Where to start - we have an 11 year old comet goldfish named Dwight that everyone thinks is a Koi. We just moved him from California to New York City on July 31st and just a week after that we started seeing symptoms. Here is the full timeline below:
Current Situation & Water Parameters as of Friday 8/13/21
-One 11 year old comet goldfish (no other animals) and 3 plants (found a small snail around 8/4 that must have hitchhiked with the plants - snail is no where to be seen now)
-New 40 Gallon Breeder Tank with bio filter (no carbon). Not cycled yet - added bacteria starter 7/26 and have been adding per instructions (weekly for the first month)
-Water temperature: 72-78 degrees (depending on the day)
-Nitrite: 1ppm (I know we need to get this to 0, doing daily water changes - should I do 100% water change?)
-Hardness (GH): 150ppm
-Buffer (KH): 80ppm
-pH: 7.0 (will eventually get this between 7.2-7.8, targeting 7.5 but want to wait until we get everything else sorted to avoid pH shock)
Photos of Dwight: https://imgur.com/a/3LFSw1h
The Move (Started 7/29/21 - Arrived 7/31/21)
-Thursday 7/29: We went to a professional aquarium store near LAX who packaged him professionally (styrofoam box, fresh water, multiple layers of bags + oxygen) at their closing time (6pm)
-We went to board our flight at midnight and was refused by the check in clerk to take live fish into check in (contrary to what the fish store told us, though we shouldn't have listened to them and gone off the TSA website)
-Unfortunately Dwight stayed overnight in his small, dark bag
-Friday 7/30: The next morning my fiancee's father took him back to the store to get him a new bag, fresh water, more oxygen and to have him overnighted to New York
-Saturday 7/31: We receive Dwight in New York at around 10am. It's a new 40 gallon breeder tank with new plants, gravel, and a Seachem Tidal 55 gallon filter with bio filter media (no carbon). We set up the Tank on Monday 7/26 and had put a bacteria starter in the tank to get it going. I was also hoping this was enough time to quarantine the plants before Dwight arrived (perhaps it wasn't enough time)
-August 8/1 - August 8/6: Everything seems to be fine though Dwight seems to be slightly lethargic. We chalked it up to stress from the travel and being in a new tank. Neither my fiancee or I have been around Dwight much the last 4 years as my fiancee's parents have been taking care of him. His eyes are slightly glazed and he seems to be a bit blind (not seeing flake food at the surface or pellets that drop on him). We think he's just old and losing some eye sight. Needless to say, lots of food goes uneaten and the gravel hides it well. I'm kicking myself for not gravel vac'ing sooner and not testing water parameters this important first week (I was busy planning my proposal and also playing host to my fiancee's family who I flew out as a surprise)
-Friday August 8/6 & Saturday August 8/7: My fiancee seems a bit concerned about Dwight as he seems lethargic and some red spots / bloody veins develop on his fins. I thought perhaps he had just become old and was lethargic from age so didn't think much about it
-Monday August 8/9: After work, we notice the red, bleeding veins have worsened and Dwight is now flashing (swimming frantically at times, looks like he tries to rub his side on the gravel, plays with the aerator - swimming head down into the bubbles). We start to get worried
-Tuesday August 8/10 (Photos Below): We spot some white spots on the fins and immediately think it's Ich. I go to buy treatment right away (API Super Ich Cure along with API Melafix, and API Aquarium Salt). We do our first dose of Super Ich Cure and API Aquarium salt according to the label instructions. We holdout on the Melafix.
Tuesday 8/10 Photos of Dwight
Wednesday 8-11: We do nothing per Super Ich instructions
Thursday 8-12: I notice Dwight's left eye is bulging, has a red ring, and has frosted over. His right eye looks the same (photo below). I think he must have ran into the filter and injured his eye the night before. We add API Melafix to help with any bacterial issues. We also do a 25% water change as the Nitrite levels are between 1-5ppm. Ammonia is at 0ppm - we get nitrite down to 1ppm and didn't want to do too drastic of a water change. We add salt and Super Ich Cure back in for the amount of water we took out
Friday 8-13: Dwight is looking worse with more hemorrhaging and bloody veins than ever and is now gasping for air at the surface. His right eye is now also cloudy, developing a red ring around it and bulging - I'm getting pretty worried! I test nitrite and ammonia. Ammonia is 0ppm but nitrite is back to 5ppm+! I do a 33% water change to get it back down to 1ppm (should I do a full water change at this point?). I'm also thinking about getting all the gravel out as I think there must be trapped food releasing lots of ammonia/nitrite into the water. I start to question if this is Ich. Calling around, some aquarium store owners think its Nitrite/Ammonia poisoning or bacterial/fungal because hemmoraghing / bloody veins isn't typically one of the first symptoms of Ich. One person adamantly says this is nitrite/ammonia poisoning and I need to do a 100% water change, don't feed Dwight until Monday (we haven't fed him since Tuesday - 4 days now). Another person said we should feed a sick fish to help him get better and that this is probably bacterial or fungal so we need a broad spectrum antibiotic. Another one said this is Ich and that we need to raise the water temperature and continue treatment for another 10 days.
So much conflicting advice - I don't know what to do!
Photos of current condition:
-Tail and fins have fewer white spots than before but are much redder
-Right eye is now cloudy and beginning to swell as well
-A lot more bloody veins! Poor guy!
I have no idea how to proceed as I don't want to over treat the water. I also don't want to heat the water up for Ich treatment as I hear that lowers the available oxygen in the water. Dwight is already struggling for oxygen. It's been 4 days of ich treatment - Super Ich Cure says to stop treatment now and start using carbon to filter out the water. However there are still white spots so if it's Ich then it's still on Dwight. Also, I called around and people are telling me that Melafix is a sham (just tea tree oil that sits on the surface).
-Should I do a large water change (50-100%)? I already did a 33% change this morning (Friday 8/13)
-Should I continue adding aquarium salt? If so, how much?
-Should I feed Dwight?
-Should I continue Super Ich Cure treatment?
-Should I stop using Melafix?
-Should I use antibiotics like Erythromycin just in case it's bacterial or fungal related?
-Should I be adding starter bacteria during this process to try and get the cycle jump started?
Someone please help!
PS I have videos too but don't know how to post them.