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Eye Infection?!


Guest wyGar

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My goldfish was sitting on the bottom in the corner yesterday morning and i made a full water change (after adjusting water temp) adding trisulfa and epsom salt (fearing it is dropsy. Made a full water change because it has aquarium salt in there before - not good in combination with epsom salt). He has a bit of swelling around his eyes (around the front and top - 7 o'clock to 2 o'clock position) but his eye balls are not bulging out. It LOOKS as if he is developing goggle eyes round the front and top. He was very inactive yesterday as compared to his normal very active self. I needed to tempt him really hard before he wants to come up and eat. He also ate very very slowly and did not engage in his gravel search after every meal.

Last night he was more active than in the morning. He ate and did a gravel search afterwards. But still seemed weak.

This morning I woke up very early and (maybe because he was still sleeping) he didn't want to respond to me. However, as his waking time passed, he became pretty normal today (as in his behaviour). However, his 'goggling' eye rim did not improve but indeed got bigger. His left eye rim swells more than his right (ie the 'sac'-like thing is bigger on his left) and when he swims towards a corner he kind of lightly crashes into the glass and madly twitches and swims away. I think he is having problem in that field of view.

The day before that morning I noticed that he hanged vertically head up eating bubbles or 'dreaming' and a few days before that he was resting more than usual.

Im worrying about his swelling eye rims.... I am not sure if trisulfa was useful but that was the only med I have on hand before shops are open.

* Test Results for the Following:

after the water change yesterday morning

Ammonia Level? .25ppm (same as tap water)

Nitrite Level? 0

Nitrate level? about 2

Ph Level, (If possible,KH and GH and chloramines)? about 7.4 to 7.6

Ph Level out of the Tap? same, 7.4 - 7.6

* Tank size (How many Gals) and How long has it been running? ran for 4 years, 3gal, i know what you will say about this. But I have been changing water (25%) every 3 days and water parameters were all perfect. I have chatted to a few fish keepers and I was told that if water parameters are fine, that tank size is ok for one fishie.

* What is the name and size of the filter/s? a corner filer, which works better than other filters I have purchased and tried (in terms of water parameters - I have had other column filters but they didn't work as well because ammonia levels were always high, but this corner filter actually always keep it at 0ppm if i change water every 3 days)

* How often do you change the water and how much? 25% every 3-4 days

problem here is that I extended the water change interval for the last 2 changes to about 6 days due to other commitments (which I am deeply regretting now) and the last time i cleaned the tank was more than 2 months (which I am also slapping myself for right now)

# How many fish in the tank and their size? 1, about 1.5 inch

# What kind of water additives or conditioners? water ager and usually i add aquarium salt (recently replaced with sea salt), but because I needed to add epsom salt I made a full water change

# Any medications added to the tank? triple sulfa and epsom salt (fearing dropsy)

# Add any new fish to the tank? no

# What do you feed your fish? gel food (ingredients: spinach, peas, tuna)

# Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt", bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? no

# Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, ect..? stayed on bottom yesterday but today he is swimming around (although not as active as normal but much better than yesterday)

I am suspecting it is my stupidity of extending the last 2 water changes too long and probably that the tank was dirty.

Any help to cure the result of my stupidity would be greatly appreciated.

ps: he looks like a cross between an oranda and comet. When he was a baby he looked like a comet, but as he grows, he developed a wan, so I am not exactly sure what breed he is, and so I had a thought he was developing goggle eyes.

please please help my poor goldie

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  • Regular Member

I'm so sorry your fish is not well. You've certainly done a good job of answering all the Qs and giving us information to work on. I have to agree the slip up with water changes is what has set this off . I know you don't want to hear me say it but this is one of the problems with tiny tanks. As the fish grows -even slightly- and as time goes on- the risk becomes steadily greater of bacterial overload. In a large tank the toxins are better 'diluted' and its fair to say that a fish can probably stand the occasional w/c absense if its rectified soon far better than in the smaller space. Your regular water changes are all that has been keeping the lid on this happening sooner.

Anyway, that said- the 100% water change was a good start. You should also rinse the filter media which I presume you did. Pop-eye can be a precursor to dropsy but like dropsy it is also a sign that other bacterial disease is on board. Unfortunately the area behind the eye is very difficult to treat. You need extra aeration with any meds and probably will need to commit to 50% water changes daily for some time.

Which country are you in? Im not familiar with the meds- is there a maker's name? Sulfa drugs can sometimes be effective for this.

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im in australia... so is there anything that you suggest I do?? After eating half an hours ago he is still swimming around searching on the gravel.

I have looked so hard on the web but I just can't find anything on this. His eyes are not popping out but just the rim, the 'skin' around his pupils are like filled with fluid and becoming a sac...

Will tetracycline better help the problem??

or a salt bath? (but i have epsom salt in there...)

triple sulfa treats external bacterial infection. but the thing is i dont even know what kind of disease it is! *slaps head*

I was going to move him into a 8.5g tank with another little fellow who he used to live with but he didnt seem to like it and he loved the old small tank so much that whenever i move him to other tanks he wouldnt move at all or is VERY frightened for very long periods that i thought putting him back would be better...

anyway, would this be a bacterial infection??? will triple sulfa be enough or should i use other meds??

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The bacteria that cause the swelling are right there in all tanks, aeromonas, pseudomonas or perhaps edwardsiella- these are gram neg rod bacteria that may respond to sulfa combination drugs but also are developing resistance to them. However when the same bacteria gets right in behind the eye, the formation of the eye socket is such that it is completely cut off from vascular supply making water born drugs often not very effective.

If your fish still has appetite it would be much better to give him a course of medicated antibiotic food. You can make this yourself by mixing the tetracycline powder I think you can get in Australia from a vet -into the gelfood you make. That would get right inside the fish best to tackle this.

Bulging eyes pre-dropsy can sometimes be effectively treated with 0.3% salt. If dropsy shows the salt can be changed to the epsom.

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thank you sooo soooooo much!!!! i will change 50% water tonight and then feed him medicated food. I actually still have metronidazole gel food in the freezer. Is that okay instead of tetracycline?? (is metronidazole more powerful than tetracycline? That's because in Aust we can easily get tetracycline from any pet shops but metronidazole is a prescription drug from the vet - if metron is way more powerful I think starting with tetracycline may be more beneficial to the fish?)

and how long is one course of antibiotic treatment?

Im now using epsom salt. Would you be able to educate me on the difference between epsom and normal sea or aquarium salt?? (and their effectiveness in treating diseases?)

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There are several antibiotics that will work in food. Metronidazole (the metrogelfood) will also work on internal bacteria although it is first and foremost used for parasitic issues. Make sure the food is not past expiry and that the fish gets enough to be effective. Only feed that- nothing else for the 8 day?recommended time course. If there is no improvement you can continue up to another 8 days or as recommended on the package.

You should see improvement within about 4 or 5 days. If not, please post back.

Salt (sea, rock, aquarium, kosher or salt containing no YPS or anticaking agents) reduces the differential betwen body fluids and aquarium water allowing the antibodies that are present in the surface of the fishes outer mucoid coating to work better, assisting a weak fish with the job of osmoregulation freeing up energy and immunity to deal with disease, encouraging slime coat growth and killing many external bacteria.

Epsom salt in the water on the other hand acts like a laxative, drawing out fluids from the fish. It is difficult to draw fluids out from behind the eye as the area is completely closed off which is why I recommended the sea/aquarium salt which would help the fish heal himself and also have the bonus of killing at least some resident bacterial freewheelers. If the fluid build up moves around into the body you will need the epsom at that point.

Most important of all is that you get to the root problem which is that your fish needs a larger space to call his own. 10 gallons per fish is the minimum for healthy fish longterm and while you may have been able to keep bacterial count low in the past, it looks like the time has come for an urgent upgrade. The other tank (8 gallons or so) is still only big enough for one fish at a push, so better to try and find a 10 gallon upgrade for this fish. It makes fish keeeping so much easier - and believe me, much less worrying :) !

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hi again! thank you so much for ur detailed reply!

sea salt does look like a better option at this point, but that will mean a 100% water change. Therefore, I will just do another epsom salt partial water change for now and prepare water tonight for a 100% water change tomorrow to change back to sea salt. Hope that won't give him too much of a shock!

the tank problem has been around for quite a bit of time. My parents actually object purchasing a bigger tank than that of a 8.5g (which was the most recent upgrade). I hate to say this but that is because we live in a pretty small place and have no space for such an upgrade (that is why i have 'retreated' to a frequent water change tactic).

[and I started with a small tank because the owner of the fish gave up on them when they were still small and I somehow took the responsibility of looking after them because I dont want them to...]

but i will definitely try again and again to upgrade (at least one or two gallons would be good) and do all the water changes needed.

ps: the gel food was made and has been in the freezer for about 2 months, I hope that is still ok... (i am not sure about the expiry date though because the meds were from someone with a kind heart half a year ago - because no vet would sell MZ to me without me bringing in a sick fish)

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hi i have some good news, after observing him and with agreement from 2 other people, I am glad to say that his 'eye bags' are now looking smaller than this morning!!! :D

also, he is not hiding in the corner but swimming around at the front and responding and looking at us!!

but he is still a bit floaty and when he 'sleeps' he floats a bit (not resting completely on the gravel bed) is that normal?? (he usually sleeps ON the gravel, but are there fish that sleep floating in mid water?)

and should i still feed him antibiotics (which I havent yet) or is the current treatment fine?

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I'm sorry - I know how it is living in a small space. If you could save though and get a 20 gallon -imagine how much easier it would be, You could put the 2 fish together and save on bubbler and heater costs, although the 2 filters would be good to have. In that size space, I bet the fish would get along very well after all...especially if you introduced them at the same moment so there would be no territorial possessiveness :) You could tell your parents that this way you'll be cutting down on overall costs and care would be much simpler...

Its good that you rescued the fish though. That always deserves applause and respect!

About salting. Never add the (sea/aquarium etc) salt all at once. When you do the full water change, you can add 0.1% to the waiting water. Make sure its dissolved well. Then after 12 hours you can up the salt to 0.2% level. 12 hours after that you can add the final dose. Each of the 3 doses has to be I teaspoon X gallons. So a 5 gallon tank= 5 teaspoons(one dose). 3 doses like this = 0.3%. Putting the fish into the full 3 doses (0.3%) will shock him and is not good.

The salt can be for about 5 days at this level. That should be enough. During that time you'll need to do at least one water change (check ammonia/nitrites daily). So you will need to replace the salt you took out in the new water. A 50% w/c= replace half the total salt in teaspoons. Keep a paper nearby to jot down what you are putting in and when, a salt diary.

When you do a large treated (de-chlorinated) water change check the temperature is the same as his old water with your finger. If its hard to tell..use another finger and try again. Always match pH in both waters. If you do both these, and add the fish gently, there is no danger of shocking the fish.

One last thing, you say you do 25% w/cs every 2 or 3 days. I think in this small apace, until you can upgrade, you really need to be doing 50% every 2 days. I know its a lot of work but its worth it to avoid more problems for the time being. I do 30% in most of my tanks every 3 days and in my overstocked tank I 'll up that to 50% every 3 days.

Good luck to you and your fish and please keep us posted.

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Oh I think we double posted. Wow that was a fast improvement! There you go! Look what a full water change can do to bacteria :D

Very good news. Maybe you dont need the salt (after my long post haha :krazy: ) and can observe him another day. Perhaps even another full w/c tomorrow????Its sure to help!

Can you explain floaty? Do you mean treading water type swimming (normal) or lopsided aimless blind like floating?

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thanks again for your information!! all the info i got from the pet shop was nothing like what I read from this site! I was taught to add aquarium salt every time i change water (normal water changes, not for treatment purposes) and the 'dosage' was 1 teaspoon per 10L of water, and I have been doing that for the last 4 years. But recently I have been talking to many fish keepers in other fish stores and I was told that 1teaspoon per 10L was way too much (which gave me a shock) - i was told that one small pinch per tank is all that is needed.

As for treatment purposes, I have had too much salt (once only... when I just started keeping them) and recently I have adhered to the right dosage of 1tsp per gallon (but I didnt know I need 3 dosages... - does the number of dosage change according to different diseases??)

I will do him another water change tomorrow, I will try do a 50% in the morning (or afternoon) and another in the evening or at night. :) I will see what happens tomorrow morning and decide if I should feed him antibiotics, for now I will keep feeding him the normal gel food. And for gel food, (I am so sorry for asking so many questions!) but what ingredients make the best gel food? (the current gel food I have spinach, peas and tuna - I have used carrots before but they tend to be big pieces and hard to blend finely) I am not sure if the 3 ingredients provide enough nutrients.

As for floating, he usually sleeps on the gravel bed horizontally with belly touching the gravel, but these days it seems as if his belly is lighter, so that he tends to sleep with his head touching the gravel but his tail/belly slightly raised (and he wakes from the slightly 'floatiness' - as his belly/tail rises lifting his head off the gravel a bit, he wakes and then swims back into the head-touching-gravel position. But normal swimming is fine. Im suspecting problem with gel food or... water problem or over feeding? (I think I was kind of overfeeding a bit in the past few weeks because they were too cute *blushes* - after so many years I still think they are so soooo cute- The other fish tend to float a bit too but after starving him a day or two he returned to normal. I was going to starve this fish a bit too but then he got sick and I thought starving him when he is sick may be too harsh?)

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Hi there again. I have just had a little read of another of your threads and see your fish had dropsy before and I think because of that fact you should forget the regular salt for now and stick with the epsom salt that you have learnt to do and get the metromedgel food into him. That is the best treatment in view of the fact he has had this before.

Keep up those 50% w/cs daily for now, add back the epsom and try and get started on the food soon because he is eating and so that will go straight to the heart of the problem fastest.

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Merry Boxing day to you too and lets hope your fish will get better very soon :) . Holidays are no fun with sick pets.

The gelfood you are making sounds just fine. You could add some garlic to it for extra punch- it helps the fishes immunity and I also use frozen shrimp defrosted, they seem to like that.

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it was the other fish that had dropsy (the one freely roaming the 8.5g tank and is very happy lately - hope he keeps it up!!), this one is the 'stronger' one that I mentioned, that's why I thought not using antibiotics unless necessary (as in dropsy cases)...

and it is also why I am concerned with his floating (if it is the one who had dropsy I know what is wrong and what to do)

Yea, I can't believe right after I said merry xmas to him I found out he is sick...!! And I spent this xmas worrying about him so so much!

as for shrimp, I cannot find anything that is less than 1 whole kg in any nearby pet stores!!! and I am a bit reluctant using any pre-prepared food such as flakes or pellets after knowing how harmful they can be (SBD etc), and this fear extends to dried bloodworms...

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did another water change this morning. He is looking good with the swellings getting smaller and smaller :) he is also pretty active too!! Gonna do another water change tonight :D Hope everything goes fine!

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So I think this was all about the lapse in water changes. That's good you are doing them more fequently now and its a very good idea to start with water changes anytime in the future anything is amiss with your fish. If I were you -and an upgrade is not on the menu for some time -I'd start doing those 25% water changes daily to keep the water tip top for your babies. And make sure you check that pH and temperature to prevent any unexpected floatiness or strange swimming.

Well done for catching this quickly enough that water changes are all thats needed :)

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:D thank you so much for your help too! Im prepared to do daily water changes. Is 25% once daily alright? Or would you suggest 50%?

And for the 8.5g tank (one fish also), what is the recommended w/c rate??

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Well there is not one recommended water changing schedule that fits all. Unfortunately :D . That would be so easy. We could just refer to a chart and scroll down, find our tank size and get a w/c percentage number... :aint: There are a lot of factors that make each set up different you see, and prescribing a routine for someone without knowing all the details of the set up is rather tricky.

First, there's the filtration. How many filters are running and what is the GPH turn over of each filter. In other words, how many gallons of tank water per hour is the filter capable of filtering.

What size is the tank?

What kind of aeration does the tank have to sustain a healthy biomedia and strengthen the fishes immunity?

What kind of biomedia is in the tank...ceramic hoops, sponge floss only..etc.

What is the pH situation..is it stable? If not, the beneficial bacteria may be constantly handicapped or dieing off.

Is there gravel? Ornaments? Is the tank over stocked (too many fish) or understocked? Are there plants?

What is the temperature of the water..is it stable or changeable?

How long has the tank been set up..is the cycle complete/crashed/well-established?

How often are the fish fed? How much and what kind of food?

Is there a history of disease or have the fish been sick recently?

The answers to all of these, and prob. a few others I've forgotten, make up a tank's personal data. And without knowing the answers to all these question it's difficult to prescribe a water changing rule that fits perfectly. And that rule would only be a guideline because if the fish got sick or any of the above details changed -for example you went away or fed too much by mistake etc- then the water changing too would have to change.

Working out and sticking to a schedule is very important part of fishkeeping. It's good for the fish to have the regularity and it is a very sound insurance policy for the health of your fish. You could even think of it like advance health insurance payments :exactly A well cared for fish will bounce back better if disease should ever get hold. Regular, adequate water changes build up a fishes resistance and make him stronger :)

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