Jump to content

Help! 11 Year Old Goldfish - Ammonia/Nitrite Poisoning? Ich? bacterial septicemia?


Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member

Where to start - we have an 11 year old comet goldfish named Dwight that everyone thinks is a Koi. We just moved him from California to New York City on July 31st and just a week after that we started seeing symptoms. Here is the full timeline below:

Current Situation & Water Parameters as of Friday 8/13/21
-One 11 year old comet goldfish (no other animals) and 3 plants (found a small snail around 8/4 that must have hitchhiked with the plants - snail is no where to be seen now) 
-New 40 Gallon Breeder Tank with bio filter (no carbon). Not cycled yet - added bacteria starter 7/26 and have been adding per instructions (weekly for the first month) 
-Water temperature: 72-78 degrees (depending on the day)
-Ammonia: 0ppm
-Nitrate: 10ppm
-Nitrite: 1ppm (I know we need to get this to 0, doing daily water changes - should I do 100% water change?)
-Hardness (GH): 150ppm
-Buffer (KH): 80ppm
-pH: 7.0 (will eventually get this between 7.2-7.8, targeting 7.5 but want to wait until we get everything else sorted to avoid pH shock)
-Chlorine: 0ppm

Photos of Dwight: https://imgur.com/a/3LFSw1h

The Move (Started 7/29/21 - Arrived 7/31/21)
-Thursday 7/29: We went to a professional aquarium store near LAX who packaged him professionally (styrofoam box, fresh water, multiple layers of bags + oxygen) at their closing time (6pm)
-We went to board our flight at midnight and was refused by the check in clerk to take live fish into check in (contrary to what the fish store told us, though we shouldn't have listened to them and gone off the TSA website)
-Unfortunately Dwight stayed overnight in his small, dark bag

-Friday 7/30: The next morning my fiancee's father took him back to the store to get him a new bag, fresh water, more oxygen and to have him overnighted to New York

-Saturday 7/31: We receive Dwight in New York at around 10am. It's a new 40 gallon breeder tank with new plants, gravel, and a Seachem Tidal 55 gallon filter with bio filter media (no carbon). We set up the Tank on Monday 7/26 and had put a bacteria starter in the tank to get it going. I was also hoping this was enough time to quarantine the plants before Dwight arrived (perhaps it wasn't enough time)

-August 8/1 - August 8/6: Everything seems to be fine though Dwight seems to be slightly lethargic. We chalked it up to stress from the travel and being in a new tank. Neither my fiancee or I have been around Dwight much the last 4 years as my fiancee's parents have been taking care of him. His eyes are slightly glazed and he seems to be a bit blind (not seeing flake food at the surface or pellets that drop on him). We think he's just old and losing some eye sight. Needless to say, lots of food goes uneaten and the gravel hides it well. I'm kicking myself for not gravel vac'ing sooner and not testing water parameters this important first week (I was busy planning my proposal and also playing host to my fiancee's family who I flew out as a surprise)

-Friday August 8/6 & Saturday August 8/7: My fiancee seems a bit concerned about Dwight as he seems lethargic and some red spots / bloody veins develop on his fins. I thought perhaps he had just become old and was lethargic from age so didn't think much about it

-Monday August 8/9: After work, we notice the red, bleeding veins have worsened and Dwight is now flashing (swimming frantically at times, looks like he tries to rub his side on the gravel, plays with the aerator - swimming head down into the bubbles). We start to get worried

-Tuesday August 8/10 (Photos Below): We spot some white spots on the fins and immediately think it's Ich. I go to buy treatment right away (API Super Ich Cure along with API Melafix, and API Aquarium Salt). We do our first dose of Super Ich Cure and API Aquarium salt according to the label instructions. We holdout on the Melafix. 

Tuesday 8/10 Photos of Dwight

https://imgur.com/QnFqx50

https://imgur.com/VmB8E6D

Wednesday 8-11: We do nothing per Super Ich instructions

Thursday 8-12: I notice Dwight's left eye is bulging, has a red ring, and has frosted over. His right eye looks the same (photo below). I think he must have ran into the filter and injured his eye the night before. We add API Melafix to help with any bacterial issues. We also do a 25% water change as the Nitrite levels are between 1-5ppm. Ammonia is at 0ppm - we get nitrite down to 1ppm and didn't want to do too drastic of a water change. We add salt and Super Ich Cure back in for the amount of water we took out

https://imgur.com/Dok3yRz

Friday 8-13: Dwight is looking worse with more hemorrhaging and bloody veins than ever and is now gasping for air at the surface. His right eye is now also cloudy, developing a red ring around it and bulging - I'm getting pretty worried! I test nitrite and ammonia. Ammonia is 0ppm but nitrite is back to 5ppm+! I do a 33% water change to get it back down to 1ppm (should I do a full water change at this point?). I'm also thinking about getting all the gravel out as I think there must be trapped food releasing lots of ammonia/nitrite into the water. I start to question if this is Ich. Calling around, some aquarium store owners think its Nitrite/Ammonia poisoning or bacterial/fungal because hemmoraghing / bloody veins isn't typically one of the first symptoms of Ich. One person adamantly says this is nitrite/ammonia poisoning and I need to do a 100% water change, don't feed Dwight until Monday (we haven't fed him since Tuesday - 4 days now). Another person said we should feed a sick fish to help him get better and that this is probably bacterial or fungal so we need a broad spectrum antibiotic. Another one said this is Ich and that we need to raise the water temperature and continue treatment for another 10 days. 

So much conflicting advice - I don't know what to do! 

Photos of current condition:

-Tail and fins have fewer white spots than before but are much redder

https://imgur.com/ttljOgU

-Right eye is now cloudy and beginning to swell as well

https://imgur.com/85H8j0X

-A lot more bloody veins! Poor guy!

https://imgur.com/Yc9wqH0


I have no idea how to proceed as I don't want to over treat the water. I also don't want to heat the water up for Ich treatment as I hear that lowers the available oxygen in the water. Dwight is already struggling for oxygen. It's been 4 days of ich treatment - Super Ich Cure says to stop treatment now and start using carbon to filter out the water. However there are still white spots so if it's Ich then it's still on Dwight. Also, I called around and people are telling me that Melafix is a sham (just tea tree oil that sits on the surface).

Treatment Questions:
-Should I do a large water change (50-100%)? I already did a 33% change this morning (Friday 8/13)
-Should I continue adding aquarium salt? If so, how much?
-Should I feed Dwight? 
-Should I continue Super Ich Cure treatment?
-Should I stop using Melafix?
-Should I use antibiotics like Erythromycin just in case it's bacterial or fungal related?
-Should I be adding starter bacteria during this process to try and get the cycle jump started?

Someone please help!

PS I have videos too but don't know how to post them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

What type of test do you have, Liquid or strips, Liquid api test are the best. I would use Prime as my conditioner. Do daily 50% water changes until your tank cycles. Feed very, sparingly. It looks like you may have a bacterial issue called septicemia. Purchase a product called Furan or Furazone. It is very effective. I also notice his eye cloudy. has he always been like that.  I would stop the Super Ich treatment as I do not see that issue. Melafix is a waste of time and not really a medication. Those starter bacteria kits really do not work. Just do large daily water changes, minimal feeding, Use Prime, Treat with Furan/Furazone. Congrats on having a fish live 11 years you must be doing a lot things correctly. If you decide to treat with Furan/Furazone, I believe you need to remove the carbon.

Vacuum that gravel too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
  • Thank you spider man, this is really helpful. I'm going to go pick up some Furan right now! 
  • I've been using test strips from Aquarium Co-Op - perhaps I should get some liquid api test kits? 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

PPS I just bought Fritz Maracyn (Erythromycin) and Seachem NeoPlex - I'm thinking about starting the erythromycin as I'm leaning towards this being a case of bacterial septicemia. Would love to get some thoughts before doing a 50% water change, stopping the ich treatment, and moving to Erythromycin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

PPPS People are telling me start with Kanaplex (can't find Furan 2 - people say to use both). I'm going to go get Kanaplex and start on that before using Erythromycin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

UPDATE: He's doing so much better after just one treatment of Kanaplex and Metroplex!!!!! 

I think it was definitely bacterial septicemia. Photos of Dwight now back at the bottom and much less hemorrhaging! 

Saturday 8/14 Morning:

 

8-14 Saturday Morning.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Helper

Yes, he got sick with the tank cycling and stressing him. If you have obtained a liquid test kit (as mentioned above they’re much much more accurate) please test your water morning and night. As soon as nitrite or ammonia crosses .25 ppms you need a water change, and I advocate as big as possible - 80-100%. It’s much less stress for the fish than massive parameter swings and only adds another week or two to the duration of time it takes the tank’s filter to mature.

 

To ease nitrite poisoning you can add 1 teaspoon of aquarium safe salt (pure salt, no additives like iodine or anti caking agents - pickling or rock salt work great)  per gallon of water. Methylene blue is another great treatment if you’re seeing nitrite spikes, you can keep that in the water at 1 teaspoon per five gallons.  These would be treatments to consider once the antibiotics are complete, along with your daily water testing. Depending on the tank size and fish messiness sometimes twice daily changes that are smaller work better - I do that on fry tanks and when I get a new fish in quarantine.

 

ultimarely though, Dwight’s issues were husbandry related - not changing out the water enough or frequently enough with an immature filter to keep the waste products breaking down under control. It’s also sometimes called new tank syndrome, and happens in cycling tanks. But the good news is that if you are watchful daily and stay on top of large volume changes enough to control those spiking parameters he should regain his good health and stay healthy. But once a fish is stressed by fluctuating or poor water quality their immune system weakens and they can become susceptible to bacterial overgrowth such as pseudomonas and aeromonas, which cause many of our infections we see commonly in aquaria. The antibiotics were the right treatment. Please poke us if this happens again before buying meds and we are happy to help you narrow down what to use and in what time duration and dose. But hopefully Dwight remains healthy for many more months of life! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
4 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yes, he got sick with the tank cycling and stressing him. If you have obtained a liquid test kit (as mentioned above they’re much much more accurate) please test your water morning and night. As soon as nitrite or ammonia crosses .25 ppms you need a water change, and I advocate as big as possible - 80-100%. It’s much less stress for the fish than massive parameter swings and only adds another week or two to the duration of time it takes the tank’s filter to mature.

 

To ease nitrite poisoning you can add 1 teaspoon of aquarium safe salt (pure salt, no additives like iodine or anti caking agents - pickling or rock salt work great)  per gallon of water. Methylene blue is another great treatment if you’re seeing nitrite spikes, you can keep that in the water at 1 teaspoon per five gallons.  These would be treatments to consider once the antibiotics are complete, along with your daily water testing. Depending on the tank size and fish messiness sometimes twice daily changes that are smaller work better - I do that on fry tanks and when I get a new fish in quarantine.

 

ultimarely though, Dwight’s issues were husbandry related - not changing out the water enough or frequently enough with an immature filter to keep the waste products breaking down under control. It’s also sometimes called new tank syndrome, and happens in cycling tanks. But the good news is that if you are watchful daily and stay on top of large volume changes enough to control those spiking parameters he should regain his good health and stay healthy. But once a fish is stressed by fluctuating or poor water quality their immune system weakens and they can become susceptible to bacterial overgrowth such as pseudomonas and aeromonas, which cause many of our infections we see commonly in aquaria. The antibiotics were the right treatment. Please poke us if this happens again before buying meds and we are happy to help you narrow down what to use and in what time duration and dose. But hopefully Dwight remains healthy for many more months of life! :)

Thank you Arctic Mama - I really wish I posted online when symptoms first started to show. I definitely won't be trusting test strips in the future, perhaps we would've caught the ammonia spike that started this whole mess earlier. 

For Methylene blue - is there anything else I should know about it? Start it after antibiotic treatment?

Thanks again.

P.S. Should we keep adding bacterial starter to try and kickstart the cycle during antibiotic treatment or is just a waste of time? Kanaplex and Metroplex (the two antibiotics we're using) say they do minimal damage to the healthy bacteria. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Helper

Don’t bother with the bacterial starter, they really don’t seem to work and cost a lot for the privilege of not doing much. They can also react with the medication. So if you’re going to use it, do it after the antibiotics.

 

Generally speaking you want to dose antibiotics in a hospital tank with no filter, just a heater and air stone. The filter’s bio load can make the antibiotics oxidize faster as they react with the biological matter in the aquarium, so a bare tank and no filter tends to be leaner and more effective for treatment. Also they tend to be smaller so they’re cheaper to dose.

 

That said, neither medicine should harm your filter’s cycling. The meth blue can cause a little bump but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, especially when you have a bump happening anyway every day as it matures ;) It’s more protective for the fish than antiseptic to the filter. Begin that AFTER your last day of antibiotics please. We don’t want to add them all at once unless we have to. When meds are completed consider salt and meth blue together, but not overlapping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

 

13 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Don’t bother with the bacterial starter, they really don’t seem to work and cost a lot for the privilege of not doing much. They can also react with the medication. So if you’re going to use it, do it after the antibiotics.

 

Generally speaking you want to dose antibiotics in a hospital tank with no filter, just a heater and air stone. The filter’s bio load can make the antibiotics oxidize faster as they react with the biological matter in the aquarium, so a bare tank and no filter tends to be leaner and more effective for treatment. Also they tend to be smaller so they’re cheaper to dose.

 

That said, neither medicine should harm your filter’s cycling. The meth blue can cause a little bump but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, especially when you have a bump happening anyway every day as it matures ;) It’s more protective for the fish than antiseptic to the filter. Begin that AFTER your last day of antibiotics please. We don’t want to add them all at once unless we have to. When meds are completed consider salt and meth blue together, but not overlapping.

Thank you Arctic Mama! Super helpful! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Update: Dwight is doing sooooo much better and is looking like he'll make it!

He hasn't eaten in a week, his left eye is still quite swollen, and both eyes are a little frosted over. We're afraid of the long term damage to his eyes and would love advice on how to feed a goldfish with vision problems. 

Special thank you to Arctic Mama and Spider Man for your helpful advice! 

Photo Updates:

Wednesday 8-18

1166829567_8-18WednesdayMorning1.thumb.jpg.b39dbe962067f1c85772901c72b35b55.jpg

The treatment that saved Dwight:

-Seachem Kanaplex

-Seachem Metroplex

-Seachem Prime

-API Aquarium Salt

-Daily Water Changes / Monitoring Ammonia and Nitrite

-Taking out the gravel and getting all the detritus and leftover food out of the water

The first two treated the bacterial septicemia but the last two were the real long term cures of the illness. Prime and salt is a great way to keep the nitrite and ammonia at bay while we get this tank cycled.

245932680_8-18WednesdayMorning2.thumb.jpg.735c1015076eb98a8c55044b99714bcf.jpg

 

Lessons learned:

-Test daily when putting a fish in a new, un-cycled tank

-Use Seachem Prime to treat the water - it will not only dechlorinate and treat heavy metals, but it will also bind to ammonia and nitrite to make it less harmful 

-Watch your fish eat the food you put in, if any goes uneaten, take it out immediately

-Be careful with gravel and what kind of food you're feeding - so much small flake food was lost in the gravel and it created a layer of rotting food at the bottom of the tank. Even after several gravel vacs, there was still a lot left over when I finally decided to take out all the gravel

-For bloody streaks in the body or fins, this could be bacterial septicemia. Treat with Seachem Kanaplex and Metroplex together as a broad spectrum antibiotic treatment 

 

Thank you everyone again! Dwight is a fighter!! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Amazing news, Dwight is eating off the floor again!!! He was already swimming at the bottom this morning and it looked like he was trying to pick algae off the glass so I thought he might be ready to eat something.

I dropped some pellets to the bottom and he quickly ate them up! At this point I'm calling it a recovery!! Thank you everyone for reading this crazy journey of Dwight's!

Cheers

340792922_8-18AfternoonRecovery!.thumb.jpg.aa64036e56e60fe0c5c205ebd5c16dd4.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...