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Water Quality Issues

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NO3 - 25

NO2 - 0

GH - >10d

KH - 10d

PH - 8.4

ammonia - 0


this tank has been running for about 3 yrs. holds about 15UK gallons. has one telescope goldfish living in there - he's (nose to tip of tail) 7in. fluval 2 internal filter plus additional airstone.

i posted on here last week when i thought that indy was choking on a stone. despite looking i couldn't see anything.

i then tested the water - i did a water change the day before - and to my horror it was all over the place, really high ammonia - so he was choking- but obviously not on a stone!

i didn't post back, as i knew that i had to immediately take action on the water.

he was upside down for at least four days. but i managed to give him the odd bit of food, like peas or sinking pellets - which he readily eats when he can find them. he is now resting on his side - though he will take the odd swimming session, where he is predominately upright - but when not swimming will tilt to the side - which i'm hoping is a good sign as before he was on his back.

i'm feeding him very sparingly though.

i've removed most of the stones - as i think that may have been part of the culprit to causing the water decline - along with the fact that although i normally change 10% of the watr every week - for the last month i've had bronchitis - and so hadn't kept up with it.

so i'm aware i am to blame enormously.

i've been doing 50% water changes daily

i've just done a massive water change - and the PH is incredibly high!?!

its normally around 7.6 i cant remember what is causing this...

there are no plants or any ornaments in there now. i've pretty much stripped it bare.

in the last two days some black marks have developed on his dorsal and anal fin along with some black smudges on his side. other than that he looks remarkably well considering i've practically poisoned him!

today is tuesday - i leave the country for two weeks on sunday - so timing aint good.

any suggestions on what i should do for him now?

i did have some melafix in there - as his fins initially got a bit ragged at the ends - but this has stopped.

i've added a couple teaspoons of aqualibram salts also.

any advice would be great.

many thanks


i should add that he has a healthy appetite, poo is normal - but clearly he's not out of the woods yet.

Edited by pumpkin

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I think you hit the nail on the head about water quality causing the problems. The black marks you see are signs of ammonia burns, but the black indicates they are healing.

Your pH has risen because you have done so many water changes. I bet the pH of your tap water is in the high 8's as well. Don't worry because it is an acceptable level for goldfish. Most likely it normally reads a bit lower due to the nitrication process which is acidic.

It is possible that your fish sustained some permanent organ damage as a result of this episode but even if he hasn't it will take some time before he returns to his normal self.

I would suggest that you keep on doing what you have been doing so far but that'll be difficult if you are going away. Who is going to look after your fish while you are gone? Is it possible to ask them to do a 50% water change after the first week?

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neither of the people that are checking on house and feeding my cats have any fish knowledge!!

but i will try and give them a lesson - and organise for them to do one water change.

when you say that he may have had some organ damage - how will i know??

i'm encouraged by his appetite and the fact that he has these swimming sessions.

am relieved that the high PH is not causing any more stress for him.

had forgotten that the black marks were a good sing - as in a healing sign.

so i guess all i can do is cross my fingers and carry on as i have been doing.

thanks for your advise.


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It would be great if your housesitters could do at least one water change in your absence. I think that good water quality is the key to his recovery. Time will tell as to whether any permanent damage has been done, as long as he keeps improving that is a good sign.

Just a tip about feeding while you are away. Measure out daily food amounts and wrap them in foil so that the minders don't overfeed your fish. Not only is this dangerous to the fish itself but you don't want rotting food wrecking more havic with your water quality. Also hide the rest of the fish food somwhere the minders can't find it.

This may sound a bit OTT but take if from someone who knows, many people have no idea how much to feed a fish and because fish act like they are always hungry many people are tempted to overfeed.

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