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I Think My Oranda Is Dying....help!


Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

I have a single red cap oranda in a ten gallon tank. It is about 2 to 2.5 inches long (excluding the tail) and I have had it for about 1 year now. My tank has been established for about two and a half years and when I first got this particular fish I had two small black moors (I first purchased them when I set up the tank originally) who, unfortunately, died approximately four or five monthes ago. They seemd perfectly healthy and I found them floating at the surface of the tank completely un-expected upon waking up one morning. There was no sign of disease or injury and my dog has absolutly no interest in them at all so I am sure she had nothing to do with their untimely demise (she can't reach the tank anyways). All the levels (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH) are normal. I usually do a 50% to 60% water change every one to two weeks and I use tap water whch has been treated with TetraAqua Aqua Safe Water Conditioner and aquarium salt made by Jungle. I feed my goldfish with Laguna goldfish pellets and TetraFin goldfish flakes.

Now my problem is, about four or five days after my black moors died, my oranda, who had a beautiful vibrant red head, lost all colour and is now completely white. I thought nothing of it and figured maybe it lost its colour because there was no other fish around for it to impress. But about one week ago I noticed the dorsal fin had white blotches (not at all fuzzy or cottony like fungus), I decided to keep an eye on it (I know...big mistake). Well about three days ago I noticed the tail fins have small areas blood visible from about mid-tail to the tips and also right at the base of the tail. The white patches have not gotten bigger, fuzzy, thicker. His appetite normal but he does seem to acting strangely, for example instead of swimming like a crazed fish to the top of the tank during his feed times he sticks to the bottom of the tank and waits until the lid is closed before he ventures to the surface to eat. His eyes also are starting to look rather opaque and his scales don't look as shiny as they used to. And lastly when he sits at the bottom of the tank for to long he begins to float up to the surface on his side and it seemds like it is through no control of his own.

What is wrong with my poor fishie? Can anyone please help?

-Oranda_Girl_2799

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

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Hi and welcome to the site. Sorry to hear you are having such problems.

I would ask first, while you said your params are normal we need to know exact numbers in order to recommend treatment. This is vital information. We also need the other stuff such as filter size, etc.

Until you get back with us I can recommend a 20-30% water change.

Also what temp do you keep the tank at?

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

I will have to call the pet store tomorrow and ask for the specific details of the levels. I have him test the water once a month or so and usually all I get is a voicemail message saying "everything is fine". He has told me he tests pH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and chlorine levels.

The temperature in the tank is currently reading 72.5 degrees and that is the temperature it has ALWAYS been at.

I should probably add that it seems like my fish is having trouble holding his dorsal fins up straight, they almost seem to be bent.

He still seems to be fine behavoirally speaking.

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I am a bit confused, the title says you think he is dying, but he is acting ok? Can you clarify this? It is so important how the fish is acting.

While testing the water once a month is better than nothing, it is also vital to maintain a good tank by testing once weekly. I would recommend investing in drop tests to do this. Aquarium Pharms makes a Master test that over all is a good value.

It is never a good idea to go by "levels are fine", you must know exactly what they are. Many problems can be brewing yet go undetected by following the theory of "fine".

You also need to know what the levels are for your weekly water change. This is so important I can't stress it enough.

With a fish that is drooping his dorsal fin a few things could be going on. Parasites or Ph issues.

To zero in on which it is you will need to know a few things.

The ph of the tank (exactly)

The ph of your tap water (exactly)

Does the fish have any other symptoms like, spitting food, darting around the tank, rubbing on things?

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

I had to buy the tests myself and do them because the store I go to wasn't open today (I don't think I will be giving them my buisness anymore, I didn't realize how important it was to have actual numbers). The pH of my tank is 7.6, the nitrate level is between 5 and 10 ppm, the nitrite level is also between 5 and 10 and my tap water pH is 6.8. Also my filter is a Dynaflow 10 to 30 gallon.

I think it is an emergency because I have had fish in the past who started to look like this and they died within a few days of me noticing the problem and I don't want my fish to die. I am not new to owning pets, especially fish, but I am not a fish expert and I would hate to see any pet suffer because I didn't ask for help even if it is not an emergency.

A friend recommended I ask for help on this website. he said it was one of the best he knows of so I am hoping you can help.

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

Also forgot to include his behaviour is not at all normal anymore (I am sorry for the confusion, he was acting normally several days ago, but today not at all). He is staying to the bottom of the tank and when he does swim around it is very slowly. His dorsal fin is still bent (by bent I mean it stands half way up and then looks like it has been bent in half like a piece of paper or something). I would take a picture but I have no digital camera unfortunately. He is not rubbing his body on the gravel or any of the plants (which are all plastic).

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Your friend is right, this is the best place I know of to get info on fish. HOpefully together we can fix your issues and keep you fish and you happy and healthy!

Thank you for getting the information to us. I can tell you it is good your ammonia is 0, however it is very bad that your nitrItes are 5-10. You will need to do 2 water changes about 30% 8 hours apart. I will explain why on down in my reply.

Since your nitrates are between 5-10 that is also good.

I must ask, are you familar with what all the numbers should be in a cycled tank?

Next problem I see is with your ph. The tap and the tank are too different, this could be the second problem with the fish.

(the first being the high nitrites).

This is why I said you need to do 2 smaller changes. Idealy it would be better to do a large water change to get your nitrites down, but with an unstable ph this is very dangerous and can kill the fish. So we need to get them down but it has to be done more slowly.

Since your ph's are 0.8 points away from each other bouncing them around is bad. I must ask, are you using anything to alter the ph?

If you are not, it will be a good idea to invest in a GH and KH test as well. This will test the hardness of the water.

Ph isn't my strong suit, I do better with the tap being higher than the tank, so I will see if I can let another expert know about your issue.

In the meantime I think the water changes and retesting 1 hour after each will be where to start.

Hang on it will probably get bumpy, but we are here to support and help you.

OH PS, don't worry about the pic, I think we can help without it. I'm pretty sure it is a water quality issue causing the problems.

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

I don't use anything to alter the pH when I put water into my tank. I only use the conditioner and make sure it is around the same temperature as the tank (oops on my part).

I will do the first 30% water change as soon as I am finnished writing this reply.

I have noticed now that his tail fins also have the white blotches only much much smaller than those on his dorsal fin. Also there are very thin spots in the middle of his fins and I am not 100% sure but one looks like a hole. The fins are not ragged and there is still the same amount of red in the same places. He is staying at the bottom of the tank for longer periods also with his noise pointed into the gravel (I am not sure if that has any significance?).

Also I will look around for GH and KH test kits tomorrow. Is there anything I can put in the water to make the pH from my tap more equal to that of my tank?

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Oh that is good you temp match the water, it should be done that way.

No right now you don't want to mess with putting anything in the tank to alter the ph.

Is there any decorations of any kind in the tank? Any coral objects or drift wood?

Also do a little test for us tonight. Set out a glass of water from the tap and test it's ph. Then leave that water and glass sit out 24 hours and re test it. See what you get and see if they are different.

We need to figure out why the ph increases once it's in the tank.

The red and holes are most likely from the poor water quality. It sends toxins into the fish's system causing problems.

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You are right on Laurie, by asking her to set out some water overnight. What is most likely happening is that the water from the tap has a high dissolved C02 level. When the C02 naturally dissipates, the ph rises.

Leaving the water out to sit before she adds it to the tank will cause the ph to rise. She can speed up the process by agitating the water with an airstone.

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Yes, that would be the best idea. It might take 24 hours or so for the ph to rise. When I had my betta and I did 100% water changes, I would leave the water out for 24 hours, then do the water change. If I didn't, the betta would get holes in his fins.

The easiest way to do this, particularly with a small tank, is to buy a couple of those big plastic watering cans. Then fill them, and leave them for 24 hours and use this water for your water changes. Usually you can find a corner of the room to tuck these away.

It sounds like there is more going on than just a ph issue, though. Some of this problem sounds bacterial to me.

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

Well, I did the water changes like you had suggested (30% each) eight hours apart. One hour after changing the water I tested the levels again and I got a 7.2 for the pH, 5 for nitrate, betwen 0 and 5 for nitrites and 0 for ammonia.

My fish is still eating alright but he sits on the bottom of the aquarium is he is not eaing or if I am not cleaning the aquarium. I think the water changes may have stressed him out a bit because he isn't doing much of anything right now. His eyes are looking much more opaque.

I will do the tap water test onight also (test it, then leae it out on the counter over night). I do aerate my tank with a large air stone which may help speed the pH levels to even out.

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Not to butt in here, as I'm a relative newbie myself and can't offer much specific help, but I was wondering if salt might help? As a soother, if nothing else, while the cause of the problem is being figured out?

I went through a scary episode of pH imbalance/water parameter wackiness a while back, and salt helped me and my fish through it.

Just wondering if salt might be a good idea or not?

Hope your Oranda gets better! And as LaurieP said, your friend led you to the ultimate place for GF expertise. The people here are awesome. They really know everything there is to know and more about GF.

Lisa

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I don't use anything to alter the pH when I put water into my tank. I only use the conditioner and make sure it is around the same temperature as the tank (oops on my part).

I will do the first 30% water change as soon as I am finnished writing this reply.

I have noticed now that his tail fins also have the white blotches only much much smaller than those on his dorsal fin. Also there are very thin spots in the middle of his fins and I am not 100% sure but one looks like a hole. The fins are not ragged and there is still the same amount of red in the same places. He is staying at the bottom of the tank for longer periods also with his noise pointed into the gravel (I am not sure if that has any significance?).

Also I will look around for GH and KH test kits tomorrow. Is there anything I can put in the water to make the pH from my tap more equal to that of my tank?

After readfing the above it sounds like a bacterial problem- - the white blotches and such more than a water or PH proiblem- however you said that you are indicating Nitrite levels- and any Nitrite levels showing are hazardous to your fish- as a preventative has anyone mention Maracyn-Two to combat a possible bacterial infection and has anyone suggested or inquired about your salt additions, you said you added but did not indicate your levels per gallon, or if you have made any- I do not see them listed-

Eric

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It might be bacterial but it could also be associated problems from nitrite poisoning - especially while levels are so high. The problem here is the water needs to be beyond perfect before any meds are even considered otherwise it could do more harm than good and it'll help once the nitrites are out of the water to make a more accurate assessment.

So I would get the water as excellent as possible and then study for any indicators such as:

- stringy poop

- listlessness/bottom sitting

- clamped fins

- any redness/markings on the body

If you find any of the above symptoms, then you may need to medicate as per Eric's suggestion.

Just on your nitrites, if you can, keep up the waterchanges until you see a firm 0 and yes, it is a good idea to add salt to 0.1% while nitrites are in the water as the salt competes with the nitrites for absorption through the gills which is how it protects them.

So the first step to helping your fish is to try and get your nitrites down through more waterchanges and adding 1 teaspoon of salt (predissolved) per gallon will help protect the gills. Then if you still see symptoms as mentioned, it may be time to look at other ways of helping your fish :)

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I agree with Jen, I wouldn't add any med to the water just yet. At least until the water is more under control and staying that way.

If you can get a medicated food, that may be the way to go for right now to help with a "possible" bacterial infection. Goldfish connection online has 2 very good ones. Metromed and Medigold are both very good foods. (they do only cover the states, not sure where you are).

Keep us posted.

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Guest Oranda_Girl_2799

Well unfortunately my goldfish died yesterday night. I am not sure what was going on but I thank everybody for their help. I noticed when I took him out of the tank that the white spots on his fins were thick.

I want to start over with my fish tank. I think I will invest in a bigger tank this time though. Once again thank you everybody for the help. I am sure some of the things I did helped him but unfortunately I guess I was to late. Next time if anything goes wrong I will check it out as soon as I notice it.

I was thinking, could my fish have had a fungus infection along with a bad pH and nitrite level in his tank?

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I am sorry to hear he didn't make it.

Yes there could've been other things going on, but it is hard to say.

When you start over my recommendations is to really keep up on the water. That is the most important thing, when that is in order it is easier to diagnos problems and get them under control.

You are welcome, if you need anything else just let us know.

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As Laurie mentioned, the whiteness could be one of many things ... fungal, bacterial or parasitic. Also, the quality of the water makes all of the difference. Poor water will stress a fish and leave it open to many opportunistic illnesses.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear, little fish. You did all you could, and you have learned a lot, so your next fish will benefit from that.

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