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McBarto

Tail splitting? Novice fish owner, need help!

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Hello! This is my first time ever posting (and reading) in this forum, and I could really use your help! I'm a somewhat beginner fish owner, I've had my tank for 2 years but it's pretty simple and I don't know a whole ton about fish. Here's my problem though:

I have 2 goldfish (the cheap 13 cent ones that you buy at the pet store) and they're both roughly 2 years old. In the past few weeks, one of them has started to have periods where he just sits at the top of the tank (not right up to the surface, but close) for 10-15 seconds, then he'll move around a bit and do it again. And within the past week I've noticed that his tail has started splitting right down the lines of it. It doesn't look shredded or like pieces are falling off, it's just literally splitting to about 3/4 of the way down. It doesn't look white at the tips or red anywhere, just hangs a little limply maybe. And other than the spacey-ness, he seems totally fine. I'm not sure if this is fin rot or something else. I haven't changed any decorations in the tank within the past 6 months, and nothing is sharp enough to cut him anyway. I started putting melafix in the tank last night, but today when I got home from work I noticed that there's another new tear. I have no clue what to do to help him! Please keep your suggestions somewhat basic or "dumbed down" because I don't know a lot of medications or what to do with them. I also do not have a separate tank that I can put him in to medicate him if need be.

Here's what I can tell you about my tank:

16 gallons (yes I know it's too small for 2 goldfish)

2 goldfish, 1 pleco (just got him about a month ago)

We've always had good water testing results (I'll do a test as soon as I get some new strips)

I change about a quarter of the water every 2 weeks

I treat the water with water conditioner, bacterial supplement, and aquarium salt (and now melafix for the past 2 days)

The other fish I have vis completely healthy, and this seems to have come out of nowhere (it was a few extra days before I could change the water, but I don't think that's it). PLEASE HELP ME! I don't want to lose my little buddy.

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It would be extremely helpful if you could fill out

  • * Ammonia Level
  • * Nitrite Level
  • * Nitrate level
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
  • * Water temperature?
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
  • * How often do you change the water and how much?
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?

It will help us get a better understanding of what could be wrong with the little guy.

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I am sorry your little finned friend isn't feeling well :( If you could fill out what Pearlscaleperfect posted that would be great :)

I noticed you said you were going to get more strips. I would highly recommend you to get the API master test kit. Test strip unfortunately are not as accurate as the drop test kits like the API master kit. Amazon right now is selling them for $16 bucks too http://www.amazon.com/API-FRESHWATER-MASTER-TEST-KIT/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340673307&sr=8-1&keywords=api+master+test+kit ;)

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I'm not the best at reading these test strips, but this is what I got.

KH = 240

GH = 180

Ph = 8.5

Nitrite = 0

Nitrate = 20

Not sure about the ammonia.

Brand of test strips is API (5 in 1 aquarium test strips).

Water temp is about 75 f.

Tank is 16 gallons and has been running for roughly 2 years (I did a full water change and clean out about a year ago because I needed to change the gravel).

Filter is an Aquaclear 30 (for 10-30 gallons).

Usually change the water once every 2 weeks and we change about 4 gallons out.

Last water change was a week ago Sunday.

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What you describe are classic symptoms of flukes, affecting the gills and fins. I would recommend treating with salt + Prazipro (praziquantel).

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It's only happening on the tail though. No other fins and not the gills at all. The only thing that's happen is that the tail is splitting. It's happening on my other goldfish now too :( I just noticed it last night.

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It's only happening on the tail though. No other fins and not the gills at all. The only thing that's happen is that the tail is splitting. It's happening on my other goldfish now too :( I just noticed it last night.

Yes, this is where it usually happens. I'm not surprised that it's happening to the other fish as well, unfortunately :(

You will need to treat the whole tank, and the sooner the better.

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Can I also recommend that in a 16 gallon tank, you increase your water changes to around 70% ( be sure to replace water at the same temperature and pH of the tank you have taken water out of) based on your water parameter readings. Goldfish are large waste producers, and especially in an overstocked tank, it is important to do frequent large water changes (around every 4-5 days rather than fortnightly) as long as you are able to match the pH and temperature. Generally, you want to keep nitrates below 30ppm, although many people here will aim to keep them no higher than 20ppm before a water change. :)

Also, in regards to testing the water, as suggested by MissColonel, test strips can be inaccurate and will only give you a small amount of tests with one pack. The API freshwater master test kit will be a lot more accurate, and will last you a lot longer which will save you some money :) It is also on sale at the moment at an extremely cheap price, so it is definitely worth it if you are wanting to invest in one.

Good luck with treatment, thought I would through in my little advice to help you out in the future :)

Edited by Narny105

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I just noticed this morning that the spitting is now spreading to the first fish's dorsal fin and one of his "arm" fins (forget the name of them). Is this still most likely flukes? I want to start getting the tank treated right away. And if I use this Prazipro, should I also continue using Melafix? And how much salt do I add and how often?

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I would like to see some pics and/or a video of the fin splits please.

You will also need to gather the materials, such as salt and Prazipro, which you may have to order online. There are two links in my signature about salt. Could you go ahead and read them to familiarize yourself with salt, as pertains to usage in the goldfish tank?

The other thing I want to add to Narny105's excellent comments is that you will have to make plans to rehome, or the separate, the pleco. Most plecos get way too big and can eventually cause harm, or worse, to goldfish. Common plecos and goldfish are considered to be incompatible tankmates.

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I will try to get some pictures or a video up after work (won't be till later this evening). It's literally just the fins and tails that are splitting. They look like very clean slits too. Nothing ragged and no pieces falling off. There's nothing else on the fish that looks wrong. No specks of any color, no discoloration (one of them has a big red spot on the top of his head, but he's always had that). I would like to get some medicine ordered today or go pick it up after work, so based on what I've been able to tell you, do you think Prazipro is the way to go?

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Your description of the issues hasn't changed since the first time you described it, and I stand by my analysis of the situation.

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Ok, thank you! I will try to get some pictures up tonight!

Also, I know that the pleco will get way too big. I got him very small and plan move him into a friend's 55 gallon tank before he outgrows mine. I don't think my goldfish even notice he's there, and he doesn't ever go after them, so I think they're fine for now.

Edited by McBarto

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The quicker you move him out the better, to be honest. Pleco's will thrive in a much bigger tank with a lower pH closer to 7.5. Even at a small size, the temperament of a pleco can change as they get older and can actually become a little territorial and aggressive, potentially causing harm to your goldfish. It is best to rule out any potential dangers in the tank as soon as possible, just as a precaution for the safety of other fish :)

Good luck with the salt and prazi, hope all goes well!

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At issue here is that the tank is already overcrowded with the two single tail goldfish, and the pleco requires just about the same amount of water volume as a goldfish. Between the 3 of them, you need 50-90 gallons of water at least, depending on who you ask.

Also, plecos don't make it a habit of attacking goldfish, so you can see them co-existing for quite a while without incident. Then one day either issues of territory or food will suddenly crop up, and the pleco suddenly tastes goldfish slime coat for the first time. That's the beginning of a very quick end :(

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I took some pictures but I'm not sure how to upload them. I did take a video though and the link is posted below. Not the best quality and it's kind of hard to see the splitting, but it's the best that I could do. They never sit still!

I called a few fish stores around where I live but none of them have Prazipro in stock, so I'm going to have to get it online, which means it won't be here for a few days. Will that be ok? I can try going to a store farther away too. How fast does this disease progress?

Here's the link to the video:

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Yes, these fin splits are very characteristic of flukes, and the fact that they were piping at the surface may indicate that there are gill flukes also.

I think you'll be fine ordering online. I usually get mine from Amazon, although other places have them as well.

This is what you'll need:

1. Prazipro. The 4oz bottle should be plenty.

2. Salt. The cheapest, and actually best, kind of salt is Morton's Canning & Picking salt.

We can start salting as soon as you have it. Let me know :)

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I got the salt and some Prazipro. The pet store only had a 1oz bottle of it, so I'll probably have to order more online anyway.

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Ok, go ahead and do a big water change, making sure to match the temp and pH of the tap to the tank.

Then, you add salt in the amount of 1 level teaspoon per gallon, or 0.1%. Make sure you dissolve the salt before you add it to the tank. Then you add Prazipro to the tank, according to instructions. Let me know how goes, or if you have questions. I'll post the complete treatment schedule once I am on my computer.

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A teaspoon per gallon? That seems like an awful lot. And this salt is 100% safe to put in the tank? I do have some API aquarium salt.

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A teaspoon per gallon? That seems like an awful lot. And this salt is 100% safe to put in the tank? I do have some API aquarium salt.

I don't know what else to tell you.

Sorry I am unable to help further.

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Well would you use the aquarium salt instead of the morton salt? Or should I just stick with the morton salt?

Also, should I take the activated carbon out of the filter first, or leave it in?

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I put the morton's salt and prazipro in last night, after doing a big water change. Hopefully I'll see some improvement soon! Thank you for all your help!

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I would take the carbon out of the filter. :) Also, .1% salt is a low dose, some treatments call of 3 teaspoons per gallon (.3%) so I wouldn't be worried about it. Tons of people on here use the Mortons brand and nobody on this forum would ever intruct you to do anything that would harm your fish.

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Thank you! Assuming that the treatment works and stops the disease, how long should it take for their fins/tails to heal?

Also, the bottle says to put the Prazipro in every 3-5 days, but one treatment should be enough. So I basically just put the one teaspoon in and that should be it?

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