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Oranda Godlfish help

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My 14 year old son has several aquariums that he's managed for years. About a week and a half ago, he brought home an Oranda goldfish and introduced it to his 40 gallon tank (which already has 2 angelfish) I told him his tank couldn't handle another fish because it was past its threshold. We planned to get a bigger tank that week. The fish was adjusting well but on day 3, I noticed that his wen looked like it was being nipped at. A big chunk of his wen was torn off. We called to pet store to see if we could take it back but they wouldn't let us. So I purchased a 20 gallon tank that same day to separate them. The tank didn't get to cycle, but I figured this was better than having his wen picked at. It's been almost a week now and as you can expect- getting worse. After research, I'm noticing that I should have set up a hospital tank but I'm not sure what the difference is - if he's already quarantined in it's own tank. Closely monitored the fish each day and did 50% water changes, added aquarium salt, melafix(for the wen), stress coat and aquaeon Pure. Is this too much? 

Day 1 in quarantine tank: Main issue was the Wen, fish was eating fine and active

Day 2: Noticed wen like material on the wen; learned that this could be wen growth but concerned it was a parasite or fungus. Fish still eating fine and active

Day 3: Noticed Fish scales start to turn red and wen is looking worse 

Day 4: Fish scales look red and now it looks like it's just hanging at the top. Concerned it could be fish bladder disease so I plan to withheld food for 48 hours and feed peas.

Day 5: Fish scales look red, the dorsal fins /fin rays are now red from hanging at the top  Research says it could be high stress so my main concern is getting the water levels right. High/poor readings throughout this whole time. As expected with just cycling a new tank with a fish in it :(

Day 6: Fish is not active at all anymore. Just stays in the corner. 

Day 7:Tried feeding the fish peas and won't eat. Tried pellets and flakes. He won't eat or go to the bottom. His scales  look really bad but it's wen looks like it's recovering. :( Doesn't look like there is a good outcome but I'm still willing to try and get these water conditions to where they need to be and at least try for the fishy. I want to learn from this if anything. Feel bad for the guy. It's so depressing. Wish I could put him out of his misery and I wish he knew that I was trying! What could I be doing more of? What am I doing wrong - aside from cycling with a poor fish? Is my water temperature too high? Should I be changing more than 50%? I don't have any airstones, which I can add but I don't think this is the biggest  issue. For every water change, I try to add more oxygen in by dropping in the water slowly up high. Any help is appreciated. More details below. 

Using Tetra EasyStrips and after research, realized that these may not be the most helpful. I can purchase some better ones tonight. By now the lady at the fish store, says she'll give me whatever discount she can because she feels bad because I've been there everyday. I don't need a discount, I just need more solid advice on how to help my fish. :/

 Ammonia Level(Tank): strips do not read Ammonia levels :/

 Nitrite Level(Tank): In the stress zone (1.0 -3.0) 

 Nitrate level(Tank): In the safe/unsafe zone: (40 -80) 

 Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)Neutral/Alkaline (7.2 - 7.8)

 Water temperature? 74 w/heater (I know they are cold water fish. I have a heater...should I lower the temp and take this out. Trying to avoid even more stress as he's been in this environment for a week now) 

 Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gal; see story above before I'm condemned for being a bad fish mom and not fully cycling before :( 

 What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Quietflow Pro Power Filter

 How often do you change the water and how much? Daily since Day 1/50% water change, when the nitrate levels were too high, I did an almost complete water change one day

 How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? This morning, 50% 

 How many fish in the tank and their size? 1

 What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime 

 What do you feed your fish and how often? Thought it was swim bladder disease so I didn't feed him for 2 days. After 48 hours, tried to give him peas and he wouldn't eat it. Tried pellets and flakes and he wouldn't eat that either. 

 Any new fish added to the tank? NO

 Any medications added to the tank? Melafix daily, last 5 days, Aquarium Salt


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Poor guy :( FYI - my son said his scales were already missing but I didn’t notice that till he was in his quarantine tank and after things started going south so I’m not too sure if that’s true. 


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Angelfish are way, way too aggressive to be in with a goldfish, as it looks like you discovered. Once they get injured or stressed it can be a difficult recovery, but we will try our best to help :)

How much aquarium salt are you using? That is going to be far more useful than melafix, which is kind of garbage (sadly). We want to ratio up to about .3%, replaced every time you do a water change. Please take out any substrate or decor right now too, and keep the tank dark. You want a filter, air stone, and heater. That’s basically it until we can get on top of the injuries, okay? 

Here is a good primer for how to use salt, which is going to be our first line of defense:


On top of the salt, please gradually warm up your tank to 77-78 degrees, over the next day or two. Warmer will speed up his metabolism and healing :)



Second, it looks like you’re ahead of us - definitely get the API liquid master test kit for freshwater aquariums, not the strips, if the pet shop has it. If not, Amazon and Chewy definitely do. 
https://www.chewy.com/api-freshwater-aquarium-master-test/dp/121955?utm_id=401427328&msclkid=5961f0c6b8d11cfed291af12badd4edf&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping-Product Targets-Consumables-SSP-DDG&utm_term=4585581968222739&utm_content=All Products



Third, your next purchases should be Methylene Blue (which the fish store might have) and Furan-2 (which you may need to order online). The first is a stronger antiseptic and very healing to topical injuries with little drawback, like the salt is, and protective in a cycling tank against nitrite poisoning too. The Furan-2 is a good gram negative antibiotic, should the injuries have become infected or allowed an opportunistic bacterial pathogen to take hold of your weakened fish. I’m hoping it won’t come to it, but it’s a good one to have on hand as you build your fish pharmacy :)


In summary, I’m hopeful we can help your little oranda. He needs to be alone in his tank or only with other goldfish, and you’ll need to be testing the water regularly to watch that the ammonia and nitrite levels aren’t spiking beyond levels that are controllable. If either is registering above .25 ppms on your freshwater test kit, it’s time for a large (80% or more) water change and redose of the salt. We also want to keep the nitrate under 20 ppms at ALL TIMES, and 5-10 ppms would be better.

 I like just keeping a cottage cheese tub or little bucket on hand and having the fish in it while water changing and waiting for the salt to dissolve, so he’s not subjected to major spikes and swings that come with cleaning the tank.

If he will eat, feed lightly twice daily, no peas just pellets like Omega One or NLS. Just enough for two mouthfuls of food, maybe ten small pellets? Food is another source of stress for a sick goldfish, but we don’t want him weakening further either. However less food also means less waste in the system and a little more margin on water changes while you have treatment going. I’m hopeful just salt and clean, warm water will do the trick over the next two or three weeks, but we may need to obtain more intensive treatments for him if the injuries become complicated by infections.

Any questions or anything that isn’t clear?

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Thank you sooo much for this information!! This is really really helpful and heartwarming to know that there is help. I'm making a run to the pet store now and hope to find most of these products. Will order online whatever I can't find.

As far as the salt goes, I was putting in about 2 teaspoons to each water change, which at the time was about 50%. I also had the lights running and all the decor still in, so I'll be sure to take those out. In regards to removing substrate, just to clarify - is this all the gravel?

Everything else is all very clear. Again, appreciate your thoroughness. Fingers crossed little guy heals and lives! 


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Yes. Remove the gravel for sure. It’s not very safe with goldfish anyway, unless it is marble size or larger, because they sometimes suck it up snd get it stuck in their mouths. Sand or river rocks are the best choice, but for a sick fish bare bottom is the easiest to keep clean and control :)

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