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Help! Goldfish Die At Six Monthly Intervals


Guest glynbo

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Hi everyone. I have a very frustrating problem - my goldfish die off one at a time, at long intervals of time (average 6 months) but with exactly the same symptoms.

First the data:

Ammonia level: 0

Nitrite level: 0

Nitrate level: <25mg/l just before a partial water change

pH: 7.2

Kh 10

GH 10

Tank size: 60 liters (16 gal)

Filter: small cannister filter (don't know make, it came with the aquarium)

Water changes: 25% weekly

Number of fish: Started with 6 small goldfish 2 years ago, now down to 2 (one sick).

Water Treatment: No additives, leave water to age 2 days before partial change.

Feeding: Twice daily. Mostly flake foods (different brands) soaked in a cup of tank water for a few minutes. Veggies 2-3 times a week (peas, spinach, lettuce - whatever I find in the kitchen).

Symptoms:

It starts out with one fish looking lethargic and sitting on the bottom of the tank. Eats OK ,and has no visible signs of anything wrong. After a couple of days he is lying on his side, with his body bent so that his head and tail are resting on the bottom, with his side raised up. At feeding time he tries to get to the food, but can't swim. Death follows within another couple of days.

I've tried salting in a quarantine tank to no avail.

I started out with 6 fish and over a perido of about 2 years 4 have gone this way with intervals of up to 6 months from one to the other. Now I'm down to 2 and one is showing the first symptoms.

I'm desperate - I don't want to start re-stocking the tanks until I've understood and solved the problem.

Please help!

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  • Regular Member

Ok, it sounds like some type of internal bacterial infection and internal haemorraghing. My guess is that over time the bio waste and bacteria build up in your tank creating the right environment for a nasty bacteria to take hold.

I wouldn't consider restocking your tank because I think the high stocking levels are linked to these deaths. In a 16g gallon tank it would be best to only keep one large goldfish 4" or over, or 2 smaller fish - up to 3" each.

Do you vacuum the gravel when with a hose when you change the water? It should be done weekly/fortnightly or too much muck will build up.

I don't think that much can be done for your fish at this point. As you are familiar with the pattern of this illness, if you are certain the fish will die you may wish to consider euthanizing it. There is a topic pinned in this forum about euthanization.

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Thanks for your fast reply.

The guy at the aquarium shop said that 16 gal would take 6 to start with they were all less than 1" when I started), and that I could get a bigger tank as they grew. I never got round to getting a bigger tank because as they died off one by one the total length never exceeded 6". I've been down to two fishies both less than 2" for over 6 months now. I do vacuum the gravel every time I change the water.

I'm pretty sure the sick one will be dead by the time I get home from work. What about the other one - anything I can do to save him?

Thanks again,

Ciao,

Glyn

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Ok. Because all these deaths are similar there must be a common cause. I'm still going with a large bio waste because it must be something in their environment that leads to infection.

Perhaps you could reduce feeding a bit and increase water changes, try 30-40% a week.

Better still, you could also add an additional filter to your tank. Perhaps your existing one is not up to the job alone. There are internal power filters, hang-over-back waterfall type filters or even the old fashioned air pump driven wool/fibre ones. These can be effective if the air pump is strong enough.

Just a thought about your existing filter, how often do you clean it? It is difficult to advise how often without knowing the make and model. Some cannisters can go monthly or bi-monthly without a clean. When you do clean it, don't use tap water because the chlorine will kill the good bacteria in the filter material. Rinse it out as well as you can using old tank water.

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Good point about the filter. I clean it monthly, but I've been using tap water - didn't think about the effect of the chlorine on the good guy bacteria.

So, I'll try upping the water changes, reducing the feeding, and cleaning the filter using tank water. The only trouble is that I'll have to wait for another 6 months to know if it's working!

Thanks,

Glyn

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So, I'll try upping the water changes, reducing the feeding, and cleaning the filter using tank water. The only trouble is that I'll have to wait for another 6 months to know if it's working!

Thanks,

Glyn

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:lol: Good luck mate.

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