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Mystery Goldfish Ailment
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Sahara22588
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: 2005.12.12(Mon)21:21    Post subject: Mystery Goldfish Ailment Reply with quote

For the past four weeks, a kindergarden teacher has been coming into work to try and solve a goldfish problem. She has two very large goldfish in a 20 gallon tank (which I know is an issue, but they are only staying in for the winter since her pond isn't deep enough for overwintering). I believe she said they are both orandas. One of her goldfish has been hanging with his head down towards the bottom of the tank for about two weeks, and I'm at a loss to figure out what to do about it. Here's the specs...

20 gallon tank
Penguin filter (takes B cartridge)
~76 degrees (temp. has to be kept high since the tank is near a window)
Ammonia ~0-.5
Nitrite 0
Nitrate ~10-15
pH ~6

The first issue we had was general bad water quality about four weeks ago. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were off the charts. I told her to do small water changes throughout the week while adding Stability after each water change. After a two weeks the ammonia was lowered and the nitrite was gone, but we still had a nitrate problem. Last week it was at around 160, which is deadly. I had her do another water change and gravel vaccuum, which lowered the nitrate to around 10. The water test results I did for her today are the ones above. I still told her to do a small water change tomorrow which may help to get rid of all the nitrate left. I gave her a pH modifier today since I think the low pH may be effecting the goldfish.

I've already ruled out water quality as an issue, since we finally have that under control and the fish is still acting funny. She is feeding them a medicated food for anti-internal bacteria problems, so it's not an internal issue. The fish is eating and can swim on his own. There is no wasting or stringy poop present, so it can't be worms. There aren't any spots so it's not a parasite, and there isn't any fungus in the tank either. Only one fish in the tank is acting sick, which also leads me to believe that the pH isn't doing any thing detrimental either.

Basically, I'm stuck. I really want to help this lady because she's really nice and is one of the only customers who asks for me by name. Does anyone have any insight into this mysterious goldfish problem? Any other information you guys need on the tank I can get for you. I know so much about the tank it's almost like it's mine.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Byez!! Very Happy
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Santo Andre (Brazil)

PostPosted: 2005.12.16(Fri)4:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to realize that submitting a fish to very poor water quality will often cause irreversible damage to its tissues/organs/metabolism, so the water quality *is* an issue even after it's been addressed. It's like poison, once you've ingested it you don't usually get better by simply by not ingesting the poison anymore...

But of course, any recovery will obviously start by correcting water quality problem, which you've already done, and then working on getting the fish at it's best possible health with quality foods and an unstressful environment. If whatever damage he suffered is reversible he'll recover faster, and if it's irreversible he'll at least suffer less...
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Oscer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2005.12.16(Fri)16:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are his fins red Question
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Sahara22588
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Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: 2005.12.16(Fri)21:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marcos; I know that we can't just put a nice bandaid on this problem, but if I can maybe pinpoint the issue there may be something I can do to help the fish a bit. I actually wrote step by step instructions out for this lady on how to care for her fish, and we're still having issues.

Oscer; No, no redness or streaking of the fins. I asked about discoloration on the fish when she came in last, but she said the only thing wrong with him is his odd swimming position.

I'd love to just tell her to bring the fish in and we can put it in a large tank with the other pond fish, but somehow I don't think she'd want to part with her "pearly-scale". Sometimes I wonder if there even is a point in trying to help people who have subjected thier fish to ridiculous conditions. I've tried every thing with this tank and yet we're still having problems. Can I please just take the fish and fix the problem myself?

Urgh, people irritate me. Mad

Byez! Very Happy
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Oscer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2005.12.18(Sun)10:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should put him in the big tank not kill him Exclamation
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Devs
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Joined: 14 Mar 2004

PostPosted: 2006.01.01(Sun)3:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad As mentioned,it is all about water quality.She had some pretty high Nitrates for a while which could have done some damage.The Params are reading much better though.Nitrates should have some small reading,anything kept under 20 is fine.She is still showing a small reading of Nitrite though,and that # should be 0-anything over 0 needs a water change to bring it to zero. Goldfish with their head hanging downward to bottom could be a few different things.Swimbladder/Bacterial/Parasites.Have you seen any other signs/symptoms of something not right? There are not always marks to show parasites,in fact,most can't even be seen. What does she feed these fish,and how much? If the fish isn't showing any other symptoms,then I would tend to blame it on Swimbladder & the high Nitrates only made that worse I would tell her to presoak the food before feeding/keep up with weekly testing & water changes.She may also want to try the fasting a day or two and then feeding a cooked pea deshelled & see if that helps. Make sure that she keeps a good eye out.I wouldn't rule out bacterial or Parasites yet. Good Luck!
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Oscer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2006.01.02(Mon)4:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some how I don't think it is due to Bacteria.
Parasites; maybe.

The fact is, that what ever it is, it was caused by high Nitrates, and like Marcos said that, submitting a fish to very poor water quality will often cause irreversible damage to its tissues/organs (may be Swimbladder in this case) /metabolism.

I currently have an angel which I purchased form a LFS which had (as I found out later) not cycled their tanks and used minimal filtration; today 1 year later, that fish is still a little red, but it has improved.

But I thick the pea thing will help, tyre finding it live food as well.
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