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goldfish with possible Ulcer?

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Hi there,

I have a goldfish that has developed a sore on his side.

Test Results for the Following:

  • * Ammonia Level (tank): ZERO

  • * Nitrite Level (tank): ZERO

  • * Nitrate level (Tank): between 40 and 80 (hard to read the API master test kit)

  • * Ammonia Level (Tap): ZERO

  • * Nitrite Level (Tap): ZERO

  • * Nitrate level (Tap): between 25 to 45 depending on rain fall

  • * Ph Level, (Tank) (If possible, KH, GH): Ph=7.6. KH=125.3ppm GH=244.8ppm

  • * Ph Level, (Tap) (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines): KH=250.6ppm GH=358ppm, chloramines unknown.

  • Other Required Info:

  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Master Test Kit (liquid)

  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Aquis Aqua One 1250 operating flow 850 litres/hour

  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? PRIME

  • * Water temperature? 70 (room temperature)

  • * How often do you change the water and how much? Once a week and change 50%

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 4 days ago at 50%

  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 66 UK Gallons, over a year and a half

  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 14 from 6 inch down to 2 inch (minus tail)

  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? Just changed to Soilent Green, previously New Life Spectrum

  • * Any new fish added to the tank? NO

  • * Any medications added to the tank? NO

  • * List previous issues experienced (dropsy, SBD, etc.) NONE

  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Red sore with displaced local scales. The sore has a black spot in the centre of it.

  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? NO, the fish is lively

  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. NONE ever used.

  • * You can really help us to identify with the concern more accurately if you post some pictures and a short video. I have put a photo of the fish and its problem here at

  • freespace.virgin.net/keith.whitehouse/index.html

if you can offer any advice I would be very grateful.

I know that the aquarium is over crowded, but that is how it came to us, and the wife will not consider lessening the fish.

Best regards Keith

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Hi Keith. Thank you for answering the questions, AND for being very honest with the answers. That's what we would like, just so we know what we are working with. :)

Could you see if you can take some closer pics of the ulcer? I would like to see how it is developing, to better make a suggestion on the next step.

I do think that whatever we might do in terms of treatment, temporary isolation might be needed, if only to prevent other fish of trying to eat the exposed flesh. Do you have something you could use as quarantine?

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thank you for your reply. I have taken a larger picture today in the hope that it will be a bit clearer for you. I have posted it at the site above. I have also posted a picture of this same fish how he looked about a year ago. He was grey in colour and had some dark splotches on him. Today he basically white .

His problem is not new, as I first spotted it about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I hoped (foolishly) that it would heal itself. I assumed that he had damaged himself on something in the aquarium. There were 2 large rocks in there and I removed both of them. There is nothing left apart from half an inch of gravel.

After Christmas I will be purchasing another identical canister and so basically doubling up on the filtration.

I do not have anything to quarantine him in, but I will go to the LFS and purchase a small acrylic aquarium tomorrow. I have a small filter and a 100 watt heater that can be pressed into service.

The only thing that I have that could be called "medicine" is a cardboard container (unopened) of "API Aquarium Salt"

thank you for your help

Best regards Keith

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Hi Keith,

I don't think it's particularly foolish to want the fish to heal on its own. That is also my first choice always, unless it is obvious that it won't happen, as in cases of dropsy. Otherwise, letting the fish take care of things first is the best option.

Anyway, salt is exactly what I would like to suggest at a concentration of 0.3%, or 3 grams/L, or 3 level teaspoons per gallon. Do as many water changes as possible, and replace salt back to that level. I think that should be enough to help him along.

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Hi Alex,

thank you for the information. I will purchase the small aquarium tomorrow and start the treatment.

best regards


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Good luck, and please keep us updated.

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An aquarium that is around 10 gallons or more is best, since it's easier to keep parameters in check with more water volume. :)

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