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FAQs on Goldfish Social/Behavioral Issues

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

Related FAQs:  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 DiseaseGoldfish in General, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish FeedingBloaty, Floaty Goldfish, Goldfish Breeding/Reproduction 

Key Points/Notes:

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

Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? Hypochondria sans knowledge; the usual       5/10/16
<Jas, 14 megs of the same pix? >
I don't have much experience with fish disease as I don't really get sick fish but just once every 15-24 months (except for the occasional Endler's female guppy getting skinny). Does my Gold Comet in these photos look like it has a fungal infection?
<More like "Spring" Viremia to me>

What medicine and frequency of dosing would you recommend? Currently I am stocked w/ Melafix, Pimafix,
<Worthless. PLEASE search on WWM and READ re these scams>
API Tetracycline, Furan-2, Kanaplex, Tetra ParasiteGuard, Mardel Clout, and Seachem  ParaGuard.
<None of these will treat viral troubles>

Here are some treatments I gave to my Gold Comet last month that may have or may not have contributed to this fungal infection by causing immuno-compromise:
4/7/16 from 5:33-6:20pm put Comet in a bucket that had 12 tsp of table salt for 47 minutes
4/9/16 from 5:18-6:20pm put Comet in that same bucket again for 62 minutes Then I moved the Comet to a 5 gallon x-large bucket to be treated w/ Tetra ParasiteGuard in case it had internal parasites, anchor worms, or fish live
4/12/16, 12:04am poured dissolved 3/5 tablet of Parasite Guard inside to treat possible fish lice
4/17/16, 9:46am did 25% water change
4/17/16, 12:24pm dissolved 2/5 tablet of Parasite Guard before pouring it into the bucket
4/19/16, 4:31pm did 30% water change and then threw in 3/5 tablet of Parasite Guard (since upon reading the directions again realized I didn't have to dissolve the tablet prior to putting it in the bucket unless I had "soft water and/or acid water with low alkalinity")
4/23/16, 4:02pm did 25% water change and then threw in 1/2 tablet of Parasite Guard
5/5/16, 7:54pm did 25% water change <-- I actually should have done this 48 hours or 7 days after my last dosing of Parasite Guard on 4/23/16 depending on if I was treating for anchor worms and lice (water change after 1 week)
or not (water change after 48 hours)
<READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFinfectionsFAQs.htm
These issues are almost always a result of environmental issues. DO review Goldfish Systems on WWM, Water Quality, Filtration.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/10/16

I also have Seachem Focus and Seachem Garlic Guard
<Good products but of no use here
. B>

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/10/16
Hi Bob,
I read only about 25% of the linked article on Goldfish Infections that you provided as it is a very long read.
So I did a word search on "Viremia" and found just one post mentioning it.
Your response in that post was that it was not treatable directly. What do you mean by not treatable directly?
What should I do then?
<... read further? Improve the fish's health indirectly... through improved environment and nutrition principally
There is a possibility that my Comet along w/ my other fish in my 55 gallon tank (it was previously in this tank) may have had contact w/ Tetrahymena (Guppy Disease) since the bucket I used to clean my 55 gallon's largest HOB filter (the AquaClear 70) was previously used to clean the HOB filter (Fluval C2) of my 5.5 gallon tank that may have had Tetrahymena back in January as I lost all 30 guppies in there. I did disinfect the bucket on several occasions with Potassium Permanganate before using it to clean my AquaClear 70 filter. However, I read that Potassium Permanganate
is unable to kill some Protozoans like Tetrahymena- what do you think?
<Bleach... see WWM re>
How does Viremia compare to Tetrahymena- do they have similar symptoms and thus sometimes get mistaken for each other?
<? Not to me. You can take a look at my bio.... I've taught classes on fish pathology... written extensively on topics therein... I almost always use comet goldfish for presentations... they never disappoint; harboring a dozen or more pathogens...>
Can Viremia wipe out a tank full of Endler's Guppies, esp. affecting the females?
<.... not likely; no>
Though it is possible that my Guppies had Fish Tuberculosis instead of Tetrahymena or Columnaris according either you or Neale when we discussed this back in January. I did have a few fish that did have Fish TB symptoms
like a hunched back and skinniness.
<There are a few other causes of such symptoms>
Jason<Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/10/16

Hi Bob,
To improve the environment, I'll be sure not to put any unnecessary medications that could further immuno-suppress the Comet.
It's going to be tough improving nutrition as he has only eaten maybe once about 3-4 weeks ago (some dry blood worms) and before that he didn't eat for about 4 weeks.
<Not good. A plug here for New Life's "Spectrum" pelleted... what I used exclusively for years w/ my Goldfish>
I might have to try something like frozen brine shrimp, frozen blood worms, or live food.
<Try the sinking pellets first. High palatability, complete nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?      5/11/16
For sinking pellets, I have Hikari veggie and carnivore mini pellets.
Recently I also got the Hikari carnivore medium pellets.
<I see>
The only NLS brand stuff I have are jumbo FLOAT pellets which a lot of my fish don't care for (it also has a strange odor). So though I've read a lot of comments online boasting how good NLS brand is, these jumbo FLOAT pellets are the opposite of being "great".
<Thank you for this input>
For the NLS pellets you're recommending, what size and type (like there's something called Thera+) should I get to feed my sick Comet? I usually order things on Amazon.com.
<You could use their Thera; but I would just use the un-laced variety of a small size... Goldfish have no real teeth.

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/13/16
On May 11th or the afternoon of May 10th, most of my Gold Comet's symptoms went away.
<Ah good>
When can I put him back in my 55 gallon tank which has 2 Kissing Gourami's, a Convict/Red-Point Honduran Cichlid Hybrid, Butterfly Koi, Tilapia (from a nearby stream), Clarias Fuscus (Hong Kong catfish), and Trinidad Pleco?
<Never. Not compatible with these others; and this tank is already overcrowded physiologically and more
Should I worry about transmission of Spring "Viremia" to any of these other fishes?
<Your GFs problems were environmental; caused by your poor choices.... stop writing and start reading. Re the needs of this mish mash you've tossed together. B>
I'm under the impression that he'll be more likely to eat if have him in the 55 gallon tank as compared to the 5 gallon white bucket I have him in right now.
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/13/16

Oh yeah, I also have a Yoyo Loach in that 55 gallon tank.

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/14/16
According to this presentation
"Dead or dying fish that are suspected to be infected with VHSV or SVC should be immediately submitted for evaluation to regional agencies."
My fish is neither dead nor dying. Is Spring Viremia such a rare disease in fish purchased at pet stores that it must be submitted to a wildlife agency when the fish is dying or has died?
<Mmm; could be other viral issue; but... the root cause here as already mentioned twice: Environmental>
Is it more likely that the Comet I purchased became a carrier while it was at a pet store (in this case Petco, which doesn't have the best reputation for having healthy fish) or that it was infected by water, water plants, and/or fish from a local Hawaiian stream?

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? Poisoned by treatments    5/15/16
According to this
2.5 mg/L of Potassium Permanganate will completely kill bacteria.
But you need 50 mg/L to completely inactivate viruses, a dose 20 times that needed to kill bacteria.
This is my calculation:
*50 mg/L to PP to inactivate viruses = 10 tsp/L = 10 tsp/0.246 gallon = 40 tsp/1 gallon *
*While in contrast you just need 2 tsp/1 gallon to kill bacteria - however, I usually just use 1/2 a teaspoon of Potassium Permanganate per 2 gallons of water to disinfect my buckets*
*So do you think I really need 40 tsp/1 gallon to inactivate viruses?* I read online that Spring Viremia can also affect Guppies, so perhaps what wiped out (within just about 1 week) almost 30 guppies in my 2.7 and 5.5 gallon tanks was Spring Viremia and not Tetrahymena.
So that would mean that the Cobra Guppy that I got at Petco was a carrier of Spring Viremia rather than Tetrahymena. But there's also the possibility that adding 32 tsp of Aquarium Salt to my 2.7 gallon and 25 tsp of Aquarium Salt to my 5.5 gallon could have killed the guppies and/or made them sick.
<No sense using these or any other treatments. Please read on WWM re Goldfish Environmental Disease/s. RMF>
Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection?     5/15/16

I don't really see much or any symptoms of Spring Viremia anymore.
<.... are you reading? NOT Viremia, env.!>
Is it okay to now move him from the 5 gallon bucket to my 55 gallon aquarium?
According to the link you provided me earlier (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFinfectionsFAQs.htm)  the Comet/other goldfishes do a lot better in larger aquariums/fish ponds.
Should I be worried about him transmitting Spring Viremia to my Butterfly Koi in the 55 gallon aquarium?

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? Poisoned, mis-placed....        5/16/16
You forgot to type your message.
<Nope; READ here:

Re: Gold Comet w/ fungal infection? .... abuse     5/24/16
When I put my Gold Comet back in my 55 gallon tank about a week ago, it was attacked over and over by my Kissing Gourami until much of its back's scales came off leaving white meat exposed along w/ some redness. So I removed the Gold Comet and put it back in the 5 gallon bucket. Now its back is getting redder. Should I put in any kind of medicine or antibiotic to assist it or should I just let the Comet's own immune system heal these injuries?
<You've repeatedly written in w/o taking our advice. YOU are responsible for the troubles your fishes are suffering. Re-read our prev. corr. and/or go elsewhere. Robert Fenner>

goldfish tail spiting; Plec incomp.      12/13/15
Dear Sir or Madam,
One of my goldfish is being treated for Septicemia with anti internal bacteria (Interpet)
<Probably not the medication I'd have used. This is plain vanilla Finrot, and the red blotches are precisely what you'd expect. Where the bacteria infect the skin blood vessels they cause blockages, and those are the red blotches. I'd be using a Finrot medication; eSHa 2000 is my preferred choice. I personally don't find the Interpet equivalents as good as the eSHa ones, and they're a lot more expensive per litre/gallon of water.>
Had water checked, this was found to be ok,
<Define "OK". Finrot is almost always down to two things: physical damage or water quality. In the same way as there might be the odd honest politician out there, there might also be a case of Finrot that isn't down to these two. But I wouldn't bet much money on it.>
the fish tail is splitting, (see picture) There are 2 more gold fish in the tank and a Pleco they are all doing well.
<The Plec is the problem here.
These ARE NOT compatible with Goldfish. Not saying they're aggressive, they're not. But they are big, apt to bully Goldfish (especially at night when you aren't looking), and sometimes "feed" on the mucous produced by Goldfish if they're hungry. Since Plecs are always hungry, this is quite a common situation. If your Plec doesn't
have 24/7 access to suitable fresh greens or vegetables (courgette, sweet potato, etc.) it'll be looking for something to nibble on, especially at night when they're active. On top of this, an adult (45 cm/18 inch) Plec requires, what, 340 litres/75 Imperial gallons to do well. Unless you have a tank that size, your Plec is probably pulling water quality down, which makes Finrot more likely/worse.>
What treatment can you recommend.
Yours in anticipation.
R W Oswald
<Remove the Plec; treat as per Finrot. Job done. Nice to have an easy problem to fix just for once! Cheers, Neale.>

Got the sucked on by a Pleco bluessss!

Lg Oranda help... Loricariid incomp.      2/24/15
You don't happen to recognize the white on my gf side do you? We can't tell if it's a sickened or maybe our Pleco attacked him?
<The latter almost assuredly.... tell-tale missing scale pattern>
He was fine two days ago, last night I noticed him like this, and today, the white is kinda fuzzy!! He's missing a lot of scales in his side as well. We're not sure what to do with him! :(
<Remove the Pleco; see WWM re avoiding GF infections>
Lindsey Hernandez
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Please send either prev. corr. or complete sentences.      3/25/15
Subject: More help
I've been at school all day and I just got home and checked on the Oranda... He's fuzzy... Is that a fungus? I don't know what to do to help him. We took the Pleco to the LFS, so he is gone now. Thanks again for all your help!

Re: re: More help.... GF trauma      3/26/15
I'm sorry,
I've been at school all day and I just got home and checked on the Oranda.
He's fuzzy where his scales had been taken off. Is that a fungus?
<Appears to be hyphae, mycelia... yes>

(His fins are also shredding more this morning)
I don't know what to do to help him.
<A bit of aquarium salt (1 tsp. per five gallons) is all I would do... that and check (daily) re water quality. You want NO ammonia, NO nitrite, and less than 10 ppm of nitrate>
We took the Plecostomus to the Local Fish Store, so he is gone now.

Thanks again for all your help!
<Be of good life, cheers. Bob Fenner>

Re[2]: re: More help      3/26/15
Ok put 1/2 tank water 1/2 fresh and treated water in my 5 gal quarantine tank with the 1 tsp per 5 gal of salt. What do I do daily to ensure no nitrates/ nitrites/ ammonia?
<Biological filtration, water changes.... See WWM re. B>

He's looking worse :'(
Re[3]: re: More help
Ok, is there a common name for the hyphae, mycelia?
<True fungal "threads" (structures), versus bacterial look-alikes>
One site brought up body fungus. also, do I need to worry about my other GF getting the fungus?
<Not so much>
Sorry for all of the emails... I am freaking out here!
<When in doubt, read. B>

Re: Smaller Goldfish Bullying Larger Goldfish    10/13/12
Thanks for the response. We only have a 37 gallon tank, so we don't want to put more than 3 goldfish in there. Do you think that three would be better than two (as far as chances of their getting along)?
<Yes, but choose a tankmate of the right size and disposition. Plain vanilla Goldfish are the most robust, but among the "fancies", Black Moors and plain Fantails are generally good, too. Avoid the flimsy varieties that have trouble swimming at the best of times, like Lionheads, Ranchus, Celestials, etc.>
As you can see from our earlier email, we had an issue of one fish bullying the other fish. I know what you mean about 6 fish, but we would probably need a bigger tank for that.
<For six Goldfish, yes; but you might be able to add something smaller to "distract" the aggressive fish, such as Rosy Red Minnows or (if the aquarium is well-filtered and not too cold) subtropical species like Variatus Platies.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Black moor, hlth., social /RMF    2/10/12
Hi I am emailing you because I'm seeming to have a problem with my black moor. It started about two Weeks ago, I had gotten a 29 gallon tank for my fantailed goldfish and my black moor
<Is this tank/system cycled? Measures of nitrogenous metabolite?>
 and I noticed around feeding Time my goldfish was picking at the moor whenever it was eating. A white scab looking thing devolved by its top fin so I moved it into a tank by itself because I figured it was an injury caused by the other fish. Well yesterday it developed a similar spot on the other side of the same fin I'm not sure what this is can you help?
<Only you can. These goldfish need to be physically separated. Bob Fenner>
Thank you
Black moor, Neale's better go     2/10/12

Hi I am emailing you because I'm seeming to have a problem with my black moor. It started about two Weeks ago, I had gotten a 29 gallon tank for my fantailed goldfish and my black moor and I noticed around feeding Time my goldfish was picking at the moor whenever it was eating.
<Hmm… aggression between specimens does sometimes happen with Goldfish when kept in pairs. But if they'd been getting along fine before, it's possible the Fantail is merely feeding on the decaying flesh around the wound. Revolting, I know, but animals rarely pass up free-and-easy protein meals. Heck, we're no better, eating all kinds of stuff we *know* is bad for us! In any case, separating the two fish will be essential if this wound is to heal. Even a divider can work, a piece of plastic egg-crate for example cut to size, such that it allows water to flow evenly around the tank, but the fish themselves are kept apart. It'll only take a few weeks for the wound to heal, and even less time if you use a good antibacterial or antibiotic that prevents secondary infections.>
A white scab looking thing developed by its top fin so I moved it into a tank by itself because I figured it was an injury caused by the other fish.
<Hard to say from my perspective. The fish may have been wounded somehow, and the other fish now nibbles at the wound, or the wound might have been caused by the other fish through aggression. Given goldfish lack teeth, chances are the former is the explanation, but with other species, like cichlids, that are able to bite, the odds are different.>
Well yesterday it developed a similar spot on the other side of the same fin I'm not sure what this is can you help?
Thank you
<Do separate these fish for a while as described above. Review aquarium conditions (test for ammonia and nitrite for example) and make sure there's no reason for this fish to be spontaneously developing Finrot or Fungus. Check the fish can't get damaged by anything inside the aquarium: sharp rocks, overly-strong power filter inlets. Don't handle this fish at all, e.g., with a net, as these can cause damage to the fish's delicate skin. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Black moor
- 3/10/12
All of my levels are fine in the tank,
 and the fish have been separated for two weeks now any advice?
<Keep reading. B>
re: Black moor

Thank you for the info! Is there any possible way it could be fin rot? what are the symptoms of this infection? Thank you any information would be helpful
<? These questions answers are all addressed/archived on WWM. Why are you writing instead of simply searching, reading? B>
re: Black moor
- 3/10/12
All of my levels are fine in the tank,
<This doesn't mean much, you see. What are the "levels"? Do you mean the water seems okay to you? Or that you don't have test kits so can't check, and want to change the subject? Or that you have tested the water and can pass along the details? You must understand that by itself poor water quality can cause the problem you're seeing, and many aquarists, even quite experienced ones, don't fully grasp the importance of water quality and water chemistry. Let's be clear that all aquarists should own at least one test kit -- the nitrite (with an "i", not nitrate with an "a") test kit.
Assuming you have at least some sort of filter, a nitrite level above 0 indicates problems with the water quality. Ammonia test kits are less helpful because they easily report false positives from chloramine. Anyway, the second test kit you should own is either a pH or general hardness test kit. Both are equally good, though many aquarists find the pH kit easier to use even if it isn't quite as informative. So, with Goldfish, you're after 0 ammonia and nitrite levels, and the water should be moderately hard and alkaline, i.e., above 10 degrees dH on the general hardness test kit and with a pH between 7-8. If you don't have these values, and your water isn't right, then this is precisely why your Goldfish isn't healing. Black Moors in particular develop white patches of mucous when their skin is irritated.
Actually, all fish will develop these, they're a bit like callouses on our feet when our shoes don't fit. But because Black Moors are black, the white mucous is easier to see. If the problem in the aquarium remains, the mucous isn't enough to prevent an opportunistic bacterial infection, and eventually, the Goldfish gets sick. Finrot, Mouth Fungus (actually a bacterial infection) and plain vanilla Fungus are all very common results.>
and the fish have been separated for two weeks now any advice?
<Get a test kit; use it. Write back when you have some data. Chances are, the problem is environmental, and without fixing the problem or problems, this fish won't heal. Cheers, Neale.>

My two male Common and Oranda and female Oranda, repro. beh., mis-mixed, stocked      1/26/12
Hi, I am sending this question to you all b/c
I have searched and searched
<... nah; not on WWM>
and have yet to find my answer, hoping you can help... I have two males, one a common
<A comet>
 and the other a Oranda and they keep chasing my female around tiring her out to where she will stop swimming and let herself float to the top.
<Reproductive behavior. Need to separate...>
They pin her to a corner making it seem like they are attacking and nibbling at her.
She is wearing out and gasping for air, should I take her out for a while to give her a break, or do I just leave them alone and it will pass?
<The female may be killed>
I don't want nothing to happen to her or get hurt in the process of them trying to breed. Also, I have a 30 gallon tank how many fish do you suggest can be in the tank?
<.... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GldfshTksF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
 I have some decorations and a fake plant and tree, plenty of room not over crowded. Im wanting two black moor's. Thank you for your time!
Dominique G

Goldfish Bottom Sitting, singular in a 20 gal...     12/12/11
Hi All,
<Hello Jessica,>
I have a fantail goldfish in a 20 gallon aquarium who is bottom sitting.
<Too small in the long term; not enough space for him, or a tankmate -- these are sociable fish and get bored kept alone. A 30 gallon tank should be on your wish-list for the next year or so.>
He has a specific corner that he stays in 70% of the time. He has been in the tank for 3 months, his body is approximately two inches.
<So still very small. Will get much bigger.>
There is a 50 gallon HOB filter, and a bubble wall for added oxygen.
<Try switching off the bubbles and see what happens. Fish don't actually like bubbles. Plus, bubbles don't add oxygen. All they do is increase circulation from top to bottom, but a good aquarium filter should do that.
If switching off the bubbles causes the fish stress or it gasps for air, then the filter isn't adequate. Review, and act accordingly.>
Before he entered the tank I performed a fishless cycle, with pure ammonia, that took approximately 3 months.
<Three months?!>
I recently tested his water and found 0 for nitrates and 0 for ammonia.
Also there are ample plants and hiding areas for him to enjoy. Just to note, he holds his dorsal fin high, and I can't see any evidence of infection. Also I feed him three times a day 4 pieces of small floating pellets. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
<Could be many things. Boredom, constipation, bad genes (fancy Goldfish are deformed, after all). Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish Bottom Sitting   12/12/11

So would you recommend that I get a tank mate for him for now, and look into a 30 gallon next year?
<Well, yes, a small tankmate in a 20 gallon tank will be fine for 6, 12 months even. Fantails mix best with one another and Black Moors. Standard Goldfish like Comets and Shubunkins are active and need more space, while the "fancier" Fancies, like Lionheads and Ryukins, are easily bullied and can be delicate.>
I was surprised at the length of time as well. It took around 2 months for the ammonia to convert to nitrite, and another month to convert 5ppm of ammonia straight to nitrate.
Thank you for the additional readings, I have already checked out the majority of your forums on goldfish. One more quick question, in my readings I have found that some people recommend a gravel free bottom for goldfish aquariums, what are your thoughts on this?
<There are pros and cons. Without gravel, the tank is easier to clean, but the shiny-bright base of the tank is unpleasant for fish and they really don't like it. A very thin layer of silica sand (e.g., pool filter sand) or fine gravel is probably easiest to clean. You hardly need much: half an inch is ample. Stir when you do a water change, or, even more easily, get a turkey baster, and use that to clean and pipette the substrate when needed.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moor Skin Sloughing Off   12/8/11
    I have a 55gal with 2 black moors & a Ryukin that's well established (0 amm, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates, ph 7.8) and its moderately planted. Its also heavily filtered (two 400gph filters) and well oxygenated . I test my water regularly before pwcs
<Partial water changes to other folks>
with the API fw master test kit. I do 50-70% pwcs
<Mmm, I don't trust the water utilities re the make up of their product enough to not mention keeping this percentage lower... maybe 30% maximum...
Unless you're treating, storing water ahead of use>
2x week with Nova Aqua <Novaqua for search tools, crawlers> Plus water conditioner and feed a varied diet including Hikari, coo ked veggies, fruits, and cooked shrimp & tuna. My boys (all 3 are males) are large and active (all approximately 3yrs old). The problem is with my one moor. I have noticed over the last few days he has developed a cloudy, greyish-white areas (not fuzzy) near the base of his tail that extend down the tail and the top layers of skin are sloughing off and he has developed cloudiness on one eye.
<Mmm, not good... you have NO other fish life here? NOT an algae eater of some sort?>
 His behavior and appetite are all normal (no flashing, clamping, etc). The only information i can find in respect to skin peeling off is in respect to a ph crash. This is not the case and neither of my other 2 fish are affected. The only thing i think it could possibly be is a bacterial infection of some type but i don't know what type or how i should treat him or where it could have come from.
<I wouldn't treat per se>
There is nothing new in my tank other than an Anubias that i purchased last month. Would a salt or medicated dip help?
 I do not want to treat the entire tank but i can quarantine him for treatment if necessary. Is there any risk of infection to my other 2 fish? 
Any suggestions on what he has or how to treat it would be appreciated!
<Would you please send along a well-resolved image of these fish? Do you use carbon in your filter/s? What brand/source if so. And the question re the algae eater... Is there a Pleco, CAE present? Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Moor Skin Sloughing Off

Hi! I will try to get a pic of him. There's no carbon, just sponges.
 There isn't an algae eater, just the 3 fancies.
<I see...>
 I will work on getting a pic but i don't have a fancy camera & my cell takes poor pics. Thanks, Jessica
<Ahh, thank you. BobF>
Re: Black Moor Skin Sloughing Off   12/8/11

These are the best pics i could get. The skin sloughing off is at the base of his tail down the bottom ray. He is missing a scale or two on his side but that's because he is on the bottom of the fish hierarchy and the other moor bullies him. Thanks!!
<Ahh, I do think this is resultant from being bullied by the other Moor... There are a few approaches to lowering aggression here... Providing "dither" activities, like adding Anacharis/Elodea or other floating plants that they can bother with, chew up, adding more decor to break up the physical environment (like large plastic plants, clay pots... a fave of mine, large glass or plastic vases...), other smaller quick but not-destructive fishes like Zebra Danios... Otherwise, the bully or bullied fish should be placed elsewhere. BobF>

Re: Black Moor Skin Sloughing Off  12/8/11
Thank you for your response, Bob! I have no desire for other fish and no plans on adding anybody else because i consider the is tank fully stocked.
<I do agree... I have two large fancies in an eighty...>
They have a decent amount of live plants for hiding, eating, and playing in and i will add an even  larger variety when i upgrade my lighting in the near future.
<Ah good>
 They presently have Anubias, wisteria, swords, and few other oddball plants. I do add Anacharis on occasion but it is devoured quite quickly and creates a big mess.
<Yes... maybe another species of "bunch plant"... Hornwort/Ceratophyllum and others aren't quite so palatable>
 I can post a full tank shot if you would like. Well, the moor in question is now spending most of his time hiding in the corner (bottom-sitting) which is unusual behavior for him (or any goldfish). Although he is occasionally bullied (as is the Ryukin) by the moor willow, its not a constant occurrence and they generally all co-exist peacefully. What concerns me the most is that you can see the rays where the skin has sloughed off and it appears to spreading down his tail. I do also have a female 55gal tank that i could move him to but i have no desire for babies at this juncture in time.
<Well... not likely to spawn this time of year... could lower the tank temperature (I keep mine at ambient)...>
Thank you for your help! Jessica
<One other idea is to try floating the bully in a large plastic colander for a few days... Will give the one bullied a respite, and often "takes the spit and vinegar" out of the bad boy. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Black Moor Skin Sloughing Off  12/8/11
Thank you, Bob! I will try isolating the bully to see if it serves as an attitude adjustment and keep an eye on the injured black moor. If his tail gets worse, i will let you know! Thank you for your help!! Jessica
<And you for sharing Jess. B>

Common goldfish issue    10/1/11
I have 55 gallon fish tank with only four goldfish in there, but 1 already has its tail bitten off and scales missing on its whole tail and right side.
<? From?>
This has never happened in the past year and a half. Now another of the goldfish is missing its tail. What's happening?
<What other fishes, animals are present? Catfish? Algae eater/s? What re water quality? Images please. Bob Fenner>
re: Common goldfish issue    10/2/11

Only other of the same goldfish. The water is clean.
<... well then... the damage must have come from the others... Strange, but not impossible... Goldfish are a bit autistic in ways at times... I would isolate the one damaged fish... in another established system if at all
possible... BobF>
re: Common goldfish issue
Okay. Thanks.
<Welcome. B>

Injured Goldfish, reading, data    6/13/2011
Hi there!
3 days ago my goldfish was attacked by several other fish.
<! What other species?>
I was not there to witness the initial attack, but when I found him, he was floating upside down, not trying to swim at all, and looked comparable to ground up hamburger. He was missing several scales, had shredded fins, and seemed to be almost a bit bloody. I immediately isolated him and began treating him with tea tree oil (the active ingredient in Melafix). Just today I added a little bit more aquarium salt to the tank as well. He seems very alert and looks around a lot, but is still floating upside down and is not willing move much. His fins seem to have begun healing, but for the last couple of days he has had a fairly thick coating of cloudy to white mucous on his injured areas. If anything, I think it has been getting thicker, but is receding and covering less area on him. Do you think that this coating is bacterial, fungal, or his body's natural slime coat - possibly thickened to help the healing process?
<Can't tell from the description... could be either, both>
My main concern is whether this coating is helping him heal, or if it is preventing the medication from getting to where it needs to be. Any suggestions for me?
<Need to know re the system and tankmates, water quality... Read here:
and the linked files above. When you gain a working knowledge of what we're looking for info. wise, write back. Bob Fenner>

Re: continuing problem (RMF, any comments on Goldfish behaviour) <<None>> 6/27/10
Hi there I am writing again after receiving great advice from you in the past.
I have followed all your advice and my goldfish and comets and much healthier - the tank size is good,
<Meaning...? How many gallons/litres?>
the filter too, I am feeding a Spirulina diet with extra vegetables now and again and live plants as recommended. Cleaning more regularly too. The water quality - ph, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia is all good but one fish is still not right.
He tends to swim on his side and stay at the top more than the others
though not all the time - maybe 10% of the time only. And he was getting white spots they have all gone but his tail is still splitting a little. I think maybe he is just a sickly fish cos he's the smallest of the four and also he has the biggest tail. But then again what do I know!
<There's an element of truth to what you're suggesting. Goldfish are hierarchical, just like any other schooling fish. If the group is insufficiently large, meaning less than six specimens, it is possible for the dominant fish to become a bully. Beyond adding more fish or removing the weaker fish, there's not much you can do. Of course, if you remove a weak fish, there's a chance the next weakest one could end up being bullied. On top of this there is a definitely "pecking order" of sociability among Goldfish varieties. In short, you have Standards (single-tail varieties including Comets, Shubunkins, etc) at the top; Delicate Fancy Goldfish (with two tails, humped backs and other deformities, e.g., Lionheads, Ryukins, Orandas, Pearlscales, Pompons, etc) at the bottom; and in between Robust Fancy Goldfish (with two tails but few other deformities, specifically Black Moors and Common Fantails). It's best not to mix varieties from different levels in the pecking order. So by all means keep Shubunkins with Comets, but don't keep Comets with Ryukins. The very deformed Delicate Fancy Goldfish are best kept one variety per tank, though sometimes mixing varieties with similar degrees of handicap can be okay. The middle order, Common Fantails and Black Moors, are exceptional in mixing well with Standards given sufficient space, while also mixing well with the less feeble Delicate Fancy Goldfish, for example Orandas. With that said, there are plenty of Black Moors and Fantails that become thugs when combined with more delicate varieties, so you have to observe your fish and act accordingly should problems arise. The aim, you see, is to have Goldfish living together that reach the same size, grow at about the same rate, feed about as fast, and can swim away from each other about as quickly. The more you deviate from this, the more likely it is for social problems to arise.>
Any advice greatly received.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish suffering! Ictalurid incomp.  01/30/10
The Situation- Goldfish suffering from severe ammonia burns over body.
<Well, that's easy enough to diagnose. Black, discoloured patches on the body. But I'm not seeing that in your image. Looks more like a Goldfish that's been attacked. I wonder what he's living with...>
My family has had a 29 gallon fish tank for about 2 years with one large common goldfish that weve had for about 5 years in various sizes of tanks and a yellow bullhead caught as a fingerling in a nearby lake about a year ago. The bullhead, has, as it should, grown to about 11 inches in length and the goldfish is about six inches in total length.
<Right. So you have a Goldfish in with a voracious carnivore twice its size. Hmm... I wonder...>
We kept this tank without paying much attention to any of the rules of fish keeping, and for a while, this worked out fine, but then one day I went to feed the fish, and the goldfish looked horrible.
<I'll say!>
Over night he seemed to have lost about a quarter of his scales and his fins were all shredded and his clear skin hanging off in shreds all over him. I was panicked and at first thought that somehow the bull head had attacked him, but following some much belated internet and book research I believe that poor water quality is most likely to blame as the bio load increased as the size of the fish increased.
<No! Your Ameiurus natalis is precisely to blame here, especially if suddenly overnight the Goldfish looked bedraggled. Be clear on this, Ameiurus natalis is a NOCTURNAL carnivore.>
Considering the size and types of fish being kept in the tank, the ammonia levels were probably at a constant high for quite some time, and the goldfishes immune system finally couldnt keep up anymore.
<Conceivably, but Finrot doesn't do this to a fish overnight. You need something bigger to mangle a Goldfish like this that mere bacteria. Like a BIG PREDATOR!>
Anyways, the bullhead moved out into a temporary 20 gallon Sterilite container until its warm enough outside to release him back in the lake.
<DO NOT release into the wild, please. Not only is it against the law, but it is also how diseases and parasites carried by pet fish end up in the wild. Your local Fish & Wildlife bureau would have kittens if they thought you were about to do this. Putting him in a pond in a garden is fine, but do not place him anywhere he's likely to get into native waters. The US has some outstanding wildlife; why should a moment of thoughtlessness put that at risk? Either keep the catfish, rehome it, or humanely destroy it. Returning to the wild IS NOT an option.>
I did 2 70 percent water changes for the goldfish, about 5 hours apart, bought some water test strips and made sure that he had good water quality. We use an aqua-tech power filter made for 20-40 gallon aquariums and I have never changed out the bio filter and only rinsed it in aquarium water a few times as per the instructions on the package.
About an hour after all this, I tested the water with my new test strips (from "jungle"-, I think) and came up with:
Ammonia- 0
PH- 8.0-8.4
Total alkalinity- 120ppm-180 ppm
Chlorine- 0
Hardness- 0-25 very soft
<Actually, Goldfish prefer hard water, but your carbonate hardness is reasonably high, so this probably isn't a killer issue.>
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate 0-20
As far as I can tell from the packaging on the strips, this is ideal for freshwater.
<Depends on the freshwater fish being kept, but broadly, yes.>
Now, I am wondering what else I should do for the poor fellow. He has brightened up considerably with the better water, but his shredded fins and lumpy bare skin and blisters look horribly painful and I am afraid he will get an infection and die. I dont just want to load up the tank with antibiotics because I dont want to mess up the bio filter (thank God I followed the instructions on the filter package and never removed it or tried to wash it, so Im pretty sure the tank is properly cycled after two years!) and subsequently subject my poor fish to bad water quality again. I have read several different approaches to caring for recovering fish, and am just confused about the best way to proceed. A few websites I perused seemed to be in favor of diverting the filter and treating the tank with an antibiotic for a few days, one seemed to favor salting the tank, and a book I looked into suggested doing nothing but maintaining good water quality. I am all in favor of the last, as I dont want to overdose my fish or kill of the good bacteria and am leery of using salt as I have read that can also stress out the biofilter. The fish is active and his fins are erect when he swims, so I don't think he is sick with an infection, per se, just injured. As I have only recently decided to become fish-savvy, I would greatly appreciate input from someone with more experience! I think I know what Im doing now, but sometimes it makes a body feel better to have someone who really does know give a little input! I'm really attached to this fish!
Thank you!
PS- I am going to attempt to attach a photo of my poor goldfish and also of the bull-head, as I think he is a very interesting fish.
<Poor Goldfish is the operative phrase here! You're keeping a leopard and a lamb in the same cage, and wondering why the lamb looks nervous. Cheers, Neale.>

Muggee, Mugger

Re: Goldfish suffering!   1/31/2010
Thank you very much!
<Happy to help.>
I won't be keeping bullheads with any other fish anymore, believe me!
<Okay. I used to keep a pet Channel Catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, in a tank with a gar and a variety of large Central American cichlids. Worked rather well. These are nice catfish. But you do need to choose tankmates wisely,
and the aquarium should be of suitable size.>
As for the bullhead, we know someone with a garden pond and some much bigger fish who can take him in the spring. His species is actually native to our area, and we caught him from a lake here, but we'll be making sure
he goes into a garden pond just in case he's carrying some strange aquarium bacteria.
<Sounds like a nice home. Glad you're not going to put America's fish fauna at risk!>
Thank you again, and hopefully our little "lamb" will make a full recovery and his nightmares will diminish!
<So do I. Good luck! Neale.>

Damaged fins on Goldfish   12/2/09
While cleaning the 20 gallon tank for my Ryukin I put him in the larger 30 gallon tank that contains a 1.5 inch comet, a 2.5 inch Wakin, 2.5 inch shubunkin and a 3.5 inch common.
<Mmm... two things... mixing "comet shaped" varieties (incl. the Shubunkin... and "common"?) with fancier (egg-shaped let's say) goldfish is not a good idea. The former are too much faster, eager eaters than the latter. Secondly, this is too much goldfish flesh for a thirty gallon volume period. I'd be moving the non-fancy goldfish elsewhere>
He seemed to be enjoying the company so I left him in there. Both tanks are in my classroom and while people were in the room none of the other fish bothered the Ryukin,
<Not... as far as you are aware, however...>
unfortunately I forgot to remove him and put him in his own tank before I left on Friday. When I returned on Monday he was floating at the top of the tank.
<Oh dear!>
All of his fins except the dorsal fin were severely damaged and many of the spines in the fins had been broken. I immediately removed him and put him in his own tank. I have added some aquarium salt to the water as I read
this helps promote healing.
<Can help>
It's been about a week and a half, his fins are starting to grow back, but he still tends to roll over on his back when he stops swimming. Ever since I brought him home, about 9 months ago, he has had a problem where he would
do flips when picking at the gravel.
<This is a too-common issue with many fancy goldfish... their breeding has led to it being tough for them to spatially orient... and feeding too much of the wrong foods exacerbates the condition. Read here:
I do feed him a little bit of goldfish pellets once a day,
<What brand? I'd give up on these for now>
5 days a week, however I also grow elodea in the tank for him to snack on.
1. He had very long fins, since the spines were damaged will they ever grow back to there original length?
<Is possible, yes>
2. After researching goldfish diet I will be switching them to mainly greens, but are the damaged fins causing him to roll over, and if they remain stubby will he suffer from spending so much time upside down?
3. Besides changing his diet is there anything else I can do for him to help his fins regrow and improve his condition?
<Good water quality... frequent (weekly) partial (25-30%) water changes...>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Linda Leonard
<Welcome Linda; be of good life. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish behaviour 7/4/05 Hi <Hello there> I have a very large garden pond - twenty foot by forty plus foot, four feet plus deep at one side, lots of goldish which do breed and so on.  However they do this every year and I now feel I need to know why. They are mostly just hanging suspended in the water, like they were asleep, although they did consent to eat a little yesterday and in the post dawn period they make little bubbles on the surface which linger most of the day. <Ah, yes> Can anyone tell me what they are doing and why?  No filter or oxygenator alas but I have lived here for more than ten years now and have managed so far okay. Thanks very much Angie Watts <They are experiencing changes in the pond due to the season... in essence being poisoned... changes in pH, mixing of bottom water... You might consider adding aeration, biological filtration... that will make this system overall more homeostatic throughout the year. Bob Fenner>

A Big Load of Carp Hi, I have had my tank for about 2 years and have had the same fish in there for 18 months. I have a goldfish, fancy tail, 2 black moors, bubble eye and 2 tench. <That's a very heavy bio load you have. What size tank is this? What kind of filter do you use?> Last night they were all fine but this morning I noticed that all the fish, apart from the two tench, have had large areas of tail and fin destroyed and the bubble eye and goldfish have areas of body damaged. <Ouch!> I assumed that it is the tench that have done this as they are ok and have moved them into a second tank. <Great, if for no other reason than to spread out these large waste producers into a few tanks.> Is there any reason for Tench to do this all of a sudden? They have been in the tank for 18 months and there has never been any attack on any fish in my tank before. Shaun <If all this damage happened in one night, then I assume you are correct in blaming the Tench. Why they picked last night is anyone's guess. But these are all carp, so maybe the Tench were trying to breed with the reluctant goldfish. If this damage has happened over the course of a week or so, then it may be bad water conditions, not aggression. Tench are known to have a very thick slime coat that would have allowed them to handle the problem longer than the goldfish. Also, have you done a large water change recently? May have triggered the breeding urge or caused a pH swing. A sudden pH swing can cause skin and fin damage. The tench would be somewhat protected by that slime coat. Please check your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Make sure the injured Goldfish are kept in pristine water, with salt added, to allow them to heal. Don>   

Moor has less Dear WWM Crew, First, thanks so much for all the great information on your site. It's a wonderful resource. I have a problem with my black moor. I've posted on a couple of fish boards, but no one has really had too many suggestions so I turn to you. About 2 weeks ago, I looked at Carrot <A black carrot?> (had him about 2 years) and realized that a portion of his tail is gone--it looks like about 3/4 of an inch. One bit is still at the original length. The edge is uneven and slightly white, but not frayed. <OK> The other fins are fine. Other than the tail issue, his only other symptom has been a droopy dorsal fin. <Could be normal as he grows> He's eating energetically as always. I treated with Melafix for a week and although it's not getting worse, I'm not seeing improvement, either. Today I noticed he's acting a little lethargic--just hovering in one spot. Still eating, though. I know water quality is usually the culprit, but I don't think that's the case here: 29 gallon planted tank, 1 black moor, 1 Oranda, 3 dwarf Otos <Very good.> Ammonia, nitrites 0 <Great> Nitrates ~20 <Great> pH 7.7 <Good, if steady. Sudden swings can cause problems with skin and fins.> 20% water change every week <Good if that's enough to keep nitrates below 20. Seems a little low, but the plants help> Penguin 330 bio-wheel filter <Great. 10+ turnover for goldfish> Feed sinking pellets 2x a day, occasional bloodworms, peas <Great> Temp: ~76 <Warm for the goldies, a little cool for the catfish. But good for this mix> Recent changes: Moved fish from an 18 gallon about 2 months ago; that tank had been up for 2 years. I added the Otos about a month ago. --oh, and a wisteria at the same time. <Was the tank cycled when you added them? Possible an ammonia spike burned his tail a few weeks ago. Very localized though.> Could the move or the addition of the Otos be stressing Carrot out and causing a problem? <Unlikely a stress issue would affect only one small part of this tail. Again, too localized.> Could the Otos be nipping at him? <Possible, but unlikely.> (I have never seen them around him and they are supposed to be goldfish friendly.) I can put Carrot in QT for treatment, but I don't know with what and I don't even know what the problem is. Any suggestions would be most appreciated! <Hi, Don here. If that white edge you speak of is not moving down the tail, I think this is an injury rather than illness. It's possible that the Oto nipped him, but more likely the other goldfish, IMO. He might have even ripped it on a rock or the filter intake. The MelaFix was a good try, but I hear very mixed reviews on it. Some swear by it, others at it. Since it does not seem to have helped in your case I would suggest a large water change and adding fresh carbon to your filter. His loss of energy after you added it concerns me a little. Try salt in the QT. If not for the Oto's I'd say leave him in the 29 for a salt treatment. Take it up to one Tbls a gallon over the course of a day or two. This is just to lessen the chance of a secondary infection until the injured tissue heals. If the tail gets worse at least he'll be in the QT for more aggressive meds.> Thank you so much, Rebecca

A Black area on my goldfish My goldfish has got a black area.  It has black areas on both its sides and it's mouth.  When I looked at it for closer inspection one of the spots seemed to be covered with a white filmy substance.  The other side looked like the scales might just be coming off but there were none to be found in the tank. I have a 5 gallon freshwater tank with 2 goldfish, an algae eater, and three ghost shrimp.  Both fish were won at the fair in October 2004.  They have been in good health since.  But recently the fish with black spots has been jumping in the water and there are bubbles lining the sides of the tank.  I have a whisper filter and use tap water to fill the tank. PLEASE HURRY WITH THE ANSWER, THE FISH DOES NOT LOOK LIKE IT HAS THAT MUCH TIME LEFT. <I would change a good half of the water in the tank, replace with water about the same temperature, with conditioner to remove the tapwater sanitizer. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). The change in color alone is not problematical, but the behavior you list is indicative of some sort of environmental trouble. Bob Fenner>

Odd goldfish behavior Hope you can answer my question please....is it normal for goldfish to sleep on their backs? <No... have seen some individuals with apparently damaged gas bladders that "slept on their sides" though> Mine does it all the time, often when I walk into the room he is on his back, scares me to death and then I tap on his bowl and he starts swimming around happy as can be...thoughts?  I have had him for 4 years now and we all love him.... <I hope you have him for many more years to come. If this behavior doesn't seem to harm the fish, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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