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Help! Flashing, Floating, Etc..


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I just checked the water:

Ammonia - 0 (or maybe .25)

Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 80 or higher

I am ashamed to admit it, but I had not changed the water for a couple months. I just changed about 40-50% of the water on Monday, April 19.

I have one large goldfish in a 20 gallon aquarium. His name is Mo, and he is about 11 years old.

I have had problems on and off through the years with parasites, such as flukes, and have treated with Prazi and salt. I originally had 3 goldfish, but the other 2 have passed away over the years. Shimmer passed away last December (2008). I was never sure if he may have had dropsy.

Mo has been acting a little strange for a few weeks, doing some flashing, and thrashing wildly about. His scales are coming off too.

Now today, he is doing a LOT of wild thrashing around, flashing, sort of trying to rub against the bottom sometimes, and just flipping his body around wildly! Then when he settles down after thrashing around, he is sort of floating and tipping upside down!! I have not seen him do that before. He is also losing quite a few scales. I'm not sure if it's because of the flashing, which causes him to actually "crash" hard into the sides of the aquarium. He has been eating well. I have been feeding him the Salad Supreme from Goldfish Connection. He started to not like the ProGold as much, so he's been eating only the Salad Supreme for a couple months now. Because of his "floating" and tipping upside down today, I just gave him a couple of frozen peas, which he ate.

Please let me know what I should do to help him!! I love him so much, after having him for a little over 11 years. He has been very strong and tough, a fighter. I don't know if this might be parasites, maybe flukes? Should I try Prazi? Should I do more water changes to try to get the nitrates down? How much water change is okay, without being too hard or shocking on him or upsetting the water balance? By the way, just so you know, he does seem to have some sensitivity to aquarium salt, which makes me hesitate to try that. But I will if you think that might be a good idea. When I used to treat him and Shimmer with salt and Prazi, Shimmer did great and seemed to really improve and perk up with salt. But Mo always seemed to not like it and worsen somewhat, sitting on the bottom, etc... However, if you think I should try salt and/or prazi, I will. It is hard for me to care for him, because I use a wheelchair and need help with siphoning/changing water, putting medication in. I have to make sure someone is available, willing, and knows how to help me with it. But I will do what I need to do to help him get better!

Thank you! I look forward to your reply!!

~ Jill

P.S. How long does Prazi stay good? How long does food stay good? 3 months or 6 months? I may need to order some new Prazi and food.

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  • Regular Member

Hi Jill!

Its so distressing seeing our fish flash and scratch.

I am wondering about your pH? Sometimes when nitrates get high pH can be dragged down. Could you check what it is now in the tank? Low pH will cause missing scales and flashing.

Also since the nitrates touched 80- pretty high- I would suggest doing several 30% water changes over the course of a day to get back down to nitrates around 10 or less. Knowing the pH from the tap and tank here is important.

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I just did the pH tests. I didn't know which one to do, so I did both regular pH and High Range pH for the tap water and the aquarium water. I am using the "Freshwater Master Test Kit" by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.

The aquarium water tested as:

pH = between 7.2 - 7.6, closer to 7.6

High range pH = between 7.4 - 7.8

Tap water tested as:

pH = 7.2 or 7.0

High range pH = 8.0

So far, I have done nothing, - other than taking the filter out today and cleaning it and replacing the sponge. I know you said to do several 30% water changes to lower the nitrates, but I wanted you to see these results first. I don't know if you still suggest water changes, or if the difference in pH from tap to aquarium would be too shocking or bad for him.

For some reason, he seems to be doing a little better. He is not flashing as much. I have given him only peas to eat for the past 3 days. I think maybe he was constipated? I do have a question regarding the high nitrates - I think it may be because there is a LOT of accumulated gunk down in the gravel, and in parts of the aquarium. How can I ever get that mostly cleared out of there? Is it ever okay to take the fish out of there, and totally clean the aquarium, etc?? I know then you would be starting over with the cycle, right? Would that be okay, or too stressful for him? Just looking for ideas of how to get more of the slimy junk out of there, and not stress him out too much.

Let me know what to do next.... Thanks!

~ Jill

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If your Mo is 11 years old you have been doing something right :)

I'm fairly new to goldfish keeping still So...

I would take trinkets advise and do several partial water changes over the next few days or so,So as not to shock your Mo... I think if you just replaced your filter pads you may also have a cycle crash or bump depending on what else is in your tank?If there is a lot of gunk in your gravel even after doing a good gravel vacuum... How deep is your Gravel?If it is deep,I would start removing some in small portions (not all at once)maybe a little with each water change over the next couple of weeks,so as not to get so much gunk built up in the future it will make maintaining it easier for you in the future :)

I myself and a lot of other goldfish keepers keep they're tanks bare bottom because of all the nasties that can hide in gravel but it's really a personal choice ;)What works best for you :)

And yes pea's for a constipated goldfish can do wonders :)I do hope your goldfish feels better asap :) I would enjoy a pic of him or his tank in the meantime :)

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