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My Orange Oranda Passed Away


Guest VanillaShake311

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Guest VanillaShake311

ammonia level: between 0ppm and 0.25 ppm

nitrite: 0 ppm

nitrate: 0 ppm

ph level: 7.3

ph level tap: 7.4 (but most of the time I use Ozarka spring water)

text-kit: API

Water temp: 80

Tank size: 20 gallon

running time: 3 years

filters: Marineland HOT magnum (large), Zoo med canister (for 30 gallons)

heater: marineland STEALTH

Changing of water: hardly ever... I test the parameters every week and do monthly cleaning of the filters.. never problems... I add spring water to the setup and occasionally vaccum trapped ditritus and add water from the tap if I don't have spring water on hand

Number of fish: there was just the two orandas

water additives or conditioners: AquaNova conditioner.. can't think of anything else

feeding: I give three different goldfish foods: tetra granulated, TetraExotic sinking sticks, and OmegaOne flakes (soaked before feeding), I also offer occasionally some bloodworms and peas, and every few weeks I rubber band some zuccini to a stone and let it drop to the bottom for them to get their veggies.

how often do I feed: once a day

any new fish: no new fish

medications: no medications

Unusual findings on fish? no unusual findings

unusual behavior: three days the one was staying in the clay pot on the bottom of the tank

Okay so I've had these beautiful orandas for almost two years now. They were different colors when I got them and quickly changed into a brilliant orange gold with some white..... never a torn fin or missing scale. I did sooo much research on the keeping of round bodied goldfish when I got them and wanted them to be the healthiest little things. I didn't know how to tell sexes so I wasn't prepared for anything in breeding and I guess I was nieve in that sence. As I read one of the other posts on here saying that their oranda was most likely egg bound. For three days my little Tai stayed in the clay pot and then just last night I saw it laying on its side and I took it out and looked the fish over and nothing... she was perfect as usual.... no illness no dark areas on her belly or discoloration. Tai was only like 4" and I wouldn't imagine her being that old. I am wondering if Tai was a she and if she was egg bound as well? How do you tell sexes... as this is something I want to know in the future... I have two others in a 55 gallon one is an oranda and one is a fan tail and I would hate for something like this to happen in the future. Any help would be great. My old computer crashed that had their pictures on it but I can surf one of my other forums for pictures of them that I posted when I got them.

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I am not sure about anything else but this :

"Changing of water: hardly ever... I test the parameters every week and do monthly cleaning of the filters.. never problems... I add spring water to the setup and occasionally vaccum trapped ditritus and add water from the tap if I don't have spring water on hand" could be the biggest culprit... :(

Water changes need to be done every week..just because the parameters read ok, does not mean the water is healthy...weekly vacuum of the gravel and 50-80% water changes gets out all the bad bacteria from the tank..which otherwise just keeps building...For the other oranda...please use regular dechlorinated, temperature and pH matched tap water...Spring water should be avoided...and please vacuum your gravel thoroughly and do huge water changes at least twice a week for the coming few weeks...I highly doubt the water is healthy in there... :(

Also goldfish don't need heaters..these are cold water fish and need temperatures of 64-68 degrees F ideally...Also if possible please add an airstone as they need a lot of oxygen dissolved in the water...I am sure someone more experienced can help you diagnose further... :) ..and I am sorry you lost your fish.. :(

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Guest VanillaShake311

Ive been around tropical fish including brackish water fish for a long time now. I have kept tons of brackish water fish healthy till i adopted them out when I ran out of time for all the commitment of checking everything in the tank. I currently also keep large South American cichlids. I also keep brackish/salt water turtles as well as endangered species of aquatic turtles. I am pretty aware of water and cleaning of tanks.... as well as being a Biology student. I know you are trying to be helpful and I appreciate that... I don't know every species of fish to a "T". As I am more of an aquatic turtle specialist. But I have been around the block with fish. ;)

I have a powerhead filter on the tank which creates tons of airation in the tank. If the parameters and water was unhealthy then why would my test kit read nearly 0 ppm on all of my ammonia...... I know they don't need a heater as well I had one in there when I kept a peacock eel with them for awhile........ moved him to another setup once he got larger. I have serious filtration on that setup with with the powerhead and the low filtration on the canister filter there is hardly a speck of trash in there...... I also do not use gravel....... I use sand. Easier to clean and I do turn the sand weekly to avoid capturing deadly bacteria in it.

I assume the oranda was egg bound as she looked the spitting image of a healthy fish.

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I am not doubting your knowledge abt fishkeeping...Each fish and their needs are different...like you said you do not know each fish to the 'T'...That is what I am helping you with..Know goldfish to the 'G'.. ;)

You had a eel in there with 2 goldfish in a 20 gallon...how long did the eel live with them???...I am only asking becos 20 gallons is just abt right for 2 fancy goldies like urs...so an eel in there is only bad for the bioload..since goldfish produce a lot of waste themselves...besides eel are not good tank mates for goldfish at all...the warm temperatures will definitely damage the poor goldies as they are cold water fish...

And you say you hardly change the water...just turning the sand over does not help get rid of the parasites...I am not sure why your tests read 0..I am very sure hardly ever changing water in a goldfish tank is not the right way to go...I will try and get a moderator to look into this...maybe someone more knowledgeable would be able to explain you better...

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I am very sorry you lost your beautiful Oranda. They are gorgeous fish, are they not?

I am glad to hear that you are not a stranger to fish. I do want to clarify a few things, however.

As I am sure you know, living things eat and create waste. That waste needs to be removed from the environment. When a fish is in a closed sytem such as a tank of water, the waste must be removed on a regular basis in SOME fashion. There are multiple ways of removing this waste from the water of a fish's tank. The one most commonly used by people on this board is by using a biological filter.

A biological filter utilizes a colony of beneficial bacteria that are cultivated on a platform in a filter - where the waste laden water passes by the platform giving the bacteria access to the waste. One type of beneficial bacteria will use ammonia in it's life-cycle - taking in ammonia and releasing nitrite as a by-product. A second type of beneficial bacteria uses nitrite in it's life-cycle - taking in nitrite and releasing nitrate as a by-product. As a result, a biological filter will take the fish's waste (ammonia) and process it into nitrate. The nitrate in the fish tank then needs to be removed - for fish cannot tolerate very high concentrations of nitrates. REmoving the nitrates from the water can be done in several ways - the easiest and most reliable way is to simply change out a portion of the water on a regular basis - every few days to a week - to dilute the concentrations down to a level that the fish can easily tolerate. You can also use real plants to utilize the nitrate as fertilzer for their growth - but it tanks a VERY heavily planted tank to process the waste that even one goldfish can produce - they are easily 10X "messier" than an equivilantly sized tropical fish!

You can also keep a tank's water "clean" of the ammonia that the fish excrete by having a constant water exchange flow - this imitates the flow of a river - the water of the tank is constantly replaced with clean, fresh water - never letting the ammonia levels rise too high.

You can also keep a tank's water "clean" of ammonia by using a chemical called "Zeolite" - it has the ability to bind ammonia into it's chemical makeup - releasing it in the presence of salt and allowing the zeolite to be "cleaned" and reused.

There are also a few "ammonia detoxifyer" chemicals that can be added to a tank to bind the ammonia into a non- toxic or less toxic form. These, however, have more of a stop-gap, emergency use than a regular use.

You have 2 fish in a 20 gallon tank. If you are feeding them well enough that they are surviving, they will be creating ammonia. Your ammonia readings are very low to zero - that is good. Since you have no nitrate readings - zero - I have to assume that you are not using the biological filter. Nitrates would be present. How are you removing the ammonia waste of the fish?

I wonder if perhaps there is something incorrect with your tests.... that is always a possibility.

Next possibility is your water source. "Spring water"..... that can be notorious. Do you know what the gH and kH of that water is? Some "spring" waters are GREAT. Others are almost devoid of the necessary minerals necessary for a healthy fish. Over time, without these minerals in the water, the fish could become more and more immunity impaired - falling prey to any opportunistic parasite or disease that happens along.

Finally - sand is really a poor substrate for a goldfish. It can be GREAT for tropical fish and many other types of fish, but because goldfish are bottom feeders - rooting through the substrate constantly, looking for food, the sand is sucked into the fish's mouth and rejected out through the gills. Sand going through a fish's gills acts just like sand paper... constantly irritating and injuring those delicate tissues. It is not going to kill a fish, out right, but, again, is a stressor that can weaken a fish's immunities and strength - opening the fish up to other, opportunistic diseases and parasites. Substrate that is not regularly vacumned clean and turned over can develop anaerobic bacteria within it - bacteria that, without the presence of oxygen (an-aerobic), processed ammonia and other waste into toxic gases as a by-product. These gasses can collect in the pockets between the sand grains and, as the fish roots through the substrate, it can get a snoot-full of toxic gas. Perhaps it will not get a lethal dose but, again, it can add up as a stressor.

Changing out your water is a good idea - even if you do not use a biological filter to clean your water. Goldfish excrete a type of growth hormone inhibitor. As this builds up in the water, the fish will cease to grow properly. An Oranda should hit 4 inches at about 1 year of age. By 2, most of mine were usually between 6-8 inchs. These, depending on genetics and environmental influences easily grew to 12-12 inches in the next year or two. They a e BIG fish......the gentle giants of the goldfish world.

I think I would suggest that you look into the gH and kH of your water. It may be that you do not have the water balanced quite as it should be. Consider the impact that sand may have on the health of the fish - both when sifting it through gills and possible toxic gas inclusions. Sand, undisturbed for the most part, is also an ideal hiding place for parasites - ones that can lay in dormancy for YEARS, waiting for fish to become stressed and for the immunity levels drop. When a filter is not regularly cleaned and removal of the mulm that colllects on the filter pads/floss/sponge/cartridges, the filter can decrease dramatically in efficiancy. It is not uncommon for the filter to even drop to 1/2 it's original gph.

I am glad you are here.... let's see if we can help you keep your goldfish healthy and happy and growing.

I would love to see some of your turtles.... they hold a facination for me. :)

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Guest VanillaShake311

Well I had the eel in there from day one when I got the goldfish and just recently removed him. I also kept an aquaclear filter on there when the eel was on there but removed it to add to another tank to establish bacteria in another tank. I do keep live aquatic plants in there ... its a live plant tank... I keep it cleaned and I have a UVB light over the tank for the plants. I can remove the heater. But from what I have read these guys are fairly tolerant to water adjustments. My sister had two orandas whom I have in a 55 gallon now that she kept in a 5 gallon tank for 4 years with no filter, never changed the water, and at times would let the water get down to 2 inches full of algae....... these guys are doing great now and finally starting to grow and become more vibrant.

I just can't understand how if the parameters of the water are testing healthy and how it is worse to use spring water (tap water has tons of chemicals and metals) which I have always used in that tank, and a completely healthy looking fish could have died because I don't do weekly water changes. I do water changes on occasion but certainly not weekly. I really don't think my goldfish's death had anything to do with the lack of water changes to the tank when everything else checks out and I have exceptional filters on the tank.

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Guest VanillaShake311

I knew most of what you wrote to me....... I have decided to add the final oranda in that tank to the 55 gallon with the other two since they don't have a heater, there is more space, and has biological filtration... I believe that filter is a Penguin or Emperor or something..... it's tough... when you have a house with 20 aquariums ranging from 20 gallons to 210 gallons its hard to keep track of what filters are on what as I usually create my own filter padding and carbon sacks.

I appreciate the help ...... and it is very depressing to think that with all my studying and work with these guys that I could have failed them.... discourages you from keeping them. I just can't imagine that for any reason that these orandas would just die from maybe only doing two small water changes a month.

As for my turtles....... if anyone is in the DFW area here in Texas you can come next month to the Museum of Science and Nature to ReptileFest and visit me at my booth... I will have some of my endangered species on display there.

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The name "spring water" covers such a wide range of values of water that it is impossible for me to know what your water has in it. Some filtered waters that are labeled as "spring water" are VERY low in minerals .... many of wish are essential for the well being of the fish. Just as you need a certain amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, etc. in your diet, the fish need a certain amount of various minerals and such in theirs. Many of these things are gotten from the water the fish swim in.... they need to have inclusions in the water - adequte "gH" or general hardness. Just as people can suffer from "rickets" and other physical problems from lack of necessary minerals and vitamins in their diets, fish, too, will have physical problems if their needs are not met.

Many filtered waters also have such low carbonate readings - known as kH - the "buffer" necessary to hold the pH of the tank steady. Without proper buffer, the pH of the tank may read "fine" one minute and "toxic" the next. pH bounces can be deadly or simply stressing.

A biological filter - the beneficial bacteria that make up the biological filter - the process works most efficiantly when the gH, kH and pH are all within a certain range. I, personally, feel that aiming at a gH and kH of 100 and a pH of 7.4-8.2 is ideal. This is actually a very wide range - and should be easy to attain, however many filtered waters do NOT fall within this range. That is why, when using filtered water that you have not filtered yourself, you should test all the parameters carefully. You may find that you must supplement the water.

I guess I still do not understand how you were cleaning away the ammonia waste in the tank with the ORandas. Without nitrate values, you were not useing a biological filter. A 20 gallon tank is not physically big enough to hold enough live plants to process the waste from even one normal sized ORanda - much less two.

I would also suggest that you may wish to consider upgrading your filtration on the 55 gallon tank you are now using. There are no Penguin or Emperor filters that have gph greater than 400gph..... and a 55 gallon tank needs, minimum, 550gph. I firmly believe that 12-15 times turnover per hour is much more in line with a goldfish's needs - all my tanks are between 12-20times an hour turnover.

The world is full of bad bacteria and parasites. Having a closed system will greatly reduce the numbers of these you must deal with, but rest assured - at one time or another, you will run into problems with them. They seem to exist in "layers" - an environmental stress that opens the fish up to a parasite who opens the fish up to infection which leads to a different opportunistic parasite. Often you have to uncover and treat each "layer" - one by one, before you can feel comfortable that a fish is "treated" and "healthy".

I would give a touch of thought to the wisdom of mixing the two tanks of fish together in the 55. HAve you done a scraping and looked at the results under a microscope? With the number of fish you have, a microscope is an essential tool for keeping your fish and tanks healthy.

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Guest VanillaShake311

I am a biology major of course I have a research microscope....... I guess you could say that I am pretty fed up. I thought I was doing a good job...... and sure it's not enough filtration....... I personally had kept a turtle quarantined in there for 6 months and when my sister dumped the fish on me and moved to Chicago I felt I was doing the fish a favor...... I did so much research and read so much up on these guys before I got them... books as well as internet readings..... now I wish I hadn't.... if I had known they were going to be more difficult than my cichlids and brackish water fish I probably wouldn't have gotten them. I am frustrated more so that I know most of what your saying... I even had a 5 year old betta I got antibiotics from a vet when he was starting to go under.

If anyone in the DFW area wants orandas I have three up for adoption ......... I'll stick with what I know..... I give up.

The spring water is Ozarka........... not just filtered water.....

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Ah, come on..... giving up is not learning.... and this should be right along the lines of what you are learning in school, right? There are literally millions upon millions of organisms on this Earth - and they are all alike in as many ways as they are all different. The wonders of their similarities are easily beat out by the amazing differences you can find if you just look a bit closer.

Goldfish are still fish. They just have a bit different set of needs than the average tropical fish or brackish fish. Goldfish are really a fully man-made creature - designed and bred in specialized ways for 1000s of years. They are messy bottom feeders (carp heritage) and somewhat sensitive to water conditions (the extreme body and finnage bred into so many breeds), but they are the ideal candidates for either tank culture or the pond environment.

Since goldfish are so steeped in ancient history - and still are HUGE in many cultures around the world - they are a very important creature to learn from and observe. For a biology major, I think that you may find that there are hidden rewards in keeping goldfish, studying the genetics of goldfish (easily one of the most complicated sets of genetic codes on the planet!)

Any school child can learn the simple Mendalian Genetics of cavies or sweet pea plants. HAve a gander at the genetics of a goldfish!!! Now there is a challenge!

Please do not give up just because the fish do not fit into a category with the other fish you have. If you truly do not wish to care for them, then so be it..... but if we can help you learn to care for them better, I can promise you they will reward you with plenty of smiles. :)

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Guest VanillaShake311

Sorry i have cooled down now.. I have been pretty upset with the death of Tai the one oranda and knowing that I had something to do with it was not something I was ready to hear. I take pride in the care I give my animals and knowing that even a slip up like not cleaning the tank enough was the cause when I thought I was already doing a good job.

So this is what I have done....... I had a large plastic driftwood piece in there I took out of the tank and put in the 55 gallon to give the other oranda more room. I plan on getting a biological filter for the tank to add with the other two I have on there........ I also did a half water change on the tank and did a thorough cleaning of the sand. Now the sand is another problem...... That will be extremely difficult to remove but am looking into removing it and adding gravel to the tank in the near future. I will no longer use the spring water anymore but will go ahead and continue to use it for my tortoise and other critters. I actually use a filtered tap water container for my dog and cat when I give them water. As for doing scrapings ..... this might be an issue as I have been having medical problems since the beginning of this year and try the best I can but my scope is still packed up and not easy to get at the moment.

Should I keep the one oranda in there or is it better to keep them in pairs? I can add him with the others I just would like the others to heal up a little bit more before combining them into the large tank. I also lowered the temperature in that tank to 75 F........ I know you say they don't need a heater but my room fluctuates temperatures like crazy due to my large windows and other heat bulbs on other tanks and cold hardwood floors.

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hey vanilla, i am a couple hours south of you. dont be too hard on yourself. i have had tropicals and pond fish for a long time but these indoor goldies got me stumped. i have one left and despite knowing otherwise, he is in with some feeder guppies and growing and happy as he can be. he has like doubled in size now. go figure, right. the others i just can not keep alive. either the source here is bad, or im bad. i cant keep any fish going that come from farther than a hour away from me. and not doing well on the closer ones. they dont get sick..mine just keel over. ? i never have time to try anything. one morning...poof. one was gone. month later...another.

at least my big one is happy and growing great. hang in there, i dont know the "secret" to these things yet.

best of luck to ya :)

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Guest VanillaShake311

Yeah I know its just crazy because you get the idea in your head since your little that goldfish are easy..... and they aren't. I kept bettas and bred them that I bought from some breeders in Thailand and I did exceptional with those despite the difficult water conditions they need to be kept in..... but I had great members in the forum I was on to help me one step at a time. I recently got out of that hobby and sold all of mine off to give more time to my salty turtles. I will figure out all of this and take good care of my goldfish... just wish things were better laid out on the care of these guys. Like an awesome caresheet that informs you on every inch of care with these round bodied guys.

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my problem is i dont know what i do wrong and why they die....so i dont know how to fix it. they just keel over. most on here are things that seem to take time to develop.

i have 2 bettas who are doing great. i dont find them hard at all. lol.

but goldies? no idea most of the time and i do everything said on here.

best of luck. you have some great pet stores up there/

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I think that alot of people think goldfish are very easy fish to care for......almost on a "throw away" if you mess up basis. They have no idea how wonderful & complex these guys are!! Then, like you, you get one or two & eventually something goes haywire & you look for help. Shoot...that's how most of us got here in the 1st place!! I guess if you knew upfront that you have to be a chemist, a water expert, a veterinarian, and well the list goes on & on...you would never get the 1st goldie! But thankfully the hobby is Fantastic & the learning is fun! Gosh, one of my favorite goldfish is a Common Goldfish that probably cost under a dollar years ago!

There are definite ups & downs. I have recently lost two goldfish that were WAY more than pets to me! Don't throw in the towel!! You will find goldfish keeping one of the most fun rides you ever accidentally got in line for!!

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