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No dorsal fin!


Bertha

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Can someone hel;p? My granddaughter won three goldfish at a fair yesterday...and I noticed one was in pretty poor shape on the way home....no idea how long it had been in a little baggie at the fair (etc). I checked the water parameters in a tank which has been empty, and all seemed good to go with the pH in the baggie at 7>0+ matching the tank water. I also had added Stability, Prime, Seachem Alkaline regulator to bring up the pH and help stabilize GH...and Replenish to boost GH (it was 89). I disabled the heater, as the ambient room temperature does not fall below 65-ish.

Today in re-checking the fish, I was happy to see all three alive...one ooks fairly hale and hearty, two are questionable...and this one remains alive, but in sad shape. I just noticed that this fish has no dorsal fin! It will swim when it has to....using the vacuum, for instance.

Should I separate it from the other two (I have a 'goldfish bowl' but no filtration for it), or leave it with the others in the tank? The tank has mostly bare-bottom with scattered marbles & rocks (no samll gravel), a few plastic plants. One filter ...I can install a second if needed. The filter unit has Matirx & a carbon filter for media. It's a 15g tank: which will have to do temporarily.

In closing, Please know that I'd strongly discouraged playing any kind of 'win-an-animal' game becasue I feel it supports animal abuse and overkill. However..this was not my decision; I've taken the fish in an attempt to help them.

Thanks!

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Does it look like the dorsal fin was torn off, or is it smooth like it was never there in the first place? Many goldfish are born without a dorsal fin. Perhaps you could provide a photo of this fish?

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The fish without the dorsal fin, is there a wound where the dorsal fin should be? Or any traces or clues of that there was once a dorsal fin there? I know for certain that there are some goldfish (aside from ranchu) that do not have dorsal fins.

Is there any chance you could upload a picture?

If your goldfish lacks the dorsal fin and has a wound I would personally put it apart from the others to avoid bulling or nipping and treating the fish appart.

You could get some big bucket to put him there, there is a thread on this forum of a technique called "bucket to bucket" you could use for him.

Don't worry! People with experience and knowledge will come soon to help you :)

Edit: wow Amanda was faster haha~

Edited by Rotten Milk
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There are goldfish varieties without a dorsal fin, so it could be normal for this fish. Is there a remnant that would suggest the dorsal fin has been eaten away?

You can get a plastic tote as a temporary fish tank. Get one that holds at least 10 gallons. Ideally, it would be shallow with lots of surface area. You don't need a filter for it as long as you can do frequent water changes.

Sniped twice! Great minds think alike.

Edited by shakaho
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Yes, if you can clarify what type of goldfish it is, that would clear things up immensely. There are many varieties of goldfish without a dorsal, most commonly known is the ranchu. Here is an example if you are unfamiliar with them:

big-ranchu-goldfish.jpg

However, I am very doubtful that it is a ranchu, as goldfish won at the fair are 9 times out of 10 singletail varieties, AKA "feeder fish." Sometimes you may see some fancies at fairs but they are mostly generic fantails.

Anyway, the two possibilities are that a) this is a genetic defect and the fish simply never developed a dorsal or b) the fin has eroded away due to some external damage or advanced fin rot. I am leaning more towards b, given the circumstances the poor fish has been in. Like others have mentioned, if you can provide us with pictures of the fish it would be really helpful. Is the fin completely gone, or are there some small remnants at the base remaining?

I have a little comet that is missing a dorsal, you can see her in my signature. I had her in sub-par conditions before I knew better. Her dorsal went missing, perhaps eroded away, due to poor water quality and suspected bullying. After I upgraded my goldfish and gave them better care it still never grew back. To this day, I'm not sure why.

I'm not a moderator, so I cannot offer any advice on treating your fish. I suspect they may have some underlying issues if they stay mopey like that for the next several days. Furthermore, there is no special medication you can throw in the water to make a fish grow back a fin. It simply takes pristine water conditions and patience. :)

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I finally found the responses...I'm new to groups likme this, so please have patience with me as I try to navigate my way through ...

It looks to me as if there may have once been a dorsal fin...there are little stubs where the fin might have been. I don't see any (obvious) wound or shreds of fin, but have no idea how the poor fish was treated in community before it went into a little baggie at the fair.

My guess is that the fish is a Comet or Common Goldfish, so I think that it may be a deformity, or has been injured. I see no sign of the other fish nipping at it, or attacking...but am not in fornt of the tank every second, either.

I will have my grand-daughter take a picture & try to send it in to you.

Meanwhile, I'll go looking for something to separate the fish into; thanks for the info on that, too. I have an extra ten-gallon tank that I can use...good to know that I don't need filtration. HOW OFTEN do I change it out, if I'm not using a filter?

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Do you have a testing kit? I can't say how often you need to change the water or how much you need to change. Testing the water can tell you if there are serious problems that demand an immediate water change. One small fish in a 10 gallon tank, lightly fed, may do just fine with a change of 3 gallons a day. But you need to test for ammonia and nitrite to know for sure.

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I would recommend purchasing the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. The drops are much more accurate than the strips, and they last a really, really long time. You can find it for about $15 on sites like Amazon or our sponsor Tasty Worms, or for about $30 at most pet stores.

In QT, I change 100% of the water every other day if the fish is small, and add an ammonia-locking water conditioner like Prime or Ultimate every day.

It sounds like the dorsal fin was either torn off in an injury or degraded as a result of finrot before you got the fish. Fins take a really long time to heal, and pristine water is the best treatment as Georgia mentioned. Melafix may also help the healing process, but I wouldn't advise putting it in now as the mods may recommend something else. However, if the fin is completely gone it may not come back, although it will smooth over and you'll have a cute dorsal-less single tail. :)

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I have the API Master Test kiet, also the KH/GH kit. And I use the Seachem Ammonia kit since it gives me both total and free readings. ditto for the seachem Nitrate/Nitrite tests, which I use if I'm in real doubt about the water conditions and want a more specific reading. All the parameters are good, although I'd like to see the Nitrate down a bit: it's about 40. PH is 7.0-7.2 and I'm hoping to raise it a little? Nitrite 0, GH (now) about 100, up from 89. I didn't test for KH since I use the Seachem Neutral Regulator &/or Seachem Alkaline Regulators, which, being phosphate-based will throw off the KH reading.

I did move this poor little fish into a QT tank. It has no filtration, but is large enough to accommodate surface and there is plenty of oxygen because of the low water amount.

I checked the fish a few minutes ago...and I really don't see any way it will survive. It's been pretty beat up...one of the other fins is also gone, although I don't see any signs of wounds, infection (etc).

I'm not an experienced goldfish-keeper (but am loving this site!) ~ but I have a long-term Betta friend (now at least five years old!) and my aquatic frog. I haven't had time to really search your site much, but want to thank everyone here for putting up such gret information, and being so helpful.

I feel that at this stage, I need to consider euthansia: I'm not happy about searching your site for help with that, but noticed that you have it listed.

On a brighter note: the other two fish are looking pretty perky today! The one was always looking well; the other listless and a little wobbly. I was also worried about it, although the primary concern was this poor fish with no dorsal fin. This morning both the others are swimming about & acting as if they're acclimating to their surroundings.

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Please read our quarantine procedure. We recommend the salt and prazi treatment for all new fish, even if they aren't going to join other fish. The treatment is a gentle one.

Could you show us some pictures or videos of the fish?

Do you have nitrate in your tap water? We recommend keeping the nitrate under 20 ppm with water changes. Some goldfish can tolerate very high nitrate concentrations, but a few have problems even with 20. Many people use nitrate as an indicator of water that is accumulating other chemicals that are not easily measured. By keeping the nitrates below 20 ppm, you all also keeping your total dissolved solids at a low level.

The pH is fine as long as it is stable.

Goldfish can recover from pretty severe superficial injuries, including fin loss. If the fish is swimming and eating, it has a reasonable chance of recovering. Very clean water is the most important medicine.

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Goldfish can recover from pretty severe superficial injuries, including fin loss. If the fish is swimming and eating, it has a reasonable chance of recovering. Very clean water is the most important medicine.

I couldn't agree more with this. If the fish still has appetite and will to keep living, it has still a chance to survive. Just be sure to take great care of him, give him a chance and he may make it out of the illness. And if he doesn't...well, at least you tried your best. :thumbup2:

Edited by Rotten Milk
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Thanks again..I appreciate all the great advice I've been given.

Nitrates are down today and all other water parameters look good.

Unfortunately, I think the little guy has taken a turn for the worse...no interest in food and barely swimming, although I find he's moved to various location in the tank.

I had my hopes up there for a while, but now I thik it's just fading too fast to give any more help. I wish it were otherwise...it's so sad to not be able to help at all. Still...it does swim a bit and comes up for air on rare occasion, but mostly just lies on the bottom, listing to tone side.

Oddly...one of his original tankmates was found dead tjhis morning...he's wrapped around the intake on the filter unit! I've never had this happen...my husband has had fish for years, I've had Bettas mostly, but also a community tank of guppies...and never had this happen!

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Thanks again..I appreciate all the great advice I've been given.

Nitrates are down today and all other water parameters look good.

Unfortunately, I think the little guy has taken a turn for the worse...no interest in food and barely swimming, although I find he's moved to various location in the tank.

I had my hopes up there for a while, but now I thik it's just fading too fast to give any more help. I wish it were otherwise...it's so sad to not be able to help at all. Still...it does swim a bit and comes up for air on rare occasion, but mostly just lies on the bottom, listing to tone side.

Oddly...one of his original tankmates was found dead tjhis morning...he's wrapped around the intake on the filter unit! I've never had this happen...my husband has had fish for years, I've had Bettas mostly, but also a community tank of guppies...and never had this happen!

I'm very sorry for your loss. :(

When they're dead and wrapped around the filter intake, it usually means they died and later got swept against the intake because it creates suction toward it - not that the filter killed the fish. I just wanted to point this out in case you were worried about that. As long as your filter has an intake cover, it is not dangerous.

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Chelsea, whether or not one should try to save a very ill rescue fish is a very personal and difficult decision. We really shouldn't tell someone what we think they should do. Some people find putting a fish to sleep is easier than watching it appear to suffer when sick. Others feel better doing everything possible to keep the fish alive as long as possible.

Bertha, for me, the easiest thing to do with a dying fish is keep it in clean water and leave it alone. I used clove oil once and it seemed to take forever. If I need to euthanize again, I will use an ice water bath.

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Sharon, the only reason I say that is because the fish that is ill can give us insight into what could possibly be going on with the remaining fish (unhealthy or otherwise). I do understand that the OP has the right to make her decision in the end. However, I also wanted to provide reason to keep the fish going. Koko's has pulled fish from the brink to a full recovery several times, and this time could be no different.

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Sharon, the only reason I say that is because the fish that is ill can give us insight into what could possibly be going on with the remaining fish (unhealthy or otherwise). I do understand that the OP has the right to make her decision in the end. However, I also wanted to provide reason to keep the fish going. Koko's has pulled fish from the brink to a full recovery several times, and this time could be no different.

I understand your motivation perfectly, I have also learned a lot from try to save a fish I thought was hopeless. If you had related what you had learned from treating a very ill fish, that would have been encouraging. But I have a feeling that you might bristle a bit at advice that started, "I think you should at least continue to try ..." when you had been trying very hard.

I was fussing about your words, not your intentions.

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Sharon, the only reason I say that is because the fish that is ill can give us insight into what could possibly be going on with the remaining fish (unhealthy or otherwise). I do understand that the OP has the right to make her decision in the end. However, I also wanted to provide reason to keep the fish going. Koko's has pulled fish from the brink to a full recovery several times, and this time could be no different.

I understand your motivation perfectly, I have also learned a lot from try to save a fish I thought was hopeless. If you had related what you had learned from treating a very ill fish, that would have been encouraging. But I have a feeling that you might bristle a bit at advice that started, "I think you should at least continue to try ..." when you had been trying very hard.

I was fussing about your words, not your intentions.

:teehee I realized that about 10 minutes ago while I was in the shower. I always can word things better.

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wow...that was an interesting conversation, and I liked seeing both sides of this argument!

As things turned out, I had nothing to help the poor fish 'on its way', and also had to go to work. When I came in, it was , sadly but predictably, dead. I tried all day to do whatever I could to help, but I knew it was a losing battle from the beginning, I think.

And thanks for the note re: the fish wrapped around the filter: you guessed it rtight~ I was very wrooied about the filter as a dangerous source! I never thought that the fish might have died first...it was the second fish that had been poorly when we goth it, so I supose I shouldn't have been too surprised! somehow, it was a real shock...

However, the one that was 'hale & hearty' remains lookijg well. We hope it will continue to thrive ...I'll do all possible to keep the conditions optimal and keep it's life happy!

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