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Guest BewitchedKittie

Ammonia Related Stress

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Guest BewitchedKittie

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and would be grateful for a little help. I have a 50L tank and currently one rescued fantail thats about 4 inches long. My water testing kit has run out and I cant afford to buy another until payday :/ Everything was going great with Luna, I got her a live plant, arranged for my friend to come in to feed my cats and goldfish and went on holiday for a week. I returned to a frightful sight, the poor little fish was 2 minutes from death in the corner of the tank and the water itself smelling like rotten eggs. The fish was on its side, fins clamped and gills hardly moving. The plant was dead and leaves rotting around the tank floor so I made the assumption that the rotting plant caused the ammonia and nitrate levels to go to shocking levels. Never have I experienced this though in such a short space of time, I do regular 50% water changes and have a fluval u3 filter (a little big for the tank, it was given to me).

Scooped the fish out and gave first aid in a shallow filled bucket, stress coat and salt and luckily she came round within a few hours. Have no quarantine tank so friendly bacteria of not I just emptied the whole thing and rinsed everything through, filled the tank to a third with clean stress coat treated water and a little salt. Placed the filter on its side on a gentle flow and popped the fish back in. I boiled the tank decorations through and have slowly added them each day.

Its been 4 days now and the fish has picked up considerably. She's swimming about quietly but not really eating too much. I usually feed Tetra fancy goldfish pellets but shes having none of it, wont eat any of next doors fish flakes either. The only thing she'll entertain are peas and bloodworm blocks, but these are too large for one fish and are difficult to remove as leftovers. Should I be worried?

One gill now has a white streak with black colouring, is this an ammonia burn? One eye is slightly clouded towards the centre too but slowly clearing. There are about 4 small white salt like grains that I am monitoring on the fins in case of fungus. The ends of the fins are slightly ragged. I have primafix ready in case of fungus but I dont want to medicate the fish unless its really needed.

Not having a water testing kit is awful and I will get one as soon as funds allow it. Ive been doing 25% a day water change to be sure.

The fish just looks miserable, and i suspect lonely too but I cant do anything for a few weeks about it until i know my tank and the fish are sorted. How many fantails will a 50litre tank sustain? Would I beable to get her a fantail buddy in a month? Also the fish in the shops are tiny compared to her, would she bully a new smaller fish?

I feel awful that the whole thing happened and I am a little upset at the lady who was meant to be taking care of her for the week.

Kate x

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Hi there, and welcome to Koko's!

First I would like to suggest that you (re)post this discussion in the Disease Diagnosis/ Treatments section. This is quite relevant for that section and, more importantly, the post will more likely get the attention it deserves. Ideally, it would be best that this post is moved by a moderator, but if you'd prefer not to wait, the moderators can normally just merge that post with this one later on.

As for your questions: typically, the rule of thumb is 40 liters (10 gallons) per fancy goldfish and 80 liters (20 gallons) per common/comet goldfish. This rule takes into account that small goldfish that are taken care of properly tend to grow into rather big goldfish which produce lots of waste. So for a 4 inch (including or excluding the tail?) goldfish, a 50L tank is excellent. For the moment, I'd suggest that you don't add another goldfish. Although goldfish often like company, interaction with humans is often also appreciated, and that doens't involve any risk of disease or overstocking your tank. So in short: your tank size is good for one goldfish, could potentially support two fancy goldfish, but I'd hold off on any additions until after the current problems are resolved.

Regarding the rotting plant, I think it's relevant to ask how much food your friend gave to your goldfish. It's a frequent problem that pet sitters tend to greatly overfeed (gold)fish. They want to make sure that the fish have enough food, so they prefer to add some more rather than a bit less. As a result, food can remain uneaten and start to rot. The rot could then affect any plants that are present and cause them to rot as well. For that reason, many people on the forum make small bags with day labels for their pet sitters, and as a precaution hide the rest of the food.

The 25% a day water changes are a good idea. You mention that you added a filter to the QT tank. Is it cycled or are you cycling it at the moment?

The white streak with black colouring sound like an ammonia burn to me, but I'd prefer to defer you to the more experiences forum members for that. I'd also suggest you don't medicate until one the those experiences members advices it. Although I don't know much about medication, I do know that apart from salt and prazi, most other medication can themselves be rather hard for the fish, so it's better to be sure before using it.

I hope this is of some help.

Cheers

Alain

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Guest BewitchedKittie

Thanks for a quick response :)

The fish is about 2.5inches minus the fins and 4inches including. The tank is currently cycling. It was just in such a state that I didn't think the fish would recover in it. Not ideal I know but I classed it as emergency. I did add 2tsp of API Stress Zyme into the tank to kick start it.

Not long since vacuumed the pea colored fish poop off the gravel and the fish is moping about in the corner near the filter. She still wont eat pellets or flakes. I might try some cucumber on string.

Its such a friendly little fish, takes peas from my fingers even though its feeling glum. She used to have a tank mate a few months ago but he sadly died of an ulcer bursting in his mouth. They where inseparable, always bumping and sitting together.

My living room is always on the warm side, maybe this is a factor? The tank is currently about 22C and rarely drops below even in winter.

Thanks x

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Your welcome :).

I don't know how much background in fishkeeping you have, but to be on the safe side: once (or before) you get get your hands on a testkit (ammonia, nitriate, nitrate and pH and the most important ones), read these posts: Cycling a tank. They offer a lot of helpful information.

The fact that the poop is pea colored is good: it means that (s)he definitely eats the peas.

Something I forgot to add to my first reply: how do you prepare your peas? I ask because you mentioned that they are to big for your goldie to easily eat it. What we always do when we serve peas (once every week, other days we give gel food), is first microwave them in a bit of water, then take the peel off, and in the past (when some of our goldfish were still rather small) we then squished the peas a bit with our fingers, so that you get smaller chunks. Peas are really good, e.g. for warding off constipation. Apart from that, you could also try the cucumber you suggested, or perhaps some orange (but also without bot the think outer peel and the transparent inner peels, so only the droplet-like matter remains).

Another thing that goldfish like to eat is plants like Cabomba and Elodea/Anacharis (water sprite), and they are rather healthy. The imprtant thing though, is that you should always disinfect and QT plants that you're going to add, because more often than not the plants you buy in the pet shops also carry parasites and/or diseases. Finally, one of the healthiest things goldfish can eat are (green) algae. A lot of people think of a tank with algae as 'dirty' but actually the algae do a lot of good, both directly by serving as healthy food and indirectly by removing nitrates and some other things from the tank. In fact, although a tank can still build op a bioload (mainly, a bacteria build-up), a sufficiently understocked tank with a really good filter and lots of algae and plants is far less in need of regular water changes: they're still necessary to simply remove e.g. poop and such, but no so much for accumulation of nitrates.

A tank temperatur of 22?C is fine. Goldfish can deal with temperatures between 5?C and 30?C, but ideally, the temperature should be 20-22, so yours is excellent.

Keep us posted ;).

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They where inseparable, always bumping and sitting together.

It would be really great if you can get your water tested w/ a drop test kit, not strips, and post back the results in ppm's (parts per million) of the Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH.

Fish should not bottom sit. This means something is wrong. Are the fins clamped to the body at all? The cloudy eye can mean the fish was in poor water conditions--for example a tank that does not get enough water changes so waste builds up in the tank.

With your 25% water changes make sure they are always dechlorinated, temperature and pH matched.

And if this tank is not cycled you will need to perform a greater quantity and more often. Erinaceus has given you so much help and such great advice so far. Please check the links he provided.

After the other fish died did you do a good tank cleaning? Did you take out the ornaments (if you have them) and wash and scrub them really well in hot water? Did you remove the gravel (if you have it) and clean that really well like in boiling water?

The fish does not need medicine at this point in my opinion, and it's only my opinion not law. I feel that pristine water will help it, and the ammonia burns you are seeing is evident that the water is improving as the black coloring are signs of healing.

oh and I forgot to add, :welcome !

Edited by Martha

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Guest BewitchedKittie

Hi guys

Got home from work to find the fish still sulking in the corner, fed some more peas and discovered a new piece of white fluff on her head so my suspicions seem right and I think she has a spot of ick :( Shes munching on these peas and intrigued about the cucumber slice though. Am i right in treating with API Primafix? I have used it before, and it worked brill last time. I'll hold fire until I get an answer.

I've kept fish for years but never more than 2 at a time, always in this tank (this is a new filter). Kept commons, and later on fantails. Dealt with lots of swim-bladder and the odd bout of fungus, rampant snails one time too. Always with regular water changes and de-chlorinator.

I have three new rocks from the petstore, boiled on the hob ( my partner thought it was hilarious), and all new gravel as the other was well over 15years old. That was boiled and pased through a cylinder.

I microwave the peas (or nick them out of the pan after dinner ) and de shell and squish.

Can anyone link me to a nice cheap water testing kit from the UK? I'm pretty tied to my local pet store and they like to charge extortionate prices. I last had the dipsticks, are they not reliable?

Thanks x

Edited by BewitchedKittie

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dipsticks/test strips won't give you the accuracy that drop kits will. I use API, but I think there's a diff brand the UK members use so I'd have 2 ask.

can you take a picture of the "white fluff"? it's hard to say what it is as one person's white fluff is different from someone else's white fluff. Ich isn't going 2b fluffy, it'll look like the fish is covered in granulated sugar. Usually starting on the fins first.

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I'm not sure if someone mentioned this, but most shops will test your water for free. Just ask them for the exact numbers. And in particular check your PH and your tap PH. Good luck and hang in there!

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