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Guest asteriskadonis

Sbd: After 4 Years, I'm About To Give Up On Goldfish

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Guest asteriskadonis

Ammonia level: 0

Nitrite level: 0

Nitrate level: 10-15

Ph level, tank: 8

Water temperature: 70 degrees

Tank size/specs: 45 gal, fully cycled, running for 4 years

Name/size of filter: Hagen AquaClear Powerfilter (500 gph)

Water change regimen: 20% weekly

Number of fish in tank and size: 4 fish in total: 1 large ryukin (Haku), 1 medium oranda (Mandarin), 1 medium ranchu (Puddles), 1 small lionhead (Buddy)

Water additives: Novaqua+ and Prime, crushed coral in filter sump to buffer Ph (I also have a UV sterilizer with a slow enough flow rate to kill algae and bacteria)

After 4 years of struggling to keep goldfish, I am about to give up on the hobby. I love my fish, and I love the hobby, but I feel like I just can't take the disappointment and frustration any more. After putting so much time, energy, effort, money, and love into my tank, the results I am getting just don't seem worth it.

Basically, either there is something wickedly wrong with my domestic water supply, or I am the world's unluckiest goldfish keeper. Over the years, I have had a series of problems and illnesses, many of them my own fault (mistakes are a good way to learn), but also many that seem to defy any reason or explanation. The latest problem I have been having, for the past year, is problems with my fish floating. One by one, I have watched almost all of my most precious fish (some of which I had for 3+ years) succumb to SBD-related problems and eventually die.

Last year, I lost a beautiful black moor after he had started floating; after 3 years of keeping goldfish, he was the first fish I ever had that had any type of floating problems. At that time, I had never even heard of the fateful acronym "SBD." Almost immediately after I lost him, my gorgeous redcap (previously healthy as a horse) started floating himself, and then died after a few months.

About 6 months ago, I bought an adorable small lionhead (Buddy). I added him to the tank (with my existing oranda, Mandarin, who I have had for 4 years now) after a standard quarantine period (uncycled QT, .3% salt and prazi, 80% water change daily). He is doing great- no problems whatsoever, floating or otherwise. Encouraged by this seeming success, I thought I would keep my faith in the hobby and purchase some new fish (two fish in a 45 gal is a bit lonely). About 3 months ago, I got Haku, a large and handsome sarassa ryukin. After his quarantine, during which he seemed perfectly fine, I added him to the main tank. IMMEDIATELY, he started to float.

Thinking I would try one last time, about 2 months ago I bought another new fish- a calico ranchu with a beautiful creamy yellow tummy named Puddles. Puddles did fine in her quarantine, and was doing great in the main tank for about a month. I have never seen a ranchu with more energy or spunk. I was starting to think that the floating ryukin was an anomaly, and was glad that I had decided to try one last time to get a new fish. Then, one day after coming home from work, I noticed that Puddles was not swimming quite right- she seemed to be showing telltale early signs of SBD. (Sadly, I am at a point now where I can spot a fish with pre-SBD symptoms with uncanny accuracy.) Sure enough, in a few days, Puddles was floating like a cork.

There is no rhyme or reason to this. Mandarin and Buddy have never floated or bobbed a day in their lives. Haku was the picture of health in the reputable not-so-Local-FS where I bought him, did fine all throughout quarantine, and then started floating immediately after I added him to the tank. Even more frustrating is Puddles, who not only did fine in her quarantine, but then also did great in the main tank for over a MONTH before suddenly starting to float with a vengeance after absolutely nothing I can think of had changed.

I have tried everything- nothing works. I have bought and experimented with every kind of goldfish flake, pellet, and gel food I can get my hands on, as well as a range of steamed, boiled, or frozen veggies- nothing seems to have any effect. Sometimes peas help Haku stop floating for a few days or so (even then he swims awkwardly), but other times peas make him flip. I have made several batches of homemade gel foods of different formulae- again, nothing seems to help. I have fed anti-bacterial food (thinking that maybe an internal bacterial problem was messing up the floaters' GI tract), but (of course) that had no effect (it even seemed to make Haku and Puddles float even worse).

I think there is something wrong with the GI tract of Haku and Puddles; both of them seem quite bloated in their rear abdomen, and, when they do poop, it is often stringy. Fasting seems to help, marginally, but as soon as I feed again (even if it is only peas) seems to have no effect on the bloating, stringy poop, or floating. But after trying everything I know of, I am stuck.

Could someone with even more than 4 years of goldfish keeping experience (or perhaps more luck) weigh in and give me their support or advice? What could be causing my fish to float like this? Is it something in my water (a chemical or a bacterium)? Or is it just bad luck, or maybe bad stock? Would adding epsom to the water (or maybe even feeding an epsom crystal in a pea now and then) help- or is this unadvisable as a long-term strategy?

I am at my wit's end with my fish. I want to stress that although I am not a perfect fishkeeper (I have made my share of mistakes and learned a lot over the past 4 years), I am also not a newbie- I like to think that I do know what I am doing, for the most part. One thing I am sure of is that keeping goldfish should NEVER be this difficult, this disappointing, or this heartbreaking. Thanks so much for your help and support and any advice you can give me. *sigh*

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Guest sacheenman

I can certainly empathize with you. I have been in this hobby for many, many years and have experienced spans where I randomly lose fish for no certain reason. I all but eliminated floating problems when I switched to a marine sand base (I think the goldies were ingesting the gravel). I have one big black ranchu that has swimming issues and will endO float if he has Pro-gold too many days in a row. Spirulina corrects the problem and also moderate fasting (a day with no food) has worked for me. I also have live plants which keep my nitrates (which I think cause many long term problems) at almost 0. I run 2 big Fluval FX-5's which have massive conversion abilities for the Nitrogen cycle. As mentioned in another thread, this has been my best stretch ever for goldies and I am feeling pretty confident with what I am doing right now. Canned spinach, drained, flattened and frozen works very well for sbd. Just break off a frozen chunk and throw it in. The goldies love attacking it and biting off a piece of "chaw." I understand your frustration but I thik you will dearly miss this hobby if you quit. You can do it.

Fred

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I am really sorry for all the problems...I can totally understand the frustration...

One question...what do you feed your guys usually..I see you have tried veggies and stuff..but what is the staple food that you feed..I mean any pellet, flake food that you use as the staple diet??

Also, have you tried making your own gel food..Its super simple...I just made a small batch..haven't fed it yet...but looks really good...There is a very good veggie recipe here... Post#3 in the thread...I pretty much followed it...Basically I used a lot of vegetables..and less than 1/2 cup of progold pellets and some krill...Add a 2 pods of garlic...tht should really help their tummy...You could give it a shot.. :) ..There are tons of other recipes in this section Gel Food Recipes

One more suggestion...Water change..I think and am sure a lot of people wud agree that 20% a week is very less of a water change...I personally like large water changes..I do about 70-80% change every 2-3 days...It really helps flush all the bad bacteria building up in the tank..and keeps the goldies very healthy and happy...Also a 100% water change once a month is very very helpful..I love a lot of water changes..Well in ur case I would really suggest a 60-70% water change twice a week...MAybe that would help...

These are just my suggestions..A moderator or a more experienced member can help you in depth with the problem...Please dont give up yet...I know it breaks your heart..but by bringing in some changes you should be able to overcome this...Everyone here is very informative..I am sure it will get better..Good luck.. :)

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Well, I have a few suggestions, if you'd like.

A 20% weekly water change is just not enough. To me, it sounds like you have somehow bought fish that are really sensitive to nitrAtes (but I'm no expert). One of our mods, Daryl, has said on many occasions that sometimes fish are this way. She has some fish that are floaty in anything over 5ppm nitrAtes! I would suggest upping your water changes to at least 50% weekly. Large water changes will keep nitrAtes down. You could also add some live plants (they use nitrAte as a fertilizer) after a proper QT of course!

If you have questions about nitrAtes you could start a thread in the water quality section and Daryl would, no doubt, chime in and help out. She's a great help and really knowledgeable.

I am sure that more people will suggest things soon!

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I'm no expert myself, but 20% of a water change once a week is not nearly enough. Your guys were doing great in QT because of the pristine water conditions - just apply some of the same effort to the main tank and I bet you won't have as many problems!

I agree with Sarah. 50% once a week, or more, is preferable.

Don't give up!! It looks to me like your struggle is easily corrected with simple water changes. Easy peasy!

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Yeah for that amount of fish 20% is maybe too small. I have about the same ratio I am 20% ever 2-3 days (usually 2 cause well I'm a fish geek) That would be a nice start. Goldies are kind of quick to disease so it can be an issue but I started with once a week with one and everytime I add a fish I change days. Now every 2days cause I hate doing more than 20ish % just way I am so lots of changes in stead of lots of water.

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Guest indiablue

You noted that your saline was at .3 %. I'll be honest and say that I have never measured mine. Were the measurments the same all the time. I have been given advise 1tbsp salt/5 gallons water. Others told me to use salt only in QT tanks. I tried both no bad results. But depending on your water level at water changes it could make a huge problem. Water evaporates, salt does not. So depending on how often you are testing the salinity? I assume that you test it when you do other chem tests. Maybe your test kit has expired.

In the end I have no idea how to help but I'm sure that more experienced viewers will find a way to help.

Don't give up now, you have a lot to give and share with others that love goldies and other fish as much as you. Good luck.

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Well I don't have 4 years of fish experience...but I do have floaty fish experience.

Any time my nitrates get over 10 my fish let me know, they start getting flippy. Sure enough I test and it is above 10. I do water changes and they are fine. I do about a 70% water change weekly.

And more if they seem flippy.

Try doing 70-80% water changes weekly and see what happens. Try fasting for 3 days, peas for 3 days, then see what happens.

I just recently started with my own gel food which as nothing in it is processed...unless you count the gelatin...seems to help a lot! peas, spinach, garlic, salmon, acidophilis, gelatin.

Maybe a mod will drop in.

I know it is gross...but what does their poop look like?

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Try not to let yourself be too disheartened, it seems as though you know quite a bit. It took me forever to figure out how to keep these little buggars alive. Sometimes there will always be freak mishaps that might happen when you're not home. Dropsy, SBD, and other diseases can sometimes be out of the average hobbyists control. They are very discouraging though, especially when you particularly care for the fish in question.

I haven't been on these forums in a long time, but I started with goldfish when I was 14 and discovered Koko's Goldfish when I was 16. I've come a long way and over the past few years had big goldfish tanks, little ones, and sometimes none at all. If goldfish really are 'a part of you' as they are to me, you will dearly miss them and feel relieved to have them again. Not that I'm any expert, as I have bouts of success and failure too, but here are a few things I don't know if anyone brought up that could possibly help your scenario.

I always feed flake or frozen food because in my eyes it has the least capacity to hold air. I also soak the food, or if I'm in a real hurry, I take a pinch and release it below the surface of the water so that it kind of 'snow globes' around in the tank. This is crucial to keeping goldfish from gasping for food at the surface where they might swallow bits of air. Pro Gold is the only pellet I have ever fed and I didn't have trouble with it but I did soak it too. Be weary of some cheaper brand pellets or graduals. Some even advertise to be floating/sinking. Just go with what you think won't have air, or float.

I also capture my goldfish in a container such as a big pickle jar instead of netting. It works well as they can't see it under water and it doesn't remove slime coat. I have had experience (as I once worked at the LFS) with all kinds of fish swallowing air because they were in mid air in the net too long before being placed back in water i.e. between tanks, buckets, etc. As a standard, I try not to pull my fish out of the water ever.

I hope this helps you and good luck! I know how it feels to have a goldfish for a long time, and have something unexpected and seemingly unpreventable happen. Don't lose hope!

-Adam

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