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Does one goldfishes "mood" affect the others? My tank has totally changed help!


freude88

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My daughters moor has developed cataracts. We thought it might be a cloudy eye infection. After posting pictures on this forum, getting many opinions and treating for cloudy eye just in case we feel that it must be cataracts. Now to the point. Before "Handsome" developed cataracts in both eyes he seemed to be a happy fish. Swimming all around, just a playful little guy. Now he just sits in the corner and only moves when its time to eat, during water changes and once in ahwile. Also, the whole mood of the tank has changed at the same time. The other fish seem to be less active and crowd around him as if checking on him. They still swim around but come right back to him. Am I out of my mind or can they sense something is wrong? That being said, is a fish with a life with cataracts not worth living? Should he be euthanized? I have checked water parameters. All check out. Once a week water changes. We have 5 goldfish in a 55 gallon. I have a 72 gallon cichlid tank and have worked with fish for sometime, so it's not like I don't know something about what I am doing. What are all of your thoughts about what I should do?

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I'm sorry to hear that your moor dosn't seem to be himself :(
from what i understand, carp in the wild are a very social species- so it would make sense that the goldfish in your tank 'sense' that there is something off about handsome (love the name by the way ! ).....

i'm sure one of the mods will be here to answer your question more fully :) hang in there !

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I just went through a spike in nitrites in my tank and noticed the same thing. The one fish that was having the biggest problem with the spike was laboring in a corner. One of the other fish, that was not very effected, would not leave his side except to beg for food when I approached the tank. I really think, as humans, that we do not give enough credit to all of the other species on this planet for what they can sense and feel. I have heard many many stories of animals taking care of a distressed herd or group member. So, no, I do not think you are crazy. I would say that if the fish is eating and does not seem to be in pain, I would let him live out his natural life, but I am a bleeding heart animal lover.

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I've had younger fish keep older fish who slow down company, so I don't think your observations strange. And I second HomerJay, if he's eating and doesn't seem to be in any pain or distress I'd let him live out his life. I had a loach who went blind and other than occasionally bumping into the end of the tank lived a very full life - he made it to over 10 years (not certain how old he was when I got him) the last two years of which he seemed to be completely blind.

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A fish with cataracts can live a normal rest of his life. Please do not think of euthanasia unless you see him in a position where there is no more you can do to improve his quality of life. Just as people can live without vision, so can fish. Several members here have fish that have lost one or both eyes and continue to be their happy selves, it just takes time for the body to adjust to using scent alone vs vision and scent.

On topic with the title, I wouldn't attribute it to "mood" per se, but more of their natural instinct to be a grouping animal and comfort another group member in distress. I recently added a new fish to my tank and when she is scared by something, my fish will stop what they are doing to go to the corner that she is in. It's as if they're saying "It's okay, you're not alone. We are here. "

Edited by Chai
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Well I definitely don't want to euthanize unless absolutely necessary. He just looks unhappy. I will give it some "moor" time! Thanks for all of the comments. It is nice to have somewhere to turn. :thumbup2:

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From what I've seen, fish do seek comfort from one another.

However, it's also very possible that there's some issue affecting the entire tank. This is especially possible since you just had an issue and were feeding medicated food. Did everyone get the medicated food? Did they get enough and for the proper duration? With your canister, you are a little under filtered -- does the filter need to be cleaned? How much water do you change and how often? What's your ph going into the tank? Has the tank temperature changed recently? Any of these things could cause an issue.

I would not automatically dismiss this as "sympathy," especially since you recently have had issues with a fish.

Edited by ShawneeRiver
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