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Goldfish sick or injured? I can't tell.


Guest Ruime

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Guest Ruime

I have one common goldfish in a planted tank, her name is Helga. I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago and the day I left I cleaned her tank up a bit. While I was cleaning out the algae I transferred Helga into a bucket temporarily and went about my business. I left the room (no clue how long I was out of the room for) but when I came back I found her on the floor! She must've been out long enough to give up on flapping around because she wasn't moving but still "gasping" for air. I got her back into the water and she just sank to the bottom of the tank and after a few minutes she uprighted herself and I noticed two things: she had a REALLY long trail of poo coming out, her face looked beat up.

I didn't know if she was going to make it. But I made sure the tank was safe and I left a vacation feeder as I was going to be gone for the next four days. It was hard to leave not knowing what I was going to come home to and not being able to feed her properly in the meantime.... Upon arriving back home I found a very active fish with a beat up (but healing) face. She was alright. The tank, however, was cloudy. I chalked it up to a bacterial bloom and continued regular care of my fish.

The cloudiness remained for several days (I started performing small daily water changes) and she started becoming listless. Her eyes were getting cloudy and one of them was starting to bubble. I thought "maybe she got an infection from her injuries?" So started doing larger water changes, treating with Melafix, and giving her daily salt baths as well as feeding her garlic tonic to treat any internal infection. After two baths, her eyes cleared right up! But her mouth still remains swollen and reddish and she is still listless.

Well the cloudiness in the tank has started to clear as well. Upon doing some research I learned that her behavior (sitting at the bottom of the tank) is indicative of nitrate poisoning and that you should NOT treat nitrate poisoning with salt or Melafix! So after already having given her three baths I stopped and the first day that I didn't treat her, guess what? Her eye went right back to being cloudy and started to bubble again. Her mouth looks more beat up than ever and it almost looks like the swollen part is caving in, giving the appearance that a chunk of her mouth is completely missing. The tank is getting clearer everyday and that is the only good thing I can see right now.

I'm lost. I'm getting upset. I don't know what is wrong with her mouth. Please help me.

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I'm sorry to hear your fish is not well :hug if you could answer these questions, a mod will be along shortly to help you out :)

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank)

* Nitrite Level(Tank)

* Nitrate level(Tank)

* Ammonia Level(Tap)

* Nitrite Level(Tap)

* Nitrate level(Tap)

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

Other Required Info:

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

* Water temperature?

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?

* How often do you change the water and how much?

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

* How many fish in the tank and their size?

* What kind of water additives or conditioners?

* What do you feed your fish and how often?

* Any new fish added to the tank?

* Any medications added to the tank?

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?

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

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I'm so sorry about your fish! :( Can you pretty please fill this out as best as you can? It'll help to give you a treatment and understand the current tank conditions. :hug

Edit: Lis beat me to it! Good luck. :bighug For now, keep the water clean and hang in there. :D

Edited by Chai
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hun, i am sorry to read the troubles with your fish, as well as the questions which Lis. & Chai have requested you answer, could you also post a few pics of her injuries and your concerns? a small video of her behaviour would be helpful too. hugs to you :hug

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Guest Ruime

Thank you for your concern and responses! I will get all the information gathered as quickly as I can and try to get some pics. Unfortunately I'm also in the middle of moving so time and money for decent test kits is limited (making it all that much more frustrating. I don't even want to move her until she is well again.)

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if you can manage it, try to get down to your LFS with a tank and tap water sample. they should be able to test the water for you, for free. but please do note the actual values down. answers such as 'fine' 'good' and 'no problems' is not helpful to us at all.

looking forward to pics, when you can.

good luck :)

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My instinct is that this is probably bacterial and not a result of Nitrate poisoning. But, I can't say for sure until we see the answers to the D&D questions. Hang in there :)

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You can very easily rule out nitrate poisoning (or not) by testing for it. A test kit that measures pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, kH, and gH is essential for goldfish keeping. :)

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Thank you for your concern and responses! I will get all the information gathered as quickly as I can and try to get some pics. Unfortunately I'm also in the middle of moving so time and money for decent test kits is limited (making it all that much more frustrating. I don't even want to move her until she is well again.)

A great way to save money on test kits and other stuff is to buy online. I've seen the API Freshwater Master Test Kit (which includes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH) for as little as $15 on Amazon (compared to around $40 at many shops). Our sponsor, TastyWorms.com, also carries it and charges just $4.99 for shipping, but I see his site is closed for maintenance at this moment. I learned to buy as many fish stuff as possible online after spending waaay too much money at my LFS. :)

In the meantime, though, you could always go to your LFS to have them test it, as Helen mentioned. They will almost certainly do this for free. :)

Edited by *Amanda*
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If I understand correctly, you came home to a cloudy tank and did small daily water changes and the cloudiness has decreased. What probably happened while you were away was that sloughed-off slime and injured tissue, combined with what was probably too much food for an injured fish, fouled the water.

The most important thing for healing an injured fish is clean water. Ideally (and I know you couldn't do this because you were away), you would put the fish in 100% new water daily until the injuries healed. Like others, I doubt the problem is nitrate poisoning, but if it were, the first thing you should do is remove the nitrate by changing all the water.

I suspect that you have been told that changing too much water is dangerous and stressful to the fish. That is true for some kinds of fish, but not for goldfish, which thrive on large water changes. So I would urge you to give that fish some nice fresh water.

Your fish may need more than just fresh water, but we can't recommend anything further without the form. The wrong medication is much worse than none.

When you are filling out the form, be sure to describe the treatments you have given so far, including the amount of salt and other substances you have used.

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I didn't know if she was going to make it. But I made sure the tank was safe and I left a vacation feeder as I was going to be gone for the next four days.

this too can cause a tank to become cloudy. if you are going to be absent for 5 days or less (even a few days more).. i would not feed them commercial food at all during my absence. if anything, i would head down to my LFS and pick up a couple of plants that fish love to eat (there is a huge variety) and add them to the tank so that they can graze on then whilst i am gone. commercial food spoils the water faster than fish waste in most cases.

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Sitting at the bottom of the tank and listless behavior could be any number of things. Without test results, there is no way to determine the root cause of the problem, so I would make it a priority to get a sample of your water to an aquarium or pet store for testing. After you get that info to complete the form, proper treatment, if any is needed, can be recommended.

I would strongly advise holding off on any medications until then, even if the people at the pet store recommend something. I've heard pet stores suggest Melafix for a wide variety of ailments, even when the problem is unknown. Melafix can be useful to help heal minor issues like scrapes and frayed fins, but the problem and its source must first be diagnosed - it's not the catch-all remedy pet stores often promote it as. Right now, clean water is the most important measure you can take for your fish. I would do 100% water changes daily as Sharon suggested.

I hope your fish feels better soon. :)

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Guest Ruime

So it's been a few days and I have many updates. First I want to say that Helga is doing great! She is healing up and has been very active. My friend bought me a cheap test kit and the nitrates, ph, and hardness levels were safe. I'm using test strips so I tested the tap water twice as well as the tank water and I have been continuing to test her water every day. With strips it is hard to get exact numbers but it was easy to see that everything was in a safe range. I was unable to test for ammonia but she had been showing no signs of ammonia related stress. I know that strips are not very accurate and usually not recommended but it was better than nothing.

What I did discover though is that my Bio-wheel was not moving at all, which makes me more suspicious that this has been a bacterial problem.

I also had to move the tank to my new apartment and somewhere in the process of moving my filter broke. I have a Marineland 6 gallon pillar tank with attached filter set up. I know this is WAY too small for a goldfish. I won Helga at a fair and bought the tank while I was still very ignorant about goldfish keeping. I feel bad about this but I have been saving money for a larger tank (i'm trying to shoot for something in the 40-50 gallon range and maybe add another fish) and doing my best to take care of her in the meantime. She has been growing pretty big even in this small tank. But now that her tank is broken I have transferred her to a large bucket and been giving her clean water everyday, and treating the water with garlic tonic, and hydrogen peroxide for oxygen. I think this has been the best thing to do for her as she is looking healthier than ever! So the large water changes are working.

I use AquaSafe water conditioner for goldfish and I feed her a variety of frozen foods from the pet store (brine shrimp bloodworms, combo cubes, etc.), homemade gel food (mostly made with veggies, goldfish flakes, and Agar Agar powder), and she has plants in her tank that she likes to nibble on. Occasionally I bring home duckweed or grab worms out of the yard after it rains and clean/freeze them for feeding.

As far as medications go I normally do salt baths, garlic tonic, or occasionally I will use Melafix (following exactly the instructions on the bottle). I put 1 tsp of salt in 1 gallon of treated water for the baths and only leave her in for 5-10 min. I was combining salt baths with Melafix treatment when I first got home from camping, but now I have nixed the Melafix and been using only salt baths and homemade garlic tonic.

I think this about covers everything. Since she is doing well again and about to be transferred to a larger tank I don't think anything else is necessary. But if anyone has anything to add or say please let me know!

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So it's been a few days and I have many updates. First I want to say that Helga is doing great! She is healing up and has been very active. My friend bought me a cheap test kit and the nitrates, ph, and hardness levels were safe. I'm using test strips so I tested the tap water twice as well as the tank water and I have been continuing to test her water every day. With strips it is hard to get exact numbers but it was easy to see that everything was in a safe range. I was unable to test for ammonia but she had been showing no signs of ammonia related stress. I know that strips are not very accurate and usually not recommended but it was better than nothing.

What I did discover though is that my Bio-wheel was not moving at all, which makes me more suspicious that this has been a bacterial problem.

I also had to move the tank to my new apartment and somewhere in the process of moving my filter broke. I have a Marineland 6 gallon pillar tank with attached filter set up. I know this is WAY too small for a goldfish. I won Helga at a fair and bought the tank while I was still very ignorant about goldfish keeping. I feel bad about this but I have been saving money for a larger tank (i'm trying to shoot for something in the 40-50 gallon range and maybe add another fish) and doing my best to take care of her in the meantime. She has been growing pretty big even in this small tank. But now that her tank is broken I have transferred her to a large bucket and been giving her clean water everyday, and treating the water with garlic tonic, and hydrogen peroxide for oxygen. I think this has been the best thing to do for her as she is looking healthier than ever! So the large water changes are working.

I use AquaSafe water conditioner for goldfish and I feed her a variety of frozen foods from the pet store (brine shrimp bloodworms, combo cubes, etc.), homemade gel food (mostly made with veggies, goldfish flakes, and Agar Agar powder), and she has plants in her tank that she likes to nibble on. Occasionally I bring home duckweed or grab worms out of the yard after it rains and clean/freeze them for feeding.

As far as medications go I normally do salt baths, garlic tonic, or occasionally I will use Melafix (following exactly the instructions on the bottle). I put 1 tsp of salt in 1 gallon of treated water for the baths and only leave her in for 5-10 min. I was combining salt baths with Melafix treatment when I first got home from camping, but now I have nixed the Melafix and been using only salt baths and homemade garlic tonic.

I think this about covers everything. Since she is doing well again and about to be transferred to a larger tank I don't think anything else is necessary. But if anyone has anything to add or say please let me know!

I am very glad to hear that Helga is doing better. [emoji1]

I have a BioWheel filter on one of my tanks, and don't love it - for HOB filters, I prefer the Aqueon QuietFlow. Occasionally the BioWheel does stop turning. What you might do is rinse the filter media and parts in tank water, and make sure the intake tube is clear. The water may not be flowing through quickly enough to keep the wheel spinning if there is too much gunk in the filter.

A good way to increase the number of beneficial bacteria is to forgo the cartridges and instead stick a filter pad (cut to the same size as a cartridge; I use the Drs. Foster & Smith blue and white ones) followed by a bag of ceramic biomedia (like Biomax) in the filter. This saves a ton of money and also ensures that your BBs won't get tossed out from cartridge replacement. Ceramic media last for years, and I just rinse the filter pads in tank water and only replace them when they start to fall apart.

I would also recommend getting a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia, such as Prime or Ultimate. The AquaSafe does not do this, from what I was just reading about it.

Glad to hear your fish is doing better, and good luck moving forward! Larger water changes will definitely help you maintain good water quality. [emoji1]

And don't feel bad - I started with 5 pretty big goldfish in a 10 gallon! [emoji33] Seemed like luxury living quarters at the time, too! Just try to upgrade as soon as you can; you can even use the filter media you have to seed the filter on your new tank (or run your existing filter alongside whichever filter you end up getting)!

Edited by *Amanda*
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Guest Ruime
A good way to increase the number of beneficial bacteria is to forgo the cartridges and instead stick a filter pad (cut to the same size as a cartridge; I use the Drs. Foster & Smith blue and white ones) followed by a bag of ceramic biomedia (like Biomax) in the filter. This saves a ton of money and also ensures that your BBs won't get tossed out from cartridge replacement. Ceramic media last for years, and I just rinse the filter pads in tank water and only replace them when they start to fall apart.

I would also recommend getting a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia, such as Prime or Ultimate. The AquaSafe does not do this, from what I was just reading about it.

This was extremely helpful to me! I've been having trouble trying to understand filter setups and this was the simplest explanations so far.

I'm also going to avoid using vacation feeders from now on. I didn't think the plants would be enough for a few days but I guess now I know better.

thanks!

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A good way to increase the number of beneficial bacteria is to forgo the cartridges and instead stick a filter pad (cut to the same size as a cartridge; I use the Drs. Foster & Smith blue and white ones) followed by a bag of ceramic biomedia (like Biomax) in the filter. This saves a ton of money and also ensures that your BBs won't get tossed out from cartridge replacement. Ceramic media last for years, and I just rinse the filter pads in tank water and only replace them when they start to fall apart.

I would also recommend getting a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia, such as Prime or Ultimate. The AquaSafe does not do this, from what I was just reading about it.

This was extremely helpful to me! I've been having trouble trying to understand filter setups and this was the simplest explanations so far.

I'm also going to avoid using vacation feeders from now on. I didn't think the plants would be enough for a few days but I guess now I know better.

thanks!

Thanks! I remember being incredibly confused about filters when I started, so I always try to explain myself as best I can! [emoji1]

Another thing about the cartridges is that they NEED to be replaced frequently. If they are not, the carbon can begin to leach harmful compounds into the water. While carbon can be useful if added temporarily to remove medications from the water, a 100% water change will accomplish the same thing. [emoji4]

Some people here use a product called the Fish Mate. It dispenses food at specified intervals, rather than leaving it in the water. I haven't used it personally since I never vacation :rofl but people say great things about it. But if you're gone for less than a week, there is nothing wrong with just throwing plants in.

Another option, of course, is to train someone to feed the fish correctly - just be sure they know how much (or you can put food in baggies) and WHY it's bad to overfeed. I sat down and explained the nitrogen cycle to my mom - her eyes kinda glazed over but now she understands why it's bad to feed more than a pinch!

Edited by *Amanda*
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I also had to move the tank to my new apartment and somewhere in the process of moving my filter broke. I have a Marineland 6 gallon pillar tank with attached filter set up. I know this is WAY too small for a goldfish. I won Helga at a fair and bought the tank while I was still very ignorant about goldfish keeping. I feel bad about this but I have been saving money for a larger tank (i'm trying to shoot for something in the 40-50 gallon range and maybe add another fish) and doing my best to take care of her in the meantime. She has been growing pretty big even in this small tank. But now that her tank is broken I have transferred her to a large bucket and been giving her clean water everyday, and treating the water with garlic tonic, and hydrogen peroxide for oxygen. I think this has been the best thing to do for her as she is looking healthier than ever! So the large water changes are working.

Hydrogen peroxide for extra oxygen in a fish tank? I've done (what I thought was) plenty of lurking over the last few years on Koko's, and I've never ever ever heard of this or anything close. Is this an accepted practice? Is it harmful? Huh.

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I also had to move the tank to my new apartment and somewhere in the process of moving my filter broke. I have a Marineland 6 gallon pillar tank with attached filter set up. I know this is WAY too small for a goldfish. I won Helga at a fair and bought the tank while I was still very ignorant about goldfish keeping. I feel bad about this but I have been saving money for a larger tank (i'm trying to shoot for something in the 40-50 gallon range and maybe add another fish) and doing my best to take care of her in the meantime. She has been growing pretty big even in this small tank. But now that her tank is broken I have transferred her to a large bucket and been giving her clean water everyday, and treating the water with garlic tonic, and hydrogen peroxide for oxygen. I think this has been the best thing to do for her as she is looking healthier than ever! So the large water changes are working.

Hydrogen peroxide for extra oxygen in a fish tank? I've done (what I thought was) plenty of lurking over the last few years on Koko's, and I've never ever ever heard of this or anything close. Is this an accepted practice? Is it harmful? Huh.

This can be done in extreme emergencies, but not something that should be done.

I can't think of (m)any situation that would warrant this.

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I should mention that 1 tsp per 1 gallon is something that she could stay in, that's just a salt bath. It's good for healing wounds, during prazi treatments, etc.

A salt DIP is 10 teaspoons per 1 gallon and no more than 5 minutes.

This from Dnalex's śig might help. :)

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/94546-on-the-use-of-salt/

I am half asleep at the moment, so I apologize for any mistakes.

Edited by Chai
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####################### (DNAlex removed link)

This is where I first learned about the hydrogen peroxide method. I've referenced this site quite a bit since I got my fish but I do like to use more than one source for information.

Edited by dnalex
removed link to another goldfish site
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I haven't discovered any ill effects from the peroxide since I decided to try it and my goldfish's recovery has been pretty rapid. My guess would be that its good for temporary treatment but I wouldn't put it in the main tank water.

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I haven't discovered any ill effects from the peroxide since I decided to try it and my goldfish's recovery has been pretty rapid. My guess would be that its good for temporary treatment but I wouldn't put it in the main tank water.

I think one of the concerns is the toxicity level, as well as its potential effects on the biofilter. Like PP, you have to be careful to be exact in what you dose in, and also the "freshness" of your peroxide bottle, I guess.

I have found that while I have used HP for quick antiparasite dips etc., I have not found it necessary to use it elsewhere, since it's not really needed.

How is your fish doing this evening?

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Completely back to normal! I got a bigger tank and a better filter for now. It's a 20 gallon long tank bought from acquaintance for a good price so my goldfish has more room to keep growing and seems much happier now.

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