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Rescued goldies--not sure I'm doing the right things for them


Sara Shissler

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  • I have three goldfish that I rescued from someone who couldn't take care of them. They were an unfortunate gift to a disabled person who really didn't need any more pets to take care of. When I took them in August, the water conditions they were in were horrible. Two of them just floated at the top of the tank listlessly. I don't even know when the last time their water was changed was--they were just topping off the tank--not changing the water. And all three were in a 16 gallon tank!

    Basically, they all have tails that are ragged, and they were all constipated and floating. Most of that seems to have cleared up, but there still is some white stringy stuff occasionally even after the medi-gold. I just don't know why their fins are getting worse.

    I'm wondering--GH and KH at the right levels? Could that be a factor?

    Thanks for your help--I'm new to having fish. But these ones are obviously survivors!

    Sara

    • * Ammonia Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrate level(Tank) between 5 to 10 ppm
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap) 0
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap) <.01 ppm
    • * Nitrate level(Tap) .8 ppm
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Ph 7.4, KH 2, GH 89.5
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Ph 8.5, KH 3, GH 107.4
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops
      • * Water temperature? 68F
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 55gal, running since August 2013
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? SunSun Canister filter 265 gph
      • * How often do you change the water and how much? 1-2 times per week, 25%
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 2 days ago--25%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 3 fancy goldfish--2 inches long
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? SeaChem Prime
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? I've been feeding medi-gold 2x per day for the last week
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No
  • * Any medications added to the tank? SeaChem Paraguard for flukes and finrot
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.

Back in October I used salt for a few weeks for finrot. I've also used kanaplex in the tank--per the pet store's advice--it didn't help--just crashed the biofilter.

I've been using paraguard and medigold for the past week and there has been improvement. They stopped scratching against things after two days, there is less stringy poop, and the Oranda has stopped floating at the top of the tank at night.

  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • They all have frayed tail fins, which seem to be getting worse, which I don't understand, because the water seems to be OK. The oranda has red streaks in his fins, but that may be improving. Two of them look like they may have lost a scale or two on their sides.

After a week on the paraguard, there are also some little critters that have appeared on the glass. They are almost transparent, oval shaped, and less than a milimeter long. At first I thought they were some kind of algae, but they definitely move. The day after I see them, by the next morning they are up just above the water line, so they must be trying to get away from the paraguard. I don't know what they are. They are hard to wipe off of the glass, but I can remove them with a Q-tip.

  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

They are always hungry and very active! The telescope eye floats at the top at night. He was staying at the top and gulping air a lot of the time, but he stopped after I added the paraguard.

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I should probably clarify--my main concerns right now are:

1) The tattered tails seem to be getting worse, not better

2) There is still some stringy poo, although there has been improvement

3) One fish still has red streaks in his tail

4) Another floats at the top of the tank at night

Overall, they have made huge improvement from where they were when I first took them. That is probably just from being in clean water.

I think my first message may have been a little confusing.

Thanks!

Sara

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Hello,

Thanks for posting, and for taking care of these fish! :)

The first thing that I noticed is that you are using Paraguard to treat flukes. While I don't have issues with this particular medication, I don't think that it's the most effective choice for flukes treatment. I would recommend praziquantel, either in the form of powder, tablet, and the liquid Prazipro.

Persistent fin fraying could be a sign of external parasites such as flukes. Since you now have them on Medi-Gold, it's the best time to add prazi. Do you think you can get some prazi locally?

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Sara,

Welcome! Thank you for rescuing some goldfish that were in need of some serious TLC.

Can you post any pictures and/or a video of your goldfish? A visual will really help the moderators to guide you in what you need to do to help your fishes.

For water changes (WC), you'll want to aim for at least 50% change per week. I do a 70% WC every 4-5 days. One thing that does concern me with regards to WCs is your pH. Your tap pH is 8.5 and your tank pH is 7.4, so when get into larger WCs you'll need to not change pH by more than 0.5. Since your tap pH is 8.5, I'm not too sure if buffering it with baking soda is the right thing. Buffering it means that you put in some additive that will absorb and help neutralize acids so that the pH doesn't change too much over time. I'll defer to mods and others who would know better than me about what to do with tap water pH of 8.5. In the meantime your small water changes are best so as not to cause large swings in the tank pH.

Edited by LisaCGold
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Thanks, dnalex--

I think I can get the prazipro at the local fish store. That makes me feel better that flukes could be the cause of the torn tails. At the fish store, they kept telling me that was not the case, so I've been going crazy trying to figure out what it was because the water quality is good. Would you recommend going off of the paraguard once I have the prazipro?

I will try to post pics later!

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Thanks, LisaC

Do I need to be buffering the tank water? The Ph seems to stay stable at 7.4-7.5, even though I don't do anything other than adding Prime. I actually don't understand the GH/KH very well. From what I've read, I thought mine was on the low side, but would raising it make the Ph go too high?

Edited by Saracatt
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Thanks, LisaC

Do I need to be buffering the tank water? The Ph seems to stay stable at 7.4-7.5, even though I don't do anything other than adding Prime. I actually don't understand the GH/KH very well. From what I've read, I thought mine was on the low side, but would raising it make the Ph go too high?

I think you need to do larger water changes (WCs), but the issue is the difference between your tap pH and your tank pH. The difference of 0.9 is too much to do large WCs. Goldfish can handle a pH swing of 0.5 or less. More than that could stress them out. Although moving to a higher pH is not as bad as moving to a lower pH.

Regarding kH, yes raising it in your tank would most likely raise pH. You can slowly raise the pH and kH in your tank using baking soda (see link in dnalex's signature for instructions). Then once the fish have acclimated to the change, you can do larger WCs if the difference between your tap pH and tank pH is 0.5 or less. The larger WCs are needed because goldfish create a lot of waste and they thrive and heal better in clean water. Prime should not affect your pH or kH. My question to the mods and others is: how much can you raise pH per hour so as not too stress out the goldfish who are not feeling well? Let's get the answer to this before you make any changes to the kH and pH.

As for raising your GH, I would work on that once the fish are feeling better. When that happens you can start a thread in the Water Quality forum so that people can assist you with that. So you can put that on the back burner for now.

kH = carbonate hardness; waters ability to absorb and neutralize acids thus stabilizing the pH--range of 7-10 drops using the API test kit is what you want to target for goldfish

gH = general hardness; measurement of calcium and magnesium in the water (and other mineral ions); range of 7-10 drops using the API test kit is what you want to target

It has been my experience that raising kH, raises pH; and raising gH, does not raise pH.

Edited by LisaCGold
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I just want to say best of luck treating your fish.

I just want to add that the little critters on your glass might be planaria. I haven't dealt with them before, but my husband has in his tropical tank. I can't offer you any advice, but perhaps a mod might have some input?

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Thanks for your responses everyone!

I don't think the critters are planaria. After a quick google search, I'm thinking they might be copepods. Would this be unusual in a freshwater tank? If so, I guess that's not a bad thing after all. I couldn't get a good picture of them since they are so small, but that's what they most resemble online.

Looks like I will have to get the KH up, so I will tackle that after I'm done treating for the flukes.

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Here is a video of the fishies. Does this look like the kind of tatters that you would see with flukes? You actually can't see the redness in this.

Sorry it doesn't fill the screen, it's the first time I've done a youtube video!

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One thought for the difference in Ph from tap to tank, try aging your tap water for 24 hours in a separate container. then check the Ph of that water. If the aging puts it closer to tank Ph, then you may want to look into some form of an aging tank. I use a 55 gallon drum that I use to age water, with heaters to make sure it is the perfect temp for WC's. If you have space for a 20 or 30 gallon rubbermaid tub, it really makes WC's a snap.

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After watching the video, my suggestion would be salt dips, along with prazi.

I'd like for you to get the prazi, and then pickling salt (Morton's is a good choice), and then we will go ahead with trying to see if we can fix this. :)

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Thanks for the tip, Avepico. I'll test the aging.

Sara, in the prazi treatment that dnalex will guide you through, you'll be making large water changes (>25%) every 4-6 days. So aging the tap water to reduce pH as Avepico recommends will be important.

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Sara,

Another point to consider with regards to water quality is proper filteration rate of the water. You indicated that you filter the water through a canister filter at a rate of 265 gph. With three goldfish in a 55 gallon tank, from what I have learned through this forum, the filter rate should be 10x the size of tank. So this would mean a rate of 550 gph. You should consider getting an additional filter, if not then more frequent water changes would be good. I recommend the former, especially as your fish get bigger (because they will!).

Okay, you have lots of advice coming at you: prazi treatment, tap pH lowering, more filtering, and dealing with tiny bugs in your tank. Let us know if this gets to be too much.

Edited by LisaCGold
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Sara,

Another point to consider with regards to water quality is proper filteration rate of the water. You indicated that you filter the water through a canister filter at a rate of 265 gph. With three goldfish in a 55 gallon tank, from what I have learned through this forum, the filter rate should be 10x the size of tank. So this would mean a rate of 550 gph. You should consider getting an additional filter, if not then more frequent water changes would be good. I recommend the former, especially as your fish get bigger (because they will!).

Okay, you have lots of advice coming at you: prazi treatment, tap pH lowering, more filtering, and dealing with tiny bugs in your tank. Let us know if this gets to be too much.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong. My understanding is that canisters do not the full 10x filtration. I seem to recall that they range from 5-7x filtration. If that is accurate, I would simply add a small HOB filter to bolster the canister, or even just a sponge filter.

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Sara,

Another point to consider with regards to water quality is proper filteration rate of the water. You indicated that you filter the water through a canister filter at a rate of 265 gph. With three goldfish in a 55 gallon tank, from what I have learned through this forum, the filter rate should be 10x the size of tank. So this would mean a rate of 550 gph. You should consider getting an additional filter, if not then more frequent water changes would be good. I recommend the former, especially as your fish get bigger (because they will!).

Okay, you have lots of advice coming at you: prazi treatment, tap pH lowering, more filtering, and dealing with tiny bugs in your tank. Let us know if this gets to be too much.

From what I've read you can get away with a little less GPH on canisters. I think adding an Aquaclear 50 or 70 should be sufficient.

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It's not overwhelming at all! It's good to have solid information. There comes a point where you can't substitute endless internet searches for real experience!

So, I guess I can just get a plastic trash can for the water changes.

I don't know where I would put another filter. Right now the intake for the canister filter is on the right side of the tank, and the outflow is on the left. Would I just stick it in between?

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Sara,

Another point to consider with regards to water quality is proper filteration rate of the water. You indicated that you filter the water through a canister filter at a rate of 265 gph. With three goldfish in a 55 gallon tank, from what I have learned through this forum, the filter rate should be 10x the size of tank. So this would mean a rate of 550 gph. You should consider getting an additional filter, if not then more frequent water changes would be good. I recommend the former, especially as your fish get bigger (because they will!).

Okay, you have lots of advice coming at you: prazi treatment, tap pH lowering, more filtering, and dealing with tiny bugs in your tank. Let us know if this gets to be too much.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong. My understanding is that canisters do not the full 10x filtration. I seem to recall that they range from 5-7x filtration. If that is accurate, I would simply add a small HOB filter to bolster the canister, or even just a sponge filter.

That is correct. I would go with a AC 70 . . . from what I understand they are quite a bit larger than the 50s and not much more $$. :D

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It's not overwhelming at all! It's good to have solid information. There comes a point where you can't substitute endless internet searches for real experience!

So, I guess I can just get a plastic trash can for the water changes.

I don't know where I would put another filter. Right now the intake for the canister filter is on the right side of the tank, and the outflow is on the left. Would I just stick it in between?

One thing to consider in aging your water is using a food safe plastic bin, that way the water that is aging does not get tainted by the plastic in any way. Although some people may say that it may not matter. I would use a food safe bin just in case.

Regarding the filter, the middle sounds good.

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