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Unhappy Goldfish


Carole

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ammonia- <1.0 ppm

Nitrites- 0

Nitrates- 0

pH- 7.4

tap pH- 7.6

tank size- 20 gal running for 2.5 weeks

Filter- power filter

water changes- 25% every 2 weeks

water additives- stress coat brand dechlorinator

number of fish- 3 small goldfish, two I have had for the life of the tank and one was added one week later

feeding- mostly flakes and some peas

nothing unusual in tank, trying to cycle but there has been no signs of bacteria yet.

My two fish that I have had for a few weeks are healthy and happy, but my newest fish has become lethargic, unresponsive, and has been bottomsitting, barely holding himself in an upright position. There are no physical symptoms of problems. He has been really bad for a day and a half now and I have put him in an isolation tank because the other fish are picking on him. He eats a little, but not when I feed him, only when the food has been sitting in the tank a while.

He actually did this a little the first day I got him, so I took him out of the big tank and put him in an isolation tank for a couple days. After that he was acting normally so I put him in with the other fish. Since then he has been a little slow and spacey but generally normal. Now yestorday it is like he is sad and has lost the will to be a happy goldfish.

Please help, he looks so sad.

Carole

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without a doubt, the problem is water quality...1) you are overstocked. You need 10 gallons per fancy goldfish and 20 gallons per common goldfish. 3 fish in 20 gallons is too much..goldfish are very messy and it is near impossible to maintain good water parameters when you are overstocked 2) you are in the middle of a cycle since you still have traces of ammonia and no nitrates. Keep an eye on the ammonia and if it gets above 1, you need to do a water change. This is a crucial time to watch your water quality...test test test!

Really, I think you are going to have a hard time keeping happy fish...if you can move or return at least 1, I think they would be much happier. I think the one is getting picked on bc they are getting territorial given the cramped conditions

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I considered that the tank was crowded but I thought that it would be ok while they were small (less than 2 in). There was a period where all three were getting along fine, swimming together, etc... Then I thought that the ammonia was bothering the new fish more than it was bothering the others (maybe he is a weak fish?).

How do you explain that the new fish is still acting strangely after being isolated for a day in fresh water? He is in a 1 gal bowl with an airstone.

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1 gallon is too small for him even in isolation. Try getting a bigger container or clean bucket to put him in- 10 gallons. He might have been sick when you bought him perhaps, since he is the only one acting strange. After putting him in a bigger container with fresh dechlored water, observe him closely for a few days and see if things get better..look for any physical symptoms as well as behavioral. Do daily water changes in his isolation bucket/tank and watch water parameters. If things get worse you might want to try a salt treatment or medication.

Meanwhile, if you want to keep all three fish I would consider looking for a bigger tank- 30 gallons+ and I would cycle the tank before putting the fish in(bio-spira is the quickest way).Good luck and keep us updated on how things are going. :)

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I decided I would nurse him back to health by keeping his water extremely clean. Then when he looks better I will add him back to the big tank, do water changes to keep the ammonia less than .5 ppm as the tank cycles, and see how he does. I already check the water religously so it shouldn't be too difficult.

He has developed red streaks and spots around his head and gills. Could this redness be a symptom of bad water, or could it be somethng worse? He looks so sad, he just sits at the bottom with his fins folded, not trying to swim. He came to life a little when I changed his water and fed him, but he is still really out of it. I wish there was something more I could do.

Carole

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Are you still keeping him in the 1 gallon bowl? The red streaks are most likely caused by bad water quality,yes. It might be septicemia. Is he breathing heavily? Is he still sitting at the bottom of the tank? Is he pooping? What does the poop look like? lol sorry I know thats kind of gross.. You are doing a good job by keeping water parameters good and testing a lot. Make sure to test the main tank, as well. If things get worse I would try treating him with Maracyn 2 and also they sell medicated fish food for external bacterial infections like this. Someone else will have to tell you what is a good kind. Keep us posted :)

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Carole,

You are trying your best and that's what matters. :)

Okay, on the stocking level front. Yes, you are technically overcrowded but you can probably get away with it for small goldies but your timing compounded the problem as the tank is cycling, the tank has even less capacity to handle the extra fish load. Next time, start with less fish, let it cycle and then add more. :) Ultimately, you will need to find them a bigger home.

On the issue of keeping the water good and fresh. I would recommend the bucket to bucket method. Get 2 decent sized clean buckets. Fill them with clean dechlor water. Place the fish in one bucket with the airstone and then in 12 hours, take him out and place him in the other bucket (relocate the airstone as well). In the meantime, empty the used bucket, clean and refill with dechlor water and let it sit and equalise in temperature. Swap bucket again in 12 hrs. This way you can pretty much guarantee decent water quality for the poor fish. :)

Now comes the hard bit, what is wrong with your fish? Several theories have been put forward and all of them have merits. The problem is that it is very hard to pinpoint the root cause because we are still missing a few pieces of the puzzle. I would hazard a guess that he is probably a bit sickly when you bought him and the sudden change of environment further weaken his immune system. The questionable water quality in a cycling tank stressed him further until he fell ill. Most like some kind of bacterial infection.

If he is still feeding then get some medicated food for him. Medigold is good. Romet B is an alternative. Lots of aeration and good water. When you next net him, check his gills. They should be fresh meat red. If they look pale pink, let us know immediately. Also check his poops as gumbo suggested. :)

Good luck! It will take some work to nurse him back to health but it is a noble goal. :)

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So today the fish was still sitting at the bottom, breathing a little heavier (but more towards the normal side). His poop looks normal, short to med length and dark colored, but it seems like he is pooping a lot more than usual (but this might also be a change towards normal because I very rarely see him poop). The redness seems to be fading. He is still very unresposive and lethargic.

I bought some anti-bacterial food for him and tried to feed him. It took about 20 min for him to start nibbling at it. Maybe he is not used to eating pellets. My vvvv seemed to only carry one brand so that is what I bought. Hopefully he will get better soon.

:(

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He seems even worse now. He is sort of bent over laying on his side on the bottom of the tank. he drifts around in circles with the little bit of current in his tank. only one gill moves now when he breaths. He is not eating the medicine I bought. He seems like he is already dead but worse because he is still alive. He is completely unresponsive, you can touch him and he doesn't move. I don't know what to do. I am keeping his ammonia less than .5 ppm.

What should I do?

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Hmm, that seems pretty bad :( You might want to start treating him with medication quickly. Maybe put some salt in the tank when you do water changes( or bucket switches if that is the method you are doing). 1 tsp. a gallon of aquarium salt. I would treat with Maracyn 2. Put him in a tank/container/bucket of 10 gallons. If there is a filter with carbon, take the carbon out. Follow the directions on the box and treat for the recommended five days. If what you have him in is under 10 gallons you can break the tablet in half, but really he needs 10 gallons at this point. Every 24 hours before you add a new dosage of maracyn 2, do a water change and than add the medicine again.

His poop sounds excellent! lol Did you check his gills? It definitely sounds like a bacterial infection, so the maracyn 2 should fit the bill. Continue to keep water pristine and clean with good parameters. Remove all uneaten food from the water after an hour. How are the other fish doing?

I might have left something out, if you have any more questions just post! :) Continue to let us know how he is doing. I really hope he pulls through!

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Hi Carole, I'm really sorry. I'm afraid there is not a lot more you can do. Keep the water good and aeration up. Hope for the best. I'm afraid the clock is ticking. :(

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I am afraid there might not be any thing else I can do. It is like he is paralyzed in this dead fish position but he is still breathing. I might be able to medicate him but I would just be putting off the inevitable. His gills have always been a healthy red color. Has anyone ever heard of a fish recovering from being this... dead?

I feel like the water conditions he was in should not have hurt him this badly unless he was really weak from the beginning, and my experience with him makes me think that is the case. When I brought him home and saw him with the other fish I was amazed at how skinny he was. It made me think the other fish were too fat so I put them on a diet. Now I believe it was this fish that had the problem the entire time.

The other two fish are as happy as can be.

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When I found him this morning he was sitting upright again and trying to swim, so I changed his water and tried to feed him. Why does fish medicine come in the form of floating food? My fish could not reach the surface. So he didn't eat.

I just found him now, dead. I can not see his gills move any more. I have picked out a good spot by the river where he might like to be buried. I am so sad, I wish there was something I could have done.

I will not replace him at least until the tank is cycled. I might not at all because of the space issue. The other two fish are doing great.

Thanks for all the help

Carole

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aww I'm so sorry Carole. You tried your best and did a great job. It's not an easy thing to do, sometimes it's just their time to pass. The burial by the rivier sounds so sweet. We've all been in your shoes before and its hard I KNOW :heart I would just keep the two fish in the 20, that way there is no overstocking and it is less likely for the fish to catch diseases. I'm glad your other fish are happy and healthy :) Feel better..

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