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Everything posted by Mav

  1. For the time being, I'm just going to let the tank run and "feed" it from time to time, as nobody has responded back on the issue of how likely it is that there is/is not some kind of parasite/disease-causing bug in the tank. As I never really saw any symptoms of that in the nearly 5 years this tank's been up, I'm going to guess that's not the problem. Seriously, though, if anybody can give me a good idea as to how I can tell if I need to tear everything out or not, that would be greatly appreciated. --Mav
  2. I don't really know why Inky died. I started with 3 fish in September 2002, and I never added to that. Cadbury died in August 2003, from likely swim bladder complications (fish-keeping newbie back then, I didn't even know such a thing existed). Sir Talks-A-Lot died in August 2006, probably from a combination of heat (my old place in MT didn't have air conditioning, which is not unusual there), and something internal -- he was developing a strange swelling on just one side. So there hadn't been any other fish in the tank for more than 6 months, and we moved cross-country. All the MT water is long gone, and has been replaced by Virginia water. My best guess is that at some point, while I wasn't around, he was rooting for food, and got a tiny piece of gravel stuck in his system -- far enough back that I couldn't see it, much less get it out, and that caused the problems. Again, I don't really know. I didn't see any particular signs of illness -- no flashing, no white spots, no pineconing -- he just sat on the bottom more and more in the last few days. But he was always kind of a contemplative fish who liked to veg on the bottom and sleep, so that wasn't immediately obvious as abnormal for him. I know parasites can cause some of that too, but I guess I'm wondering, where they would have come from, if I didn't have any new fish, and in almost 5 years, I hadn't seen any sign of them before? So that's why I think it was 'natural' causes, but again, I'm not really sure. --Mav
  3. This may be on the board somewhere else, but I am not in a frame of mind to look around for it right now, so I'm just asking anyways. Inky, my calico oranda, the last of the three fish I got in Sept. 2002 died yesterday. We'd been through a lot in the last six months, most notably the almost-5-day trip from Montana to Virginia in October (new job, had to move). My work schedule's been insane since about January, too. I haven't done anything to the tank yet (when I tested the water the other day, the pH was like 7.5, ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, nitrate was in the 5-10 range, so the water was good). I'm not ready to go get new fish yet, and even if I was, wouldn't do so for at least another month (I am taking a week-long trip to see family in a bit less than a month, and I don't think it'd be fair to get new fish and then leave for a week). So what do I do with the tank? How do I clean it? What do I clean it with? Do I keep everything running? Do I need to drain out all the water and start over? I have no idea where to go with this right now, so all advice is appreciated. --Mav
  4. Thanks for all the advice, especially Devs and LaurieP. Unfortunately, Sir Talks-A-Lot passed away sometime yesterday afternoon while I was at work. The only good thing is, at least he was at home, in his tank, with his friend Inky [so I still have one fish left]. I am thinking this would be preferable to being alone, at some vet's office. I am also not convinced my vet is not the Grim Reaper in disguise. He gets your address from the patient information form, and then he goes and kills your fish. This is the second fish I've taken in to him [Cadbury, my orange oranda died in 2003, but that was before I'd found Koko's], and both times, I've been told it's swim bladder, there's not really anything you can do, and both times, the fish has died the next day. Yup, he's the Grim Reaper all right. Inky doesn't know what to think of all of this [he was swimming around last night and this morning looking for Sir Talks-A-Lot], and I'm not sure I know what to think either. Anybody who says "He's just a fish!" clearly has never had a fish. I think it was the heat wave at the beginning of last month that triggered him getting sick, and after that, there probably wasn't anything I could do. He's been buried in my parents' yard, near where we buried Cadbury. --Mav
  5. Thanks for all the input guys... Unfortunately, I can't use it, as Sir Talks-A-Lot passed away sometime yesterday afternoon while I was at work. At least he was at home, in his tank, and with his friend Inky, instead of by himself at some vet's office. --Mav
  6. I remember seeing, at one point or another in the last 2 years or so, a picture that somebody had taken of a sling they had made for their fish, out of a hair elastic, some fishing line, and a bobber, or something like that combination of items. The idea was, the fish had swimming problems, and couldn't float to the top. It was probably a swim bladder problem, but the likely problem was that the SB had water instead of air in it. So this person made the sling for the fish, so it would provide floatation, so that the fish could move around, and not be stuck on the bottom. My redcap and I went to the vet this morning, and the vet basically said, It was a swim bladder problem [i am skeptical if said vet would ever say much else beyond that, but...], and of course, there's nothing you can do about it. Here's the thing: The fish still likes his food. He still has normal gill function. He can't get his food normally, because he's stuck on the bottom, on his side or his back, but I can hold him, and swim him through the water, as it were, to get food, and he'll happily eat whatever is front of him. So that's not an issue. I have caught some distinct protests from him, as he tries to right himself from time to time, and they consist of "Mom! I don't like this!" [He's in a mini-bow tank I have for isolation purposes, I'm trying to see how his digestive system is working] "I want to swim about, and bug Inky!" So he's not exactly acting 100% sick. I know he's not *well*, but he hasn't given up yet, either. So I couldn't put him to sleep, not when he seems like he'd try and fight this. So I thought of the sling, and I think that would be perfect for him. If only I can find out who made it, or the post about it, so that I can see how exactly they put the pieces together and whatnot, so that I can get this made and him back to something resembling normalacy. Any help from people with better memories than me, or who have made these things in the past, would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Mav
  7. Well, we are back from the vets. Can't say it went terribly well -- I got good and wet in the process, for one thing. I don't think our vet knows how to say anything other than "swim bladder." When he tried to start explaining to me what a swim bladder was, I said, "He's 4 years old. I know what a swim bladder is." Cranky, much? I just didn't want to get the absolute-beginner-knows-nothing-about-fish level of information. Thankfully, once I had established that fact -- and I asked some intelligent questions -- I did get a much higher level of answer. To wit: You can x-ray a fish. However, that doesn't always get much of a return, as only something like a rock will show up on the x-ray, if there is a problem but is less dense, it just won't show up on the x-ray. You can do surgery, but it's risky, particularly if you don't know precisely what you're looking for, etc. And then there's the small (5-15, maybe 20%) of fish who learn how to adjust to life swimming upside down. Some fish will gradually recover, for who-knows-what-reason. The main concern is that the fish doesn't starve, because if they're upside down, it's hard to get food. I said this was not a concern, as I can hold him, put food in front of his nose, and swim him around the tank to get the food. He'll let me do it, doesn't fight, and is happy to eat. Basically, what I got told is, We don't know why this happens, and we can't say why it happens to previous very healthy fish. What he didn't say, in words, but I know was there, was basically, At some point, the fish is going to die. You can choose the circumstances. I thought Sir Talks-A-Lot deserved better than being put to sleep in some vet clinic. He's a stubborn fish, and I didn't feel right in letting him go when he could still fight this. I even have a plan to fight this [see post I will create shortly in the gf discussion board, asking who it was that made the fish sling, and how did they make it]. Not information I wanted to hear, of course, but let's face it, there's a whole lot of vets out there that won't even look at a fish, so I can't whine as much as I'd like to. --Mav
  8. Well, things with Sir Talks-A-Lot have been up and down. Literally. Sometime yesterday afternoon/evening, he got worse, in that something happened to his sense of balance and I came home, and he was doing an imitation of a figure skater, doing a lay-back move -- almost straight up and down in the tank, with the head not quite in line with the tail. If he got swimming, it wouldn't be long before he'd flip over, on his back, tummy up. But his gills were functioning fine, when prodded [mostly, me flipping him right side up], he'd often try and nip my fingers [as normal -- he thinks they're food], he was interested in his food, even if he needed help chasing it down. He wasn't struggling to right himself or anything that would make you think he was uncomfortable. This morning, things were no better, but no worse. Still flipped over on his back, but still interested in food, all of that. He was more or less acting normal, he just couldn't swim right. I was afraid things would not be good when I came home tonight, and he's still having problems with being stuck on his back, however, he's now more on the bottom of the tank. When I came in and turned on the light, he was trying to move around in the tank, and actually trying to pick up rocks, like he was searching for food. He's presently resting in one corner of the tank, on the bottom of the tank, still on his back, but again, not displaying any behavior that indicates this is bothering him. He can from time to time get onto his tummy, and rest that way, but when he moves much, like trying to get across the tank, he tends to flip. I get that no normal fish wants to be on their back, so in that sense, this is not normal behavior, but he's not acting terribly disturbed, or not eating, or any of those other things that you look for. It's almost as if he knows something is wrong, and is trying to rest, and conserve his energy, as it were, or just try not to hurt himself. I tested tank params. this morning, and ammonia was 0 ppm, nitrite was 0 ppm, and nitrate was in the 5-10 ppm range, which is actually lower than it was last week, and lower than it's been in a very, very long time [my tank often tends towards the 20-40 range]. The temperature here is starting to lower, so the tank is staying in the 78-80 range with much less work, and at times looks like it's getting into the 76-78 range, which is ideal. We have at least one vet in town who knows something about fish [as much as the folks at Koko's, I don't know, but at least somebody besides me and my family can actually visually see the fish], so tomorrow morning, I am taking Sir Talks-A-Lot to the vet, and we will see how things go from there. He is a stubborn fish, so hopefully he will be able to hang in there, and the vet will have some useful information for us. --Mav
  9. LaurieP, Here's a shot of him. If you look at the right side in the picture, there's just an extra roundness that's not there on the left. Also, I think it shows there's no real concerns about dropsy or any of that... just this strangeness. I don't really know how else to explain it. Unfortunately, the tank gravel is white, and so is he, but I think it at least gives some idea of what I'm talking about. I'll try and post the tank params. later. --Mav
  10. You never get problems in batches of just one, do you? Earlier this week, I posted because of the heat, raising the temperature, and all of that. Daryl had some great advice for me, and my tank temperature is now back to 78-80, which sure beats 84 or so. The fish seem to agree with me. Part of the reason I posted was that my redcap oranda, Sir Talks-A-Lot, had some kind of issue, and I thought maybe it was the beginning of dropsy. It's not. It would have progressed by now. His scales are not pineconing, his eyes aren't popping... What he does have is a lump on one side. It's below the scales [which is why I thought it was the beginnings of dropsy at first, and after observation, I can tell it's clearly only on the one side]. He's interested in his food, but being a very slow eater right now. He really likes his peas, and normally he chews them right up, but lately, I have to find the squishiest ones, and use my nails to kind of put little tears in them, so they'll break up with less chewing, and be swallowable. His normal food [gel food] he seems to be doing fine with, but I chop that up into really small bits they should be able to swallow whole. Also, I haven't necessarily seen him poop in a while -- but I'm gone a lot right now [at work for 9 hours a day, and then spending time with my family who live across town], so he could be pooping just fine, and I just never see it, if that makes sense. I am presently at work [bad Mav, I know!], so I can't post params. or pictures or anything right now. He doesn't seem to be in pain, he's not particularly lethargic -- he's still demanding food, still coming up to the top of the tank to yammer at me when I walk over to them, so all of his normal behavior... He just has this... lump. (And I am reasonably sure he is, in fact, a he). It's not a small, tight lump, it's more of a generalized swelling on the one side of the body. Since whatever is under the scales, I can't see what it is. So, after that confused rambling, I guess I have two questions: 1. What is this? 2. How do I treat it? I'll try and post params. and a picture later this evening. Thanks, Mav
  11. Are goldfish bodies always symmetrical? Can one side be heavier/bigger than the other side, normally, or is that an indicator that something is wrong? I know most creatures are symmetrical, but I also know that if you look at, say, tennis players, the dominant arm often has more muscle developement, etc., because of training, competing, etc. So do goldfish get like that -- one side of the tail/body area being more developed, or not really? --Mav
  12. Listen to Daryl! Her advice is very good. It's been very hot in Montana, and doing the 3 main things she suggested -- using the bubble bar, lowering the water level so the filter overflow splashes a bit more, and running a fan -- I've gotten the fish tank to pretty much stay at 78-80 F, which is impressive, given that it's been 95-100 F here for the last several days. Both of my fish seem less sluggish than they did a few days ago, and I think it's because their tank is more or less close to the temperature it's supposed to be. --Mav
  13. Daryl is right about the different fish behaviors! I have two very different fish. When I come home from work, one is usually awake, and looking at the door, and letting me know in no uncertain terms what he thinks [where have I have been, he's hungry!]. The other is usually asleep. The one that sleeps a lot is much more mellow -- he has his corner of the tank, with his rocks, and his plants, and he spends a fair amount of his time there. I have described him to other people as 'shy'. The one that is waiting for me is very talkative [his name is Sir Talks-A-Lot for that reason], allows himself to be hand-fed things like peas, and often follows me around the room by swimming to whatever corner/side of the tank is facing me. Mine tend not to be so territorial, at least, not that I've seen, but then again, I only have 2 of them. The worst behavior I've had is that the talk-y one has been known to spit water at me from time to time if I'm not fast enough with the food. I don't *think* he's aiming for me, but with him, you never know. --Mav
  14. Perhaps your new fish is shy? (and/or scared.) What kind of plants/decorations do you have in the tank, that the fish could hide in/behind, when he's scared? I know one of my fish tends to be shy, and he has one favorite corner of the tank, and there are several plants in that corner, so he can swim behind them, and look out, but he feels hidden, and can nap in peace. Also, sometimes fish can be territorial. Maybe the other fish are being difficult, and he doesn't have a good space, so he is trying to create one by burrowing? I've heard a good way to solve that problem is to take all the decorations/plants out and put them back in the tank, in different places, so the old 'boundaries' that existed are no longer present, and so there's not the established space to be territorial about. --Mav
  15. Daryl, Your suggestions were really helpful. I've been able to keep the tank temperature between 78-80 pretty consistently. I know 80's a bit high [i usually keep the tank between 76-78], but when you consider it's between 95-100 degress here lately, 80 looks really good. I wish I could keep my apartment between 78 and 80! Sir Talks-A-Lot is still interested in his food, and sociable as ever. A large part of his problems stem from the fact that he does not realize he is a fish. He has always hung out at the top of the tank, mainly for the purposes of yammering at me [He does not 'beg' for food. He demands it, as in "You! Feed me! Now!"] I wish I could cure him of this habit, as it has the side effect of him gulping in more air than he should. Had he not been doing this forever, I'd be concerned, but it's more or less normal for him, and the other fish in the tank has never mirrored this behavior, and the water params. have been good, so I don't think it's an illness thing, I think it's just an I-have-a-very-weird-fish thing. His body certainly doesn't look pineconed; if there's anything, maybe (?) the scales toward the back end of his body (the back edge of the ab area, before the tail) are a tiny bit less flat than they should be. But it's hard to tell. Nothing so obvious you say, "Oh, yes, he definitely has ______________." Then again, he also has the silver-white scales, so sometimes they just look different on his body than the matte scales look on my calico oranda, if that makes sense. I'll check params. later, and see if there've been any changes. --Mav
  16. Daryl, Thanks for the advice. I just got a new bubble bar yesterday, so I'll get that rigged up and put in the tank. I ran the basic tests last night: Ammonia: 0 ppm Nitrite: 0 ppm Nitrate: Somewhere between 20-40 ppm; it's impossible to tell those reds apart on the Aquarium Pharm. test cards. So that's all pretty much normal, which is good. Their tank temperature at present is about 81. My apartment is about 83. (And it's not even hot yet today!) I live in a building that's about 85 years old, and it's great, except for about 3 weeks of the year. Then again, consistent upper 90s for this long of a stretch is not exactly typical Montana weather, either. I'll work on lowering the water; and I was wondering about the water-changes. I think I was going to start that anyways, just out of not having any other good ideas about what to do. Thanks, and I'll keep you posted. --Mav
  17. If you continue to have problems with SBD/constipation [well, the fish, that is], a lot of people make their own food. There's a page somewhere on here with some receipes -- I got the gel food receipe I use from here, and it's pretty simple [tuna, peas, plain geletain, and some other veggies] -- it's looks like pea-colored jello, but my fish like it, so it's all good. --Mav
  18. I've noticed that my redcap Oranda Sir-Talks-A-Lot, has been somewhat listless for the last day or two. He's had a few float-y problems, but is still happy to eat [either his normal gel food, or peas]. I'm just not quite sure what is going on with him. Being listless isn't totally surprising -- our weather has been very un-Montana like lately, and we've had a long stretch of the upper 90's. The tank was OK during that; it maybe got a degree or two warmer than normal. It's been near 100 the last two or three days, and I have a fan going, and put ice in their tank [no, I don't have air conditioning. A lot of houses in MT don't have air conditioning, particularly not old buildings like where I live.], but the temperature has gone up more than I'd like [which means, more ice]. So, being listless is not that unusual -- the humans are listless when it's this hot, and we don't live in water! When I have caught him the last few days, his tummy has felt a bit more squishy than normal. Or at least, what I remember of normal, as I don't try to catch him all that often. In this picture, he's in a blue bucket, having a brief Epsom salt soak, and he doesn't like the bucket much. Also, I took the picture at an angle, to try and reduce glare off the water. So that partly explains it looking funny. He's almost 4 [september], and I haven't had to deal with dropsy before, but I know it's such a big, bad problem, I thought I'd be paranoid and ask if that's what this is the first sign of. Or if he's just a fat fish, who tends towards a regular problem with constipation issues [he gets peas about every 2 weeks] who's just hot, and getting fatter. I'll try and post params. later this evening/tomorrow. I'm still trying to ice the tank and get things cooled down a bit closer to normal at present. --Mav I will concede, it's a crummy pic. Cell phone cams just aren't always that good. If anybody thinks they need to see a better picture, let me know, and I will borrow the family's digital camera and try and get a better shot. Thanks, Mav
  19. Laurie, Shortly after I posted, he decided he was hungry, and started looking for the other peas in the tank. He's been up and swimming about pretty much after I posted. So I'll watch him tonight/tomorrow morning, but so far, things look to be OK. The only other time I've had to deal with rocks in the mouth, I've caught it really fast, and there weren't any real problems, simply due to that. So that was why I wasn't sure if something as basic as a rock could cause so many problems. I'll post back tomorrow/Sat. morning --Rachel
  20. When I came home from work today, my calico oranda Inky was resting in the back corner of the tank. I looked in on him, and saw that his eyes were sort of moving, and the gills were moving, so I didn't disturb him. When I started to get the water out for their dinner [i feed gel food, so I put it in a dish with some tank water, and break it up with a fork first -- they know the dish dipped in the tank means FOOD!], and that didn't do anything [after an hour of me being home, and walking around the room], I decided to 'wake' him up. His fins were rattier than normal [his fins have always been strange. It's like he was sick once, and they just didn't grow back normal], so I found the Neosporin, grabbed him again, and put that on as many spots as I could. He swam around for a bit, went back to resting on the bottom. I placed some of dinner right in front of him. He didn't move. So I watched him [he was opening + shutting his mouth more than normal], noticed what looked like a small size rock in his mouth. So I caught him for a third time, and managed to get him to spit the rock up/out. Thought he had a second rock a bit later, checked again, no rock. Still not wanting to move much. I thought eating some food would be good, so I caught him again, and force-fed him some peas, which he did chew [and not spit out]. Even after that he was still sluggish -- he'd swim, then sit, then swim again, and so forth -- but he's been up and about the last 10-15 minutes or so, looking for dinner left overs, and the other peas I put in the tank for him. So here's the question... if they had a rock lodged in their mouth for a while [say he got it stuck while I was at work, possibly], might that stress them out and make them act lethargic? Particularly if he tried to spit it out himself, and it didn't really work? I know when I was a kid and had braces many years ago, my mouth would be very sore after I went to the dentist, and chewing could be painful for a few hours. Might this be the same sort of thing? --Mav p. s. My other fish is fine, and I didn't see any really unusual marks, etc. on Inky.
  21. Mav


    You wouldn't think fish would be so picky about their treats, but they are! My fish like peas, and oranges, but they won't eat lemons [citrus fruits though, y'know?]. They like plankton [kind of like mini-shrimp], but they don't get those very often, because I have a hard time soaking them, [to reduce SBD-type problems]. I've never tried cucumber, but the top parts of broccoli is also a favorite. It really just depends. I once gave my fish some banana bread crumbs [very small -- this was also before I discovered the fish board], and one of the fish turned into such a hog, they've never had anything banana-related since! Treats are good, but nothing anything that inspires meanness. Sometimes they just like stuff too much, I guess. --Mav
  22. I have 2 of the clown fish in my tank, too! Well, only when I have lettuce or orange slices to feed the fish. I don't know where to find them in the UK [i'm in the Western US], but maybe this needs a new post, that specifically mentions 'UK' in the post title? That way the fish-experts here who are from the UK [and there are a bunch of them] can see it, and gives them a chance to post. They might have an answer, but might just be surfing past the post. Would the international section be appropriate? Or the feeding section? One of the mods would know. --Mav
  23. whiskey, The article that lcwinne posted is really useful... it explains just about everything about keeping fish, and why. When I first thought about goldfish, I knew nothing about them... I was all set to go out and just buy whatever the pet store people told me. I got lucky, and got some good books, with accurate information -- it was still quite a while before I found Koko's. The people here know just about everything there is to know about fish, and they all really love their fish, so they try very hard to give people the best advice they can, so that fish and people are both happy. I think that article really covers all the bases; the first book I got was "Goldfish: Everything About Aquariums, Varieties, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, and Breeding" (Complete Pet Owner's Manual) (Paperback) by Marshall E. Ostrow. Amazon.com has it for about $8.. it's got some pretty pictures, and good diagrams, and is useful for a beginning reference for basic fish-keeping. Hope this helps... --Mav
  24. I do pretty much what Daryl does... most peas naturally divide in half once you remove the skins, and all that takes is a little pinch. Since I feed mine gel food anyways, I just take their little bowl, get some tank water in it, throw the peas in the water, and put in the microwave for 15 seconds, usually. Since the peas divide in half so well, it's easy to throw the halves on opposite sides of the tank -- this way each fish gets some food. It's really fairly easy, and the fish like peas so much, it's more fun than their regular feeding routine. --Mav
  25. Mav

    Fiber For Fish

    I was at Wally World last week, I think it was, and got to flipping through a magazine for koi and goldfish. Most of it, I already knew [or knew I could get really solid advice from the fish board folks here if I needed it in the future]. What got my attention, though was the section on diet. It had a lot of basic info, like natural color enhancing foods [which I will not feed my redcap, as he looks so much better white, as opposed to pale yellow], that sort of thing. But it also talked about good sources of fiber for fish... peas, yes, but also, like plain cheerios and oatmeal. What's up with that? I know fish can't have dairy, and I thought in general, starches like that weren't good for them either. Or are plain cheerios and oatmeal good for fiber, and allowable as the occasional treat? [Not that I even have a clue how you would feed a fish oatmeal.] Thanks, Mav
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