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Need Some Help...


Guest Junior1

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Guest Junior1

Hello all, first time posting as a member, but been lurking as a guest for awhile.

Anyways, I'll give you a little background info so maybe you can help with my problem.

My 3 year old won a goldfish at a street-fair back in June. She brought it home in a plastic bag with one of those plastic bowls. We set it up for a few days and me being a bit of a compulsive, immediately started researching this site as well as others for what to buy. I figured we start off small to see how it goes. I settled on a 7 gal. bowfront tank. It came with an undergravel filter with an airstone. I bought 2 bags of gravel and 2 fake plants and we were done. I was changing water 100% every 2 weeks or so, I was actually putting the fish back in the old bowl while I completely broke down the tank and rinsed and strained the gravel, then replaced everything as it was.

After more research I got rid of the airstone/undergravel set up and bought a whisper powerfilter 10i and a different airstone. I continued to do water changes in the same manner mentioned above, water seemed clearer because of the new filter. Changing filter every month.

I'd say 2 months went by (this about a month ago) and we decided to get a bigger tank and make it a part of the decor, possibly add another fish. I settled on a 16gal. bowfront from AGA with matching stand. I purchased a whisper powerfilter 20i for the new tank and 3 or 4 bags of new gravel. A big rock for the center and rinsed/reused the original 2 plants.

2 weeks ago, seeing how the tank was bigger and the plants looked tiny. I ordered some new Water Wonders plants from tetra along with the fake coral bases they plug into. I took out about 50% water and swapped out the plants. I also had someone suggest to get a heater, so I went and bought a whisper 100w heater...

Last week NYC had a lot of rain and it was chilly, so I plugged in the heater and tried to keep the temp around 76-78 degrees. For some reason, the fish ate fine like always, however it just hid in the corners behind the plants when done. Again, someone suggested the light may be scaring the fish, so I turned it off, but left the heater on. While searching the web for answers I was looking at the "tank of the month" pictures I realized I want something that looks more natural instead of colored gravel so we decided to get some polished river rock gravel. Spectre Stone makes it, shallow creek or something like that. I decided to break the tank down this past Sunday and replace the gravel, change the filter, etc. Doing what I normally did, I netted the fish and put it in the plastic bowl. This time however I realized he really grew out of it. I realized I didn't buy enough gravel so I had to run out and didn't want to leave the fish in the bowl, I filled up my sink and left him in there till I returned. Once the tank was set up and filled, I netted him again, put him in the old bowl and then transferred him to the 16gal. Everything is fine, he's eating and swimming around again so all goes well. I did not plug the heater in this time.

When I woke up on Monday, I noticed a white spot of some sort on his dorsal fin. Its right on the front of it, instead of sticking up, it looks like its kinked back. Hes still swimming and eating fine. Tuesday its still there and I have a friend look at, he said its Ick. So I immediately jump on the web and for some reason it doesn't look like the pictures on the site. I went to a local pet store and the way I described it to the guy, he said it was a fungus. So he gave me fungus treatment. Now I look at the pictures for the fungus and its don't exactly look like that either. Totally confused now, I bring back everything and buy some Stress Coat, thinking I may have hurt it during the netting.

This morning, after researching some more, I saw alot of members here using Salt so I went out and picked it up, following the amounts on the site, I put the first 1/3 in this morning and the second 1/3 this evening. I will put the next dose in tommorrow AM. This evening I did notice another similar spot on a lower fin that looks very similar to the first and also a more pronounced white spot on his tail fin. Nothing on the body of the fish, just the fins. I will take some pics tommorrow to show. Hopefully someone will help me diagnose/treat the problem.

Here's the important info:

Food: TetraFin goldfish flakes 2x a day during the week. On Sats. flakes in the AM and sun dried baby shrimp for a treat. Sundays, flakes once a day only.

Last water test about 30 mins ago...I used Mardel 5 in 1 strips

Nitrate: 0-20 level

Nitrite: 0 level

Water Hardness: 50 level

Alkalinity/Buffering Cap: 0 level "add buffer-up" zone

Ph: 6.8 level (may be low)

Tank: AGA 16 gallon Bowfront

Filter: Whisper Powerfilter 20i

Only 1 fish in the tank, its about 3" long

Additives: AquaSafe added everytime water changed

(as of yesterday: added Stress Coat and 2/3 dosing of Salt)

So far no unusual behavior, eats just fine and swims actively

Any help is greatly appreciated...

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  • Regular Member

Hello Junior,

Welcome to koko's. :)

Okay, I read through your post and a couple of things stood out first.

Please, do not breakdown the do 100% water changes AGAIN! (sorry, not shouting at you but I want to get your attention. :) )

The fish need 2 things above all else. Good water quality and stability.

By taking him out of his familiar environment and then totally changing the water on him, you are stressing him out. Your deliberate cleaning of the tank is also making it hard for the bio-bugs to establish themselves. It would be like us relocating you to a 2 bit hotel every 2 weeks just so that we can clean your house but we also rearrange all your furnitures at the same time. I don't think you would appreciate that. ;)

What we normal advice people to do is 10-20% partial water change per week. Vacuum part of the gravel with care. Never over do the cleaning. Change filter pads when needed. Never rinse anything with tap water. Use dechlor water.

You also need to fix your alkalinity or you can suffer a pH crash with little warning. Forget the "pH up/down/bullseye" stuff. Waste of money. 1/4 tsp of baking soda (bicard of soda) once a day will do the job. You can stop when aklinity is around 150ppm. You pH will rise gradually as well.

Now onto your fish problem. It is most likely that your fish picked up something from your kitchen sink last time you place him there during water change. It could be fungus or bacteria. Not to mention there might be chemicals residues in the sink as well.

What do the white spots look like? Not like grains of salt? Are they like individula strands of hair or little cottonwool balls?

How much salt have you added so far? 0.3% salt is not doing to do much to fungus and certainly will do nothing for bacterias.

I would suggest you get something with malachite green but be careful while using it. If the white tuff don't go away then it is most likely bacterias.

BTW, forget stress coat. The aloe can coat their gills. :)

Please reply soon. :)

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  • Supporter

I have to say, I think I killed my fish by doing 100% water changes and rinsing the gravel, with the combination of him being in way too small of a tank. After reading tons and tons about this, and my recent sad experience, I would go with the above advice of not changing all your fishies water each time.

I am no expert though, I just found this site a week ago because I had a very sick fish, who sadly is no longer with us. My goldfish thing started with a 3 year old too, my nephew. He gave us his fish because they were moving and did not want to take it in the moving truck, so my daughter and I adopted it. My sister had been doing 25% water changes weekly, and the fish had been fine for a year. I get it and think I am doing the fish a favor by removing all the water and the gravel every time, but I think that is what finally did him in, again, with the combo of being in a small tank. Not trying to scare you, just lettig you know that the above advice seems pretty valid to me!

Good luck with your fish, I hope he's ok!

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Guest Junior1

Yes, I realized it was bad to break down the whole tank during water changes and stopped. The only reason it was done this past week was to replace the gravel or I would have just did 25-50% like the time prior.

"What do the white spots look like? Not like grains of salt? Are they like individula strands of hair or little cottonwool balls?"

I will try to get a picture posted up today. The spot on the tail looks closer to a grain of salt, without defined edges which why I was thinking it was cottonlike (it maybe cause its covered with slime coat)

The spot on the Dorsal fin, I can't determine if its cottonlike or not. It just seems like a white distorted spot. I am certain they are not strands of hair however.

Thanks for the replys and the baking soda tip. I will get that started today.

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  • Regular Member

Hi Junior,

Thanks for the pics. Very nice looking fish. :)

Okay, with the lump on the dorsal fin, has it been like that for sometime? The reason I ask is because it looks like trauma that didn't heal perfectly. A bit like a poorly set broken arm. It is not unusual for this to occur. I have a koi in the pond with a pectoral fin crooked like that and I have seen other fish with similar "problem". If it looks like part of the fin and it is just a thickening of the ray then I would just leave it for now and just monitor it.

The spot on the tail is a little harder to tell. Instead of dosing with strong meds for that one small spot, I would suggest that you net the fish. Use a Q-tip saturated with iodine or betadine and just give that a good rub. If it rubs off, it is probably just a little bit of fungus. Clean the area again with some iodine and return the fish to the tank. That might be the end of it. If it reoccurs then we'll need to dose the tank with meds.

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Guest Junior1

Thanx captk...The mark on the dorsal fin has only been there since Monday morning. It wasn't there on Sunday night, and Monday it was.

The spot on the tail was very light, until I started putting the salt in. Since then it has gotten brighter and more pronounced.

In regards to swabbing it off: Do I net the fish and remove it from the tank, and while holding it down use the Q-tip ?

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  • Regular Member

Yes, if you can work on it out of the tank, it is best. An extra pair of helping hands will be great too. ;) Place the fish on a piece of clean plastic sheet (like cling wrap) and wet it with some tank water first. Hold it down firmly but gently. The procedure shouldn't take more than a minute or two. While you got the fish on the "table", have a good look at the dorsal fin as well. If necessary, give that a swab as well. If it is just a thickening of the front ray then leave it alone. :)

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Guest Junior1

update:

This AM I added 1/4 tsp of baking soda as suggested. I didn't get the iodine yet.

The spot on the tail seemed to of gotten smaller in diameter but more defined. Meaning it looked kind of cottony yesterday, and more like a dot today. The one on the dorsal fin seems to be a bit more clearer as well, ie less cotton-like around the fin. Maybe the saltwater is doing some help... :unsure:

I'll keep yas posted and thanks again

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Guest Junior1

Quick question...when changing water do I add the full dose of salt immediately to the water or just 1/3 at a time for the amount that was removed ???

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  • Regular Member

The easiest way to maintance salt concentration no matter what level it is, is to add the correct amount of salt to the bucket of fresh water you are about to add back to the tank. So if you use a 1 gal bucket then you would add 1tsp if you are dosing to 0.1% or 3tsp if 0.3% is required. That way the water is already salted to the correct amount and you don't need to worry about how many gal did I change out. Discard any leftover in the bucket. :)

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