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Mysterious Death


Guest Rune

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I've been keeping goldfish for quite some time. I've never come across a situation like this before and I am trying to determine what I need to do in order to keep the rest of my tank safe. I had 7 goldfish as of two months ago. 1 of them died because the PH crashed overnight. I immediately did an 80% water change and used API water clarifier to remove chloramines and such. I have an RO system, but I have avoided using that for the tank because the PH falls too easily with RO water and I don't want to complicate things by trying to add carbonates, etc...

Today, I woke up to a goldfish that wasn't moving, hiding in an ornament at the bottom, but when I fed him he ate as soon as he realized there was food available. I thought he might possibly have flukes but I have no way of knowing for certain.

I think at this point, it may be impossible to determine what killed him. I had him for about a year. What I really need to know now, is what should I do with the aquarium. When I found him, he looked like he had just died, his mouth was open and he was at the bottom of the tank. There were no signs of decomposition. I wasn't sure that he was dead until I tried to catch him with the net and he wouldn't move.

[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level? 0.25

[*]Nitrite Level? 0.00

[*]Nitrate level? 40 ppm

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 7.8

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 8.2

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops

[*]Water temperature? 80

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 90 Gallons, 4 months.

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Fluval 305 Canister Filter (260 gph) and Marineland Magnum 350 Canister Filter (350 gph)

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly, 10 gallons

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? 5 Goldish, 5 - 8 inches. 3 Goldfish are 3 years old, 2 are 2 years old.

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? API Tap Water Conditioner

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? GoldfishConnection.com ProGold, Spirulina 2x per week, Salad Supreme 2x per week.

[*]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? 1 Ryukin has frayed fins that seem to be healing, another black Oranda is starting to turn gold, although I think that is age?

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? The remaining fish are very active and seem healthy.

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  • Regular Member

Your black oranda's color change is fine. Black is unstable so it's bound to change eventually to orange/red/yellow.

Has your ammonia always been 0.25 ppm? Why is it not zero? That's extremely toxic especially with high temperature and pH. Do another water change to lower it to zero.

What is ammonia on tap water?

What is the history of the fish that died?

How big was it?

What did you feed it last? Expiration date?

Please do NOT use RO water anymore. Your tap is fine as it is. Attempting to use RO water or even lower hardness levels is moot. All goldfish prefer hard alkaline water. pH crashes can quickly kill them and acidic water can cause them to shed their slime coat making them very vulnerable to infections.

Welcome to KGW!

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Your black oranda's color change is fine. Black is unstable so it's bound to change eventually to orange/red/yellow.

Has your ammonia always been 0.25 ppm? Why is it not zero? That's extremely toxic especially with high temperature and pH. Do another water change to lower it to zero.

What is ammonia on tap water?

What is the history of the fish that died?

How big was it?

What did you feed it last? Expiration date?

Please do NOT use RO water anymore. Your tap is fine as it is. Attempting to use RO water or even lower hardness levels is moot. All goldfish prefer hard alkaline water. pH crashes can quickly kill them and acidic water can cause them to shed their slime coat making them very vulnerable to infections.

Welcome to KGW!

Lupin,

I learned in a quarantine tank that RO water was dangerous. When the PH of that tank dropped to 6.2 I realized it wouldn't work. So, I have never used it with my main tank.

The fish that died was relatively young. I got him when he was very small, less than an inch. I quarantined him for a month and fed him metromeds as well as a prazi treatment to be safe. He always had a large belly, sometimes it would go down and he looked normal. For the most part, I was always concerned because his belly looked swollen, but not dropsy. He never showed any outward signs of illness other than that. He was about 2 inches from head to the end of the tail when he died. The food doesn't expire for 4 more months, and he ate the same food as the other fish. The last thing I fed him was ProGold from Goldfish Connection.

The tap water ammonia is 0.25, which is why we use RO for ourselves. I don't know how else to lower the ammonia. I feed the fish once per day. The tank has been to zero in the past, but I recently moved and had to setup the tank again. It's been setup for 4 months, but the ammonia still hasn't gone down to zero.

Edited by Rune
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EDIT....nevermind....saw the canister part too late lol

You should definitely be doing larger water changes, or do that amount everyday.

I thought about doing larger water changes, but two things prevent me from doing this.

1) The ammonia in the tank is still lower than the ammonia that comes from the tap.

2) The nitrates are only 40 ppm and nitrates are the only other reason I know of to change the water. But, 40 ppm is safe.

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I went ahead and did a 30 gallon water change.

The ammonia is still at .25.

I retested the tap water and it is actually only .10 for ammonia.

The PH is 7.5

Nitrites 0

Nitrates 60

Temperature 78

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How did your nitrate rise? Interesting. Have you considered adding plants to keep water quality in check?

Edit: Before I forget, the new plants need to be disinfected using potassium permanganate if you ever consider getting them. The likes of anubias, Amazon swords, cryptocoryne and Java ferns, and fast growing plants such as Egeria densa can be considered although some plants may be eaten easily since goldies are practically omnivorous and have no hesitation for damaging plants.

Edited by Lupin
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The best thing I can think of is that you age your water in a tub before doing the water change - with a nice large airstone in the tub and a handful of zeolite in a sock on top of where most of the bubbles are. I use zeolite in my QTs - it is real efficient at absorbing ammonia. Just test the water every time because after a few uses the zeolite will be all full and start letting the ammo back out - then you will have to recharge it in a salt solution :) (I think it is 0.2 but read on the instructions just to make sure)

This way you can do the recommended 50% w/c weekly that will really help keep all the bacteria from building up etc.

hope this helps

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Lupin, I thought the rise in Nitrates was strange as well. The tap water must have higher nitrAtes. I didn't retest the nitrates, I only tested the tap for ammonia. I used to have quite a few plants in the tank before the move. I never purchased more to put in the tank. Right now, there are two stalks of bamboo, but that won't do much to help the nitrates. I'll definitely buy some more as soon as I am able to.

Captain, That is a good idea, I have a 20 gallon tank with an airstone that isn't being used. I should really start preparing the water ahead of time.

One question I did have. How many goldfish would you recommend safely putting in a 90 gallon tank? I'm considering keeping it to 5. I really ran into problems when I took my 5 original fish and tried to add more fish. I always quarantined new fish for a month and treated them, but it didn't seem to help. The most the tank ever had was 7. I would like the remaining fish to live a long healthy life, so I'm willing to stop at 5 if that is the most the tank can handle.

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how did you QT the new fish? that is strange. what type of fish do you have and how big are they?

I have an 85Gal which will have 8 fish - but they are mostly 2inch babies (they are the guys in my sig).

Then I have a 130Gal which I am not planning to put more that 6 because I will have large ryukins in there - about 8-9inches those are.

So it really depends on the size. If one day my babies grow huge then I will separate the 8 guys in the 85 into 2 different tanks.

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how did you QT the new fish? that is strange. what type of fish do you have and how big are they?

I have an 85Gal which will have 8 fish - but they are mostly 2inch babies (they are the guys in my sig).

Then I have a 130Gal which I am not planning to put more that 6 because I will have large ryukins in there - about 8-9inches those are.

So it really depends on the size. If one day my babies grow huge then I will separate the 8 guys in the 85 into 2 different tanks.

Federica, he indicated it here.:)

Lupin,

I learned in a quarantine tank that RO water was dangerous. When the PH of that tank dropped to 6.2 I realized it wouldn't work. So, I have never used it with my main tank.

The fish that died was relatively young. I got him when he was very small, less than an inch. I quarantined him for a month and fed him metromeds as well as a prazi treatment to be safe. He always had a large belly, sometimes it would go down and he looked normal. For the most part, I was always concerned because his belly looked swollen, but not dropsy. He never showed any outward signs of illness other than that. He was about 2 inches from head to the end of the tail when he died. The food doesn't expire for 4 more months, and he ate the same food as the other fish. The last thing I fed him was ProGold from Goldfish Connection.

The tap water ammonia is 0.25, which is why we use RO for ourselves. I don't know how else to lower the ammonia. I feed the fish once per day. The tank has been to zero in the past, but I recently moved and had to setup the tank again. It's been setup for 4 months, but the ammonia still hasn't gone down to zero.

Lupin, I thought the rise in Nitrates was strange as well. The tap water must have higher nitrAtes. I didn't retest the nitrates, I only tested the tap for ammonia. I used to have quite a few plants in the tank before the move. I never purchased more to put in the tank. Right now, there are two stalks of bamboo, but that won't do much to help the nitrates. I'll definitely buy some more as soon as I am able to.

Captain, That is a good idea, I have a 20 gallon tank with an airstone that isn't being used. I should really start preparing the water ahead of time.

One question I did have. How many goldfish would you recommend safely putting in a 90 gallon tank? I'm considering keeping it to 5. I really ran into problems when I took my 5 original fish and tried to add more fish. I always quarantined new fish for a month and treated them, but it didn't seem to help. The most the tank ever had was 7. I would like the remaining fish to live a long healthy life, so I'm willing to stop at 5 if that is the most the tank can handle.

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Thanks for the help. I temporarily added zeolite to the filter to help with the ammonia. I typically only have ceramic media, a micron cartridge, and sponges in the filter. I don't use carbon as I find it has to be replaced too often and doesn't seem to help too much. Maybe this is another mistake?

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I prefer not to use carbon unless I have to take out meds. Some studies are being made about the negative impact on goldies... (especially related to hole in the head)

Make sure that wherever you place the zeolite is has lots of bubbles getting to it. otherwise it doesn't seem to work as good.

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