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Fish, Named Valentine, Looks Like It Is Dying


Guest Krista

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Guest Krista

My kids and I were gone 18 days and my husband has admitted to forgetting to feed the poor goldfish for a good portion of that time. We got back a couple days ago and all seemed well. I noticed tonight that the fish appears to be gasping for air, has a red spot just above the nose with a small white spot in the middle, on that same side where the fin opens and closes there is a large red area with a white ?growth?. It almost looks like a peice of paper that is stuck to the back of the fin that has irritated the fin and the area that it touches when the fin closes.

Also, there is a faint purple line running down the middle top of the fish. Kinda looks like the main artery? The fish is not eating. I don't have any testing stuff right now, only some algae treatment, StressZyme, and cloudy water treatment that is pretty old.

Hope this is not too wordy. I hope someone can help me. It is 2 am here and I have 5 children that will be waking up, but my husband can run to nooppee to get something if we could figure out what we need.

Thanks a bunch!!

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Hi Krista and :welcome

It's hard to know why your fish is ailing at this point. Once you have your water tested, would you be able to post the parameters and we can take it from there. Also, if you can, ask them to write down the parameters... they will usually say it's ok, but it helps to know exactly.

Also, would you be able to answer as many of the questions in the box above? Eg. tank size, how long it's been running, how often do you do waterchanges, feeding/what you feed, what kind of filter, water additives etc...

Then it'll be easier to narrow down the possible problems.

As a suggestion, you could try doing an immediate waterchange using a dechlorinator and temp matched water - say roughly 50%. Hopefully this will perk him up a bit until more information is at hand.

Sorry i couldn't be of more help and please post back soon :)

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It would be helpful if you could answer as many questions as you can from the white box above. Even without test kits it is useful to know what size tank, how often water changed, etc.

Ok, my guess is that your fish has been weakened by lack of food and has sucumb to a bacterial infection on the skin, the white stuff may be part of the bacterial infection or it may be a secondary infection of fungus. The purple streak does not sound good. It sounds like an internal infection like septicemia (blood poisoning).

Aside from lack of food the other thing that has possibly made your fish sick is bad water quality. It's likely your husband forgot to do any water changes while you were away.

It is hard to advise without knowing the details of your tank but the first thing to do is a water change. We don't want to shock your fish so start with a 30% change and repeat for three days.

Secondly, I recommend an antibacterial medicine - I'm thinking the disease sounds like columnaris, so look for something that says, finrot, ulcers, cotton mouth disease. There are many treatments available, a good one if the fish is not eating is a sulphur treatment, such as tri-sulphur or TMP sulphur. I have had success with sulphur.

Lastly, if you can get your fish to eat there are some wonderful medicated foods available on-line in the US and Canada. These are called medigold and/or metromed from Goldfish Connection.

I'm sorry to say that the worst of it is the suspected septicimia, this condition has a high fatality rate. The treatments I've mentioned above may be useful but it's a difficult one to treat.

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Guest Krista

The tank is 30 gallons. This is the only fish in the tank. The other one died a while back (4 years old). I totally changed the water at the time and this fish has been fine since. I also changed the water about 6 weeks ago because my daughter put too much food in.

My husband said he remembered to feed the fish 4 to 5 times, and it probably went a solid week without food.

Thanks for the replies, sorry for the omitted information.

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I'm pretty usre I remember a while back someone posting that he left his gf for up to 8 days without food & they were fine.

I have to agree with the posters before me & say that this is most likely a water related problem.

A question - when you last changed the tank water - did you also clean the filter?? & If so - how? Is there any chance you interrupted your tank cycle & now that is also adding to the problem?? (FOr instance - did you run the filter under the tap to clean it out? If so you would have killed off the bio bugs)

Hmmmm - just a thought!

Post back soon!

:D Jenn

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Guest Krista

Well, I always run it under the tap, and now that I have been looking at this website a little I see I have a little more to learn about goldfish. Do you know the life expectancy? I will try those suggestions and hope that Valentine improves. Should I put him in another tank, maybe smaller, for the treatment?

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30gallons is not too big for one goldfish, it would probably stress him more if you move him. But ... if you do any of the sulphur treatments I would put him in an unfiltered tank because the sulphur will ruin you filter's biocycle.

There was a thread on here a few days ago that spoke of a goldfish that lived for 43 years in captivity. This is extremely unusual. The average for a well kept goldfish is more like 5-10 years.

I really think this has to do with your water quality. If you read around you will see we recommend at least weekly partial water changes. With one or two fish in a 30g it should only be necessary to change 30% weekly. But for the moment I recommend doing it daily for 3 days in a row.

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Ahha! If you ran the filter media under the tap you most likely killed off the good bacteria. That combined with the lack of water change & little food is prob what started all of this.

I'll bet your water params are not so good right now & I would do a larger water change (I have a feeling you're cycling all over again) (Like maybe 50% or so) and get some water testers (If you can't afford them just take a sample into a lps - most will test it for free. Get them to give you actual numbers & then post them back here)

I would think that you may also have to do the water changes for longer than 3 days if you're cycling again - especially since this time is with a sick fish.

In regards to the size of the tank-the only thing that has an effect at this point (since he is the only fishie in there) is the cost of the meds. It will cost more to treat a 30 gal than to treat a 10 gal. If it were me though I have to say I'd treat him where he is. The difference in cost would be quickly eaten up by the cost of a new tank etc etc etc.

Post back soon!

:D Jenn

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Guest Krista

Here are my levels. I purchased a variety of things available at my fish store. Valentine is actually seeming to breathe a little easier and swim a little less stressful.

Nitrate about 60

Nitrite about .5

Hardness around 150

Alkalinity about 0

Water was acidic. I don't remember what it was at the fish store, but after I added the balancer (Liquid Neutral Regulator) I waited about an hour and it was around 6.2.

The fish store guy said to get the water balanced, vacuumed, and partially changed before I add the Maracyn two. This covers Dropsy, Septicemia, Popeye, and Fin and Tail Rot.

So, here is my big question. Should I put in the antiboitic tonight to incease the chance of survival? She just took a bite of her food!!!! Her gills now look kind of swollen, but the white stuff is slightly less.

Thanks again for the help!!!

Krista

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I'm pretty new at this, and I'm not qualified to give you advice, but I do know that the other people will want to know if you got a reading on the level of Ammonia in your water. It seems unlikely that the pet store would not test for it.

Welcome to Koko's, and good luck with your fishy!

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Guest Krista

I actually don't think he did test for it and this test kit does not have amonia. I sorta figured the nitrates must be the same because he said at the store that they were high. It seems like I remember my dad saying that the PH and amonia are related back when I was first in this fish thing. Should I get an amonia tester?

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I agree to change the water and do a gravel vacuum before you add the medication. Your pH is very low, your nitrAtes are very high (low pH and high nitrATes are related). Water quality is the source of this illness so it makes sense to fix them before treating with medication.

It is very handy to have the following kits at home and test weekly before your water change. Ammonia, NitrIte, NitrAte and pH. By monitoring your water parameters you are quickly able to tell if things are out of wack and fix them before you find yourself in a serious situation like this one. The easiest way to fix most water problems is to increase the frequency and amount of water changes.

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Guest Krista

Once the water quality looks good, should I immediately put in the antibiotics, or wait and test hours later to make sure the quality is maintained?

Thanks!!

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Once you've done the initial gravel vacuum and water change and added the neutraliser the only thing that is likely to change within 24hrs is your pH. If the neutraliser is working your pH should stay somewhere around 7.

I suggest just giving the fish an hour to adjust to the changes then add the medication. Don't forget to do daily water changes for a couple of days, the best time would be right before you're due for another dose of medication.

Hope your fishy gets well soon. Keep posting. :)

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Guest Krista

Okay, I did a vaccuum and changed 50% or more of the water. I waited a while and put in the medicine. At that time Valentine was still not eating. We got home from the 4th of July festivities and Valentine is eating, but is floating around the tank. I think the fish is sorta stiff and having a hard time moving. When she tries to swim, it is like a twitch, then she seems to get her 'balance', then starts floating again. The best news is that she seems real hungry and has eaten a good portion of food.

My water is as follows:

Nitrate - about 30

Nitrite - probably 0 or close

Hardness is about 75 which says soft

Total Aldalinity - is around 40 I think. this part is strange though, because there is some blue around the edge of the little pad and that is not even a color that is supposed to register. That happened earlier too, but I added the nuetralizer and that definitly perked the fish up since and the level got a little closer the ideal. Earlier the fish looked real sick and it was around 0.

The PH is between 6.2 and 6.8. It is closer to the color of 6.2, though.

Other than any advice I can get, I would like to know if I should (or can) use the vacuum for each water change. Normally, when I do the vacuum, I become obsessive and keep changing out the water and vacuuming until I think I have gotten all the yuck out of the bottom. It took some self control, but I did not do that today. I didn't want to upset the fish too much, so some yuck settled back down to the bottom. Should I try to keep getting it out and doing 30 % water changes?

Thanks so much for the help and advice!! I am so glad to have found this site!

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I always vac my tanks for water changes, although I have to say I can never get all of the Yuck out. I use an up & down motion & get out as much as I can at a go without removing all of the water! (Sometimes it's really bad & I do perform a large - think 75% - water change.) Most of the time I do about a 30% change & leave it at that.

You don't want to stir up alot of the muck on the bottom & not get it out with the vac (it's fairly toxic if you release large amounts all at once. That's why it's not recommended to clean a tank that hasn't been cleaned in a long time all in one go. It's best to do it at several cleanings.). That's also why I use an up & down motion so as not to disturb too great of an area at once.

I would be careful about feeding too much at once. You don't need a problem with constipation as well as the rest of it (also - it will help with your water params while you're re-establishing your cycle to be careful not to overfeed)

I would follow Fishmerised's advice about the meds & the neutralizer.

I'm glad he's doing better!

Hope this helps

:D Jenn

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It's sounding pretty good, your pH is a bit weird but after a few more water changes maybe it will stabilise more.

It is almost impossible to completely clean the gravel with a vacuum. Like FRP said, it's best not to stir up too much muck and one gravel vacuum a week is definately enough.

You did a rather large water change today so tomorrow I would let things be, the following day aim for around a 30% water change. If you can do a 30% change every second day for the next fortnight , your tank will be very fresh and it will happen slowly giving your fish and your biocycle (filter) time to adjust without going into shock.

Once things have settled down, aim to do a minimum 30% change and gravel vacuum once a week.

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Guest Krista

Well, things don't look so good this morning. I checked the water and it is about the same as before. This fish is at the bottom of the tank barely breathing. It is time for more medicine in a few hours. Could the medicine be doing this? Or is this looking like the end?

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No, it isn't sounding good at all. I don't think the medication would be harming the fish, I would continue with the treatment. Maybe he/she is just resting and has a full belly?

I really hope he/she pulls through for you. :goldfish:

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Guest Krista

Well, there are times that the fish is laying on the bottom lifeless, it got stuck in the rock/plant decoration, the worst thing was when it got stuck in the filter. Straight up with the nosebeing sucked up. There is no sense of balance, it will float around upside down and sideways. Occasionally it will twitch and swim a little. This afternoon she ate a little again. The lack of coordination is making it hard to eat. One strange thing is that there is some strange looking stuff floating around. Maybe strange poop or some other waste that is from an unknown source. The PH looks like it is almost nuetral, but the alkalinity is still very low.

Any more suggestions?

Krista

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Generally, when we speak of alkalinity we are referring to pH. Water is either acid (below 7) or alkaline (above 7) or neutral at 7. Are you using a seperate test for alkalinity? If so, what is it?

Problems with low pH can be simply caused by insufficient water changes. Nitrification is an acid process, so as nitrAtes build up in your water, your pH can fall. It is not always as simple as this, can you test for the pH out of your tap?

At the moment your fish is very weak, it is struggling to fight the filter current and using up precious energy. I have to say it does not look good for your fish right now. As for the strange gunk floating around in the tank, it sounds like there is still an overload of waste in your tank to get this side effect. What type of medication are you using?

I am going to suggest moving your fish to a container/tank that is no smaller than 10g or 40ltrs. Set it up with 50% of tank water and 50% fresh water. Test for pH and if necessary add the neutraliser, then add the medications. It would be very helpful to add a bubble stone for airation but do not use a filter.

Put a small amount of tank water into a jug or bucket and put your fish in. Very gradually, over a minimum of an hour, add small amounts of water from the new container until your fish is in at least a 50/50 mix. This is acclimitising the fish to your new environment so it doesn't get a shock when you put it in the new container.

Everyday, before you add the medications, change 50% of the water in this container. Essentially this is your hospital tank, and it is running without a filter because your fish is too weak.

I'm sorry to say that your fish does sound like it is suffering from an internal infection now, however if it still eats the medicated food there is still hope.

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Guest Krista

I am using Marycyn two. I looked at two pet stores and nooppee and have not been able to find the medicated food. So right now this is my routine:

I keep checking the water levels. They are staying good, except for the alkalinity that has a separate spot. The ph is now right at 6.8, but the alkalitnity registers around 40, and 120-180 is ideal.

I've been adding the ph nuetralizer that also covers ammonia, chloramine, & chlorine.

I am adding the amount of Marycyn two for my 30 gallon tank.

I added some aquarium salt according to the directions on the box. It is by doc wellfish and is for freshwater. I did not add that until last night though, because they were out of it when I bought all the other stuff Saturday.

So... I am trying to figure out a container to use for my hospital tank. I am just sick that I gave away my ten gallon a couple of weeks ago. He is the only fish in there. When I talked to Jungle labs on the phone asking about this strange blue area on the alkalinity area they said I should leave him in this tank and the cloudiness is due to the large water change when I vacuumed the tank. Did I make my fish sicker by doing that??? I feel so bad.

She also said to return the strips since they are not working properly.

As for the nitrates, they are down around 20-30. According to the package, up to 40 is safe.

She said to get something to raise the ph and to get it around 7.2-7.5.

Is a plastic container okay for the hospital tank? I have a big plastic storage container that is about as big as my fish tank. I can set that up with more shallow water. I am just sick because I recently gave away my whole ten gallon setup with an undergravel filter, heater, the whole thing.

The other issue with the hospital tank is my 5 kids. My 3 and 5 year old will have easier access to it and that makes me nervous.

Enough said for one reply!! Thanks for all the help.

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Guest Krista

Okay, my water is perfect now. I was talking to my dad, we had a 120 gallon aquarium for years. He said to add baking soda since I have it already and now the levels are much better. The nitrates are at 20, and the ph is about 7.2. Now the fish is acting a tiny bit better, buy is still having difficulty swimming. The water is very cloudy.

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Cloudy water is not bad in itself, it may be due to a large water change but don't fret about that.

I was suggesting the separate container because of the floating muck you spoke about and the swimming difficulty. I completely understand your concerns about young children so just weigh up the pro's and cons. As long as your fish can swim in the current of your tank it's Ok to leave him there, especially as it appears to be improving. Your fish is amazing me.

Good news about the baking soda, just monitor your pH daily and maintain regular water changes.

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