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Guest devonsmom

My Goldfish Need Help Fast!

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Guest devonsmom

Hi, My 6 year old son has three goldfish. We have had them for about a week. They live in a 10 gallon tank with outside filter...heater (68)..1/4" gravel..live plants..plastic plants..couple of coves. The water sat for 48 hours...and was conditioned before introduction of fish. The fish get fed twice a day...enough to eat in a couple of minutes. Their behavior became unusual just a couple of days ago...so after visiting this site I purchased a wide range test kit....much to my and the fishes horror...nitrite (5.0ppm) and amonnia (1.0ppm) levels were deadly. Ph is fine. I purchased Amquel plus nitrite remover and it is now livable, but not pristine. I change a small percentage of water daily and continue to add conditioner. SYMPTOMS~The chubby orange goldfish sits at the top of tank with mouth to the edge and tail down...he is often quite still and doesn't seem to be eating. The slender black goldfish oftens hangs in cove at bottom...has blood streaks in tailfin...and may have a bit of 'slime' on his body...he is not eating well and although swimming around...sometimes goes to the top with mouth to up and tail down like the chubby goldfish. The slender orange goldfish has lots of blood streaks in tailfins...frayed tailfins..but eating well and swimming around more. They all have what appears to be tiny bubbles on their tailfins. I first thought this was just the water bubbles that they swim through, but am not so sure now. This is all very new to me...and I feel awful about their suffering. They are apart of our family now along with our cats and dogs....and I really don't want to lose them...but more importantly I don't want them in pain and suffering. Can anyone give me some instruction? This very stressed out mom and her fish will be ever so appreciative for any advice at all! Thanks so kindly, Tracey

Edited by devonsmom

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Hi Tracey, and welcome to the board! :)

You have already identified the main problem: poor water quality. New tanks need to build up a colony of good bacteria in the filter which convert the toxic ammonia and nitrite into relatively harmless nitrate. It takes about a month to grow enough bacteria to consume all the toxins, so during this time you need to physically keep the levels low by performing regular partial water changes. Aim to keep the ammonia and nitrite between .5 and 1.0 all the time, which is a safe level for your fish but still provides enough 'food' for the bacteria to grow. This process if called 'cycling' the tank; for more information about cycling, click on this link.

However, you are going to have on-going problems with water quality because unfortunately your tank is very overstocked. Goldfish need a minimum of 10 gallons per fish, as they are extremely messy creatures which produce a lot of bodily wastes, quickly fouling a small volume of water. They also need a large amount of space to grow properly, as they usually reach between 10 and 14 inches long. You will therefore need to get a 30-gallon tank for your goldies as soon as possible; this can either be a proper tank or a plastic Rubbermaid storage tub, which makes an excellent temporary home for fish. If neither option is possible however, then it would be better to take two of them back to the store and just keep one fish. Sorry to give you such miserable news! :(

The best things you can do immediately however are:

1. Keep the ammonia and nitrite between .5 and 1.0 by doing lots of small water changes. Test the water 3 - 4 times a day and as soon as you see the levels rise above 1.0, change more water.

2. Cut down on feeding: during cycling, only feed the fish once a day, as much as they will eat in 1 - 2 minutes. Remove any uneaten food after this time. The less they eat, the less ammonia they will produce.

3. Add salt to the tank: the bloody streaks, frayed edges and lethargy in your fish indicate they are suffering from finrot disease, which is usually bacterial in origin and caused by poor water quality. Salt is an excellent and gentle treatment for finrot. Plus, it also helps protect the fish against the effects of high nitrites. To salt a tank, add 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon in increments of 1 teaspoon per gallon every 12 hours (so for your tank, add 10 tsps, wait 12 hours, add another 10 tsps, wait 12 hours, then add the final 10 tsps). You can use any salt (except Epsom) as long as it does NOT contain anti-caking agents. Dissolve the salt completely first in some old tank water and then pour it into the tank. Remember to replace any lost salt when you do your water changes, e.g. if you change 1 gallon, add 3 teaspoosn of salt to the new water.

Hope this helps. If you need more info. please post again! :)

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Guest devonsmom

HI Emma! You are a shining star! Thank you thank you! I will follow your advice for certain. And by the way....I have been adding salt..and did let it dissolve first, thankfully. I know that goldfish are rather dirty, much like my six year old (grin)...but did not realize that they needed such a large tank. Ironically...I was contemplating the 30 gallon tank..because I knew that once I took the plunge with these darn little two dollar goldfish...I would get hooked, so to speak. As a kid, my brother had about 10 huge tanks of fresh and saltwater fish...his room was so muggy...and very peaceful. He was constantly working on keeping the fish happy....and I remember thinking that I would never want to take this much time...and still have fish die. Well, my mom..on my hesitant approval...got Devon a goldfish....and thus, here we are!!! I appreciate your very thorough advice....I will follow it and keep you posted in the next few days. The fish store is about 25 mins. from where I live....I took off the whole day to get products for them and to observe them and test the water. I work at home as a jeweler and do have the time to change water...test, etc. frequently. Oh, I want so for them to swim around happily and healthy!! With best regards and numerous thanks, Tracey :D

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Hi! I have 3 goldfish in a twenty gallon :yikes Anyways, until I get my 100 gallon next week I noticed about 5 days ago my comet had red streaks in his back fin. I didn't know what to do but my nitrates were really high!! Then I read that poor water quality can contribute to this. So I did a 40% water change for 3 days in a row and now the red streaks are fading away and the goldies look more lively. I'll probably wait until tomorrow for another change. So don't worry as long as you can keep the water quality up your fish will be fine! :)

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Guest devonsmom

To Athena and Emma!!!!!

Yahoo....the fish are on the mend. I have been adding the salt...small water changes...conditioning, etc. and the nitrite and ammonia levels have been consistently at .50 for over 36 hours. The fish are moving about more and eating brilliantly. Some of the cotton stuff is going away...the red streaks are still there, but I know this will take some time. They have been active since early this morning...just occasional slight shaking, flashing....very mildly. Thank you so very much for your advice.....And Athena...I am glad that you have tended successfully your red streaked fishy! Have a great day and thanks again!!! With warm regards, Tracey :goldfish

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That's great news Tracey! :D Your fish should pull through and be fine.

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devonsmom,

when you get your 30 gallon, dont forget to upgrade your filter too! check on the boxes of the candidates and see what the gph (gallons per hour) rating is. youll need your filter/filters to be able to turn your tanks capacity over at a rate of 10 times an hour. so, for a 30 gallon tank, youll need a filter that is rated for 300 gallons per hour. or you can find out what your existing filters gph is and get another filter to make up for the remaining gph needs.

example: if your existing filter is rated for 100 gallons per hour, then youll need to get a filter that boasts 200 gallons per hour capabilities. then youd actually be running two smaller filters instead of one. this is optimal because if one breaks down or becomes clogged, youll have a "back-up" already going. plus, you can alternate cleanings. that way you have an undisturbed colony of beneficial bacteria going at all times.

hope this helps you! :D

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