tank lights went out 4 days ago, so I took the top off and allowed the room light to get in better for few hours a day. Today when I got the replacement bulbs and I got a really good look of how red the red is and it's really made me worry much more.
<The lighting is more for your own enjoyment, this wouldn't have been a factor here.>
I am not good at precise reading on the chemistry stuff, but I do get the 5 in 1 test strips, they read in the safe zones NO2 between 0-.5 and NO3 at near 0 to 20 (closer to the 20 color).
<Test strips are notoriously inaccurate -- I highly recommend you pick up a proper master test kit -- with practice, these kits are very simple to use.
Any detectable ammonia, or nitrite are major problems, and nitrates in the 20 PPM range is toxic as well.>
The temp is 73. In a 10 gallon tank w/ him are 3 neon and some rogue cork screw snails that came in on the foliage when we first set the tank up.
<10 gallons is far too small for as messy of a fish as a Black Moor goldfish. Beyond this, these carp variants will get to a decent size -- almost a foot in length. This overstocked situation is likely the cause of the toxic water conditions.>
Moby had eaten all the live foliage couple months ago and I haven't replaced it.
<Fresh greenery is a good thing for the digestive system of most fish, especially goldfish.>
Upon originally setting the tank up we did have 3 snails (and golden apple and 2 of the black version) about around 5-6 months ago they died, it seemed as though their shells were dissolved away (read various reasons why that could have happened, none of which seemed would affect Moby and friends),
<Too low of a pH, not enough carbonate hardness/other trace elements available in the water to support them, most likely.>
We originally had 4 of the Neons, but one came up missing along (think before the snails died) time ago we suspect Moby ate him.
<Possible, more likely it passed and decayed in an area thats not visible, or possibly jumped out.>
Since I started the treatment I have removed the charcoal filter from the pump and changed out 2 gallons of the water before the 1st treatment. (I'm not sure if I should be tampering w/ water while medicating)
<Au contraire, you should be tampering with your water instead of medicating.>
The other fish do not appear to have the symptoms, but then they are so small and dart around a lot I can't really get a good look at them.
<May not be as sensitive to the toxins, or perhaps their excited nature is due to them...>
When I was in the store today I asked the person didn't really have any helpful idea on the cause.
Do you have any idea on the causes, the redness is area about 1/3 of an inch under his chin and the with of the whole underside, it a bright blood looking red, but I don't think it is blood unless he is bleeding under his
<Water quality.>
And of course, I want to know if the treatment I am do is what I should be doing and maybe I am just not giving it enough time, he does seem to be getting worse rather than better.
<I would do some hefty water changes along with replacing your chemical filtration into the filter. 30-50% per day should make some good strides towards where you need to be -- though, in the long term, you will likely need to move this goldfish to larger quarters.>
Should I turn off the pump that's now sucking him over to it, he can't be sucked up in it.
<I would not.>
Hope you get back to me soon I'm constantly going to check on him now cause I am so worried he isn't going to make it.
Thank you,


One fantail acting strangely 11/14/09
Hi there. I have read many other reviews but nothing seems to match my situation. I had a cycled 125 litre tank which i added 2 fantails too last Saturday.
<How did you cycle the aquarium? Remember, an aquarium filled with water but no fish won't cycle unless there's a source of ammonia. The easiest approach is to add a pinch of flake every couple of days, just as if there were fish in there. Bacteria will break the flakes into ammonia, and that ammonia gets the filtration cycle started.>
readings in the tank -
Ammonia - 0
Nitrate - 5
Nitrite - 0
<Sounds fine.>
Ph is high but typical of the water locally - around 9.
<Yikes! Very high. Are you sure of this? Is there any way to mix this water 50/50 with rainwater or RO water? Do check the hardness and/or carbonate hardness. Some water supplies are "odd" out of the tap, and 24 hours later settle down. Try the pH of a cup of water now, and again from the same cup of water in 24 hours. Is it the same? If it's dropped or the water chemistry has otherwise changed, you may want to leave water standing overnight before doing water changes. Use buckets without lids so any gases can get out.>
The tank has an external filter and i have also added a large bubble block run off of a pump. The tank is planted with much real plant inc bogwood etc.
One of my fantails is acting perfectly - constantly moving around etc but the other goes through stages where it is active some of the time and eats well etc but then maybe every 10 min.s or so goes to the top right of my tank in amongst the floating oxygenating plant for about 5 min.s then comes out again.
<I'm guessing the "oxygenating plant" is Elodea (Canadian Pondweed). This does need strong lighting to grow, but is a great food for Goldfish if you don't mind chucking it out once its too far gone.>
Just worried that something is up with this fantail?
<Could be something amiss, yes. Now, the thing with Fantails is that they have deformed spines and swim bladders, so at the best of times aren't real stable. But if constipated they completely lose control (from the weight, I guess).
Feeding mostly plant foods including cooked peas rather than flake foods helps dramatically. Epsom salt can be used as a laxative if required. If the water is too warm or too cold, they'll also behave oddly. Indoor temperatures should be fine, the optimal range for Fancy Goldfish being about 15-25 C, ideally at the cooler end of the range in winter, and the warmer in summer. They don't like really strong water currents, so while you need good turnover (around 4-6 times the volume of the tank per hour) you will need to break up that current using something like a spray bar, or perhaps angling the water outlet so it hits a rock or something, and so gets spread out a bit.>
Many thanks in anticipation.
<Do read here:
Kind regards Matt.
<Cheers, Neale.>


Black patches/poorly... Uhhh, on what? 11/6/09
My fish started to get small black patches on his body last week !
<What sort of fish is this? A Goldfish? A Guppy? A Whale Shark? We do need to know this... As for the black patches, is this Finrot? Or simply that the fish's colour is changing?>
Then it has quickly covered most of his body ! I checked water it was high in ammonia !
<Review conditions in the aquarium. All fish are sensitive to ammonia, and anything above zero is dangerous. Firstly, check the aquarium is big enough for the fish being kept. Goldfish for example need an aquarium at least 30 gallons in size if two are being kept (the minimum number, since they're social fish). Guppies need 15 gallons upwards. And so on, depending on the species. Also check the filter is reasonable for the fish being kept. For small fish, like Guppies, a filter rated at 4 times the volume of the tank
in turnover per hour is adequate. In other words, for a 20 gallon tank, you'd use a filter rated at 4 x 20 = 80 gallons per hour. For bigger fish, especially messy species like Goldfish, you'd up this to 6 or 8 times the
volume of the tank. So a 30 gallon Goldfish aquarium would need at minimum 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour. The gallons per hour (GPH) (or litres per hour, LPH) number will be printed on the filter pump or its packaging, if you don't know it.>
So did a few water changes the ammonia remained the same so did a full water change ! Ammonia is now perfect /ph perfect nitrate etc all ok !
<Well water should be "perfect" after a water change. The tricky bit is keeping it that way. I mention this because 99% of the time, fishkeepers are dealing with sick fish because they're not providing the right water
quality or water chemistry. Goldfish for example need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH between 7.5 and 8, and a hardness level above 10 degrees dH. So check the numbers your test kits provide against what an aquarium book tells you about the species being kept.>
I have put in gold disease safe two days ago !
<Do you mean "Interpet Goldfish Disease Safe"? Believe this is an old-fashioned mix of formalin, copper, and malachite green. Fairly good for some external diseases like Ick, Fungus and Finrot, but will have little/no benefit otherwise. Potentially highly toxic, so avoid using unless absolutely necessary.>
However the fish is sitting on the bottom of the tank , fin down !
<Just sounds like a fish in poor environmental conditions. Review the size of the tank, filter, pH and hardness.>
If I approach the tank he perks up and swims normally , but he does not seem like himself ! I don't know what else to do very worried ! ?
<Assuming this is a Goldfish, which is the only species you'd use Interpet Goldfish Disease Safe on, then my money is on the aquarium being too small, the filtration inadequate, the water too soft, or the diet too monotonous.
Do read here:
Any suggestions ! The other fish is happy as Larry and not effected by ammonia ! Any suggestions ? Thanks
<Most Goldfish die because their owners kill them. It's a simple as that.
Given the right conditions, these fish are astonishingly robust. So please, please, please review environmental conditions. If you need to discuss any of the above, feel free to write back. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Black patches/poorly, GF hlth., env., sys. 11/6/09
Thank you for your reply,
<Always glad to help.>
The fish are goldfish ! They are in a 60litr BiOrb,
<Useless waste of money; style over substance...>
there are only two !
<Not big enough for even one Goldfish... do remember, these are big, messy fish. Sure, a baby might "fit" into a 60 litre (15 gallon) tank but that doesn't mean much. Goldfish grow fast, if healthy, and two will need a tank twice this size. Just as importantly, the BiOrb is a "bowl" with a narrow top; since oxygen gets in through that narrow top, this severely limits the rate at which oxygen is absorbed by the water. In short, a useless tank.
You'll notice no aquarium book recommends these units... just retailers and manufacturers.>
The pump is suitable for the tank, just recently changed the pump to the BiOrb one !
<More overpriced nonsense; inadequate to the needs of Goldfish.>
Just checked water again the ph is slightly low how can I bring this up ?
<Do read here:
The Rift Valley salt mix, used at half the recommended dose mentioned there, should be ideal for Goldfish.>
I have had both fish for five years, is this normal then for the fish to turn from orange to black with age then ?
<For Goldfish, yes, sometimes they turn green or bronze in colour. Just the scales. Otherwise they are healthy and normal-looking.>
Or could it be because of the ammonia and if this is the case, will the black fade now there is no ammonia ?
<Ammonia can burn fish, and among other things, discolouration can be a result.>
Maybe their diet is boring, I think I will look into other alternatives!
<Do read here re: symptoms and solutions:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Black patches/poorly 11/6/09
Thanks for the info ! I will get a bigger tank!
But what can I do in the meantime for the fish with the black patches ?
<Depends. Assuming that these are ammonia burns, the black is actually a good sign because it means the fish is getting better. Still doesn't mean the fish is happy, merely it survived a mild case of Finrot! So simply
keeping up with water changes, providing a healthy diet, ensuring good water quality and water chemistry will all help. There's nothing you really need to do. The colour often stays black for a long time though, perhaps permanently.>
Is there anything I can do ? And will the ammonia burns-if they are- get better? Is this fish likely to survive?
He seems perky one moment then sits on the bottom next !
<You see, the black patches and the behavioural oddities are related by being caused by poor environmental conditions. The fish is healing after being exposed to a high level of ammonia, which for our purposes is anything above zero. The ammonia kills the skin cells and weakens the immune system, bacteria cause an infection, and this either gets out of control (Finrot) or else gets better (ammonia burns). Either way, it's a sign of problems. In the same way, ammonia stresses fish and makes them feel sick. They go off their food, they often become listless or conversely, spend all their time darting about trying to escape. Again, implying a problem. The single best way to avoid problems with ammonia and nitrite is to keep fish in a tank of adequate size with an adequate filter.
In the case of two or three Goldfish, that'd be a 30 gallon (115 litre) aquarium with a filter rated at about 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour.>
Had them a long time ! Never had any problems would be upset to lose one ?
<Hope it won't come to that. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Black patches/poorly
Thanks for your help
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>


goldfish redness 10/30/09
Hi. My gold fish(summer) has been healthy for almost 8 years. Suddenly there is redness and the scales are popping out slightly on the belly/lower belly area on her.
<Mmm, trouble>
I don't think it would be dropsy because her scales would be popping out all over her body right? If you might know what it is that my fish has please let me know =).-Jonas
<Something is amiss here environmentally... Check your water quality...
esp. nitrogenous... Execute a series of 20-25% daily water changes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GFenvirondis.htm
and the linked files above... till you get the gist. Bob Fenner>

Also...? GF reading
Also my goldfish(summer) has been sitting on the bottom of the tank since that appeared. My other goldfish(winter) past away at the end of summer.
She had white worm like things all over her body and her fins were torn. A couple hours before she past she would keep flipping over and wouldn't go back upright. Well she past and me and my mom buried her on the beach near some rocks. If you know what's wrong with summer please reply =).-Jonas
<... read. B>


Goldfish Concerns, sys. really -- 10/26/09
<Hello there>
I love your site. Keep up the good work! I'm hoping, though, that you could help answer a few questions I could not find answers to. Here is a history of my pond, and please critique my setup as much as you would like, as I am a beginner and still learning.
<I am a relatively old-timer and still learning>
I currently have 4 goldfish: a 2" Ryukin, a 1" fantail, a 2" comet, and a 1.5" shubunkin in a 22 gal pond (~450 sq in surface area)
<... these fish are too much for this volume, and surface area... and the this container is too small to be stable in an outdoor setting>
with a 96 gph pump with a bio-filter that I started in mid-July. The fountain head pours out onto a small waterfall into the pond for additional oxygen. I have some gravel on the bottom with 2 bunches of Anacharis, a small waterlily in a basket, and two small false papyrus growing in it.
<Nice plants>
The pH is about 7.8, KH about 120, GH 300, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate always under 20, temp 66-68 °F. Until I brought the pond into my house from outside, the nitrate had always been 0, which I'm assuming is due to the fact that the plants aren't getting the direct sunlight they used to be getting. Now I'm doing weekly gravel vacuuming/water changes to control the nitrate level and help eliminate dead plant debris.
<Good maintenance protocol>
A week or two after I brought the pond in, I noticed the comet and fantail had ich and treated them with malachite green/formalin then switched to aquarium salt, as I read it is less harsh.
<With the plants present?>
This is when I started gravel vacuuming in hopes that I could clean out any external parasites that might be lurking at the bottom still. This is where my first question comes in. I read that most fish diseases are caused by bad water quality, and not just from the normal pH, KH, GH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels that are testable, but from fungus, "bad" bacteria, viruses, and parasites that feed off of rotting organic material (plant and fish waste) in the pond. So is it a better environment for my goldfish to be in an aquarium, without plant waste and without tiny bugs that were brought in with the pond from outside?
<Mmm, it may well be... as the move to indoor conditions; the light you mention... Is probably causing the plants to die-back, their decomposition leading to poor/er water quality>
And what about the tiny clay particles that seem to float around in the pond from my potted lily whenever I do a water change or gravel vacuum? It can't be comfortable or healthy for the fish to breathe that in, can it?
<Might be of consequence>
I ask these questions because I'm trying to give my fish the most "natural" home that I can, with real plants, a waterfall, algae to eat (along with a bi-daily feeding of peas and occasional brine shrimp), but it also seems that this environment also breeds more disease. I originally planned on putting the fish into a larger pond in the spring, but now I'm not sure that is the best idea. I already have an unused 30-40 gal aquarium that I could put them in, but my husband tells me I am worrying about them too much and I should just leave them be. I DID have one Ryukin die after bringing the pond in, from I believe an internal bacteria or virus, which made me really sad. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to prevent that from happening again. Thanks for any advice you may have.
<Well, Holly... if they were mine... I would set up the aquarium... move a good deal of the water from the present pond, maybe the gravel (rinsed to removed most the detritus, but not too cleaned to move the bio-filtration), and use the winter time to learn more about ponds, goldfish... Not easy to mix comets and fancies... and all will need more room in time. Please bookmark our pond subweb, and start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish Concerns 10/26/09
Thank you sooo much for your quick response. I will definitely be moving them to the bigger aquarium as soon as I can. Just to mention, I've read the same thing about mixing comets and fancy fish and that you shouldn't do it. However, it is odd that MY fish are acting quite that opposite than you would expect - the Ryukin is a bully and all the other fish swim away during one of his tirades, and the fantail is actually most aggressive during feeding time. And actually during gravel vacuuming, the Ryukin and fantail are the only two that constantly "kiss" my fingers as I dip them into the water! I think the comet and shubunkin may be younger, as they are much more timid with me.
<Yes... in time, with growth... they both get over a foot in length; this will change>
I guess over time, though, when the shubunkin and comet grow bigger than the fancies, I will probably have to split them up. I will be sure to keep an eye on them! Again, thanks for all your help, and keep up the great work!
<Will do. BobF>

Q&A about goldfish....................................................................... 10/12/09
Hey guys =)
<Hello Hillary,>
I currently have a 2.5 gallon plastic tank with an inch of gravel on the bottom, a Small World in tank aquarium filter (I replace the cartridges every 2 weeks), and a light.
<Are you kidding me? 2.5 gallons? Who told you that was big enough for Goldfish? It isn't even big enough for a Betta! Honestly, you will NEVER be able to keep Goldfish healthy in this system. Minimum for Goldfish is 20 gallons, and realistically you want 30+ gallons.
Too big? Then don't keep Goldfish. Simple as that. A 2.5 gallon tank isn't much use (any use at all, in fact) for fish, but I've seen nice systems with Java moss and Cherry shrimps this size.
I had a fantail as well as a black moor. Yesterday my fantail swam inside my rock decoration and died for no apparent reason.
<Well, actually, the reason is very apparent. The tank is too small. Water quality likely dire, and lack of oxygen may well be an issue too. Get the fish out of there, NOW.>
I have gone through about 3 different types of fish food, including goldfish flakes and baby goldfish pellets, but they seem to try and eat it but spit them out every time.
<Fish tend not to eat much when they're stressed. Healthy Goldfish are primarily herbivores and should be given mostly green foods.
Currently they are eating Hikari Goldfish Gold baby pellets. They still don't fully consume them rather take them in their mouths and spit out a smaller pellet.
I was wondering how I can my black moor, Chumpers, to eat, and which breeds of fish that would be compatible with him. He seems to be highly stressed with Adi being gone.
Thanks for the help,
<While it's cute to give animals names, as I'm sure you realise they couldn't care less. All animals want is proper care. Review the needs of Goldfish and act accordingly. At the moment, you ARE killing these fish, even if you think you're being nice to them.>
<Cheers, Neale.>


help - problem with my cold water fish... GF hlth. 10/7/09
i have approx 17 cold water fish
<Hope this is a VERY big aquarium! If these are all Goldfish, even a pond would be overcrowded with this many fish. Realistically, adult Goldfish need about 30 gallons for the first two, and another 10-15 gallons per
additional fish. So we're talking 180 gallons for 17 Goldfish. Anything smaller, and I doubt water quality would be much good.>
and have just noticed both of the bubble eyed fish have developed straggly long bits sticking on their lower half towards the rear end of the fish.
<Are the "strings" faeces? Goldfish are prone to constipation, typically because people feed them just dried food. They need a lot of green foods to stay healthy, such as cooked peas and edible aquarium plants (e.g.,
Elodea). See here:
So, if you suspect this, stop with the flake food, and on with the cooked peas!>
at first i thought they had got a bit of string or something stuck to them but i see both fish have it. its like a 3 inch straggly thin like string sticking towards the rear of the fish facing downwards into the water can you advise on this please am panicking like mad
thanks David
<David, please do use capital letters next time you write! Cheers, Neale.>


Goldfish with fused mouth 10/5/09
Hi, I have searched your site as well as everything else on the net to find any info on what is causing my 7 inch comet to have a repeating fusing of his mouth. My guy is about 4 to 6 years old, lives in a 33 gallon aquarium with one other goldfish.
<Mmm, too crowded...>
Not had any problems before. Water changes 25% weekly, water conditions fine.
<..? Need values. I assure you... with even just the one Comet there the water quality is "not fine". Metabolite accumulation is another way of stating it's being mal-affected by living in its own "metabolites">
Skin seems to grow around his mouth. After not finding any help, and treating with numerous medication for different ailments without success,
<Are of no use here>
I took a fine rubber tipped dental tool and pried the skin away. It worked for a week or two, then it happened again. This has been going on for the last eight months, I keep peeling the skin off whenever needed. Now, the skin on the left side has become very hard and I cannot pry it off. The fish, although quite used to the treatment by now, gets completely stressed when I try to pull at the hard part. I am now considering using a fine tipped razor to cut away the hard bit. I have carefully inspected the fish for signs of infection, parasites, fungus but there isn't anything other than the mouth issue. After manually cleaning up his mouth, he would eat and behave normally until it fused up again.
I really would like to figure what is going on here. The other fish is fine, never any problems. Is it possible the chemicals used for conditioning the water before water changes could be the culprit? I do remember giving them a new batch of food plants a couple of weeks before the condition presented itself.
Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks,
<Could be genetic/ontogenetic (i.e. developmental), but I suspect that the root cause here is environmental. Comets get too big for such small volumes. Bob Fenner>


Please Help, Goldfish... no reading, as usual 9/30/09
Hi, I have a 28 gal tank, I have 9 goldfish, (all kinds) I had them for about 6 months. I do a water change every 3-4 weeks.
<Way too many fish for this tank, your water quality is probably suffering and the fish are stressed from the cramped quarters.>
I add all of the stuff that I was told, like the water cond.s, plus the waste control and cycle and salt, then I noticed that they started to loose their skin, they were scratching on the rocks, one fish actually scratched his eye very bad.
<You should test for ammonia and nitrites, I am guessing they are very high.>
I went to PetCetera they sold me the ick stuff, and told me to change the water, so I changed the water, in 4 hours it got all fogy and white.
<Did you change all of it? If so you probably interrupted your biological filtration.>
So I added some of that water cleaner,
<No such thing, probably an ammonia binder, which is of limited use in most cases.>
My fish started to swim at the bottom of the tank, then they switched went for the top. Now one of my fish got so bloated and a big red anus, I don't know what happened to him/her, but it seems like he cant swim, he tries but them goes belly down. as well as other fish, they don't look healthy.
<Water changes here, the environment is killing these fishes.>
Also i noticed that some fish got these white pimples right at the edge of their front fins, at first i thought it was ick, but I've never seen ick go neat in a straight line. what is it.
<Could be ich, could be reactions to ammonia/nitrite.>
What do i do,,,
Please help me I really don't know what to do
<Short term, water changes and improved environmental conditions, long term remove 6 of the fish, that sized tank can have a max of 3 goldfish.>
I have been trying to find the info on the web, but nothing about bloating and big red anus,.
<Most likely bacterial infection that resulted from poor water quality.>
I don't know what else to do, every time I go to the store they always like to sell everything that is the most expensive and stuff that I don't even end up needing.
<Start by reading
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm ,
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm ,
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm , and related FAQs.>
Thanks a lot Lena

Re Please Help, Goldfish 9/30/09
Hi Chris,
Thanks for your reply,
well the boated fish died, plus another one, that was just a baby plus she was ok yesterday, when I took it out it had red spots on its stomach, I tested for emonia
and it was 7.0.
<If this is an ammonia reading it is exceedingly high, and will quickly kill your fish. Ammonia HAS to be 0, lots of water changes are needed here and quick.>
in which I read that its normal.
<Not normal, perhaps you are confusing pH and ammonia.>
Since I got the fish they have been pretty healthy, they grew amazingly with in a few months. I just don't know what to treat them for, this morning i noticed that they started to scratch again, but they are still
loosing their scales. Can you recommend something?
<There is no disease here to treat, or at least not your primary concern. I think all your problems are related to water quality.>
Maybe its more than one disease?
Also I just thought of it I changed their food from Sera goldy royal (granulated growth food to Sera goldy color Granulated food. Could this be the trigger? Of their illness?
Thanks Lena
<Improve the environment first and foremost, disease is not your primary concern. Also in future queries please spell and grammar check before sending, it makes communicating easier and is something we have to correct ourselves before posting on the FAQs.>

Re: Please Help. Still not reading... GF env. hlth. 10/4/09
Hi Chris,
<Seems to be out diving...>
Thank You for your replies, sorry for the mistakes, i will check them now.
Now i have another problem. My fish were ok for these 2 days, now i wake up and noticed that 4 of my goldfish are chasing another, they are chasing at her bum then they corner her and start to somewhat bite and scratch on her, i tried to separate her in to a fish bowl, but they just went after another fish. they are swimming very swirly and fast. what do i do? i am going to test out my ammonia level like you said. the another test was the Ph Level.
<Good idea>
what could be the reason that they are chasing these two poor fish? ( but its mostly the one)
<Likely the environment... Read where you were initially referred... see below. These fish are being poisoned. Bob Fenner>
Thanks again in advance


Goldfish (10 gallon tank; death, mayhem) 9/29/2009
Hi, i HAD 2 fancy goldfish that recently got ich and died.
<Fish rarely die from Ick. It's easy to cure and takes a long time to kill fish. If they really did die from Ick, you were doing *a lot* of stuff wrong. So let's review what Goldfish need. They need an aquarium at least
30 gallons in size, with a mature filter of reasonable size (recommendation: at least 4, and preferably 6, times the volume of the aquarium in turnover, so a 30 gallon tank would need a filter rated at not less than 4 x 30 = 120 gallons per hour, and preferably 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour). Water chemistry should be hard and basic; aim for pH 7.5-8, 10-20 degrees dH. Do not use water from a domestic water softener, do not use distilled water. Salt is not required, but water conditioner should always be used. Diet should be primarily green foods, with pellets and flake used as a minority component. Most Goldfish die prematurely because their keepers *kill them*. Read up on their needs, and act accordingly.
They're nice pets, but sadly too many people buy them without knowing the first thing about their needs. They're demanding animals, and if you can't provide what they need, then try keeping something else, like a pot plant or something. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Goldfish are really quite hard work, and if you don't have the funds, time, dorm room space, or whatever, don't keep them.>
I treated with medication and water changes, but they still died. My question is how do i kill the ich that is still in my 10 gall aquarium with no fish??
<10 gallons is too small for Goldfish.

and how long can i wait until i put new fish in???
<You need to keep the filter mature by adding fish food every couple of days. Leave the aquarium devoid of fish ("fallow") for about 2, ideally 4, weeks to guarantee all the Ick is gone. Add new livestock carefully, using a nitrite test kit to make sure the filter was properly maintained. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (10 gallon tank; death, mayhem) 9/29/2009
Thank you Neale for the answer.
<Happy to help.>
I am sorry to the other persons who answered but my fish did die from ick, they had all the warning signs and the white spots.
<I'm not saying Ick doesn't eventually kill fish if left untreated, but that there's several weeks before that happens where fish as large as Goldfish are concerned. So from the time you spot the first white spots to
the point where the fish dies, there's ample time to identify the disease, and then to treat it successfully.>
Before these 2 fish i had another 2 fancy goldfish and they lived for 3 and four years in my 10 gallon tank, so i don't know what your talking about "they didn't die from ich" and "I killed them".
<What I'm talking about is this: Ick doesn't appear in four year old aquaria out of the blue. It usually turns up when new fish are introduced. Once the tank is treated to kill the Ick, it will never come back unless
introduced once more. But this is really irrelevant. The fact is you cannot keep two Goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. If you think you can, you're deluding yourself. All I can do is tell people the facts, like a doctor
would in a clinic. If doctors tell you smoking is bad, and that you should eat more vegetables, and do more exercise, it's ultimately up to you whether you listen to their good advice or carry on doing the wrong thing.
The same thing here. Goldfish should live for at least 20 years in captivity, so if yours died after 4 years, then they died very, very prematurely. Your first fish died after four years, and then these fish after three. What more do you want me to say? That there's an evil fish-killing ghost living in your house? Seriously, if you want to kid yourself nothing is wrong, then that's your choice, but it's unfortunate that you're going to carry on killing fish in the meanwhile. Most ignorance is willful, and this is a classic example. So, once more, just to be clear: you cannot keep Goldfish in 10 gallon aquaria. Period. End of discussion.
The reasons your fish died were most likely associated with this simple fact, and if you don't want to accept that fact, then there's nothing more I can do to help you. All I want to do is help the animals in your care.>
Sorry but your wrong.
<It's actually "you are wrong" or "you're wrong" but since I'm right and it's you that's wrong, I think we'll let that pass for now. Good luck, *Neale.>
Re: Goldfish (10 gallon tank; death, mayhem)

Sorry but your wrong.
<Oh, and Gracen, you might check over the other messages today. One of my correspondents begins "I am in awe! My little fish is now swimming again."
So, I do know what I'm doing. Listen up and learn how to keep fish properly, or else walk out the door and make your own mistakes. Your move.
Cheers, Neale.>


Sick Ranchu - need advice (RMF, ideas? does this sound like worms?) 9/21/09
Trying to get the bottom of what is causing one of our Ranchu's ill health.
We have 2 Ranchus - one is 3 yr old orange female (Sport), the sick one is a 2 yr old black/gold male (Oliver). They live in a 17 gallon tank with fresh plants, gravel with an Eheim canister filtration system built for a 30 or 38 gallon tank. We perform weekly water changes and check nitrates and Ph regularly. We use AmQuel along with aquarium salts with every water change...and occasionally a neutral regulator if the Ph is a little off.
<Actually, Goldfish prefer hard, basic water: pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH is ideal. So rather than using tonic or aquarium salts, a Rift Valley Cichlid Salt mix, at about one-quarter to one-half dose would actually be far more helpful.>
It may be important to note that after about 6 months of adding Oliver to the tank, a few dark reddish spots appeared on one side. As they seemed to be markings completely matching 2 of his scales, we weren't worried. It's been a year later and the 2 reddish scales have never changed in size or appearance. And we assumed this is normal or unique to him.
<Indeed, very likely the case.>
A few weeks ago, Oliver suddenly developed rather large protrusions or lumps on both sides of its body. Within a day, one side began to decrease while the other got worse - looked like a few very large peas in size.
Within another day the growth began to sprout what looked like a white cottony head, which continued to grow. The whiteness disappeared the next day which left behind what looked like a raw sore with a red ring. As that side began to heal a little, the same started occurring on the other side.
After showing pictures to our local fish store, they recommended a treatment of Pimafix because they believed it was fungus related.
<Not a medication I place much faith in, to be honest.>
<<I'd use a stronger oath here... Is counter-productive. RMF>>
We began a week-long treatment based on the product instructions which helped a little, but not entirely. They recommended we try 1 more week before moving to a stronger medicine. On day 9 of treatment he took a turn for the worse and was floating on the top of the tank for 24 hours, would not eat and developed very labored breathing despite the improved skin conditions. The next morning after 1 more treatment, he hung on and has been getting better day by day, and appetite and normal spunky behavior is back.
It's been almost a week since the last treatment. Water has been changed and tested. All levels are great. We were happy that all sores appear to be healing nicely, too. However as of this morning, there is another small cottony-like patch on the right-side again! It's small, but just larger than a pin-head - exactly how the first episode began, and we are very worried this may not be a fungus, but perhaps a more serious infection or ulcer?
<Certainly open wounds can become ulcerous given the warm, wet conditions in an aquarium. But whether the ulcer itself is the problem is more difficult to say. In this case, I think the ulcer is merely secondary to whatever is causing the body to swell and the skin to become damaged.>
Any insights on how best to treat would be greatly appreciated! We love our Oliver and want him to get better. I've attached 2 pictures - one from 3 weeks ago, and one from today.
(PS - Sport has showed no signs of sickness at all throughout these last few weeks).
<I'm a bit mystified on this, to be honest. The fact the body becomes lumpy, and that some of these lumps go while others arrive is really very odd indeed. I'm wondering if there are some worms or other such parasites moving about inside the muscle tissue? Alternatively, could be simply constipation (see the "Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish article here at WWM) but I'd expect a more uniform swelling if that were the case. Tumours are common enough among fish, but they don't normally come and go. They're usually slow-growing, long-term solid lumps under the skin. Then there the are so-called Nodular Diseases, things like Ichthyosporidium and Myxobolus, but these tend to form cysts on top of the skin, rather than underneath it.
They're contagious and difficult to treat, but oddly enough don't usually cause outright death. Fish Pox is also seen on various carps, including Goldfish, but it looks like waxy lumps on the body, rather than swelling sores. Google these ideas and see if any photos match what you're seeing.
Other than optimising water conditions, ideally by raising the hardness and pH a bit to get it where Goldfish want it, I can't see anything obviously wrong with your set-up. I've asked Bob for a second opinion; perhaps he can recognise this problem better than I. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Due to the usual too-small for goldfish conditions here, I'm initially given to wonder re environmental influences... There is some possibility of parasitic involvement via the plants... I don't see the images, the querior mentions... But would like to peruse these if they'll re-send. BobF>>

Re: More re: Sick Ranchu - need advice (RMF, ideas? does this sound like worms?) -- 9/22/09
Thank you both for the feedback.
<Glad to help. I did overlook the size of your tank, which Bob caught. 17 gallons is way too small for Goldfish. As he says, this is a likely factor.
Cheers, Neale.>


Goldfish troubles... 9/20/09
<Hello Lauren,>
My 12 gallon Nano Cube recently finished cycling so that I could add one Black Moor Goldfish.
<Do, please, understand that a 12-gallon tank is only viable for a very young Goldfish. Even a single Black Moor needs at least 20 gallons once it's more than, say, 3-4 inches, 8-10 cm long. Given they get to 8 inches/20 cm in length, you can well understand that these are messy fish that need swimming space. Two or three specimens will need tanks upwards of 30 gallons.
So while I applaud you for cycling your new aquarium, I would warn you that a Goldfish is a very bad choice for this system. Not only will get sick eventually, it'll also make the tank messy and murky. While you might not imagine this to be the case, tropical fish are often much better choices.
A school of White Cloud Mountain Minnows, perhaps with a few Cherry Shrimps, would work nicely in an unheated tank this size, assuming it was in a warm room.>
My parameters were and are pretty good (Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0, Ammonia 0, Ph 6.7, Chlorine 0). I've also been doing 25% water changes at least once a week.
<Goldfish need a pH around 7.5; they tend to get sickly in acidic water.>
However, within a few hours upon adding my new fish to the tank, I noticed a large amount of white film all over the tail and on parts of the head and body of the fish.
<Oh dear. This is likely mucous, and may be a problem because of the low pH, which Goldfish really don't like. Do read here about soft water and how to make water harder:
The eyes were cloudy as well. I immediately added some salt and Stress Coat to the tank as I suspected it was stress/ shock or possibly a fungal infection. The only thing I could imagine could cause this problem may be that the temperature in the tank is a little high (for a goldfish) at 78 degrees.
<Shouldn't make that big of a difference.>
It's been a few days and the little guy seems to be acting more and more lethargic. Please help!
Cheers, Lauren C.
<If you can, return the fish, and make some other, more sensible, choices for your aquarium. What you are doing *won't* work. Cheers, Neale.>


My poorly goldfish! Env. -- 09/19/09
I'm sorry to bother you but I'm having a problem with my large gold fantail goldfish. He has developed a lump on what I think is his anal fin. It's half-way down the fin and looks white and hard. I have put anti-fungal and fin-rot treatment in the tank, and had previously tried white spot medication. Nothing seems to have worked.
<Mmm, not a good idea to blindly pour these chemicals in... They have their downsides>
Apart from this white lump he seems happy enough and is swimming and eating as normal. The lump appeared about 2-3 days ago and has not got any bigger or smaller in that time. I am also having problems with the water in my tank. As soon as I have cleaned it, within a week it is full of what looks like the beginning of white algae,
<What filtration?>
what am I doing wrong? I don't want to clean the tank every week. My tank olds 60 gallons and holds 1 large and 4 small fantail fish. I have a pump, but no filtration system, is this why?
<Oh... yes. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank-you, kind regards
Rebecca Twinn

My goldfish mystery disease... Iatrogenic/env. 9/18/09
I got 3 plain goldfish from mejiers which I know you have to be careful about disease.
<Well, perhaps, but mostly fish die not because they got a disease from the retailer, but because people keep them badly. I mention that here because, judging from the rest of your e-mail, that's exactly the problem here.>
My tank is 16" (across) dome front tank with a jet, heater (so temp is about 75 degree F), and a bio wheel filter.
<Too small. I'm guessing this tank contains less than 10 gallons of water; a standard rectangular 10 gallon aquarium would measure about 20 inches from side to side. Given that three Goldfish will need at least 30 gallons when mature, and even as babies (up to, say, 3 inches in length) wouldn't be healthy in less than 15 gallons, your tank is too small. Add to this inadequate filtration and not taking the time to mature the biological filter first, and you have a recipe for disaster, or, more specifically, dead fish.>
I got the 3 fish Saturday and had no problems until Monday or Tuesday when I had one fish refuse to eat then die a few hours later unexpectedly.
<Unfortunately entirely usual when people haven't matured their new aquarium first. Let's be crystal clear on this: there's a period of about 4-6 weeks between setting up an aquarium and when it's actually safe to add fish. For those intervening weeks, you "cycle" the filter by adding a source of ammonia. The easiest approach is simply to add pinches of flake food every other day, and as the flake decays in the filter, ammonia is released. Using your nitrite test kit (you do have one, don't you?) you'd see nitrite goes up (dangerous) and then drops to zero (safe) after about 4-6 weeks. You can then add whatever fish you want. Easy. This is described in most modern aquarium books, so if you didn't do this, I have to wonder whether you read anything about keeping fish before you spent your money.>
I looked closely at his body and on the outside there was no odd coloration or any visible signs of being sick. So I assumed it was nothing just unlucky and something out of my hands on what was wrong with him.
<No! The fish is sick precisely because of you, and it's firmly in your hands! So don't shirk the responsibility here. We live in an age where we blame our problems on everyone else: government, foreigners, big corporations, our parents, whatever. And yet, deep down, we know that most of the things that disappoint us in life are our own fault. So concentrate on what you have -- or haven't done -- and think about what you do to improve things. In this case, you have a tank that's too small, and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts the water quality is dire. In the short term, you should be doing 25-50% water changes every other day, to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels down. You should be minimising the food that's going into the aquarium. In fact I'd not add flake at all, and simply offer green foods, such as Elodea or cooked peas. Finally, I'd be realistic about the aquarium, and look for something containing either 20 gallons (knowing I'd have to replace it within a year) or 30 gallons upwards (which should be adequate indefinitely). Too big? Too expensive? Then don't keep Goldfish.
Bear in mind Goldfish are big animals, some 20 cm/8 inches at minimum, and up to 30 cm/12 inches for standard (non-fancy) types like Comets. Given your tank is a piddling 16 inches across, you could barely *wedge* an adult Goldfish in there, let alone three of them and expect them to swim about healthily.>
But tonight I noticed on of my other goldfish has turned pink (within 4 hours has had this changed) along his spine and at the base of his tail and most corners of his body.
<Finrot; treat with a reliable (not Melafix!) medication such as Maracyn or Seachem Paraguard. Adding a small amount of non-iodised salt (0.5 oz per US gallon) will reduces the toxicity of nitrite somewhat, and this helps, but salt WILL NOT cure the Finrot problem so don't for a second think that it will.>
He doesn't seem to be acting weird other than the fact he likes to swim in one corner of the top part of the tank. I doubt he will make it through the night, but if this is a disease hopefully I can save my last goldfish who hasn't shown any of the signs the others did and has seemed to have gotten bigger since I have had him.
<Not disease as such, but bad maintenance on your part, exposing the Goldfish to high levels of ammonia and nitrite. This suppresses their immune system, and allows secondary infections to set in. This is the Finrot you're seeing: inflammation, sores, dead skin, etc. Quickly becomes fatal without medication and a dramatic improvement in conditions.>
PLEASE HELP I don't know what to do to possibly save the one or the both.
<There is much you can do. Please start by reading:
These poor animals depend on you to keep them alive, and the first step on your part is understanding what needs doing. Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Re My goldfish mystery disease 9/18/09
The tank is huge compared to them they are only a little over an inch long, it is a 16"x16"x9" plus the fact the front is a bow front if that is the more proper term (therefore it has even more room) the tank could easy support 3-5 more fish around the same size.
<Wrong. It really doesn't work this way. 16 x 16 x 9 inches is 2304 cubic inches, or about 10 US gallons. That is, and always has been, too small for Goldfish. What do you want me to say? It's a bad choice. It doesn't matter if the fish physically "fit", it's about water quality and the rate at which oxygen can diffuse into the water. Please trust me on this. I do this for a living! Or, if you don't believe me, grab an ammonia or nitrite test kit, and take a few readings across the day. If you get consistently 0 ammonia and nitrite levels, then that's fine. But if you don't, and you actually detect non-zero levels of either, then that's your problem, right there. If the fish are lethargic or worse, gasping and/or breathing heavily, then there's no enough oxygen diffusing in.>
What I meant by out of my hands was maybe he had a birth defect because in today's society the amount of poor breeding EXSPECIALLY in a Meijer's or Wal-Mart store is common.
<Actually, it's not that common. The cheap Goldfish are bred in ponds, and there's a certain amount of "survival of the fittest" going on. So bad genes isn't anything to do with. You're deluding yourself if you think it is. That's your choice, but my job here is to tell you the truth.>
Plus it had no visible markings or symptoms it stopped eating and within 2 hours died, I inspect my fish daily for any coloration or physical change.
<When did you last check the water chemistry or water quality?>
Yes, when the first one stopped eating it worried me, but it had ate earlier that day and I figure it must have just not felt like eating. Trust me though the tank is not small I have had fish for most of my life and I doubt that the levels of any element are off the water is constantly moving and being rotated the jet sucks water from the bottom and blows it out at the top and blows it towards the bio wheel filter.
<If you say so...>
And unfortunately the one fish die this morning, but there is one left, hasn't had any problems yet, but i am sure will. By the way, you should remember this tank is newly set up and as of today I have had the fish a whopping week.
<Precisely! It takes 6 weeks to mature a tank. Stick fish into a new tank, and yes, within a week, they'll get sick. Each and every time. This has been discussed to death in practically every fishkeeping book written for the last 50 years. Again, what do you want me to say? So take it from me, this is "new tank syndrome".>
I know how many people are quick to blame others, but I also know that have I fostered sick animals and I know what could be done so that these mega stores have less disease in there tanks.
<I believe you really do love animals and know how to care for them. And yet, and yet...>
Explain to me what you would've done when one of your small fish died with no visible (even after it died I looked at it closely for disease next time I guess I will run tests on it,
<Just run the tests, and then, when they come back one way or another, then we can argue some more. But I'm commenting here on probability and experience.>
it was NOT red or inflamed anywhere so I didn't think it was disease)
symptoms other than less than 2 hours ago it stopped eating.
<New tank syndrome.>
I didn't have anything to use to really look up so the best I could do was add a half cap of start right which is a "complete water conditioner, removes chlorine and chloramine"
<Good, but doesn't do anything magical. Won't prevent the ammonia from the fish killing the fish.>
and it also has Allantoin "a soothing and natural protectant that promotes healing of wounds."
<Marketing garbage.>
So I did try to prevent anything else from happening and mind you I noticed the second fish was sick when I came back to my dorm at 1 in the morning, I have no car here at my college, so I am unable to really go anywhere and get medications.
<I don't have a car, and never even learned to drive. So I'm not real sympathetic to that as an excuse as to why you can't get test kits, medications, etc. I manage, via walking, buses, trains, or online shopping.>
I will ask my science teacher to use the equipment to test the NH3, O2 and N2 levels, but I assure you they are probably in the proper range.
<I'm sure they're not.>
Honestly you deeply offended me, I am not stupid, and it probably began because I said dome not bow, and I am sorry if I mis-spoke if I could've remembered I would've told you the tank's gallon size which I checked now it is a 16 gallon bow.
<16 gallons is not enough for Goldfish. Have a read through our Goldfish disease queries. Spot the "golden thread" that runs through them -- most of the time we deal with sick goldfish, they're in small tanks.>
If you thought I was talking about one of those wall dome bowls (bowls not tanks) how the in the world would I be able to put a bio wheel filter, a jet, and a heater and how would the tank you described make any sense either.
<I didn't believe it was a bowl.>
I would bet dollars to doughnuts even if I had set my tank up the way you suggested and you had the same fish as me that first one would've died just as quickly and you probably would've been just as clueless.
<The odds on sick fish would have been DRAMATICALLY lower had you [a] had the right sized tank and [b] you'd cycled it first for six weeks using a fishless cycling method.>
Do you realize how big 30 gallons is?
I have a 40 gallon tank at home, but they are not koi the likely hood these gold fish will ever be over 5 inches is possible, but slim.
<Folks who think Goldfish stay at 5 inches have never kept them right, and had stunted Goldfish or specimens that died after a few years. Go look at some healthy specimens that lived their full lifespan.>
As I said be careful how quickly you judge if you want a GOOD argument NEVER assume anything, every size you assumed was off obviously you have never looked at the Wal-Mart or Meijer's 16 cent goldfish who have more than 30 goldish in a less than 30 gallon tank (but I wasn't making an argument I was asking for help).
<Fine, whatever. I don't need to prove anything here. I'm telling you what Goldfish need. The fact you think you know better, and yet your fish are dead/dying, really sums up the state of play.>
Next time you write a response e-mail try to not be so rude, tell me its Finrot then explain, don't tell me indirectly how dumb I am because I DID look up what certain fish need when I first wanted to get my own fish tank a year ago, not just help my father with his tanks.
<I didn't assume you were dumb, and I certainly didn't mean to be rude. I'm English, and we tend to be a bit drier and more direct than some other English speakers. If that offended you, I apologise. But I'm still right about what Goldfish need, I'm still right about what's making your specimens ill, and I'm still right about the need to mature tanks before adding livestock. Your move. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My goldfish mystery disease -- 09/19/09
<No ammonia reading? I'm actually surprised the nitrate reading is 0: that essentially means the biological filter hasn't processed any nitrogenous waste at all. Now, if the ammonia reading was higher than 0, that would imply the biological filter was non-existent, and all that was happening is that ammonia accumulated in the water until you diluted in by a water change. Since ammonia is toxic, it's a prime reason why "new tank syndrome" happens at all -- without a mature biological filter, ammonia poisons the fish in various ways. If there is a healthy biological filter, what you should see is that ammonia is turned into nitrite, and nitrite into
nitrate, so that you normally detect 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some non-zero level of nitrate (typically 10-50 mg/l in most well-stocked community tanks). This is why I'm concerned: in a tank a week or two old,
you usually detect a declining, but not yet zero level of ammonia, a rising, but not yet peaked level of nitrite, and slightly rising level of nitrate. In other words, the ammonia-consuming bacteria are well established (hence the rising level of nitrite and falling level of ammonia) but the nitrite consuming bacteria are not yet fully established (hence the nitrite level hasn't peaked, and the nitrate level is only slowly rising). It takes about 2-3 weeks after setting up for the ammonia bacteria to become fully established, about 3-4 weeks after setting up for the nitrite bacteria to become fully established, and between 4-6 weeks for everything to settle down completely. What I'm saying, in short, is that an ammonia reading would be very informative. If the level was zero, then that would mean my hypothesis here was wrong, but without an ammonia reading, I
can't tell if you have standard "new tank syndrome", or something else.
Because your tank is only a week or so old, my instinct is that "new tank syndrome" is to blame, but it might, conceivably, be something else.>
Total hardness(GH):75 (soft)
<Too soft. Goldfish need hard water.>
Total chlorine:0
Total alkalinity ppm (mg/l):80 (moderate)
<pH is a bit high, well, very high actually. Strange given the low hardness. Perhaps the carbonate hardness (measured with a KH test kit) is high.>
I can test it again if you would like, I am still going to change at least 25% of the tank water
and add Ammonia Chloramine Eliminator just in case
<Fine. Do remember that while ammonia remover in water conditioners removes the ammonia that might be in tap water, it has no impact at all on the constant production of ammonia by your fish. That's why you need a biological filter.>
and I am adding a fungus eliminator. Which is the main reason I am doing this e-mail:
Is this the right Finrot medicine?
Clears cotton fungus (columnaris) red sores(Furunculosis), gray skin (Costiasis), fish bloat (dropsy), fin and mouth rot, white film on eyes, red streaks on fins and swim bladder disease.
Active ingredients: Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate.
<Yes, "Fin and Mouth Rot" is another way of saying Finrot. Sounds a pretty good all-around medication to have at hand, but do note that it *doesn't* treat proper Fungus, the white cotton thread type. Columnaris is actually a bacterial infection, and while called Mouth Fungus, is not a fungus at all.
It's kind of like how we call Blue Green Algae and algae, but it's not a type of algae at all, but rather bacteria.>
I trust that it was Finrot but I want to make sure I am using the way of treating things.
<Do read the instructions carefully. Pay particular note to things like removal of carbon (if you use it).>
Another by the way thing walking to mejiers (which would be the only store open at that time) would be like committing suicide, there is no buses at 1 in the morning and it is dangerous to walk about 2 miles at that time of night alone. (especially if you are a 130lbs. young girl).
<Wasn't suggesting you take risks with your life, merely that you shop sensibly for whatever pet animals you're keeping.>
Culture difference
<Maybe. When I lived in the US, Nebraska to be precise, I found the lack of proper "downtown" shopping areas a frustration. But you know, I managed.
Sooner or later Americans will have to reclaim their streets and re-create proper towns within which people can walk around safely and easily, including 130 lb women, not to mention kids and the elderly. But that's a
battle for another day! Good luck with your fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: immediate help required please 9/20/09
thank you so much for getting back to me so quick
<Happy to help.>
I had been overlooking the main issue being the water thinking that it could have been a disease etc so stupid of me I did water tests pH 7
nitrate 7
ammonia 2
<Jeez! Yep, this ammonia reading would be precisely why you have sick/dead livestock. Do a big water change now (50%) and another 50% tomorrow. Next, look at where the ammonia is coming from. Overstocking is one common reason. Filter failure is another: check the filter is big enough for the tank (and livestock); check also you have sufficient biological media and you haven't replaced too much at once. Finally, look to see you aren't (MASSIVELY!) overfeeding. To be honest, if you have an ammonia reading of 2.0 mg/l, it's probable the tank is overstocked, under-filtered, and overfed, all at the same time.>
that would explain the sharp smell now I know what the issue is I can deal with it immediately
thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it I apologise for my bad spelling etc I did use spell checker as I am highly dyslexic I rely on it a lot once again many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>


Fluffy fish. GF hlth.. Env. "classic" 9/17/09
Hi there
I have 3 goldfish, not too sure what kind, as have only had them for a couple of weeks, though now, one of them seems to be fluffy, it looks more like a blowfish than it does a goldfish,
<Likely Fungus and some sort of systemic bacterial infection. Not promising, I'm afraid. Both these things are caused by bad maintenance in almost all instances, so it really comes down to finding out how YOU made the fish sick. Once we've established that, we can talk about cures and prevention.>
also doesn't seem to be very happy, e.g., hiding in the plants and treasure chest in its tank, the tank is a 9ltr,
<Dismal. Look, a single Goldfish needs something like 25 gallons/90 litres.
You cannot, repeat CANNOT keep Goldfish, or indeed any fish, in a 9 litre tank. Just won't work. Did you read anything before buying these poor fish?
I hate being the person doing the scolding all the time, but if you had read anything about goldfish, you wouldn't have bought a 9 litre tank.
Here's how it goes. Person decides to buy a pet fish. Walks into shop.
Sales clerk sees totally ignorant person browsing 9 litre tanks, and thinks, "Sucker!". Sells that customer 9 litre tank, plastic plants, bubble-operated ornaments, and all the other junk he can think of. Customer
walks out, and a few weeks later all his/her fish are dead. Neale gets an e-mail via WWM, that exasperated wannabe fishkeeper is frustrated, and Neale has to explain that they did everything wrong. Neale, since he likes animals and cares for them, gets worked up, and writes a short-tempered e-mail back to that wannabe fishkeeper. Everyone loses, especially the Goldfish, who's dead.>
just changed the water and put water conditioner in two days ago, fish only came out with this yesterday, any ideas would be greatly appreciated,
<Read here:
You need a MUCH bigger tank. No excuses; if you don't want a bigger tank, or can't afford one at least 90 litres in size, then don't keep Goldfish.
What you're doing is cruel and thoughtless. You also need a filter, and water changes should be limited to 25% per week so that water chemistry doesn't vary too wildly. Goldfish prefer hard water, so you need to think about that too. Hard water isn't salty water, so don't imagine for a nanosecond that adding "aquarium salt" will make things better. What else?
Oh yes, diet. These are herbivores, so if you're feeding just flake or pellets, you'd likely to end up with constipated Goldfish. See here:
they belong to my 5 year son,
<No, it doesn't belong to your son. It belongs to you. Let's remind ourselves we're talking about animals here, not toy soldiers. Animals come with responsibilities, and a 5-year-old couldn't possibly handle them. So, let's get real here, it's your aquarium, not your sons. What are you going to do about it? Why not show to your son that animals have needs that have to met, and while they're fun to have around, they're also hard work. Don't want to teach that lesson? Then don't keep fish.>
Grrr, would hate for it to die.
<As would I. An anti-fungal medication (not salt, or tea-tree oil such as Melafix) will fix the cotton wool growths that you see. As for the bloating, if you're lucky, that's constipation, and proper feeding will fix
it. If you're unlucky and it's dropsy (in which case the scales will stick out from body, like a pine cone) than the fish is pretty well doomed short of a trip to the vet for antibiotics.
Hope this helps, Neale.>

Cheers... GF? Sm. sys. 9/17/09
Thanks for email back,
<No problem.>
I actually didn't buy the fish or the tank, they were a gift to my son for his fifth birthday, I had absolutely nothing to do with the purchase of anything to do with either the tank or fish either, thank you for all the useful info, and I am sorry you got frustrated with it all
<Well, I'm not frustrated with you; if I was, I wouldn't have taken so long to write back. But I do get frustrated that people (for whatever reason, good or bad) buy small fish tanks, stick goldfish in them, and then see them die. It's senseless, it's easily avoidable, and yet it still happens.
All I can hope is that now you do know what to do, you'll listen to your better angels and make your Goldfish happier and healthier.>
Sent from my iPod
<Sent from my MacBook Pro. Cheers, Neale.>

My bubble eye is sick 9/9/09
i have a bubble eyed goldfish named Chubbycheeks and i had recently lost one of my other goldfish to some unidentified sickness, and now Chubby has Ick. He also has some purple-ish stuff on his two back fins, and i don't quite know what it is
<Sounds like you have a badly maintained aquarium. Let's recap here. Two Goldfish will need, when small, at least 20 gallons, and once mature, 30 gallons upwards. The tank needs a filter, but since Bubble-eye Goldfish are rather delicate, you'd use a something rather gentle, like a large sponge filter or an undergravel filter. The turnover rate would be about 4 times the volume of the tank per hour, so about 80 gallons per hour for a 20 gallon tank. The water quality must be good: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Water changes should be about 25% per week. Temperature isn't critical, but for Bubble-eye Goldfish you want to avoid extremes, particularly chilling; around 15-18 degrees C is ideal. Water chemistry is important though, as
Goldfish like hard, basic water and will not do well in soft, acidic water.
The addition of salt by itself won't do this, contrary to what some imagine. If you have soft water, you should be adding a Rift Valley salt mix at about half the dose used for Rift Valley cichlids. We have a recipe
do you have any suggestions?
<Many. But I need to know about the tank you're keeping this fish in. It sounds like you have not just Ick but also Finrot, and that will need to be treated. The Ick comes in with new fish, but Finrot is usually caused by poor water quality. Let me know something about water quality (at minimum, nitrite levels) and we can take it from there.>
please help i don't want him to die!!
<Do read here:
Goldfish couldn't care less about cute names, but they do care about the size of their tank, filtration, water chemistry, diet, and companionship of their own species. Animals are animals, even when we call them Chubby.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: my bubble eye is sick 9/10/09
thank you for replying so quickly
<Happy to help.>
I have a ten gallon tank with a bubbler
<Tank too small. Bubbler (an airstone, I assume) not particularly useful.
Needs a filter. Review the article about Goldfish needs I directed to you last time. Your tank is too small, not filtered, and likely not properly maintained. All these factors will be leading to conditions toxic to your
fish. Almost always, fish get sick because of environmental issues, so fix the environment before you do anything else.>
I have also checked the nitrite, nitrate, and the ammonia levels and they are all zero
<Actually don't believe this. A 10 gallon tank with no filter and one Goldfish will not have zero levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Well, it might just after a water change, but that's about it. Do also check
hardness (which should be around 10 degrees dH or more) and pH (which should be 7.5 or more). All these things matter. At minimum, you should have a nitrite and a pH test kit of your own.>
I'm also treating him for the Ick with Nox-Ick (the fish manger had recommended it to me)
<The Ick medication will hopefully kill any Ick, if you have some (but remember to read the instructions, particularly about removing carbon from the filter). But Finrot requires a Finrot medication such as Maracyn.
Tamara, there's really nothing I can tell you to fix the life of this fish if you persist on keeping it in a 10 gallon tank without a filter. That's the ball game here; everything else is delusion. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: my bubble eye is sick 9/11/09
Sorry I should have been a little more clear on what we have. I do have a filter and when treating my fish for ICK I have removed the carbon filter.
I have also removed the ornament that the bubbler was attached to and my fish seems happier without it. PH is 7.5, KH is 120, GH is 180, NO3 is 0, NO2 is 0.
<All seems fine for Goldfish. However, in tanks with little/no filtration, you can still have very high levels of ammonia even if nitrite is low (or zero) because the ammonia isn't get converted into nitrite quickly enough.
So you get a back log of ammonia.>
Will have to get an ammonia kit, so it is possible that the ammonia is too high.
But we have added Cycle, when cycling the tank, when introducing the fish to the tank and after water changes as well as aquamarine salt.
<What's "aquamarine salt"? If this is some kind of tonic salt, it's rubbish. Goldfish don't need tonic salt. If your water is hard and basic out of the tap, there's no need to add salt to the water. By all means use
a Rift Valley salt mix to harden aquarium water, as described here:
But simply adding salt to a freshwater aquarium for no particular reason is what people used to do decades ago, and is now understood to be either pointless or else potentially harmful. Shops will recommend the stuff
primarily because inexperienced fishkeepers buy it, and it's a high profit item.>
Had been feeding the fish Nutrafin flakes and upon advise of the petstore added a cucumber and peas.
<More green foods, less dried food is best.
Now realize the tank is small but told by the petstore that a 10 gal tank would be okay for approx one year for two small goldfish. I also have two snails in tank as well. Believe one is apple and one is mystery. Would
this also cause overcrowding?
We think the fish has Finrot but it was a dark (blackish/purple) colour and were trying to get some confirmation on what it is.
<I agree, it's likely Finrot, or something similar.>
We have a Finrot medicine called Melafix.
<Not a medicine. Again, mostly sold to inexperienced aquarists. It's tea tree oil. Finrot is a difficult, dangerous disease, and Melafix a hopelessly unreliable medication. But it's cheap, so people buy it, even
though their fish keep dying.
Look for something that actually works, such as Maracyn, Paraguard or eSHa 2000. If Melafix has a use, it's as a preventative, once fish have been injured, but before they show signs of infection. Otherwise worthless.>
So we are going to do a 25% water change today, vacuum the sand and start treating for Finrot (removing the carbon filter).
<Be sure and buy some proper medication.>
Thanks for all of your advise and info and the links to other info. Your site is VERY informative. If you have any other ideas (I know, get a bigger tank) they would be appreciated.
<The bigger the tank, the healthier fish are. Don't economise on filtration. Money spent on these two aspects are saved many times over in not needing medications or new fish to replace losses. Simple as that.
Cheers, Neale.>


A Question About My Fantail Goldfish... Some cap's and reading now! 8/30/2009
Well This Is Our Very First Fish Ever We Just Got It Thursday
We Just Noticed Today That Its Been Spending Most Of Its Time At The Top Surface Of The Fish Bowl We Have And We Would Like To Know If You Have Any Idea Why This Is And What We Should Do About It
<Ahh... Goldfish can not live in bowls... Please read here re their proper husbandry:
and the linked files above for detail... Bob Fenner>


VERTICAL GOLDFISH We have a goldfish that has been very healthy and happy. Lately she seems to hang around the top, swimming vertically. If you go over to pay attention to her, she will act herself and swim around, as she does when she gets fed, but a lot of the other time she is just moving about the top in a vertical position. It is a one gallon tank with undergravel filter and aeration. We do about a quarter water change (with water treated to remove chlorine and such) twice a week. Thanks < If the goldfish is eating and there are no signs of disease then it may be that the water current is too strong and you fish is just resting out of the way. If the fish is not eating then it could be signs of a bacterial infection and may need to be treated.-Chuck>


Goldfish died I had an orange goldfish for about 3 years, he grew to be about a foot long! Within the last month, he started looking "rounded". From the sides he looked fine, but from the front he looked like a big turkey with his feathers ruffled. <Yikes... good description... this condition is called "dropsy"... In Japan "pinecone disease"... caused by poor water quality mostly...> Then one day, he had a strip of what looked like skin coming out of his eye. I also noticed 2 small "tumor-like" bumps on him, one on his side, the other on his head. He stopped eating, and then he died. I tried 2 days of Maracyn 2, thinking it was dropsy, but then the guy at the fish store said to use Epsom salt. Right after I used that, he died the next day. What do you think went wrong here? He was the most beautiful healthy goldfish I have ever seen. He really was the biggest one I've seen, too. Please let me know what you think, could those little bumps have been something like cancer? I wonder if I should have continued with the antibiotic, but it wasn't really helping him much... Thanks, -Melanie <This variety (Comet) of goldfish can live for a few decades in optimal conditions... Likely your system was too small, under-filtered, not maintained/water changed frequently... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Bob Fenner>


Septicemia?? Hi guys...I've been on your site all night and have come to the conclusion that one of my goldfish has septicemia. He didn't show any signs of bruising until yesterday, but he occasionally acted very lethargic for the past couple of months. Well, let me start at the beginning. I have three fancy goldfish that were saved by my husband from flushing by my husband's company. They had used them, and a bunch of small, regular goldfish, as table decorations and once the event was over, bye-bye fish. <Sigh... such disregard...> So my husband brought them home... 8 small ones and 3 fancies. (My house is full of strays of all species!) Unfortunately, all I had was a ten gallon tank , but I reckoned that it was better than the sewer system, so in they went. Over a few months, all of the little ones died and I was left with just the three fancies. Anyway, one of these fancies, I called him "STUPID", made a habit of getting stuck places...first in the house-rock thing so I took that out, then behind the plants, so I took those out. <Okay> The first couple of times he got stuck, he was fine after a few minutes. Then he took longer to recover (lethargic, lying on the bottom stuff). Then he started acting that way even without getting stuck. I thought he was dead on several occasions. When he started acting this way, "stupid" I called it, I'd isolate him and he'd be fine the next day. I'd put him back in the tank and he'd be fine for a while, and then do it again. After the third time, and several calls to the pet store, I actually took him into the pet store for them to see him. It was at this point that Stupid had developed a sore behind his dorsal. They sold me two antibiotics, Melafix... <Actually, this is a "tea" cathartic...> ...and Erythromycin. I started the EM first (whole tank treatment) and did the proper four doses and two 25% water changes according to the label. That was a week ago. The sore was healing nicely. Then, per pet store instructions, I began the Melafix. The sore continued to heal, but after two days on the Melafix, Stupid began to look like he had a small bruise near his dorsal...I actually thought it was just the last remnants of the sore. Well, the bruise got worse, about an inch long I guess, and the lethargy continued, so I isolated him again and started searching your site trying to figure out what's wrong with him. <I would NOT use the "Fix"> This is when I came to the septicemia conclusion, although it may not be correct. <Mmm, is a good descriptive term... "bacteria in the blood"... red sore, lines... But what is the root cause here? I do think you're spot on with the common naming of this fish... It is/was likely "brain damaged" through poor treatment, and/or genetic disposition... being overcrowded/poisoned by such...> At any rate, it doesn't really matter because he just died. The reason I'm writing is to find out 1) Do you agree with my diagnosis? <I do> 2) Should I continue to treat the tank even though the other two fish appear healthy - just in case?? <I would not... these chemicals are more likely to cause harm than do any good> 3) Will the other fish be okay or will they get sick, too? In other words, is it contagious? <Not likely catching... the root/s here are environmental... and now that the tank is less crowded, they're better for it> I look forward to your response. Thank you for the great work!. Edie . <Thank you for writing, sharing your concern, experience. Bob Fenner>


Sick goldfish My fish is about 3 years old - have had him in a 10 gallon open fishbowl for all this time. Last week I noticed his "nose" (don't know if that's the right term) was all red - looks almost like a huge cold sore. He seems to be gasping for air and when he opens his mouth it looks like he's making a bubble or something. <Good descriptions> He tries to eat but the food comes right out of his mouth. He seems to be turning his back to me and the kids a lot - doesn't want to look at us. I use a dechlorinator when I change his water for the past 3 years. A pet store gave me Furan 2 capsules but I read it was cancerous in tests done on rats and mice and was nervous putting it in the bowl as it's open and in the kitchen. Hope you don't think I am being over concerned about using this medication. Is there any other medication I could use or any advice you could give me. Personally I am surprised he survived 3 years in a small fishbowl. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I feel like I'm just watching the poor fish die. Can't figure out what's wrong with him. <A few important things to impart... One, the origin of this fish's problems is likely environmental... living in an unfiltered container with highly vacillating water quality... Coupled with a physical trauma... a bump... in the night? Secondly, the Furan drug is a very good choice in this particular instance/conditions, but am very glad for your hesitancy... without added aeration, circulation, its use would have likely killed this fish. I would use the Furan, WITH the addition of filter/aeration... likely EITHER a hang-on power filter or a small air pump with a sponge filter... If you have time/interest, and would like to understand more of the rationale of these suggestions (of what I would do), please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm re systems for goldfish and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm re their health.... Delve through the Related FAQs (linked above these articles) for others experiences... You can save this fish... only you. Bob Fenner>


New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: