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My Poor Fish is in Bad Shape. Help!


JBtheExplorer

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My guess was that the water quality suffered at some point once the fish were brought inside with uncycled media in the filter.  This, plus stress, could have weakened them and allowed an opportunistic infection, pathogen or condition to set in.  These things don't always present immediately after a water problem occurs.  My suggestion to do water changes is pretty standard care for fish in an inside situation as Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are not the only things controlled by regular water changes.

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The fish is not in the tank.  Improving water conditions is for the health of the remaining fish.  If you have ideas about what is wrong with the fish, please share them.  We see only a fish that appears to be dying.  As I said above, my best guess is that the fish was damaged by ammonia and/or nitrite while the filter was cycling.  I also observed that in the picture of the pond, this shubunkin looked rather thin to me, so it may be that the fish was not fully healthy before it was brought in.

 

Yes the filter is cycled.  Do you have nitrate in your pond?  

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Hi

I'm no means expert but would like to throw a possibility out there.

Could it be some sort of fish scoliosis due to lack of proper nutrients in the fish flakes?

If it is I don't think/know if it's reverse-able.

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Hi

I'm no means expert but would like to throw a possibility out there.

Could it be some sort of fish scoliosis due to lack of proper nutrients in the fish flakes?

If it is I don't think/know if it's reverse-able.

Scoliosis presents as more of a kinked back which is not the case, here.

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Sadly "Big Blue" as I called him has died. 

 

I will continue to monitor the others and do weekly water changes. I just did about a 20% change yesterday. I am nervous though that this will continue as I said one of my babies died two days earlier, so it seems odd that all of the sudden two would have problems in that short of span (especially being one of the smallest and the largest fish I owned). I continue to look at the bodies of my other fish and also watch their behaviors and nothing seems off, though it didn't with the fish that have died either. If you guys have other thoughts, ideas, etc. I would love to listen in and see what I can learn. Next year I think I may just leave them in the pond overwinter, which may come with its own challenges, but could be better in the long run. 

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OK, I will tell you what I am thinking.  When I went back and look at the pond picture, I saw what I believe is the same fish, which looks thin.  It reminded me of two fish I lost.  While these losses were a year apart, both were females and each had spawned for the first time.  I observed that the fish looked thin, but otherwise appeared perfectly healthy.  No other fish in their ponds had any problems, but I treated their ponds with prazi just in case the problem was parasites, which it could have been.  The fish remained lively and hungry, but in each case (I was sort of expecting it with the second fish), a few months later I found the fish lying on the bottom in the "C of death,"  named that because it's a miracle if a fish in that shape recovers.

 

The other possibility I already mentioned.  Your filters had to cycle with the fish in the tank.  While your fish load was pretty light, those fish had to be exposed to ammonia and nitrite during the first month they were in the tanks.  Like us, fish vary in their ability to survive exposure to a toxin, so most were OK. The main reason I think this was your problem was that the same thing happened last year.

 

You have already committed to water changes, which will keep your tanks healthier.

 

A second thing you could do is treat your fish with praziquantel.  This is a very safe treatment for flukes.  All goldfish have flukes and generally live in equilibrium with these parasites.  However when the fish is stressed by something like a move or exposure to toxins or a big change in temperature, the flukes can get the upper hand and make the fish sick.  This can lead to complications.  Some people treat their fish with prazi routinely once a year or once every six months.  I don't, but when fish move to a new tank/pond I always treat the new tank.

 

For future reference, when bringing your fish in, use cycled medium.  There are two ways you can do it.  I assume your bog filter uses gravel, so scoop out a trowel of gravel from the bog filter and put it in the bottom of the bucket filter.  The other way is to put your lava rock in a mesh bag, like a laundry bag, and hang it in the pond for at least a couple of weeks before you put in it the bucket filters.   In both cases you are seeding your filters with nitrifying microbes that will remove ammonia and nitrite once the population has built up.  So instead of putting all of your fish in the tanks at once, you add one fish a day, starting with the little ones, and testing for ammonia and nitrite every couple of days.  

 

As for keeping the fish in the pond, that is only feasible if the pond is deep enough.  I don't know where you are in WI, but unless you are in the warmest part, that will be a very deep pond.  You need to be below the frost line.  If your pond is deep enough, the next thing you have to do is keep a hole open in the ice for gas exchange.  This is not hard to do if the weather is mild and the snow isn't too deep, but going out when it's -20F to open a hole that has frozen over is no fun.

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As for keeping the fish in the pond, that is only feasible if the pond is deep enough.  I don't know where you are in WI, but unless you are in the warmest part, that will be a very deep pond.  You need to be below the frost line.  If your pond is deep enough, the next thing you have to do is keep a hole open in the ice for gas exchange.  This is not hard to do if the weather is mild and the snow isn't too deep, but going out when it's -20F to open a hole that has frozen over is no fun.

 

Yes, the pond is deep enough to overwinter fish and gas/oxygen exchange is also good to go, since I do still have life in my pond (frogs & some baby fish)

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