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rickibarnes

Clamping, surfacing hanging, pineconing, white spikes, red gills

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Hi everyone,

I've put all the symptoms into the topic title because when searching I find it really difficult to see whether things are relevant with titles of "Don't know what's wrong" "<Name of fish> isn't happy". Please let me know if that is wrong or unhelpful.

Here's my stats:

* Ammonia Level(Tank) - 0ppm
* Nitrite Level(Tank) - 0ppm
* Nitrate level(Tank) - 20ppm
* Ammonia Level(Tap) - 0ppm
* Nitrite Level(Tap) - 0ppm
* Nitrate level(Tap) - 5ppm

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) - pH 8.0. I don't have hardness levels because my kit has expired, but historically KH is between 3 - 6°d and GH between 11 - 18°d.

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) - pH 8.0, not sure about the hardness.

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? - API drops.

* Water temperature? - between 20 - 23 °C, currently at 22°C (that's 68 - 73.4°F, currently 71.6°F).

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? - 62L (16.5 gallons). It has been running for several months, mostly with nothing in it. I did a fishless cycle at the start of this year, then added plants, then finally the apple snail. The snail was in there for about 2 months before I got the fish, who has gone in 10 days ago.

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? - the filter is one that is built-in to the tank. They don't seem to make my exact model any more, but it is very similar to: http://www.aa-aquarium.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=317. I don't even know what is meant by "size" of the filter - is that a reference to how much water goes through it? I also wouldn't know the answer to that question . . .

* How often do you change the water and how much? I haven't really got on to that yet as I haven't had the fish for long enough! Did 30% change when adding him to the tank and therapeutic changes yesterday.

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? - Yesterday, 20% water change in the morning, 40% water change in the evening.

* How many fish in the tank and their size? - One fantail goldfish, ~4cm long body, ~6cm long with tail (~1.6 inch body, 2.4 inch with tail). Other tank occupants are one golden apple snail, and untold numbers of extremely tiny ramshorn snails.

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? - Prime.

* What do you feed your fish and how often? - So far pea (defrosted, skin removed, broken into small pieces, but not cooked) and freeze dried bloodworms, once daily.

* Any new fish added to the tank? - He is new! Been in for 10 days.

* 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. - One salt bath this morning, 30g/L (4oz/gallon). In it for 30 seconds, then gently swished through the tank in the net to revive. This recipe is one that my brother-in-law has got off a friend who is an experienced aquarist - the natural reaction is obviously that is too much salt, but he swears by it.

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? - He has extremely weird little white spikes all over the body and tail. It's definitely not the traditional ich "grains of salt" - they are much smaller and a different shape. They are less than 1mm long (I don't know how what is your next imperial unit of measure down from an inch, but that is 0.039 inches) and would be maybe 0.2mm wide (0.0078 inches). They stick straight out from the scales, I can't see what they do on the tail. They look almost like tiny bristles of hair. I say "white" but they are translucentish white, so kind of grey. Very hard to see, and impossible to take a photo of! I spent a good half hour with my art director's loupe over the lens of my phone trying to get a good shot - you could actually see them quite well but of course he won't stay still for long enough to get a proper shot.

Apart from this he is a bit bloated looking, seems to have redder than usual gills, and as mentioned, is pineconing. This was just starting when I came in this morning (he lives at my work), got worse for a bit, but has improved back down to be only barely perceptible since the salt bath. He has not got to the really bad stage of the scales sticking right out - only maybe halfway, and much less than that right now.

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? - Yesterday he spent most of the day hanging at the surface with a clamped dorsal fin. He seemed to like being in the corner furthest from the airstone / filter splash, with his face pressed up against the glass. He would perk up whenever I went over there, and did do little expeditions to nose around at the bottom of the tank in the morning, though still with a clamped fin.

In the afternoon he got more listless, including a little bit of bottom sitting and hiding in his bell ornament, so I did the 40% water change. After that he was back to the morning's behaviour - constantly clamped fin, but a little more perky. Mostly at the top of the tank, but nosing around a bit.

Appetite is still good, but he seems not to be able to open his mouth quite properly. I just fed him some pea, broken up into the usual size, but he couldn't seem to get them in. He was very keen, though, and kept going at them. Before the pea he was hanging at the surface, since then he has been nosing around at the bottom of the tank. He isn't doing much, but it's not that classic bottom sitting behaviour.

So I think that is the entire history, let me know if any other information is required! I didn't see him on Sunday, but I came in on Saturday to give him some food and he was 100% normal and fine. Then yesterday morning when I came in, I could tell right away he was not quite right.

Please help me! This is the third fish in this tank who hasn't gone well (first had tumor/impacted eggs/internal parasite that had no symptoms before one morning when I came in and he was in the awful pineconing stage; second had ich and despite salt treatment as per coaching from my previous goldfish forum, died anyway).

My workmates are now nicknaming this the tank of death and advising me to just put the fish in a bowl, and honestly, I'm tempted! I know that's not right but I'm basically at the end of my tether as I have perfect water levels, test regularly, do water changes, etc, etc, and yet the fish don't do anywhere near as well as any goldfish in a bowl I've ever met! It seems the more I learn and try to do the right thing, the worse my fish fare...... :(

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Hi and welcome to Koko's. Sorry your fish isn't doing well.

Are you using aquarium salt (vs Epsom salt) for the salt bath?

Have you sterilized your tank after the previous fish have passed?

Can you please place your fish in a small tupperware container and take a pic of him from above so that we can get an idea of how severe the pineconing is?

Are the water parameters you posted from today (post 20% + 40% WCs done yesterday)?

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Thank you, I hope there is some hope for him!

Here are the answers to your questions - I'm using plain sea salt for his bath, as per instructions from brother-in-law. It's just 100% salt. I don't know what Epsom salt is - isn't that something your nanna would have around the house? :P

I didn't sterilise my tank per se - but I was so traumatised by the passing of my last goldie that the tank has been empty (but running!) since September 2010, does that count? This is another reason my workmates make fun of me, actually - just had a tank with nothing in it for so long.

The water parameters are from this morning (post WC) but they were very similar previously - pH 7.9, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20. I was a bit surprised the nitrates didn't drop after the water changes - does that seem normal?

Here's my photos, hope you can see. This is back to the "worse" stage - he was a bit better than this first thing in the morning and also after his salt bath. He is still perkier post-bath, although he did not like being out of the water at all when I transferred him for the picture - he was only out for 5 seconds or less and the container just had aquarium water but he was listing pretty badly at first.

Frustratingly, no sign of the white bristles from these shots either!

pinecone-01.jpg

pinecone-02.jpg

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Thank you, I hope so too. I don't think I could possibly get another fish if the tank of death claims another victim :(

Just want to also add, he hasn't passed his pea from this morning yet - is this sign of a blockage? How long would it usually take a goldie to poop?

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He is a very pretty fish and I hope he gets better. It looks like dropsy, but we will see what the mods say.

As for the cleaning of the tank, was it running with the same water the fish passed away in, or did you change it? Did you clean the gravel and accessories in the tank as well as the filter media?

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Thank you, I am already very attached to him so a recovery would make me very happy!

I vaccumed the gravel but didn't get any further into it than that. Likewise the water has been changed but not 100% drained. I almost drained it 100% when I started my fishless cycle, but there was a bit left swishing around in the bottom because it's not really practical for one person to upend the tank.

I have a fine filter medium that is kind of like cotton wool, that one has been changed. Other than that the filter has those bio ball things in it, I didn't change them but did rinse when starting the fishless cycle.

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OK final update before I go home for the day - he has definitely been more active, and has been less clamped with his dorsal fin. However he's still spending a lot of time being sad in a corner, and the pineconing hasn't gone away (also hasn't got worse).

His gill flaps (don't know the technical term) seem also to be curved slightly inwards. I'm not sure whether that was the case earlier, or if it has gotten worse - it doesn't look the same in the photos I posted, but that could be the angle.

Hoping I don't come in to a little floating corpse tomorrow morning.... :(

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I have asked for our Australian mod to take a look at this thread. She will have more info on how to help.

Hang in there.

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hello ricki,

is the fish at work or at home?

i will be helping you through this, i am just about to sit with a cup of coffee & read through all the information you posted and address what i can. but what will be required, is this & no offence intended either. i would like you to stop listening to your BIL and his good aquarist mate (for the time being whilst we work through the current issues), only because goldfsih have different requirements and their 'recepies' aren't what we would normally do for goldfish :)

so, will you be leaving from the fish (at work) or are you going to the fish (at home)?

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ok.. i understand the fish is new, so it may have come to you with a parasite problem that has now developed into a secondary infection.

i will address this as you posted in your first post.

your water change routine needs to be stepped up. each week, you need to change around 60-70% of the water, this is a regular routine. during this, you will scrub the inside & underside of any ornaments in the tank. if you have gravel/sand you need to also vacuum that like crazy wtih every water change. you will find that with changing this much water each week, the nitrates will drop and remain at a safer level. (provided you are not overfeeding your fish).

rule of the thumb with snails is that they need 2 gallons each, the fish you have needs a minimum 20 gallons. if you have an adult snail in there & a fancy goldfish, you need 22 gallons = 84 litres. all those little baby snails will grow, but you have no room for them. you can compensate for the slight overstocking by doing an additional midweek water change of 30%, but i would not let all those baby snails grow. you can either give them back to the store or get rid of them by some humane way. i don't know how this is done for snails, i only know how to euth a fish.

when you feed the peas, they should be softened by either boiling on the stove top or in the microwave, i prefer stove top, but since the fish is at work, microwave might be more convenient for this. a little bit of tank water in a glass and then add the peas, about 40 seconds to a minute will do. once you are able to squish them with your fingers, they should remain pasty but still hold together, the peas are ready (shells gone) and feed. a sick fish has little energy, the softer the pea, the easier to eat.

i am advising against the salt bath for the moment until i can have discussions with the Moderating team re my suspicions.

i advise against the salt bath period for now as a pineconed fish will react badly to the salt. some goldfish are salt sensitive and if they are introduced to salt, their first reaction is pineconing. also, aquarium salt assists in fluid retention when a fish is pineconed. this only adds to the problem. so for now, no more salt. also, please do advise what product salt you used for the dips.

the white/grey spikes.. i am thinking can be a few things. my immediate question is, did these appear before or after the salt baths?

if before, then i think they may be anchor worms. if after, then that might be the slime coat peeling away as salt at this concentration 3% dissolves the slime coat of a fish. if the fish is pineconed, then some strands can be left behind. were the white/grey spikes moving at all? are there any inflamed areas on the fish's body where the spikes were attached? and did they have forked ends?

here is a pic of Anchor worms, tell me if they resemble this at all

anchorworm.jpg

once you salt dipped your fish. did the white spikes disappear or are they stil there?

and just to throw in a mention for you re why members have asked for disinfecting. when a fish dies particularly after having shown symptoms of parasites, bacterias/infections, often, these can lurk and affect future tank mates. some parasites can lay dormant for months. then, once a new fish is introduced into the tank, it wakes and attaches to the host. bacterias can do the same. when a fish dies, and we're not sure why, but even if we are, the correct thing to do is to disinfect with a bleach solution all the things inside the tank, filters and very important, nets, cleaning tools, fish buckets etc.

so, we need to determine if the white grey spikes you mention are anchor worms or a different parasite as there are different treatments to use. or if they are slime coat. did or do they move at all? and can you get any antibiotic called Metronidazole? aka Flagyl.

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Hi Helen, thanks for taking the time.

I'm finding it hard to judge the scale in that picture above, but I think those worms are a lot bigger than these little spikes. I didn't notice any forked ends, but they are so tiny that it's possible I just couldn't see that. Definitely no red or inflamed areas on his body though (apart from the gills). They don't seem to move at all, but again, it's very hard to see. They are only really visible against the light. I was wondering if they could just be something to do with his slime coat. I couldn't find anything similar with my searching that would confirm likely parasite or otherwise. Oh and yes, they were there pre-salt dip - it was the suspicion of a parasite that led to the salt dip in the first place.

So with the pea, would you feed a whole pea at one time, or is it still just bits? I'm trying to imagine it holding its shape if it's been slightly pre-smooshed and then broken into bits. Ir would you divide it up before microwaving (yes, you are correct in thinking that is the only option at work.

My little guy is still at work while I am now at home, but I'm not above going back tonight if someone has immediate emergency action suggestions. Although it is now 8.00pm where I am, so I'd have to see it before I go to bed.

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i have just the video for you ;) brb.. :rofl

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Oh, re: the ramshorn snails - I would actually prefer not to have them, they were hitchhikers on the plants and I just can't get rid of them. I did try lettuce baiting back before I got the golden apple snail, and not a one was interested, apparently! I was surprised as I've had snails before and they went nuts for lettuce. I don't really know what else to do. I have seen you can get snail killing solutions but that's not really for me, let alone that I now have my apple snail to consider.

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nono! no snail killing solutions, they are very harmful to fish. if they're mainly on the plants, you can regularly dip your plants in a diluted bleach solution for 10 mins every 2-3 weeks (i do this frequently), that will control algae growing & kill anything on the plants.

do you have access to a microscope?

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and can you get the Metronidazole/Flagyl? it's AU's #1 fighter agains infections in humans.. very common.

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An instructional video on pea preparation... I should've known there would be such a thing! Thank you, internet :D

I don't know about the Metronidazole or Flagyl (are they the same thing?), they sound like they would be controlled substances?

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the metro/flagyl. yes, Metronidazole is the active constituent & Flagyl is it's retail name. yes, it's controlled. you can begin by looking in the Meds cabinet to see if there is any there previously prescribed and no longer required. they have a very long shelf life... or, you can ask a vet to prescribe some. alternatively, i can supply it at little $ and you can contact me here: sparez@bigpond.net.au

express posted tomorrow, it will get to you Thursday. but, you do need this to treat the pineconing with. here is an Article i made on Dropsy/Pineconing.. please read it so that you better understand what is now happening to your fish :)

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/page/index.html/_/disease-information/dropsy-updated-2012-r330

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I might see if I can get to the vet tomorrow when they open then - is it a common thing that most vets would have? And once I have it, then I have to make it into gel food, is that right?

Also given that there's just the one fish, would I move him out of the tank? I don't actually have another tank I could put him in, but this one has the plants and snail - should I take those things out?

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i would prefer, since i suspect this is from parasites, that you tell the vet you intend on feeding it. powder form is best for the food, liquid is best for in the water.

no, you will not need to move the fish out of the tank, being the only fish in there.

if there are any traces of salt in the water, and please remember to link me to the type of salt you used for the salt dips, remove it as soon as you get into work tomorrow. you can do that by doing 2 x 60% water changes. or one big 100% water change where the fish will need to be removed momentarily.

also, when handling your fish, please do not use a net, i would prefer that you use a tub to remove and replace him to and from the tank. they are less stressed when a net is not used. plants are fine, i am not sure about the snail, i will find out.

please look at getting some praziquantel from your local fish store (don't buy it from the Vet, it will be way too expensive). you will find this either as Aquamaster fluke & tapeworm tablets or, Blue Planet fluke and tapeworm tablets. they are the same product, same manufacturer, different resellers. the Blue Planet one is cheaper. we will prazi the fish in case of any internal parasites such as tapeworms or round worms. since you have done the salt dipping, this has stripped the slime coat off the fish, now is the best time to use the Praziquantel.

el075.jpg

aqua_master_fluke_and_tapeworm_tablets_2

i will have to find out if the snail can handle Epsom salt, we may need this if any bloating is noticed.

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OK so step one is achieved, in that he is still alive this morning. I'm sort of relieved, but he is worse than ever - pineconing a bit more and hanging at the surface looking very very sad indeed. It's a bit hard to tell but I think he might be starting to get pop eye as well.

No salt in the water, I took him out to do the salt dip. That was just in sea salt, 100% salt without any additives or anything.

I have some Epsom salt but I will have to wait another hour and half at least for the shops to open so I can see about the vet and pet store. Also the Epsom salt has been opened already and I'm not sure how old it is - should I get a fresh box?

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Just nipped him out (in a tub this time - well, a jug actually, but a big one) for some more photography.

pinecone-03.jpg

pinecone-04.jpg

This last one probably gives the best idea of everything, despite the reflection. I think his eyes seem more protuberant in comparison to yesterday's photography, but I don't know if I am making that up or not.

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His eyes look the same. But he does look more pine coned. You are in great hands though. I hope your fish feels better. :hug

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OK, I'm happy to be imagining the eyes. He is a very poor little guy. Since he's still alive I have hope, though.

Also on the win side of things is that even though I work for the same place all the time, I am technically self employed - so no one can say anything to me if I choose to go off in the middle of the day to make medicated gel food :P

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