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Goldfish Have Multiple Problems: Listing, Buoyancy And Possible Ich?


Guest luser

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Recently, when I introduced new plants into their tank, my two goldfish started to list to one side constantly. They are lethargic (although hungry as ever) and one is clamping his fins. They both also seem to have a couple (literally) of white Ich-type spots on their tails/dorsal fins. I am very upset to see my goldies like this and wondered which course of action I should take? I have Aqualibrium salt, Ich treatment and swimbladder treatment. I have been witholding food for a couple of days to see if that helps - no different. Also fed peas before that.

Tested water, everything comes back within normal ranges, and they have a large bubble bars and two filters.

Any help is much appreciated!

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Welcome to KGW!

Could you please fill this diagnosis form? I'd like to find out more about your setup so we will know what else we can do.

[*]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.?

In the meantime, we'll address the issues one by one based on the info you provided. But we still need more info hence the questions above!

Regarding the plants, did you do anything to disinfect the plants? Dip them in potassium permanganate or bleach solution? I suggest you disinfect every new plant you get. You never know what bacteria, parasite and anything nasty they harbor especially if they came from a tank with fish in questionable health condition. Of course, if you evidently spotted the ich (white spots) already forming on their fins, they may have likely come from the cysts attached in plants.

To understand better their life cycle, please read the information below.

Ich is a protozoal infection that afflicts fish and can rapidly kill them, most often by damaging gill tissue. It is highly infectious and potentially lethal and manifests as tiny white spots all over the fish. The spots are no larger than grains of salt. The wide host range of this parasite is its life cycle, and speed of multiplication especially in a tropical aquarium. When you see the white spot on your fish, it is already too late for those ich particles to be avoided.

The organisms, trophonts goes through a life cycle of a small white spot feeding on your fish which drops off to the floor of your tank and encases itself in a cyst called tomont. While encased in a cyst, it divides into up to 2000 new mobile organisms called theronts. The cyst then ruptures, thus releasing the theronts which seek out a host to feed into. They must locate a host within 24 hours otherwise they will die. Only the mobile stage is vulnerable to treatments.

Do a water change BEFORE you start salt treatment. You will have to treat your goldfish with aquarium salt. Add a teaspoon per gallon, then add another set of the same dosage in the next 12 hours and then the third and last set in the next 12 hours (right after the second set). So that's 12 hours gap for every set and you have to add THREE sets.

Salt is the safest way to destroy ich. Please do NOT use other meds that you have as they tend to become harsh on your fish. Increase the temperature to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit using an aquarium heater and make sure your water is also WELL AERATED since both salt and high temperature can deplete oxygen levels. Bear in mind, ich also attacks the gill tissues so your fish's respiration is very crucial at this point otherwise, they'll succumb to the parasites quickly.

Extend your salt treatment 10 days AFTER the last white spots were found.

Now to focus on other things since the one above is ESSENTIAL.

What exactly are the water parameters? Could you please be more specific with the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels you have?

Edited by Lupin
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[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level? N/A, stupid test strips

[*]Nitrite Level? 0

[*]Nitrate level? 50

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 7.2

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 6.4

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Tetra Test 5-in1 strips

[*]Water temperature? 68F

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 10 gals, a month (but tank before was cycled and reused water and filter media)

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Elite Mini (20L), Marina i25 (25L)

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? 25% change twice weekly

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? 2; comets about 3in

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? Gold TapSafe

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? Goldfish sinking pellets, 2 pinches every 2 days

[*]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? Couple of white spots on dorsal fins and tails

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Lethargic, listing to one side

I did not disinfect the plants - I'm a newbie to all this, but in the future I most certainly will. Should I even now take them out and do so?

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Which plants do you have? I wonder what plants you got as some are intolerant to salt so it may be a good idea to take them out and disinfect with PP.

Could you try buying API liquid test kit and retest everything? That'll convince us the results and then check the ammonia. 50 ppm of nitrate is concerning but it's very much possible considering the tank size and fish you have.

Okay, at this point, I suggest doing daily water changes. If you don't mind getting API liquid test kit, I'd check water parameters regularly and do water changes as necessary to keep both ammonia and nitrIte at ZERO whereas nitrAte should be no more than 20 ppm at least.

Don't forget that while you do water changes, you also need to redose the salt per water volume changed. If for instance, you already reached three teaspoons per gallon of salt as recommended and need to change 50% of the old water, then that's equivalent to 5 gallons and you have to redose 15 teaspoons of salt again.

Please track down the dosages in your notebook so you won't have difficulty recalling the regimen.

Are you going to move the comets to a larger tank? Unfortunately, singletails (comets, shubunkins and hibuna aka common goldfish) can grow to 12-18 inches so a 10g is just not appropriate for them. Not even fancy varieties can fit in a 10g long term. It however suits well as a hospital or quarantine tank. If a large tank is not possible, you can always use a large rubbermaid tub or fiberglass tub as a substitute and they're usually cheaper than glass tanks.:)

Edited by Lupin
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I have:

  • Vallisneria americana var. asiatica
  • Egeria densa
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Ceratophyllum demersum

I will buy the API test kit soon, but am broke so will have to wait a week or two until I have some cash, so the strips will have to do for now. I am planning to get a larger tank for the comets, unfortunately we just bought this tank (stupid, uninformed, gah) so will have to wait a little while until we can get a larger one, unless I get lucky on Gumtree (next year planning to get a 100/200L tank when move into new house). I WILL look for a rubbermaid tub though - what capacity should I be thinking?

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Not many would use the scientific names preferring common names.lol I'm impressed.:P I'd just get all those plants off and disinfect well with potassium permanganate. Keep them separated. Besides, if you keep them in a fishless container (still with light and nutrient exposure), the ich will eventually die off after at least a week or two. They can't survive without fish for hosts for even a few days.

30-40g will do for the time being if you are giving 4-5 months leeway before you get a bigger tank. I'd say a 200 liter tank is much better. Is it possible you switch the singletails with fancy varieties once the singletails recover? I still think you'll be happier with fancy varieties since they're easier to accommodate than their larger counterparts.

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Great, I'll see if the other half can get some cheap from the lab. May I just keep all the plants in a 12L tank for a few weeks? I would like fancy varieties, but I couldn't bear to give the fish away unless I knew they were going to a very good home (and I doubt the other half would ever want to let them go, he's very attached)... It's something to think about. Any ideas how I'd go about doing this? Also, I'm struggling to find large enough tubs in the UK. Any suggestions that you already know of?

Thanks for all your help! :)

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I would say try to take a few photos of the spots first and upload them here, unless you are 100% sure it's ich. I thought my comet had ich because she had 2-3 small white spots on her caudal fin and I was actually trying to treat it with salt and heat, and then someone on the forum suggested it was just "stress spots."

I just wanted to throw this out there just in case...

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Shouldn't be a problem keeping them in a 12 liter.:)

I'd look into stores that specialize in ponds for fiberglass tubs. Maybe they have those sort of things. I'm not from UK, hun.:(

Some members here are from UK so hopefully, they'll be willing to help you find your comets a good home. I do agree with you. I'd find them a good home rather than a total stranger who does not know anything about goldfish.

Edited by Lupin
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Treated as you said, they are swimming straighter! However, they are darting about, going crazy and gulping at the top (my O2 stats ought to be fine, two filters w/ agitation and a bubble wall).

Is this just a sign that they aren't salt-tolerant?

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That is way too much salt in the tank. I would do a huge water change to get it out immediately. They are darting around cause they are most likely overdosed from the salt. :o

The dosage is 1 teaspoon per gallon every 12 hours 3 times to get to .3% Therefore you will only want to add 10 teaspoons of dissolved salt to your tank every 12 hours 3 times. This should help out with the problem. I hope they feel better soon :D

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Just darting like crazy every 10min or so. Also not incredibly interested in food, but they will eat (when you're not looking, ofc). Still listing a tiny bit to one side, a couple of ich spots, but much better than they were. Best just to leave them and see how they do?

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