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Need help diagnosing problem with lil guy / tank condition (Pics)


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Hey everyone,

I'm having some trouble diagnosing a potential problem with my goldfish. He's a common white/orange goldfish, but we love the little guy like a member of our family / prized koi.

The backstory: We won him in a carnival themed wedding. He survived all odds (and mistreatment by the wedding staff being kept in too small of a container for too long) and has lived with us for two years now. He was originally 1.5" long but now he is between 7 and 8 inches long. He lives by himself in a 26 gallon tank. Probably feed him more than we should (education here would also be helpful). Originally he had tank mates, but they passed away shortly after we got him. When one was on the decline, he would use his body to block her from vision when we came over which was pretty remarkable (kind of like helping a fallen comrade). For this reason we've been making every effort to give him the life. He's generally been very vivacious/active, but recently (past week or two) we've been seeing some issues that are very uncharacteristic:

Behavioral Symptoms

- Lethargy / staying in one spot near the ground for hours at a time (not normal sleeping)... Not truly ground-sitting (resting on the ground) but hovering about .5cm off the ground. Similar to sleeping position. He'll move if you go up close, and occasionally will take a stroll to stretch his fins.

Physical symptoms

- Frequent thick dark poop that is about 6 or 7 inches log. The color is probably close to what he eats or darker. Not white or clear.

- Unsure if related: In the past month, he had a white (normal skin color) protrusion like a goose-egg above his upper lip. Recently it popped, I'm assuming from spearing the soil for food. There is now some redness around the edges and some slight loose skin. I'm treating with Melafix.

Tank symptoms

- I recently got what appears to be a new type of algae that I haven't seen before: it is a carpet of hair-like particles that are light brown in color that attach to just about everything. They fall off rather easily when you touch it (or even touch near it), and will float around and (I'm guessing) re-settle elsewhere. It grows back rapidly like you would not believe. I'm curious if this new "algae" is actually algae or rather some type of parasite? The symptoms have come about right around the same time that this new "algae" has appeared a week or a little over ago.

I've read about hair algae, but also about dinoflagellates/protazoa and other microbiobe fun - representative pics:

image2_zpse43b710f.jpeg

Closeup of the particles (around the middle of the pic)

image3_zps449acdd4.jpeg

As you can see they stick to the plants and float around

image_zps6811712d.jpeg

They also stick to the wall and air tube... here you can see how they free-float and loosely attach

- Whitish haze to water color but not severe.

- Water quality has been not as great as usual lately, higher in nitrates than I'd like though low in ammonia. I've been good about about water changes (at least once a week, sometimes twice) but seems like it's getting dirtier faster lately. Generally have had to scrub off the 'textbook' thick brown/green algae due to lots of light both artificial and bright apartment in the past year or so.

Steps taken so far

- Two days of Melafix -- in part because of the mentioned sore on his lip.

- Two days of feeding green peas only in the evening (he's been eating twice a day since young, based on my understanding that younger goldies need to eat more, older less... somehow it averaged to two meals of Tetra flakes daily)

- Used 1/2 dose of Tetra Algae Control earlier, to control the algae which has come back heavy on the bottom in just two days and/or eliminate possibility that it is not algae.

Any thoughts? I'm grateful for any help from more seasoned aquarium keepers to help out the lil guy. Even if this is an overreaction to nothing I'd love some pointers on what I'm doing right/wrong. Thanks in advance

Edited by freddyisjdm
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  • Regular Member

Hi Freddy,

I'm sorry your beautiful fish is sick. Filling out the form above (and below) will help the MODS help your fish. In particular, the water parameters are important. If you don't have a test kit, you can take some of the water to a pet store for testing.

(form merged with DNAlex's below)

__________________

Note to MRC: Susanne, I merged the form you kindly posted with mine, because the standard form lacks questions involving tap parameters. So I added them. :)

Edited by dnalex
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hello Freddy,

thank you for your detailed entry :) i would like you to answer the questions that Motherredcap posted for you. also if the fish's symptoms occured more when you added the algae treatement rather than when you first saw the algae..

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Hello,

Could you please answer this form for me? I am going to ask you to do a huge water change ASAP to get rid of the algicide, but I need to know if that's possible from some of the answers below. Thanks.

  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level (tank/tap)
    • * Nitrite Level (tank/tap)
    • * Nitrate level (tank/tap)
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    • Other Required Info:
      • * 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?
      • * How many fish in the tank and their size?
      • * What kind of water additives or conditioners?
      • * What do you feed your fish and how often?
      • * Any new fish added to the tank?
      • * Any medications added to the tank?
      • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
      • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
      • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?
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Thanks for the quick replies! Sorry I didn't see the form. Happy to provide.

I can do a water change if the half-dose of algae product is problematic...

The water parameters I should be able to come up with tomorrow, I normally have some 'multi-parameter' strips handy but today am all out. Should stop by the store tomorrow.

Just tested the ammonia levels at between 0ppm and .25ppm.

Tank has an above-water filter that has been doing a good job on teh ammonia side, but still need water changes on the nitrate side. The PH/alkalinity is usually on the 'light green/light orange' side of the strips (forgetting if hard or soft) but need to test

Other Required Info:

  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Ammonia drops + strips for all others (will do a strip test tomorrow)
  • * Water temperature? 23C / 72F. Typically around 70F even in the cooler months.
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 26 gallons for 1 3/4 years.
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? I believe Aqueon, similar to this one http://www.aqueonproducts.com/products/aqueon-power-filter74412.htm, and size was slightly above the tank size (I believe 30-35 gal)
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? Once or twice a week (more often once) - 40-45%.
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Two days ago / 40%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? Just the one
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Tetra Aquasafe Plus (dechlorinates tap water) and Melafix (only recently for wound treatment) and Tetra Algae Control - first use tonight 1/2 dose about one hour ago
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? Aqueon Goldfish Flakes two times per day
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? no
  • * Any medications added to the tank? Melafix
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. ---- Have previously used salt several months ago for a wound from hitting a decoration (also removed decoration). Recently only treatment is Melafix which also have used previously. Also fed 5 green peas each night for last two nights.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Only the mentioned blister-like protrusion above upper lip which 'popped' and now some redness/loose skin.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Staying at bottom, but not sitting at bottom. Generally eating, but did not tonight (will watch if continues, but for now seems to eat)

You can see the unsure-if-related sore lip issue in this pic (taken a few days ago):

image_zps189e5218.jpg

Thanks again :)

Edited by freddyisjdm
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OK, I have a few follow up questions:

1. What are the tank and tap pH?

2. What is the current nitrate reading?

3. Any nitrites?

4. When did symptoms begin? Before or after the algicide?



Also, how much do you feed. See if you can give us an idea of the amount, please.

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Nitrate/Nitrite I can provide tomorrow (I have to buy the strips)

PH I just tested -- Tank 7.6, Tap 7.6... forgot I had droppers too :)

I feed him 2 servings of flakes daily - One serving is approximately a small mound in the center of my palm. Maybe slightly more than would fit into a sugar packet for coffee. I give one in the morning and one at night

Put the algaecide (sp?) in the tank for the first time ever 2 hours ago to deal with the rapid regrowth of teh brown carpet-like stuff that I'm not entirely positive is algae with hopes that I see some improvement. Half dose only.

Thanks again

Edited by freddyisjdm
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Alright, here are my suggestions:

1. We need to get that algicide out of the tank ASAP. These chemicals usually are very toxic on the fish as well, and most likely will affect him adversely. I was waiting for the pH results, but I think it's important enough that we can skip it for now. I'd like for you to take him out and place him in a comfortable container with new dechlorinated water. Then, do a really good gravel vacuum and perform a 100% water change. Do it twice even to get rid of the algae and other waste materials. Then place him back.

2. We think that part of the problem is that he is being overfed. For now, I would like for you to cut his meals to 1/3 of the size that you have been feeding. Overfed fish won't move much, and a big sign of overfeeding is the extremely long poop. Normal poop should be no more than an inch long, and even then that is already 4 times too long.

Save a bit of the water to check pH and nitrate if you are not going to be able to check this before the big water change.

Once you've done this, we will address the mouth issue.

Good luck!

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hello Freddy,

i would really like to know please, did the fish have these sypmtops you presented us with, before or after you added the algicide (even at half dose)? and one thing i will be very interested in seeing is a video, focused mainly on that spot you mentioned. the pictures aren't showing enough for me. the video can also provide us an understanding of his swimming behaviour and if you would like extend that footage to show us any other detail such as tank set up, please feel welcome to do so :)

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Thanks again -

No problem and I'll work on getting the video tomorrow.

Working on a water change now (PH matches tap to tank) and currently drained 50% and about to fill it back up.

A few logistics questions:

- Is it ok to do a 50% change or is 100% really needed? Just asking because he's kind of a large guy (8 inches (20cm) head to fin) and I don't know if I have a comfortable container handy. I have his old 5 gal tank (from when he was very small), but it hasn't been used or cleaned in approx 1.5 years and don't know if he'd fit. I've always been advised against doing 100% changes, but will do whatever is necessary of course

- Also can the 100% change wait to tomorrow (or tomorrow morning) or does ASAP really mean "do it now" (it's 4am here, made my initial post at 2am). I can always do a 50% water change now, 100% tomorrow. Just don't want to oversleep for work if it can wait.

This is absolutely great help though, my biggest thanks to you guys :)

Edited by freddyisjdm
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100% WCs are actually fine, as long ad you match temp and pH of the waters. I think this can wait until morning (or whenever later today). I realize it's very late.

Let us know when you have finished these things, and we can proceed with the next steps.

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Nitrate/Nitrite I can provide tomorrow (I have to buy the strips)

Don't get the strips!! Get the API tests, NOT the strips. The API master test kit is the best deal--it contains the stuff to test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH all in one kit. The strips are not anywhere near as accurate!

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Wow, what a beautiful fish! You have obviously done a wonderful job raising him. :)

I second the feeding too much (possible) diagnosis. One of my fish becomes very lethargic and unhappy when she eats too much, and gets constipated really easily. I bet your guy is just getting a little too much "love" in the food department! :P

A really great way to know exactly how much to feed is to weigh the food, and the fish, and feed around 1% of the fish's body weight daily. You can do this by using a kitchen scale that weighs in grams.

1. Fill a small container (big enough for the fish, tupperware works) with tank water.

2. Place container on scale, press "tare" to negate the weight of the water/container.

3. Place the fish in the container on the scale, write down the weight, return fish to tank.

4. Multiply the recorded weight by 0.01 to get the amount to feed daily. :)

Your fish is definitely going to be over 100 grams, since he looks quite plump. :teehee This makes things a little easier for weighing out the food, since you can use the kitchen scale to weigh out 1.0 or 2.0 grams of food and add half for an extra 0.5 grams (etc) as needed. However, the most precise way is to use a small 0.1 gram scale to weigh food. :)

Try to break up your feeding into small, frequent meals, since this is a much more natural way for goldfish (carp) to eat. In the wild, they forage and snack all day on mostly algae and plant matter, along with some small bugs, crustaceans, and other organisms. It is very beneficial, especially in adult goldfish, to feed a diet high in greens and lower in animal based protein. If you have a hectic work schedule (like me!:rofl) you can look into automatic feeders to help with feeding small amounts throughout the day. I purchased a Petmate Automatic Feeder, and love it. You can control the portion of each meal, and mine has been very reliable. I feed my guys every morning and evening, and then they get fed two small meals of pellets while I am at work. It's convenient. ;)

Some good foods to look into:

1. Repashy Super Green : This is a powdered mixture that you add to boiling water to create a gel mixture that can be frozen or refrigerated. It is packed with a ton of natural algae and other good eats for our little finned friends.

2. Repashy Soilent Green: This is another variety of powdered gel mix, that has some added animal-based protein sources. I would only use this to add some additional nutrients to the Super Green mixture (I personally mix 1 part Soilent Green with 3 parts Super Green).

3. Frozen bloodworms: These are wonderful for goldfish, and there are numerous articles and posts detailing their benefit in a goldfish's diet. You buy them at your local fish store, thaw in tank water, and then simply dump into the tank and watch the feeding frenzy begin. :P

4. Pro-Gold Pellets: These are really high quality pellets that can be purchased at goldfishconnection.com.

5. Saki-Hikari (and other Hikari Goldfish pellets): Many member have great success with these.

6. Omega One and New Life Spectrum Pellets: These are great pellets for people on a budget. They have good ingredients and are easily available and affordable.

7. Veggies like kale, spinach, green beans, peas, are great to feed daily. Just blanch in hot water and place directly in the tank or on a veggie clip. Fruits like oranges can also be fed sparingly (once or twice a month).

For a fish as large as yours, I would recommend feeding a diet based on 50-75% greens/gel and 25-50% pellets/bloodworms. Flakes are generally not recommended, since most brands do not provide balanced nutrition and can advocate bad habits in the fish, however I have heard there some good brands out there.

And, that's all the food related advice I can think of! :rofl Please keep in mind also that these are general recommendations for a goldfish diet, and not solely for your specific fish. He may have something more serious amiss, so please do not consider any of this post as a "treatment" for issues you are experiencing. A forum moderator will give you direct recommendations.

Good luck! :)

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I just wanted to say Hello and Welcome to the forum. You are in great care/hands here. You have a big beautiful fish. I loved reading your story how you became his owner. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope your fish gets to feeling better soon and your tank gets to looking good once again.

I liked and enjoyed reading your food choices Jenny. Thanks. :)

Edited by 4prettyfish
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I don't have any advice to give, but your fish is a beauty and quite the friend according to your story!

You're in great hands and I wish you luck with him :)

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Wow, what a beautiful fish! You have obviously done a wonderful job raising him. :)

I second the feeding too much (possible) diagnosis. One of my fish becomes very lethargic and unhappy when she eats too much, and gets constipated really easily. I bet your guy is just getting a little too much "love" in the food department! :P

A really great way to know exactly how much to feed is to weigh the food, and the fish, and feed around 1% of the fish's body weight daily. You can do this by using a kitchen scale that weighs in grams.

1. Fill a small container (big enough for the fish, tupperware works) with tank water.

2. Place container on scale, press "tare" to negate the weight of the water/container.

3. Place the fish in the container on the scale, write down the weight, return fish to tank.

4. Multiply the recorded weight by 0.01 to get the amount to feed daily. :)

Your fish is definitely going to be over 100 grams, since he looks quite plump. :teehee This makes things a little easier for weighing out the food, since you can use the kitchen scale to weigh out 1.0 or 2.0 grams of food and add half for an extra 0.5 grams (etc) as needed. However, the most precise way is to use a small 0.1 gram scale to weigh food. :)

Try to break up your feeding into small, frequent meals, since this is a much more natural way for goldfish (carp) to eat. In the wild, they forage and snack all day on mostly algae and plant matter, along with some small bugs, crustaceans, and other organisms. It is very beneficial, especially in adult goldfish, to feed a diet high in greens and lower in animal based protein. If you have a hectic work schedule (like me! :rofl) you can look into automatic feeders to help with feeding small amounts throughout the day. I purchased a Petmate Automatic Feeder, and love it. You can control the portion of each meal, and mine has been very reliable. I feed my guys every morning and evening, and then they get fed two small meals of pellets while I am at work. It's convenient. ;)

Some good foods to look into:

1. Repashy Super Green : This is a powdered mixture that you add to boiling water to create a gel mixture that can be frozen or refrigerated. It is packed with a ton of natural algae and other good eats for our little finned friends.

2. Repashy Soilent Green: This is another variety of powdered gel mix, that has some added animal-based protein sources. I would only use this to add some additional nutrients to the Super Green mixture (I personally mix 1 part Soilent Green with 3 parts Super Green).

3. Frozen bloodworms: These are wonderful for goldfish, and there are numerous articles and posts detailing their benefit in a goldfish's diet. You buy them at your local fish store, thaw in tank water, and then simply dump into the tank and watch the feeding frenzy begin. :P

4. Pro-Gold Pellets: These are really high quality pellets that can be purchased at goldfishconnection.com.

5. Saki-Hikari (and other Hikari Goldfish pellets): Many member have great success with these.

6. Omega One and New Life Spectrum Pellets: These are great pellets for people on a budget. They have good ingredients and are easily available and affordable.

7. Veggies like kale, spinach, green beans, peas, are great to feed daily. Just blanch in hot water and place directly in the tank or on a veggie clip. Fruits like oranges can also be fed sparingly (once or twice a month).

For a fish as large as yours, I would recommend feeding a diet based on 50-75% greens/gel and 25-50% pellets/bloodworms. Flakes are generally not recommended, since most brands do not provide balanced nutrition and can advocate bad habits in the fish, however I have heard there some good brands out there.

And, that's all the food related advice I can think of! :rofl Please keep in mind also that these are general recommendations for a goldfish diet, and not solely for your specific fish. He may have something more serious amiss, so please do not consider any of this post as a "treatment" for issues you are experiencing. A forum moderator will give you direct recommendations.

Good luck! :)

Really great post Jenny! Sums up food really well! And... I should feed more Super Green..... :hummm:) I've been reading lately how many people mix the types of repashy foods together to get a good blend (Helen's got quite the mix! :P). As of now I have them separate and my five get a good mix through out the week. Next batch i make though I'm going to mix the two :)

I just wanted to add Freddy that my fish Basil was in QT for fluke/possible secondary infection treatment and really seemed to not be getting better as he was still bottom sitting. When I told Alex that he was going back to bottom sitting after eating he suggested I was feeding too much. This theory seemed to be correct as I cut down on the Pro-Gold pellets and he got better.

I hope that feeding him less will help him or at least show what other kinds of problems he has so Alex can help more! :) I highly suggest a higher quality sinking pellet food and more veggies in you fish's diet for better overall health as flakes, as Jenny said, are not well balanced. I wish you luck and fins are crossed!!

Edited by Mernany
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Really great post Jenny! Sums up food really well! And... I should feed more Super Green..... :hummm:) I've been reading lately how many people mix the types of repashy foods together to get a good blend (Helen's got quite the mix! :P). As of now I have them separate and my five get a good mix through out the week. Next batch i make though I'm going to mix the two :)

I've also started adding a little koi clay and freshly minced garlic to my Repashy mix. It's a good way to get some extra nutrition in! ;)

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I have a question that I don't think anyone has asked. How much gravel do you have in the bottom of the tank? Deep gravel can provide pockets for debris to rot, and this can foul the water.

I'm curious about the fact that some of your gravel is coated with the brown fuzz and some is bright blue. Is there any difference in the gravel that gets coated and that that doesn't? I mean, do you have more than one kind of gravel in there? If you take some of the coated gravel out put it in a jar of water and shake it hard, does the fuzz come off?

I agree with you and everyone else that you are overfeeding. Thick brown poop is a healthy characteristic, but that much of it means too much food.

Clearly you have done a good job of caring for this beauty. That's a nice big fish. Does that 7-8 inches include the tail fin?

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Hey all - Just wanted to provide a little update

Thanks again to everyone for the great suggestions here! Jenny that was really great, thanks for the advice. I really want to give that a shot this weekend (assuming the little guy is up for a container ride) so I know how much to feed going forward.

Feeding:

I didn't feed him last night, and fed him approx 1/4 his normal amount this morning.

He seemed slightly more active this morning and in a better mood. He seemed not quite back to his usual interest in food/feeding frenzy, but did eat a decent amount.

His poop isn't as thick any more, now much skinnier, but haven't been feeding either.

Activity:

He's still generally lethargic and sitting near the bottom (not on the bottom thankfully, but 1cm above). This is the only remaining worrisome thing. I feel like his activity has picked up but could just be me. He'll go for the occassional stroll around the bottom then return to his spot. Earlier I noticed him have a little 'freak out' where he darted back and forth and seemed agitated. Generally, he will occassionally do this, but it's rare (still rare now, he's mostly just lethargic).

Wound:

It looks about the same as it did yesterday.

Treatment:

I'm going to continue to feed him reduced amounts and use Melafix for the wound. Would salt be a better option? I know not to use them together, I have salt somewhere but can't find it.

Going forward:

Will continue to monitor him -- but I'm less worried than two nights ago thanks to the great responses on here. Really a great place here with a wealth of information and friendly people ready to help out fellow goldie owners - thanks for the welcome and advice. I'll be sure to stick around, and hopefully will be able to update with a 'things are back to normal' soon :)

edit: also picked up the full API dropper kit yesterday to replace my old stirps

Edited by freddyisjdm
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Also I haven't had the change to do a 100% / fish removed water change yet, and possibly may not be able to do so for another day or two.

I did a 75% water change right after posting to dilute the half-dose of algaecide that I used. I then got caught in a work-related marathon which kept me in the office until 4AM yesterday (fortunately rare). I will do a 50% change tonight. Hopefully that dilutes most of it.

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I'm glad to hear everything is slowly getting better for you :). I'm always happy to hear success/rescue stories about fish. By the looks of it, you've been taking good care of your baby!

Welcome to Kokos by the way!

Edited by anastasiam
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