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Very Ill Fish


jen626

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Hi there, I know you are all going to cringe when you read this, because I had no idea what all was needed for a goldfish. This fish was given to us by my nephew (who is 3) when he moved out of state, so I just kept it as they had it. I will answer all the applicable questions from the sticky, although most of them do not apply to how this fish is being kept-I had no idea I needed filters and testing equipment.

So here is the situation, which I think is pretty grim. The fish, I believe, is a "fancy goldfish". It is pretty small, about 3" in length. It is very ill. About a week ago I noticed that it had some light brown patches on it, mostly on the head and upper body. I cannot see anything else unusual about the scales, no specks, scales look ok otherwise, nothing hanging off of it. I looked at all the goldfish disease pictures on this site and none of them look like what is on my goldfish? The brown spots seem to be the least of his problems though. Here's a timeline:

A few weeks ago he started floating sideways in the tank, I changed the water (75%) and that seemed to help although he still floated sideways sometimes. A few days later I found him lying on the bottom of the tank, virtually motionless but still breathing. I did a 25% water change daily for the next few days and then he seemed fine, eating and swimming normally. About a week later hew started the sideways swimming again and then developed the brown spots I mentioned above. Since then he has become much worse and eaither floats completely upside down or on his side. It seems like he is not using his left side fins at all either. He kind of floats up and down in the tank (upside down or on his side), seemingly propelled by the bubbles from the aerator. The last two days he has not been eating either. For about a week, when he poops, it often hangs on him for quite awhile, which I have just learned may be a sign of constipation. I want to know if there is anything I can do, or if I should just put him down? I have been changing 50% of the water daily for the last week but until I found this site I didn't know there were other things you could do, and that he probably isn't being kept properly in the first place. I'll answer the applicable questions from the sticky below. Thanks for any help and sorry, i am sure this is appalling to all of you, I wish I had known better! the fish had been living in this tank for over a year and done fine, so when it became my fish I just kept doing the same things, which I am now regretting.

Test Results for the Following:

Ammonia Level? not done

Nitrite Level? not done

Nitrate level? not done

Ph Level, (If possible,KH and GH and chloramines)? not done

Ph Level out of the Tap? not done

Tank size (How many Gals) and How long has it been running? 2 gallons, over a year

What is the name and size of the filter/s? no filter

How often do you change the water and how much? 50% change weekly

How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 fish, about 3"

What kind of water additives or conditioners? Stress Coat

Any medications added to the tank? No

Add any new fish to the tank? No

What do you feed your fish? Tetra Fin Goldfish Crisps

Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt",

bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Brownish spots on head and upper body (but does not look like ammonia burns from the pics I looked at?)

Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, ect..? No eating last two days (that I have seen), fish is floating either upside down or on side, kind of in the flow of the aerator, seems not to be using left side fins

:-( Thanks for any help

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Guest JustJayde

I am no expert but I wanted to comment to tell you we ALL make mistakes... you being here seeking out how to HELP your fish is great... the best choice so far :)

I think first thing you need to do is buy him a 10 gallon tank and filter if you can afford it.. and do 30% water changes weekly. I think that is a good starting point, but I am sure the experts will give you much great advice as always.....

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Hi Jen and :welcome

It sounds as though he's doing poorly basically because of water conditions.

You can try to save him by doing 100% waterchanges daily. The reason they should be 100% is because when a fish lives in a small tank without any filtration, the ammonia gets sky high which would explain the brown on his fins. It sounds as though he has bad ammonia burn.

Filters help enormously as they create a colony of good bacteria which converts harmful ammonia and nitrites into nitrates which are then keep low by frequent 30-40% waterchanges. Without a filter, the ammonia has nowhere to go but up.

As a water conditioner - stress coat would be my last choice, especially when aeration is minimal. It contains aloe vera and can tend to coat the gills - this may make it a bit harder to breathe. An excellent conditioner is Prime :)

So I wouldn't give up yet - there are a couple of things you can do.

- A 100% waterchange (try to keep the temperature the same as in his tank) and continue to change each day.

- Add 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon - so 2 teaspoons of pre-dissolved sea, rock or aquarium salt

- Add some aeration ie. an airstone, this will help his breathing

See if this revives him a little and hopefully it's not too late - then as JustJayde suggests, if he pulls through, perhaps a bigger tank with filtration and aeration? :)

My fingers are crossed he makes it - and the best way forward is perfect water :)

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Thanks to both of you!

You were talking about aeration...he does have the thing that you plug in that pumps air under a grid along the bottom of the tank, shooting up bubbles all along the back...will that do for now? The pump thing says Sonic 9103 Aquarium Air Pump. It came with the tank, which is a Spongebob Squarepants tank (I know you are all laughing). It has gravel on the bottom (on top of the grid thing), and the air bubbles that come up all along the back. There was a Spongebob figurine in the tank too, but the fish got stuck in between it's legs a few weeks ago (right before all this started...could that be a factor?) so i took it out. Really high tech, lol.

I will change out all the water tonight (I did like 75% last night), and get some new water conditioner, the kind you recommended (although I won't be able to get it until tomorrow morning). I will pick up some aquarium salt as well, all I have here is Morton Iodized table salt. Then we can see about getting a bigger tank with a filter!

Is it odd that he has been in this tank for over a year, with the same water conditioner, food and water change frequency but just all of a sudden got ammonia burns? It seems weird to me that he would be fine all along, and then all of a sudden get sick from water conditions. But I am thinking that is the problem too since he seems better after the water is changed.

Also, I am referring to the fish as a he, mainly because my nephew named him Boy, but I have no idea what sex it is.

When I do the water changes, how should I go about cleaning the gravel? I usually put it in a colander (that you drain noodles in) and rinse it really well (with tap water) and make sure all particles are out of it. Then I make sure it is room temp and put it back in the tank, then add the water and conditioners. I don't clean the gravel every time, usually every other time or if it looks like it has stuff stuck in it. Is this the best way to clean the gravel?

Also, would using distilled water be better than tap water, or does the water conditioner make it irrelevant?

Thanks again, so much. What a wonderful forum you have here, I am pleased to be part of it and glad for my fishies sake that it its here! Sorry I am so clueless about the aquarium terminology, I appreciate your patience. :-)

***Note: I bolded all my questions to make them easier to answer.

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Yes Jen - that's enough aeration for him :)

As for the gravel - if you can find a turkey baster or a little gravel vacuum then you can just suck out all the gunk - which will make it easier for both you and your fish :D

Sometimes fish will survive for some time in a non-filtered environment but their immunity will steadily weaken until a point where they start to show symptoms that all is not well. And when water remains perfect for them and the size of the tank supports their growth, they can live for many years :)

I wouldn't go down the path of distilled water - tap water, while containing chlorine, chloramines etc also contains essential electrolytes. So a good conditioner is all you need here.

I'm not sure if spongebob's legs have much to do with this :D although removing him is probably for the best :)

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Lets see what we can figure out together here... :)

I never had a sponge bob tank, so I don't really know if it comes with an undergravel filter, which basically discribes that "grid" thing. Does that "grid" thing cover the whole bottom of the tank, or does it only go along the back side? Is it white or blue?

And yes, it will do for now, especially if you do 100% water changes each day.

There is one reason that comes to mind when you ask why it just popped up now, after the fish seemed fine for a year in the exact same conditions. It might be that the fish didn't get regular feedings while he was at your nephew's house, so the ammonia might not have been built up so fast. Since he came into your house, you probably fed him every day, which might have been something he didn't see regularly with your nephew. That is one explanation.

Another is the gravel. You see, gravel can hold quite a nice amount of beneficial bacteria - the same "good" bacteria that Jen discribed, that converts ammonia into nitrites and finally nitrates, which is much less harmful than the first two. The gravel might have been untouched for quite some time in your nephew's home, so the bacteria wasn't disturbed all that much.

Now, that you take the gravel and rinse it regularly in tap water, that is actually a big mistake. Tap water contains chlorine, which destroys that exact bacteria that you better wonna keep around. So, with every rinsing you kill off any bacteria that is starting to build back up.

But not all is lost - if you know how to clean the gravel right. There is a thing called gravel cleaner, and with a small tank like yours you can go with a small size. Check out the link, so you see how they look like... :)

Gravel Vacuum

All you need to clean the gravel is a bucket that usually isn't used for cleaning, and that vacuum cleaner. There is a bigger part on one end, that is the end that goes vertically into the gravel to the tank bottom. The package of the gravel vac explains it exactly how to start the vac, and it creates a suction that gets water and dirt out of the gravel and into the bucket (where the othe end of the vac hangs into). You hold that vac in that exact position until there is no more dirt in the bell part, then take the vac straight out of the gravel, and move on to the next gravel spot. With a 2 gl tank it shouldn't take longer than a few minutes, and you are done!

That of course takes out water as well, so you basically have done part of your 100% water change right then and there. Just keep holding the bell in the water for the rest of the water change, simple as that. We don't take ever gravel out of tanks unless it is really filthy.

But don't feel bad about this - you should hear the things I did to my fish before I knew better! :rofl

Last, but not least - destilled water is no good. All the neccessary minerals that the fish needs are taken out, and we don't want that. Tap water is perfertly fine, when you have water conditioner with it.

Oops, big post right there - Sorry! :lol:

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Oi, not only did we post together, Jen, I also just realized that there are 2 Jens in this thread! :lol:

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LOL, yes, I am a Jen too! Born in 1974, along with 5 million other Jennifer's!

I should've known better about the gravel ()bnecause I think I have heard that before), and you may be right, my sister (my nephew's mom) may not have been cleaning the gravel so I might've wrecked that valuable bacteria. :-( I'll use a turkey baster until I can look for a small gravel vac.

The thing on the bottom of the tank DOES cover the whole bottom of the tank and it is white, it is plastic and has little openings all over it (like a grid). That isn't a filter is it? The thing that the air comes out of is just along the back of the tank, the tube from the pump fits into it and the bubbles come out from 4 different openings. If I can find my digital camera (it is a really old cheap one, i will try and take pics of the fish and the tank).

I did use some distilled water about 3 water changes ago, that probably made hime worse :-( I was doing a 50% change and used distilled water for about a third of the new water. So I won't be doing that again!

When I clean the tank I usually just scoop out whatever percentage of water I am taking out with a plastic cup, then replace it with room temperature water that has been conditioned. I try and pour it on the rock in his tank so it won't disturb the gravel. When I change 100%, I scoop the fish out with a measuring cup and put him in a tupperware bowl, then add the new water (matching temperture), consition it, then put the fish back in with as little of the old water as possible. Let me know if I am doing anything wrong there.

I just changed all the water, and the fish does look a little better. He seems to be trying to prop himself up (or keep himself still maybe) by leaning against the air pump tube. Not sure if this is a good sign or not, but his fins look a little better and he seems to be breathing with less labor.

My daughter is crying though, she is not happy about her fish being sick. I told her to hang on, I'm trying everything I can!

Thanks so much you guys, you rock! :-)

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Here's a picture of the tank my fish in is and all that comes with it, I just realized it is only 1.5 gallons :-(

http://www.happydogtoys.com/buyspongebob/?...t1=Open+Product

I am not using the food that came with it though, I am using TetraFin Goldfish Crisps and I removed the Spongebob figurine and don't have the jellfish in there. I guess the word "toy" in the site to buy an aquarium is probably not a good thing...like I said, my sister bought it for my nephew, and while this fish has been ok for over a year, she had 2 die in in it before this one I think.

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Thanks for all your help everyone, but sadly, Boy has passed away. I hope he didn't suffer. :-(

I told my daughter we will go look at fish (and a bigger tank) tomorrow, and explained to her that now that I have found this site I will know how to take care of a new fish much better! So that is one positive thing that has come of this.

Thank you again for all your advice.

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Oh...I am so sorry. I just got done reading your thread.....

You tried so hard. Hugs to you.

If you get some new fish and equipment, good luck! This place is great - I don't know where I (or my fish) would be without it!

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Thanks guys :-) At least now I will know what i am doing a little bit, or at least have a place to go if I get stuck!

Anyone have tips on how to clean a tank properly after a fish dies? I will probably get a new one, but will have this one available for quarantine or whatever (if I get more than one new fish). Do I clean the gravel at this point? What do I clean the inside of the tank and filter with (they're plastic)? I posted this in the Equipment forum too.

Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate it!

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I've only just seen this tread and read through it and I'm so sorry about your fish :cry1

I also have to say that before i found this site i didn't have a clue about fish care, my 2 fish are currently living in a 5 gal tank till i can afford a bigger home for them and all my posts show the problems that this small home is having on my boys.

The things you need to remember when your out shopping for a new tank is that you need to have at least 10 gals per fancy fish and 20gals per common (fancy fish have two tails and commons have 1). Plus you need to have a filter that filters water at a rate of 10xliter capacity per hour, plus lots of aeration as Goldies need oxygen in their water.

Also a mixed diet of pre-soaked flakes blanched and cooled peas and other veg such as lettuce and zucchini. Another important thing to have is a testing kit I?ve found this to be very important as it helps you to regulate the water conditions of your tank, a PH tester is a must as a sudden rise or fall can have fatal effects on fish. But really it?s trial and error and I hope that you have better look next time. And don?t forget that when you get your new tank you should read up on cycling and water quality I?m sure the experts on this board will help you when it comes to this. Likewise I?m sure that through this experience you?ll be a much better fish keeper.

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Ohh, I'm so sorry about Boy...at least you've found this site so you know what to do now. I think just about everyone on this site could tell you horrible things they did before they found Kokos, welcome to the club sort of speak. Good luck with your future fishies, goldies are sooo much fun to have, especially when you know your taking good care of them. If you ever have questions, no matter how dumb sounding, feel free to ask. We're here to help :welcome

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Oh, no, Jen, I am so sorry about Boy - I was so hoping he'd make it! :( Be assured that we all make mistakes in the beginning - don't wonna tell about the ones I fell into! :thud

Keep on reading and informing yourself at Kokos, and you'll have a new friend for your daughter and yourself... :hug

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Sorry about your loss and :welcome

I have that same SpongeBob 'tank' for my Betta, he loves to sleep between the legs of SpongeBob, it looks like the Betta is giving SpongeBob a piggyback ride.

Post back when you get your new fish and tank.

Take care :D

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