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FAQs About Goldfish Disease/Health 8

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

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Disease 1, Goldfish Disease 2, Goldfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease 4, Goldfish Disease 5, Goldfish Disease 6, Goldfish Disease 7, Goldfish Disease 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 32, Goldfish Disease 33, Goldfish Disease 34, Goldfish Disease 35, Goldfish Health 36, Goldfish Health 37, Goldfish Health 38

FAQs on Goldfish Medicines: Antifungals, Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals ( Copper, eSHa, Metronidazole, Formalin, Copper, Malachite Green), Dewormers, Organophosphates, Salts, Mela- et al. non-fixes, Misc. Med.s,


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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Goldfish dying Hello I am hoping you can advise what I might be doing wrong that is causing my goldfish to die. I have a 150 gallon tank and have only had up to 4 fancy goldfish and a couple of algae eaters at a time. I have had a large Oranda and a Pearlscale both die on the same day. <Strange...> Since then, the two remaining goldfish seem to have been fine. Until now. A few days ago, I added two new fish, one Oranda and a Pearlscale, both very small. A few days later, one of my larger Orandas died. It had been perfectly normal, and almost the next day, I found it dead. Now, the other large black Oranda is not acting normal. He does not come to the glass when I stand at the aquarium and he is not interested in food at all. I feed him the sinking pellets, but he just lets them sink past him and doesn't even try to eat. He did seem constipated last night (had feces trailing behind him) so I gave him a cooked, skinned pea. Today, he seems to just be hovering around the centre of the tank, not really swimming around as usual. I have tested the water... ammonia, nitrite, pH, nitrate and all seems fine. Just a slightly elevated nitrate (around 8-8.4). The two new little fish seem fine. Is it possible that these 2 new little ones have caused a problem? I am nearly ready to give up on goldfish. I hope you can help. Thanks.. Diana <Something is definitely amiss here... I would institute a series of large/r water changes immediately, maybe 25% or so a day for a few days... and add a cup of non-iodized salt to the water... Is there a "slick" at the water surface? It might be that your fish are being asphyxiated... Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish dying
Hello Bob Thanks so much for the help. There was no slick on the surface of the water. I apologize, but in my first message I reported the Nitrate as slightly elevated, but actually it was the PH. It was around 8 - 8.4 . <Yes... I took this as so> Well, I did put some aquarium salt in and also some all purpose water conditioner and he did seem more active the next morning although he was still constipated. I stopped feeding the sinking pellets and just fed Marine Green 40 and still some peas. Today he is eating and swimming more actively. I hope this means he is going to be alright now. Thanks again, it is good to have a source of help when we have problems with these fish that we somehow grow to love. <I would still do those water changes... and do what you have kits for to test water quality... Something is lacking or excessive in your water. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant goldfish  Sun, 27 Mar 2005 I know you must get thousands of e-mails. I am sorry to add to your load. Just a quick questions, I long will my goldfish be bloated with eggs? <Should be no more than a week or so...> I am pretty sure she has eggs in her tummy but she has had them for a week and I wondered how long she will continue in this state. She is really fat now and I wonder if she will explode!! Thanks for all you do. Dana <Your fish may well not be full of eggs, but perhaps suffering from a "dropsical condition"... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and on to the Related FAQs linked above... Likely addition of Epsom Salt will help here. Bob Fenner>

Really Sick Goldfish Dear Robert, <Sorry for the delay in this response... am still out of the country> I am badly in need of your help. One of my goldfish is spinning and turning over. I really do not want him to die. At first it had the mouth disease and I treated it with Melafix. It is well from the disease but now he is spinning badly. What can I do to save it? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs... stop using the herbal/tea treatment...> It was inside in an aquarium and I put it outside in a pond when it got the mouth disease, then it got better and I put it back inside then sick again then outside and now it is spinning? Thank for you help Keva <Likely too much chemical, physical difference in water quality... Bob Fenner>

Re: death of my Oranda Hi bob, Sorry to trouble you again dude, but I bought 2 pair of Oranda just some hours back. They were in the bag for almost 3 hrs and I first dipped them in potassium permanganate and then put them in my tank (I do not have a quarantine tank). One or two of the new Oranda is staying at the bottom only, is it normal or is there some problem? <Mmm, sorry for the delayed response (have been out of touch, on a liveaboard in the Galapagos)... I would not use KMn03 as a dip... too strong an oxidizer... but am hopeful your goldfish rallied and is okay now. Bob Fenner>

Spinning Goldfish, Sabrina's Take  - 03/31/2005 Thanks for your advice but it came when I did something else.  <Hi, there! Sabrina here. Don passed this one on to me. I don't have the history of the situation; next time, please try to include previous correspondences at the bottom of your email, that way anyone who answers will be better equipped to help you. Usually, we stick with correspondences that we've started, but in some cases, we feel that another crewmember might have a different idea on a situation and might be able to give some insight, so it makes it much easier if all the correspondence is available. Not trying to chastise you here, just trying to let you (and all our other readers!) know how to make our lives just a little bit easier. At this point, I have no information on your tank size or inhabitants, or anything further. I'll do my best to give you some ideas of where to look, but feel free to write back in with more information - just put "attn: Sabrina" or "attn: Don" in the subject line.> I did not remove it from the tank. I put 11 tablespoons of salt in the water as they said that will kill bacteria and prevent it.  <Depends entirely upon what you're dealing with. Is the goldfish spinning like a top, like its nose is the point on which it is spinning? If so, I would suspect whirling disease, a condition caused by the parasitic protozoa Myxobolus cerebralis. Sadly, this is not curable. If this is not the manner in which the goldfish is spinning, please get back to us with a very detailed description of the goldfish's behaviour so we can help with a better diagnosis.> Shortly after that I put about 1 heaping tablespoon of charcoal powder and another table spoon of charcoal powder slurry in the water.  <This really won't have effect on disease-causing organisms, be they bacterial or parasitic in nature.> The filter was still going. There was no sign of improvement but I watch the charcoal took effect. The next day I remove 1/2 of the water from the tank and put clean water in. Now it is doing much much better. Not very much spinning. It is like it is fighting to have control over it. <Again, please describe this in greater detail - how is the fish spinning? Is it chasing its tail, like a bored puppy? Is it spinning like it's floating upside down, then swimming again? Or is it spinning like a top?> I am planning on changing the entire water tomorrow. When they were much smaller I usually change the water more frequently.  <As goldfish grow, they become much more hefty waste-producers, and need more frequent water changes. Please be testing form ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - ammonia and nitrate must be maintained at ZERO, nitrate at 20ppm or less, for the water quality to be acceptable for them.> Once when it had the mouth problem I separated it and treated it in the 10 gallon tank at one time and the fish literally bang itself against the tank until it lose 2 scales, so I put it outside in a pond where some other fishes are for a little over a month until it was well. <Good water quality alone is often a cure in and of itself. I imagine this is what happened at that time.> Then I put it back in the tank. This use to be my prize fish and I cannot really part with it. I will keep on trying with it.  <I urge you to keep on trying - in a quarantine tank. Should it turn out to have whirling disease, you do NOT want it to pass to your other fish, I assure you. You can find more information on this malady at http://www.fishdisease.net , just type "whirling disease" into the search line and hit Search. Lots of information available on this illness.> When it is completely better I will let you know. It made about a 75% change. <I do wish your fish a swift recovery - and I dearly hope it is NOT afflicted with whirling disease. I can safely say I've never seen a goldfish with this illness, and I hope it's just a communication malfunction between us on what's going on with the fish. As above, if you write back in with more, please put "attn: Sabrina or Don" in the subject line, and include all previous correspondence that you can. I hope very much to be of service to you. Wishing you and your goldfish well, -Sabrina> 

GOLDFISH IS GETTING BETTER - WooHoo! Thank you so much for all your help. I tested the water, and it's fine, but I added the Metronidazole just in case. Fish seems to be doing much better now, eating all the food and swimming around as normal, so I hope that he is over the whole experience!! Just wondering if you had any ideas on what happened to kill the small fish and poison him in the first place??  Thanks again for everything!!!! < If the water is Ok as you say then I am thinking that the there may have been a problem with the food. Off hand I am thinking that they may have been overfed or the food is too rich for them. I would look into getting a name brand fish food and feed them only enough food so that all of it is gone in a couple of minutes each day.-Chuck> 

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> 

Poisoned fish!! Killing him or making him better? Ok, I apologize in advance because I'm very upset and need advice ASAP ( and I'm new to this). I have a 20litre filtered tank, and I had three comets in it (2x 1", 1x 4"), they lived together there fine. The other day I noticed that our largest comet had what I presumed was swimbladder disease. He was ok when he swam, but the second he stopped or slowed down, he floated right up to the top, and although he was swimming, he could never quite reach the bottom of the tank. I added 20ml of "Aquarium Treatment no. 13" (for curing swimbladder) and 40g of "Supa" Tonic salt. I have done this at least twice before with other fish in the tank and it worked fine.  However, when I looked in to check up on how he was doing, I realized that the two small fish were dead and that the large boy was only hanging on by a thread. I panicked and caught him, put him in a small holding tank of new water, and cleaned the whole tank from top to bottom with clean water, before filling half way and putting the surviving fish in (as the holding tank was really too small) I know you're not supposed to ever fully change the water, but it was gut instinct. This happened yesterday, and since then he has just been lying on the bottom of the tank, not swimming or eating, but breathing ok. His dorsal fin is at least half -erect, but his fins look slightly clamped. He has no colour change. I am permanently in a semi-panic now because the two dead fish, on close examination, looked no different to usual - fins up, same colour etc. Yesterday, about 3 hrs after I removed him, he started spitting out a pinkish frothy mucus, and he also had some clear stringy mucus hanging from a gill and his tail. What happened? <I assume the mucus is regurgitated fish food.> I don't know if I overdosed the medication because I have used these quantities before with great results. Did the medication react with something in the tank? < Probably not.> Or did I o.d.? < Probably not.> Why did the large fish survive and not the little ones? < When dealing with goldfish different strains have different resistance to stress.> PLEASE help because I've had the remaining fish for 7 years and don't want to lose him. Is there anything I can do? Will my survivor live on or should I put him down? Is it just shock that is keeping him on the bottom? ANY advice greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance! < Check the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. If not you have washed away all your good bacteria and may need to re-cycle the tank again. Add Bio-Spira from Marineland to replenish the bacteria you may have washed away. You probably don't have any nitrates since you have changed all the water. Check the pH and the water temp. The pH should be around neutral and the water should be cool (65-70). If you fish is eating then only feed enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes once each day. If your fish is not eating , then it may have an internal bacterial infection that needs treating with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

SICK GOLDFISH  Dear crew of WWM am a beginner fishkeeper. I have recently bought two 2 inch Black Moor Goldfish (unknown sex). The other one is perfect, eating well, although the other one has a cut tail and a halve cut mouth (bottom jaw). You know, usually black moor mouths kind of stick out when opened, but my one doesn't. I have had it for 4 days and all it has eaten in all this time is 3 sinking fish pellets. I have already added some natural salt to prevent infection, although the tail has already shown some signs of fungal infection and I am going to get some medicine for it. Please can you tell me a method of feeding the fish with the cut mouth? Please, the fish's life is in your hands.  < Do a 30% water change , vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Check the water chemistry for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm. You tank has some problem with it that creates the mouth rot problem you are currently experiencing. Once the tank is clean and checks out ok then I would treat it with Nitrofurazone. It the infection is not to far along the n the mouth will regrow. If it has become fungused then it may not grow back to its original shape.> There is another problem with my tank, during the day, plants photosynthesize and produce oxygen although at night, they respire so would they suffocate the fish. I already have a aquatic plant so shall I keep it in or put it in another container. < Fish require oxygen all the time like we do. Plants provide oxygen when placed under light. Under darkness the plants then consume oxygen like the fish. If in the morning you find your fish gasping for air then you need to provide additional aeration in the form of an air stone. The plants are still needed to absorb some of the waste you fish are giving off. I would not bother to remove them.-Chuck>
Yes I have had the fish for 4 years, and they have always done this 'floating' after eating, hence I thought it was normal. I feed them flakes that I first soak so that they sink to the bottom of their tank - but the fish float after eating. And also cooked shelled peas once a week. I only have the 2 black moors in a 60 litre tank, so they have plenty of space and water is changed regularly. What food do you suggest trying ? (They wont touch Daphnia.) < Since your fish is doing well I would not do anything different, except make sure that all the food is gone in two minutes.> Since I wrote the first mail I went out and bought 'Interpet - No. 9 - Anti internal bacteria', and have started treatment. Will this do the same job for the blister ? Many thanks for your reply. < I do not have any experience with this medication. If it looks like it is getting worse then I would change to Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>

BLOATED GOLDFISH Hi I have 2 calico Oranda fancy that are about 4 months old and share a Hexafun 4 gallon/15 litre tank. One of the fish yesterday was a little quiet first thing so I gave them some blood worms as this usually causes great excitement!! The fish picked up throughout the day and seemed his usual self pigging out on one flake of Nutrafin Max goldfish food between the two this morning. When I got home one of the fish (the quiet one from yesterday) was having some swimming problems, he floats to the top of the tank on one side every time he rests. He is still making the effort to swim and his breathing seems ok. I have tried giving them bloodworm tonight as advised by the aquatics center when I bought the fish but he is still floating and as yet has had no bowel movements. Is he constipated? The aquatics center told me that fancies are renowned for having small float bladders and therefore problems if they eat too much flake food, is this true and what can I do to help him feel better? PLEASE HELP Rachel, Bob and Jim (the two fish!!) < Your fish should be feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is consumed in a couple of minutes. Fish that are overfed can become ill due to intestinal blockages that eventually become infected and need to be treated. Change 30% of the water and vacuum the gravel. Clean the filter too. If your fish is eating then feed them as previously recommended. If they are not eating then they need to be treated with Metronidazole. I personally don't feed bloodworms because they have caused problems with my fish in the past.-Chuck>

Sick goldfish Hello, <Hi! This is Jorie...> I've had 2 black moors (one male, one female - they've bred,) for 4 years now, but yesterday my male developed something looking like a 'blister' on the top part on his round eye (not on the actual eye ball, just above.) It looks white and slightly raised from the front, but from the side almost see-through, like a blister. Can you please tell me what this is and how to treat it ? He seems normal in himself besides this. <Have you recently tested the water conditions? You obviously have done very well by your fish to keep them happy and healthy for 4 years now, but anytime a visible lump, bump, or other abnormality presents itself, I check the environmental conditions first. Assuming they are fine (which I do want you to verify by testing for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, along with any recent/sudden temperature or pH changes to be noted), have you looked at any pictures of pop-eye? I know you say it isn't the eyeball, but sometimes it can be tricky to tell. Ruling that out, perhaps Lymphocystis is the culprit...this is a viral infection that sadly doesn't have any known cures...  I will say that I have had some success with treating affected Rainbowfish with QuickCure - just be careful if you go this route, as this is a harsh medicine. As a practical matter, I'd suggest you immediately quarantine the affect fish, if you haven't done so already, so that whatever is going on doesn't spread to the others. Poke around on the internet (you can just type in "freshwater fish disease" on Google and you'll get an abundance of results.)...see if you can make any visual matches with stock photos of sick fish to help determine what's going on. With fish disease, it often becomes a matter of ruling out what the fish *doesn't* have... Sorry I can't give you a precise and definite answer - that would surely make all of our lives easier! Do check on the water conditions and take a look at pictures of both Lymphocystis and pop-eye - see if this matches what's going on with your fish.  Good luck, Jorie>

Whirling Dervish?  No, Goldfish Hello! I have 8 goldfishes for about 3 plus years now. I started with them in a 10 gallon tank and they grew and are now in a 55gallon tank. One of them has passed through bruises, sick mouth etc. Now it started spinning rapidly. It cannot eat the feed from the top again. It mostly spin when trying to get feed from the top yet cannot really get it. Meaning it try to get it and misses. I really do not want it to die. How can I save it? I tried to change half of the water each week. Please help me. Thank you <I'm sorry to bring bad news but please remove this fish from the 55 at once. Whirling is almost always fatal. And it may spread to your other fish, especially if it should die in the tank. If you still have the ten gallon you could put him in there and try Quinine Sulfate. But the chance of a cure is so remote and the chance of spreading so great, I would put the fish down. Don> 

GOLDFISH WITH ACNE Hi I was hoping that you could give me some advice on our Ranchu. He (?)  'Sharky' is active and happy, in a well maintained tank, good filtration, maybe a little warm (74-75). In the tank there is a beta fighter fish 'Kato' (very good  natured one), a zebra 'Marlon' and a tiny minnow. Tank size is 5 1/2 to 6 gallons, we are upgrading to a larger one ASAP. What is worrying us is that over the past couple of days Sharky has developed a red bump on the cheek, it looks slightly open and a little sore. At first I thought that maybe he had a bruise but I don't think it is? It looks very much like a fungus or parasite of some kind. Sorry I cant send a photo as I do not have the means to take one. I hope you can help. The advice you gave for my beta was excellent. Thank you, Oz < A scrape probably got infected. If it keeps getting worse than I would treat it with Nitrofurazone.-Chuck> 

Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia I have a small orange goldfish that I moved to a 44 gal. tank about a week ago, along with a small comet. I had just set up this tank, which only contained two platys and an algae eater. I've had both of the goldfish for several months, and they have been very healthy. The orange goldfish still seems to be healthy, except for the fact that one side of his mouth is turning inward. I can see no sign of mouth fungus or fin rot or anything that looks abnormal. He is eating and using the bathroom fine and has plenty of energy. Before I moved him and the comet, I had them in a 10 gal. with two small Orandas that I had bought a few weeks ago. The Orandas had damaged fins when I bought them, but they were fine for about a week and I thought they were going to be ok. Then they started to develop red around the bases of their fins and red streaks under their chins, so I moved the two other goldfish to the new tank and treated the Orandas (which didn't survive) with fungus clear. I don't think the water in my tank caused the infection, because the two other goldfish had been living in it for months, and it had clean water and more than adequate filtration. The orange goldfish and comet have been doing great in the new tank for the past week, except that this morning I noticed that the orange fish's mouth is turning inward. Is that a sign of fungus, or could it have been damaged another way? Jacqulin <The red streaks mean your fish are affected by bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. Treat with Oxytetracycline. Usually caused by poor water conditions such as high nitrates. My guess is that we have the same underlying agent causing the mouth problem. The antibiotic should help both. I suggest you treat in a small tank as the meds will nuke the bio filtration in your main. Don>

Possible Netting Injury I have a gold fish I believe is an Oranda, or at least that is what it resembles. His body is about 3 in long. I am afraid I have injured him. I was moving him into a larger aquarium and after 2 days I noticed he has a white injury to the top and bottom of one of his tails about 1/8 of an inch in each of the 2 spots. It looks like I may have bent it or something when dipping him out of the smaller tank. What do I need to do for his tail? Should I put something else in the tank? Should I wait to put the other fish in with him? What should I expect to happen to his tail? He/she looks healthy otherwise. Thanks, Becky <If this is just a netting bruise then no treatment will be needed. Just keep his water clean and fresh with partial water changes. It could also be from a swing in pH when you moved him. But Goldfish are pretty hardy. He should be fine. Keep an eye on the marks. Unless they start to grow no treatment will be required. Don>

GOLDFISH WITH DROPSY? Hi! I first want to thank you for all of the wonderful help you have given me. I have a small red cap goldfish in a 5 gallon tank. Ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, nitrate levels are low - my tank finally finished cycling about a week ago. (I used to have another fish and had to medicate the tank, but that was about 4 months ago.) I change about 40% of the water once a week. I have had Harry for almost 5 months now. He is doing great.  There is something I have always wondered about though. Ever since I got him, he has had a somewhat funny-shaped body. It looks sort of like he may have dropsy, but when I look at pictures of other redcap goldfish, most of them have this similar body shape as well. His entire body isn't swollen like the pictures I have seen of dropsy. It is sort of like a big bump in his body.  I included 2 pictures. One is a shot of him from the front - you can really see how his sides are protruding out. And it is a little bit uneven too. One side seems as though it is almost pointy. The other picture is a side view of the pointy side - the side that is more swollen. The pictures make it look worse than it actually looks because of the shadows.  <Photos not clear/posted - of a perfectly normal Redcap Oranda.> The thing is, he seems to be in great health and always has been for the 5 months that I have known him. As for the pinecone-like scales, maybe there is a tiny bit of that, but I don't think there is a much of that. Please help- if it is dropsy, I want to help him, but I know that antibiotics can hurt the fish unless absolutely needed. And I think dropsy is just a symptom of another disease that causes that look. And since there aren't any other symptoms, I don't feel like he has a disease. What should I do? Maybe he is fine and I am just paranoid? Thank you for your help! -Jessica < Your goldfish is a man made fish that has developed certain physical characteristics. These characteristics may mimic some diseases like black moors with Popeye. If your fish is eating and acting normal then I would not treat it with anything at this time.-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> 

Goldfish died - More Information The goldfish was in a 50-gallon tank, we bought it especially for him because he grew so much. Usually, I would change about 1/3 of the water every 2-3 days. However, the last month, the water just looked so clean for some reason, so I changed the water maybe every week or so. I probably should have kept up the 2-3 day cleanings, no matter how the water looked...He probably died from bad water. When he was sick, I took a water sample to our local fish store, and they said the pH was too high. Now I have 2 small goldfish, one huge algae eater, and a little black fish that lives in a cave. I've had him for 12 years. He loves to collect junk and keep it in that cave, he steals algae wafers and keeps them in there until they get old. I will have to make sure I keep that cave clean, that might be where the waste is collecting and causing problems. Does that sound right to you?  <Yes, excess waste will cause the nitrate level to rise and will have some effect on lowering the ph. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for the previous info..... -Melanie 

Pom-Pom Goldfish Trouble Hi, I tried out the forums and I haven't gotten a response... I have a 10 gallon tank, carbon filter with 3 goldfish. I bought pH test strips I have very hard water here in Sacramento. I recently added 2tsps of salt, I always add stress coat when I change the water. Okay...  My Pom Pom goldfish I believe has fin rot. At first I gave two treatments of Ick Away thinking she had that disease, due to the scratching she would do sporadically and suddenly. Then I did more research and found that maybe she has fin rot or some type of bacterial infection. After I gave the two treatments of Ick Away she formed extra white cloudy stuff that sits along the open wounds, which encompass both upper sides of the body and the upper fin entirely. I am afraid I might have damaged her more by the wrong medication. <Yes... probable, common> So I am wondering what scale and fin tissue regrowth looks like.  Symptoms of pompom: She hasn't eaten in two days or so. Sits at bottom of tank. Looks to be having trouble breathing. The bottom front to flippers are free- moving. The bottom back two are tight to the body. The upper fin is completely gone and has some sort of loose white material over it after the Ick Away treatment The water had a high nitrate level when I first tested it with pH strips. <? How high is high?> Very hard water <How hard?> High alkalinity Nitrite level was questionable <Not good... if the tank is uncycled this could be the cause, cure here> I did a huge water change with Stress Coat and will probably buy a pH adjuster. When I realized that it wasn't Ich after all I pulled out all fake plants and castle and stone, leaving just the gravel... I cleaned the gravel with a vacuum with about 40% water change and I began treatment again with Melafix. <I would NOT use this tea mix> I have performed only two treatments with this. And have only added 2 tsp. of salt. Should I add more salt? <The maximum salt I would add is a level teaspoon per five gallons of actual system water> My other two angelfish look as normal... <You have tropicals in with a goldfish?... not a good idea> ...as ever and I am afraid to isolate my pompom in fear of loneliness. The other two seem to keep her slightly active. Please help with any tips or maybe websites or articles I could read more on...  Sorry to have bothered you with this long message! Thank you and Mahalos Alana <I do encourage you to read, re-read if you already have, the sections on goldfish on WWM. Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  Bob Fenner>

SICK GOLDFISH I have had my goldfish for 1yr. Poor Lino has started to float around on his side. This looks to be freaky his pal Wendy out. He swims around the tank on his side, sometimes appears to be swimming good but then floats or sinks to the bottom. I have read over some of your letters and suspect that maybe this is swim belly? Is this right do you think? What should I do, this is upsetting my 4yr old seeing him like this everyday. I keep telling her that he might be in heaven the next day and he is still hanging on. Worried mum. < Your goldfish seems to have developed an internal bacterial infection if indeed he is floating around. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel then clean the filter. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be down to 25 ppm or less. Treat the tank with Metronidazole for the infection.-Chuck> 

Ragged Goldfish Hi There - I asked you a question about my black moor who lost an eye a few weeks back, and he was going along fine. I removed the shipwreck in case it was that which caused his eye loss. However, in the last couple of days, I've become a bit concerned about him again.  He is eating well, but his tail is looking ragged and wispy, and there are a few white wispy bits on it - not salt-like grains. He also seems a bit lethargic and is hovering near the surface in one place taking deep breaths. What do you think could be the problem with him? He shares a tank with an Oranda, a Shubunkin and a Comet. Thank you, Karen Wilson <Most fin and skin problems are caused by poor water conditions. Try increasing your water change schedule. Add one tbls spoon of salt for every 3 gallons of tank. He should be fine. BTW, Goldfish need lots of water. At least 20 gallon per fish to keep them into adulthood. I'm not sure of the size of fish or tank, but it's a good bet you will soon need to upgrade. Don>

Oranda Wen growth I have a chocolate Oranda, a week ago I noticed he had (what look like) white pus pockets on top of his Wen. His body and fins are fine, and his appetite hasn't changed. Is this a symptom of a disease, if so how do I treat him? Please help! DC <I don't think this is disease... a problem. Have seen such growths on the "hoods" of Lionhead line goldfishes many times... they come and go it seems. I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish killing. Urgent help please please please Dear crew, 2 years ago I bought three Goldfish (common goldfish, Sarasa comet, and a Shubunkin) and a "Hexafun" fish tank. <Too small... no "fun" for your livestock> About seven days later the Shubunkin died. To replace this loss I bought another Shubunkin and another comet. A few weeks later these new fish both died. Then I tried another comet and a black moor. The black moor and the old comet goldfish died. A few months ago I bought 2 common goldfish as I discovered these to be the most hardy of the goldfish right? Wrong! These both died and so did my comet so I was left with just my original common goldfish. A few months ago I bought some more goldfish with the theory that if I bought 2 goldfish, 2 would die so I bought four goldfish (two calico fantails, a red cap Oranda, and a Shubunkin). It has been a while but I am back down to 2 again. the last fish to die was a redcap Oranda who died of fin rot despite treatments. (now down to the problem at last)! My common goldfish appears to have black marks upon the leading fin rays of the double ventral/pelvic fins. I have been treating her (wide bodied and concave anal opening) and the other fantail with fin rot and fungus control (active ingredient= Phenoxyethanol) but it has not got any better. Am I just overreacting to a common colour change or is it fin rot, because it only started when the red cap Oranda got fin rot. I carry out weekly water changes with fresh water so it cannot be water quality problems. <Bingo... the real problem here is environmental... not pathogens...> Please please help me with my dilemma, as I have become quite emotionally attached to this goldfish. Best regards Martin Slough <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the goldfish files... READ the set-up and disease articles and FAQs... Get a real tank... and you will stop killing these fish. Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish about to blow Hi, I have a fish whose stomach has gotten larger over the last week or two and I think it's on the verge of dying. I don't know if it has swallowed a pebble in the tank and can't pass it or what's going on. If there is a stuck pebble, is there anything I can do to move it through? And, is there any other possibility of a hugely bloated stomach?  Thanks a bunch!  Sarah < More than likely you goldfish has contracted and internal bacterial infection. It is caused by stress of some sort. I recommend that you clean the filter and do a 50% water change. Vacuum the gravel while doing the water change and treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck> 

Back to Basics-Goldfish Hi, One of my three Goldfish is staying at the bottom of the tank in a constant U-shape position, has very little balance when disturbed and resume said position at bottom of tank, seems to be keeping his head in or close to pebbles. Has no interest in the other fish, eating and staying alive much longer seems to be in question. Any action I should take to help this little one or to help / prevent the other two?? Your help would be greatly appreciated. George <Hi George. Not a lot of info to go on here, so lets just touch on some Goldfish basics. They produce tons of waste and therefore need large, well filtered, established tanks. 20 gallons per fish is about right to keep them into adulthood. Testing your water is a must. Water changes are needed to correct any spikes. Keep the temperature cool, 65 to 70 degrees. Do not stock tropicals with goldies. Feed flake or pellets that are formulated for goldfish, with a mix of fresh veggies as treats. Avoid floating foods, as they can gulp air and develop balance problems. Release flake under the surface. To help your fish right now I would start with several partial water changes. Especially if you are not testing, the fish are in too small a tank, or it's been a while since you last did one. Use a gravel vac to get all waste and uneaten food out of the system. If he does not seem better in a few days email us back with readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and temp. Your local fish store will test your water if you do not have a kit. Get the actual results, do not accept "All's OK". Don>

Ragged Goldfish Would that be just ordinary salt that we have in the kitchen for cooking or do we need sea salt? Thanks Karen <Always use salt sold for freshwater aquariums. Don>

Sunken eyes on a black moor goldfish Hello My uncle has a black moor goldfish that looks like his eyes sunk in and now it looks like one eye is coming back out again. This happened after a water change. He said he put the required chemicals in the water then this happened. He said the fish eats just fine. He keeps the fish in a goldfish bowl. Thanks Tena <Mmm, likely what you so keenly observe is simply the ill-effect of living in a bowl, too-much change to poor water quality. Please have your uncle 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> 
Re: Septicemia??
Me again. Thanks for the advice. The part that I don't get is this: How could he die of septicemia when he had been on antibiotics for a week?? <... possibly the antibiotic did not "get inside" the fish... Freshwater animals don't "drink" like marines... perhaps the antibiotic was not "matched" the microbial life... happens> Why didn't he get better instead of worse? Any ideas? On another note, the other two seem to be getting on quite well since his unfortunate demise. In fact, she (I think) keeps chasing him (I think) in an almost courtly fashion. Don't think he's in the mood though - no white dots. Guessing she plans on crowding the tank some more if she can get him to cooperate! Also BTW, I did a 25% water change today to start getting rid of the Fix, and I'm putting a filter back into the system tomorrow. Will probably also do another 25% then. Hope this is the end of it. <Me too> Thanks again, Edie <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Septicemia??
Sorry to bother you again, but now I'm paranoid. The other two goldies have been moved to a 20 gallon tank (we swapped the two). Well, shortly before the move, and since, they're both lying around a lot. I don't recall ever seeing them do this before, so now I'm worried. Advice? Edie Thornhill <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked Related FAQs above... Bob Fenner> 

Death of my Oranda Hi, I am Brijesh and have about 8 Oranda (9 before) in a 60l tank. <Too crowded...> One of the Orandas died. Before it died it showed all signs of flukes. It was flash- dancing, isolating itself, had fins close to its body and was not eating anything. Fins were disintegrated. The water was clean and I have a UG filter running 24/ 7. <Better to not use UG filters with goldfish... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm> I tried the blue medicine and gave it a potassium permanganate bath and had kept it in a separate bowl, but it died. Now I am afraid if others follow. I can see some of them coming near the UG filter's outlet and sucking the bubbles. Though there are no other signs of any sort. What can I do to prevent fluke and if there are flukes how can I treat them? <... much to say here... first, I doubt if you have monogenetic Trematodes... Second, you need to look into water quality issues... test kits, modifying their water to keep your goldfish healthy... you want slightly elevated pH, some alkaline reserve... Thirdly, get rid of the filter type you have and look into at least one good-sized hang on filter... for the reasons you will find from reading the above citation. Fourth and most importantly, you need to either trade out all but two of these fish or get a much larger system... they need about 40 litres of water per individual to do well. Bob Fenner>
Re: death of my Oranda
Hi mate thanks a lot for your suggestions. I am getting a 160 l sys. and getting a power filter. <Ahh, much better> Other Orandas are doing better after regular potassium baths. Thanks a lot <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Celestial Eye Emergency Hi, <Hello there> My Celestial Eye that I have had for a while is not doing so great. She is lethargic and lays at the bottom of the tank. I think her fins are fraying. I'm not sure though.  I have a 10 gallon aquarium with 3 fancy goldfish, 2 snails, 2 ADF frogs, and 1 algae eater. All are very small and young. <I see> Do I need to take her out of the tank and put her into a different goldfish bowl? <I would not... too variable in water quality... being so small> I only have a goldfish bowl. Do I then treat her for fin rot? I recently did a tank cleaning on Wednesday and it may have started then. I really can't tell if that is when it started or not.   Please help before I lose her. THANKS! <Only you can help this fish... you need to understand how to properly house your fish, and then, if indeed there is a biological (not environmental as it really seems) cause here, to possibly treat it (I would with just salt)... But there are many side-issues to relate, understand... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked Related FAQs (above, in blue). Bob Fenner> 
Re: Celestial Eye Emergency
How much salt do I add to a 10 gallon aquarium. Can I add table salt? Epsom? <About a level teaspoon of either or a mix> How will this affect my snails and my frogs? Algae eater?  <Not the Algae Eater, but the other animals should not be exposed> I've already treated the tank with Fungus Clear. I have the celestial eye quarantined in another home. She has been treated also. She has crashed at the bottom of the tank. Any suggestions? <Check water quality, make water changes if/when ammonia, nitrite exceed 1.0 ppm... provide aeration, biological filtration. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the Related FAQs linked above... Act, with knowledge. 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>

Goldfish sitting on bottom/black spots near rear Hi there <Hello> I was looking through your site and there were so many variations on my description I want to make sure I got the right treatment. <Okay> My 1 orange fantail is in an 8 gallon tank with one other goldfish (BiOrb). <... too small, unstable... too crowded> A few days ago, he started sitting on the bottom of the tank while the other one kept active. Now along the back quarter of both sides of his body (right before the tail begins) his scales are starting to go dark brown/black, and I thought I saw some black near the gills but if so, its tiny) and he moves less and less.. it's been about 4 days now without much activity. I have an ammonia meter but not a nitrate tester...could it be a nitrate problem (wouldn't #2 be having the same thing?) or is it some sort of infection/disease? <Very likely an environmental problem at root> I've removed him from the tank to keep the other safe and put him in clean water that was treated. I am curious on what I should do to help him. He seems to be breathing fine. Salt? Some sort of medicine? Also, what should I do about the BiOrb in terms of treatment (if any?) Thanks for the help! -James <You could try salt, even adding an antibiotic... in a setting that was filtered, stable in terms of water quality, temperature... From the above I take it you have read the articles and FAQs files on Goldfish set-ups and disease... The BiOrb I would be very careful re adding anything other than salt to... it will too likely lose bio-filtration and holding capacity... Bob Fenner>

Question about my 2 goldfish and 1 Koi fish Have a question. I feel I made a big mistake and do not want to lose my fish. I have them in a 29 gal tank and there is 3 of them. they are about 3 inches long. I changed their water today and believe that I changed too much... <No dechloraminator, conditioner added?> ...of it. Now when I put them in there, they are breathing heavy and I went to the local pet store and they said that my levels... <Levels of?> ...were too high and not to change the entire tank of water anymore. Just a little bit of it but it got so dirty. What can I do to help my fish stay healthy? <... how much time do you have? Proper set-up, maintenance, feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm> I was feeding them spinach, green beans, peas and they seem to like that. I seen on a website that they would like it and that it would be good for them and I was feeding them often little bits. But I don't think I should be doing that anymore. Just a pet store person said that if you feed the fish more often little bits that it would make them grow faster and grow better.  <This is so... up to a limit> Thank you for your suggestions and help here. Thank you, Gayle <Gayle, please take a read over the goldfish materials archived on our site... starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and going over the links above... read here re water changes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm where the links you lead yourself to... It's likely too late to try adding chemicals to your water at this point to counteract the poisoning from the too-large change... but you need to learn what you will by reading here. 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> 

Goldfish, color change, system/environment I have had two goldfish for three weeks in a one gallon tank with an aerator, but no filter.  Other than ground plastic and pebbles, the fish are turning black on their noses and their fantails. Also the water is cloudier than normal. Am I doing something wrong?  What should I do? I don't want to kill the fish.  They're swimming and eating fine, but this condition has started just today and I want to cure it.  I have been changing 1/3 of the water each week per the directions of the pet shop. Peter Rinaldi Natchez MS Thanks for your help <As you hint at succinctly... "it's the environment"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm Look into getting a filter (simple), and maybe some water quality test kits... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish zit We have several varieties of goldfish in a 35 gallon tank. One of the fish has developed a hole in the top of his head with white stuff hanging out. It looks like a big zit. He is not acting weird. He is eating and active.  Please let me know what you think this could be and what we need to do to treat. Thanks, Jeri <Could be "nothing"... the expression of a genetic, developmental order... or an (environmental) manifestation... I take it you have adequate filtration, nutrition, do regular water changes... have some water quality test gear... that all is in order there... If so, I would not worry, or add anything to the water to effect a change... will likely "clear of its own accord". Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files at top, if you would like other related input. Bob Fenner>

Spawning, sick goldfish? I need to know how to tell if the gold fish I have is going to lay eggs or if it is sick? I have 5 gold fish and only one of them stay at the bottom of the tank. I don't know what to do or if I should do anything. If you want I can take a pic and send it to you <A photo might help... and info. re your set-up, water tests, history of feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the area about goldfish... Read re set-up, diseases, reproduction... the articles and FAQs files... hopefully "something will click" with your situation, circumstances. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Oranda I hope this is the correct addy to ask a question. <Dis be da place> I have an Oranda who is in a 20-25 gallon tank alone. When I went to feed here this morning she did not seem well. She was low in the tank, which she does a lot during the day but she just looked different. Upon inspection I found that she looks like she has small blisters on her chin area (she has a huge cap that all but covers her eyes and face) and her scales looked like they were standing out. There is also a red looking spot that looks like blood under the scales on her back. She did eat when I offered food. She also appears itchy and rubs everything in the tank. Her head is covered with white, not like Ick that I have seen on other fish in little dots but the whole area. There is also the same thing on some of her fins. <Good descriptions, observations> I called the pet store and they said to treat her with Mardel antibacterial. I also added 2 tablespoons of salt.  <Good moves... I would have asked you to check water quality for what gear you have AND do a large water change (25%) in either case. I would still do these last two> The water was a little slimy looking so I took about 2 gallons out and replaced it before treating it. <Ah, good... change a bunch more out> She eats Sera goldy color, shrimp brine and blood worms as a treat. Any help is appreciated, I would be heart broken if she passed away. Thanks, Debi <Likely something environmental as cause here... as this is the only fish and you've had it a while... I might add a bit of Epsom Salt to the water as well... Take the time and read over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the area about goldfish... Read re set-up, diseases... the articles and FAQs files... hopefully "something will click" with your situation, circumstances. Bob Fenner>

Re: Reappearing black patches/smudges Hi Bob, <Angela> Thanks for your reply to my last question about pop-eye--I really appreciate it! I also followed your advice and treated my sick fish with just aquarium salt. They are doing much better! Thank you! <Ahh, good to hear/read> The sad news is that they're still sick. One of their symptoms have stumped me and I cannot find an answer anywhere, so I'm hoping you can help me. My fish have mysterious "black patches" on their bodies that will appear and disappear right before my eyes. They don't naturally have black patches. It does not look like internal bleeding because it's not red and will appear and disappear in a minute or so. I first looked into ammonia burns, but didn't find anything that seems to match. I know it's not black spot disease, because they are black smudges rather than spots. The patches occur in the same area on both fish--in the stomach area. Just a big splotch or two. <Strange... please do send along an image if you can> Here are the specs to my aquarium: ammonia - 0 ppm nitrite - 0.25 ppm <Mmm, should be zero as you know> nitrate - 5 ppm pH - 7.8 29 gallon tank New and still cycling - around 12 days now (and thanks for the page you sent me about nitrogen cycling!)  Please help me save my fish--are the black patches ammonia burns? Stress? Bacterial infections? Parasites? Stress? I am stumped. Your last answer made a miraculous turnaround in my fish, and I hope your knowledge can help them recover fully! Thank you so much, Angela <Very likely, my best guess is "stress"... will, should abate with the system cycling... you can speed up (read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/estcycfaq2.htm), but do be careful in the meanwhile to feed sparingly, NOT add any more livestock... All should work out in a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Fungus Dear crew, Please, I need urgent help with my red capped Oranda. It has fungal growth on it's head and also has fin rot what should I do? My 'Goldfish care' book said something about "the salt bath treatment" but I do not know the salt to water ratios or timing. Thanks for your help. Can I use ordinary table salt (sodium chloride)? Regards, M <Start a series of water changes, about 50% daily. Use a gravel vac to remove all old food and waste from your system. Salt the replacement water at around one tbls for every 3 gallons. Always mix the salt into the new water before adding it to the tank. Do not use table salt. I suggest regular FW aquarium salt. Stay away from Saltwater and African cichlid salt. Both, along with table salt, has additives that should not be used with Goldfish. Don>

Ammonia level and floating goldfish I have 1 Red Cap Goldfish. I used to have 2 and I got them in the beginning of November, but I got them from a very bad place (Petland Discounts - will never do it again, I know I should not have) and they had a disease when I got them. I gave them an antibiotic (Myacin - you guys had recommended it for them) during the last week of November. Harry pulled through and got better and is the goldfish I have now, but unfortunately, Sally did not make it. It has now been 3 months since I gave them the antibiotic. I know that at the time it killed whatever bacteria was developing on the filter. <It's long since come back> I have a 5 gallon tank and I have a wet-dry filter. I change the water twice a week and change from 30% - 50% each water change. I only change it so often because the ammonia levels are fairly high. I do not overfeed my fish - I give him one flake and wait until he finishes it before I give him another one, so none falls to the bottom. (By the way, exactly how many flakes should I feed him a day?  Assuming one flake is about 1 centimeter in diameter? I give him, maybe like 7 a day spread out throughout the day...should it be more? Less?) <Sounds about right... could be more... if you want the fish to grow... and I would mix in some other foods... even a few grains of cooked rice and a pea or two... when you're having them... and look into pelleted formats of foods...> The ammonia levels are around 1 - 2 ppm and doesn't decrease.  <Mmm, you need a better filter... look into an inexpensive "sponge media" type... like an inside airlift or submersible... or even a hang-on... you shouldn't have detectable ammonia> There are still no traces of nitrate, maybe a tiny bit, but the level is not increasing, so I don't think the water has cycled yet. <I agree with you> I am wondering why it has not. <Me too... mainly the filter, or should I state, the lack of filtration> I also use Cycle with each water change to help speed up the process. <Sometimes this product works, sometimes not. I'd look into Marineland's BioSpira... it almost always works> I have changed the water so many times since the antibiotic, I am sure there are no traces, so why do I still have ammonia and no nitrate? And what should I do about this? <The bacteria you want have just not "settled in"... in part due to the water changes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > Another problem - Harry seems to be in great health, but sometimes he floats up to the surface. He tries to swim down, but has a hard time, and just pops back up to the surface. However, this isn't all the time, because sometimes I come home to find him sleeping at the bottom of the tank when it is dark. I read that if he eats food floating at the top, he may be getting too much air into his body which makes him float?  <Much more likely this is from the all-flake diet... as stated, I would give up the flakes> I don't think he has swim-bladder disorder because he doesn't seem to be spiraling or floating on his side. But he has such a hard time swimming because something is causing him to bounce back up to the surface. Should I switch foods to one that does not float? <Do switch foods> I don't think he is very good at eating from the bottom of the tank, so I'm worried that he will not get any of the food. Or does he have a disease? Please help! I am concerned about the floating and the presence of ammonia in the tank. Thank you! -Jessica <Your fish's problems are due to diet and environment... having a real filter that's established and better food will solve its current problems. Going forward, when the opportunity can be made, I would move this fish into larger quarters... this will solve many problems by itself. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish cloudy eye Hi. My fish has developed one cloudy eye. The tank is 16 gallon and has two fish in I inherited! I think it's an Oranda, was black with floaty tail, but both fish have changed to mostly white. They are quite happy and feeding ok. I have varied the diet and change at least 20% of the water weekly, 50% since [the] cloudy eye developed. I asked at local fish shop and was provided with Interpet anti-internal bacteria. After 2 weeks of treatment no improvement was seen (no carbon in filter). [I] have been treating in Myxazin water for 6 days now and no improvement is seen.  I read on [the] web it's supposed to be good. [I] don't know what else to do, will it clear on it's own ? <Very likely, yes. If only one eye, fish is affected, likely the real cause here is physical trauma... a bump> Also I don't know if this might have affected it, I foolishly bought some root in a garden centre that was labeled as safe to goldfish as a tank ornament, and to just rinse and put in [the] tank. It changed the water colour orange and it took about 4 weeks before the colour was back to normal ! <Do take a read through our site re goldfish disease: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  and the linked files above. I would monitor water quality... as the "medicines" you're adding mal-affect this... and likely add a bit of salt... as you'll read re. Bob Fenner> 

How to improve water quality - black smudge on goldfish Hello - Current problem is "smudge" dark spots on my 4 yr old fantail - Problems started around Christmas when water quality got bad (too busy!). <Mmm...> I had 2 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank - one got tail rot... I quarantined him and, after a week of near-death by the look of him, my treatments worked and he is now in the tank again. BUT, I bought a small goldfish during the quarantine period because I was so sure that Tangelo was going to die. <Good name> At any rate, all three fish have looked great since I got Tangelo back in the tank.... for about two weeks. Three days ago, I noticed that my oldest goldfish (Red) was developing blackish smudge spots on both gill areas, one side and dorsal fin. Now, I'm a goldfish novice. I haven't had them since I was a kid with a glass bowl. As an adult, I desperately want to get the tank cleared up and perfect for my fish friends. I did two filter changes a week apart and don't have any plants in the tank, maybe I was trying to keep it TOO clean? (after the bad tailrot episode) For four years, I never checked my water quality with dip sticks, but I do now! Yesterday's reading showed nitrates 40-80, nitrite .5 - 1.0, pH of 6.8 - and low Alk. I'm afraid that my water quality is bad and I'm killing my pal of four years! <Does appear so...> So my main questions are:  (1) What's the immediate best thing I can do to help out Big Red (smudge) beyond my addition of aquarium salt and 30% water changes with gravel siphon for the past two days?  (2)  What is the best way to get ALL my levels in the tank at premium quality for my fish? <In order, 1) what you propose... the water changes and salt are good moves, 2) better filtration... another (?) hang-on filter... 3) larger quarters... 4) a bacteria prep. like Bio-Spira to jump-start your living filter...> I have not quarantined Red because he has seemed as aggressive as always in his quest for food... the smudges actually looked a little less pronounced yesterday about 4 hours after I did that big water change, but are back as dark as ever today. He looks great otherwise...following my fingers along the glass, jerking his head back and forth in typical "feed me, darn it!" behavior, poking at his gravel (there is about an inch on the bottom now. I removed a lot of gravel from my tank after Tangelo was sick with tailrot after reading goldfish sites).  Red is just beautiful...I'd like to go out and get him a plant for the tank tomorrow, per one website I checked on... <Good idea... will help in many ways> ...and am considering upgrading to the best filter box I can find for the tank.  <Ahh, very good> If you can make suggestions for the best way to improve my tank's water quality, I'll go out and get started immediately. Things have been pretty simple for the first three years, then I think I got busier with my home life, thus more slack with the tank. Having my one fish get so sick made me realize how I enjoy having them and want to pay them back for the delight I've gotten from having them around!  <Outstanding> Everyone told me to "flush" Tangelo or toss him out in the flower bed, but I felt he deserved much better than that. Can you help? Amy  <Only you can help... I can only make suggestions. Bob Fenner>

Question regarding my black moor Hi I've recently bought three goldfish, one of which is a black moor . I have noticed it has a very tiny speck of red under each of its eyes and don't know whether these were already there when I bought him or whether it's something else like an eye infection. Is this a common mark on this type of fish? <Not likely a problem... but a color difference, marking as you suggest... that will likely "disappear" with age, growth. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Moor eye problem
I will check this out - we have a tree trunk type shelter and a shipwreck so I'll look at them closely tonight.  Thanks for getting back to me - it's good to know he will be ok, Karen Wilson <Thank you my friend... I suspect these ornaments actually more than the other goldfish... Bob Fenner> 

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

Sick Goldfish Hi! My mum bought this goldfish for my little sister 11 months ago, called Pepper. Some months ago, we returned home from eating out to find him?/her on his side, floating at the top of the tank. I ran to your site, thanks to Google, and we fed him a couple of frozen peas, changed the water 3-4 times that night, and starved him for 3 days. He recovered. <Good> We keep the fish in a little glass bowl - like you see in picture books. I don't know much about types of fish, but Pepper looks JUST like those classic goldfish you see talk about as in 'goldfish in a bowl'. CLASSIC. Tonight, we were watching American Idol when we suddenly noticed that the fish was gasping at the surface, on his side, almost upside down. Immediately changed his water - He had wasted his food all at the bottom of the bowl, and my Mum said he had been pooping a lot - almost like diarrhea. He sank to the bottom, upside-down, but then floated to the top, and slowly went on his side, then righted himself. 1 hour later, still continuously talking to him, and feeding him with thawed frozen peas he hardly touched as they'd sink to the bottom. During this time, the fish kept making bubbles at the surface, and blowing (?) air. <Either too little oxygen, too much carbon dioxide... or nitrogenous waste products (ammonia, nitrite) likely> After coming to this site, I checked him - and his abdomen was swollen, fins protruding - and towards the tail end, most alarmingly, were like, spots or mini-lines of red - like BLOOD!!! - the red spot-lines and protruding fins NEVER occurred last time. 1 1/2 hour later, suddenly, the fish again turned upside-down. Immediately panicking, Mum changed the water again. She is TERRIBLY attached to the fish, as are the whole family including me. Please tell me what to do. I have no access to a fish-vet here, or antibiotics, or complex water testers etc, so a home remedy would be greatly appreciated. I read about dropsy, swim bladder disease, parasitic infections, septicemia - how do I know what's wrong with my fish? <Very likely none of the above... but simply the trials of being a fish in a bowl... in a small volume that is very changeable... What you really need is a fish tank... and filter> He actually tried to swim down to get the peas 3 times, but couldn't reach them at the bottom of the bowl. My questions are -  1) What's wrong with my fish? <Almost certainly the environment> 2) How do I get him well? <Improve... the environment... Please do keep reading... as you have been doing... you will come to understand the need for a "cycle" in captive aquatic systems... the need for space... to prevent wide and sudden swings in temperature, pH, other aspects of water chemistry> 3) What is the red in the tail area? <A reaction to poor, diminishing water quality... much the same as if you washed your hands in cold or hard water for a long time> 4) Is he going to be ok? I've tried to be as specific as possible, I hope it's enough. PLEASE PLEASE respond as soon as possible!  From Thea <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... does the issue of the bowl, water quality and their relation to fish health make sense to you? Bob Fenner> 
Re: Thea's sick goldfish Hi Again! <Hello> Thanks for answering so soon. I read the article on goldfish care - it really was very informative. We're wondering whether to get a bigger bowl for him. <Yes! Definitely larger than the one shown in your photo> About 7 months ago, we actually got him a mini-tank - about 1 1/2feet long, 1/2foot wide and 1 foot deep, with a bubbler - when we went away on holiday, so the neighbour who took care of him only had to change the water once a week. But, when we got back, Pepper was hardly eating, he had completely stopped begging for food and seemed sick. All he would do was mope about near the bubbles, and it would draw away 1/2 the food so we had to put his food only on the opposite side, and still he would hardly eat. So, we put him back in the bowl and slowly he got back to being himself. <Mmm, I would definitely move him/her back into this tank> One end of the tank was a mirror - do fish get scare of seeing their own reflection? <Yes, this can happen> I do remember that once, when we put a small mirror in front of the bowl, he kept darting to the opposite side and looking away till we removed it. Needless to say, we threw the tank out. <Ohh> I'm sending a few pictures of my fish (Pepper). From this morning, he has been remaining at the surface mostly, but he starts moving around a little when we play music. Otherwise, he remains still or moves backwards around the bowl slowly. He's stopped begging for food, and has hardly even touched the peas we gave him. He only pooped once this morning - it was just a thin trailing transparent line. Do you think we should start feeding him his flakes again? How do I check if his eyes are protruding?  <Do mix the diet up... the eyes are hard to gauge... all fishes stick out a bit... only by having images, memories of your specific fish...> The red spots near his scales towards the rear end haven't gone. Are they anything to worry about? <Mmm, only in so much as they indicate trouble with water quality. Akin to a canary in a cave... with miners> We changed the water once this morning, and again in the night. I really think your site is wonderful. Thanks for all the info. Thea <Do scrounge about for larger quarters... Bob Fenner>

Thea's goldfish Hello - I just sent you another email but I forgot to ask one thing - Since the rear end of my fish (Pepper) is more swollen, (even though the scales all over are sticking out a bit) I was just wondering.. could it be that 'he' is a 'she' suffering from egg impaction? Thanks so much for your help.  From Thea <Not necessarily... could be a type of "bloat" or gut back-up... Bob Fenner>

Re: Thea's Goldfish, lack of improved conditions for it Hi! I actually emailed this to you earlier, but didn't get a reply - maybe the attached images were too big - 566K. So, I'm reducing the image size - I just read on your site that attachments can only be up to 300k - and resending it:  So sorry to disturb you again.. but I'm still worried about my fish Pepper and you seem to be the only one who can help. 1) From yesterday I noticed a kind of ulcer on his right side - it's like an inverted scale. It's slightly bigger today. I hope you can see it in the pictures - the first 2- its towards the upper rear end, on his right. <I do see it... looks like a "scale out of place" to me> 2) Also, the fin on the same side (his right) is much smaller than the other side, and has dark red streaks. I've sent 1 picture showing it. This morning, the fin on the other side also has 1-2 faint red streaks, but hardly noticeable. You said that it's due to the water, but why only one side? I honestly don't know if the affected fin was always smaller. Maybe it was... I'm not sure. 3) The scales all seem to be sticking out, making him seem ACTUALLY gold. I read about 'pinecone' appearance - please tell me it isn't dropsy!  I hope you can judge from the 2nd & 3rd pictures. <Does look like a dropsical condition> And.. I haven't been feeding him anything since day before yesterday except crushed thawed frozen peas, and this afternoon I gave him a few flakes, which he just picked at, and then I changed the water after 15 minutes because I read that a fish is only supposed to eat what it can in the first 5 minutes. I think he's moving a little more now, but he doesn't have much of an appetite at all. Do you think it's safe to feed him flakes again? We don't really get all those varied foods I read about - gel based, pellets, etc; the only thing the shop we bought him from sells are flakes. No one knows much about fish, either. Any suggestions? And he doesn't like lettuce. We used to have another fish 'Bravo', when we bought Pepper a year ago - we bought a pair - but the shop guy told us only to feed the goldfish once a month, a bit of lettuce. Naturally, the other one died and we rushed off to another shop and started with the flakes, feeding twice a day. Pepper never touched lettuce again. Thanks again for all your help.   From Thea <All of these issues are unimportant. What is the water quality here? What tests do you have? Have you moved this fish to better quarters? Bob Fenner>

<Classic "pine cone" appearance. Poor fish!>

Very Very Sick Goldfish Hi I have just found your website and have been reading through some of the questions, I have lost one of my goldfish but the other one now is very sick he  has a white film all over him ( looks a bit like a spiders web) he seems as though he cannot swim just floats there and his fins are all tucked in, is there  anything I can do to help him as I have changed the water , many thanks   Samantha.... <This sounds very bad... like a true fungus... something that is "taking over", decomposing your fish... toward the end of some critical "insult"... Did the other fish perish, behave in the same fashion? Have you checked water quality? Have notes to share re this set-up? Please go back to where you've been reading and scan over the article and FAQs re goldfish set-ups. Bob Fenner>
Re: Very Very Sick Goldfish
Hi Thank you for replying to my email, unfortunately my goldfish died last night, I am very upset and don't think that I am going to have another one as after reading your website I know that this is my fault, as I didn't realize that there was so much to do when keeping goldfish, <There is quite a bit more than most folks are aware... not so bad if you have a good-sized system and a going routine for maintenance> it was a present for my little boy. The goldfish (Finn) was keep in a bowl purchased from our local pet   shop, I'm not to sure of the size I would guess at approx 5 litres it is plastic with a blue plastic rim called a start up bowl, it came with gravel a plant, bridge and food. We also bought some Sera Aqutan vbc-stress protection, and when  I read your website I went to the pet shop yesterday and bought some Interpet  anti fungus & fin rot. but this was all to late. Do you think that we could  of done anything to prevent this from  happening...Samantha.... <Not really... the biggest stumbling block is/was simply the size of your system... a filter-less bowl is a very unstable world for a goldfish... Wait a bit, and perhaps you can secure a larger tank with a filter in future. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish sitting on the bottom Hi WWM Crew, I am having trouble getting answers from my local vets and pet stores, so I hope you can help. <Will try> I have four goldfish that started out as feeder fish at the local pet store -- obviously not the fancy kind! They have thrived for four years, growing larger and requiring two new tanks in that time to accommodate their size. Lately, one out of the four has taken to sitting on the bottom and generally seeming unwell. He eats when they are fed, but not as much as the others. <Mmm, what are you feeding?> His fin is clamped sometimes, but not always. He just sits in a corner of the tank and no longer swims, and sometimes seems irritated by the others and will have a little flurry of activity to get away from them until he can find another spot on the bottom to settle down. <Sounds like the one is in a funk... this happens> The other three are fine, so I think that lets out water problems. I am guessing it's swim bladder, but I don't know what to do for him if that's the case and I certainly don't want him to suffer. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jennifer <I'd try a good sized water change... maybe 25% of the water... vacuuming the gravel... maybe a few teaspoons of salt added to the water. Likely the fish is not really sick, but just a bit depressed... this does happen. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish sitting on the bottom
Hi Bob and the WWM crew, Thank you SO MUCH for your reply -- I am much relieved to finally get some advice after my struggle! I have added your site to the top of my favourites list! I feed my goldfish Wardley brand goldfish flakes (purchased at Wal-Mart) and the occasional treat of Tubifex worm cubes or skinned green peas, both of which they go crazy for. <Good> I read somewhere on your site that Epsom salts might help if it is swim bladder... could you tell me if that's just the kind of Epsom salts you throw in your own bathtub? <Yes... these are identical... Magnesium sulfate...> I have both Epsom and Aquarium salts on hand. And if he is depressed or being picked on by the others, would it help to get him his own tank? Thank you again! <Better to have them in with the other one for now... You want to avoid stressing this fish further. Bob Fenner> Jennifer

Drooping Tail and Bottom Sitting Hi. My goldfish who has always been healthy and happy has begun to behave in a strange way. He is spending a lot of time on the bottom of the tank, usually under the filter with all his fins tucked in. His tail fins are also droopy and look a bit clamped all the time. He will swim around if he sees movement outside the tank and is eating his flakes ok. The tank is 6.5 gallons and only has the one fish in it. I change approximately 1/4 of the water weekly and use a water conditioner for water changes. I would like to know how to help my fish, and  also if I am doing anything wrong. Thanks very much. Sarah <Hi Sarah. Not sure how big your goldfish is, but a 6.5 gallon sounds a little small. Goldfish make a lot of waste which can foul the water in a small tank pretty quickly. And they get very big. The first thing to try is a few big water changes. About 50% a day for a few days. Make sure you match the temp and use a dechlorinator. You should remove the old water with a gravel vac to get all his solid waste and old food out of the tank. Don't clean the filter right now. If this seems to help him then you will have to change more than 25% weekly until you can get him a bigger tank. Email us back if he stays on the bottom. Don>
Re: Drooping Tail and Bottom Sitting
Hello Thanks very much for your advice re  water changes I am now changing 50% of the water daily <I would cut this back now to 25% weekly> and I am using a gravel  vacuum. My fish is no better and has stopped eating (he seems quite weak). He  seems to be having trouble swimming and can't get off the bottom. When he does  move, he can't swim straight and lurches into the gravel and plants. He will  then sit where he has crashed and not move for a long time. I found him this  morning trapped in a plant on his side. He is about 2 inches long from nose to  tail. Thanks again for your help. Sarah <Have you read about adding salt to the water: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Drooping Tail and Bottom Sitting
Hello.  Thanks for your advice about adding salts to the tank. I followed the advice in the article you mentioned at this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm . When I'd added the salts to the tank (6.5 gallons UK/7.8 gallons US) my fish did seem to perk up, he even managed to swim to the top of the tank once. However a day later he is back at the bottom of the tank. He seems to be weighed down by his head which is pointing into the gravel, he is also curling himself to one side and can't seem to straighten out. His tail is also now looking very ragged and torn. He can move about on the bottom of the tank but he can't seem to swim with his head up and lurches around curled to one side only to crash face first into the gravel again. I have been feeding him 1/2 a pea a day as he can't get to the top to reach his flakes. He was eating the peas but now seems to have stopped. Do you have any further advice as my fish looks so forlorn it's really worrying? Sarah <None really... am curious as to the root cause here... is this some sort of congenital gas bladder anomaly? Was your fish somehow poisoned? (the last... from an aerosol cleaner? A bug that flew into its tank?). I do hope it recovers. Bob Fenner>
Re: Drooping Tail and Bottom Sitting
I'm sad to say that my poor fish has died, he did seem to get better after the water changes that I did and also adding salts to the tank. I hate to think that he suffered in any way, especially because of something I did. It was strange how he became ill after always being happy and healthy - I always kept household chemicals away from the area his tank was in and his environment didn't change.  Thanks a lot for your help I really appreciate it, your site is so helpful and informative. I'm not sure if I will keep another fish, but if I decide to do so in future do you have any suggestions for a fish that would be suitable for a beginner?  Sarah <To study the requirements of the livestock you intend to keep... perhaps keep a log of testing, purchases... develop and adhere to a regular maintenance regimen. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Fantail, possible predatory CAE... Hello again Bob, <Darlene> I was just reviewing our previous email exchange and was wondering what you meant by "Typical... this is likely a CAE, Gyrinocheilus... can be dangerous, ride goldfish in time.."? I was wondering because my lovely little chipper fantail seems to have lost his tail in rather short order.  Does the Gyrinocheilus hang on the goldfish's tail or eat the tail? Curiously yours, Darlene <Yes to keeping your eye on Chinese Algae Eaters... you will likely see the one fish riding your Goldfish that's affected if it is the culprit. If so they need separating. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish with a combination of ailments Hello Bob, <Hello> I have a black telescope Oranda/moor and it seems like it has a combination of ailments, which really makes it hard to figure out how to treat him. For about a week now it grew an opaque white spot on 1/3 of it's mouth, it's been looking bloated and grew a lump that looks like a upside down camel's hump underneath it's belly between the pectoral and ventral fins, and it's been pooping thin, opaque white poop even though it's food is orange colored. I've been giving him Spectrum Thera-A Non-Medicated Anti-Parasitic food and been placing him in the hospital tank with Maracyn-Plus for 6 days. <Whoa... not so fast... what do you think led to his condition? What sort of system, history of care....?> The poop thing looks under control but I can't figure out the mouth, the lump, and the bloating. I thought his mouth was mouth fungus and the bloating was dropsy so that's why I bought Maracyn-Plus but it didn't do anything for him. I tried the peas thing and it only made my water quality in the tank worse (turned the water yellow/cloudy). Should I be giving him another medication or anti-bacterial food instead?  Help! -Janet <Janet... take ten big breaths, stop making the medicine companies wealthy, and READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above> PS- My feeder goldfish lost two scales so I wonder if that has anything to do with it, also I put two pills of Maracyn-Two in the regular tank when I saw the two scales missing, and I am doing two water changes a week now. My water changes are 25% of a 25 gallon tank. <Stop "taking pills" my friend... and discern the root cause/s of your fishes' ills here... Bob Fenner> 

Paragon vs. Quick Cure Hi, folks! <Ted> I've a 60 gallon with 4 3 inch fancy goldfish and 3 weather loaches.  Recently, the goldfish developed a VERY nasty case of Ick overnight. The loaches scratch, but I don't see any spots on them.  <Can/could still be there... the spots are actually a reaction, not the Ich itself... like slimy bumps from irritation> I had used Paragon on just the goldfish before for fish lice and it was a smashing success. However, I was told not to use Paragon this time for Ick because of the loaches. Even at half strength, it would harm the loaches. <Yes> Quick Cure appeared to be the most popular alternative. I've read the instructions and it is one drop per gallon. No problem. It will discolour the water, but colour will disappear in a few days. No problem. However, when I tried the Quick Cure, the water is tinted blue only for about an hour or two before the water is clear again....not a few days. What gives? <Ah, good observations... the compound that yields the color is "disappearing" (complexing with other material in the system)... and likely the more "active ingredient" (formalin)> I've taken out all carbon. Only filter left is an reverse-flow undergravel filter and a spray bar jetting out water through floss media and BioMax-type rings. There should be nothing that takes up the colour of the Quick Cure.  <Mmm, mulm, gravel, other "stuff" that makes up your water... even the livestock themselves will absorb...> Am I missing something here? Am I losing the Quick Cure before it can even do its job? <Bingo> There is absolutely no carbon. Just floss filter, BioMax-type rings and massive aeration. <Ahh, the biota on the rings also is absorbing...> I intend on following the instructions with a one drop per gallon DAILY regiment for a few days, but don't want to lose the medication before it actually does its job! As usual, thank you so much for your help! Ted <Ted, rather than going on with the present circumstances, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  and the related file links above.... And switch treatments... elevate temperature, use a malachite based med... half strength... and test for ammonia... as your nitrifiers have and will take a beating... Bob Fenner...>
Re: Paragon vs. Quick Cure
Thank you so much.  I did learn a few things. <Good> One issue I have noticed is that while it is widely recommended to do many water changes during treatment (I intend on keeping up with the Quick Cure, minus the BioMax ring that remains oddly white), there is no mention of whether the fresh water should be treated with the medication before adding to the tank to keep up the concentration. <Good point... all treatments (I DO wish there were ready assays for active ingredients to all) should be re-added per changes, time frames>   The way I see it, if I do a 25% water change every day or two, I'm diluting the medication.  Does this make sense?  Thanks! Ted <Does indeed... and at least a quarter re-application is therefore called for. Bob Fenner>

Lost the Tank I really appreciate all the information that your crew provides. Keep up the great work. I have a 45 gallon freshwater tank that I have had for 4 years. I keep only goldfish in the tank. I have a good canister filter that appears to be working fine. The first 3 years and 6 months I had very little problems with water quality or loss of fish. However in the last 6 months or so I have lost many fish. Basically every fish in the tank dies after about 3-4 weeks after putting them in. It just happened again in the last 2 days I lost 10 fish (they are small 1 or 2 inch fish). I tested the water and the problem area is high nitrate (between 80-140PPM). I am very consistent with water changes and cleaning the filter, and I don't think I overfeed them (A neighbor gave me a big container of Wardley flakes, the food is quite old, does it go bad after a while? could this be the source of the problem?) The only thing I can tell you about how the fish looked or behaved in their last days was that they were lethargic, stayed near the bottom or hid behind the coral and their scales seemed to be flaking, a few of them also appeared to have tiny bubbles on their bodies (They appeared to be bubbles but it may have been white spots) Do you have any clues on what might be happening and what I should do before I put any more fish in the tank (There are currently no fish left) Thank You, Frank <If the fish had white spots chances are they had Ick. Tiny blisters can be anything from poor water conditions to a sign of a swim bladder infection. I would wait at least a month before adding any more fish. If you have a heater crank it up to 84 or so. This will speed up the Ick lifecycle and starve it out of your tank quicker. I would also use this follow period to do several large water changes, about 50% daily until those nitrates come down. Should be below 20ppm. Use a gravel vac when doing water changes. Getting all the decaying fish food and waste out will help greatly in nitrate control. But you do need something decaying while fishless to feed your beneficial bacteria. I use a raw shrimp. A pinch of fish food every few days will also work. More work but even more effective would be to break the tank down and bleach or boil everything that will go into the tank. Rinse several times, then re- cycle. That would kill off any bacteria also. But I really think this is a water quality issue. I would go fallow for the month just to be sure my tank is Ick free, then start with a single goldy and see how he does. Keeping stocking down to around 4 fish will also help. I would replace the old food with a fresh container of a better brand. Although I don't think it caused your problems directly, proper diet is very important to long term health. Don> 

Re: follow-up to "odd goldfish...dropsy?" I went to the pet store today before I received your email, and the only thing they had for this sort of thing (I brought him in an old mayonnaise jar) was Maracyn. I bought that and treated with one tablet this morning.  Will that medication do any good? If not, I will have to order what you suggested online (my pet store doesn't have it). I may as well finish out the five day treatment while I wait for it to arrive, if I do indeed need to order it... -A < Unfortunately erythromycin (Maracyn) has not been very effective in my experience in treating this disease. Try Nitrofurazone instead. It should be easier to find but it is not as effective as the Metronidazole.-Chuck>
Re: follow-up to "odd goldfish...dropsy?"
Sadly, the point is moot...the medicine I paid to have rush delivered will not be here until tomorrow, and Lugh died this morning... Thank you for your help, though... A < Sorry about your goldfish but don't get too discouraged. It happens even to the most experienced aquarists too. Keep your tank clean, don't over feed and get back to us if any problems come.-Chuck>

Goldfish help Hi, my name is William. I'm 13 year old and I've had goldfish for about 2 yrs. I have a problem that my white and red headed fish keeps on staying at the top. I was transporting my fish and I kept him in a container. Then when I got home he was on his side but still alive. so I put my fish in my 10 gallon tank and then he started swimming but then he stayed at the top and is stuck there. sometimes he has air bubbles on his body. <This is a good clue> I know its probably a swim bladder disease. But how do I treat it? He also doesn't eat. Please Help Me!  Thanks. <Not a swimbladder disease, but very likely simply just an "environmental" complaint William... it is hard on fish being transported... and often the water from being moved is very different and adds stress to already stressed fishes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files (above, in blue)... re what you might do at this point... likely adding a bit of salt will help your fish to recover. Bob Fenner>

Salted Fish part 2 - Sick Oranda Hi Don, I'd like to thank you for your advice thus far. The Ich is under control as there are no more spots on my fish, the wound on his cap seems to be healed, and I am continuing the salt treatment for another 3 weeks to make sure the Ich will not re-infest (with the water changes when needed with the gravel vac). Unfortunately, there seems to be ANOTHER problem (sigh... can't be too easy can it..). I'm not sure what the problem is, though I'm guessing an internal bacterial problem. My fish sits at the bottom all day, but does swim around for little brief moments to eat, though he is not keeping the food in (I see him spit it out a few minutes later- the not eating his food is a new thing). He is very weak (at one point seemed to get drawn right up to the filter intake tube and had to fight to get away from the suction, which has never happened before). Since buying the fish about 2 weeks ago, sometimes the feces are the color of the food pellets, but at other times they are these long strands of thin/clear. On one of his sides, there is a little vertical line (scratch/wound probably from trying to scratch at the Ick) with some white stuff on it.. I looks as though it is either white 'skin bits' from the healing process, or maybe a white fungus growing, it's hard to tell. So I'm not sure what I should be doing now, especially since I am still treating for the Ich (with the .3 salt solution in the tank). Should I buy a medicated food? Use some kind of medicine in the water even with the salt? My fish is pretty weak, and I have no idea what to do. I've been doing daily water tests, and everything seems fine (Ammonia at 0, Nitrites are 0.1). Thank you for your time! Lisa:) <Did this happen since you started the salt treatment? If yes, reduce the concentration a bit. Do a 10% water change without using the salt. Could also be stress if the salt was added to quickly. If this has been ongoing he may indeed have an internal infection. Medicated flake would be best if he's still eating. If you can't find locally you can get medicated foods online here: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/  If reducing the salt seems to help I would not medicate right away. Goldfish are very tough. Pristine water and salt may be enough. Don>

Lost the Tank - F/W I really appreciate all the information that your crew provides. Keep up the great work. I have a 45 gallon freshwater tank that I have had for 4 years. I keep only goldfish in the tank. I have a good canister filter that appears to be working fine. The first 3 years and 6 months I had very little problems with water quality or loss of fish. However in the last 6 months or so I have lost many fish. Basically every fish in the tank dies after about 3-4 weeks after putting them in. It just happened again in the last 2 days I lost 10 fish (they are small 1 or 2 inch fish). I tested the water and the problem area is high nitrate (between 80-140PPM). I am very consistent with water changes and cleaning the filter, and I don't think I overfeed them (A neighbor gave me a big container of Wardley flakes, the food is quite old, does it go bad after a while? could this be the source of the problem?) The only thing I can tell you about how the fish looked or behaved in their last days was that they were lethargic, stayed near the bottom or hid behind the coral and their scales seemed to be flaking, a few of them also appeared to have tiny bubbles on their bodies (They appeared to be bubbles but it may have been white spots) Do you have any clues on what might be happening and what I should do before I put any more fish in the tank (There are currently no fish left) Thank You, Frank <If the fish had white spots chances are they had Ick. Tiny blisters can be anything from poor water conditions to a sign of a swim bladder infection. I would wait at least a month before adding any more fish. If you have a heater crank it up to 84 or so. This will speed up the Ick lifecycle and starve it out of your tank quicker. I would also use this follow period to do several large water changes, about 50% daily until those nitrates come down. Should be below 20ppm. Use a gravel vac when doing water changes. Getting all the decaying fish food and waste out will help greatly in nitrate control. But you do need something decaying while fishless to feed your beneficial bacteria. I use a raw shrimp. A pinch of fish food every few days will also work. More work but even more effective would be to break the tank down and bleach or boil everything that will go into the tank. Rinse several times, then re cycle. That would kill off any bacteria also. But I really think this is a water quality issue. I would go fallow for the month just to be sure my tank is Ick free, then start with a single goldy and see how he does. Keeping stocking down to around 4 fish will also help. I would replace the old food with a fresh container of a better brand. Although I don't think it caused your problems directly, proper diet is very important to long term health. Don>

Ongoing goldfish conversation... with whom, re what? O.K., I've looked at the diseases fish can get but I'm still not sure what's wrong with my chocolate Oranda. He's normally quite active, but now he just stays unmoving at the bottom of the tank all the time and only comes up for food. He's lost a lot of colour in his fins and they look torn in places as well as having little white spots on them. This white stuff has now grown around his gills and sort of hangs off him. None of my other fish have had problems like this before so I don't know what I should do to cure him. He's two years old. <... I have little idea of what you're referring to here... IF you had read the notes re corresponding with us, you would have seen a reminder to return all previous correspondence... Nonetheless, Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm re goldfish disease... and the Related files above (linked, in blue). Bob Fenner>

Loss of eye and general deterioration in condition of Black Moor We recently introduced two new Plecostomus, two Weather Loaches and two Paradise Fish to our existing tank. We already had several Goldfish and a Black Moor who were all quite healthy. We had also had a Plecostomus for many years until he recently died. <Mmm, well... this is a problematic instance of mixing tropical and non-tropical (Gold)fish> Earlier this week we noticed that the Black Moor's fins had become badly split and that a bronze coloured patch had developed on his body. We didn't really know what could have cause this and put a dosage of anti-bacterial medicine into the tank. Last night however we discovered that he had completely lost an eye, leaving the gaping socket. We have since moved him to a separate tank. <Yikes... the color patch could have been "nothing"... but what might brutalize the Moor in this mix?> We still don't know the cause of any of the injuries - can you please suggest any possible causes and remedies. Regards, Neil. <Possibly... the Paradisefish could have "harassed" the Moor to the extent of breaking fin membranes... but the eye? Strange... and could, but NOT likely could all have resulted from a virulent pathogen accompanying the new fish... something is very awry here though... No other livestock added? Like a crayfish? The goldfish can live a quality life still... sans the eye... but I would keep separate the two types of animal groups here... temperate (the goldfish) and tropical (the rest). Bob Fenner>

Marcellino, He Still Worries about Albert the Goldfish >Thank you I will let it be about the brown algae. >>Hello my friend. >But now Albert is growing back that gray film just on a little spot on the dorsal area like before. The temp of my tank is 75, and there is salt in it, what could it be? After I quarantined him for 5 days, that grey film was vanished, now is back, I really think that he wounded or scratched him self and he didn't recover yet but what can I do or apply to that spot to speed that up? Thank you again! I hope I am not being a pain in the ass, my wife tells me that I am obsessive compulsive. Ciao >>Now you have me laughing, I like your wife already. I don't recollect your quarantine procedures, I thought we'd only discussed what to do with the animal in situ. But I'm going to try taking another angle, see if this helps. Now, fancy goldfish, convoluted though they may be, are essentially like any other fish. That is to say that given the proper conditions, a healthy tank (to our eye somewhat dirty) they can fight off just about anything. So, I'm going to suggest you try plants. Not the aquatic plants folks normally use, but houseplants rooted in the tank. Without photos or other information that demonstrates to me that the fish is really in need of further intervention, it is my opinion that you need to ensure that you have the best, most natural environment set up for them. Now, you cannot have the usual houseplants rooted in salty water, so I would like for you to either take cuttings from your own pothos or other plants that will root easily in water and get them started in a jar or something similar. In the meantime, over the next month or two, perform water changes without vacuuming the gravel, but also without adding salt. I think that the fish will be quite happy with this, as they'll find the roots interesting to nibble around, the plants will take up ammonia and other nitrogenous wastes, as well as being pretty around the tank. If you really don't feel comfortable with that, then I must reiterate Bob's admonition - give it time, keep hands off, and let nature take its course. I've learned that we can do the most damage by constantly messing about in the tanks, and I learned it the hard way. Maybe your wife is right.. I am positive that any children you have or might have could not ask for a more attentive father, the fish, on the other hand, do better when left alone a bit. Don't worry, even if you were being a pain, I still love you. Marina 
Marcellino's Going to Try Not to Worry - Albert the Goldfish Has a Good Father
>I will let it be like you said. >>I have a feeling your wife had a lot to do with this, eh? Give her knuffels from me (Dutch-style hugs & kisses). >Thank you for all your help, you are really great Marina! >>You're welcome, but I don't know about great. Maybe we should ask my fiancé about that tonight. >I bet you are a real wonderful person not just an amazing fish keeper. >>Oh, stop! I try to help is all, and I know people do worry. But believe me, I've irritated more than my fair share of people, too. >Ciao Marina e grazie! >>Vaya con Dios, Marcellino, es de nada. Marina

Albert's Accursed Castle was the Culprit! >The worry is actually completely over because my wife solved it! I took off that castle out of the tank and magically in two days Albert doesn't have that grey film and redness anymore. >>You're joking. I want to kiss your wife, Marcellino. How about *you* do it for me? >It's all vanished by magic. At the same time the nitrite now are very low hopefully in a few more days they will be 0 like it was before. It is probable that sleeping in that castle, he was resting his back against a part of the ceiling and getting irritated. >>Absolutely, and I don't believe I *ever* would have thought of the castle as the culprit. I'm giggling right now. >But strangely the nitrite got down, and the brown algae never really grew, they stalled. A damned castle! THANKS, Marcellino >>Indeed! You are very welcome, but the real thanks goes to your wife (who has probably been hearing more about the fish than I, yes?). Marina

Light and Salt - Marcellino Cares for the Goldfishes >Ciao Marina. Thank you for your advice. My wife is doing fine, Teena too. >>Esta muy bien, Marcellino.  >Albert got swim bladder again. It's now a week that goes to float on the surface each time after eaten. He had this problem before in the old small tank, after I moved him in the big one there wasn't sign of it anymore.  >>However, this is to be expected with the fancy goldfishes. Those shortened little bodies simply cannot do easily what Mother Nature had first designed them for. Man interferes, and the poor little fish just floats now. >I've always fed him peas, varying food like frozen brine shrimp and gelatin food. No pellets, no dry food. >>I would not feed him the brine shrimp, I prefer bloodworms, Tubifex, or even BETTER! Mosquito larvae, daphnia, and other freshwater buglets. Brine can keep his colors bright, but it can also constipate him. Colase is expensive, and the pills are too big for him. >Nothing. It still gets to float at the surface. His poop seems regular, though with bubbles. >>With bubbles makes me think he's still, somehow, taking in air. Some fish may be like some horses - a condition (borne of boredom) called "cribbing" where they will grab onto the edge of a barn door or similar, then SUCK in air. Horses cannot regurgitate, which leaves burping out of the picture, and they can do themselves damage, though rarely. >Albert has right under the throat sparkling bubbles, I can see through his skin. >>Holy cow. That IS very unusual, and if he were a person I would say he has the bends! I will ask some of the other crewmembers to take a look at this and offer their opinions. Goldfish are not harvested from great depths (number one factor in creating such a condition, to the best of my knowledge). And it doesn't make sense that air ingested orally would make its way from the intestinal tract to underneath the fish's skin, though I am by far an expert on fish physiology. Are you able to photograph this, by chance? Otherwise, though, his appearance is healthy, yes?  >So I measured the level of the saturated oxygen and it was low, at the temperature of 75 f, in midday should be 8.4 ppm, however it was 6 ppm. Could it be now that Albert strives to get the right amount of oxygen needed in order to digest and metabolize his food, thus causing him to fill his sac and floating? >>Absolutely, low oxygen levels WILL cause many fish (just about any that I can think of) to "gasp" at the surface. Remember, Marcellino, surface agitation is the way to ensure not just good oxygen saturation, but also that carbon dioxide is out-gassed from the water as well. Do you remember my suggestion of the houseplants? Would something like that work in his tank? If not, and you decide to try aquatic plants, be careful of what types you try - all have different habits (growth rates/patterns, how much mess they'll "make", lighting needs, nutrition). I am not well-versed in planted aquaria, but there are many sites dedicated just to planted tanks. >I got an air pump, very good filtration and all the levels didn't bother me again since the damned castle as I am sure you remember. >>How could I forget the damned castle, I ask you? <giggle> >The levels are perfect, all of them. Soon I'll get a digital camera and I'll send you pix of our beautiful and healthy aquarium. >>BRILLIANT! Better than Guinness in a can (which I wouldn't likely drink even if I DID drink beer). >The room is enough ventilated so what's eating the oxygen in the aquarium? >>Lots of things, starting with the fish themselves, going through to the bacteria that consume their wastes (a LOT when it comes to goldfish, too). >The bad Brown algae? >>Brown may be diatoms, but no, not as likely at all. >Something I don't know? Not enough light? But you said it's Ok. What is it? >>The addition of the pump is good, as long as you've got that agitation of the water's surface (should be "lumpy", like a stream going over rocks). Another way to boost O2 saturation is to lower the temperature of the water, the fish should like it, too. >And what can I do to solve Albert's floating?  >>That is much tougher, as you're already doing pretty much what I would do. I would definitely stop the brine shrimp, go with sinking foods, soaking beforehand may help. You could try him on spinach or other dark green vegetable, either parboil it or briefly microwave it to break down the cellulose. You didn't say whether or not you squeeze the peas. If not, then please do (out of their skins). >Brown algae grow because there is too much light or too little light? >>Not too little, but it only takes a bit, plus the right nutrients can give it what it needs. There are some who say that water with silicates will cause diatomaceous blooms, but from the bit of scientific research I've read, this is likely not the case (this was geared for saltwater systems). Let the algae/diatom bloom run its course, it will starve itself out, like lemmings.  >Thanks very much!!! >>MOST welcome, Marcellino, and please DO send us photos of Albert and Teena. Buenos dias y Adios! Marina 

My Chocolate Oranda My Chocolate Oranda has grown these strange white patches all over its body, and I'd like to know if the snail that I use to help keep the tank clean has got something to do with it. <"Strange White Patches" could refer to a host of pathogens, any of which cannot be pinpointed due to the lack of information provided. Please take a look at the WWM Disease FAQs, located below, to determine what ails your goldfish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/disFAQsMar.htm  I doubt your snail is culprit.  Good luck, Mike G>

Floating goldfish Dear Bob (or WWM team), I have a problem with my fantail goldfish. He is hanging around the top an awful lot. The only time he moves is if the other fish go up for some food. He seems to be constantly gasping and occasionally looks for food at the surface of the water. I did a partial water change today to see if it would help but it hasn't. my other 3 goldfish seem fine (I got all four a few weeks ago and they all were swimming around happily until a few days ago when he started hanging around the top). There are no white spots, no fungus, and no missing scales. Please could you help my fish as it looks really (to me at least). Regards, M <Likely mainly a nutritional problem... too much simply dried food... along with the "breed"... Please read through our goldfish archives here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm  and check water quality, mix in some fresh, frozen/defrosted foods. Bob Fenner>

Re: goldfish prob.s-Ick, et al Mr. Fenner, <Diane> Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, it seems that I misdiagnosed my fish. While I think the new ones did have Ick (they got better with treatment) the older fish had what I think was Columnaris-white fuzzy stuff all over, even over the eyes. I put them in other containers and treated with Jungle brand fungus eliminator, but all three died in intensive care. I've got two of the three new fish left and they're in a semi-private room together. They have perked up somewhat, but are still sending back their food trays untouched.  <I do hope you are treating for the Ich, stat!> I took down the 55 gallon tank and cleaned everything with a bleach solution. Do you think it will be safe to put the two remaining fish back in when I get the tank up and running in a couple of weeks? Or, should I not chance re-introducing a disease back into a sparkling clean tank? I'd hate to haul that tank back out to the patio! Thanks. Diane (yes, it is a fabulous name) <Yes, the Huntress. Ahh, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the related FAQs. Bob Fenner>

Bloated Goldie I am desperate. My 5 year old 9 inch goldfish Wiggles is very bloated and has not eaten for about two weeks. I just don't know what is the best thing to do for him. He has always been very active and we feed him goldfish flakes. He has been like this before but never this long. I am really getting worried. I read where one guy fed his fish peas and I've  also heard about putting Epsom salt in the tank. We occasionally give wiggles small pieces of bread. Is this all right or could this be part of  his problem? Please tell me what to do for wiggles, I am desperate. Peggy <Well if he's not eating the peas will not help. If you can get him to take one or two, go for it. Try the Epsom salt at one heaping tbls per 10 gallons. Also, do several large water changes, replacing the salt with each at the same concentration. If this does not help we may have to medicate. Meds are always more effective in pristine water. They will also cause the water to no longer be pristine, so we do that last. I would not feed bread. Sinking pellets and veggies are ideal goldfish foods. Don>

Indian Goldfish from Hawaii Aloha from Hawaii. <Hello back from cold, snowy Philadelphia. Oh well, at least we're in the Super Bowl!> I was hoping you could help me. I have a goldfish that is a few years old. I just noticed recently a little red dot on the head. The fish is a fancy goldfish with a bumpy head. The dot is on the bumpy head above the eye, it looks a little like a blood blister. Any ideas? Thanks for your time. Tony <Are you testing his water? A lot of these problems happen when we skip a water change or three. It could also just be a bump from a rock or something. For right now I'd just make sure his water is pristine and keep an eye on the red spot. Even if it is an infection water changes alone will sometimes allow the fish to heal itself. A little salt, one tbls per 3 gallons of water, may help. Email us back if the dot grows or spreads. Don>
Indian Goldfish from Hawaii part 2
Aloha Don, Thank you so much for the quick response email. Congratulations on the Eagles. <Don't say that!! One more game to play!> I am originally from Pittsburgh so I was rooting for them, but Pennsylvania pride will do this time. I am sure the Eagles will win. <My heart hopes the same, but the wallet went the other way. Hard to go against two time defending champs> As for the goldfish, I think you hit the nose on the head, or should I say the red dot on the head. That silly fish seems to like her water dirty, but I will be sure to tell her that it is no good for her. So pristine from now on. What a wonderful service this is here, WetWebMedia. All the best to you, now I can rest easy. <After a water change, right?> Maybe we will talk again someday. Lately I am dreaming of a goldfish farm-park on the big island of Hawaii. <Add a Pleco division and I'll run it for you!> Aloha and Mahalo Mahalo Mahalo. It really was so nice to hear from you! Tony <Same, and good luck. Don>

Gulping Goldfish Hi, I have a 3 year old black moor, and I recently bought a new black moor to accompany it. I have a small tank with plenty of room for both. I change the water every week and use oxygenating tablets and goldfish weekly cleaner but I do not have a filter. In the last month I've noticed that my old black moor's tail and fin, sort of flop to one side and hang strangely behind him, I had put this down to him being old. 4 weeks ago he started to lay floating like dead but he has now stopped that. Both fish seem to get on well but I am worried that they both spend a lot of time gulping at the surface of the water. Is this normal? How can I help them? Thanks loads! Katie <Hi Katie, Don here. I see a trip to the pet store in your future. A test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate plus a filter are required pieces of equipment. Do you at least have an air pump and stone in there to oxygenate the water? The gulping of air points to poor water conditions or a lack of O2. High nitrites will prevent the gills from taking in oxygen, even if you do have a pump. Ammonia will cause them to burn. For right now I would up the water changes. Say about 30 to 50% daily until we can see the results of the test. Get a filter with a bio filtration media. Then read here on freshwater cycling. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm >

Re: Sick Fantail Thanks for your response Bob.  Unfortunately, my little fish was unable to overcome his ailments.  He did not manage to survive the 24 hours which followed my initial email to you and  I still have not figured out what caused the blister-like bubbles above his gills. <Strange... and frightening> I was so disappointed and felt so bad that the fish had suffered so much.  I was hesitant about trying to continue with my aquarium.  I explored my options and was going to adopt my algae-eater to a very reputable local aquarium store (they often take in ailing fish or fish that have outgrown their environment.  They quarantine the fish for a short period and then incorporate them in with their regular stock and then attempt to re-sell them to a good home). <Good>    I had almost convinced myself that this was the best option for my algae-eater but I buckled when I spotted a beautiful little speckled goldfish.  He is a very lively, alert  and clever fish and seems to be doing quite well since being introduced to his new home.  The algae eater also seems to get along quite well with him and the two of them are really relaxed together (which was not the case when the algae-eater was first introduced to my aquarium - he was very skittish). <Typical... this is likely a CAE, Gyrinocheilus... can be dangerous, ride goldfish in time...>   So we will see what the future holds.  The aquarium environment seems a lot more stable now and hopefully, I will not have any further problems with ailments. Thank you for the good advice.  I hope I will not have to utilize it in the future but am glad to have it as every little tip helps.  By the way, why is Epsom salt better than aquarium salt? <Mmm, depends on the intended use... Epsom is Magnesium Sulfate... one salt... whereas "Aquarium Salt" is mainly Sodium Chloride (aka table salt) and a mix of other naturally occurring salts (in chemistry, combinations of metals and non-metals) found in seawater. Epsom is best NOT used continuously.> Or are they the same thing just different packaging/price? Cheers, Darlene <Bob Fenner>

Re: Discoloration on head of Redcap Oranda Hi, <Don's having some computer difficulties...> I have another question, please! My Redcap Oranda never regained the red coloration in the little areas on his head! <May well take some time... months... and maybe not return ever> I did the daily water changes, and added the salt as suggested, but did not do the Tetracycline treatment, because he was swimming, being active and doing normal stuff. However, he has still lost the color on his head. He looks like he joined a cloister and is wearing a tonsure! <Heeee!> The areas turned white, but look just like the rest of his cap, just not red. Has he lost that forever, or should I go ahead with the Tetracycline treatment? <I wouldn't at this point> (That was supposed to be the last resort.) He has a beautiful flowing tail and fins; I can see nothing wrong with the rest of his body; but the handsome red "cap" is now more like a sweatband. Maybe this seems silly to people, because he's a fish, but I really like my little guy and want him to live and be healthy. :-) Patricia  <Well, I'd wait before breaking out the Rap albums (in poor reference to the sweat band)... All will likely be well... Do boost your fish's intake of red-pigment containing foods... Shrimp pellets, Spirulina... Bob Fenner> 

Salted Fish Hi, First of all, I wanted to let you know that your website has been very helpful in learning how to care for, and diagnosing problems with my fish. About a week ago I bought an Oranda, who resides by himself in a 10 gallon aquarium. Before purchasing him, I had the tank set up with the filter running for about 3 weeks. My fish seemed fine for the first few days in the aquarium (I did partial water changes almost daily to make sure that toxic levels would be low using Nutrafin Aqua Plus and having the water sit overnight, and I've been using Nutrafin Cycle), but then I found him sitting at the bottom of the tank, not moving, with his fins clamped. He would start swimming around feeding time, still having his usual appetite, but would flash and try to scratch his sides along the bottom of the tank when not resting. I did a water change, and tested the tank water, and everything seemed fine. Finally, a few days later, I managed to spot the Ich (he's a calico so it was hard to see at first against the white of his tail). I immediately started salting the tank at 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon every 12 hours (3 doses). The last dose was yesterday, and he has been swimming around the tank looking much happier than he's been over the past few days, though still has a lot of Ich, especially on his tail, and the dorsal fin is still down. Is there anything else I should be doing? Also, this morning I noticed a red mark/hole on the top of his head (it looks like blood), possibly from him trying to scratch at the Ich (there was some on his head). Should I be putting something on it? Do you know what it could be? As of this morning, the ammonia measured just under 1.0 mg with PH being 7.7, and Nitrites about  0.15mg. I will have to do a water change soon, and when I do, should I put 3 teaspoons of salt into the aquarium right away (per gallon of water I remove during the water change), or do I do it in 12 hour installments again? How long should I keep the salt in the tank for? Thank you for your time, any help is appreciated! Lisa <Hi Lisa, Don here. You are on the right course using salt to kill the Ich. But I'm not a big fan of dosing at these high levels when measuring by volume. You really should weigh it or use a refractor. The size of the salt crystals make a big difference in how much salt you are really adding when you measure this way. The proper amount of salt for a 10 gallon tank is 76 grams. With fine grain salt this is around a 1/8 of a cup. With course aquarium salt it is over a quarter cup. Big difference. Please read the two links below. The first is a great article on Ich. Please take note of the lifecycle and continue treatment for at least 2 weeks after the last spot drops. Always do water changes from the bottom using a gravel vac. Mix the same concentration of salt into the replacement water before adding it to the tank. You want the salt high, but steady. If during treatment the fish suddenly looses a large number of spots do a water change. The Ich is not dead. It has dropped off and is alive in the gravel preparing to reproduce. The second link is on freshwater cycling. It was great to allow the tank to run for three weeks before stocking, and even greater that you are testing. But unless you added an ammonia source to feed the bacteria a cycle did not start. Even if you did establish the bacteria the salt will stress or kill them. But the solution for all your problems, even the scrape on his head, is the same. Water changes with salt for the Ich. Do as many water changes as it takes to keep both ammonia and nitrite near zero. 50% daily is not out of line, even twice a day is OK if you see the spots drop. Good luck.>  http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
Re: Floating Oranda!
Hey, I just want to thank you for responding so quickly. I added a little salt and gave her some peas and now she's doing well!  Thanks again, Jess <Ah, good to read of your success. Bob Fenner> 

Goldfish problems-Ick, et al Hi ya! <Hello there> I've got a 55 gallon tank with two 5 year old fish (1 common-5", 1 comet-6") and a third comet added from a bowl my brother had for a year or so who has grown well since I added him in November. I did have another common that died a month ago after crazy swimming episodes, hanging upside down for hours at a time, and then either floating or laying on the bottom. He was treated with Maracyn 2 (I suspected some kind of parasite-but no sores, rubbing or anything), but never improved.  <Likely some sort of "time bomb" internal problem...> I've done water tests and all is well within normal ranges (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH). I recently added two small Shubunkins and one comet from Wal-Mart. Everything was fine until the new fish showed signs of Ick. I began treatments and have been treating daily for 6 days with every other day 10-12 gallon water changes. Now, while two of the new fish seem to be improving, the other fish have stopped eating and sit on the bottom of the tank. Can the Ick cure make them just feel yucky and lose their appetite? <Yes. Definitely> I've tried peas, spinach and various types of commercial foods, but can't tempt them. The big comet also spits his food out when he tries to eat. I didn't put the fish in a different container because I don't have one large enough and I thought that once the icky fish were in the main tank, I had to treat it anyway. I've checked your site for a couple of days, but wasn't able to find my question or a description of my fishes' multiple problems. None of the fish have any kind of noticeable sores or parasites on them other than the Ick spots although the older common has frayed tail fins-no red or black edges. Should I simply continue with the treatments until the Ick is gone (or, how long?) or try something else? What about heating the tank at this point? <I would heat it up... and add the salt you mention below> Can I put salt in the main tank rather in a treatment tank? If so, do I then allow the water to de-salinate with regular water changes? Thanks for any advice!  Diane <And yes to the slow return to freshwater (and temperature) post treatment. Bob Fenner, whose wife is also named Diane/a>

Pearlscale Got Trapped and Injured - What Now? >Hello, I would really appreciate any advice you can give me.  >>Hello. Marina this morning, but wondering if you might want to add a caveat to that "any advice" bit.. sorry, just joking. Let's see what we can do. >I've checked the FAQs but can't find this problem (Thankfully). My son's Pearlscale (small adult) got trapped in one of the plastic plants that has very strong wire frame to it.  >>Yes, many fancy goldfishes' bodies are *so* convoluted or deformed that they cannot swim about, etc., as normal fish can. >She got trapped just behind her gills and on one side of her body, causing some damage to her scales and her body shaped is now pretty misshapen, quite badly on one side.  >>EEEYOUCH! Kind of like when you get your fingers stuck in a car door? >Also behind one side of the gills the body goes in and looks as though the gill's cover is slightly damaged.  >>(Operculum) Wow, she really did herself a number, didn't she? Hopefully she wasn't caught too long in there and caused internal damage. >The fish appears OK and is swimming fine.  >>Best sign you could ask for, outside her body popping back into shape. >I have added some Melafix to the tank to help with healing and prevent infection.  >>Eck, throw that stuff away, it's useless. A bit of salt added prophylactically will do far more to help the fish heal herself (to whatever degree is possible) than "Mela-broken". If you see the actual need to treat for bacterial infection, use an *actual* antibiotic, not one of these "cure-all" fixes. Spectrogram, Maracyn, and other broad spectrum antibiotics would be tops on my list, but please, DON'T use them unless you are certain she's in need, and you're ready to deal with a dead biological filter. A side note - with freshwater fishes, salt actually BOOSTS the efficacy of antibiotics. Pretty neat, huh? >Do you think she will recover and is there anything else I can do except monitor her - do I still feed normally?  >>Yes, at this point I think she'll recover. I honestly cannot say whether or not she'll pop back into shape, but do be sure to continue feeding and watching closely. I'd also do a few small water changes to remove the MelaFix, or filter well with carbon. Then I would add one teaspoon per gallon aquarium salt (spendy) or simply uniodized salt (frugal). This helps equalize the osmotic difference between the fish's body and the surrounding water, makes it easier for her to heal. Another note, though I've got a feeling you may have run across this information already - do be sure she does NOT feed at the surface (they tend to gulp a great deal of air), and do offer her plenty of greens nuked in a microwave or quickly parboiled, then cooled, to break down the cellulose, to help her tiny little digestive tract stay healthy. Fancies are quite prone to swimbladder troubles, and can become constipated if we don't help them get their roughage (but not too rough). I also like to give frozen green peas squeezed out of their skins. Be sure a big mess isn't left in the tank - they can be quite messy. Water changes with aged water (a day or few) will always help, and will pretty much always be necessary with goldies. >Obviously I have removed the offending plastic plant. Thank you - very useful website.  Louise >>You're welcome. She'll be happier with something to swim about, make her tank more interesting. Just watch for things like rocks with sharp edges, and anything with tunnels. These fish are just too highly bred to be left to their own devices and not find a bit of trouble, something like horses. Marina
Pearlscale Got Trapped and Injured - On the Road to Recovery
>Thanks for the speedy reply - it's horrible when you have an injured animal.  >>Yes, it is. Especially if it's your child's pet!  >Just to let you know her shape's better although still looking sore on one side, and is feeding OK. They do have some salt in the tank already so hopefully she'll make a full recovery. I never thought about highly bred they are - you're right just like flighty horses! Louise >>Yes, hundreds, if not thousands, of years of compression of bodies, lengthening of tails, bubbling of eyes, make for an animal that must be carefully housed and handled. However, given a minimum at least of care, they can be hardy and long-lived. I'm very glad to hear it's on its way. Marina 
Big growth on Goldfish back
Hello, <Hi there> I have a goldfish that has always swam upside down and crooked. I was worried and put him in a different bowl for awhile. He seemed to still swim upside down and just float at the top upside down. So I put him back in the original tank. I didn't think it was a big deal until the last 2 months my goldfish has had a growth on his back that is the size of a pea and it seems to be growing. The color of the growth is a orange-ish white I have 3 other fish in the aquarium with him. They all seem to be just fine. What should I do for him?  Thank you for you time, Amy <There may be little you CAN do, other than keep the system optimized and stable... Please read here re goldfish care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and the Related materials (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Sick goldfish? Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I am the proud owner of two new goldfish, Vincent, a black moor, and Carmine, a fantail. They have been with me for two days. I am worried about Vincent: he hangs out mostly at the bottom of the tank, hiding, especially when the light is on. Also, he does not seem to be eating the way Carmine is. How can I help him? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  likely your fish are suffering from "new tank syndrome"... read over the linked goldfish articles and FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Rescued sick goldfish HELP! My husband and I rescued 5 large goldfish (all 5-7") with a 55 gal tank. We literally scooped out muck and dead fish before cleaning and the filters were covered in hard fungus. We've had the fish for about a month now and are still learning the ropes. I have read the Goldfish Systems2 and Disease sections but still do not know what is wrong with them. Twice they have developed large blood spots around their noses and black spots on their tails. What is this?  Sherri Brandt <Mainly just reaction to new conditions... re-read the Goldfish Disease areas, keep their system stable, apply salt... and all will likely be fine. Bob Fenner> 

My Goldfish So sorry to bother you... once again but I wanted to update you on Nemo. I did follow your advice about giving him a variety of foods (chopped veggies, etc.) and he seemed to enjoy that to the fullest for a couple of days. Sadly, about a week later, his condition once again began to deteriorate. His usually-white underside turned a deep shade of red, and his fins rotted to small stumps. I suspected fin rot, (obviously) and I purchased some medication for this. It helped the rotting....which then stopped. But Nemo continued to go downhill...fast. He wouldn't eat...not even his favorite... mashed peas. He would swim listlessly in circles at the top of his aquarium or sink to the bottom and lay there dejectedly. The next day, I noticed that his fecal matter became long and very very stringy, trailing behind him until it got wrapped around a plant. (eww) And after awhile, a strange cotton-like fungus grew from his gills. Not to mention his blindness, I seriously considered euthanasia. When I awoke the next morning I went over to his aquarium....turned on the light...and found my little Nemo, dead. It was heart wrenching, he was my absolute favorite goldfish...the tiniest one whom I raised to a large 'adult', but I was glad that he wouldn't suffer any more. I do thank you for all the helpful advice you gave me along the way. I think it made Nemo's last days enjoyable. I'll continue to contact you for any fishy advice I may need :) Sincerely, Kara <Sorry to hear of the loss of your goldfish Kara. Thank you for the update. 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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