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Guest WNicholas

Hi Everyone.

This may seem long but Im writing to introduce myself and give some background.

Last year my girlfriend decided to get into goldfish and bought a 25 gallon tank.

We did the cycle the tank has looked great and is very clear. As far as water levels and all, I dont know much about them but my girlfriend is the one who takes up on it. She has read a ton on the net, bought books, sought advice from stores and such.

She really has done a great job and knows so much, has come very far from when we first set up.

She started out by buying to "feeder" fish and till this day they are still around and growing. Comets I believe.

Like I said sorry if I get some of the term's or names wrong. Im really posting this for my girlfriend, who does not know about it.

But just like you guys, we do get attached to our fish.

The sad thing is, we probably have had within the last year about 6-7 fish, now down to 2.

We have had a bubble eye, who started out great, but slowly diminshed and got sick.

We have had three orandas who have all seemed to "suddenly die". She checks constantly for Ick, and other diseases, has all sorts of medicine and we also have a 10 gallon hospital tank in case we needed to move any of them.

We feed them blood worms and she orders food that is a gell where she mixes and makes certain types.

The water temperture is always right and levels of water seem to be spot on.

After seeing a few fish come and go, they usually last a few months, its getting very frustrating and upsetting to see these fish die.

The last straw which really upset us was to see one of our pom pom fish, who had been around since day one, always a strong fish, we called himt he father of the tank. One day start to get very bouncy and the water seemed to take him in directions he couldnt controll. We loved this guy, and we hoped it was just gas, but it seems like in about ONLY 3-4 day period he went from being strong to dying. We noticed his swimming got weaker, we put him in a seperate area so the pressure and water wouldnt get him stuck or push him around, but however he then started to lay close to the bottom hardly moving. Then this morning I checked him out and he was upside down dead.

Just a few weeks before one of orandas suddenly died...There tail's which she checks for seem to be fine and not clamped..and then all of the sudden something happens and they die.

Like I said water has been perfect, she checks it frequently, makes water changes and gives them great food. I wouldnt say this without confidence.

My question is, is it that goldfish, no matter how hard you try and worry and care for them, alot just die and dont have long life spans, it seems like anything can go wrong, even outside of checking for the obvious diseases which you can see.

But what about what you cant see.

Also maybe it is the stores we are getting them from? However I can see that be the problem if they died when we first got them, but these fish are lasting months and then something happens.

Like I said its very upsetting. The pom pom was around about 8 months and then suddenly he died.

Anyways thanks for reading this long blab. But I wanted to try and post something as my girlfriend is upset and really thinking about giving it up..not because she does not want to try or dont like the fish, but because it hurts to see these guys die after she becomes so attached to them.

So in the end, the fish we have remaining are the comet feeder fish, all of the others have come and gone..It seems like the Orandas as well are more prone to diseases.

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First of all welcome to Koko's. You say that you still have 2 comets. I am assuming that they are both in the 25 gallon tank. Were all your other fish in the 25 with the comets when you had them ? Comets can grow quite large and ideally need 20 gallons each. What does your girlfriend use to test the water ? Has she tested the tap water also ?

To help out the mods could you try and fill in as much of the following information as possible.

[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]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.?

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First Nicholas, :welcome

Next, I completely agree with Alistair. Although we support your belief in your girlfriend and her belief that her water parameters are okay, having actual numbers is when we can absolutely know what's going on and be able to, then, give some, hopefully, helpful advice. So, yes, definitely fill out the questionnaire that Alistair posted and it will help us immensely. You really need to answer every single question too. The more blanks there are, the less able we will be to help.

I applaude your girlfriend for doing the research that she did. This is rare, especially with goldfish, so it's really great that she did, but, clearly, we still have something wrong going on here.

Next, you ought to learn more about the technicalities of keeping the goldfish. I mean, what if your girlfriend got sick or needed to go out of town or had something happen, god forbid, where you had to be the one responsible for taking care of the fish? At that moment is not the time to start learning; now is.

I know you say that the water parameters are okay, but with 6-7 fish in a 25 gallon tank, and it seems more than a couple have been comets, it's pretty much almost impossible to keep water parameters at a healthy, safe level with that many fish in that size tank. Goldfish create massive quantities of waste, which creates ammonia, which is very toxic. The "rule" for goldfish is a minimum of 10 gallons of water per fancy and 20 gallons of water per single tail. You're at 2 now, you say, and they're single tails if I understand correctly, so you cannot add any more fish to your tank. In fact, with two single tails, you need to plan on getting those two fish alone into a 40 gallon tank. If you did this, you could then get two fancies for your 25 gallon tank.

Something else that can contaminate and cause a detrimental environment very fast is something as simple as putting dirty hands in a tank. You need to make sure to wash your hands and arms up to the elbow, and rinse very, very well, before putting them in the tank. What may be harmless germs to us very large animals can be deadly to those very small animals.

Now, this more than likely had nothing to do with your fish dying, but we really caution against mixing these different types of goldfish. Because they can swim faster and will, thus, get more food, single tails should only be kept with single tails. And special eyed fancies should only be kept with other special eyed fancies as they are the slowest swimmers and may not get enough to eat.

Food could be a cause for the upside down/floating, so we really need to know exactly everything that is fed.

You mentioned that your girlfriend has all sorts of medications. Again, it's great she's trying to help, but if you administer the incorrect medication, or too much medication, it can do more harm than good. Often times, all that is needed is salt. Salt, in the correct dose, is safe, soothing, stress-free while still very efficient at killing many bacteria and parasites and healing wounds.

And to your question about goldfishes' lifespans, if well cared for, goldfish have been know to live for over 40 years; that's the record anyway. Normally, if well cared for, pond goldfish can live for an average of 20 years and aquarium goldfish can live around 8-15 years. Single tails are much more hardy because of their body shape an internal construction. Fancies, because of their cramped internal organs, are much more sensitive and subject to illnesses and disease more easily. But, we can't feel badly about not being able to get them to live that long, especially when we first start. Goldfish are a very difficult fish to keep. Much more difficult than people are led to believe and, in actuality, goldfish are one of the most difficult fish of all to keep. We have ALL been beginners and were where you're at at one time, so we understand your sadness and frustration.

But, yes, it most definitely has a lot to do with the stores where you get them from too. First, with a few exceptions, never buy fish from the big chains. Poor fish are just doomed from the start. Many local fish stores (lfs) also don't have that great of stock, but they're a better starting point, so choose to shop at these stores. Take your time looking at the fish. Check them out very carefully. Look for disease, damage, odd behavior. Choose only the most healthy looking and acting fish. If you see none, buy none. We must assume that our new fish ARE, without question, coming home from the store with some sickness, infection, infestation or disease, so it should be standard practice to quarantine all new fish in a hospital tank for about a month for observation and, almost always, to administer salt and praziquantel.

But, we are here to help and we'll do everything we can to get things right for you.

Edited by Lynda Von G

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:welcome and I'm not going to add anything else b/c the two members above have covered pretty much everything! I hope we see you around the board more and more!! :)

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You should only buy fish that don't show any signs of illness.

We must assume that our new fish ARE, without question, coming home from the store with some sickness, infection, infestation or disease, so it should be standard practice to quarantine all new fish in a hospital tank for about a month for observation and, almost always, to administer salt and praziquantel.

Even if the fish look healthy. I agree that you should assume that they are sick etc. and quarantine them for at least a month. But I (don't) administer any salt or meds unless they show signs of illness.

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Hello and welcome! I haven't been on in ages!

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Guest WNicholas
First of all welcome to Koko's. You say that you still have 2 comets. I am assuming that they are both in the 25 gallon tank. Were all your other fish in the 25 with the comets when you had them ? Comets can grow quite large and ideally need 20 gallons each. What does your girlfriend use to test the water ? Has she tested the tap water also ?

To help out the mods could you try and fill in as much of the following information as possible.

[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]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.?

Thanks for all the reply's, I do want to clear something up. We have never had more then 4 in the tank at once.

There has always been the 2 feeder fish and one pom pom, with various orandas who have come and gone.

Also as far as the fish per gallon and comets and what not.

These two feeder fish were what we used when we first got the tank. They are indeed growing obviously would have been lunch to some bigger fishes if we didn't save them. I can not believe how well they have come along.

After talking with my girlfriend, one of them is a comet, the other a common.

As far as the gallons, it seems like everyone has a different opinion on as to how many per gallon, even with taking care of fish, to various message boards and people at certain shops, they all seem to differ.

We do understand that a tank can get over crowded.

She has used the tap water and to test our water we have a API Aquarium pharmaceuticals test kit. Which test for PH, Ammonia Nitrates and such.

Here is a rundown of a recent post she made on another board about water and details of the tank we do.

-Ammonia= 0

-NitrIte= 0

-NitrAte= 10

-pH= 7.2

-KH=NA

-GH=NA

-Water Temperature: 77 degrees

-Tank size= 20 gallon

-Filtration (Make, and GPH) Tetra Whisper EX 30

-Is there gravel/sand/rocks in the tank? If so how deep? yes 11/2 inches deep

-Tank Inhabitants (How many, how big?): 2 comets almost two inches long, 1 Oranda 3 inches

-How long the tank has been set up: almost 1 year

-Frequency and amount of routine water changes: once a week, 50% WC

-What you feed them, how much, & how often: Hikari Oranda Gold (4 feedings a week) Bloodworms (4 feedings a week) Sun Dried Gammarus (once or twice a week) Brine shrimp( once of twice a week) Mazuri Gel Food (about 4-5 feeding a week) Fresh spinich, and a fresh orange peice (occasionally) Frozen green algea (occasionally)

-City or well water: city

-Water conditioner used: Prime

-any extras (i.e.; air pumps, and air stones?) one airstone

-New fish or plants added to the tank? What type and when? Were they quarantined?: NO

-Medications used: Maracyn two

Sorry I did not get back sooner, I do have the auto email updates on but haven't received any.

Thanks again for the replys.

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She has used the tap water and to test our water we have a API Aquarium pharmaceuticals test kit.

could you clarify something please?

is she testing the tap water only? or is she testing both the tap water and tank water? we need the tank water's results.

and about the gals per fish. for any new fish we go by the 10 gals per fancy and 20 gals per single tail. fish grow so after a certain point they need more water then 10 gals each. if you are members of a bunch of gf sites, try and remember that the more water for each fish the better. ;)

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Guest WNicholas
She has used the tap water and to test our water we have a API Aquarium pharmaceuticals test kit.

could you clarify something please?

is she testing the tap water only? or is she testing both the tap water and tank water? we need the tank water's results.

and about the gals per fish. for any new fish we go by the 10 gals per fancy and 20 gals per single tail. fish grow so after a certain point they need more water then 10 gals each. if you are members of a bunch of gf sites, try and remember that the more water for each fish the better. ;)

That is the tank water that I have posted up there.

Sorry about the confusion.

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I would not keep more then 1 fancy goldfish in that small of a tank and that may be pushing it as it grows. Can you rehome the two commets/feeder fish?

I am sorry your having so much trouble. Goldfish are not as easy as people try to make out.

Hopefully someone can help you out with your problems.

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I'm going to fix this up a little bit. Please correct anything I may not have transferred correctly.

[*]Ammonia Level? 0

[*]Nitrite Level? 0

[*]Nitrate level? 10

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 7.2 (kh and gh not available)

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? n/a (kh and gh not available)

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

[*]Water temperature? 77 degrees F

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallons, almost 1 year

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Tetra Whisper EX 30

[*]any extras (i.e.; air pumps, and air stones?) one airstone

[*]Is there gravel/sand/rocks in the tank? If so how deep? yes 11/2 inches deep

[*]City or well water?: city

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? 50% weekly

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 comet, 1 common both almost two inches long, 1 Oranda 3 inches (There has always been the 2 feeder fish and one pom pom, with various orandas who have come and gone. Never had more then 4 in the tank at once.)

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? Hikari Oranda Gold (4 feedings a week) Bloodworms (4 feedings a week) Sun Dried Gammarus (once or twice a week) Brine shrimp( once of twice a week) Mazuri Gel Food (about 4-5 feeding a week) Fresh spinich, and a fresh orange peice (occasionally) Frozen green algea (occasionally)

[*]Any new fish added to the tank? no

[*]Any medications added to the tank? Maracyn two

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? none

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? After seeing a few fish come and go, they usually last a few months, its getting very frustrating and upsetting to see these fish die.

The last straw which really upset us was to see one of our pom pom fish, who had been around since day one, always a strong fish, we called himt he father of the tank. One day start to get very bouncy and the water seemed to take him in directions he couldnt controll. We loved this guy, and we hoped it was just gas, but it seems like in about ONLY 3-4 day period he went from being strong to dying. We noticed his swimming got weaker, we put him in a seperate area so the pressure and water wouldnt get him stuck or push him around, but however he then started to lay close to the bottom hardly moving. Then this morning I checked him out and he was upside down dead.

Just a few weeks before one of orandas suddenly died...There tail's which she checks for seem to be fine and not clamped..and then all of the sudden something happens and they die.

I hope we haven't upset you. We don't mean to upset anyone, but sometimes, when fish are having problems, it's just because something has gone wrong in the tank. Bottom line is, if fish are dying, it's because of something we did or didn't do and we have to just be able to move forward, take the advice and try to fix things. It happens and it's happened to ALL of us, that's why we all found this place, so it's just an honest error and even if it were someone's fault, we can't start blaming, we just do whatever it takes to fix the problem and everybody gets to learn.

You do need to be careful whose opinion you listen to when discussing how many gallons per fish to allow for goldfish as it is very different from all other kinds of fish and if you ask a tropical fishkeeper what to do, you very likely will not get a correct opinion. Actually, that goes for pretty much everything that has to do with goldfish. And, with a few exceptions, we have all learned never to take the word of employees at fish stores unless we know them and know their knowledge is good. We most definitely would advise to err on the side of caution when it comes to how many goldfish to keep in a tank. Too many goldfish in too small a tank is going to cause problems, whether nitrogen cycle related, stunting related or bacterial related. As I suggested before, you'd be best to get a 40 gallon tank for your two single tail goldies and then you can get two fancies for your 20 gallon tank. Or, as also suggested, re-home your single tails and then you can have two fancies in your 20 gallon. Please be advise, though, that if they start getting really large, i.e., 5 inches or so, you are going to need to upgrade them from a 20 gallon to a 30 gallon or more.

So, as far as the symptoms. The floating is usually attributable to constipation or gas or something that affects the swim bladder, but these things are not usually fatal unless the fish is unable to eat or if some sort of infection sets in. So, for just being given this symptom and nothing else, it's difficult to say what might be killing your fish. But, if you can really think and try to remember if there was ANYTHING else you noticed, we'll do our best to figure it out.

You do have gravel. Do you vacuum it very well every week at your water change?

Do you ever do 100% water changes?

How do you clean your filter media?

You are underfiltered. The "rule" is that your filter run 10 times the gallons per hour as the size of your tank. So, for a 20 gallon tank, you should have a filter that runs a minimum of 200 gph. Your filter runs 160. Underfiltering, especially with gravel, might allow bad bacteria to grow. So, I would suggest getting another filter that runs at least 40 gallons per hour, but preferably more. We say that you can't have too much filtration when it comes to goldfish. As long as the current doesn't push them around out of control, then get all you can.

It also seems like you're feeding a lot. In light of the floating, which is often a sign of overfeeding or feeding processed foods that contain air, I would suggest cutting back on the amount of food you feed, i.e., only once a day and stop feeding processed foods.

Edited by Lynda Von G

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Guest WNicholas

You havent upset me at all....like you said this is part of learning. I wouldn't have came on here if I didn't feel like advice was needed.

And yes, in the small amount of time we have learned that the "employees" most at least really don't give the best answers. However I live In CT, and we have a great place called the House of Fins in Greenwich that is a unbelievable places, I have chosen to pick my spots, so to say when getting advice. As far as the other questions I will let you know shortly, Im not sure how often she has changed the water 100% nor cleaning the filter media, but will find out.

As far as the gravel, yes we do vacume it well and often, once a week.

We have been thinking about switching to river rock as it seems much easier to deal with.

I was not aware of the 200 minimum gph though.

Edited by WNicholas

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If you do a 100% water change don't take the fish out of the tank and drain all the water. That could cause even more problems. If you want to do a 100% water change do two 50% water changes in a row. If I haven't done a water change in a while I"ll do a 80 - 90% water change leaving enough water for the fish to swim. If I feel I need to do a 100% water change I'll do it by doing to large water changes in a row. But never remove the fish and all the water to do a 100% water change.

If you have the kind of filter media that you can clean be sure to clean it in a bucket of tank water. If you clean it in the sink and run it under the tap water you will kill the beneficial bacteria. This can cause your tank to go into a mini cycle.

Your 160 gallon per hour filter isn't quite enough filteration. If you get other filter to make up the differents get other 160 gph filter since that's a small filter. That way you will have a good filter in case you up grade to a bigger tank or set up a new tank. Or make up the difference with a sponge filter.

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A lot of information has been given already, but I have a bit more to add/ask:

How high are nitrates immediately before the weekly water changes?

Could you test the KH? Carbonates in the water act as a pH buffer. If KH is low, the tank may experience wide pH swings. Your local fish store probably does free water testing.

If you do a 100% water change don't take the fish out of the tank and drain all the water. That could cause even more problems. If you want to do a 100% water change do two 50% water changes in a row.

Nick: Two 50% water changes in a row amounts to only 75% of the original water being replaced, not 100%.

I agree that you could benefit from additional filtration. The tank size rating advertised by the filter manufacturer is for your average tropical community tank, not a tank stocked with small pond fish. Thus, we on Koko's have our own high standards for filtration. There is no such thing as having too much filter (there's also no such thing as too large of a tank ;) )

BTW, this thread sounds like it aught to be in the "diagnosis and discussion" forum, where it will get the attention of our disease experts.

Edited by A Penguin

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If you do a 100% water change don't take the fish out of the tank and drain all the water. That could cause even more problems. If you want to do a 100% water change do two 50% water changes in a row.

Nick: Two 50% water changes in a row amounts to only 75% of the original water being replaced, not 100%.

That's what I was going to say. If you don't let your filter media or gravel dry out, there's nothing wrong with doing a full 100% water change. You need to do that, usually once a month, to get rid of as much bad bacteria as possible.

Excellent point, Penguin, about the kh and ph. That can cause some major disasters.

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Actually 100% water changes are not a must. I never do more then 80 on my goldfish tanks. And only about once ever 3 months do I do that. I have two filters and one gets a good rinsing every two weeks and floss replaced as needed.

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Nick: Two 50% water changes in a row amounts to only 75% of the original water being replaced, not 100%.

Ok, my math is wrong. My point is that it's better to do 2 or 3 large water changes in a row to get your 100% water change. Because removing the fish and draining all the water to do a 100% water change is just plan bad for the fish.

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Welcome to Koko's tank. Looks as if your getting some great advice already.

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