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Goldfish Gasping


Guest mcann

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Guest mcann

I am new at having an aquarium and bought the fish before I found out the information that I needed. I have since bought the test kits etc and have been testing the water twice a day.

Currently, the ammonia level is at .25, nitrite is 0, nitrate is 0, PH is 7.2 and temerature is 69F. The tank is 10 gallons and has been running for only 9 days. I have been doing daily water changes of 10-50% to keep ammonia levels down. There are 2 common goldfish in the tank that are very small (1.5 inches). I have been adding Nutrafin Aqua Water Conditioner, Cycle and Waste Control. I have not given any medications.

I have been feeding the fish Wardley Slow Sinking Crumbles, NutrafinMax Sinking Goldfish Pellets, Cooked Spinach and peas.

One of my two goldfish has been sitting at the top of the tank for 2 days gasping for air. He rarely leaves that spot and I haven't seen him eat for at least 2 days. He also usually has his fins clamped. Otherwise, he looks fine. Is is the ammonia levels that are causing this behaviour or could it be some disease? I had another fish in the tank at the beginning as well and he died on the 2nd day. One of his fins fell right off and a couple of hours later, he was on the bottom of the tank. I am a little annoyed with the pet store that sold them to me because they told me that 3 goldfish in a bowl would be fine. After reading some information, I went and bought a 10 gallon tank, mechanical filter, etc and also found out that the fish they sold me were the ones they sell for live food. No one mentioned anything about cycling tanks or that goldfish could not live in a bowl etc. So now I am in the middle of cycling my tank while trying to keep these poor fish alive. Help!

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  • Regular Member

You are doing the right thing by doing water changes to keep the ammonia level down. After the ammonia level drops to 0, you will see a rise in nitrites which are also deadly to fish, so you will have to keep up the water changes until your tank is cycled. When you start to see nitrate showing up in the tank water, then your cycle will be established. A cycled tank should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and a low level of nitrates.

You could try adding salt to your tank. It is a tonic for fish and it will also kill many parasites that affect goldfish. You can use aquarium salt, kosher salt, pickling salt, or coarse salt. Use a salt that doesn't have any additives. Salt is very effective at treating goldfish, goldfish tolerate salt very well, so it isn't stressful to them like many medications can be. It also helps goldfish tolerate nitrite, so it will be good to have it in the tank when your nitrite level starts to rise.

I would recommend adding it at a dose of 3 tablespoons per 5 gallons of water. So in a 10 gallon tank, I would add 6 tablespoons of salt. Add it in three stages, 12 hours apart. So, add 2 tablespoons of salt, wait 12 hours, add the next 2 tablespoons, wait another 12 hours and add the last 2 tablespoons. Dissolve the salt in tank water before adding. When you do your water changes, replace the salt that you have removed. If you remove 1/3 of the water in your tank during a water change, add another 2 tablespoons of salt.

Also, do you have an airstone in the tank? This will provide extra oxygenation for your fish and could help.

As you probably already know, two common goldfish will quickly outgrow a 10 gallon tank, so you will have to upsize your tank in the future. Commons need about 15-20 gallons of water per fish since they get so large. Fancy goldfish require 10 gallons per fish.

I hope this helps and please feel free to ask questions. And, :welcome

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Guest mcann

Thank-you for your advice! Can I use Epsom salts or Sea Salt? Those are all that I have on hand at the moment. Or should I wait until I can buy aquarium salt? I had read elsewhere that this may cause the tank to cycle again. Is this true?

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I am not too sure about sea salt. It it were me, I would wait and get the aquarium salt, or go to one of the larger grocery stores and get pickling (sometimes called coarse salt). What you are looking for is a salt without anti-caking ingredients or other additives.

Don't use epsom salts. Not appropriate for this use.

I haven't had a problem with the tank re-cycling after using salt at this dosage.

Salt is very useful when a tank is establishing its cycle by reducing the effects of nitrites.

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Guest mcann

Your advice was very helpful. I have tried the Sea Salt as it said it was 100%natural, had no additives, would clump and was best for pickling. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I will also pick up an airstone tomorrow. Thanks again!

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