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Goldfish with a spreading? tail problem


Jolly

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Hi. My name is Holly and I am writing for help with my and my boyfriend's (Josh) goldfish. I am concerned about my goldfish, Pucca. I think she is a comet goldfish. I won her and another goldfish (who has since died probably due to tank size--I didn't know that goldfish needed a lot of water at first :( ) at a festival in October and have learned a lot about fish keeping since then (thanks to a good friend), but I always need to learn more. I consider myself a novice still, so any advice is received gratefully. When I first brought her home, I had her and the other fish in a 2.5 gallon tank. That didn't work well and thankfully a friend told me I needed to get her into a larger tank immediately and gave me a 10 gallon. I live in an apartment and know that 10 gallon is too small probably for her, but I am hoping to convince the leasing agent to let us have a slightly larger tank soon, as I think 10 gallon is our restricted size. She has been healthy and happy for months, but had a small adventure a few weeks ago that I fear may be the reason for her fin problem now. We left for work around noon and didn't return home until almost midnight that evening. Pucca was not in her tank. She had jumped out (not sure when this happened), over the filter, possibly landed on a sponge and into the kitchen sink (behind her tank) in a frying pan of water that was soaking from breakfast. I think she is a lucky fish but I am afraid she has had an injury we didn't catch soon enough. When we first got her back in the tank, one of her eyes was cloudy (maybe from butter in the pan?), but that has since cleared up. She also had a small area on her side (I think its the same area where the white patch is now) that looked damaged--a couple scales missing and slightly discolored. Her fins started to separate a bit, but seemed better for about a week. She was extremely skittish and hid near the bottom of her tank for about a week. She finally last week started acting normal and we figured that the frequent water changes (about every 2 days) were helping. This week, however, her tail fin is almost gone and its happening fast. I don't know how to help her, but I don't want to lose her if possible. Any advice on possible medicine or anything else we can do is appreciated. Thanks!

Test Results for the Following:

Other Required Info:

  • * Ammonia Level--I don't think my test strips test for this. I didn't realize that until just now. I am pretty new to fishkeeping. I will look for some test strips as soon as I can make it back into the store.
  • * Nitrite Level--Between 20-40 ppm (mg/L) (In safe zone on bottle)
  • * Nitrate level--Between 0-20 mg/L (much closer to 0 though)
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) It is between 6.8-7.2 GH (neutral according to test strip bottle), Around 40 KH (Low alkalinity)
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) It has a GH of about 150 ppm(soft-hard range) and a KH of around 80 ppm.
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Jungle 5-N-1 test strips (quick dip)
  • * Water temperature? Temperature is usually aroung 75 degrees F, sometimes goes down 1-2 degrees with water changes but then levels out in a couple hours.
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 10 gallon tank that has been running about 3 months
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Filter is for a 30 gallon aquarium I think (not sure about the "size"...it was given to us and I am a bit new to this.(Says AquaClear 50 on top of it if that helps)
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? We do a 50% water change at least once a week, since she has been sick we have tried to do it every other day or every 3 days (50%)

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Last water change was yesterday (1/5/12) and we changed about 60% of the water.
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? One goldfish in the tank that is about 2 inches long
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Use Tetra AquaSafe additive with every water change (usually half a capful or 5 mL)
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? I feed her Goldfish flake food (Wardley brand) twice a day (small pinch=5-6 flakes each time)
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No.
  • * Any medications added to the tank? No, I have never added any medication to her tank or salt.
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. I have never used any medication. I have added a little extra AquaSafe during some of the water change as I was told this might help if the issue was water quality. (10mL instead of the normal 5mL dose)
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? She has an extremely frayed tail fin that is steadily getting worse. Her tail fin is almost gone. Last night, I saw a white (fuzzy-like) spot on her side too. I am afraid that whatever is hurting her tail is starting to spread. The tail also looks a little bit red (not bright red, but not the normal orange either).
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? She is still eating pretty normally (maybe a bit less than normal, but still over half of what I put in there twice a day). She still acts excited about food. She does seem to be hovering near the top a lot more than usual, maybe getting air at the surface. She also has been swimming in circles more than usual, but this may be normal.

This is a video showing her spot and tail fin. Please let me know if it doesn't work. I was not sure how to put the video in here correctly.

Thank you so much for helping in advance! *Holly*

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Oh, wow. It looks like she definitely had a major misadventure! I'm glad she survived. I hope we will be able to help. It looks like she has a very bad case of bacterial fin infection. There are two things I would like for you to do:

1. Bring a sample of the water from the tank and the tap to an LFS or LPS and have them test your pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It's really important that we get this number.

2. Also, while you are there, could you see if they have any of these products: Maracyn & Maracyn Plus. If they do, get them and post back. We will go from there.

Good luck!

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I also believe that her tank is cycled if I understand what that means well enough. There is some algae growing on her filter and inside her filter and the test strips seem to have the same levels at each testing. Sorry I keep forgetting things! I have a small bubbler in the tank as well if that matters (it was the filter for the small tank and she likes to swim through them. I also keep a light on her tank all day when we aren't here and then use the night setting at night, so she always has some light. (Light is a Marineland LED aquarium light and I have a hinged glass top on her tank ever since she got out.)

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I will try to get the water tested tomorrow at a pet store. (LPS is local pet store right?) Do you think PetSmart will do that? I am not sure where else I can check, but I will ask around tomorrow and see if anyone else knows of a good one if not. I will also look for the medication. Thanks so much for your reply! I have been very worried. :(

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Ok. I got the tank and tap water tested at PetSmart. Here are the results:

Tank Water:

pH: 7.4, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 5

Tap Water:

pH: 7.4, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0 (She said the tap water also had some definite chlroine in it as well.)

I also got some Maracyn Two medicine (8 packets). It says its for the treatment of septicemia, bacterial fin and tail rot and cotton wool disease in tetras, chichlids, livebearers, catfish and goldfish caused by Aeromonus punctata, Aeromonus hydrophila and Flavobacterium columnare bacteria. It also says its for Freshwater Fish. Should I just follow the directions on the package? I will wait for confirmation before I do anything. Thanks again for helping me. I'll check back periodically. *Holly*

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Hi, Holly

Sorry I didn't get on until now. Your parameter values are MUCH better :) I suspected as much, and wanted to get confirmation.

OK, now on to treatment plan. There are two things we need to do: 1) keep the cycle intact, and 2) treat the sick baby. The antibiotic will likely kill the good cycle bacteria, so we need to remove the fish from the tank and treat separately for a little while. In the mean time, we still have to "feed" the cycle to keep it going. So, to do that, here's my proposal.

1) Treat sick fish with Maracyn 2

- can you get a 10 gallon Sterilite tub to use during the time of treatment? You can get this for a few dollars at Walmart. Then, move over a bubble wand/air stone, so as to have sufficient aeration for the fish. Then, treat him as per directions on the packet. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE REALLY GOOD AIR BUBBLE ACTION IN THE TREATMENT TANK. You will need to change 100% of the water daily and re-dose in antibiotics. I think you need to treat for five days. During this time, make sure the tank is covered/dark, since minocycline, the active ingredient in Maracyn 2, is light sensitive.

2) Get a good test kit

- You need a really good test kit in order to keep fish well. I recommend getting the API Freshwater Master drop test kit, because this is really good and allows you to do hundreds of test. It will last you a few years at least. The drawback is that it will cost around $35 :(

3) Keep your tank cycle going

- The fish cycle can be kept going with pure (unflavored ammonia). Can you get some of that? With the test kit, post back and I can show you how to do this :)

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Is there any way to treat her in her tank? I can go get a container if need be and ammonia maybe (any ideas on where I can get that?). I am also not sure how to do 100% water changes. We usually don't do more than 80% with her in the tank still. Also, do I feed her like normal? I have two things in the filter that can preserve the cycle so we can clean out her normal tank when the antibiotic are done and keep the cycle going I think. There is a sponge and a bag with small pellets in it. I can try to post more info on those later. How dark would the tank need to be if I can keep her in there. I can keep her light off, but she is near the kitchen and living room and it may be harder to keep those dark. Let me know if any of that is a possibility. Thanks!

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I will get a testing kit as soon as I can afford it. I may have to wait Monday to buy it. I do have a small ammonia tester now and it says its under 0.2ppm. I think they had plenty of them at PetSmart though, so hopefully they won't sell out. I am planning on changing the water tonight to help because I've been told that never hurts.:) Sorry to ask so many questions.

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I believe the problem with treating in the tank is that the medicine will kill the cycle, which is why you need to separate the fish from the filter to treat her, and keep the cycle fed by adding ammonia into the tank :)

And to do 100% water changes, I have a small 1.5 gallon shallow container. When I have to do 100% w/c on my QT tub, I use that tub to scoop the fish out with some of the water, and then drain the entire tub, refill it, and then scoop the fish out of the 1.5 gallon tub with my hand and place him right back in the QT tub :)

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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The other thing you can try to do is to remove all the media from the filter and put those in a bucket of dechlorinated water, with a bubble wand. This way is not the optimal, but it can work, as long as you keep the container well aerated (bubbles and lots of water changes to keep the water well oxygenated). The reason I am asking for a test kit is that you have to feed the filter with a certain amount of ammonia to keep things going. So, having a test kit is fine. For now, the thing to do is just to throw the filter media in a 5 gallon bucket or so, add air bubbles to it, and throw in some fish food in there as well. The fish food will decay and provide sustenance for the cycle bacteria. We will dosomething better when you go have the kit and pure ammonia :)

Go ahead and treat with the Maracyn 2 after you remove the filter media. Keep the lights off and the water covered with a towel. How is he doing?

Edit: Given the advanced state of fin rot. Go ahead and do this. If you can get a tub, we will reconfigure things tomorrow, but I think we need to treat right away.

Also, ask as many questions as you like :)

Edited by dnalex
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Ok. I am going to put the filter media in a separate tub...I will put spares in in the mean time. Is that ok? I am going to buy another bubble wand when I go out to get some food in a few minutes, to put in with the filter media, so I can keep hers in the tank. I'll go ahead and put the medicine in and cover the tank with a towel. Should I put the night setting of the light on (sort of looks black lightish?), or keep all lights off completely? I will let you know how she (not sure she is a she, but her name is a girl's name and I don't know how to tell) is doing later this evening. Thanks so much!

Sorry...for dechlorinated water...can I use the Aquasafe (normally use for water changes) to dechlorinate normal tap water or do I need to go buy some distilled water or something?

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AquaSafe is fine to use :)

Once this is out though, I do recommend getting and using Seachem Prime. It's actually cheaper than AquaSafe and is so much better, since not only will it dechlorinate, but will also detoxify ammonia and nitrite.

Sounds good about all that you plan to do. I'll look forward to updates in a bit :)

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I looked for SeaChem at PetSmart today and didn't see it, but I will look when I find a bubble wand tonight. The filter media is removed (I put an unused one in her tank) and in a separate 4 gallon tub with some food. I turned the lights off in her tank and covered it with towels so its nice and dark. I am going to watch the temperature and make sure the towels don't make it go up to much, but I don't think they will. I did a 50% water change after I changed the filter media because it stirred up all sorts of stuff and I figured a clean tank to add medicine to was good. She is swimming around and looks a bit confused at the darkness but not reacting badly to the medicine. I will keep you posted later tonight. I also removed a plastic plant we had in the tank because I have read on some other posts that those can be bad for goldfish fins. I hope the medicine works quickly and she heals soon! Anything I should specifically watch out for with the medicine in the tank? Will she act normal most likely? Also, can I feed her like normal?

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Just got home and checked on her. She is swimming around a little near the bottom and I think I might have woken her up, so I put the towels back over her. I got a bubbler for the other container too, so I will try to get that set up as soon as possible and change the water in it often to hopefully perserve the cycle. I am going to try to feed her in a minute too since this is when I normally would. I will ask someone at PetSmart about the SeaChem next time I am there. I was hurrying to get the medicine today so it is highly possible I missed it. I will keep you updated. I think the treatment is 5 days (according to the package). Thanks again so much! :)

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Sounds good! All fins crossed for you guys. Let's not disturb her with pics or videos just yet, but if you could describe the fins and how they look tomorrow and any time you like thereafter, that would be great.

As for the filter media sitting in the bucket, when ever you remember, just give it a splash or two, to keep it aerated. :)

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Fish update: She ate a bit when I fed her this morning and is still swimming around. I have a bubble stone in the bucket with the filter media in it, so that should be well aerated now too. I am going to add the next packet of medicine this evening. There appears to be fewer white spots on her tail and the spot on her side looks a little less irritated. Hopefully that means it is working. :) I will try to post a video tonight if I can, or tomorrow to show you the progress.

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Do a 100% WC, or as close to one as you can, before you add the next packet of antibiotics. You can temporarily put the fish in a smaller container, with some of her tank water, while you do the water change. :)

You can try to find pure ammonia at a hardware store.

I'm glad to hear that there is some improvement. Looking forward to the video.

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That is one crazy daredevil fish! I hope she gets beter quickly!

Me too! :) I usually end up with the crazy pets. I am just happy I didn't do the dishes that day. :)

I will change the water before I add medicine. I was actually just wondering if I should. :) Thanks!

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Update:

We just did as much of a water change as we could (~90% or so) and I am going to clean out her smaller tank, so we can do a 100% tomorrow if possible which will be better. When I added the new water, things got pretty cloudy so it seems like we need to get some more "mess" out tomorrow if possible. I wish our gravel vaccuum had a bit more suction. I matched the temps as close as possible using my finger to gauge and I think it only dropped about 1 or 2 degrees if any. I fed her because she seemed really really hungry and was eating anything that floated by her when the water was filling back up the rest of the way. I put the second packet of medicine in and added a little more water because I wanted to make sure it mixed in ok. Re-covered the tank with towels too. I had Josh take a wider shot on the end of this video so you can see the tank set up. The volcano is my favorite part. :) The light is back off now too, just turned it on so we could take the video. There are less white spots on her tail I think, but the spot on her side looks about the same once I saw her in the light. Let me know what you think.

Here is the link to the video (which I will hopefully do right this time):

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