Help with Goldfish that may be sick

This forum is for all health-related questions on Loaches and other freshwater fish.

Moderator: LoachForumModerators

Help with Goldfish that may be sick

Postby yaksaredabomb » Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:19 pm

Hello everyone,

I inherited four beautiful goldfish from a friend a couple years ago when he could no longer keep them himself. One of them suffered from what appeared to be a genetic mutation or old injury and finally died a couple weeks ago. However, a (seemingly) healthy one died just yesterday or today and now I'm worried about the remaining two. Other than each other the two surviving goldfish don't have any tankmates. All four had been living together and getting along very well for about 2 years until I moved the "runt" to a quarantine tank shortly before it died.

The smaller one (2.5 - 3 inches, save size as the recently deceased) doesn't have anything noticeably abnormal other than sometimes faster gill movement than usual and possibly some odd behavior (sometimes slightly listless, sometimes darts and twitches as though flashing but not against any decor). I could just be imagining both these symptoms though. The larger goldfish (5 inches) has gill movements about 80/min and something on it that is a little hard to describe. I've linked a few pictures below from different angles. In particular there is a spot at the bottom of the fish's right gill.

I also included a couple pictures of a test kit for ammonia since I'm really bad at at identifying the shades. It looks like the ammonia was high but not very high, so either the fish died very soon before I found it (about noon EST today) and hadn't had a chance to start decomposing much yet (it looked pretty much intact but definitely dead) or maybe the fish died yesterday and the ammonia level was near zero until then.

What I have done so far is add a "normal" dose of Ammo Lock (5ml per 10 gallons) and do a 1/3 water change with temp-matched tap water the "normal" dose of Prime (1ml per 10 gallons). I had also done a 1/2 water change a couple weeks ago to get "starting" water for the quarantine tank. For that change I used temp-matched RODI water with a dose of Prime big enough for the whole tank's volume (I'm not sure my RODI system filters out the city's chloramine well enough).

I have a few medications available (not that I'm planning to try them at random): Methylene Blue (kordon), Coppersafe (Sentry AQ Mardel), PraziPro (Hikari), and Melafix (API). I also have a quarantine tank available but can't use it until tomorrow since I haven't bleached it from the "runt" dying in it a couple weeks ago. Besides that, I'd be concerned about not having a good bacterial filter in the quarantine tank and the possibility that the seemingly healthy (but oddly behaved?) smaller goldfish may have already caught whatever the larger fish has and should probably be treated at the same time.

Does anyone have a suggestion for what I might do next? Thank you for your time reading and for any help you can offer!! I know fish don't live forever but it would be sad to lose all four so close together.

Whole body facing left:
Image

Whole body facing right:
Image
Image

Head facing left:
Image

Head facing right:
Image
Image

Gill from behind:
Image

Ammonia test results:
Image
Image

P.S. I hope I'm posting this in the right place. If not, please move it or let me know so I can fix it! Thank you!

EDIT: I forgot to say the tank size is 30 gallons and temperature is 70 degrees F. Filter is a Penguin 200 and with water changes seems to keep things pretty clean and ammonia zero/below measurement with cheap kit. I don't have any other test kits besides the API ammonia but can get something else if that would help decide what to do. Please let me know if there is any other info I can add. Thanks again!
yaksaredabomb
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:17 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN

Re: Help with Goldfish that may be sick

Postby Diana » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:00 pm

I inherited four beautiful Yes, they are nice! goldfish from a friend a couple years ago when he could no longer keep them himself. One of them suffered from what appeared to be a genetic mutation or old injury and finally died a couple weeks ago These things happen, but what sort of injury/mutation? How did it look?. However, a (seemingly) healthy one died just yesterday or today and now I'm worried about the remaining two. Other than each other the two surviving goldfish don't have any tankmates. All four had been living together and getting along very well for about 2 years until I moved the "runt" to a quarantine tank shortly before it died.

The smaller one (2.5 - 3 inches, same size as the recently deceased) doesn't have anything noticeably abnormal other than sometimes faster gill movement than usual and possibly some odd behavior (sometimes slightly listless, sometimes darts and twitches as though flashing but not against any decor). I could just be imagining both these symptoms though. The larger goldfish (5 inches) has gill movements about 80/min and something on it that is a little hard to describe. I've linked a few pictures below from different angles. In particular there is a spot at the bottom of the fish's right gill. I am seeing some white matter on the head and neck area. It might be a form of bacterial infection that is coming out from between the scales. This would definitely show as listless, perhaps some itching. Usually they flash against something, but sometimes not. Increased gill movement could be related to whatever the disease is, but ammonia burns the gills, and can cause faster gill movements.

I also included a couple pictures of a test kit for ammonia since I'm really bad at at identifying the shades. It looks like the ammonia was high but not very high ANY ammonia is bad. If it is not yellow, there is ammonia. If you had just done a water change, then the ammonia from chloramine could be locked up by Prime, but if there is more ammonia than the small amount that comes in with chloramine (such as from a dead fish) you might not have dosed enough Prime (it can be dosed in higher amounts if there is more ammonia in the tank). The ammo-loc is a good idea. With some products and some test kits the locked up ammonia will still show on the test kit. The darker color looks over .5ppm, the paler green looks a bit under, but not by much., so either the fish died very soon before I found it (about noon EST today) and hadn't had a chance to start decomposing much yet (it looked pretty much intact but definitely dead) or maybe the fish died yesterday and the ammonia level was near zero until then The earlier death would account for a rise in the ammonia level. .

What I have done so far is add a "normal" dose of Ammo Lock (5ml per 10 gallons) and do a 1/3 water change with temp-matched tap water the "normal" dose of Prime (1ml per 10 gallons). I had also done a 1/2 water change a couple weeks ago to get "starting" water for the quarantine tank. For that change I used temp-matched RODI water with a dose of Prime big enough for the whole tank's volume (I'm not sure my RODI system filters out the city's chloramine well enough). When you refill a tank by 50% with RO water it has no minerals in it, and the GH, TDS, KH and other mineral levels can drop more than the fish can tolerate. Goldfish prefer slightly harder water, not too soft. If the GH or TDS needs to be lowered, calculate, and do a water change that will drop either of these by no more than 10% for delicate fish, or 15% for hardier fish. Best way to set up a quarantine tank is to make new water with parameters that match the main tank: GH, TDS, KH, and if you add salt, match that, too. By moving water from the sick tank you may have moved over a lot of bacteria that can continue to infect the fish.

I have a few medications available (not that I'm planning to try them at random): Methylene Blue (kordon)Anti-external-parasite, Coppersafe (Sentry AQ Mardel)Anti-external-parasite, PraziPro (Hikari)anti-intestinal-parasite, and Melafix (API)A good treatment for external problems that are just getting started. If you catch a disease while it is still on the outside of the fish this can help.. I also have a quarantine tank available but can't use it until tomorrow since I haven't bleached it from the "runt" dying in it a couple weeks ago. Besides that, I'd be concerned about not having a good bacterial filter in the quarantine tank and the possibility that the seemingly healthy (but oddly behaved?) smaller goldfish may have already caught whatever the larger fish has and should probably be treated at the same time. Without knowing the disease or parasite it is impossible to say which fish are infected. They have all been exposed, but to what? To set up and instantly cycle the Q-tank or to boost the nitrifying bacteria population you can add some Tetra Safe Start, or Dr. Tim's One and Only. These products contain the correct species of nitrifying bacteria.

Does anyone have a suggestion for what I might do next? Thank you for your time reading and for any help you can offer!! I know fish don't live forever but it would be sad to lose all four so close together.

Few suggestions:
1) Add salt to the tank. Golds do just fine with salt, and it can help reduce stress. Put 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons in a glass of water and dissolve, then pour it in over several hours. Next day, add another 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons. When you do water changes add that much salt to the new water.
2) Ultra Violet Sterilizer can kill a lot of water-born diseases and parasites. I would start with salt and UV, see if that perks them up.
3) Continue researching while starting with the salt and UV treatment.
4) If those 2 treatments do not help within a few days (do not wait much longer), and your research leads you to think it is bacterial then I would get some stronger anitbiotics. Something like Kanamycin (Seachem sells it as Kanaplex, and there are other manufacturers). If the fish are still eating, medicate the food.


Here are some more sites about fish diseases, and golds and koi specifically.
The first is a sales site, but with a lot of fish diagnosis charts.
http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/

Scroll down to find publications
http://sfrc.ufl.edu/fish/outreach/extpubs/

Veterinarian specializing in Golds and Koi.
http://www.koivet.com/index.html
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
Posts: 4542
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Help with Goldfish that may be sick

Postby yaksaredabomb » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:57 am

Thank you for your quick and helpful reply Diana! Thanks to you I was able to add some salt last night and, either by consequence or coincidence the larger fish is looking far better! I can't believe the difference in a single day. Most of the white matter is gone and now only the possible "sore" spot on its gills remains along with a couple thin "strings" on its pelvic fins that I didn't notice before:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Now I've added the second day's dose of 1Tbsp/10G. I also picked up a UV sterilizer on the way home from work, a 24W "Green Killing Machine" (AAUV24W). It sounds like it may be overkill, but I figure by getting the larger size I can also use it in my 75G saltwater tank when necessary to spread the purchase cost out. Maybe at supposedly 70 GPH "flow rate through the bulb" per the manual it will even be able to kill parasites. I did another 1/3 water change (10G) with tap water, a 1.5x dose of API Stress Coat, and replacement salt and am going to turn the sterilizer on once the filter has a chance to clear out most of the debris that was stirred up. Last, I picked up a new test kit (6-in-1 Tetra) that covers a lot more parameters and retested the ammonia:

Nitrite: 0 ppm
Hardness (GH): 75-150 ppm ("soft" to "hard")
Chlorine: 0 ppm
Alkalinity (KH): 0 ppm ("low")
pH: 6.2
Nitrate: 40-80 ppm
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm

The pH seems much lower than I would expect and the GH and KH are also low as you suggested they might be due to the RO water. I guess I will save some money and possibly the fish by using tap water from now on. Hopefully the ammonia and nitrate will diminish with additional water changes and as time passes from the recent fish death.

Diana wrote:Yes, they are nice!

Thank you! I had a few small goldfish as a kid but was doing so many things wrong and they didn't live long. I had no idea they could get this big or have such impressive fins until my friend showed me these.

Diana wrote:These things happen, but what sort of injury/mutation? How did it look?

Its mouth appeared pinched in at the sides, like when a person would pucker their lips "like a fish". It seemed to have a hard time aiming at and catching food pellets (small sinking or medium floating) or flakes and its spine was curved so it swam a little funny. It was a mystery to me how it was able to get enough food to live as long as it did, but it did and had energy up until a couple weeks before it died when it became more lethargic and had even more difficulty feeding than usual.

Diana wrote:I am seeing some white matter on the head and neck area. It might be a form of bacterial infection that is coming out from between the scales. This would definitely show as listless, perhaps some itching. Usually they flash against something, but sometimes not. Increased gill movement could be related to whatever the disease is, but ammonia burns the gills, and can cause faster gill movements.

Thanks! I watched it for awhile tonight and did notice it twitching its pelvic fins occasionally as though they itched. The smaller one also continued to be a bit agitated tonight. Both had poor appetites - much worse than a week ago when they would beg for food every time I walked by even if I just fed them 5 minutes ago.

Diana wrote:ANY ammonia is bad. If it is not yellow, there is ammonia. If you had just done a water change, then the ammonia from chloramine could be locked up by Prime, but if there is more ammonia than the small amount that comes in with chloramine (such as from a dead fish) you might not have dosed enough Prime (it can be dosed in higher amounts if there is more ammonia in the tank). The ammo-loc is a good idea. With some products and some test kits the locked up ammonia will still show on the test kit. The darker color looks over .5ppm, the paler green looks a bit under, but not by much.

I hadn't considered that the Prime dose might not have been enough. Hopefully in combination with the Ammo Lock it was okay, since as you wrote the Ammo Lock warns ammonia may still show up in the test - so I have no way to know whether the ammonia is fully treated and "safe" or if it's not fully treated and harming the fish. I'll watch it much more closely now and hope it gets back to yellow soon.

Diana wrote:The earlier death would account for a rise in the ammonia level. .

I'm glad my theory seems plausible. With the nitrites at "0" I wonder if the test was bad or if the ammonia spike was just too sudden for the bacteria to handle and soon I'll see a nitrite spike.

Diana wrote:When you refill a tank by 50% with RO water it has no minerals in it, and the GH, TDS, KH and other mineral levels can drop more than the fish can tolerate. Goldfish prefer slightly harder water, not too soft. If the GH or TDS needs to be lowered, calculate, and do a water change that will drop either of these by no more than 10% for delicate fish, or 15% for hardier fish. Best way to set up a quarantine tank is to make new water with parameters that match the main tank: GH, TDS, KH, and if you add salt, match that, too. By moving water from the sick tank you may have moved over a lot of bacteria that can continue to infect the fish.

Thank you for mentioning this. Thought I was "treating" them to the good stuff since I normally use RODI water for water changes on my saltwater tank, but it looks like it might have been doing more harm than good.

Diana wrote:Methylene Blue (kordon)Anti-external-parasite, Coppersafe (Sentry AQ Mardel)Anti-external-parasite, PraziPro (Hikari)anti-intestinal-parasite, and Melafix (API)A good treatment for external problems that are just getting started. If you catch a disease while it is still on the outside of the fish this can help.

Thank you for the summaries. It looks like somehow almost all the meds I've bought over the years have been focused on parasites. I'll have to order the Kanaplex by mail since I don't think it's available locally. At least that will give a chance to see how the fish respond to the salt and UV.

Diana wrote:Without knowing the disease or parasite it is impossible to say which fish are infected. They have all been exposed, but to what? To set up and instantly cycle the Q-tank or to boost the nitrifying bacteria population you can add some Tetra Safe Start, or Dr. Tim's One and Only. These products contain the correct species of nitrifying bacteria.

I had heard of these products but had been assuming they were gimmicks. If they really work then I'd feel way better using my quarantine tank more often.

Diana wrote:Few suggestions:
1) Add salt to the tank. Golds do just fine with salt, and it can help reduce stress. Put 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons in a glass of water and dissolve, then pour it in over several hours. Next day, add another 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons. When you do water changes add that much salt to the new water.
2) Ultra Violet Sterilizer can kill a lot of water-born diseases and parasites. I would start with salt and UV, see if that perks them up.
3) Continue researching while starting with the salt and UV treatment.
4) If those 2 treatments do not help within a few days (do not wait much longer), and your research leads you to think it is bacterial then I would get some stronger anitbiotics. Something like Kanamycin (Seachem sells it as Kanaplex, and there are other manufacturers). If the fish are still eating, medicate the food.

Done #1 and #2. Research seems to lean towards bacterial as you suggested, but not positive. I found a lot of suggestions that it could be bacterial but as a side effect of a weakened immune system from parasites. If it's both a parasite and bacterial issue, I wonder which I should try medicating for first. Kanaplex is tempting since it claims no side effects but it feels like Coppersafe may be more likely to be effective since it is aimed at the "root" of the problem. Fortunately both say they can be used on fish that aren't eating well or at all. In any case, I had not heard of Kanaplex before so thank you for mentioning it!

Diana wrote:Here are some more sites about fish diseases, and golds and koi specifically.
The first is a sales site, but with a lot of fish diagnosis charts.
http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/

Scroll down to find publications
http://sfrc.ufl.edu/fish/outreach/extpubs/

Veterinarian specializing in Golds and Koi.
http://www.koivet.com/index.html

Thank you for the links! I explored all three and followed them to a couple more sites. I learned a lot (like goldfish can get TB and transmit it to humans?!?) but still don't feel clear on what the problem really is. Maybe tomorrow night the fish will be even better off and this will all become a moot point!

Thank you again for your help Diana. I was feeling pretty apprehensive but now I think there may be hope.

Hope you have a good day!
yaksaredabomb
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:17 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN


Return to Fish Health & Treatment

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest