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fish with deformed/injured mouth


emptysky

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I'm not sure where this should go, so I'm putting it here.

I've had 3 fantails in a 55 gallon tank for a little over a year now. They were roughly the same size when I got them, and since then two of them have doubled in size or more, but one (Freckles) has only grown a bit. He's currently between 2 and 2.5 inches not including his tail. After several months of feeding and watching him, I started to think something was wrong with his mouth, because he seemed to work very hard to get food into his mouth. I couldn't see any obvious huge deformity with his mouth, but something was not the same as the other two. And of course as the other two fish grew bigger, it was easier for them to get even more of the food. I feed them sinking pellets and I usually make an effort to drop a few in one area for the two bigger ones, then drop another off to the side for Freckles. Unfortunately he misses those quite a bit because he hasn't caught on to my idea, and he doesn't seem to be as good at seeing the pellets coming at him as the other two.

Last night I was feeding everyone, and suddenly Freckles went crazy and swam as fast as he could away from the other two, crashed into the bottom of the tank face-first at full speed, and lay underneath a plastic plant breathing really hard.

I am not sure what caused his sudden zooming away, but one of the other two fish sometimes get aggressive over food and will try to chase the others away during feeding... he swims underneath them and either nips at their fins or bumps them out of the way, and he'll pursue them all over the tank while the food falls to the bottom. I assume Freckles' frantic swimming and crashing was caused by this fish nipping him while I was feeding them.

After 30 seconds, I reached in and moved the plant, and he swam away normally as if nothing had happened, started eating again and he's not acting any different this morning. But he seems to have messed his mouth up even more by crashing mouth-first into the bottom. Now his top jaw is noticeably shorter than his bottom, and the hole of his mouth seems to be more narrow than it was before. When the other fish make a chomping motion, their lips stick out and meet in the middle, then seem to push the food backwards into their mouths before they open again. But his lips barely meet in the middle, then open again without the pushing backwards motion. It was sort of like that before he smushed his face in anyway, but now it's even worse. He could only get the smallest bits of food in his mouth last night, and even when he's chomping on something, it's as likely to fall back out of his mouth as to go in.

I have this 55 gallon tank of goldfish, plus I have a 27 gallon tank that currently has feeder guppies in it. I'm thinking I should move Freckles to the 27 gallon (and phase out the guppies--I don't feed them to anything, I just wanted a tank with tropical fish and they were the easiest ones) by himself. Obviously he wasn't eating tons of food before this happened, and it's not fair to have him battling the two bigger ones. I am also thinking I should switch to flake food, that would be easier for him to get into his mouth. Do you think this is the right decision? Thanks for any advice you can give.

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hello emptysky :)

a deformed mouth can happen as a result of exposure to parasites such as flukes, or a deformity from birth, or a resolved bacteria infection such as columnaris that may have been somehow resolved before you noticed it..etc, either way, it's what we have to deal with right now and we will see how we can help you & freckles.

first off hun, could you please answer all the questions from up in the white box, i will post them below shortly in case you're on a device where they do not display.

would you be able to post us a video of Freckle's mouth & behaviour? particularly whilst trying to eat so we can see how well his mouth functions are?

because goldfish chew with their throat muscles (that's where their teeth are), the main function of the mouth is to keep the food in whilst they chew so that the munching motion is not pushing food back out with the current created.

there are softer foods other than flakes (flakes usually lack too much nutrition). there is the new Repashy gelfood range or you can make your own gelfoods at home with some simple prepared vegetables and gelatine, you can add just about anything to that.

Please copy & paste fill the following form and fill it out to the best of your ability when requesting help for Goldfish Problems:

  • Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level(Tank)
  • * Nitrite Level(Tank)
  • * Nitrate level(Tank)
  • * Ammonia Level(Tap)
  • * Nitrite Level(Tap)
  • * Nitrate level(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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OK, I managed to take a video... I took one of them eating, but my memory card is messed up and those videos didn't save, so I did it again of them just swimming around. Freckles is the calico fish, the other two are mostly white. His upper lip/jaw is only moving a tiny bit, and it's more noticeable when he swims from left to right.

All 3 fish were the same size when I got them, you can see how much bigger the other two have gotten while Freckles stayed small. He is growing, but nothing like the other two.

ugh, sorry this is so hard to read--my answers are bolded in preview, but they don't show up that way when I hit post.

  • * Ammonia Level(Tank) 0
  • * Nitrite Level(Tank) ?
  • * Nitrate level(Tank) ?
  • * Ammonia Level(Tap) ?
  • * Nitrite Level(Tap) ?
  • * Nitrate level(Tap) ?
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.8 with Seachem Gold Buffer
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2 straight from the tap, then goes down to 6 in 24 hours if I don't use Seachem Gold Buffer
  • Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops
  • * Water temperature? Upper 70s
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 55 gallons, running for a little over 3 years
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? 1 Eheim 2217, 1 Eheim Ecco Pro 2234
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? 25% water change weekly
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 25% water change previous Friday (overdue, going to do it later today but I have to let the water cool as it's 80+ degrees from the tap)
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 3 fantails, the two big ones are 2.5-3" without tail, Freckles is 2"
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Seachem Gold Buffer
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? API goldfish sinking pellets, twice daily
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? no
  • * Any medications added to the tank? no
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. Everyone got Prazi when I first bought them April/May 2012, nothing since then
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? no
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? no
Edited by emptysky
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  • Supporter

we're going to need the answers for these:

  • * Nitrite Level(Tank) ?
  • * Nitrate level(Tank) ?
  • * Ammonia Level(Tap) ?
  • * Nitrite Level(Tap) ?
  • * Nitrate level(Tap) ?

if you don't have test kits for them, can you take a water sample down to your LFS and have it tested for those tests? whilst you're at it, get them to test the KH & GH seeing as your PH drops so much with no buffer. have you ever added crushed coral to your filter(s) this tends to stabelize the PH longterm & you only need to be changing it every 4-6 months. more affordable than adding buffer with each water change.

your maintenance routine is good, the only thing i would change is the WC volume. increase that to 60% weekly.

i would like you to treat with Prazi again. the odd behaviour, the continued crooked mouth etc, i think we still have a fluke problem. it is not unusual that there may not be any symptoms for some time and then they appear again even when nothing has changed. we here, including myself treat for flukes a full cycle of prazi every 6 months even in well established tanks. freckles yawning can also be flukes related.

the mouth movement i see from freckles does not appear to be very severe, ie, it looks like he will still be able to hold food, but your suggestion of softer food is a good idea. i recommend that you make some gelfood at home, we have some neat recepies in our goldfish food section.

also, search the koko site for reviews on Repashy gelfoods. our sponsor www.tastyworms.com has good pricing on it, he also sells PraziPro (liquid) , might be able to combine shipping for a further saving. (he also sells the complete API water testing kits)

or, you can order prazi (powder) from www.goldfishconnection.com

in my honest opinion as to wether you should separate Freckles, from the vid i see, i don't think it's necessary. he seems to be socializing with the others well irrespective of his growth rate/size difference. give it a try with the softer food first & see how he goes.

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My local stores will test them, but their answers are either good or bad. As in "Your pH is good, your nitrates are bad, etc." So they said my water is "good," but it's not very quantifiable.

I do have the crushed coral actually, I just don't think of it very often unless I'm cleaning the filters. Long story short--February 2012 I had no idea why my pH was on a roller coaster, I came here and someone told me that some cities add stuff to the water to keep the pH up and it plummets after 24 hours. Until then I didn't know my city was one of them. I thought something must be wrong with the pH tests for it to change so much in a day. Other posters told me about using crushed coral and Gold Buffer. I started using those and the fish side of life has been fantastic until now.

I definitely think I will change to the gel food. Freckles would get enough to stay alive with pellets, but not enough to thrive and it's painful to me to watch him chasing the same bite of food from the top all the way to the bottom, working so hard to get it. Plus I'm making a mess of the water trying to direct some food towards him while keeping the others away, so too much food ends up not eaten by anybody.

I always keep Prazi on hand, so I will treat everyone tomorrow. Thanks for your advice!

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