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Help! Our New Goldfish Might Be In Trouble.


Guest karaa

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Guest karaa

Here's the background info.. Our children came home from parents night out with two goldfish. We were not prepared so we did what we could for the little guys at 10:00p.m. in the evening. We filled a large glass cannister with water and floated our fish in the bag in the water for approx. 30 minutes then transferred them to the glass cannister. The next morning we began a crash course on goldfish keeping and set out for a tank that we could afford (we never planned on having these little guys but we were and are bound and determined to take as best care of them as we can). Fast forward 4 hours we have a tank and prepared it as quickly as possible (according to our research on the net) because the water is looking terrible and the smallest of the two goldfish doesn't seem to be doing so well. We transfer them to the new tank the proper way (floating fish in bag, etc.). The next day about mid afternoon little goldfish passes away. Now we have one goldfish and are doing our best to keep him going. Up until today he seemed to be doing very well (swimming, exploring, eating). Today, he is burying his nose in a crevice of rock at the bottom back left-hand corner of the tank. He does not seem to be eating much either. He will startle and swim off if I tap that bottom side of the tank. He will swim around periodically but I am very concerned. Some more details are as follows:

10 gallon glass tank

filter that puts small air bubbles onto the surface of the water

one inch undyed gravel on bottom of tank

miniscule amount of flaked food twice daily and 1-2 fresh cooked peas(squished in my fingers)

partial water change today

common goldfish

used water test strips nitrite and nitrate levels are great

we have very hard water

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, Thank you.

Edited by karaa
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Guest Orandaa

Goldfish like to explore. I used to have a common and he would dig up the gravel, eat the plants, anything he wanted! So seeing your little guy burying his head behind a rock every now and then shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Is he sitting on the bottom immobile for long periods at a time? How does the dorsal fin (the top fin on the back of the fish) look? If it's standing tall, thats good. If it's "laying down" on it's back, he may be sick or stressed out.

Try different types of foods, I started with flakes then changed to pellets and my fish love the pellets 10x more than they did the flakes but it's all about experimenting.

My guess is that your guy is simply a little stressed. From coming home with the kids, to being moved into different tanks so quickly, etc. it's probably just a little stressed. I would recommend buying something like API Stress Coat. You can get $1 bottles that you just pour right into the tank, one shot is enough for now. That will help de-stress the fish, as well as coat it with a protective layer to protect against sickness.

Good luck, keep us informed on how he's doing.. any name yet for the fish?

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Guest karaa

Thank you for your reply. His dorsal fin is lying down however it will periodically perk up. When he is in the bottom back corner of the tank it is as if he is dead his little body is very limp. I mistook him for dead when we returned home this afternoon. I am glad to know about the pellets. Do I need to be concerned about "swim bladder"? His name is "Spikey"

Edited by karaa
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  • Regular Member

Welcome to Koko's! There are a lot of good articles here about cycling your tank you can check out.

To start with, goldfish are very messy fish and produce a lot of ammonia. Do you have a test for that? You generally won't see any nitrites or nitrates until you tank starts to cycle. The other thing you didn't mention is whether you have any conditioner to take chlorine or chloramines out of your water. If you have these in your water supply, which is likely unless you have well water, they can be deadly to fish.

It sounds like you've done great to get your fish a 10 gallon tank. Can you give us a little more detail on your filter?

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Guest Orandaa

Sounds like a stressed out fish. It's not the worst thing that could happen but it can lead to death if it's put through anything else. I would do water changes daily, maybe 15-20% of the water per day. Don't add any ornaments, plants, gravel, etc. until the fish seems back to normal. Just be gentle with it, don't tap the glass, or scare it.

Think of it like this... when you're stressed out, do you like people bothering you? Or if you were sitting comfortably in a chair would you want people moving around all the furnature near you? Same way with the fish. He needs some time alone, but make sure the water is circulated (changed) daily, atleast for about a week. After that you can hold off for a few days between water changes.

I would still recommend getting some type of Stress Coat. Every local fish store will have it and know exactly what you're talking about.. if not.. I'd leave ASAP and go somewhere else lol. But really, I use API Stress Coat and my fish have never been sick or had any damage done to their bodies or scales. Just follow the directions, it's usually around 10 ml per 10 litres.

I wouldn't think he's got swim bladder. However, a good way to treat swim bladder is by feeding your fish peas, which you said you already were doing. I would continue a mix of the peas with whatever other fish food you use, and I think he should be alright. Just give him a few days and I think you'll see a big difference.

Edit: Cometgirl makes a good point. Are you using tap water? If so you'll want to pick up something to get rid of the chlorine and harmful substances in tap water. I don't mean to sound like an infomercial but API Stress Coat rids your water of harmful substances, as well as protects your fish. It's a good product.

Edited by Orandaa
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First off, it's great that you have taken such an interest in making sure you do everything you can to give these surprise pets a good home.

Next, it is very possible that your fish were already sick when they were bought from the store, so it very well may not be anything you're doing.

You have a new tank. Did you read anything about the Nitrogen Cycle and how to cycle the water in a new tank? Goldfish produce massive quantities of waste and that waste produces ammonia that can be very deadly if allowed to accumulate. Through a series of water changes and time, beneficial bacteria begin to grow and "eats" the ammonia, first converting it into nitrites and then into nitrates, which then, with continued regular water changes, will make the water more safe for fish to live in. It is a little more complicated than this simple explanation, so I am attaching the link to Koko's article on Cycling with Fish to help you understand this process and get your fish safely through the cycling process and avoid any New Tank Syndrome. Koko's Cycling With Fish

Basically, you will need to do daily water changes of 75%-90% depending on your test readings. You say that you have strip tests for nitrites and nitrates. You don't mention anything for ammonia. Since ammonia is the first thing that shows up in a new tank, you must have a test for ammonia. Drop test kits are much more preferable over strip test kits as they will give much more accurate readings.

Your tank size is perfect for one single tail fish, which I'm going to guess is the kind you have. Because of the amount of waste goldfish produce, you need a filter that moves 10 times the water as the size of the tank. So, for a 20 gallon tank, you need a 200 gph filter.

So, first, I would suggest a 90% temperature matched water change and use a dechlorinator/stress coat. Then, along with getting drop test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and ph, API is a good brand, I would also suggest you get some aquarium salt and some Hikari Prazi-Pro (praziquantel). Prazi-pro is usually not found in chain pet stores nor even in many specialty fish stores, but it is the best. Prazi-pro treats for flukes, which most fish already have when they are in fish stores. You can order prazi-pro online, so I would suggest ordering some of that right away and add that to the tank according to directions as soon as you can. This is not saying that treating for flukes is the answer to any problem you may have, but salt and prazi is a standard treatment for new goldfish.

Based on your water test readings, continue to do large daily water changes to keep the ammonia down while the tank cycles. I'm more picky about my test levels than what most consider acceptable, so, I prefer to keep my readings down to 0.25-0.5 for ammonia and nitrites and at 5 for nitrates, but if they go one or maybe two color levels higher than those numbers, the readings will still be okay.

Lastly, I know I can pretty much safely say that I speak for everyone on here that, if you can at all feel comfortable in doing so, it would be a very good idea if you spoke to the organizers of this event and whoever decided to give away these goldfish and advise them that live animals, including goldfish, do not make suitable surprise gifts and could they please consider finding a non-living gift to give away the next time instead.

Welcome to Kokos! :welcome Don't be afraid to ask all the questions you feel you need to ask. That's why we're here and we love to help!

Edited by lynda441
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Guest karaa

Thank you. Yes we are using tap water and we treated the water with "Aquasafe". The filter is an "Aqua-Tech Power Filter 5-15". I guess I should have mentioned that we became fish owners this past Saturday and they were in the tank by Sunday evening. I just checked on him and he is completely upright with his nose in the gravel (tail pointing up to the top of the tank). Unfortunately we live in a small town no sweet pet shops around only nooppee.

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Guest Orandaa

I would recommend an Aquaclear 30. I swear by Aquaclear filters, so you have a great brand... but I personally find the 5-15 a little weak for a 10 gal, so I switched to a 30 and it does a wonderful job of keeping my small tank clean. Though it's just preference and what's needed.

Also, I didn't clue in that your tank wasn't cycled, so yeah more like 75-90% water changes are needed for the first little bit. After that you can tone it down a little to less frequent and less water changed at once.

Good Luck!

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