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Percyhappy

Please help me. Speckles is lying on bottom, has an extremely swollen abdomen and is spitting out food?

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(photo and video at bottom)

I have been keeping goldfish for about 8 years now, but this particular problem has me stumped. I got a new job, and my boss showed me his fish tank. To my horror there was this beautiful large calico ryukin goldfish lying on the bottom with almost no room to turn around. The entire tank was planted with fake coral and plants. The tank was way too small for him. Even worse, when I tested the water, the nitrates were off the chart, basically the highest it can go, and the ph was 6.0.

I told him that the fish wasn't well and that I would take him to get him better. He is in a cycled 20 gallon tank by himself now with filtration and air. These are the current water perameters in my quarantine tank:

Other Required Info:


  • Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level: 0
  • * Nitrite Level: 0
  • * Nitrate level: 20
  • * Ph Level, Tank 7.2 (baking soda has been used) KH: 80 GH:30
  • * Ph Level, Tap: 6.5 (KH: virtually 0, GH: virtually 0
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Drops, API Freshwater master test kit. To get the KH and GH I have to use the strips though.
  • * Water temperature? 72 degrees
  • * Tank size: 20 gallons, 1 year
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Marineland penguin bio-wheel filter Penguin 200, (I know.. I like to have extra filtration maybe its too much??)
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? A 50% change once a week... (or maybe a little longer, but usually about 1 week)

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? I just did a 50% water change
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 fish, about 4 inches
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? I use Prime as a water conditioner
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? I feed my fish pro-gold from goldfish connection.com
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? Yes, just this one fish
  • * Any medications added to the tank? yes, prazi pro by Hikari. Used to get it from goldfish connection but now they only carry it for pond size
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank:

-Have been trying to feed fish metro-med and medi-gold for the past 4 days, but not sure how much he's actually eating.. he spits it out and doesn't seem interested. Is more interested in peas.

-Just did a water change and dosed the tank with prazi pro in case it might be flukes. I have a lot of medications available, but I don't want to just start dumping meds into the tank.

  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? No, just extremely swollen abdomen, does NOT look like dropsy.. no raised scales.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? stays mostly on the bottom doesn't move much.

Now I know ideally 20 gallons is not enough for him, but it is a quarantine tank. He spends most of his time on the bottom. At first I thought maybe its the water quality, but even when I got him moved into my tank that has good water quality, he was still laying on the bottom. Then I thought maybe it could be flukes?? My question also is why is his abdomen so swollen? It doesn't look like dropsy because none of his scales are raised. He felt really weird when I picked him up to move him from the bucket. His abdomen feels very delicate and squishy.. to the point where I feel like I'm going to pop it by accident.

He seems to like the peas I'm feeding him. I thought maybe he's constipated...? That wouldn't explain his extremely swollen abdomen would it though?? I also thought maybe he has an internal bacterial infection or parasite, I do have medi-gold and metro-meds, the problem is he spits it out and sometimes he just won't eat it at all. Like I said though he will eat peas. I'm just at a loss as to what to do. Should I treat for flukes?

This is a photo of speckles:

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2831180080034041434STaXCD

This is a video of speckles:

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I just wanted to say what a beautiful fish!!

Wish I could help, someone will reply soon... They are pretty quick here :)

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Good job for doing that, but I think you'll need to give him/her a little class about fishkeeping ! xD

Edited by conisaxx

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What a gorgeous fish! :)

- How is his poop? (have you seen any? what color size etc.?)

- It is not a good idea to mix metro meds and medi gold. They are two different types of medications and should not be fed together. Because you have started meds already and it sounds like there may be some internal issues going on lets finish the course, which is at least 2 weeks.

Please stop feeding the medi gold and continue with the metro meds. If he is spitting them out you can try soaking them in a little garlic juice to make them more enticing, if this does not work we will need to think about syringe feeding him. We can walk you through this if need be.

Do you have a kitchen scale that you can use to weigh him? In order for the meds to be most effective you will need to get at least 1% of his body weight in meds into him every day. If you can weigh him that would be ideal, if not we can estimate.

- Please do another 50%-80% water change (as much as you can change without dropping the Ph more than .50).

Ideally, nitrates should be kept below 20ppm. Some goldies can be sensitive to nitrates above 20ppm, which can cause different issues such as swim bladder problems. You will need to either need to change more water or change the water more frequently throughout the week in order to keep your nitrates low.

- For the bloating I would like you to feed one granule of epsom salt (not sodium chloride) stuck inside a pea.

- You can continue with the prazi pro since you have started it. Please do 4-6 rounds:

Day 0 - add prazi

Day 4 - 50% water change

Day 5 - 50% water change, add prazi

Day 9 - 50% water change

Day 10 - 50% water change, add prazi

and so on until you have added prazi 4-6 times.

- If you have a heater you can heat the tank to 78F.

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The other thing I would like to suggest is to remove the gravel from the tank. Because he is spending so much time on the bottom he is at risk for irritation/infection on his belly. If you decide to remove the gravel, please check your water parameters daily for the at least the following week, as removing the gravel may result in a cycle bump if it is established.

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Thank you so much. I really appreciate the help.. What do you mean by 1%? Is that a lot of food?? How much would that be roughly? I don't have a scale but happy to buy one. What happened was I had removed the metro meds and media gold from their bags a while back (the bags both ripped) and I put them in water/air tight containers. I accidentally got the two mixed up, I mixed up the lids that were labeled.. and now I don't know which is which, which is the only reason I had been giving both. I also didn't know if it was bacterial or a parasite or both. Should I discontinue both the medi-gold and metro-med completely since I don't know which is which? I guess I'll just have to buy more? I can't believe this fish is alive, when I tested the nitrates before I got him they were over 120... How often would I put the granule of epsom salt in the pea? Do I remove the outer layer of it when I do this?? Also as far as a water change goes, I just did a 50% one because I am using the prazi. Do I do another change water change right now to lower the nitrates even more?? Should I slowly remove the gravel or take it all out at once?? I certainly don't want to cause an ammonia spike or anything like that. I will be testing the water every day. Sorry for all the questions, and again I REALLY appreciate your help. Sometimes I feel too emberassed to post on these forums because I'm afraid someone will call me a bad fish mom for something I've done wrong. I'm doing my best, I only have the best intentions for this beautiful fish.

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Also... I am looking at the medi gold and metro med right now. One of them is a more rich, brown color.. the other is a little darker and not as brown in color. Do you know which would be which?

PS- poop looks normal

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Also... I am looking at the medi gold and metro med right now. One of them is a more rich, brown color.. the other is a little darker and not as brown in color. Do you know which would be which?

I just went to take a look at both of my Medi-Gold and Metro-Meds, and while there may be slight differences between them, I am not confident that there is a distinguishable difference :(

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By 1% I mean we weigh your fish, then take 1% of his weight and weigh out how many pellets would equal 1% of his body weight and that's how many you would feed a day. However, if you do not have a scale accessible we can estimate. My best guess is about 20-30 pellets a day. You will want to break this up into 4-5 meals.

- to put the granule of salt in the pea, just take the skin off the pea (you should always do this before feeding peas), then you can mush it between your fingers a bit and stick the grain of epsom in the middle and feed to your fish.

- Keep an eye on your nitrates, if they begin to rise above 20 you will want to do another water change. Prazi is only active for 3 days, so any time 3 days after dosing you are fine to do a water change without worrying about redosing.

- For the gravel you can remove it slowly to avoid a cycle bump, however I would like to get it out asap to avoid any complications from your fish bottom sitting on it. If you want what you could do is bag it into a mesh bag or stocking and leave it bagged in a corner of the tank, this will avoid a potential cycle bump and get rid of the gravel :)

- Please do not be embarrassed, you are not a bad fish mom. You are doing a great job. We all make mistakes and we all need help and guidance from time to time, that is what we are here for. It's what we do with the information we learn that is really the most important thing in the long run :) Please ask any questions you have.

- Looking at my bags I do see an ever so slight difference between the two, however I agree with Alex, I would not be able to distinguish one from the other without the bag :( I am a little nervous to say go for it an guess which one is which. I think it might be best if you could order a new bag.

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Great advice here all around. I will be curious to see if this is just an overfed fish or if there is some bloating going on. Good job on helping this very pretty fish!

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I printed out all of your advice to keep on hand and I am watching Speckles closely. Thank you. How often do I give him the granule of salt in a pea? Even though he's still bloated he is a lot more active and is swimming around a little more. I'm just removing the gravel from the tank now. Also, I need a kitchen scale anyways so I think I'll go ahead and buy one today. I guess I'll have to buy some metro meds too, I hope he's ok for the time being?? There isn't any rush delivery at goldfish connection.

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You might want to call the contact number to ask if you can rush the order. I think you can, although I am not 100% on this. Even if you don't rush, an order placed today should arrive by week's end at the latest. Good luck with everything. You are in good hands :)

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Also, (sorry for the multiple posts) do I soak the peas first? Thanks for the support!!!!

Edited by Percyhappy

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The peas need to be cooked in some tank water (dechlorinators is fine as well) for about 30 seconds to a minute and then de-shelled. :)

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Speckles is a LOT more active tonight.. but he still swims awkwardly probably because of his swollen abdomen... but... he has gone from lying listlessly on the bottom of the tank to swimming around.. but the swelling in his abdomen has not gone down even though I've used the epsom salt in a pea? How often do I feed peas with a granule of epsom salt in them? I don't want to overdo it. I also did remove the gravel. What is causing the swelling?

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He does look more lively :) You can go ahead and try another pea with one granule of epsom. Update us again tomorrow :) Have you ordered the metro meds?

The swelling is likely the result of an internal infection, which is why the metro will be helpful.

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great :) they are usually pretty darn quick (2-3 days typically)

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Well, I wanted to give an update about Speckles. His abdomen is still swelling, but he is getting a LOT more active and is no longer spitting out his food. He LOVES peas as you can see from the video. I'm still waiting on the metro-meds. Hopefully they will come soon.

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Let's stop the peas + epsom and try epsom in the water. The dosage is 1/4 teaspoon per 10 gallons. Please make note of when you add the epsom to the tank, as the maximum treatment time is 8 days.

When you do a water change you will need to add back in the amount of epsom you took out (50% water change = 1/4 tsp of epsom), however you need to be very careful to accurately measure how much water you take out versus how much epsom you add back in as overdosing epsom can lead to anemia which is irreversible.

For this reason I would recommend doing 100% water changes when you change the water (two back to back 90% water changes is the least stressful way to do a 100% change for your fish). The clean water is good for your fish and this ensures you do not overdose the epsom accidentally :)

Daily water changes would be ideal in this situation. If this is not possible do as many a week as you are able :)

I hope the meds will come soon!

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How is speckles today?

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The Metro meds came. I started him on it. Will try the epsom.

The man who owned him just gave me Speckles. He's extremely active and eating. I will make sure to do the epsom thing and the 100% water changes. Whatever it takes.

Also, will the prazi interfere with the epsom salt?

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won't these water changes affect the prazi treatment? I know you said a lot about 50% water changes. I certainly don't want to overdose on the epsom salt and would feel better with 100% changes though

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I don't know why it isn't showing my responses to your post. I will ask again just in case. I am treating for prazi, does it matter now that I am doing 100% water changes? Will this affect anything? Also daily water changes are not a problem. I have the epsom salt and the metro-med did arrive today so I started him on that. He is still very bloated but very active and eating his food. I will dose the tank with the epsom tonight.

This may not fit in the right spot in a forum but I wanted to say something. What really hurts me most is this: Goldfish are living, breathing creatures just like a dog or a cat. How someone could leave a goldfish in such horrible unacceptable conditions is beyond me. Goldfish rely on humans to have compassion towards them through love and care. Owning a goldfish is a big responsibility.. this is what people don't realize. I spend more time caring for my goldfish than I do my cat. To find a goldfish in a situation where the owner isn't even aware of the fact that the goldfish that is being poisoned by its water and deprived of food is unacceptable. You might as well pump carbon monoxide into a closed room. That is how it is for a suffering goldfish that is not being cared for. This this negligence. This is cruelty to animals and abuse. "Oh its just a goldfish" I often hear.. when they are our pets that rely on us for care.. they can't take care of themselves, and they can't tell you when they are not well... There is nothing that saddens me more to see a goldfish in a bowl or a tank that is too small. My job as a goldfish owner is to spread the word about proper goldfish care. I am lucky I found Speckles when I did. It may still be too late and if it is, at least I can know that he had the best possible care he could have gotten before he died.

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You can leave out the Epsom salt, and just concentrate on the Prazi + Metro-Meds.

There are couple of things to consider. Metro-Meds will cause your water to go cloudy very quickly. If you can perform daily WCs of at least 50%, that would be fantastic. More is better.

If you are treating with Prazi as well, you may need to hold off and do 100% WCs every two days, with a schedule that looks something like this:

Day 0 = add Prazi

Day 2 = 100% WC, add Prazi

Day 4 = 100% WC, DO NOT ADD PRAZI for two days

Day 6 = 100% WC, add Prazi

Day 8 = 100% WC, add Prazi

Day 10 = 100% Wc, do not add Prazi

Of course we will need to continue beyond that, but this schedule should get you started. Metro-Meds should be fed daily, in the amount approximately 1% of Speckles' weight daily. Try to split that amount into 3-5 meals throughout the day.

Good luck! :)

Edited by dnalex

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