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Started with one of them, now my fish babies are all in trouble!


GoldieBird

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Test Results and Other Requested Information:
* Ammonia Level (Tank)
0.25 ppm
* Nitrite Level (Tank)
0.25 ppm
* Nitrate level(Tank)
40 ppm
* Ammonia Level(Tap)
0 ppm
* Nitrite Level(Tap)
0 ppm
* Nitrate level(Tap)
0 ppm
* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
6.4
* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
7.6
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
API Freshwater Master Test Kit - Drops
* Water temperature?
76 F
* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
55 gallons. Been running a year and a half.
* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
HOB Aqua Clear 70 Power Filter and Fluval 306 canister filter
* How often do you change the water and how much?
25% - 50% weekly. Missed a change about three weeks ago.
* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
Changed 25% today, 50% yesterday, 25% Tuesday, 25% Sunday and 75% on Saturday.
* How many fish in the tank and their size?
Five commons ranging in size from three to five inches.
* What kind of water additives or conditioners?
Tetra AquaSafe Plus with water changes.
* What do you feed your fish and how often?
API Goldfish Pellets, boyfriend and I both used to feed each once a day with the 2 minute feeding rule. I stopped feeding on Saturday and fasted them until Tuesday morning. Now only feeding a
very minimal amount.
* Any new fish added to the tank?
No.
* Any medications added to the tank?
SeaChem Prime with every water change since Sunday.
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
Only treatment has been the above use of Prime.
* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
Largest fish has a huge, gorgeous tail which now has a small bloody streak on it. Just noticed this
yesterday.
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?
Second largest fish has been incessantly bottom sitting starting about a week ago. Also showing
clamped fins.
This whole ordeal started when I noticed my second largest fish (one of our Twins) bottom sitting. I was planning on doing a larger water change so I was hoping this would help him. I had also been noticing a slight murkiness to the water. When I did the large water change and saw very little improvement from the Twin, I checked the levels. The ammonia was 2.0 ppm and nitrate was 160 ppm. I freaked and researched ammonia neutralizers, got Prime and put it in with the water conditioner. The murkiness abated somewhat, the Twin was slowly improving, and then the murkiness got worse. After my water change this evening, I noticed all five fish are now breathing at the surface and the murkiness is awful.
Maybe relevant background: We had two netrite snails die in the tank over the past few months. They were medium sized. I also pulled out all the plastic plants and decorations on Saturday because I know those can harbor nasty things. There is about a half an inch of gravel in the bottom which I have been rigorously vacuuming (and really always have been...I get paranoid about stuff settling in there). I would describe the murkiness as a yellow/whitish cloud, all my internet searching points to bacteria bloom?

I realize I am overstocked. I adopted these fish not knowing much about goldfish care (the owner gave them to me in a 25 gallon) and have come to appreciate them and all that goes into their maintenance. I am open to rehoming some of them if need be, however this tank has never gone through anything like this in the year and a half I have had it going.
Can you guys offer me any help? Thanks in advance!
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Sorry about your fish. Can you post some pictures or a video of the fish that are sick? Close ups would be good. These will help the moderators to figure out a course of action.

You'll need to bring the nitrate level down, so do daily water changes of 70% or more. But before you do that you need to slowly raise the ph level of the tank to closer to the ph of the tap. Use baking soda, preferably arm & hammer. Use a new box of baking soda that will only be used for the fish. I'll find the post about the use of baking soda and I'll post the link here.

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Test Results and Other Requested Information:
* Ammonia Level (Tank)
0.25 ppm
* Nitrite Level (Tank)
0.25 ppm
* Nitrate level(Tank)
40 ppm
* Ammonia Level(Tap)
0 ppm
* Nitrite Level(Tap)
0 ppm
* Nitrate level(Tap)
0 ppm
* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
6.4
* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
7.6
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
API Freshwater Master Test Kit - Drops
* Water temperature?
76 F
* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
55 gallons. Been running a year and a half.
* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
HOB Aqua Clear 70 Power Filter and Fluval 306 canister filter
* How often do you change the water and how much?
25% - 50% weekly. Missed a change about three weeks ago.
* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
Changed 25% today, 50% yesterday, 25% Tuesday, 25% Sunday and 75% on Saturday.
* How many fish in the tank and their size?
Five commons ranging in size from three to five inches.
* What kind of water additives or conditioners?
Tetra AquaSafe Plus with water changes.
* What do you feed your fish and how often?
API Goldfish Pellets, boyfriend and I both used to feed each once a day with the 2 minute feeding rule. I stopped feeding on Saturday and fasted them until Tuesday morning. Now only feeding a
very minimal amount.
* Any new fish added to the tank?
No.
* Any medications added to the tank?
SeaChem Prime with every water change since Sunday.
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
Only treatment has been the above use of Prime.
* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
Largest fish has a huge, gorgeous tail which now has a small bloody streak on it. Just noticed this
yesterday.
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?
Second largest fish has been incessantly bottom sitting starting about a week ago. Also showing
clamped fins.

Hello,

I'm sorry your fish are not well, and I hope that we will be able to help you, and them.

I have highlighted in red the areas that are of concern to me. From the looks of things, your cycle somehow is broken, and I wonder if this has anything to do with the very acidic pH in the tank, which differs greatly than that of the tap. It's possible that the extra nitrite and ammonia are from the dead snails, as well.

Here are the things that I see are problematic:

- ammonia and nitrite detected

- very high levels of nitrate (160 prior to WC)

- very low and unstable pH (drops from 7 something to 6 something)

- not enough feeding

- not enough WCs

I think the thing that we need to do are as follows:

- larger and more frequent water changes.

- you need to stabilize the pH by buffering the tank water. Adding baking soda is one possibility, although you could use Seachem Gold Buffer as well.

- use only Seachem Prime from now on.

- correct the cycle, if needed

I think these things will go a long in solving your problems, if not fix it entirely.

Having 5 single tails in a 55 is a lot of fish, but it's manageable, as long as you keep the nitrates to a maximum of 40 ppm at all times. Also, they do need to be fed daily. The key is smaller meals, and not so much fasting.

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Here is the link to help with ph. http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/110296-stabilizing-your-tank-ph-with-sodium-bicarbonate-baking-soda/

You'll need to get a kh testing kit to help figure out how much baking soda to use.

Also, have you ever treated your goldfish for flukes?

Edited by LisaCGold
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Hiya dnalex,

Thank you SO much for responding. I have been having a terrible problem with the pH for a long time now. I will invest in the Gold Buffer to help keep the pH up.

Regarding the water changes, would 50% - 75% a week closer to what I need to be doing?

Do you think the breathing at the surface is due to the Tetra AquaSafe and Prime? Do you think the fish will be alright for the evening or do I need to do a big WC to get the tank oxygenated before bed?

You're for sure right with the feeding. Just freaked out with the ammonia so high and didn't want to get more detritus in the tank. I think I will go back to two feedings a day following the two minute rule. I suspect my boyfriend was overfeeding some.

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LisaCGold,

Oh, thank you for the link!

I have never treated for flukes, I don't know if I even considered that might be the issue, do you think it's possible?

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Hiya dnalex,

Thank you SO much for responding. I have been having a terrible problem with the pH for a long time now. I will invest in the Gold Buffer to help keep the pH up.

You can do that, or you can buy a 4 pound box of Arm and Hammer baking soda to use to buffer the pH. As Lisa said above, you will need to be able to determine your gH and kH (kits are available to do this), and then boost your kH to about 150ppm. That should solve the pH problem. :)

Regarding the water changes, would 50% - 75% a week closer to what I need to be doing?

80-90% would be great. You could even do an extra WC during the week if you feel like it.

Do you think the breathing at the surface is due to the Tetra AquaSafe and Prime? Do you think the fish will be alright for the evening or do I need to do a big WC to get the tank oxygenated before bed?

I think breathing at the surface is probably due to nitrites and ammonia, although most of the ammonia is not toxic because of the low pH. Go ahead and do a big WC to get all the ammonia and nitrite out, and to lower the nitrates even more.

You're for sure right with the feeding. Just freaked out with the ammonia so high and didn't want to get more detritus in the tank. I think I will go back to two feedings a day following the two minute rule. I suspect my boyfriend was overfeeding some.

The one minute rule (or even 30s) will be OK for now, even. :)

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Regarding flukes, after you've done the work on the list of things that Alex wrote up, you'll want to read posts on this forum about flukes. When you are ready to treat your fish for flukes, you can start a new thread on this forum so that you can receive guidance as you go through this process.

Short on flukes: all goldfish have flukes and when the fluke population gets too high the fish get sick. Treating the flukes periodically will bring them down to a tolerable level. The first fluke treatment can be a bit rough. By starting a thread on this forum for this process, you'll get guidance to get you through any rough patches should they arise.

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How often do you clean your filters and how do you do it? It's actually difficult to get ammonia and nitrite in an established tank. The two main ways this can occur both involve the filters. If you clean too vigorously, you can lose some of your nitrifying microbes which normally eliminate ammonia and nitrite.. If you don't clean, particularly when you have something like dying snails, you can accumulate so much yuck in the filters that the nitrifiers are overwhelmed, or so much decay is going on in the filters that it uses up all the oxygen (which nitrifiers need to do their jobs).

Do you have aeration in your tank? If not, I suggest you add some since your fish are gasping for air.

I note that you are concerned about the gravel, Actually, many of the people here don't use gravel and either have a barebottom or a thin layer of sand. Both are much cleaner than gravel.

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How often do you clean your filters and how do you do it? It's actually difficult to get ammonia and nitrite in an established tank. The two main ways this can occur both involve the filters. If you clean too vigorously, you can lose some of your nitrifying microbes which normally eliminate ammonia and nitrite.. If you don't clean, particularly when you have something like dying snails, you can accumulate so much yuck in the filters that the nitrifiers are overwhelmed, or so much decay is going on in the filters that it uses up all the oxygen (which nitrifiers need to do their jobs).

Do you have aeration in your tank? If not, I suggest you add some since your fish are gasping for air.

I note that you are concerned about the gravel, Actually, many of the people here don't use gravel and either have a barebottom or a thin layer of sand. Both are much cleaner than gravel.

I highly suggest switching to sand or go barebottom. Your fish will thank you for it. I know mine did :)

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Quick update. I looked all over for either Gold Buffer or a testing kit so I can stabilize my pH with baking soda and had no luck so I think I'm going to look to the internet to order the Gold Buffer.

The Twin who has been ill is doing somewhat better, not displaying the clamped fins and no one is gasping at the surface for air anymore. I did a small WC (25%), with the assumption I'd be changing it again with the Gold Buffer but that obviously didn't happen. So I think tomorrow morning I am going to do a 90% WC and order the Gold Buffer.

LisaCGold - Definitely will look into flukes once I have the tank stabilized.

Shakaho - Here's my cleaning process for the two filters. The HOB has to be cleaned every two weeks otherwise it gets very clogged and gummed up. I clean the sponge, ammonia remover by ringing them out in aquarium water and just keep the bio rings in the aquarium water. The canister gets cleaned every month and I do the same process for cleaning its filter media as I do with the HOB media. I do clean parts of the canister and the HOB with tap water, mainly because I don't know how to clean them with the aquarium water. Maybe I destroyed some of my bacteria that way? Also, I have to replace the sponges pretty often. Maybe one every couple of months. I have kept the same bio rings for about a year now.

Shakaho and Mernany - I think I'd have to go with sand just because the bare bottom alternative seems a little unsightly to me but maybe I am being close minded. For some reason I was always scared the goldies would eat the sand. Is that not the case or is it not dangerous because it's so small? Any recommendations on brands for the sand, how much you needed, etc?

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Just a quick update. I ordered the Gold Buffer and am waiting for it to come tomorrow. Going to do a 75% WC today but tested the water parameters first.

Ammonia: 0.25

pH: 6.0

Nitrite: 0.50

Nitrate: 40

So obviously a WC is needed. My plan is to do a big WC when I get the Gold Buffer and see if that will hold the pH closer to my tap water.

Thanks again for all your support guys! :D

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The goldies will eat some sand. They sort of slurp up the sand with associated algae and debris roll it around and then spit out the sand. Some goes down with the food and probably helps to keep the digestive tract moving -- rather like fiber. This is their natural mode of feeding and is just fine.

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Just a quick update. I ordered the Gold Buffer and am waiting for it to come tomorrow. Going to do a 75% WC today but tested the water parameters first.

Ammonia: 0.25

pH: 6.0

Nitrite: 0.50

Nitrate: 40

So obviously a WC is needed. My plan is to do a big WC when I get the Gold Buffer and see if that will hold the pH closer to my tap water.

Thanks again for all your support guys! :D

Great! Keep is informed!

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i use a thin layer of sand for the bottom of my pond :)

they love to sift through it during the day - gives them something to do, and i have heard its good for their digestion.

i use a fish net (the green one - thats not as fine as the white net one) , to scoop up poop daily and to give the sand a bit of a stir and sift to eliminate any possible trapped toxic gases(?) that can get trapped in there. I find the siphon sucks up too much sand.

just be careful not to let the sand get into your filters. :)

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Hello! Part of your problem as to why you aren't cycled in my opinion is that you have ammonia remover in your filters. That starves the biological bacteria of ammonia and when the ammonia remover stops working, your BB tries to catch up but with the big bioload you have, it can't. I would recommend just having sponges and ceramic media/bio balls in your filters (what most of us do here) and it will also save you money by not having to constantly buy new ammonia remover.

Edited by Mikey
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  • 3 weeks later...
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Hi all,

First of all thanks so much to everyone who has responded. I'm coming back to this thread for a bit of an update. I apologize it wasn't sooner. Between needing to order in the Gold Buffer, having people in town visiting, and getting sick, I just now was able to get on to the path dnalex and others suggested. In the interim I was continuing to do 50% WC every four or five days for maintenance and to keep the pH up. Whatever was causing the incessant fogginess seems to have cleared up with all the WCs so that is a good first step.

As of last night, here are the changes I made:

1) 90% WC and on refill added the Gold Buffer at the directed levels (one tsp per 10 gallons). I made sure to hold the bio rings in tank water while doing the change so as not to kill the BB.

2) I have two filters, one Fluval 360 canister and one Aquaclear 70 gallon HOB. I took out all the ammonia removers from the canister filter and replaced those with ceramic bio rings. I did leave one bag of ammonia remover in the HOB but plan to replace it with bio rings as well.

I checked the pH this morning and it was at 7.6 (holding my tap water level). I plan to retest all the levels this evening and will post an update with those numbers.

One question about the Gold Buffer, I am assuming I will need to continually add it as I do water changes but will I need to add it more often (ex: daily) to keep the pH buffered? I'm not clear if it is something that will be filtered out or no.

One comment is that the fish whose behavior started this all has been very up and down throughout the past couple of weeks. He has DEFINITELY improved from when I first posted but then I just went to check on him and he is bottom sitting with clamped fins again, acting very lazy and apathetic. However when I fed this morning, his behavior was closer to what I had recognized in the past, enthusiastic and playful, zipping around the tank. I still don't really know what is going on with him and even over the past few weeks it has not seemed to spread to the other goldies at all.

I suspect the next course of action with him might be doing some sort of salt dip or other medication. I notice some white around his mouth for a brief period which got me thinking about columnaris but that seems to have cleared up almost overnight. Regardless I don't know quite how to treat for that without killing any cycle I might get started so I will stand by for input from more experienced posters.

Thanks again for everyone's help. Myself and the goldies appreciate it greatly.

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I think the nitrates are still really high, and big water change is due. Moreover, I think you should increase the frequency of WCs to keep the nitrates at the maximum of 20ppm at all times, if possible. :)

I think you may need to do antiparasite treatment, and I would recommend praziquantel + salt as the appropriate steps. :)

The Gold Buffer only needs to be added with each water change, and not daily. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
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I hope your fish feel better! I had seven large commons in a 29 gallon tank for five years. I started losing them and when I was down to four, I found Koko's and really learned to take care of my fish. I read your troubles and I had all the same issues that you are having until I upgraded to a much larger tank and finally got my nitrates under control and Alex helped me stabilize my PH. A nice Python for water changes and a used 55 gallon tank were the best things I did for them. I still do twice weekly water changes for my commons because they are so much larger and poop so much more than my fancies. You are in great hands here!!!

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