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tinca

gold fish with a severe bent spine

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Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank)=0

* Nitrite Level(Tank) =0

* Nitrate level(Tank) =20 to 40

* Ammonia Level(Tap) =0

* Nitrite Level(Tap) =0

* Nitrate level(Tap) =25+ (depends on rainfall)

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)= PH 7.4 minus KH=71.6 GH=179

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) =PH 7.4 KH=304 GH=358

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? =API master test kit + Salivert

* Water temperature? =80

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? =330 Litres and 2 years

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? =2 Aqua One 1250 Canisters

* How often do you change the water and how much=50% per week and also 1 extra change per month

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? =50% 3 days ago

* How many fish in the tank and their size? =12, all are about 3 inches but 2 are about 8 to 9 inches

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? =Prime

* What do you feed your fish and how often? =Soilent Green also New Life Spectrum plus peas plus cucumber

* 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. =None ever used

* 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.?=None

I have a gold fish that has a bent spine. I have searched the forum and the web without too much success. This aquarium and fish was left by someone who immigrated and just left the fish and hoped that someone would sort it out. The whole set up was moved several miles to our home and set up. We had managed to keep the canister full, and also managed to keep the gravel and water. Once set up the fish were reintroduced, and that was 2 years ago.

Our tap water is very hard, and looking at what would be acceptable for gold fish, I decided to use RO water in the ratio of 75% RO and 25% tap water, and treated with Seachem Prime. This has worked well for the 2 years.

About 5 or six months ago my wife (who's fish these are) noticed that one of the gold fish had a slight curve in its body, which progressively got worse, until he is really bent. He swims from the bottom to the top of the tank and feeds well.

I have made a short video of him which you can see at

http://freespace.virgin.net/keith.whitehouse/february_2014.html

he is down at the bottom of the page. Since making the film I noticed that another fish has started to develop the same symptoms. You can see him on the video. He is a white fish with a red streak in the centre of his tail and a red patch towards his rear end.

I know that the aquarium is over crowded, but I am unable to anything about it, and please excuse the reflections on the video.

If anyone can help tell me what has caused this and if and how do I find a cure, as I now have 2 fish effected.

Best Regards Keith

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I am still new in learning but the 2 thoughts that came to mind would be TB, nutritional issue. Until someone with more experience comes along maybe you can check into those and see what you find. I hope you find out what it is & that it is fixable. Good luck to you. I just want to reiterate I am not saying it is definitely one or the other but a possible starting point for you to check out.

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Hi Lucky Fins

thank you for your reply.

Seeing TB as a possible source fills me with dread. I was born just before the last war and I can remember as a child seeing people who had TB. That memory stuck in my mind even to this day.

In England we had TB beaten many years ago, but now find that due to immigration it is back again.

I have trawled the web, but have not found anything that would appear to offer any help. Surely the video showing the extreme bent back (or spine) should jog someone's mind.

I will continue to monitor this thread and hope?.

Best regards Keith

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there is a mostly white fish with a red dot in there which to me, seems as though it could be inheriting the same problem being the deformed spine..

for the 'gold fish' you mention, even if it is TB, which i personally know little about... or something else entirely, i feel that there would be no correction possible given how advanced it has become.

do you have any plans in the near on upgrading the tank in order to give the fish some swimming space?

congratulations to you and your wife in keeping up with the maintenance routine that was advised and being concerned for the health of your fish :) i am looking forward to reading and learning from what other members have to suggest about the problems you presented :)

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Hi Helen,thank you for replying.

I never intended to have fish and aquariums, but due to circumstances, I firstly inherited a 94 litre tank that had 2 Plecos, 4 Serpae Tetras, 4 Black Widows, a Rainbow Shark and 2 Angel fish. As they grew a bit one Pleco would chase the other one about endlessly. I decided that if I wanted to keep the fish then I would purchase 2 additional 190 litre aquariums and get rid of the 94 litre one. I put 1 Pleco into each aquarium and split the other fish between them. A year later we inherited the gold fish tank, which I was against, but my wifes soft heart won. The 3 aquariums take up most of my small living room so I cannot purchase another one. If I could I cannot imagine what sort of problems it would give me if I purchased a larger aquarium for the gold fish.

I am stuck with what I have. I don't know if it would be possible to put a couple of the smaller gold fish into either of the 2 tropical tanks, to help eleviate the over crowding problem.

Best Regards Keith

Edited by tinca

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I have found three possible causes of a bent spine. The first, as tinca mentioned, is a nutritional deficiency. Two deficiencies that are often mentioned are Vitamin C, and tryptophan (an amino acid). These should not be deficient in the foods you are giving. However, Vitamin C can degrade in old food. I don't think this is your problem, but you could grind up a Vitamin C tablet and mix it in your Soilent Green. Mineral deficiencies have also been implicated, particularly magnesium and phosphorus. You say that you are using RO water. This has been stripped of minerals and fish get minerals from their water as well as their food. It is not impossible that over the course of two years mineral deficiencies could develop to the point of causing scoliosis.

You said your water was too hard. Was there any specific problem with the water that led to this conclusion? Goldfish do well in hard water, and I haven't heard of water being too hard for goldfish. We have very hard water and use a softener, but I get my fish water from the outside taps which don't use the softener. Too-soft water can be a serious problem since it can result in pH instability. You might consider increasing the ratio of tap water to RO water.

The second cause is electrical shock. It don't think this is the cause because the shock usually causes a sudden kinking of the body that may go away, but doesn't get worse and usually affects multiple fish at one time.

The third cause is Mycobacteria infection, popularly called "fish TB." This is a terrible name which comes from the fact that M. marinum, which infects fish, is in the same genus as M. tuberculosis. The fish disease is nothing like tuberculosis, and while M. marinum can be transmitted to humans, it does not cause tuberculosis. It causes a very nasty skin infection, often called "fishkeepers' granuloma." Like all mycobacterial infections, this is extremely resistant to treatment. I have seen a picture of a fish that was said to have a mycobacterial infection that had the same kinks as your fish.

Most strains of M. marinum are not pathogenic to fish and most goldfish carry this organism and are healthy. However mutations to virulent forms occur and these cause disease in some, but not necessarily all, of the fish infected. Fish with a strong immune system can remain healthy when infected. Unfortunately, they can still transmit the bacterium to their less vigorous tankmates.

While I can't be sure that this is a mycobacterial infection, I think you should act on the assumption that it is. Assume the water contains organisms that will get into any cut or abrasion on your skin and cause infection. Wear gloves if you have any breaks in the skin.

Here are my suggestions.

Remove the affected fish from the tank. They are a source of infection. It is up to you to decide if you want to keep them separate or euthanize. They won't get better even if you could eliminate the infection. Remove any additional fish which develop symptoms.

Do a complete tank clean out and replace all of the water. Ideally, you would sterilize everything and start over. However, with your heavy fish load, you have to maintain your cycle, so you must keep the existing filter media. If you have gravel, I suggest removing it for the time being.

You want to keep your water quality high to keep your fish healthy and resistant to infection. Since you are overstocked, you should go to twice a week 50% water changes.

Some people say they have lowered the mycobacteria population by using a UV filter. It's worth a try.

You may reach a point where no further fish develop symptoms. That means the fish have developed an immunity to the pathogen. Any new fish added to that tank would not have the immunity and may become ill.

I know this sounds drastic, but the usual recommendation is to euthanize all the fish, sterilize the tank, all its contents, and any equipment that used in the tank.

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Hope you get some good advice here! The other goldfish does look like it's developing a bent spine as well. From when I had a TB scare with my tropicals, I read it's pretty rare. I sent a fish to be autopsied and no sign of bacteria. They were getting bent spines, more in the middle tho. Still never figured it out but I did start adding a mineral supplement. I just wouldn't jump to TB so soon because of how extreme it is. But the experts will point you in the right direction ;) and I absolutely LOVE those black goldfish! Have they always been black? Were they feeders? Fancies are driving me crazy.

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shakaho,

thank you for taking the time to post your very detailed reply.

There were 2 reasons for starting to use RO water. Firstly it was a recomendation from my local LFS, and secondly out tap water has high Nitrate. It ranges from 25 to 35. At the moment it is 35 due to the amount of rain we have been having. Using RO at 75 to 25 it reduces the overall Nitrate of the new water. It would be far easier to use straight tap water. I am doing a 50% water change on this tank tomorrow and I will reduce the RO content. I will reduce it slowly over the coming weeks.

I have a small unused 10 gallon tank, so I could remove them. The complete tank clean out would give me a serious problem, but perhaps it is not impossible.

I have just been looking at UV filters and the one that I thought I would need turned out to be 37 inches long.

Tiffany_King,

The 2 black gold fish came to me about 2 1/2 inches long and have made amazing growth in 2 years. They have always been black. When the light is in the right direction you can see a beautiful bronze colour on their tummys.

Best Regards to both of you and I will certaiunly explore the possiblity of a complete break down.

Keith

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The high nitrate in the tap was the only reason I didn't tell you to just use tap water. Half tap and half RO may be a good mixture. Are you using plants to try to lower nitrate? The optimum way to do this is to create a "veggie filter." Run water from your canister into a container of terrestrial plants that empties into your tank. The simplest way is to mount the veggie filter on/over the tank so gravity can handle the water return.

Here are some veggie filters:

http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/updated-pilot-aquaponics

Hydroponics stores have lightweight media that make over-the-tank veggie filters not heavy at all

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Hi shakaho,

I will reduce the amount of RO water over the coming weeks until I am at 50%.

I have tried on many occasions to introduce some plants into the gold fish tank, but within a day they have eaten them, even the large roots of the Anubis.

I particularly like the idea of hyroponics, and I will have a look around this weekend to see how I can go abourt this.

Thank you for your help and suggestions.

Best Regards Keith

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Actually, aquatic plants are of little value in reducing nitrates. They prefer to use ammonia as their nitrogen source. Terrestrial plants prefer nitrate, and many can't use ammonia at all, so they are much more effective. When you use a veggie filter, you can grow almost any terrestrial plant that you have enough light for. House plants are the easiest since they don't require so much light. You need lots of light for vegetable plants.

Just FYI, growing plants in fish water is aquaponics. Hydroponics is growing plants in a fertilizer solution. They share a lot of equipment, which I why I mentioned a hydroponics store (which are more common).

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I think that while it's probably an acceptable generalization that aquatic plants prefer ammonia while terrestrial plants prefer nitrates, it should be noted that the end result is that both, if you get them working the way you hope, will results in the lowered nitrate levels. One directly consumes nitrates, while the other acts on products two steps up the chain.

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That's true if you don't have nitrate in the tap water, but tinca currently 35 ppm nitrate in his tap water.

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That's true if you don't have nitrate in the tap water, but tinca currently 35 ppm nitrate in his tap water.

Agreed!

Do you think the having plants in the tank as a way to eat up nitrates is the best solution, or should the nitrate be filtered/removed out first?

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Ideally, I would run a veggie filter in a separate container that held at least as much water as I wanted to use for a change, and used the filtered water for water changes. However tinca has said that space is a problem, and may not be able to do this.

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I'd like to also add that majority of plants can grow with roots in water as long as the stems stay out of it. So you could tie some to the side or If you go to most petstores, you can get a fish breeder net and put some in there without dirt just keep the stems and leaves up in the air.

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dnalex,

I have read up as much as I can concerning Nitrate removers. Some people say they work, but there are a lot of people who say they don't. Have you any personal proof that would make you lean towards one make over the others please, and is the use of a Nitrate removal unit something that you would consider using?

I will still try and make a veggie or plant aquaponic unit, but that would not be without problems. I could simply remove the 2 lids and the central support which holds the 2 lighting tubes. I could place the unit on the glass supports within the top of the tank, but have not figured out how or where to place the central support containing the lighting tubes and ballast to provide the lighting for the growing plants.

Best Regards Keith

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dnalex,

I have read up as much as I can concerning Nitrate removers. Some people say they work, but there are a lot of people who say they don't. Have you any personal proof that would make you lean towards one make over the others please, and is the use of a Nitrate removal unit something that you would consider using?

I will still try and make a veggie or plant aquaponic unit, but that would not be without problems. I could simply remove the 2 lids and the central support which holds the 2 lighting tubes. I could place the unit on the glass supports within the top of the tank, but have not figured out how or where to place the central support containing the lighting tubes and ballast to provide the lighting for the growing plants.

Best Regards Keith

Hi Keith,

There was a nitrate filter available last year in the UK which you could plug directly into the tap to filter nitrates. It can also be recharged, somewhat without difficulty if I remember it correctly. However, that product is no longer available, so I am at a loss as to something I could recommend. There are other nitrate absorbers, but I do not know how well they work, or how costly they are in the long run. The filter I was talking about was/is used by several people here, and it seemed to have worked quite well. Two of those people are CindiL and Black. Hopefully they will see and comment.

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I'm one of the people who use houseplants in their fish tank, and it really knocks the nitrates down well. Before them, I regularly had nitrates in the 40+ range, despite my huge, twice weekly w/c's. Now, I see that they're around ten, and the plants are growing VERY well. :) If you plant heavily, you should be able to see a big difference.

Try using Pothos, and Lucky Bamboo. Here is how I do it, but I would recommend you making a holding tank in a well-lit room, and using that tank for your water changes.

1001233_10152185003313711_688757353_n.jp

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I will still try and make a veggie or plant aquaponic unit, but that would not be without problems. I could simply remove the 2 lids and the central support which holds the 2 lighting tubes. I could place the unit on the glass supports within the top of the tank, but have not figured out how or where to place the central support containing the lighting tubes and ballast to provide the lighting for the growing plants.

What I do is put the plants in a separate container next to the aquarium. This can be a plastic tote, a flowerpot, windowbox, planter, or tub. I put an exit pipe near the top of the container exactly like I did in the bucket pond filter here. Set the container on something that makes it high enough so the exit pipe can dump into the top of the tank. Then run the output tubes from your filters to the bottom of the veggie filter. If the container is shallow, you can just put in the plants and their support medium (gravel, lava rock, hydroponic medium) and you are ready to go. If the container is deep, you should create some kind of support for the media and plants so that they have their stems out of the water. The water comes into the bottom of the veggie filter and must go up through the roots of the plants to return to the tank.

If you can put the veggie filter high enough so the bottom of the filter is higher than the top of the tank -- perhaps on a wall-mounted shelf -- You can let the water go down though the veggie filter. You would put the exit pipe near the bottom of the veggie filter and spray the water from your canister filters onto the top of the support medium for your plants. If you use the lightweight hydroponic medium, this veggie filter won't weigh much because no water collects in the container. I can imagine using something like this for a container that would fit nicely on a shelf and look beautiful with plants growing in it.

095e16fa-e072-4f72-9e27-6de3ebf7df6b_400

House plants will work best since they do well in low light. Pothos grows very rapidly in fish water and fast-growing plants use the most nitrate. Don't expect immediate results. The plants need to get used to having their roots in water before they resume growth.

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dnalex,

many thanks for the reply. Last year I found the Nitrate remover on the web. It connected straight to the tap and the hose attached to that. Unfortunatly it is not made any more. Possibly it was not very successful, or it would still be in production. I do not know how efficient it would be if you were making a lot of water per week, say something like 150 gallons. I think that I will go with the plants.

yafashelli,

your tank looks beautiful, and gives me something to aim for.

shakaho,

you just keep giving me more ideas to play with.

thank you all for replying

Best Regards Keith

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