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Goldfish Turning Black


Guest kevharris

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Guest kevharris

Hello, I am new to these forums. I figured this would be the best place to get some answers to my problem.

About a month ago I purchased a goldfish and settled him into a tank which I had setup about a week before the fish purchase. Well everything went well until about 10 days ago when I started to notice the water was turning orange. I looked it up on google and found an explanation that it might be because I am feeding him colored goldfish crisps (TetraFin brand) and his waste might be coloring the water. So I did a partial water change and cleaned up the tank and things were good for a while then it started going orange again. But then I noticed that my fish had started to develop some small black areas on his body. I decided to keep an eye on him and soon noticed the blackness spreading into two large spots on one side of his body with two stripes going over in front of his dorsal fin. As time went on it continued to worsen and now I started looking into it on google. I found he might be suffering from ammonia burns. So I grabbed some ammonia neutralizer, did a 50% water change via a vacuum - cleaning the gravel and bottom and so on, cleaned the filter and added the neutralizer along with a water conditioner. Now the water is crystal clear, and only time will tell if the blackness disappears. He now has the black color in his gills and small speckles on the top of his head.

He is not listless or behaving like a sick fish. His appetite is very good and he is active. He doesn't hold his fins close to his sides or give any signs of illness like that. He seems normal except for this black discoloration. I am attaching some photos. I look forward to hearing any suggestions or input on this.

Oh and by the way, his fins always had black tips...so that is not something new.

Thanks,

Kevin

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Edited by kevharris
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  • Regular Member

Black is generally a difficult pigment to keep on goldfish. If your goldfish is turning black, I would be concerned that this might be scar tissue from toxins in the water such as ammonia or nitrite.

I strongly recommend that you have the water tested for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate or purchase a kit so you can test at home.

Keep changing his water regularly and keep an eye on him. :)

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You should definately buy a test kit for all the big things....eg. Ph, NitrIte, NitrAte, Ammonia are a must!

O and definately buy the drop kits, not the strips. They are notoriously inaccurate. I have the full barrage of API drop tests. Only I bought them separately for goodness-knows-why! It's much more cost efficient to buy it in the master kit (I think this is what it's called).

Your tank probably hasn't fully cycled yet, if it's only been up for a week. Definately work on the water first and your little cutie will be able to help himself! What is his name by the way?

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Guest kevharris

Well the tank has been up and running for over a month. It had been running a week before I got him. I'll go out and grab a testing kit today.

His name is Ludwig (Lood-vig)...after my favorite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven. =)

Thanks,

Kevin

You should definately buy a test kit for all the big things....eg. Ph, NitrIte, NitrAte, Ammonia are a must!

O and definately buy the drop kits, not the strips. They are notoriously inaccurate. I have the full barrage of API drop tests. Only I bought them separately for goodness-knows-why! It's much more cost efficient to buy it in the master kit (I think this is what it's called).

Your tank probably hasn't fully cycled yet, if it's only been up for a week. Definately work on the water first and your little cutie will be able to help himself! What is his name by the way?

Edited by kevharris
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I would get the water test kit. It can taks over 6 weeks to cycle. Be sure to read up here on goldfish care and see to it he has the proper filteration and gallons of water. Untill you get a kit I would keep doing water changes ever couple days.

Good luck and happy reading.

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Guest kevharris

Okay, got the uber massive test kit with beakers and tubes and all kinds of fancy scientific things...lol...

I got the API Freshwater Master Test Kit as recommended.

Here's the results of the tests, please tell me what you think...

pH : 7.6

Ammonia: 0.25

Nitrites: 1.0

Nitrates: 20

Let me know! Thanks.

Edited by kevharris
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Your tank is either cycled and is going through a bump, or more likely it is still in it's cycle. With your ammonia and nitrites that high, do a large, temperature matched, pH matched, treated water change immediately. You will have to monitor these readings every day until your tank has cycled and do frequent water changes to prevent any more possible ammonia burns and keeping the water parameters in healthy condition. Here is the site's page on how to cycle your tank, what to look for during the progessing stages, ect.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/cycle.html

However, your pH looks great, just as long as it's stable.

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Guest kevharris

I did a partial water change last night, added an ammonia neutralizer and water conditioner when I was done. Took a reading this morning, here are the numbers:

pH: 7.5

Ammonia: between 0 and 0.25, the color was lighter than .25, but not 0

Nitrites: 0.50

NitrAtes: 10

I am not going to change the water again today, I am going to retest tomorrow morning and see where things sit.

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You may have already said this, but what is your setup like? What size tank do you have? What is your filtration? Is he your only fish and do you plan to get any others?

I'm still pretty new, but the only time I have ever heard of a fish turning black is when they have ammonia burns. Black fish lose their color often and turn gold, but rarely the other way around.

Welcome to Koko's!

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Hi kevharris amd welcome!

I agree with everything being said here. Your doing well and I am glad you found this forum at this time while the tank is cycling.

I will just clarify a few points from your original post to make it easy to understand where the tank is at.

About a month ago I purchased a goldfish and settled him into a tank which I had setup about a week before the fish purchase.

A tank set up for one week with no fish in it will not cycle, so from this we know its not fully ready and water friendly for he fish yet.

and the fish has been in there for one month (an average cycle is about a month, sometimes even longer)

Well everything went well until about 10 days ago

10 days ago means it all went funny approx 2 weeks and 4 days after the fish was added

This would be when you noticed things are funny however before this is when the ammonia and nitrIte started at aprox day 10. Unfortunately we can not see or smell either of these chemicals and need a test kit for them.

Overall it definately sounds like the tank is going thru a cycle as would be expected.

The black color appearing would be healing of the fish's epidermis (This is called melanophore migration) after irritation due to ammonia burns.

Keep up the testing daily and do partial water changes everyday until you get a consistent ammonia reading of 0 and NitrIte at 0. A one off reading after a water change is not enough at this early stage to assume the tank is cycled.

If you have a lot of problems with the nitrIte check out the water quality section in the forum for help on using salt to relieve the stress on the fish's respiratory system while waiting for the tank to finish cycling.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/cycle.html

It all may sound like alot of work now, and it is at first. But once the cycle is over you will just have your weekly tests and waterchanges, and very happy and healthy fish for years :)

Its all worth it :)

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Guest kevharris

He is the only fish and I have no plans to add others at this time. The tank is a 2 gallon tank with a submersible filter which also acts as an aeration system. To be safe I also got a bubble wand to add more oxygen to the water because I felt the filter wasn't enough. I didn't want to get a large tank because I lack the room for one...but I think you guys are going to tell me I probably need a larger tank. My fish is about 2" in size from mouth to tail tip.

Kevin

You may have already said this, but what is your setup like? What size tank do you have? What is your filtration? Is he your only fish and do you plan to get any others?

I'm still pretty new, but the only time I have ever heard of a fish turning black is when they have ammonia burns. Black fish lose their color often and turn gold, but rarely the other way around.

Welcome to Koko's!

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ok thanks for the extra information.

The fact that the tank is only 2 Gal means that the ammonia and nitrIte will accumulate at a much faster and higher rate than in a 10 gal tank which is the absolute minimum required one goldfish of ANY size.

This definitely sheds more light on why the fish got a lot of ammonia burns as the concentration of ammonia before you could test it was probably very high.

Now, the fact that at the moment, is you cant get him in a larger tank now, so leaves a bigger problem that in such a small quanity of water you NitIte levels will get now get dangerously high and very very fast before the NitrAtes kick in.

High NitrIte will kill fish very quickly, more so than the ammonia.

I strongly advise test twice a day,not just once, and do partial waterchanges twice a day if needed to keep the levels down, and look into that link I posted as it has instructions on salting to protect the fish.

While doing this seriously consider getting that 10 gal tank. They only take up 2 foot of space so they not that big or expensive.

As for aeration if you can angle the out take of the filter upwards so it disturbs the water surface this will provide more oxygen. Its the movement of the water on the surface that provides it. Bubble wands act in such a way that the bubbles rise to the top and therefore disturb the water surface. The fish do not actually get air out of the bubbles that are under the water.

I hope that has been helpful and continue to post. Everyone here will help you :)

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Guest kevharris

Well does anyone have a suggestion for a good 10 gal tank? Brand? Should it be a kit, or should I get the pieces separately? Can someone make a shopping list, which brands would be recommended? Etc, etc. I am a total noob here.

Here's the numbers for this morning...good news is ammonia isn't changing, but everything else has...

pH: 7.0

Ammonia: >0.25

Nitrites: 1.0

Nitrates: 10

I will do another water change today and one more tonight I guess.

ok thanks for the extra information.

The fact that the tank is only 2 Gal means that the ammonia and nitrIte will accumulate at a much faster and higher rate than in a 10 gal tank which is the absolute minimum required one goldfish of ANY size.

This definitely sheds more light on why the fish got a lot of ammonia burns as the concentration of ammonia before you could test it was probably very high.

Now, the fact that at the moment, is you cant get him in a larger tank now, so leaves a bigger problem that in such a small quanity of water you NitIte levels will get now get dangerously high and very very fast before the NitrAtes kick in.

High NitrIte will kill fish very quickly, more so than the ammonia.

I strongly advise test twice a day,not just once, and do partial waterchanges twice a day if needed to keep the levels down, and look into that link I posted as it has instructions on salting to protect the fish.

While doing this seriously consider getting that 10 gal tank. They only take up 2 foot of space so they not that big or expensive.

As for aeration if you can angle the out take of the filter upwards so it disturbs the water surface this will provide more oxygen. Its the movement of the water on the surface that provides it. Bubble wands act in such a way that the bubbles rise to the top and therefore disturb the water surface. The fish do not actually get air out of the bubbles that are under the water.

I hope that has been helpful and continue to post. Everyone here will help you :)

Edited by kevharris
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Hi there :)

I woudn't recommend a 10 gallon kit because usually they come with a lot of stuff you don't need. What you'll need is

a good filter (personally I'd recommend an aquaclear, probably the 50 model) the tank (I don't really have a brand to reccomend, as long as it is well sealed it should be fine and try to get one that comes with a hood/light). I have a large Hagan tank that is really great.

I'm not sure what else you already have, but an airpump and air stone or bubble wand could be a good idea, to add extra agetation to the water's surface. Gravel is optional, many of us on the board (me included) have gone barebottom because it's easier to keep clean, or you could just add a very thin layer of gravel or river stones (these look nice and you can get them at the craft section of Wally world). Also, you'll want to get a gravel vaccum, they are pretty cheap, you just need a basic model to help you clean the bottom of the tank.

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Just to add: Make sure your filter is flowing at AT LEAST 10 times gallon per hour. Meaning, for a 10 gallon tank you want a filter that flows at 100 gph. Trust me, it will make things a whole heck of a lot easier! I also reccomend the AquaClear filters. They are super quiet! And the media is all changed at different times helping to keep your cycle. A quality 10 gallon tank with hood and light is going to run about $50 definately not more! But the filter we have mentioned will be about $40 (I think, I bought mine for $35 and thought it was extremely cheap)

(If you absolutely just can't find the money for a new tank, you can actually keep your fishie in a rubbermaid-type bin. If you can find a clear one that's even better! But the filter is still essential no matter what your "tank" is)

Another piece of equipment that no one seems to mention is a 5 gallon bucket. You can usually pick them up at Ace for around $5 each with ($1) lid. These are extremely useful for water changes and if you ever need to transport your goldie. I bought a water proof lid so I could move my guys to and from college. It also has double duty as a place to store all my equipment when I'm not using it.

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Also, you might want to check on Craigslist. I can't tell you how many people list free tanks there and they can be great set ups. My entire set up (a 30 gallon) came from there and it came with everything. They were just tired of keeping fish. On CL here last night someone was giving away a twenty gallon saltwater set up complete with everything. Just make sure you clean and sterilize it well (no soap!)...we can walk you through that.

Or at any of the pet store chains you can get a ten gallon for usually about $12. But if you get addicted and decide you want to get a friend for your goldie, you might as well get a 20 and then you have room for two young fancy goldfish. And your 2 gallon tank would be a fine home for a single betta, though someone with more betta experience can say if that is true.

Oh, and it looks like your tank is starting to try and cycle, but it is still in the danger zone. Time for a water change. As people suggested you will need at least one change a day, probably two on that little tank.

Good luck!

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Guest kevharris

Well I will go out on Wednesday and grab a 10 gallon tank and the pump+filter you guys recommended. How should I proceed with prepping the tank? How long should I wait until I move the fish...a month? 2 weeks?

I am probably going to go with a large size gravel for the bottom, I just can't stand the sight of an empty bottom. Dunno...it looks...wrong.

Thanks for all the advice.

Kevin

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You can move the fish to the new tank as soon as it's set up, though the instructions on Koko's site say to wait 24 hours. In this case, I would choose to transfer the fish over as soon as I know the new tank/filter/etc is safe and works. A larger volume of water makes it easier to care for fish, because if something goes wrong it takes longer before it becomes dangerous. Also, waste concentrations builds up more slowly in larger tanks, and larger filters can handle larger waste loads. Goldfish produce far more waste than similarly-sized tropicals, and their roundness gives them far more mass than a tropical of similar length; this is why goldfish don't follow the usual 1 inch of fish per gallon rule.

To transfer the beneficial bacteria, move the filter from the old tank to the new tank, and run both filters together on the new tank for a couple weeks (or indefinitely: redundancy is good).

As for prepping the tank, I would rinse it out if it's new. There are instructions in the forum for the various methods of sterilizing used tanks; I scrub my newly-acquired used tanks with diluted bleach. Rinse your new rocks/gravel before putting them in to remove any particles from them. Finally, don't forget the water conditioner while filling the tank! This mistake can be a huge setback in your cycle.

Edited by A Penguin
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Guest kevharris

Photography is one of my mini-hobbies. I used my Canon digital SLR.

=)

Kevin

This is out of the question, but i was just wondering how did you take such a vivid photo? it really looks nice!
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Guest kevharris

GOOD NEWS!

The blackness on his right side is beginning to fade! One stripe which went over his back in front of his dorsal fin is also now gone. I am going to keep changing the water and keeping that ammonia down until the new tank is in place and ready. I am feeling good about this at last. I fed him this morning and he ate like crazy.

Thanks to everyone here who helped me out. I appreciate it a ton. Here's a photo showing the improvement (circled)...

comparison.jpg

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What great news! I am so happy that Ludwig is getting better. Let us know when you have the tank set up and anything you might need, we are here to help.

And of course with your "mini-hobby" we would love to see more and more pictures!!

RG

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Guest kevharris

Well feel free to check out my photo gallery...

http://gallery.me.com/kevharris

Newest stuff is at the bottom.

Kevin

What great news! I am so happy that Ludwig is getting better. Let us know when you have the tank set up and anything you might need, we are here to help.

And of course with your "mini-hobby" we would love to see more and more pictures!!

RG

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Guest kevharris

Okay, I figured I should also toss in an introduction, since I was freaking out when I first joined this forum, and didn't post one...

My name is Kevin, I am 43 years old, I live in Northern Virginia. For the past eight years I have been the proud owner of purebred Whippets. Right now I have two, the eldest is Kelsey at 8 years old. He is a reddish-brown with brindle male whose father was bred in New Zealand. My second is my little girl, Tango, who is 2 years old and a former show dog. I showed her all of last year and at the end it was decided between myself and her breeder that she had some faults that would make getting a championship difficult and expensive. So I decided to have her spayed this past spring and now she is just a house dog. I am the official photographer of the Timbreblue Whippet Reunion every year. This is where all the whippets who were bred at Timbreblue get back together from all over the country and have a day of fun together. We just had the 2008 reunion about 2 weeks ago and it was incredible. Photos can be found here: http://gallery.me.com/kevharris#100147

As for me, I am single and a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I am working on my bachelors in graphic design. I work part-time for IKEA, an incredibly awesome place to work! I also have my own design studio, Hypoxic Studios, which keeps me busy. And when I am not doing school work, work work or design work, you will find me on a Blood Elf Mage in World of Warcraft. I have also composed classical music, written two books (working on a third) in the Fantasy genre and my favorite TV shows are Family Guy, Mythbusters and House.

As for fish, a long long time ago I had an aquarium with tropical fish. I was like 10. My parents took care of it, and eventually all the fish went down the toilet and they called it quits. Several years ago I had a betta, he lived about 2 years and then I decided not to bother. I then got this crazy idea about a month ago to get a goldfish...what was I thinking? I got him and problems led me to come here for help...and I have to say the help has been excellent.

If you'd like to check out my design site, check it out tomorrow. I am launching a new version of the site then. Right now the site is offline for the upgrade. The URL is: http://www.hypoxicstudios.com

And that's about it.

Kevin

Edited by kevharris
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