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Very Sick Fish


BusyIzzy

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Hi everyone,

I'm at my wits end. I have a 60litre tank with five fantails and two normal goldfish - i'm new to goldfish keeping. The tank is about 5 months old and i had my water tested last saturday and the ammonia, nitrates were all fine. (I got it tested at the petshop). I introduced a new fish to my 6 original fish who were doing fine that day. Three days ago one of the fish (a fantail) was looking really out of sorts and not swimming. I took him out of the tank and put him in a bucket (which maybe i shouldn't have done) - first i treated him with a product for internal bacterial infections (as thats all i had and the shops were closed). He was still alive next day so i asked at the petshop - they recommende methyleneblue which i used last night. (he had been either lying on the bottom or gulping air at the top) - i have a filter and an aerator in the tank.

Last night i did a 20% water change in the tankd and i put him back in the tank just now. He is swimming but his back tail is drooping and if he stops swimming he usually floats to the surface. Now he is just breathing rapidly at the top of the tank and lying beside the filter.

I have absolutely no idea what to do for him now????

Please help, thanks so much in advance!

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Hey and welcome to Kokos! First of all, it sounds like your tank might have too many fish in it for the amount of water it holds.. It would be easier for us to help you though if you can first answer these questions:

[*]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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Welcome to KGW!

I am so sorry to hear you are having trouble trying to patch your fish up. Let's try to slow down and look at the issues one by one.

Firstly, please do not take your petstore's advice seriously. You need to question them what exactly is fine to them when it comes to water parameters. Let them write down the exact results for you. "Fine" means nothing compared to the actual results. The numerical value is much more important. You will need to ensure your nitrate is as low as possible by less than 20. What about the pH, ammonia and nitrite? Do they check those other parameters? What test kit do they use?

If at all possible, it would be best if you invest your own test kit consisting of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. This will ensure that you are getting your accurate results as much as possible. API liquid test kit if you can find one. That's the best brand we can recommend. Avoid test strips altogether unless you can match the results with a liquid kit as test strips tend to be unreliable.

Secondly, a 60 liter tank is equivalent to 15 gallons only. I am sorry to say this but only one fancy goldfish can ever fit there. Even then, it's not exactly the best for one in the long run. Fancy goldfish can gain a bulk size of 8-10 inches. Fantails are quite capable of that. Stunting them will only permit them to become more vulnerable to health issues and shorten their life span considerably. Singletail goldfish such as shubunkins and comets require 20g of space per fish. I would not keep them in anything smaller than a 55g though.

Is it possible for you to move them to a large fiberglass tub or pond on a permanent basis? Your quick option right now is get them a large rubbermaid tub or fiberglass pond asap if space is not an issue in your house at the moment. The additional space will permit better dilution of ammonia and nitrite which are a result of their poop and urea. This will ensure your fish also have sufficient space to swim around and breathe properly. Keep the containers well aerated regardless since goldfish are heavy oxygen consumers.

The floaty issues may be caused by poor water quality, floating foods and internal injuries. I would hazard a guess the poor water quality contributed to the floaty issues your fantail has. Fancies are so predisposed to floaty issues due to their unusual body shape wherein their internal organs are mashed up resulting in difficulty to expel air out of their gastrointestinal tract as much as possible.

Please try to fill up this diagnosis form so we can cover other missing spots asap.

[*]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.?

What we can do now is put carbon in your filter to remove the med if you even dosed the med in the tank. No meds at this point please, okay? Your only solution right now is get them a larger compartment, do a large water change, get a test kit and if possible, aquarium salt from your pet store in case we need to dose salt later on. Keep the water movements vigorous to ensure adequate gas exchange. Some meds can cause the fish to gasp for air. Some meds can kill your fish faster than any health issues can so I would lay off all the meds right now.

Edited by Lupin
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Great, tanks for that. Unfortunately i do not have the accurate test results but i will invest in a test kit as soon as i can. I did not put any meds into the tank itself. All the other fish seem perfect and most of the fish are actually very small - one inch in body at the most. I can move the sick fish into a larger container by itself if that's any good - if anything he's a bit worse now - just up against the filter with his tail downwards, at the surface :(

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hi there BusyIzzy, i just wanted to pop by and say welcome to kokos.. i hope your fish gets better soon.. are there any visible problems that you can post a pic so we can see? it may help..

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oh dear yes... your tank is way too small :(

my QT tanks for small fish are actually already 70liters.

Do you have Ikea near you? This is what I use for my fish when I QT them or as temporary tanks. (just put 2 in 1 so that they don't loose too much shape :) )

My link

One of these is good for 3 fish.

Is there a chance you can get a 130gal tank? That is quite huge.. - about 500liters. Your first 6 fish are single tails right? Otherwise can you rehome a couple?

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Ok so i just bought a test kit and my water results are showing as follows :

pH 7.6 , Ammonia 0.25ppm, Nitrite 0ppm & nitrate 7ppm. From the literature i think this is ok? How do i proceed now - any advice gratefully received, thanks. Fish still looking like it's going to die any second :(

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Just saw some of your other replies - thanks. No i only have 2 single tails and 5 fantails. Is the tank too small even if my water seems to be testing ok - can i not manage it with more frequent water changes? I've got so many different opinions from my local fish people in the pet stores that i'm boggled!!! .....typical it's my favorite fish that's so sick :(

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Meant to add in answer to a query, no the fish looks perfect - no sign of anything amiss at all - no spots, no frayed tail, no red lines - he doesn't look bloated etc etc - if i push him he'll swim a bit but when he stops swimming he just floats back up and comes to rest usually against the filter. Also i have an aerator attachment to the filter and if he come in contact with the stream from thhis it literally fires him across the tank - he used to be able to withstand it just fine.

Again thanks for all your thoughts on this.

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Just saw some of your other replies - thanks. No i only have 2 single tails and 5 fantails. Is the tank too small even if my water seems to be testing ok - can i not manage it with more frequent water changes? I've got so many different opinions from my local fish people in the pet stores that i'm boggled!!! .....typical it's my favorite fish that's so sick :(

sorry to say, yes, your tank is too small. gold fish poop alot.. infact they're always got poop happening. this becomes toxic and poisons the fish.. it can cause bacteria and all sorts of health problems that can lead to irriversable damage.

then we have to look at stunted growth.. yes a fish will grow to suit the size of the tank (body wise) but it will not stop growing internally.. so organs are becomming cramped in it's body and begining to fail functioning because of the stunted growth. your fish may be small for now, but soon they will grow a little and you will have more problems than what you're currently experiencing.

please do not believe everything the LFS tells you. they are interested in selling you products and fish. that's it.. they will tell you what you need, why you need it and what to use with it and so forth..

if they were interested in the health of the fish, they would never have allowed you to stock so many gold fish in the one small tank. that should indiacate to you that they don't have the fish's best interest at heart.

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Ok so i just bought a test kit and my water results are showing as follows :

pH 7.6 , Ammonia 0.25ppm, Nitrite 0ppm & nitrate 7ppm. From the literature i think this is ok? How do i proceed now - any advice gratefully received, thanks. Fish still looking like it's going to die any second :(

i recommend you do a 50-70% water change to bring the ammonia as low as possible.. hopefully to 0.

you say that if you touch him, he swims. does he swim like he should, or does he struggle? then when he stops he floats back to the top.. when he does this, is he right way up or belly up?

is he eating when you feed him? what do you feed him and how often? my fish floats as soon as pellets hit the water. have you tried feeding him boiled deshelled nonsalted frozen peas? i am wondering if he's developed a swim bladder problem..

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LFS ppl are totally clueless. :wa

My link :rofl

Do you have a picture of your tank setup?

I think that even with a cycled tank and daily water changes it really won't work. Do they even have space to swim?

Remember that you have to try and keep the ammo 0. 0.25 is already stressful to fish :)

As for the floating fish he might just be stressed out and constipated possibly.

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Hi thanks for the replies. Yes when i prompt him to swim he swims ok but quite weakly - he swims the correct way up even when he floats to the top (he never swims sideways or never swims on his back).He has not eaten in the last three days and has no interest in food. I feed the fish once a day with flakes.I will go get those peas and see can i tempt him. I never realised the internal organs would keep growing - seems i didn't get the full information i needed at the pet store. I'll also do a 50% water chnge now to try and get the ammonia to zero. Thanks for the help. It looks like the fish have plenty of room to swim but i realise now i have waaay too many fish :(

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Everyone has given you fabulous advice. I would seriously look into rehoming some of the fish if you can't find a bigger tank. :( Most likely the commons. These fish do better in ponds and will be severely stunted if kept in small tanks. They can get up to a foot or more. I would recommend doing the 50% water change and test your water before and after doing it.

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Ok so i just bought a test kit and my water results are showing as follows :

pH 7.6 , Ammonia 0.25ppm, Nitrite 0ppm & nitrate 7ppm. From the literature i think this is ok? How do i proceed now - any advice gratefully received, thanks. Fish still looking like it's going to die any second :(

What test kit did you use? Was this test done shortly before or after a water change?

If it was before, I don't feel convinced by the results.

The trouble with the results is you have traces of ammonia and combined with your alkaline pH (which does not need adjusting), the ammonia tends to be more toxic.

Just for reference, if your pH is above 7, that's alkaline otherwise it will be acidic. Neutral pH is 7. This is for reference only. Do NOT change your pH.

Just saw some of your other replies - thanks. No i only have 2 single tails and 5 fantails. Is the tank too small even if my water seems to be testing ok - can i not manage it with more frequent water changes? I've got so many different opinions from my local fish people in the pet stores that i'm boggled!!! .....typical it's my favorite fish that's so sick :(

I'm sorry but even doing frequent water changes will not help at all. In the end, it becomes a burden even for you, not just the fish. Your fish are bound to grow and as they continue growing, so does their amount of wastes which could quickly intoxicate and even kill them. The longer they are exposed to ammonia and nitrite, the less likely they live for a long time.

Meant to add in answer to a query, no the fish looks perfect - no sign of anything amiss at all - no spots, no frayed tail, no red lines - he doesn't look bloated etc etc - if i push him he'll swim a bit but when he stops swimming he just floats back up and comes to rest usually against the filter. Also i have an aerator attachment to the filter and if he come in contact with the stream from thhis it literally fires him across the tank - he used to be able to withstand it just fine.

Again thanks for all your thoughts on this.

Your fish in question is very weak from possibly from exposure to meds which harmed it even more and even water quality.:(

Hi thanks for the replies. Yes when i prompt him to swim he swims ok but quite weakly - he swims the correct way up even when he floats to the top (he never swims sideways or never swims on his back).He has not eaten in the last three days and has no interest in food. I feed the fish once a day with flakes.I will go get those peas and see can i tempt him. I never realised the internal organs would keep growing - seems i didn't get the full information i needed at the pet store. I'll also do a 50% water chnge now to try and get the ammonia to zero. Thanks for the help. It looks like the fish have plenty of room to swim but i realise now i have waaay too many fish :(

Is the option to rehome them to a larger tank/pond still available, Izzy?:unsure:

And try to encourage them with chopped shrimps and frozen bloodworms aside from the peas. Bloodworms should be used frozen only, not live due to potential risks of parasites. Your pet store may have them in stock. And try to feed them the thawed portion. Do not thaw the whole stock unless you need to feed them. Keep the rest in the fridge immediately since rethawing them deteriorates the quality of the food fast.

I would just scrap off the use of flakes. Flakes can also contribute to floaty issues. Does your petstore have Hikari Lionhead or Saki Hikari?

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Good morning everyone and thanks again for all the advice- my little fish survived the night but is worse this morning - now if i try and make him move he just floats around the top of the tank - just breathing - he doesn't even try and swim :( Last night i did a 60% water change but i haven't checked the levels yet - i will check tonight. I tried to tempt him with the peas but he's just not interested in eating. I have to go to work now and i'm not expecting him to be alive when i get home (judging by how he's looking now). On all yer advice i've decided i'm going to bring my most recent fish back to the petshop - i have the others a longish time so i'm going to keep them for now and maybe try and rehome them to a family member or friend.

By the way the nams of the test kit i bought is an API drop master test kit (i think that stands for aquarium pharmaceuticals).

Anyways, i better fun, at this stage i nearly hope the poor fish would die - he seems to be just hanging on for the sake of it and isn't getting any bit better :(

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Yes API is the correct test kit. It'll last year a year or more. I'm so sorry he;s not doing well at all. And it's an excellent idea to bring them back to the petshop. Definitely see if there's any ponds around. :( I'm so sorry.

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Just to let ye all know that my ammonia reading tonight was almost zero. Nitrate was zero also.

Poor Bobby went to the big tank in the sky about 2 hours after i took those readings. I really don't think my water quality had anything to do with his death as i had been really careful about regular water changes and my readings were always fine. Anyways i guess there's no point in analysing it now!

Thanks again for all the help and advice and replies - i appreciated them. I just wish the outcome had been different - the poor little fish hung on way too long for his own good. My tank is just not the same without him - he was a gorgeous coloured fish with a great wriggle!

Thanks again, great site!

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