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Do "Commercially Available" Goldies Have a Pre-Determined "Shelf Life"?


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It's happening again, folks. My grown, beautifully-developed Red Cap with flowing, massive veil tails, Rubio, has succumbed to the dreaded "whatever" that takes out EVERY flippin' goldie I put in my tank, over an eventual period of time. In this case, it seems Rubes has come down with Dropsy, as he suddenly blew up in body size and his scales look pronounced and pineconed; being that my fish are always sourced from the same place, a local Petsmart, I'm wondering if these commercially-bred fancies have an "expected shelf life" because they ALL seem to get sick and die after a period of a few years, after they've grown and begun to mature into rather impressive-looking specimens.

 

Rubio is three-plus-years old now, as we got him as a fry in the store, and it seems now that he's grown and matured, he's gotten sick, with the symptoms just TODAY beginning to show evidence of lethargy, loss of appetite and a tendency to stay on the bottom of the tank, resting on the gravel. This happens to just about EVERY goldie I introduced into this tank, so I'm wondering if there's some sort of coincidence with the place we're getting them...

 

Interestingly, we recently bought Rubes a companion from a Petco -- a different source -- in the form of a black-and-gold Calico (who we named "Marcus") and while he's doing fine, I am wondering if there will be any differences in life span because he came from a different store; all I know is that I am going to, unfortunately and with a saddened heart, have to probably say goodbye to Rubio either tomorrow or the next day if his symptoms persist (I just did a 50% water change on Monday and tonight did a 15% change due to Rubio's condition)...and this is after he has blossomed into a gorgeous, rather large Red Cap with stunning veil tails and a jaw-dropping wen... :( :(

 

Is it even remotely possible that there's some kind of connection to the sources I'm getting these fish through and their "life expectations"? They all seem to get sick within a few years of being introduced into the tank, and that's with religious water changes and filter maintenance; they all grow and mature nicely and then seem to die...I just don't know what is going on here anymore...

Edited by ClinicaTerraLTD
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This is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. I wrote a blog post on this very subject a while back, so rather than rewrite it, here's the link:

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/blog/50/entry-357-sometimes-doing-it-right-doesnt-matter/

Edited by RanchuDressing
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I think RanchuDressing's blog covers a lot more than I could say on this topic. But, I did want to say I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's always hard when you put so much work and love into a fish only to lose it. I've lost some even when I was doing everything I knew to do, and it was very difficult to deal with.

Edited by goldfishgirl82
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This is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. I wrote a blog post on this very subject a while back, so rather than rewrite it, here's the link:

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/blog/50/entry-357-sometimes-doing-it-right-doesnt-matter/

 

Thank you very much, Ranchu, and that was a lovely read -- it definitely made me feel better, if I still don't know why it happens to my goldies after a certain specific period of time...that's why it seemed like there was a "pattern" here from perhaps the commercial sources I'm buying from, hence the reason for the thread...

 

But that was a very in-depth and reassuring post -- thank you for the link.

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I think RanchuDressing's blog covers a lot more than I could say on this topic. But, I did want to say I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's always hard when you put so much work and love into a fish only to lose it. I've lost some even when I was doing everything I knew to do, and it was very difficult to deal with.

Thanks Goldfish Girl...

 

Indeed, Ranchu's blog post was very encouraging and enlightening, especially to those of us who go through this routinely; as I stated, I wish I knew WHY my specific samples tend to get to a certain age or size and then blow up from some kind of disease or infection...normally, I fight the dreaded yet mysterious "tumor bulge" beneath the scales infection with these goldies, which ultimately kills them, but with Rubio it seems like classic Dropsy...it came out of NOWHERE though and we've had him for a good three-plus years...

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I'm beginning to suspect my water supply, even though I do 50% water changes weekly like clockwork and treat with Prime each time; other than that, I don't know how to explain the fact that our fish live for years -- not weeks or months -- and then suddenly contract "something" and die...

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It is also possible, though I don't know if there would be any way to find out for sure, that there is something that these fish go through in the early stages of their life that is similar being from the same source which makes them more prone to having a shorter lifespan. I don't know what that would be, but if I were to take a guess it would be not getting the right water quality or food when they are super small. If the stores get them all from one source that may explain the commonalities. If that is the case even someone doing the best they can and doing things right might not change the outcome. Just a thought...  :idont

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I'm beginning to suspect my water supply, even though I do 50% water changes weekly like clockwork and treat with Prime each time; other than that, I don't know how to explain the fact that our fish live for years -- not weeks or months -- and then suddenly contract "something" and die...

 

Have you ever tested your tap water? I'm not sure where you live, but I know where I live the water quality can vary from one week to the next and very much between seasons. For example, there is likely to be much more chloramines after it rains or when they are using water from a different source. Is it possible that there are times you need to treat your water more than others? 

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You know, I've had the same thing with Bettas and Axolotls. They live fine for a few years, their water parameters test normally, but then they get sick and die. All my bettas ended up getting finrot and then dropsy and all my axolotls started rapidly losing weight, even when still eating, then getting all floaty, refusing to eat and then dying. It's really baffling. No matter what I did to treat them nothing ever helped.

 

But apart from recently, I've never had any sudden life taking illnesses with my goldies.

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While the (American bred)  feeders at Petsmart are the healthiest and most durable fish I have ever bought (provided you get them when they first come in), I have also had bad luck with their "regular" goldfish, which I have been told are imports.   The Petcos here have tank after tank of dying, and often dead, goldfish.  I understand there are some very fine stores in other areas.  I suspect, but have no direct information, that their fancies are also imports.

 

I have purchased  10 fancy goldfish over the past four years 7 from Petsmart, 2 from Petco, and one from a reputable breeder, .  Three died in quarantine, two lived two years and died from ailments related to their mutations, three (previously healthy) died last summer (at the age of 3 or 4 years) when the city was supplying toxic water.  ( I also lost two of my home-bred comets, 3 of my original "feeders" (4 years old), and all of the fry I was caring for to the bad water.)  The surviving two fancies include one from Petsmart (3.5 years) and one from Petco (1.5 years).  Both are in excellent health.  

 

In contrast, I have had about 50 home-bred fancies that I recovered from my ponds and raised to maturity (1.5 to 3.5 years old).  I lost one of these last summer to the toxic water.  20 are in my ponds, and the rest went to other pond homes.  This was not because of their excellent care as babies, since most of them were recovered from waste water that was often really dirty.

 

Some breeders of goldfish and koi quarantine their imports for life, hand-spawning them so the offspring are not exposed to viruses the parents might carry.  At a recent seminar. the co-director of the Aquatic Animal Health Department at the U. of FL Veterinary College recommended quarantining imported goldfish -- but particularly imported koi -- for at least 6 months, preferably a year, and ideally for life.  There are viral diseases abroad that domestic fish have not been exposed to, and little testing is required to import.

 

I have no real answer to your questions, but the ideal fish are locally bred.

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My healthiest fish have been locally bred, while 2 out of 3 my PetSmart fish have died of something I could not do anything about, despite quick action to attempt to resolve. My littlest fish is a nacreous fantail from PetSmart, but they've also stepped up their game *significantly*. I tested the water when I got home which resulted in shockingly excellent parameters... I have never seen a chain store water test for nitrates read at below 10, I was impressed. No nitrite, ammonia barely registering at .25.

She's since formed a mouth deformity despite quarantine treatment for parasites, and I've had to remove some excess skin with sterile surgical scissors in order for her to eat properly. She's been eating and living as best as she can with her little chu friend, but I wasn't surprised when she had something happen out of nowhere. It just developed overnight, weeks after purchase. :idont

However, the link above sums it up well. Even with the most dedicated care in experienced hands, things happen. I realized her problem was not my fault and I did what I could to make her comfortable with her deformity. She will never look as normal as she did again, but that doesn't mean I will blame every chain store for what happened. My local PetSmart looks to really be doing the best they can at this point and it is somewhere I never expected to look like that. :o

There's a fat happy oranda with a 20g display of its own and the rest of them look as happy as can be. No dying fish, no visible diseases or injuries, they're all fat and dancing for attention. My little fish was there for weeks before I decided to purchase her. Even then, I watched them for a long time before I took the plunge. I watched them all.

Goldfish have an unwritten disclaimer no matter where you buy them.. You just don't know what will happen from the moment or purchase and it's best to keep it in mind that you cannot blame yourself for what does happen. Even with a microscope, it cannot predict the future. :hug:heart

Edited by Chai
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Our very first GF (the one that got me into the hobby and eventually on Koko's) was a fantail from Petsmart.  He lived for 7+ years.  I dont' know how as I had no idea what I was doing when I got him.  I hate to even think of the horrors I put that fish through the first few years of his life.  :scared  But he was a tough fish.

 

My current oldest fish is another fantail from Petsmart.  She is about 6 years old and doing well.  I'm hoping she is with us for many more years.  :D

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Thanks, everyone, for your input here; I will respond in more depth when I have some free time...

 

As of this morning, Rubio is still sitting on the bottom of the tank, behind some plants, not moving; Marcus seems fine...

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It is also possible, though I don't know if there would be any way to find out for sure, that there is something that these fish go through in the early stages of their life that is similar being from the same source which makes them more prone to having a shorter lifespan. I don't know what that would be, but if I were to take a guess it would be not getting the right water quality or food when they are super small. If the stores get them all from one source that may explain the commonalities. If that is the case even someone doing the best they can and doing things right might not change the outcome. Just a thought...  :idont

Okay...in getting back to everyone now individually, let me begin with Goldfishgirl...

 

You sum up, above, exactly what I was thinking and what spurred me to start the thread; it seems very odd to me -- and it's too much of a "coincidence" -- that every fish I get from this particular store seems to live about three to five years and then dies from symptoms that come on all of a sudden and out of nowhere. I thought the tumors/skin bulging was a result of poor substrate cleaning, so I became regular about that too. I NEVER miss a weekly water change (and it's always 50% treated with Prime correctly). I have two large filters running this tank with only two goldies in it, so it's NOT an overstocking problem.

 

Now, I'm beginning to suspect perhaps something IN my filters (i.e. media) that is HARBOURING these pathogens, whatever they are, even though I religiously dunk and clean out my media in removed tank water every other water change. Could it be the exhausted carbon in my Aqueon HOB's filter pads?

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I'm beginning to suspect my water supply, even though I do 50% water changes weekly like clockwork and treat with Prime each time; other than that, I don't know how to explain the fact that our fish live for years -- not weeks or months -- and then suddenly contract "something" and die...

 

Have you ever tested your tap water? I'm not sure where you live, but I know where I live the water quality can vary from one week to the next and very much between seasons. For example, there is likely to be much more chloramines after it rains or when they are using water from a different source. Is it possible that there are times you need to treat your water more than others? 

 

Thanks again, Goldfishgirl...

 

You know something? I never did get around to testing my water; the thing is, I can't get water from another source and I simply don't understand why the Prime wouldn't be taking out most of these contaminants anyway...

 

BTW -- I am right next door to you on the West Coast...:)

Edited by ClinicaTerraLTD
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You know, I've had the same thing with Bettas and Axolotls. They live fine for a few years, their water parameters test normally, but then they get sick and die. All my bettas ended up getting finrot and then dropsy and all my axolotls started rapidly losing weight, even when still eating, then getting all floaty, refusing to eat and then dying. It's really baffling. No matter what I did to treat them nothing ever helped.

 

But apart from recently, I've never had any sudden life taking illnesses with my goldies.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Mandy; what you describe with your Betas is what I'm going through with my fancies (though the Betas are probably more delicate, no?) in that no matter what I do to keep this tank clean, they all end up living for about three to five years, grow large, and then die...

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Just one question have you separated your sick goldfish and tried to treat I with Epsom salt to see if it will cure the dropsy??

I have not separated him; my reasoning is that once he's in this "pineconing" stage -- from what I researched -- it's pretty much over...plus, I always believed moving them to a QT tank is more stressful on them than attempting to "cure" through stepped-up water changes, et al...

 

Does he even have a chance at this point? I mean, he's ballooned up pretty bad...

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While the (American bred)  feeders at Petsmart are the healthiest and most durable fish I have ever bought (provided you get them when they first come in), I have also had bad luck with their "regular" goldfish, which I have been told are imports.   The Petcos here have tank after tank of dying, and often dead, goldfish.  I understand there are some very fine stores in other areas.  I suspect, but have no direct information, that their fancies are also imports.

 

I have purchased  10 fancy goldfish over the past four years 7 from Petsmart, 2 from Petco, and one from a reputable breeder, .  Three died in quarantine, two lived two years and died from ailments related to their mutations, three (previously healthy) died last summer (at the age of 3 or 4 years) when the city was supplying toxic water.  ( I also lost two of my home-bred comets, 3 of my original "feeders" (4 years old), and all of the fry I was caring for to the bad water.)  The surviving two fancies include one from Petsmart (3.5 years) and one from Petco (1.5 years).  Both are in excellent health.  

 

In contrast, I have had about 50 home-bred fancies that I recovered from my ponds and raised to maturity (1.5 to 3.5 years old).  I lost one of these last summer to the toxic water.  20 are in my ponds, and the rest went to other pond homes.  This was not because of their excellent care as babies, since most of them were recovered from waste water that was often really dirty.

 

Some breeders of goldfish and koi quarantine their imports for life, hand-spawning them so the offspring are not exposed to viruses the parents might carry.  At a recent seminar. the co-director of the Aquatic Animal Health Department at the U. of FL Veterinary College recommended quarantining imported goldfish -- but particularly imported koi -- for at least 6 months, preferably a year, and ideally for life.  There are viral diseases abroad that domestic fish have not been exposed to, and little testing is required to import.

 

I have no real answer to your questions, but the ideal fish are locally bred.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences; indeed, it seems like the "luck" with these chain stores is all over the place with regard to the fish's health.

 

Now that we're starting to talk about tap water quality -- as you're the second member to mention this -- it is in fact possible that our local supply has been tainted or toxified in some way, but I'm not sure; I always thought and assumed that the Prime could take care of a lot of this (I never add new water without it)...if it is my water supply, this will continue slaughtering my fish and I don't know what to do...

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I'm beginning to suspect my water supply, even though I do 50% water changes weekly like clockwork and treat with Prime each time; other than that, I don't know how to explain the fact that our fish live for years -- not weeks or months -- and then suddenly contract "something" and die...

 

Have you ever tested your tap water? I'm not sure where you live, but I know where I live the water quality can vary from one week to the next and very much between seasons. For example, there is likely to be much more chloramines after it rains or when they are using water from a different source. Is it possible that there are times you need to treat your water more than others? 

 

Thanks again, Goldfishgirl...

 

You know something? I never did get around to testing my water; the thing is, I can't get water from another source and I simply don't understand why the Prime wouldn't be taking out most of these contaminants anyway...

 

BTW -- I am right next door to you on the West Coast... :)

 

 

I know there is a certain point at which the chloramines and contaminants can exceed the capacity for the Prime to take them out. That's why I suggest testing the water. I found in the area I live, prime cannot take out everything by itself. I have to run my water through carbon first to take the levels down first, then add the prime. But, that may not be the case where you are at. It should say on the bottle what amounts of ammonia/chloramines it can take out before you have to double it. I don't have one handy to check, sorry.

 

As for the dropsy, I would suggest maybe posting some photos or a video for the moderator team to help see what's going on and maybe they will have some suggestions. There might still be something that can be done. Also, you can fill out the D&D form for them to see what all you've done so far. You can do that here or start another thread.  http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/116133-help-request-check-list/

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Just one question have you separated your sick goldfish and tried to treat I with Epsom salt to see if it will cure the dropsy??

I have not separated him; my reasoning is that once he's in this "pineconing" stage -- from what I researched -- it's pretty much over...plus, I always believed moving them to a QT tank is more stressful on them than attempting to "cure" through stepped-up water changes, et al...

 

Does he even have a chance at this point? I mean, he's ballooned up pretty bad...

 

 

I would definitely move the sick fish, it's always worth a try I believe, and I'd never want to leave a sick fish in with my others incase something spread to the healthy ones :hide:

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I'm beginning to suspect my water supply, even though I do 50% water changes weekly like clockwork and treat with Prime each time; other than that, I don't know how to explain the fact that our fish live for years -- not weeks or months -- and then suddenly contract "something" and die...

 

Have you ever tested your tap water? I'm not sure where you live, but I know where I live the water quality can vary from one week to the next and very much between seasons. For example, there is likely to be much more chloramines after it rains or when they are using water from a different source. Is it possible that there are times you need to treat your water more than others? 

 

Thanks again, Goldfishgirl...

 

You know something? I never did get around to testing my water; the thing is, I can't get water from another source and I simply don't understand why the Prime wouldn't be taking out most of these contaminants anyway...

 

BTW -- I am right next door to you on the West Coast... :)

 

 

I know there is a certain point at which the chloramines and contaminants can exceed the capacity for the Prime to take them out. That's why I suggest testing the water. I found in the area I live, prime cannot take out everything by itself. I have to run my water through carbon first to take the levels down first, then add the prime. But, that may not be the case where you are at. It should say on the bottle what amounts of ammonia/chloramines it can take out before you have to double it. I don't have one handy to check, sorry.

 

As for the dropsy, I would suggest maybe posting some photos or a video for the moderator team to help see what's going on and maybe they will have some suggestions. There might still be something that can be done. Also, you can fill out the D&D form for them to see what all you've done so far. You can do that here or start another thread.  http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/116133-help-request-check-list/

 

Thank you for your assistance so far...

 

I'll try to post some photos, but Rubio actually looks very much like the sick fancy "Kappa" in the thread that's right near mine in this area of the forum...

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Just one question have you separated your sick goldfish and tried to treat I with Epsom salt to see if it will cure the dropsy??

I have not separated him; my reasoning is that once he's in this "pineconing" stage -- from what I researched -- it's pretty much over...plus, I always believed moving them to a QT tank is more stressful on them than attempting to "cure" through stepped-up water changes, et al...

 

Does he even have a chance at this point? I mean, he's ballooned up pretty bad...

 

 

I would definitely move the sick fish, it's always worth a try I believe, and I'd never want to leave a sick fish in with my others incase something spread to the healthy ones :hide:

 

I shall take your advice into consideration; thank you.

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My healthiest fish have been locally bred, while 2 out of 3 my PetSmart fish have died of something I could not do anything about, despite quick action to attempt to resolve. My littlest fish is a nacreous fantail from PetSmart, but they've also stepped up their game *significantly*. I tested the water when I got home which resulted in shockingly excellent parameters... I have never seen a chain store water test for nitrates read at below 10, I was impressed. No nitrite, ammonia barely registering at .25.

She's since formed a mouth deformity despite quarantine treatment for parasites, and I've had to remove some excess skin with sterile surgical scissors in order for her to eat properly. She's been eating and living as best as she can with her little chu friend, but I wasn't surprised when she had something happen out of nowhere. It just developed overnight, weeks after purchase. :idont

However, the link above sums it up well. Even with the most dedicated care in experienced hands, things happen. I realized her problem was not my fault and I did what I could to make her comfortable with her deformity. She will never look as normal as she did again, but that doesn't mean I will blame every chain store for what happened. My local PetSmart looks to really be doing the best they can at this point and it is somewhere I never expected to look like that. :o

There's a fat happy oranda with a 20g display of its own and the rest of them look as happy as can be. No dying fish, no visible diseases or injuries, they're all fat and dancing for attention. My little fish was there for weeks before I decided to purchase her. Even then, I watched them for a long time before I took the plunge. I watched them all.

Goldfish have an unwritten disclaimer no matter where you buy them.. You just don't know what will happen from the moment or purchase and it's best to keep it in mind that you cannot blame yourself for what does happen. Even with a microscope, it cannot predict the future. :hug:heart

Thank you for your heartfelt sentiments, Chai...

 

I totally read that blog and it was most reassuring and honorable...and the thing is, I don't WANT to "blame" Petsmart or any other store -- I was just curious if what I'm experiencing with THEIR fish is due to a possible "engineering shelf life" for these goldies when they're bred because they seem to die like clockwork after three to five years and once they're fully matured...

 

It's so heartbreaking because Rubio has grown into a beautiful, nearly flawless Red Cap with gorgeous, forked veil tails and then this happened...

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Our very first GF (the one that got me into the hobby and eventually on Koko's) was a fantail from Petsmart.  He lived for 7+ years.  I dont' know how as I had no idea what I was doing when I got him.  I hate to even think of the horrors I put that fish through the first few years of his life.  :scared  But he was a tough fish.

 

My current oldest fish is another fantail from Petsmart.  She is about 6 years old and doing well.  I'm hoping she is with us for many more years.  :D

Jeez...now I don't know whether this is a Petsmart thing or not...

 

SHOULDN'T these commercially-purchased goldfish live longer than three years in captivity? Are they expected to live -- ideally -- like 19 to 20 some years even in closed aquarium systems?

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