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Guest emd

Growing Sore On Mouth Of Goldfish

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Guest emd

Dear All:

My solitary goldfish of 4.5 years (a "rescue" purchase as a feeder fish) resides in a 10 gallon tank that he/she has almost outgrown, that I refill with tap water. On a monthly basis I suction 1/3rd of the water out (along with dirt and some gravel) and refill it with fresh water. There are 2 whisper filters and one corner/air bubble filter.

Along with the stress coat that I add to condition the tap water, I always put in a few grains of sea salt with the water change. I've added some clam and oyster shells as well as some rocks, gathered from a trip to Maine, to the gravel, and the goldfish has seemed to be quite happy. (I should mention that he/she is now the size of a small koi).

About 2 months ago I noticed a sore on the left side of his/her upper mouth. I thought he/she had just injured it on a sharp edge of a shell and removed the one that I thought was responsible. The sore (with additions of stress coat) seemed to be healing and I thought no more about it. But about 2 weeks ago, I noticed he/she wasn't eating as much as usual (though still looked ok), but when I changed the water last night I realized that the sore is open again and is now across the entire top of his/her mouth (not just the left side).

I'm still not sure if this is an infection or injury (I removed 2 other shells that had begun disintegrating and seemed to have sharp edges). The goldfish's monthly entertainment is picking up and moving all the small gravel to one corner of the tank, I'm afraid in doing this with the sharp edge of the shell that the goldfish may have injured him/herself.

Could you advise my next step? I'll be heading for the pet store this evening, so any advice is really welcome. This goldfish is quite a character and friend and I feel quite guilty to have "allowed" something to happen to him/her.

Many thanks!

em

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Is his mouth red/brown/black? If so, I think it is ammonia burn.

That tank sounds way too small for that fish. He probably needs at least a 20 gal. now if not bigger. They really do thrive in larger tanks goldfish.

How often do you test the water? The ammonia needs to be at 0ppm for the water to be healthy for the fish. pH can range widely, but should be constant and not change.

Do you add de-chorinator to the water before adding it to the tank? Is it possible for you to get a pic fo the fish's mouth? That would help a great deal. Let me know what's going on now, I'd love to help you out. :)

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Guest emd

Dear Florissa,

The sore on the mouth was whitish as it was healing, but now the "upper lip" is red. I don't have a digital camera, so won't be able to post the photo, sorry.

The last time I changed the water was in early January, so this is actually late for me to do so (though had added some water in at the beginning of February). I've never tested the pH, so can't advise what it is. Will pick up a testing kit tonight. :huh:

I just add Stress Coat to the water the night before adding it to the aquarium. Our tap water is treated Hudson River water -- but seems to have very little if any chlorine.

And thanks, I've been trying to talk my husband into a 20 gallon tank, but he thought I was being indulgent.

-emd

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The easiest way you'll be able to help your fish is by

changing the water once a week. Since goldfish poo so

much they make small areas of water gross in a big

hurry. :ill Weekly water changes should be 20-25%, being

replaced with temp matched water and a dechlor of somekind.

Having clean water(ammonia 0, nitrItes, 0, nitrAtes5-20) will

help your fish friend more than the meds will.

Good luck and please considering changing the water a little

more frequently. :goodluck

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Definitely check your water, just to be sure that isn't part of the problem. Even if your goldfish's problem is due to physical injury and not poor water quality, healing will be difficult if the water isn't healthy, so check it just to be sure. Your ammonia and nitrite should be 0, nitrate shouldn't be *too* high (under 40-60) and your pH should ideally be above 7 and about the same as it is out of the tap. If you don't have test kits for these things, take a sample of your tank water to your local pet shop and ask them to test it for you. Get actual numbers, and write them down. Sometimes pet store employees have a funny (meaning wrong) idea of what is "okay", so don't just let them tell you whether your levels are fine or not. Also bring along a sample of your tap water, and have them test this for pH to see if your tank's pH is about the same.

How big is the wound? You say the sore is "open", so I think we can assume this is an actual wound. Whether it is caused by a bacterial infection, physical damage, or both (initial damage and subsequent infection) is hard to say without seeing it. Does it look like a clean cut/opening, or does it look sort of ragged and "eaten away"? Is it white at all?

Either way, you have a wound that is either due to an infection, or open to an infection, so the treatment is the same. I would suggest you swab the wound, and get some water meds (or at the very least salt the water).

To swab the wound, get saturate the end of a cotton swab with some iodine. Then, lift the fish out of the water, and hold him over the tank (so if he somehow slips out of your grasp he lands safely back into the water, and not on the floor). Point him at an angle, nose down, so no iodine will run into his eyes or gills, and gently "scrub" the wound site. If you have neosporin (or any other triple antibiotic) cream (ointment doesn't stick as well), you can blot the area dry after the "scrub", and apply a little of that. Hold the fish out of the water for another 15 seconds or so to let the meds have some uninterrupted contact, then release him back into the water. Eventually the antibiotic cream will come off, and if your fish happens to eat some of it, this is perfectly fine.

This alone might clear up the wound. You can reapply the antibiotic cream up to a few times daily as needed (dabbing dry before applying each time to help it stick), but don't redo the iodine scrub.

If you would like to get a water antibiotic, be sure your water quality is great FIRST. If your water quality is poor, you'll have to do regular water changes to clear it up, which makes medicating the water expensive and impractical. Water meds containing furan antibiotics are great to use for bacterial conditions. There are many brands that contain these, just look for "fura" in the names of the active meds. If you can't find these, look for an antibiotic that will treat gram positive and (most importantly) gram negative bacteria. If you don't have the means to get water antibiotics, or would like to see how it goes without them, at the very least salt the water. You can use any type of sodium chloride salt for this (aquarium salt, solar salt, water softening salt, kosher salt, canning salt, table salt, etc.). Just check the label to be sure the salt you choose does not contain anti-caking agents, since some types of these can kill your fish. Use a total of 3 tablespoons per 5 gallons, and add this total amount at the rate of 1 T per 5 gallons every 12 hours. Doing it this way will make it easier for your biofilter to adjust. Salt doesn't evaporate, so you don't have to add more once you have the total amount in, but you will have to replace what you take out with water changes. For example, if you do a 20% water change, you'll remove 20% of the salt, so you'll have to replace 20% of the total original doseage. If you literally have been adding "a few grains" of sea salt to your tank, this is no problem, but if you've been adding a significant amount, then you'll want to account for how much is in there when you are adding your salt doseage.

Medicated food would also be good to feed if you have some on hand or can get some.

A few other notes:

*Goldies are messy fish, and for this reason it would benefit the quality of your tank water if you were to change 1/3 of the water every week instead of once every month. The lower the organic load in the tank (less waste & nitrates), the easier it is to keep goldfish happy. :)

*Stress coat is not the best water conditioner for continual use. The aloe that is meant to "replace lost slime coating" also coats the gills, and after time the coating on the gills can make it difficult for them to work properly. I use to use stress coat, too, until some of my goldies started having problems. Aquarium Pharm's Tap Water Conditioner is a simple dechlorinator that will neutralize chlorine, break the chloramine bond, and bind heavy metals. Oh, and it's also dirt cheap. :)

Good luck with your little guy. :)

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but now the "upper lip" is red.

If it is just red and not "open", it may just be irritation from poor water quality. If this is the case, do not swab the area. Get your water tested before treating for anything.

In the meantime, a water change would be a good idea, just in case poor water is a contributing factor.

Good luck! :) Let us know what your water readings are when you get them tested.

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Guest emd

Dear All:

Many thanks for your kind advice. I will be changing the water much more frequently. The goldfish seems much happier and his wound is healing--I used the melafix for 7 days removing the carbon from the filters--now the carbons back in and he/she's swimming and smiling!

Thanks so much for your advise and I'm much more aware that a monthly change of water is not sufficient....

Best-

Emily

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