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Erratic/Concerning Behavior - Common Goldie


Guest bmakii

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So this girl in my dorm won 5 common goldies at a carnival, not too long ago. Dorms, of course, do not have a lot of room, so she had no idea where she was going to keep these little guys. I walk into her room and my little animal loving heart pretty much broke into pieces upon seeing five, severely sick goldies swimming around in some sort of ziploc dish ware filled with dirty, untreated water. I asked if I could take one and so I soon became a new mom to a cutie I named Remy. I quickly rushed to the pet store and scrounged around and picked up what I could afford and ordered more equipment on Amazon. He was extremely stressed at first, and stuck towards the bottom and clamped his fins and hid a lot, as was expected, but his ammonia burns have turned black and are healing and his fins have started healing as well, meaning so far, he's been doing okay.

I've been slowly cycling the tank, doing frequent, small water changes to keep ammonia levels within reason. I've had him for about 2.5 weeks and he's been doing okay so far, and was pretty calm until yesterday. Yesterday, I had noticed the ammonia levels were up, so I did a 30% water change and added a little bit of ammonia converter that had just come in the mail that day (ammonia-safe by tetra) to convert it all to NH4+ so it wouldn't harm him, but still be used by the bacteria. After a few minutes, he started to swim around erratically everywhere--sometimes even swimming backwards, swimming up and down over and over again or treading water really rapidly! He looks like he's going to have a heart attack or something! I'm so worried and I don't know what to do.

He hasn't been running into or rubbing against his decorations, so I'm pretty sure he's not flashing. He'll also gulp rapidly towards the bottom of the tank though...not at the top for air, so I don't know if that means he needs more oxygen or not, but to possibly help with that, I've been taking the lid off when I'm in the room and that seems to calm him down a bit. So right now I'm not sure if it's the ammonia-safe that made him freak out or if there is anything else I should be paying attention to. Please help if you can!

Test results for the following.

Ammonia (tank) Today it looked like a little above 0.50ppm, but not as high as 1.0 ppm. Yesterday the level was around 0.50 ppm too...much higher than I'd like, but as I said, I added ammonia safe so this shouldn't be harming him but still helping to develop the bacteria.

Nitrite (tank) 0ppm

Nitrate (tank) 0 ppm

Ammonia (tap) 0ppm

Nitrite (tap) 0ppm

Nitrate (tap) 0ppm

Ph level tank Today it was 8.2 :no: (higher than I'd like, but I'm looking into purchasing a pH stabilizer, any recommendations? also, I figured this is probably due to the presence of NH4+ and trace amounts of NH3 since they're basic...perks of being a chem major)

Ph level tap 7.5-8.2 most recently it tested 8.0 but it has been lower before....perhaps the different sinks have different phs? I'll have to look into that

Other required info

Brand of test kit - api master test kit drops

Filters -under-gravel with regular gravel maintenance

What kind of water additives or conditioners ? API stress coat+ and most recently ammonia safe (tetra)

Water temperature ? 68 F (20 C)

How often do you change the water and how much ? The tank is small, so I've been doing a four day cleaning cycle that has appeared to be working until all of this happened

Day 1- one 5% water change in morning and one 5% water change at night

Day 2- one 25% water change after he poops (which is normally in the morning) with first 1/2 gravel siphoning to remove excess food and solid waste

Day 3- one 5% water change in morning and one 5% water change at night

Day 4 - 25% water change and second 1/2 gravel siphoning

I know this "slows down" the nitrogen cycle, but as I said, my tank is small and I'd rather his burns heal first so he can rebuild immunity and regenerate health before the cycle reaches full force

How many days ago was the last water change and how much ? This morning I did about 20% because I saw him freaking out still and thought that perhaps the ammonia-safe freaked him out, so I'm hoping I got some of that out...The day prior was the 30% change with the ammonia-safe, and the day prior I did a 25% with 1/2 gravel siphoning

Tank size , how long has it been running ? I'm not sure of it's exact size...I know it's less than 10 gallons (please don't scold me...I do realize goldfish should be kept in larger tanks, but I can neither afford one, nor do I have the space...my main priority was to get him out of that small, overpopulated and unfiltered bowl he was living in before) it's only been running a few weeks, so I know the cycle has taken effect, but as I said earlier, I want to get him healthy first. If you have any recommendations for larger (10 gal), small space and college student budget friendly tanks, please let me know

How many fish in tank and size ? only him and the tank is maybe 15 in tall and 8 in wide and deep....again, please don't scold me, I couldn't afford a good sized tank, but I'm hoping that if he can pull through for a few more weeks, I'll be able to get a better tank

What do you feed your fish , how often ? Tetra flakes soaked 1x a day around 2pm

Any new fish added ? No

Any medications ? No

List previous issues ? Ammonia burns and torn fins from previous living conditions--but when you compare him to the fish still living in that girl's room, he's doing extremely well. Hers have turned almost completely black and white....I feel so awful for leaving them there, but I'm doing everything I can for this little guy--I may not be able to save them all, but if I can save Remy....

Any unusual finding on fish ? No

List entire medication treatment . None

Thank you for your time! I'll keep updating. If I've left out any information please let me know!

Edited by bmakii
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I feel badly that your friend keeps the other 4 in horrible conditions. But at least you are trying to save one. Can you get photo or video of the fish and setup? Maybe it's a 5 gallon tank?

I would not use ammonia safe, a good water conditioner would be Prime - http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-433-Prime-500ml/dp/B00025694O

Was the new tank cycled at all?

Also to note, carnival fish are feeder fish, and are not normally healthy and full of parasites. Also to consider bad genes. However, my friend STILL has her fish from a carnival from when we were kids. I believe the goldfish is 17, very stunted, but still alive O_O

Unfortunately I know nothing about under gravel filters, im my opinion they are not best for Goldfish. I have canisters but they are not college-fund friendly. Aquaclear fliters that hang off the back of the tank work well. If you purchase that you could get a 10 gallon tank and buy the hood/light separately. It the kits that go up in price, due to the convenience

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To add to Auryn's post: I would recommend getting some sort of sinking pellet food as opposed to the flakes. When soaked, flakes loose most of their nutrients and just wind up as something to feed the fish but not to keep it healthy. They also cause floating in fish, so it would be overall better for their health. Even those little sinking granules are better.

I agree with the HOB suggestion as well, and make sure that the filter cleans at least 10 times your tank's size. If you wind up buying something like a 10 gallon once you have the funds then you will need at least 100gph filtration. Petco has some 10 gallon aquariums for around 20 bucks, I believe. The HOB will also provide some oxygenation by keeping the surface of the water agitated.

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Hi hun welcome to the forum! :)

- As you already know the tank you have is less than ideal. A great cheap way to upgrade is to get him a large storage tub to use as a tank until you are in a better position to get an actual aquarium. You can get a 10-20 gallon one at walmart for around 10 dollars :) These can also be kept on the floor if space is an issue. It's not the prettiest solution, but it will be the best for your fish in the long run :) You can also start checking craigslist for used tanks, and also keep in mind that petco does a dollar per gallon sale a couple times a year. There should be another one coming this winter.

- You're going to need to invest in a hang on back (HOB) filter. Undergravel filters are old outdated technology and do not meet the filtration requirements for goldfish. The rule of thumb is 10x the tank volume in gallons per hour for goldfish, so you want a filter that runs 100-200 gph.

Could you test your tap Ph as well for us? I am concerned that your Ph is jumping around. A Ph of 8.2 is totally fine and not something you need to lower. The main concern is that the Ph stays stable.

Any chance you can upload a video of the little guy so we can take a look at his behavior?

EDIT: Just wanted to add that it is really great that you have a test kit and are testing your water. This puts you one step ahead of where many of us started out!

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Oh my goodness...after doing some online searching, I found out the one I got is a one gallon! Please excuse me while I punch myself in the face > :(

Alrighty, so he is DEFINITELY getting a new tank soon. I will be looking for some deals online...if you can recommend good stores/products that would be lovely!

Unfortunately, the tank was not cycled, but he was acting okay prior to yesterday :/

I'm having problems uploading a video...but here's a picture. You can see his ammonia burns...poor thing :(

35avejs.jpg

I'll definitely look into some pellets for him. Would you recommend getting pellets specially formulated for goldfish or simply getting general freshwater food?

I currently have a decently sized container...would you recommend moving him to that ASAP even though I don't have a HOB or keeping him in the small tank until I can get a HOB to put into the container?

And pH was 8.2 today and yesterday. It only hit 7.5 once...so perhaps that was a fluke

He's calmed down quite a bit since I took the hood off. He still has his moments though.

Thank you so much for helping!

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I would move him into something larger asap, and just keep up on daily water testing and water changes. Is your UG filter part of the tank, or could you move it into the new container until you get an HOB? You'll want to save the media from the UG filter to seed the HOB, just so that if there are any BBs beginning to grow in the media you don't lose them.

I would also look into getting an airstone and airpump if you are able. The tetra whisper airpumps are nice and quiet and not too expensive :)

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What size is the decently sized container?

On a budget you need a container (which you may or may not have) Prime (~$20) Bubbler and air stone (~$10-15) Filter of at least 100 GPH (~$25) Decent food (~$10 if you make gel food, repashy is ~$15) Filter media (~$5)

Temp and pH needs to stay stable, that means you may be adding a buffer and or/a heater to this. Sick fish may need medication which would include fish safe salt (~$5) and praziquantel (~$15) or others. Until the fish is healed I would recommend taking out the gravel. You can add decorations slowly as you get the fish healed.

As you can see it can be done within $100 budget for essentials. Depending on the size of your container, you may be able to wait for the pet chain's next dollar per gallon sale (should be coming up with either black friday or christmas sales)

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Okay, I'll see if I can fit the UG filter into the container...it'll at least create some water movement if nothing else.

Ah, and I apologize. I neglected to indicate that the pH in my previous post was for the tap water--so pH is around 8.2 most of the time except for reaching 7.5 once, but that may have been a fluke. Would it be best to maintain this pH or try to stabilize it around 7.5?

and the container says 30 liters, which is around 8 gals if I'm not mistaken.

Edited by bmakii
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For the food new life spectrum makes a good pellet that you can find at most chain stores. Omega one and Hikari are also good brands. You want a sinking pellet as opposed to floating. However, I would put this at the bottom of your priority list. Here is how I see things in terms of priority:

1. Larger container - tank or plastic storage tub 15-20 gallons ideally (10 gallons can work short term, but for a single tailed fish like you have you really want 20 gallons). The container you have now is better than the tank, and may be okay for a short period of time, but you'll want to start the hunt for something larger asap :)

2. Filter - ideally 200 gph. Let us know if you need help choosing one. The aqua clears are amazing filters, but are a bit on the expensive side. If money is an issue just grab a cheap HOB. If you get anything other than an aqua clear you'll also want to grab some stuff to make your own media like filter padding and ceramic rings. Please take a look at this link and let us know if you have questions: http://www.kokosgold...ob-filters-r248

Filter media is important because the more media you have, the more surface area you have for beneficial bacteria to grow :)

3. Seachem Prime - this is reallly helpful when cycling because it detoxifies ammonia for 24-48 hours, so it will keep your water safe between changes.

4. Air pump and air stone

Bodoba's recommendation to remove the gravel is a good one. If you like the look of gravel/want him to have something to peck through, you can keep a thin layer of it, but gravel deeper than 1/4-1/2 an inch can be a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that can make your fish sick. It also decreases water volume of the tank, which is a concern right now.

The last thing I want to touch on is water changes. As long as you match tank and tap Ph and temp you can (and should) do large water changes. When you are cycling anywhere from a 50-100% daily to every other day water change is typically recommended, depending on your water parameters. You'll have to use your water test results to guide you, but I would recommend upping the volume of your water changes to a minimum of 50% when you do a water change.

Many people here start a thread in the water quality section of the forum when they are cycling to keep track of readings and get input on when to do a water change, how much etc. You should consider doing this if you think it would be helpful :)

After we get the tank situation set we can assess his behavior again and see if anything needs to be done in terms of treatment.

EDIT: if you are finding that your tank Ph is stable then there is no reason to change it. 8.2 is perfectly fine as long as it is stable. Since you know your tap Ph sometimes changes, you'll want to check it periodically. Tap Ph can sometimes fall in the spring for example when there is a lot of water run off. The main concern is that if your tank Ph is 8.2 and the tap is 7.5 and you do a really big water change you can drop the tank Ph which is stressful for your fish. You don't want any more than a .5ppm change in Ph during water changes. You also want to make sure your tank Ph is not dropping over time, regular testing will tell you if it is stable or not.

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If you are on a budget, Craigslist is great. People are always getting fish, realizing that they need water changes, and selling their entire almost new setups for good prices. If you do look at CL, search often because the deals can disappear incredibly quickly. Search aquarium, fish tank and fishtank.

Also, based on how small the tank is, you might consider daily 100 percent water changes. You won't be keeping this tank or this filter, so getting is cycled might not help you in the long term.

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For the food new life spectrum makes a good pellet that you can find at most chain stores. Omega one and Hikari are also good brands. You want a sinking pellet as opposed to floating. However, I would put this at the bottom of your priority list. Here is how I see things in terms of priority:

1. Larger container - tank or plastic storage tub 15-20 gallons ideally (10 gallons can work short term, but for a single tailed fish like you have you really want 20 gallons). The container you have now is better than the tank, and may be okay for a short period of time, but you'll want to start the hunt for something larger asap :)

2. Filter - ideally 200 gph. Let us know if you need help choosing one. The aqua clears are amazing filters, but are a bit on the expensive side. If money is an issue just grab a cheap HOB. If you get anything other than an aqua clear you'll also want to grab some stuff to make your own media like filter padding and ceramic rings. Please take a look at this link and let us know if you have questions: http://www.kokosgold...ob-filters-r248

Filter media is important because the more media you have, the more surface area you have for beneficial bacteria to grow :)

3. Seachem Prime - this is reallly helpful when cycling because it detoxifies ammonia for 24-48 hours, so it will keep your water safe between changes.

4. Air pump and air stone

Bodoba's recommendation to remove the gravel is a good one. If you like the look of gravel/want him to have something to peck through, you can keep a thin layer of it, but gravel deeper than 1/4-1/2 an inch can be a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that can make your fish sick. It also decreases water volume of the tank, which is a concern right now.

The last thing I want to touch on is water changes. As long as you match tank and tap Ph and temp you can (and should) do large water changes. When you are cycling anywhere from a 50-100% daily to every other day water change is typically recommended, depending on your water parameters. You'll have to use your water test results to guide you, but I would recommend upping the volume of your water changes to a minimum of 50% when you do a water change.

Many people here start a thread in the water quality section of the forum when they are cycling to keep track of readings and get input on when to do a water change, how much etc. You should consider doing this if you think it would be helpful :)

After we get the tank situation set we can assess his behavior again and see if anything needs to be done in terms of treatment.

EDIT: if you are finding that your tank Ph is stable then there is no reason to change it. 8.2 is perfectly fine as long as it is stable. Since you know your tap Ph sometimes changes, you'll want to check it periodically. Tap Ph can sometimes fall in the spring for example when there is a lot of water run off. The main concern is that if your tank Ph is 8.2 and the tap is 7.5 and you do a really big water change you can drop the tank Ph which is stressful for your fish. You don't want any more than a .5ppm change in Ph during water changes. You also want to make sure your tank Ph is not dropping over time, regular testing will tell you if it is stable or not.

:goodpost

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Oh my goodness...after doing some online searching, I found out the one I got is a one gallon! Please excuse me while I punch myself in the face > :(

I initially had that same tank for our carnival fish. The box says "Goldfish Kit." Don't feel bad.

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