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KoiFROG

Sinker Is Sideways

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My orange capped oranda is four years old. He is an outside pond fish. He is about 5 inches long.

He has spent every winter outside and has come through fine. This winter he has been lying near the bottom at an odd angle. He is does not appear to be distressed but earlier this week he was more near the top of the pond. I was worried because we are expecting very cold temp here and ice will cover the pond in a day or two.

I purchased a five gallon aquarium and carefully brought him indoors. I am very slowly increasing the water temp. However, he is still lying near the bottom, sideways. Is this a classic swim bladder disorder? I fed him a few flakes of food and he seems eager to eat. He has not been fed since late November. I do not feed the pond fish in the winter.

So, is there anything that can be done? Does anyone have any suggestions to treat this disorder?

Any advice would be appreciated!

koi

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sorry to hear your fish is sick. :(

could you please fill out these questions for both your pond and qt tank? that way when a Mod does get here they can help a bit faster.

[*]Test Results for the Pond

[*]Ammonia Level?

[*]Nitrite Level?

[*]Nitrate level?

[*]Ph Level, Pond (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?

[*]Water temperature?

[*]Pond size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)?

[*]How often do you change the water and how much?

[*]How many fish in the pond and their size?

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners?

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often?

[*]Any new fish added to the pond?

[*]Any medications added to the pond?

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

[*]Test Results for the Tank

[*]Ammonia Level?

[*]Nitrite Level?

[*]Nitrate level?

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?

[*]Water temperature?

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)?

[*]How often do you change the water and how much?

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size?

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners?

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often?

[*]Any new fish added to the tank?

[*]Any medications added to the tank?

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

and if you don't have a testing kit you can take your water to get samplied at any pet store. make sure that they use a drop kit test and not a strip test. also, ask them for the exact number readings.

Hang in there!!

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Sorry I did not include that information. The tank was just set up yesterday so I do not have all the chemical levels of the water. The outside water temp was 36 degrees and the inside water temp is now 65 degrees. I will hold the temp at room temp which is approx. 70 degrees F. The filter is a simple carbon/floss filter which has been running since yesterday morning. It has a very low GPH flow. He is the only fish in the tank. There are a couple of small rocks in there and two iris tubers from the pond. Basically they take up very little space.

He has been eating flake food the couple of times I had offered it to him. Today I tried some cooked and shelled peas; he LOVED them! Fed him four or five peas. Actually, he is swimming a tad more today. That in compared to just lying there sideways yesterday.

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Is it possible your pond became very green thus robbing oxygen? Fish and especially fancy fish need so much and will bottom lie when they are in short supply. He could also, as you imply, be feeling the cold.

Also wondering if you know about the nitrogen cycle (a link in my sig explains it) which is going to be a problem in a new tank set up. He will be fine for a few days and then ammonia levels in the water which you cannot see will surge as the cycle sets in and this is not safe. If this is a temporary situation until he is on his "finned feet" again I suggest you use zeolite/ammonia chips to tide you through this few weeks of uncycled tank danger.

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Thank you for replying,

My pond is never green. I have a UV sterilizer year round. The water quality has always been excellent. The pond has been functioning for almost 20 years now.

That being said, I am conscious of the nitrate levels building in the small tank in within a few days. The water volume is relatively small compared to the fish?s size. It is only a temp hospital tank. I will do a 25% water change tomorrow as well as clean out the floss/carbon filter. One thing on the filter, there is actually a small bio pad which I rather like. I will not clean it. Sinker seems to moving much more today although he is sideways, upside down, etc. He is an absolutely gorgeous fish, one of my favorite males. I sure hope he comes through this. What are the chances of finding a vet that would aspirate the air bladder if this is indeed the cause?

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the chances of finding a fish vet are very slim in Virginia, so I'm not sure how you'd make out in Delaware. I certainly hope he improves before you make your way to a vet's office.

I'm sorry but I don't have enough experience to offer any advice. hang in there and keep us updated! I'm sure Trinket or another mod will pop in again soon. :)

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Thank you for replying,

My pond is never green. I have a UV sterilizer year round. The water quality has always been excellent. The pond has been functioning for almost 20 years now.

That being said, I am conscious of the nitrate levels building in the small tank in within a few days. The water volume is relatively small compared to the fish?s size. It is only a temp hospital tank. I will do a 25% water change tomorrow as well as clean out the floss/carbon filter. One thing on the filter, there is actually a small bio pad which I rather like. I will not clean it. Sinker seems to moving much more today although he is sideways, upside down, etc. He is an absolutely gorgeous fish, one of my favorite males. I sure hope he comes through this. What are the chances of finding a vet that would aspirate the air bladder if this is indeed the cause?

Okay so you know all about the nitrogen cycle....

Its a horrible thing flipover and especially distressing in favorite fish that are large and beautiful as they seem to have made it so well so far and then ...this.

I should definitely try a few home remedies before contacting a vet. A vet may well be able to operate and insert a stone in a position in the abdomen to offset effects of compression of the swimbladder -(a vet may also be reluctant to operate and suggest a kind of harness) but since surgery on fish is incredibly stressful and apt to reduce a fishes immune response to disfunctional levels for some time afterwards opening the door to infections it is something to be considered very carefully. Plus, there are a few things to try before that.

You say he improved with peas and that you feed flake food?

Have you tried feeding no commercial food at all for a few weeks? Just shrimp and peas?

Commercial flake food loses all nutritional content within 6 months and some say 4 months of opening. Moreover it contains starches that are responsible for producing gases like methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen that are hard for the fish to osmote in large quantities and can affect balance.

Have you tried fasting?

Have you tried reducing nitrates for a sustained period like one month to 6 weeks. High nitrates cause vasodilation of the cappiliaries responsible for maintaining the efficiency of the swimbladder to osmote gases.

Or you could consider feeding lactobacillus as found in probiotic food like Goldfish Connection's Jumpstart. Probiotics can help eliminate extra gases.

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Thank you so much for your help and advise. I didn't know that about comercial fish food. I will try to feed him only shrimp and peas for a while; at least until I can get him back into the pond in the spring. In the meantime, I will have to do partial water changes every few days.

There are no vets in my area that are willing to work on a goldfish. For some reason they think that these beautiful creatures are somehow disposable :cry

Sinker has been very willing to eat the shelled peas. I guess we are past the fasting stage since he has not eaten in about six weeks prior to this onset of swim bladder problems. I will also search out that special goldfish food that you suggested.

I will post again in a couple of weeks in the regular forum to update you on his progress. I have high hopes for a recovery.

Thanks again,

koi

Edited by KoiFROG

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Wishing for the best. Please keep us posted indue course.

The shrimp I "serve" are the frozen kind like mysis or brine- easily found at a good local aquatic store. Peas are great until then. Brocolli florrets to pick on and dried or frozen krill are among other fresh menu options :)

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KoiFROG, anything new with the fish? Where you able to locate the special food? :)

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