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Goldfish Grooming - Not!


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Just when I think I've seen it all . . . 

 

I have a 75 gal and it houses a single, black moor (Lou).  He is a pretty big guy - size of a baseball.  I've had him for years.  His tank mate, another Moor named Po, recently died due to septicemia.  My fault.  Bad husbandry due to a death in my family.  I had removed Po to another tank and put her under QT.  I even dosed Lou's tank to cover all my bases.  After 20+ days, I lost Po.  So Lou had been alone and lonely for quite some time.  He never showed any signs of illness.  So I decided it was time to get some tank mates.  Recently I purchased a ranchu and a pearl scale.  They're both quite smaller than Lou but everything has been going fine.  Well, I came home today and found the two new goldies "grooming" Lou.  Being so big, Lou will rest on the bottom every now and then.  He tends to rest in the middle of the day for a little while.  Also, being a male, Lou had some breeding stars on his front fins and a couple near his gills.  Nothing significant and very typical for him.  (No it's not ich).  Well, It appears that the new tankmates were eating off his stars!  First I thought, "Wow! they're grooming Lou."  But then I noticed that they started nibbling all over his body.  He was just laying there at first, so I assumed he was okay with it, but then he'd get bothered and swim away.  After awhile, they'd start up again.  This started bothering me and I've never seen this behavior before.  I've had fancies for quite a few years, as well as Comet's so I started googling like crazy.  I can't find anything on it.   I'm assuming this isn't normal behavior. I've never seen my goldfish "groom" each other!  Based on what I'm reading, perhaps Lou is sick and they're actually biting him??  He hasn't shown any sick behavior, especially because I had even dosed the tank last month!  I'm now preparing to remove him to QT.  Any insight??  This is so bizarre!  

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this isn't normal behaviour.. neither is resting on the bottom, unless of course the lights are out and the fish is 'sleeping'.. to the best of my knowledge, a bottom sitting fish can be the beginning of or a clear sign of existing health issues. 

 

i am wondering if at this stage, you would agree your thread be moved to DnD and the form filled out so that we can better understand Lou's health situation?

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i will move your thread now, and paste the form for you to copy and fill out. but please don't go changing fish around until a member of the moderating team is able to give attention to your thread.

 

if this behaviour still continues, taking a video of it so that we can see exactly what they are doing will be best.

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Please copy & paste fill the following form and fill it out to the best of your ability when requesting help for Goldfish Problems:

  • 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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Please copy & paste fill the following form and fill it out to the best of your ability when requesting help for Goldfish Problems:

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank) 0

* Nitrite Level(Tank) 0

* Nitrate level(Tank) 15

* Ammonia Level(Tap) .25

* Nitrite Level(Tap) 0

* Nitrate level(Tap) 0

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.5

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 8.0

Other Required Info:

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

* Water temperature? 70

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 75 gals - 2 yrs

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? API Canister & 55/75 Aqueon HOB

* How often do you change the water and how much? 50% weekly

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Yesterday 50%

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 3 - one adult black moor, one juvenile Ranchu and one juvenile pearl scale

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime

* What do you feed your fish and how often? Omega Sinking Pellets - 2x/day for juveniles

* Any new fish added to the tank? Yes, 2

* Any medications added to the tank? None

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. 1 year ago - 10 day salt due to ich because I had to upgrade the size of tank. The stress from the change caused an outbreak. Kanamycin 10 day treatment ended July 16? Moor only.

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? None

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Eats well. Bottom sits midday for about 1 hour. Has done this for months.

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Just turned on the new tank lights and the Moor has the white hue of a slime coat!  I couldn't see it in the natural light.  I believe this is what the other fish have been 'nibbling' on.  Not happy that I just QT'd two new fish and exposed them to the tank.  I just have to move forward.  I'll wait for direction.

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The curse of Lou's sweet-tasting slime? I don't mean to joke, because it's all quite distressing. If he's "oversliming," then maybe it's parasites? A salt dip might slough off his slime coat, and then allow him to reslime afresh... or maybe the other goldfish will enjoy Lou's salted slime even more than his plain slime? Sorry, that sounded like another joke. Oh... and please disregard these comments, because I am not a mod, obviously.

Edited by tharlow
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The LFS QT's with Kanamyacin. Not sure how long. I QT'd for 10 days with mild salt. Because I had a sick fish in the main tank back in mid-July I wanted to make sure any new fish were healthy. As mentioned above, I had dosed the tank for 10 days with Kanamycin back in July as well. Even though he didn't show signs of illness, his tank mate had septicemia from poor water quality. I assumed he wasn't 100% either. He's black so I couldn't see if he had any streaking. He's always sat on the bottom, but not for long periods. He always appears to just rest, since he's so big. Thanks Shakaho.

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The juveniles were biting him and causing him to bleed. Because Lou is so big, I left him in the 75 gal. I moved the juveniles back to the QT tank. Clearly Lou isn't well. My tank has always been in natural light and I just installed new bulbs so I can decorate with plants. Now I can clearly see he has a slime coat, and a portion of his tail is missing and bleeding. The joints of his caudel fin are now inflamed. Assuming the new fish did this. I'll post a pic.

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Sorry for all the posts.  I need to add some history on Lou since I've had him for so long.  Since I've been giving so much attention to my tanks lately, I had no idea his tail was broken in a few places. I took a pic of one of the broken areas as this is a place where the other fish were biting him.  You can't really see it in the pic, but it's bleeding.  I'm assuming it broke when he got stuck in a decoration a few years back.  He was gouged and hurt pretty bad and it took a while for him to heal.  He was chasing a female and she was trying to hide.  This is also the first time I learned about breeding stars. (Scared to death to ever have ich again). Anyway, this is why I have a bare bottom, no decorations tank.  He used to be housed in a 35 gal when he was just a little guy and that is where he grew up.  When I got the 75 gal two years ago, the transfer caused a breakout of ich.  I stopped it through a salt treatment.  One of my smaller fancies didn't do well with the transfer and salt treatment - he died.  I've only had two fish in the 75 gal.  Lou and another Moor - Po.  My father died at Christmas and I horribly ignored my tanks.  Po got septicemia and SBD really bad and that's why I did the 10-day Kanamyacin treatment on the whole tank.  Po didn't improve so I moved her to QT and continued other treatments (with the help of Jared) but she died recently.  Lou never showed signs of sickness so I left him alone for over a month and watched him.  I've never had lights in this tank because I have it in a nice location - lots of natural light.  I added the new bulbs so I can add some plants but that revealed the slime coat and he's obviously not well. I'm shocked at how horrible he looks.  I even gasped when I turned on the lights! I'm so mad that I added new fish to this whole scenario. I'll keep the juveniles in the smaller tank as long as possible. Wondering if I should dose them as well, since they were exposed to Lou.  Let me know if I should start a different thread for them.  Hope other fishkeepers learn from my mistakes.  After several years of owning fish, a bad bout of poor husbandry is all it takes to kill your friends.

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Get  Lou a tub of his own.  A 10 gallon tote will work fine.  I recommend a shallow one like this.  Most medications dose per ten gallons, so this size makes it  easy to treat him.  Do 100% water changes daily.  You don't need a filter, but if you wish you can get a little HOB and run it for circulation and mechanical filtration.  I think we should start with a series of salt dips.  These will strip the slime coat and 

 

We can start with a 1% salt dip, 1/3 as much salt as in the instructions for the 3% dip.  If he tolerates the 1% salt for the full 5 minutes, use 2% salt for the second dip, two days later.  If you have to remove him before 5 minutes, use 1% salt for the second dip.  Two days after the second dip, follow the same pattern for the third dip -- if he tolerated the second dip for the full 5 minutes, increase the salt concentration, if not, use the same concentration.

 

I suggest you take the 75 down for a complete cleaning.    Scrub the tank, the filters (but save the biomedia), and anything else you want to keep in the tank.  Discard the mechanical filtration media.  Put the biomedia in a bucket of dechlorinated water.   Add a drop or so of ammonia to the bucket, and change the water every day or two.  I want you to feed the nitrifiers so you don't have to cycle all over again but not feed any other microbes. Once you have the filters scrubbed, you can put the biomedia in the filters and let the bucket (or a tote) be the tank.  

 

You should follow our quarantine procedure for the little guys.

 

 

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Thanks Shakaho!  Looks like I got a lot of work ahead of me, but that's okay!  Question:  I'm worried about the few open wounds that Lou now has due to the nibbling from the new little guys.  I know salt dips can be tough on a fish so I want to make sure the sore area's won't be a problem before I start.  I'm off to buy Prazi now.

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Thanks Shakaho!  Looks like I got a lot of work ahead of me, but that's okay!  Question:  I'm worried about the few open wounds that Lou now has due to the nibbling from the new little guys.  I know salt dips can be tough on a fish so I want to make sure the sore area's won't be a problem before I start.  I'm off to buy Prazi now.

The salt actually helps in healing.  You could keep the fish in 0.1% (1 teaspoon per gallon) between dips to soothe the wounds, but I think clean water will do as well.  

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Shakaho, Lou has been on the bottom, in the corner, all day. When I fed him, he didn't even move to eat for about two minutes. Once he was done, back to the corner he went. I haven't dipped him yet. I was going to start tomorrow.

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That doesn't sound good, although eating is a good sign.  

 

Be sure to remove him from the dip as soon as he tips over.  Goldfish can live in continuous 1% salt water, so he should be OK with the dip.  

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He's still in the corner this morning and the broken area of his tail, the place where the other fish were nibbling, fell off. Its about a 3" piece, bone and all. I'm still preparing the items for the dip and I plan on doing it later today. I'll stick with 1% since I know he's not well.

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Looks like Lou tolerated his first 1% dip very well. I'll increase it to 2% tomorrow. He's still at the bottom with little to no movement. I also noticed that his right eye is larger than the left. I never noticed until I had him in the dip and I could view him from the top. He's so black that it's difficult to see differences in his form. Good news is is already sloughed some of his old slime coat.

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I'll increase it to 2% tomorrow.

I think you're supposed to give it an extra day between dips? (Not trying to tell you what to do, but just to prove that I'm reading and paying attention, haha.)

If he tolerates the 1% salt for the full 5 minutes, use 2% salt for the second dip, two days later.

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Good.  I hope he handles the next dip as well.

 

Did you get prazi?  Once you complete the salt dips, we want to treat him with prazi.  Flukes cause a lot of skin damage that can lead to infections.

Edited by shakaho
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