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Analysis Of Dead Fish


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Name: Didn't have one.

Tankmates: Giant Girl (Common), Broken Jaw (Common). Both seem to be healthy.

Type: Common.

Gender: Female.

In season: No.

Time of death: Yesterday, found dead at 8:00 PM.

Last seen alive: Yesterday, at 10:00 AM. Seemed perfectly fine then, no signs of distress.

Anything noticable: Nothing - even when dead, the fish looked perfectly healthy.

Anything noticable INSIDE the fish: Most everything checked out, but the gall bladder was a bright green.

Edited by Bob the Goldfish
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Hi Bob -- In order to help determine what happened to your fish we need the answers to the questions at the top of the page. Without that info we would just be taking random guesses.

BTW, I don't think it is abnormal for the gall bladder to be green. The gall bladder stores bile, which (at least in humans) is green.

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I can't give most of it because my father won't get a testing kit (I HAVE asked him about it), but here is what I can tell you:

Filters: Two 70 gallon AquaClear power filters.

Tank size: 40 gallons.

Ph: Around 6 (this was done with ancient strips, keep in mind)

Food: Wardley brand floating goldfish pellets. The container also says "Medium Moyen"

Also, the gall bladder should be black and shiny:

http://thegab.org/Articles/images/InternalAnatomy04.jpg

This is what I have seen in other goldfish I have opened up in the past. The Moor in the photo (not mine) died from an abnormal swim bladder, btw.

Edited by Bob the Goldfish
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If your pH is actually 6.0 then that could be your problem. That is much too low and it is probably on its way lower. I would do a large water change ASAP.

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We stopped doing larger water changes as they were really stressing the fish. Also, I have read that round goldfish pellets can contribute to gall bladder disease. Could the food I am using cause this?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31YB...L500_AA280_.jpg

Edited by Bob the Goldfish
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A pH of 6.0 will be much more stressful to your fish than a large water change. If you don't take care of this it will kill your other two fish.

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Maybe your fish were getting stressed by large water changes because the water you were putting in had much different chemistry than what you were taking out? If you don't have a test kit you can't be sure, were you matching the pH?

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My father says that the water here is VERY alkaline, which would make the pH go up. He also says that the last time he did a large water change, the fish became very stressed, especailly the now-dead fish, and they wouldn't eat for two weeks. Also could the dead fish have had a gall bladder infection? As I said before, it was bright green on the outside, and it didn't appear to be shiny. I didn't open it up, however.

Edited by Bob the Goldfish
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A pH of 6.0 is acidic, not alkaline. An acceptable pH range for goldfish is 7.2 - 8.2, so you are significantly below that. When was the last time that you did a water change? I have never heard of goldfish that got so stressed from a water change that they did not eat for two weeks.

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Bob - your Dad needs to read up on some basics of fishkeeping.

I think you are looking for the 'obscure' and missing the obvious here - stocking levels and good water keeping are uppermost in fish care.

1)Water changes do not stress fish - unless the PH is very different between tap and tank.

2) Goldfish need weekly water changes - monthly to 6 weeks is hopeless. Without this their waste has nowhere to go; the nitrates soar and the PH crashes downwards. This might explain why the fish seem upset after a change.

3) Fishkeeping without a test-kit is madness. Unless you know your water chemistry you cannot keep your fish safe.

If you skip over these essentials, your fish will go down with all manner complaints.

Please get him to read the links below my signature. Ask him to buy a freshwater dropper kit, like the API Master Kit.

My guess is that your fish are being poisoned by their own water.

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If you got these numbers from a good drop tester, your fish are in some trouble. PH of 6 is way too low. It needs to be between 7.2 and 8. Ammonia should be 0 and nitrates should be around 20-40. Water changes do not stress fish. If you don't do an immediate very large-75-90% water change, I fear for the future of your fish.

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When you have nitrates, you shouldn't have ammonia. If you have both, then that sounds like you had a cycle crash. And 80 ppm nitrates is massively deadly. You need to do a temperature matched, dechlorinated 90% water change immediately. Then do daily water testing and at least 50% water changes until the tank recycles. More depending on your test readings. You need to get the nitrates down to no more than 20, preferably lower, in my own personal opinion. The ammonia is also going to raise as the tank recycles, so that needs to be kept to 0.5 or lower. Testing and water changes are of utmost importance.

Also, your ph is low and it needs to be raised to around 7, but you can't do that fast as that will be as big a shock to the fish as any other bad thing. It needs to be raised slowly. Ph up type kits are temporary and if you allow the ph to go up and down, that's even more stressful for the fish. I would suggest adding some well-rinsed crushed coral to the tank. This will raise the ph slowly. And monitor the ph very carefully to keep an eye on what it's doing.

Keep in touch here. We always here to helping you!

Oh, and if you got these ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings because you finally got your dad to get test kits, first, I say good for you and two, I'm very glad to see that your dad is open to learning. I hope that you thanked him very much for getting you these test kits. It was a very nice, good thing to do!

Edited by lynda441
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Yes, my father has put in a pH upper, but I will ask him about a water change. Also, what is the best solution for the Nitrates? I think they may have poisoned that fish.

Edited by Bob the Goldfish
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As I said, a ph up is not the best choice. Something slow and long lasting like crushed coral is a much better option.

Yes, it is most certain that the high nitrates have poisoned the fish. The ONLY solution to reduce the nitrates is a major, 90% water change as previously described. That is the ONLY solution. And large water changes are the ONLY solution to keeping the ammonia low, which is far worse for the fish than nitrates and which is going to get worse since your cycle crashed. You MUST do those water changes or your fish are not going to do well.

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I will have my father do the water change once the pH is back up, but not before then, as putting our alkaline tap water in the currently acidic tank water, would really stress the fish, and could send them into shock. (For the record, the water my father had been putting in recently was on the acidic side, so as not to stress the goldfish)

Edited by Bob the Goldfish
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I'm confused. It doesn't make sense here. You have alkaline tap water, but your tank water is acidic and you're adding ph up to your tank water to bring the originally alkaline tap water that then somehow got acidic in the tank back to an alkaline level? How did alkaline tap water become so acidic in the tank?

Massively high nitrates and ammonia are far, far more stressful on fish that a moderate ph change. You know, a much, much better solution to this problem, if you have alkaline tap water and acidic tank water, as well as deadly high nitrates and soon to be potentially deadly ammonia levels is not to let your fish sit in deadly, toxic water that is killing them while you hopefully wait for the ph to rise by introducing chemicals, but to do about 20% water changes every single day. This will slowly mix in the more alkaline water as well as take out at least some small portion of deadly toxic water.

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"How did alkaline tap water become so acidic in the tank?"

For this simple reason: when water changes are only done between 4 -6 weeks, the nitrates, which are acidic, escalate beyond the capacity of the waters buffering power (alkalinity) and cause the PH to crash.

The problem with this tank is that there has been a cycle crash. In a plunging PH much of the beneficial bacteria are lost and the cycle can be almost completely killed off.

The way to manage the water properly is through regular water changes.

"For the record, the water my father had been putting in recently was on the acidic side, so as not to stress the goldfish"

This is the wrong way to manage the problem. What must be done is to gradually raise the PH to the tap level, through small partial changes as Lynda suggested. How best to achieve this depends upon how big your tank is and how many fish there are. Can you tell us?

You can put the fish in a holding crate to which you add a small volume of water every 10 mins until the PH is equal to the tap, or you can try to match the tank and tap this way if your tank is not too big as to make the process impossibly long. Don't mess around with PH adjusters - this is terribly stressful to your fish who need to be in clean, fresh water and relieved of such a high organic load.

The most important thing to understand is that what is most stressing your fish is being left in unchanged water for weeks on end. Water changes are the only way to reduce nitrates and remove the build up of harmful bacteria.

You must get a proper drop kit and test the water daily until the cycle is re-established. 80 for nitrates is impossibly high and the amount of unhelpful bacteria present will be awful, too. The gravel must be completely vacuumed to remove the toxic build-up of waste and once the PH is matched you should do a 100% water change.

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"How did alkaline tap water become so acidic in the tank?"

For this simple reason: when water changes are only done between 4 -6 weeks, the nitrates, which are acidic, escalate beyond the capacity of the waters buffering power (alkalinity) and cause the PH to crash.

The problem with this tank is that there has been a cycle crash. In a plunging PH much of the beneficial bacteria are lost and the cycle can be almost completely killed off.

The way to manage the water properly is through regular water changes.

This was very interesting! Thank you Pixie! Learning and learning! For myself if for no one else! I love all of you people and what you teach me each day!

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"My father has done a 17 gallon water change."

Great! Thank goodness for that! How big is the tank? How many fish in there?

I have been talking to my father about a large water change, but he is VERY reluctant to do it, because he says it would really stress the fish.

This is a very common error. So for future reference, explain that the largest stress comes from filthy water, a crashed and acidic PH and very high nitrates. A water change is a RELIEF from all that! Water changes for goldfish must be done weekly. The monthly routine is for tropicals which have a much lower waste output

If water changes are not regular, the level of harmful bacteria explode in numbers causing all sorts of infections; in addition, the nitrates (which are acidic) climb high enough to eventually crash the cycle and your PH dives into acidity.

Get him to read the link on the Nitrogen Cycle underneath my signature.

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