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Please Help, Nemo Died Today

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Hi,

I'm new to fish keeping and lost my first goldfish today, a comet/koi mix named Nemo, who I've had for about 4 months. I have a 54 gallon tank with 3 goldfish and a pair of platys with a 350 magnum filter, an airstone and live plants. We have been feeding them only dry flakes. The pH is always around 8 because we have hard water, and the nitrates/nitrites were 0. My husband is picking up new pH test strips today because we don't know how old the ones we're using are.

My 4 year old son is crying as I'm writing this, and I'm heartbroken myself, because Nemo's friend, Marlin, a fancy tail goldfish, is upset and hiding in the back of the tank whenever we come near, since we had to remove Nemo's body. The two fish were very close and were always playing together. Nemo had no obvious symptoms except that both fish seemed very lethargic for a couple weeks, even though I did weekly 1/3 water changes with the water-safe additives. Marlin started floating at the top for periods of time with his mouth above the water and then will swim again. The water temp is around 65 degrees, my husband went to pick up a heater today just to be safe for the upcoming colder months. When I say lethargic, I mean the two large goldfish seemed to just float around for periods of time without moving their fins. At feeding time they perked up and seemed o.k. Then yesterday I found Nemo sitting at the bottom of the tank with all her fins clamped down and breathing very labored, her mouth was gasping. She still came up to eat. I did a quick 1/3 water change and added aquarium salt per directions on the box, just to the new water. But this morning she died. The only new thing we've added to the tank since the fish were acting lethargic is liquid plant fertilizer and a new brand of water-treatment for tap water.

Last week, I noticed a lot of white particles floating around in the tank, otherwise the water had always been clear. So today, after Nemo died, I removed a large clump of java moss and noticed a HUGE cloud of white specks come off and float around in the water. Could this be the problem??? So far the other fish seem fine, but I'm worried! I looked carefully at Nemo's body and noticed some very fine white cotton-like strands coming from his butt and mouth,it didn't appear to be attached to his body; but the pet store told me this could be normal decomposition. (he's been gone for several hours now)

Please help!

Nemos Mom

Edited by nemosmom

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I'm so sorry to hear about your baby:( The first thing you are going to want to do for the mods is to answer all of the questions at the top of the page, I know you aswered some of them but if you could answer all of them to the best of your ability this will help the mods better determine what happened to nemo. Did you test your water when you got home and found nemo dead? If i were you I would do the largest water change possible asap...it can't hurt. Do you have common plecos in your tank?

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Thank you...I'll try to think of anything I missed....I did a 50% water change right away, and the water tested safe levels yesterday when I noticed Nemo, no ammonia showing up either, so my husband is picking up a new test kit in case this one wasn't accurate. (I got it used from a friend and don't know it's age) I feed the fish twice a day, just dry flakes. There were no medications in the tank, just liquid plant food and the tap water purifier, plus a little salt. (half the amount of what the box said to put in) I have been doing 1/3 tank water changes weekly, and the tank has been running for about 5 months. No piecos in there. I have been getting a LOT of algae on the glass. I hope I answered everything well enough...we had a little bit of good news today, I just noticed the platy couple had babies, so I guess they're feeling o.k. I didn't even know I had a male/female. That got my son to wipe away his tears for awhile. :)

Edited by nemosmom

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So sorry that you lost Nemo. :(

Welcome to the board but I sure wish it was under better circumstances.

As Mrs. Mohr mentioned, it will be a lot easier to help you once we get those water params and info on your tank and other situations.

Please post back soon and we will be waiting to hear from you!

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After picking up a new test kit my latest readings, after a 50% water change this morning are:

pH 8.4

Alkalinity 300+

Hardness 1000

Nitrite 20

Nitrate 0

A lot of dust-like specks are still floating around after removing all my java moss this morning, even after a water change.

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First, so sorry you lost Nemo. Second, I am guessing you meant to say your Nitrates were 20 not Nitrites? Also, what is your ammonia? If it was indeed your Nitrates at 20, and you are using test strips I would venture to say that your Nitrates are much much higher. Test strips are notoriously off, the drop kits are much more accurate. 1/3 weekly water changes are really not large enough, especially if you are seeing particulates in your water that is a tell tale sign that you are not vacuuming out enough or are feeding way too much food. So my suggestions are

1. get a drop test kit

2. step up the size of your weekly water changes to at least 50%

3. cut back on the amount your feeding

I strongly suspect that your poor fishy succumbed to high nitrates. Also, have you treated your fish for flukes?

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You're right, I meant to say the Nitrates were 20 and the Nitrites 0, sorry!

Are the ammonia detectors that you hang inside your tank any good? I'm curious if anyone uses these?

Or if they're as accurate as drop tests?

No, I didn't treat for flukes? What is that and how do you treat that?

If my tank is 5 months old, should I still be adding beneficial bacteria supplements?? I was continuing to use this from when I started my new tank, until running out about a month ago. This is about when the fish starting acting lethargic. Just trying to think of anything I may have not mentioned earlier that will help!

Edited by nemosmom

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You're right, I meant to say the Nitrates were 20 and the Nitrites 0, sorry!

Are the ammonia detectors that you hang inside your tank any good? I'm curious if anyone uses these?

Or if they're as accurate as drop tests?

No, I didn't treat for flukes? What is that and how do you treat that?

If my tank is 5 months old, should I still be adding beneficial bacteria supplements?? I was continuing to use this from when I started my new tank, until running out about a month ago. This is about when the fish starting acting lethargic. Just trying to think of anything I may have not mentioned earlier that will help!

A lot of us here use the Seachem Ammonia Alert, but ONLY as a supplement. It will detect ammonia in your tank, but its really to let you know if there's a spike suddenly. The ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites still have to be tested weekly when you do your water changes. They don't give you a specific number, just let you know if ammonia is present.

Flukes are a parasite that virtually 99% of fish from the lfs have when you bring them home. Any time you get new fish they should be treated with PraziPro for flukes and salt for ich.

As far as the bb supplements, IMO they are iffy at best and don't really benefit the tank after its cycled, which it should be after 5 months. One reason that you keep the water tested is to see if you've had a cycle break down for some reason. This will kill your fish.

Also I noticed that you said you have platys in the tank with the goldies. Platys are tropical fish and there needs are different than goldfish, who are coldwater fish. Plus their nutritional needs are different and the ammonia and waste that goldfish put out aren't easily handled by trops.

You didn't say what your ammonia level is. You need a drop test kit to get accurate results. They're a little pricey but they do last forever and are much more dependable and accurate than strips.

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After many tiring hours on the web, Nemo seems to match the description of flukes, and so I'm desperately hoping to save Marlin before it's too late. The symptom that stood out most was that the 2 big fish floated around mid-tank motionless, breathing heavily. But the baby goldfish are acting o.k.--wouldn't a water (nitrate) problem affect all the fish? I will change the water daily, to be safe, but in the meantime I need some quick advice in treating flukes? I ordered aqua prazi from the goldfish connection because I can't get to a pet store for a few days. Is there anything I can do now while I'm waiting for medication?

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So sorry, viklelm, I didn't see your reply before I posted...

Thanks for your help...I will definitely pick up a drop test kit.

Is prazipro o.k. to treat the whole tank with? I ordered another product online in a panic but I'm open to other suggestions.

I didn't realize the platys were bad mates for the goldfish, they seemed happy but now I feel bad. I will buy a little tank just for them (there's only 2) as soon as I can. Thanks for the tip!

I couldn't get an accurate ammonia reading with my current testing kit, so I will continue to change the water daily until I get the drop test.

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Ok. So, keep up the large water changes that certainly won't hurt. Keep us posted on your water params once you get your drop test kit.

As far as the Prazi you can and since you haven't treated any of your fish for flukes, you should treat the entire tank. It's pretty mild stuff so don't worry too much. While you're waiting you can always salt your tank, using aquarium salt, remembering to add back the amount you remove with each water change. You can use salt in conjunction with the Prazi.

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Prazi is great and won't harm your fish. And if you salt, keep it to .01% (there's a link on my sig for instructions) unless you see signs of ich. And be certain to dissolve it before you add it to the tank.

I don't know why some fish are affected and some are not. A while back my large comet Florence had a terrible bacterial infection that almost killed her because the stress of the infection caused her to contract ich. Ugh. It was terrible. But Trinket, the small goldie in there with her, only got a small case of ich and that was it. Florence recovered finally thanks to the Kokonuts pitching in and giving me help but it was very very close.

Another thing about platys is that they stay small while your goldies grow huge. They are livebearers and if you put them in their own tank they will likely have babies, which the goldies will think are food and eat lol. I have a small tank that had just one platy and a molly. The molly had babies and the platy was aggressive toward them so I moved him to the large tropical tank. Now I have 7 baby mollies that are growing like weeds!! Much safer getting the fish yourself than buying them from the lfs!!

You're doing great! :)

Keep up the water changes and follow the dosage for Prazi when it arrives. Very good that you ordered it from Rick's because it will be at your door before you know it. He is lightning fast at deliveries and I've used his site several times. Plus his advice is great!

Good luck and keep us informed of whats going on with Marlin!!

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Hi, I received my Prazi medication today and also my drop test kit, which shows 0 ammonia. I haven't done a water change yesterday or today. We added a heater which is now at 75 degrees to help fight the flukes, if that's the problem. Is that too hot for goldfish to be in for a long time?? So far Marlin, and the 2 baby goldfish are all acting normally. Could a fluke infestation have only affected Nemo? I kind of traced the problem back to when I added a bunch of new plants to the tank, maybe they were infected? I didn't even rinse them before adding to the tank, I didn't know any better at the time.

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Great that you got the Prazi so quickly!

Its doubtful that only Nemo had flukes, but either way the Prazi won't hurt the fish at all. Just go by the directions and continue the treatment for as long as it says.

Although plants should always be treated, its unlikely that any parasites would have just infested Nemo.

And 75 is as high as I would take the water temps.

Good luck and keep us posted!! :)

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Yay for Prazi! What reading did the drop test give you for nitrates?

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Hi, I just wanted to thank everyone for all your help so far!

Marlin has perked up today, but now one of my baby goldfish, who's about an inch long, is acting sluggish and breathing with occasional gulps. She is hovering around the bottom 1/3 tank area, not her usual behavior. My frantic question is: I have a carbon filter that is about 6 months old, and well broken in and the prazi instructions said only to remove NEW carbon filters. Should I have removed the carbon filter??? (I have a magnum 350) I'm confused because the instructions said to keep filtering the tank, but if you remove the filter, it's not filtering??? Did I mess up my tank treatment???

Plus, in my rush to order, I chose a drop kit that only tests ammonia, and nothing else. Sigh.

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Okay hon, time to breathe lol. :) You have done nothing at all wrong here.

What I did was I tore the filter cartridge open and shook out the carbon and just used the floss. That will work fine.

And remember that Prazi doesn't work overnight. Just stay the course on the directions and cross your fingers. Thats all you can do and you are doing wonderful!heartpump.gif

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Okay hon, time to breathe lol. :) You have done nothing at all wrong here.

What I did was I tore the filter cartridge open and shook out the carbon and just used the floss. That will work fine.

And remember that Prazi doesn't work overnight. Just stay the course on the directions and cross your fingers. Thats all you can do and you are doing wonderful!heartpump.gif

:exactly You're doing just fine. :)

How much aeration do you have in your tank? Do you have a bubble wand?

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Okay hon, time to breathe lol. :) You have done nothing at all wrong here.

What I did was I tore the filter cartridge open and shook out the carbon and just used the floss. That will work fine.

And remember that Prazi doesn't work overnight. Just stay the course on the directions and cross your fingers. Thats all you can do and you are doing wonderful!heartpump.gif

:exactly You're doing just fine. :)

How much aeration do you have in your tank? Do you have a bubble wand?

Thank you both for your help and all your kindness so far! :)

I do have one small air stone in my tank, a huge clump of java ferns and 2 small plants.

Before finding your replies, I removed the carbon from the filter and found it was very dirty. The water was clearer right away, no flecks floating around after removing it, so I threw away the old gunked up carbon. So I suppose I have to keep changing the water every couple days without a new carbon? The instructions said not to put a new carbon in there until the treatment is over, is that what you guys do? Does that mean no filter through the 2nd week of treatment too? :unsure: Is a 1/3 tank change every other day enough in my case? I have to keep adding prazi to the new water additions correct? So sorry, I seem to have an endless supply of questions!!! :ignore

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Did you throw away the entire gunky sponge or just the black carbon granules/black carbon sponge inside? Only the black bit is the carbon bit that needs removing, the rest is filled with beneficial bacteria and removing it removes your cycle, you can wash the non-carbon bits in tank water to get rid of the gunk (mine are always full of algae bits) and put them back in the filter.

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I must have a different sort of filter than everyone else, as mine is just a plastic sleeve filled with charcoal bits and no sponge or paper. So I removed the charcoal and just put the plastic sleeve back. Did this disrupt the cycle? I notice on the filter box it says you can buy either the paper version called a water clarifier or upgrade to the charcoal version for my filter but it can't use both. Then there's an extra biological add-on filter for an additional price not included with the filter, called stage 3, which I don't have. :doh11:

Did you throw away the entire gunky sponge or just the black carbon granules/black carbon sponge inside? Only the black bit is the carbon bit that needs removing, the rest is filled with beneficial bacteria and removing it removes your cycle, you can wash the non-carbon bits in tank water to get rid of the gunk (mine are always full of algae bits) and put them back in the filter.

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Hmm I've never heard of that...I just fill the plastic sleeves for mine with bits of rock and sponge. You might want to try getting some sponge to put in the empty plastic sleeve, I just get any random filter media rather than necessarily getting a matching one for my filter, I end up squishing more in anyway.

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Did you throw away the entire gunky sponge or just the black carbon granules/black carbon sponge inside? Only the black bit is the carbon bit that needs removing, the rest is filled with beneficial bacteria and removing it removes your cycle, you can wash the non-carbon bits in tank water to get rid of the gunk (mine are always full of algae bits) and put them back in the filter.

I just realized after searching online for filter parts that this whole time I've been missing a piece of filter--the sponge part! I bought my tank and filter used and replaced the charcoal never realizing there was a sponge sleeve missing. So when everyone was telling me to wash the sponge part I was confused. I found out mmm sells them, and will pick one up tomorrow, but does this mean my tank will have to recycle again? What will I need to do after adding the sponge to help my tank? :doh11:

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Hmm I've never heard of that...I just fill the plastic sleeves for mine with bits of rock and sponge. You might want to try getting some sponge to put in the empty plastic sleeve, I just get any random filter media rather than necessarily getting a matching one for my filter, I end up squishing more in anyway.

Thanks for your help, I just posted and didn't see this response, sorry! I discovered my filter was supposed to have a sleeve of sponge that slips over the canister. :doh11:

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If you have gravel it's likely that you've got a lot of bacteria in there as I'm not sure how much would grow on the carbon in the first place. You'll probably get a cycle bump, keep an eye on it but it does sound like you'll have a lot of water changes in the near future! Keep on top of it and it hopefully won't be long before your fishies are sorted and you can enjoy them again. Remember to add meds for how much you remove with water changes! (if you remove 50% of the water add back in 50% of the meds that you initially added to keep it at the same level - CHECK this with someone else though as I'm not meds expert!!!) Good luck!

:testkit:

Edited by devilduck

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