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Floating Goldfish

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Hi,

I just did a water change this morning and about 8 hours later, my small calico goldfish was being pushed around the tank by the filter so I moved him to a small bowl. He is floating now but is still breathing. If I put my finger near him he will swim for a few seconds. If all the water tests are o.k. what could it be? The only thing different in their routine was that I ran out of peas a few weeks ago. Would constipation cause this? Is it too late to help him if that's the cause?

Please help!

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[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level? 0 but just did water change 8 hrs ago

[*]Nitrite Level? Only have a NH3, NH4 ammonia drop test kit right now

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

[*]Water temperature? 75

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 55 gallons, running for 8 months now

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Magnum 350

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly, 1/3

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 large fancy tail, 2 small goldfish

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? Tetra AquaSafe with BioExtract

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? goldfish flakes daily, pellets and peas weekly

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

[*]Any medications added to the tank? no

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? no

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? no, all the fish were fine until this fish suddenly stopped swimming, 8 hrs. after last water change

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Constipation can def cause floatiness and if you stopped giving peas when those are normally a part of the diet that could very well be one reason for this...

See if you can get some peas and feed him a few... maybe that will help. If it doesn't you can try fasting him for about 3 days, then doing peas for 3 days only and see if that helps..

A fish that is being pushed around in the current is usually weak from something.. Sickness, bad water quality, etc. So I would be on the lookout for something more.. Keep checking water quality. Have you ever salted and prazied these fish? And sounds silly, but when u did ur change 8 hrs ago, are u SURE you matched the temp and added water conditioner? I've seen people on this board forget water conditioner ONCE and they fish act strange..

Do you have a small hospital tank or something you can put him in with a small filter? I am worried about him being in a bowl with no filter and no circulation.. Ammonia can creep up FAST and make things very bad for them in a bowl...

Or maybe a small decoration or cup that u could put in the main tank so the little fish can go back but be protected from the current?

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Constipation can def cause floatiness and if you stopped giving peas when those are normally a part of the diet that could very well be one reason for this...

See if you can get some peas and feed him a few... maybe that will help. If it doesn't you can try fasting him for about 3 days, then doing peas for 3 days only and see if that helps..

A fish that is being pushed around in the current is usually weak from something.. Sickness, bad water quality, etc. So I would be on the lookout for something more.. Keep checking water quality. Have you ever salted and prazied these fish? And sounds silly, but when u did ur change 8 hrs ago, are u SURE you matched the temp and added water conditioner? I've seen people on this board forget water conditioner ONCE and they fish act strange..

Do you have a small hospital tank or something you can put him in with a small filter? I am worried about him being in a bowl with no filter and no circulation.. Ammonia can creep up FAST and make things very bad for them in a bowl...

Or maybe a small decoration or cup that u could put in the main tank so the little fish can go back but be protected from the current?

Thanks so much for your help....that's a great idea with the little cup...I'm going to pick up one of those baby fish cups since I don't have a 2nd tank. Do people really keep a 2nd tank running just for emergencies?

I tried to feed peas to the little guy, but he's not really up to eating. He is kind of laying at a 45 degree angle now in the middle of the bowl.

I just completed a prazipro treatment in the tank with salt about 4 months ago, after one fish died from a fluke infestation from new plants...or that was my best guess as snails also came from them, and all the fish were flashing around.....I also upgraded my filtration materials, throwing out the carbon and adding ceramic rings and floss. Everything had been going well since, but now I'm wondering if I was supposed to be changing that floss regularly? I feel like I'm studying to be a marine biologist...but I really love these fish and want to take good care of them!

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Yeah a lot of us keep backup tanks.. Not always running... It depends.. I actually have 3 10 gallons tanks and 3 5 gallon tanks for emergencies/hospital or quarentining fish. And the sad thing is.. right now they are ALL occupied!!!

Okay good that u've salted and prazied. That at least helps rule out other causes...

It's a good idea to replace the floss when it gets discolored or too filled with dirt. Imo and myself were just talking about this on my thread actually. As long as u have a good amount of beneficial bacteria on other filter media, like biowheels or the ceramic rings, its perfectly okay to throw away the floss and replace it often. I've been doing that more and more lately trying to keep the dirt/gunk etc to a very minimum..

I'm studying to be a marine biologist...but I really love these fish and want to take good care of them!

I totally know what you mean! Who knew it could be so complicated!! I got started with Goldfish because my daughter brought home one of those little feeder fish from a fair. We stuck him in a bowl with no conditioner or filter. He died in a day and then we had to replace him.. I thought "okay no biggie.. we'll stick a couple more in a bigger bowl"... Now I've got 12 tanks (2 more actually but I don't count or use the 2.5 gallons) and am a total goldfish nut!!! lol It's complicated, but fun. And it feels good to take good care of the little guys. And it seems like u are doing a great job of it!

:exactly

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Are the pellets floating? I'd presoak that one or switch to sinking ones or brands that contain less starch content. Don't feed your goldfish any flakes regardless of the brand. Flakes can contribute to floatiness.

A spare tank is always essential for emergencies like this. Many people take such for granted and end up panicking leading to disasters. I'd advise getting a spare tank, preferably 10g as a hospital or quarantine tank. If this is not an option, use a rubbermaid tub. Operate with a HOB (hang on back) or sponge filter. Make sure the media used are already fully cycled.

The filter floss need not be replaced. Replace ONLY if it has disintegrated or already very worn out. I have filter flosses lasting more than a year already.

I'm not sure about the reliability of Tetra kits but I'd suggest testing ALL ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. API liquid drops will be much more convincing but I've never used Tetra so I cannot vouch for its accuracy and reliability.

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Sue keeps beating me up again!!!blink.gif

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Sue keeps beating me up again!!!blink.gif

That's quite a feat, Lupin seems like you're glued to Kokos 24/7 :D

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LOL! I absolutely love to talk here about goldies, share experiences and..ahem...chat with ladies.heartpump.gif I even surf to Koko's in the middle of my daily water change courses (and some people think I'm losing it for changing water volume no less than 50g). Okay okay...I am GUILTY of Koko addiction so beat me up with the koko stick.ignore.gif

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Thanks everybody for your help so far....my fish survived the night but looks the same. I think the worst part for me though is seeing my 4 yr old folding his hands by the fish and whispering to God to please not let him die. (gulp) I put him in one of those baby tanks that clip on the side, to keep him from flying around in the current and he seems appreciative, but is very weak and is only moving his eyes & mouth right now.

I actually found an area of decayed plants after trimming some dead leaves off this morning and after cleaning it all up wondered if it could have caused a nitrate problem? It was pretty disgusting under there, but there was no way I can clean behind some of these plants without digging them up....how do you guys all keep planted tanks clean??? Those cute plastic decorations are looking better all the time. With all the work we put into caring for the fish, at least they could show their appreciation by not dying!

Also after reading some articles am wondering if it could be a change in our tap water because we had some thawing over the weekend and have well water....we're also surrounded by crop fields which I read can raise the nitrates...so I'm thinking I should get our water tested?

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I noticed there isnt a reading for nitrates?? I would get the water tested hun... Something is a miss here :o

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I think the worst part for me though is seeing my 4 yr old folding his hands by the fish and whispering to God to please not let him die. (gulp)

Awwwww that really brings tears to my eyes!!! :cry1

:BTT

That reminds me of something.. When i worked at the pet store.. there was this family that came in one time with a VERY sick Pleco..... He was doing sooo bad and I tested the water and the ammonia was just ridiculously high... It was a mom and two little girls and the little girl came up and tugged my arm and said "please help my fishie. I don't want him to die".. It broke my heart...

So I talked to the mom and gave her instructions. I wrote everything down for her so she wouldn't miss a thing. And told her my hours that week so she could give me a call and update or come back in..

I didn't hear from them all week and I thought "oohh no"... Well.. about a week later they came in and the little girl ran up and hugged me and said "you did it! He's better!".. The mom was like "it worked.. What you told us to do, it worked.. He started getting better immediately". It was the BEST feeling in the world!!!!!

I REALLY hope ur fish gets better. It's hard enough for adults. But it is sooo hard with children.....

I put him in one of those baby tanks that clip on the side, to keep him from flying around in the current and he seems appreciative, but is very weak and is only moving his eyes & mouth right now.

Excellent move!!!! I'm so sorry he is soo weak..

I actually found an area of decayed plants after trimming some dead leaves off this morning and after cleaning it all up wondered if it could have caused a nitrate problem?

Could have.. Also... any area where there is stuff left to decay and rot encourages bad bacteria.. And when disturbed, can even let off toxic gases... Its very important to clean as well as possible so that these areas of gunk don't happen. BUT I also know how that is nearly impossible in those planted tanks. I've never had one of my own, but I know from the pet store..

I have very very very little experience with plants... Maybe you could post a seperate thread in the planted section for tips on how to maintain them? I wish I could help but its not really my area at all... If you have trouble finding a response I will make sure to bring it to the mods attention and see if we can get someone with more plant experience. There are a few mods that have much more experience and knowledge with plants than me lol

.so I'm thinking I should get our water tested?
I noticed there isnt a reading for nitrates?? I would get the water tested hun... Something is a miss here :o

Yes I would get the water tested again for sure!!!! High Nitrates CAN causing floating and flipover in fish so it would be great to see those results.. See if you can find those API liquid tests like Lupin suggested.. The API Master Test Kit.. Trust me it's worth purchasing!!!

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Thanks everyone....for everything....

My little guy is hanging on, he's quite a fighter and I just ordered the API complete test kit today because I'm concerned about our tap water, for all of us, just to be able to rule it out.

The fish isn't floating but now is more sinking or suspended in the little cage, curled in a U shape...but he has been occasionally trying to straighten his poor little body which is a great effort and he wiggles around kind of angry that he can't swim. Are any of these symptoms aimed more at one problem in particular? Is there any chance it could be from air? I was sick last week and my husband took over feeding...he was floating flakes which I never do. Just trying to come up with anything I may have overlooked...

Actually I just read an article on the flake food and I'm not going to even use it anymore...who knew that pet store products could be bad for your pets?

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Excellent that u ordered the API kit!! YAYAYAY! :-)

Hmmm. I won't lie, the U-Shape concerns me a bit.. However, I think I know what shape u mean and I HAVE seen it in fish that are floaty from constipation.. And I have also seen fish do the same thing ur fish is doing.. Float at first, then being to sink more as whatever was bothering them has worn off.. Hopefully this is a good sign...

I was sick last week and my husband took over feeding...he was floating flakes which I never do. Just trying to come up with anything I may have overlooked...

I definitely think the change in diet could be the culprit The flakes for SURE could have led to this especially since the fish was not used to flakes.. OR perhaps your husband overfed these fish because he was not used to feeding them!!! I would like to see what a few more days will do for the fish. Either fasting him for now, then peas. Or at the very least going back to normal feedings... Fish can do ALL sorts of things when they get a food they are not used too!!!

I am so glad he is hanging in there for now! :-)

I agree that most flakes aren't worth using.. I prefer a good pellet, and I agree that many pellets can be soaked for a little while first so that they will not expand, and so that any air is released so that it does not cause any trouble for the fish..

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Hi, first of all I'd like to thank everyone for their help....but my poor little fish didn't make it...he hung on for several days after my last post and even ate some pea fragments his last day. He kept trying to straighten his tail end out, and could for a few seconds, but it would curl up again...what are your thoughts on this?

I want to be sure I figure out what caused it if anyone can help protect the rest of my fish....my son is heartbroken and is asking God not to let all our fish die.

The liquid test kit is on backorder, so I can only use a strip tester temporarily...The nitrates tested a little high 5 days after the last water change(20) Nitrites were at 0. The only other thing I noticed is that the GH, KH and PH have always been extremely high, (300, 300, 8.4) because of our hard well water. Could a piece of driftwood I have in there, purchased on ebay be a problem?...it was from a lake, not a store. (I've had it in there 6 months now, about the same amount of time as the fish moved in) And what about Marimo Balls? They are algae balls from Japan....Could they be causing harm? The fish nibble on them.

I'm going to clean the tank extra thoroughly, remove all the rocks, plants, etc. and really get in there today.

Any other ideas??

Edited by nemosmom

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The driftwood should not be a problem considering you have had it for that long. Your hardness levels will make it difficult for a small amount of tannins leached from the wood to lower the pH so you're fine there. This is assuming, of course, that your test kits are reliably accurate.

The Marimo balls are fine. I haven't heard from anyone whose goldfish were sickened or killed from consuming or nibbling Marimo balls.

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Ohhh no I am so sorry he's gone...

:cry1

.my son is heartbroken and is asking God not to let all our fish die.

AWWWW! Poor little guy!!! That is soo sad.... I'm so sorry we couldn't help u save his fishy... But we will try to think of anything we can to help the rest of them...

The other fish.. they are all still healthy acting right?

Nothing strikes me as being WRONG in your tank, or like a major red warning sign if you know what I mean.. Your water changes are a little on the small side. Normally we recommend 50% weekly, but I also see that ur tank is not fully stocked so that is not AS crucial as it is for say, someone who had the tank overstocked. It would prob be a good idea to get in the habit of doing 50% weekly changes for when the fish get larger though..

The nitrates at 5 are not a problem.. You want the nitrates to be as low as possible, but you should ALWAYS see some amount of nitates in a normal cycled tank... Mine are usually between 5-10...

The driftwood.. On first thought I agree with Lupin.. It shouldn't be a problem.. BUT I feel like I remember another member or members (one being Beanie I believe) having a problem with an old piece of driftwood. I have to see if I can find the thread...

However, I do believe its unlikely.. With the other fish behaving okay I would LIKE to hope that this was just an unrelated incident.. I mean... its so easy to start worrying and assuming something is wrong, but sometimes a fish is just weak and it has nothing to do with your maintence or the other fish..

Please let us know if there are any other problems you see with the remaining fish. And please tell your son that I am so very sorry about the loss of his pet, and I hope the rest of them live a very very long time!

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Thank you guys again for all your support....

My other fish are all doing good ( I only have 2 now) The big goldfish (Marlin) is trying to play with the remaining little black moor but the little guy has to wiggle like a maniac to keep up with the big guy. My son named the black moor oreo but he has since turned completely orange!

I took out the driftwood and looked at it today...it did have a little debris area underneath but nothing serious, I cleaned underneath it. It isn't rotting or anything. Thanks for the tip, I will start doing 50% water changes after this.

I had to have the "death" talk with my son yesterday...it was soooo sad. :cry1 I don't want to buy any more fish until I feel sure of the problem. I keep wondering why he couldn't straighten his body out. I did take a picture of him like that if anyone thinks it would help to see it?

Edited by nemosmom

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Absolutely I would like to see the picture! Sometimes thats the very best thing.. Its so easy to miss something based on words and sometimes a photo will tell us something we didn't pick up on!

I feel like I remember reading someone describing a bent body or curve like u said but I can't QUITE put my finger on it.. I'm not sure if it meant something in particular or if I just remember someone saying that it is often a sign that the fish is in very critical condition.. Let me play around with the search and see if I can find anything..

I think your smart to hold off on new fish for a little while.. Make sure these fish are okay.. Also, remember to quarentine all new fish BEFORE putting them in the main tank. This will help rule out any issues. While in QT we recommend salt at 0.3% for two weeks, and prazi... Watch for any signs of illness. I like to keep fish in QT for a month minimum..

Another thing and this is a reach but it just crossed my mind.. You say you have one large fancy and two smaller fish. It was one of the smaller fish that passed correct? I would watch for any aggression from the larger fish. Its uncommon with goldies, but not unheard of.. It is POSSIBLE the larger fish could have bullied the smaller one.. I would just watch their behavior.. Do you know what kinds of fish these are? You can post pictures of all of them if you'd like! (Plus its just fun to show of your tank and fish! lol)

I am going to move this thread out of emergency now, but you can still find it in the Diagnosis and Discussion part of the Disease forum.. :)

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