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Acquiring black colouration?


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I think my goldfish is changing colour. At first I thought she had a bruise or sickness, but when I look closer, it looks as if her pigment's changing. It's only on lighter orange patches of her skin/scales. It's darkening around the edges and looks like it's turning brown from a distance, but when I go up close, I see it only looks brown because it's black layering on top of the light orange. In the past few days, it seems to be getting slightly darker. Is this something to keep an eye on? I've been working at a pet store for half a year now, and have seen my share of sick fish. This doesn't look like sickness to me, but I know some fish will darken in colour if they are not doing well. On a different thread, it was suggested to me that while abrupt colour changes aren't too out of the ordinary for goldfish, acquiring black is unusual. I took some photos this time. Does my fish look ok to you? >.< It's on the belly and chin.

 

Is it possible for goldfish to turn black? Is it possible for them to turn brown?

 

Before (two weeks ago)

66dec05e-0333-44fd-8b4f-241405b4c43b_zps

 

 

After (today)

20150520_095314_zpshtru1v6p.jpg

 

Only after comparing past and present photos, I've noticed that there seems to be more black on the fringes of her fins as well.

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What a beautiful fish!

 

The black coloration may indicate healing from some irritant (like ammonia) in the water or healing after the application of medicine. In which case this is referred to as melanophore migration. Please fill out the D&D form and post here to allow us to further assist you. A link to the form is below my signature.

Edited by LisaCGold
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  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level(Tank) N/A. Test Strip does not measure it.
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrate level(Tank) 0 - 20 (in-between colours, both labeled as safe.
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap) N/A. Test Strip does not measure it.
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap) 0
    • * Nitrate level(Tap) 0 - 20 (in-between colours, both labeled as safe.
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2 - 7.8. Did not check Ph in time, and used my last test strip. Definitely one of the two though. I believe KH was 120. Definitely between 120 and 180. Both colours look the same to me. Others unavailable.
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2. I believe KH was 120. Definitely between 120 and 180. Both colours look the same to me. Others unavailable.
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? tetra easy strips.
      • * Water temperature? 74 degrees F
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gals. 2 weeks running with fish, 1 week (the first week) running without.
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? AquaClear 20
      • * How often do you change the water and how much? 50% twice a week.
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 4 days ago, 50%.
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 1, about 3". Maybe half an inch more. Swims away from tape measure.
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Nutrafin AquaPlus water conditioner.
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? Pellets, duckweed, frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc. Two feedings per day, 1 pinch per feeding. Planning to increase feeding.
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? Just this one.
  • * Any medications added to the tank? no.
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. N/A
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? no. Black marks though.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? nope. very active.

 

I never thought of testing my tap water. Now that I'm out of test strips, is there a popular/reliable brand of water testing kits that people on the site like? I was using the strips as practice for understanding water parameters. I'll be switching to drops next.

Edited by GrumpyFish
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I never thought of testing my tap water. Now that I'm out of test strips, is there a popular/reliable brand of water testing kits that people on the site like? I was using the strips as practice for understanding water parameters. I'll be switching to drops next.

 

The API Master Kit is a must-have.

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I never thought of testing my tap water. Now that I'm out of test strips, is there a popular/reliable brand of water testing kits that people on the site like? I was using the strips as practice for understanding water parameters. I'll be switching to drops next.

 

The API Master Kit is a must-have.

 

Thanks, noted. :)

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Please order a API Freshwater Master kit right away.  You can probably buy it at a local pet store, but it will cost more.  This one test kit will last a year or two, so it's a lot cheaper than those strips.  Since this is a new tank, it hasn't yet cycled -- that is it hasn't built up the populations of microbes that process toxic ammonia to nitrate.  In all probability, you have high ammonia right now, and that is the cause of the blackening.  

 

Your water changes have helped to keep the ammonia levels down, but the amount you are feeding is not safe for a fish in an uncycled tank.  The more food the fish eats, the more ammonia it produces.   Decrease to just one small feeding a day and don't feed the blood worms or brine shrimp.   Don't worry, your fish won't starve.  :)   The other thing that will protect your fish is to get some Prime water conditioner.  This will inactivate ammonia and nitrite as well as protecting against chlorine.  You should be able to get Prime at any fish/pet store.

 

Sorry I didn't catch this problem right away.   i didn't notice that you were new to Kokos.  Welcome!   You are clearly working hard to take good care of your fish.

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The only black I've had on my fish that increased and didn't decrease was melanophore migration due to injury or ammonia burns. The good news is that it is part of the healing process, not further damage. I third all recommendations to get the API test kit and stay on top of any ammonia in the tank as it very hard on the fish.

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Please order a API Freshwater Master kit right away.  You can probably buy it at a local pet store, but it will cost more.  This one test kit will last a year or two, so it's a lot cheaper than those strips.  Since this is a new tank, it hasn't yet cycled -- that is it hasn't built up the populations of microbes that process toxic ammonia to nitrate.  In all probability, you have high ammonia right now, and that is the cause of the blackening.  

 

Your water changes have helped to keep the ammonia levels down, but the amount you are feeding is not safe for a fish in an uncycled tank.  The more food the fish eats, the more ammonia it produces.   Decrease to just one small feeding a day and don't feed the blood worms or brine shrimp.   Don't worry, your fish won't starve.   :)   The other thing that will protect your fish is to get some Prime water conditioner.  This will inactivate ammonia and nitrite as well as protecting against chlorine.  You should be able to get Prime at any fish/pet store.

 

Sorry I didn't catch this problem right away.   i didn't notice that you were new to Kokos.  Welcome!   You are clearly working hard to take good care of your fish.

 

I used filter media from an old and established tank where I work, and then let it run in the tank for a week. I thought it was cycled, since there should have been all the good stuff in the filter already. And then let it run fishless to be "extra safe". Is that not right? What was wrong with my logic?

 

I'll keep up with the water changes and decrease feedings. Thanks for the tip regarding the Prime as well. It's been on my wishlist, but I wasn't expecting to grab it so soon. >.<

 

And thankyou! I am trying. XD I don't like it, but I feel like I learn best from experience than anything else.

 

 

The only black I've had on my fish that increased and didn't decrease was melanophore migration due to injury or ammonia burns. The good news is that it is part of the healing process, not further damage. I third all recommendations to get the API test kit and stay on top of any ammonia in the tank as it very hard on the fish.

All good things to know. Thankyou.

Edited by GrumpyFish
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Welcome to Koko's.

Your fish is gorgeous.  Keeping up with water changes will be so beneficial to your fish health.  You'll love the Prime once you purchase it.  You'll save money in the long run using it.

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I used filter media from an old and established tank where I work, and then let it run in the tank for a week. I thought it was cycled, since there should have been all the good stuff in the filter already. And then let it run fishless to be "extra safe". Is that not right? What was wrong with my logic?

 

I'll keep up with the water changes and decrease feedings. Thanks for the tip regarding the Prime as well. It's been on my wishlist, but I wasn't expecting to grab it so soon. >.<

 

And thankyou! I am trying. XD I don't like it, but I feel like I learn best from experience than anything else.

First of all,don't worry, your fish will be just fine.  With the cycled medium, your tank may pretty well cycled.  We can't know, however until you can do an ammonia test, so I think we should proceed as if there is ammonia present in the tank, particularly since we are seeing black.

 

The only thing "wrong with your logic" was in running the tank fishless.  When using cycled medium to cycle a tank, one usually adds the fish and closely monitors the ammonia and nitrite, changing water to keep them very low, until ammonia and nitrite are both zero.  All that has to occur is to grow the population of microbes to the level required to process all of the ammonia produced by your fish to nitrate. If you want to cycle without fish, you have to add a little ammonia to feed the filter microbes so that they will increase in number.  While they can survive for weeks without food, they won't grow and divide, so the population will not increase.  

 

Prime will inactivate up to 1 ppm of ammonia, and you probably have less than that.

 

I think you are doing very well.  I will suggest a couple of things to read.  One is our guidelines for goldfish care, and the other is our procedure. for treating new fish for flukes with praziquantel.

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Welcome to Koko's.

Your fish is gorgeous.  Keeping up with water changes will be so beneficial to your fish health.  You'll love the Prime once you purchase it.  You'll save money in the long run using it.

Thanks, I imagine I will like it too.

I used filter media from an old and established tank where I work, and then let it run in the tank for a week. I thought it was cycled, since there should have been all the good stuff in the filter already. And then let it run fishless to be "extra safe". Is that not right? What was wrong with my logic?

 

I'll keep up with the water changes and decrease feedings. Thanks for the tip regarding the Prime as well. It's been on my wishlist, but I wasn't expecting to grab it so soon. >.<

 

And thankyou! I am trying. XD I don't like it, but I feel like I learn best from experience than anything else.

First of all,don't worry, your fish will be just fine.  With the cycled medium, your tank may pretty well cycled.  We can't know, however until you can do an ammonia test, so I think we should proceed as if there is ammonia present in the tank, particularly since we are seeing black.

 

The only thing "wrong with your logic" was in running the tank fishless.  When using cycled medium to cycle a tank, one usually adds the fish and closely monitors the ammonia and nitrite, changing water to keep them very low, until ammonia and nitrite are both zero.  All that has to occur is to grow the population of microbes to the level required to process all of the ammonia produced by your fish to nitrate. If you want to cycle without fish, you have to add a little ammonia to feed the filter microbes so that they will increase in number.  While they can survive for weeks without food, they won't grow and divide, so the population will not increase.  

 

Prime will inactivate up to 1 ppm of ammonia, and you probably have less than that.

 

I think you are doing very well.  I will suggest a couple of things to read.  One is our guidelines for goldfish care, and the other is our procedure. for treating new fish for flukes with praziquantel.

Thanks for all of the information and explaining that in such good detail. I feel like that helped to clarify the situation to me. I'm doing another water change today, and will be getting the test kit and prime shortly. I will post my test's results once I get them. I also have another question. I've learned that it's best not to medicate unless absolutely necessary. What is the purpose of dosing prazi when getting new fish? I won't be getting additional goldfish or upgrading the tank until i get at least a couple years of experience under my belt. But I feel like it must be important to understand that topic since you posted me the link. (Also, thanks for telling me my fish will be ok. I was worried.)

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For all practical purposes, all goldfish have flukes and, when healthy, most coexist with their flukes.  Fish who have lived together in the same  pond/tank for a long time will all carry the same strain of flukes and will all have enough "immunity" to that strain of flukes that everyone stay healthy.  If a fish gets sick, injured or stressed, the immune system suffers and the flukes can multiply and make the fish ill.  Since  moving to a new environment is stressful to fish and gaining new tankmates exposes them to flukes to which they have little immunity, and also because prazi is a very safe drug,  treating with prazi has become a standard part of quarantining new fish.  So far, flukes do not appear to become resistant to prazi, unlike the situation with antibiotics.

 

Some people treat their fish with a round or two of prazi on a regular schedule -- like every six months or every spring.  Many breeders treat all their fry with prazi, often starting before hatching.  So the idea is that a prazi treatment is low risk and high benefit.   I only do prazi treatments if fish are being mixed with strangers, or, of course, if they are showing symptoms.

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I did my water change yesterday, and got my test kit today, so I'm not sure what the results would have been, but felt it was in the fish's best interest to do the water change sooner rather than later.

 

All my parameters seemed safe except for the nitrates. They were a bit high. So I imagine my ammonia was higher before the water change as well. I then used the Prime water conditioner. Fish was acting lethargic today, but perked up after using the prime. The darker spots have darkened a smidgen again. I understand that the black marks are a sign of healing. Are they temporary like a scab, or are they more permanent like a scar?

 

For all practical purposes, all goldfish have flukes and, when healthy, most coexist with their flukes.  Fish who have lived together in the same  pond/tank for a long time will all carry the same strain of flukes and will all have enough "immunity" to that strain of flukes that everyone stay healthy.  If a fish gets sick, injured or stressed, the immune system suffers and the flukes can multiply and make the fish ill.  Since  moving to a new environment is stressful to fish and gaining new tankmates exposes them to flukes to which they have little immunity, and also because prazi is a very safe drug,  treating with prazi has become a standard part of quarantining new fish.  So far, flukes do not appear to become resistant to prazi, unlike the situation with antibiotics.

 

Some people treat their fish with a round or two of prazi on a regular schedule -- like every six months or every spring.  Many breeders treat all their fry with prazi, often starting before hatching.  So the idea is that a prazi treatment is low risk and high benefit.   I only do prazi treatments if fish are being mixed with strangers, or, of course, if they are showing symptoms.

Ok, thanks! I think I get it.

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Please don't tease us with info that the parameters "seemed safe" or were "a bit high".  We want the numbers and nothing else will do!  :please  

While we do love data, it's also true that a set of parameters collectively give us lots of clues about what might be happening.

 

The black marks -- if they are what we think -- go away completely.

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Please don't tease us with info that the parameters "seemed safe" or were "a bit high".  We want the numbers and nothing else will do!  :please  

While we do love data, it's also true that a set of parameters collectively give us lots of clues about what might be happening.

 

The black marks -- if they are what we think -- go away completely.

lol. XD That's good. I also noticed that some of the black marks from when I got her have expanded as well. I think they're the same thing.

 

I used a drop test this time. I was only able to get the Nutrafin Mini Master Test Kit for now. It doesn't include measuring hardness or alkalinity, but measures ammonia. So I got it.

 

Nitrate - definitely higher than 5, lower than 20. I hate comparing shades of purple. >.< The booklet I got said that high nitrates promote an uncontrolled growth of algae. And I had a big sudden growth of algae. So that leads me to believe it was higher than 10. I think 10 - 20 is high?

 

Nitrites - between 0.1 and 0.3. It was another shade of purple. Difficult for me to see the differences. DX

 

Ph - 6.5, and super obvious. I love how the colours are so different on that scale.

 

Ammonia - 0.6. very pale yellow. Almost no colour at all.

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Nitrate is OK.  Nitrite is OK since you are using salt, which protects the fish, but otherwise the only safe level is zero..  Ammonia is too high unless you are using Prime water conditioner.  Prime will protect against up to 1.0 ppm ammonia for up to 48 hours. Otherwise, the only safe level of ammonia is zero.  

 

The pH is low.  Any pH below 6.5 is dangerous for goldfish.  We really like to see the pH above 7.0.  Now I will modify what I said above.  At a pH of 6.5, 0.6 ppm ammonia is not toxic.  Unfortunately, that pH is borderline toxic.  :(

 

Please test your tap water with this test kit.  We need to know if the tap is also 6.5 pH or if the pH is dropping after the water goes in the tank.  Since almost everyone here uses the API test kit, we aren't familiar with the colors in the Nutrifin kit.  It really helps a lot if you can take a picture of your tests next to the chart and post that.  I think the comparison is actually easier in a photo than observed directly.

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Nitrate is OK.  Nitrite is OK since you are using salt, which protects the fish, but otherwise the only safe level is zero..  Ammonia is too high unless you are using Prime water conditioner.  Prime will protect against up to 1.0 ppm ammonia for up to 48 hours. Otherwise, the only safe level of ammonia is zero.  

 

The pH is low.  Any pH below 6.5 is dangerous for goldfish.  We really like to see the pH above 7.0.  Now I will modify what I said above.  At a pH of 6.5, 0.6 ppm ammonia is not toxic.  Unfortunately, that pH is borderline toxic.  :(

 

Please test your tap water with this test kit.  We need to know if the tap is also 6.5 pH or if the pH is dropping after the water goes in the tank.  Since almost everyone here uses the API test kit, we aren't familiar with the colors in the Nutrifin kit.  It really helps a lot if you can take a picture of your tests next to the chart and post that.  I think the comparison is actually easier in a photo than observed directly.

 

 

What you said about the tests being easier to read in photos. Holy cow. Apparently I can't differentiate colours irl. XD I hope it's easier in photos, because the ph test looks much better that way. Here's a photo. I'll take pics of the other tests and re-post the results. And maybe I'll post the images for them too. And I'll measure the tap water again.

 

And I am using Prime Water Conditioner now.

 

Tank Ph

Ph%20test_zpswf7eemiu.jpg

 

Ignore my baggy eyes. DX

Edited by GrumpyFish
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http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q689/KatrinaFreedom/Nitrite%20Test_zpsp2ak0mm3.jpg

Nitrite. Shades of purple are still difficult for me to tell, though they look darker now. :(

 

http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q689/KatrinaFreedom/Nitrate%20Test_zpserawrz31.jpg

Nitrate. Shades of purple are still difficult for me to tell, though they look darker now. :(

 

http://s1354.photobucket.com/user/KatrinaFreedom/media/Ammonia%20Test_zps5eo7ub8k.jpg.html?sort=3&o=2

Ammonia. Still looks pale yellow even though I used Prime Water Conditioner. Should I be putting more Prime in?

 

Running late for work. I will check back during my break.

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I cant read the numbers on the nitrate and nitrite charts.  I also don't know why we are getting a mirror image.  The ammonia reading looks like somewhere between 0 and 1.0 -- a pretty wide error range.  I would not use this test kit.  Adding Prime does not affect the ammonia reading.  It doesn't take the ammonia away, it just changes it to a safe form.

 

To my eyes nitrite matches nothing on the chart because it appears bluer than any of the chart colors.

 

The nitrate looks to me most  like the second or third blocks.

 

I hope someone else looks at this!

 

When you take a picture, hold the tube so the solution is next to what seems to be the best reading.

 

Please check the pH.

 

Also get all the parameters of your tap water.

Edited by shakaho
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I cant read the numbers on the nitrate and nitrite charts.  I also don't know why we are getting a mirror image.  The ammonia reading looks like somewhere between 0 and 1.0 -- a pretty wide error range.  I would not use this test kit.  Adding Prime does not affect the ammonia reading.  It doesn't take the ammonia away, it just changes it to a safe form.

 

To my eyes nitrite matches nothing on the chart because it appears bluer than any of the chart colors.

 

The nitrate looks to me most  like the second or third blocks.

 

I hope someone else looks at this!

 

When you take a picture, hold the tube so the solution is next to what seems to be the best reading.

 

Please check the pH.

 

Also get all the parameters of your tap water.

 

 

Sorry I didn't post earlier. It was a busy day at work, so I only had time to eat and get back on the floor. I'm going to see if I can find the API kit this Monday. I work a full day Sunday, so nothing will be open when I'm off work.

 

PH is better, it's at 7.0.

The test goes from 0 to 0.6, and then to 1.2. The ammonia is 0.6.

Nitrate is between 20 and 50 (the freshwater colours are on the right side in the photo). So that's the third or fourth square down on the right.

I agree the Nitrite doesn't look like the colours on the chart. But it's darker, so I would guess that it's 1.6 or 3.3.

 

My fish is looking really bad. I feel like a horrible person. I thought I would be so much better at this. Not much has changed in terms of dark spots, but is now definitely quite lethargic and has frayed fins. I think I'm going to change my game plan and do smaller water changes every day so I don't stress her out as much.

 

I'm going to test the tap water now. brb.

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I'd recommend 25% water changes daily.  I'll also suggest adding some salt to the water, 0.1% -- 1 teaspoon per gallon.  This will prevent damage from the high nitrite, and it also has a soothing effect.

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I'd recommend 25% water changes daily.  I'll also suggest adding some salt to the water, 0.1% -- 1 teaspoon per gallon.  This will prevent damage from the high nitrite, and it also has a soothing effect.

 

Ok, I finished up with that. I was a bit nervous to add all the salt at once, so I did about half that amount to make sure that the fish doesn't react worse. I'm just going to watch her for a while before I add in the rest. Should I add any additional salt when I do my daily water changes? Or let the current amount of salt slowly decrease with the daily water changes?

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