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Newbie....help My Goldfish!

Guest rk2005

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Guest rk2005

I am new to this forum. I hope to get some answers to resolve the problem that my goldfish is having.

I have----

-A 10-gallon tank running since last 2months.

-The water is in prestine condition with 0 ammonia and normal range of pH, nitrites, nitrates.

-A whisper filteration system.

-I do 30% water changes once every week.

-2 goldfish - an oranda fantail and a calico fantail(i think) and a mystery snail.

The calico is showing problems on her fins (named her Tina) :)

I see white spots on her caudal fin and a spot on her dorsal fin.

She is eating and swimming fine, but I don't know what the spots are.

She also shakes her tail (at the anal end) as if she was electrocuted, for a second or so and is fine again. Like quivers in her tail :unsure:

I can post pics if you wish until then, please help me figure out what it is so I can get my fish medicated. :(



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  • Regular Member

Hi there RK and a big welcome to Koko's.

It sounds as though Tina has ich which is basically a ciliated protozoan that encysts under the epidermis of the fish and in its encysted condition, causes small white spots all over the body and fins. It has a life cycle of roughly 2-5 days, unless the water is cool - then it can last 5+ weeks.

So , try addition salt at 1 teaspoon per gallon, then in 12 hours, repeat and in 12 hours, repeat again and if you can, raise the temperature to about 80 deg.

Another way to get rid of it quickly is by vacuuming the gravel everyday. It will remove any of the cysts that fall off.

Ich can be nasty, but if you get it early, it's easier to manage.

Hope this helps and if you have any more questions - shoot :)

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Guest rk2005

Hi Jen,

Thank you for the diagnosis. :D

I did move Tina to a glass bowl last night. I added aquarium salt yesterday, changed 25% of the water today and replaced the salt.

I also got a medicine (the local petstore told me it could be fin rot so they gave it to me) which I added to the water last night and this morning. Its a mild antibacterial formula (made by aquarium pharma.). Should I stop this medicine?

Now, as far as raising the temperature to 80 deg, I don't know how I should do that? :idont given that Tina is in a fish bowl and I have no other place to put her.

What do you suggest on that?

1. Would salt just be enough to get rid of this parasite or should I get a medicine to control ich?

2. Even if the water condition is good how come this happens? :why:

3. Should I move Tina back to the aquarium and then treat the whole aquarium incase the oranda (Mona) has it too? (she does not show any signs of it though)

4. If yes to Qt 3 then, raising the temperature, how would that affect the fish and the snail?

5. Would adding the salt or the medicine affect my mystery snail (Ray) in any way?



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Hi rk

You do need to move Tina back to the aquarium as a bowl is not good even as a temporary home and also the main tank will be already infected with ich so you need to treat that at the same time.

Jen's diagnosis and treatment recomendation is absolutely correct, but there is a little bit more you need to know about dosing with salt. :)

Firstly, remove the snail and any live plants and put them in a temporary home as they cannot tolerate salt. Do not use any salt except aquarium salt (as I know you're already doing, but check it is not 'tonic' salt which can raise the pH level) or regular salt which does NOT contain any anti-caking agents. The teaspoons must be levelled, not heaped, and for the final dose only use half teaspoons, not full. Dissolve the salt completely first in some old tank water before pouring the solution in, well away from the fish and filter.

You do not have to do water changes every day (if you put Tina back in her tank) as the salt will not harm the filter bacteria, but you should keep a closer eye on the parameters and when you do your weekly water change you need to replace however much salt you remove, e.g. if you remove 2 gallons you need to add 5.5 tsps of salt to the new water going back in.

Keep the tank at this salinity level for AT LEAST 5 DAYS after the last white spot has disappeared from the fish; ich has a long life-cycle and the nasty little creatures can easily come back if you stop the treatment too soon. As Jen said, vacuum your gravel very thoroughly when you do your weekly clean to get rid of any ich cysts lurking in it.

Raising the temp to 80F speeds up the ich lifecycle, helping the salt to get rid of it faster, and also boosts the fish's metabolism, helping it fight off the disease. However, water this warm carries little oxygen so you need to aerate it REALLY vigorously - lots of splashing and current and bubbles at the surface - to make sure the fish can breathe properly.

Salt is more than enough to get rid of ich - you do not need another med as well. It is one of the most powerful and effective ich-remedies you can use. In fact, while treating with salt or anything else, do not ever add any other medications at the same time. Many chemicals used in fish meds do not react well to being mixed with salt (or any other medications) and can stress the fish badly. However, if the spots on TIna's fins are not ich and are in fact the first signs of finrot, the salt will treat this too, equally effectively - it is a very helpful remedy!

Ich can appear even in the cleanest and best-run tanks, for it is the commonest parasite and present at very low levels most of time. Usually it isn't a problem at all because a healthy unstressed fish resists infection without effort, but if the fish are at all stressed - as they often are in a fairly new tank - their immune system drops a little and the ich gets a hold.

Hope this helps. :)

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Guest rk2005

Hi emmahj,

Thank you for the detail explanation :thanks It is quite helpful.

As you metioned, first took Ray (snail) out.

I cleaned and vaccumed the gravel and added the salt + water to the tank and transferred Tina back to the tank. :fishtank:

I will get a bubble system and heater today and maintain it at 80deg. As for the salt I have to add 1/2tsp per gallon, right?

Also, do I maintain the salinity at a certain level (ways to measure it?) ? The filter carbon need not be taken out, correct??

I do see some spots on her tail have faded. Thats good. :) Though there are a few which are quite prominent.

However, her tail end seems to have stripped (frayed into thinner segments only at the end). :( Would this also be repaired with the salt treatment?

When I check for the water parameters besides ammonia being 0, what other alarming things should I keep track of (after the salt addition)? :rules:



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Hi again rk, and sorry for the delay in replying. :)

You need to add 1 level tsp per gallon for the first two treatments (every 12 hours) then half a tsp per gallon for the third treatment.

You do not need to take the carbon out as carbon doesn't remove salt (though it would remove any other med). When you have finished the treatment, you can manually remove the salt just through your usual weekly water changes.

Fins fraying at the ends sounds very much like finrot, which is usually caused by a mild bacterial infection, though not always. The salt will treat this, unless the underlying cause is a salt-resistant parasite like flukes; you will know if this is the case because you will see no improvement after a week of treatment (the fins won't heal in a week, but the white spots should be going and the fraying should stop). Once the fins have stopped fraying and you have begun removing the salt, you can add Melafix to the tank, which will help speed up tissue repair in the fins (don't forget to remove the carbon at this point, or it will 'suck out' all the Melafix!). Melafix and salt CAN be used at the same time safely, so it does not matter if you add the Melafix before all the salt is gone.

As for measuring the salinity, this is a very good idea as it is quite easy to overdose with salt (thogh usually not harmful unless it is a real mega-overdose). You can get liquid test kits or you can buy an electronic probe (which is what I use): very expensive but oh so quick and easy! :D

Apart from the ammonia, you also need to keep an eye on the nitr*I*te, the nitr*A*te and the pH levels (especially nitrite and pH). It is definitely worth buying the liquid testing kits for all these. AP does a good range.

Let us know how Tina gets on. :)

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Guest rk2005

Hi Emma, I was just about to post a message...was waiting impatiently for a reply :krazy:

I have a airstone with lot of bubble action and the heater running and constant at 80*.

For the fin-rot, should I use the melafix now or wait till the ick disappears?

I do not want to get something expensive like an electronic probe so is there another way to measure salinity.

How about the test strips used to measure pH? they measure acidity and alkalinity right?? Would that work?

If yes, then what number or percent should I look at to maintain the salinity?

I was reading on different sites that ick if not controlled spreads rapidly and could be fatal to the fish. With this salt treatment...how long does it take for the ick to disappear? I don't want Mona to contract it :(

I found various medications at the petstore and also something called 'Tank buddies' that fizz when added to the tank to cure these ailments.

How safe and fast are they to cure the disease? Do you recommend using it? Or should the salt be enough to do the job?

Does anyone know how to upload pictures in the message itself??

:thanks will keep you updated on her progress.

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Guest blueeyes203

i hope this is not too late:

don't salt and medicate at the same time!

wait until the ich is completely gone. If you are using a med for the ich, i would be careful about the salt...my fishy got sicker when she had ick and i used "quick cure" and salt.

if your fish still has the ich, i would suggest to stop the salting (or reduce it to very little) and start on some kind of ick cure medicine. Remove the carbon filter when using meds so it isn't filtered out of the water, and raise the water temp to about 80 b/c it will quicken the life of the ich.

Ich won't be affected while it's on her...it has to go through it's lifespan, and then it'll come free of your fish to lay eggs in the gravel...when it comes of off the fish is when the treatment will kill the ich.

ALSO: cover the tank b/c if it hatches, it has a harder time finding the fish in the dark and that's when the treatment will work. It does take a few days, and even though you expect results as soon as you put the treatment in, it won't until the ich comes free of your fish. don't forget to vacuume to get up the dead ich and eggs

my fish is still recovering from her fins being torn and warn down by the ich (she actually has some blue stains on the edges from the drops i used lol) but she is 100% healthy now (except for a few scales that are growing back that she lost durring the whole ordeal) If the ich get's up to your fish' gills...i only hope that doesn't happen.

judging that it's been 5 days since your last post, i pray that the ich is gone, if not, i wish you the best

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Guest blueeyes203

oh yeah, and there are fizzies for ick...they were recommended to me, but i had already started treatment with something else (don't switch meds durring treatment) i would suggest the do the water change and in a bucket out of the tank with the water you are about to put back in, put the fizzies in there (you don't want the fish eating the fizzi) once dissolved, then add the water. just make sure you get the right one b/c i know there's "bowl buddies" for conditioning water which is not what you would want to get.

i would suggest to get some kind of test kit, whether it be strips or drops. I bought an easy kit of strips that test ammonia on one strip, and the other strip tests nirtrite, nitrate, hardnes, alkalinity, and ph. It was $20 and the strips are easy and go a long way. i forget what they are called though. i wouldn't worry about the salt too much unless you are putting in more than 1 tbsp per 5 gallons (that is what is suggested for salt water fish) but i don't like to use salt unless the nitrite is too high, and even then, i don't use much

good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest rk2005

Okay this is the deal.....the thing that I suspected to be ick is not ICK :huh: but something else.....lets call it "BLA", it looks as if I dropped melted wax on her tail (base where the tail starts).....its translucent..opaque...small white things :idont

She eats well, swims well nothing wrong there...its just her tail thats bothersome.

I did the salting did not work....she had finrot during this time...the salting probably stopped the fraying of her tail. The spots faded but would not go.

Then I did Melafix (after consulting at the petstore) -did not work. Now, the finrot is back (if the fraying of the tail is finrot) and Mona (the other goldfish) is showing signs of it too. Tina had a long tail and now it is quite short (not reached the base yet....i don't want it to)

I have started using Maracyn tablets and have done 3 treatments (w/o the carbon in the filter).

I am keeping a watch but to me things don't seem to have improved and I am worried that now Mona will get it soon if not taken care of this problem. How long does it take for the Maracyn to work? I need a fast remedy to atleast stop the fin rot.

What do I do???? PLEASE HELP. I am at a loss here.


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Guest blueeyes203

do you have any photos? Now, it's possible that your fish does have ich...but when it gets really bad, all the white spots will start to join together, and look a little like what you described. it happend to my oranda when i did the salting and it didn't help. i used quick cure for the ich, but i was unaware that it's dangerous to mix with salt, so i did a 50% water change and continued with just the quick cure.

i noticed that you are trying different things now. what exactly are the maracyn tabs for? It is a little dangerous to be switching meds like. it would be good to cure the ich 1st b/c if it gets to the gills, it can be more life threatening than the fin rot. the ich can actually cause finrot. my oranda's fins were pretty beat up after the ich cleared up b/c it had gotten so bad, but i kept the water chemstry in check once the ich was gone, and her fins healed up in just over a week, along with the scales that had burned off from the med and salt mixed. Whatever you do, while she still has ich, i would vaccume every other day for a week while medicating and keep the tank covered for a week so after the ich comes off him, lays and hatches, they can't find him. That is when the meds will kill the ich. If you do need to switch meds again, do a 50% waterchange, wait another 24hours or more and do another waterchange if the levels are safe enough, then start the new med. try to have about 2 days between the med change. having it this long can take up to a week to fully get rid of since there's so much of it now...it may take 2 ich cycles (3-4 days each ich cycle) or even 3 to fully rid it.

i wish you luck and hope everything works out soon. let us know how it goes

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