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Bubbly4Me

Goldfish lethargic and not eating... help please!

25 posts in this topic

Hi,

I have 3 fish in the tank (450 litres)...

1 Goldfish, 10 inches, 12 years old.

1 Goldfish, 9 inches, 10 years old.

1 Shubunkin, 12 inches, 10 years old.

One Goldfish is looking very unhappy. She sits at the bottom in the corner all day with fins clamped. Hardly eating at all. Only movement is to occasionally go to the top, often in a 'round the tank' circluar panicy movment. Sometimes she grabs some air, sometimes she doesn't break the surface.

The other 2 are more lively and still eating a little but are clearly not happy either. They don't go to the surface, but tend to keep still in the corners (mid tank) most of the time. Fins ok.

I changed the water and cleaned the gravel 3 weeks ago as I there was an amount of uneaten food around. Possibly had over fed them or not noticed they weren't eating as usual. Filter seems ok. Water was good before change, although nitrate was 40ppm and is now too. (I've never managed to get it lower than this)

When I removed fish for water change, there was no noticable increase in slime coats.

Looking for some ideas please!


  • Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level 0
  • * Nitrite Level 0
  • * Nitrate level 40
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.5
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.5
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API, drops
  • * Water temperature? Unknown
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 90 gals. 8 years.
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Ehiem Pro 3 600
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? 25% monthly on average
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 3 weeks ago, 100%

  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 3 fish, 12, 10 and 9 inches
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? API Stress Coat, when water changed
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? Aquarian Goldfish Flakes, twice daily. Occasioanl frozen bloodworms/shrimp
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No
  • * Any medications added to the tank? No
  • * List previous issues experienced (dropsy, SBD, etc.) None
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. None
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Clamped fins on one.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Staying at bottom, not eating, occasional dart to surface.

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Well I would recommend changing our water change schedule. I do 50-70 percent weekly. Right now bad water conditions are probably the culprit. As for immediate help, if you didn't change the water I would ASAP...

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hi there, welcome to kokos :) congratulations on maintaining good health of your goldfish for so many years :)

aside from your nitrates being a little too high, i don't see much wrong with your routine other than what midnight has mentioned, a more regular waterchange. although, for your fish to have reached 10-12 years old, i wouldn't go changing too much too soon.

can i ask you to post a video of your fish's behaviour so that we can determine if something is wrong with it's health or it's environment? do you notice any unusual markings on the fish such as bacterial spots? an injury perhaps?

how about the poop, what does that look like? normal or somewhat funky?

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Welcome to Koko's!

Wow, have to commend you on the age of your fish, I hope to get my fish that age someday :-)

How long have your fish been behaving this way? Did your fish perk up after the water change you did 3 weeks ago??

Do you have gravel? If yes, how thick is the layer?

Do you have any hollow ornaments?

I know our mods will come by to give you their advice and they are always much helped by pics or vids :-)

I hope your fish will get better soon!

Edit

I type slow, told you one of our mods would be with you shortly :-))

Edited by Isabella

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perfect posting isabella, your questions are valid :)

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:thumb::D:hi

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Hi and thanks for replies,

I'll answer in order...

I should be able to get a video tonight and some pictures.

I've not noticed any unusual markings or injuries. Poop seems fine too - usual colour and length. No air bubbles in it. Filter grabs it all easily enough.

The worse one started to act a little strange about 2 months ago. It's a bit hard to say as she's always been a panicy fish and often darts arounds when spooked by the other two. I may not have noticed early signs of trouble. The other 2 have only recently started to act strange... maybe 2 weeks or so.

There was no improvement in fish after the water change 3 weeks ago. I changed the water as there was an amount of uneaten food on the gravel and thought it best to clean it all in case that was the cause of the first fish acting strange. The gravel was very dirty so I'm assuming there was a lot of uneaten food around. I'm not sure how I didn't notice this build up though - very strange. I checked the filter at the same time, but didn't rinse it. The last time I rinsed the filter was 1 month before this water change. I noticed it was quite messy at that point too; more than usual.

There is a layer of about 4 inches of gravel in the tank. There are no ornaments in the tank as the panicy fish would damage herself on them. I had to remove them years ago to stop her getting hurt. She is very fast and skitty - alway has been. Bangs into everything! There are also no plants in the tank as they get instantly destroyed by the fish. One time she swallowed one whole and had it sticking out of her mouth for quite a while until I cut it off. Thankfully she ate the rest and was ok! I'm also paranoid about introducing anything into the tank that could bring disease.

I'll be going home shortly and will test the water again / get the temperature / change some water / grab some pics and video. Hopefully should have that uploaded within the next few hours.

Many thanks for replies. Back soon!

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The only thing that stands out to me is that you are underfiltered. With an Eheim caninster i would suggest that you are processing your whole tank 4-6 times per hour. I don't think that your filter is capable of any more than 2 times per hour and that is being generous. If you can leave your water for 3 weeks and still have a reading of 0,0,40 i am beyond impressed. Also can i ask why you remove your fish for a water change ?

4 inches of gravel is quite alot. Do you dig in to it with each water change ?

Edited by alistairw

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HI, alistairew,

The filter I use is supposed to handle a 600 litre tank as far as I was aware. I used to have a Pro 2 (for 6 years) until it began to leak. I tried replacing seals etc. but it kept leaking so I replaced it with a pro 3.

I just tested the water again now (before water change) and I have a slight ammonia level (0 - 0.25). The PH is 7.5, Temp is 22C, nitrite is 0 and nitrate is 15-20ppm. The lower nitrate level (usually 40ppm for me) is probably due to the fact I've not been feeding them much recently? Not sure on the ammonia though, that's usually zero.

I'd be more than happy to reduce the gravel level if that helps. What's the optimum level?

I only removed the fish as I did a complete tank clean as I thought the problem may be in the gravel after seeing a load of food at the bottom. I do, however, tend to do a complete tank change (and remove fish) once a year. I clean all the gravel etc.

I've got some pics and vids now, so I'll try and upload them now...

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Picture of worse fish without flash...

100_0981.JPG

With flash...

100_0983.JPG

She was originally a gold colour, but turned white at 2 years old. Since then she has often had the odd scale in orange and the base of her fins have always been slightly orange.

Looking at her closely, I'd say she's looking more red than usual, around the fin bases and also in general. She is usually more white/silver.

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OK, seems I didn't do it right!

Any chance a Mod can fix this problem for me please? I can't edit the post for some reason!

Thanks!

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One of the mods will be along shortly, but I am going to pop in a bit to help :)

4" of gravel is really excessive. Beyond the top layer, oxygen levels are so low, that the good bacteria die off, and the bad bacteria take root. You may have buried your good bacteria bed when you totally cleaned the gravel, which would cause your ammonia spike. You can use an ammonia binder to help detoxify the ammonia for a short time, but the best thing to do is to change your water again, siphoning the gravel one more good time. If you notice air bubbles come up from the gravel, or if you notice an overly pungent smell, the best thing to do would be to fill a bucket with fresh dechlorinated water, and move the fish over there again with an airstone to once again completely clean the tank.

The redness in the fins and the bottom sitting is something I fought with for a while. And when I say awhile, it was almost a year. I changed tanks, and still had the same problem. I finally had enough. I threw out all my old gravel, and nuked the tank. All my old plants (fake ones), decor, filter boxes (minus the electric parts), python, tank, nets, everything got bleached. I don't know what was causing the problem, but starting over seemed to help me. I replaced all my filter media, and bought new gravel, also. It also meant I had to start my cycle over again, too. That was no small task, either! Trying to recycle a fully stocked 75 gallon tank took about 6 weeks to establish, then another month or two to really take hold.

I am also about to completely get rid of my gravel in my main tank. My tank for Hans and Franz Jr has the glass pebbles, and I LOVE the look of it!! Easier to maintain, too ..

Just a thought!

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Also, wanted to add this --

My fish are really skittish when they have nowhere to hide. They feel exposed, and as a prey fish, they tend to get stressed when they feel this way. That can also lead to a weakened immune system. Try some large, silk plants and see if they don't feel safer and stop zooming around.

But another thing I thought when seeing the red, was to ask if you had ever treated them for flukes. I know nothing new has been added, but sometimes your fish can "hit the wall" as far as tolerating certain things before showing signs of stress. That's when opportunists like bacteria and parasites can really take hold.

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Hello, I think something doesn't work right with where you've uploaded the movie, because it's causing some issues on this end. I can't modify your posts either.

In any case, first I would like to say what a wonderful job you've done with these fish. There are a number of things that I would like to suggest to change, including removing some of the gravel. However, due to their advanced age, we also don't want to shock the system. So, we will address things on a priority basis.

Given the redness of the pectoral fins, the described bottom sitting, and the occasional darting, I believe that these fish are all suffering from a massive flukes infection. Did you do something different in the last couple months, such as adding new plants, fish? I would like to suggest treatment for flukes using salt + Kusuri Wormer Plus. However, I also want to put this out. Because of where they are at right now, the treatment could have unfavorable results, though. As the meds kill off the flukes, they leave micro open wounds that are susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. We try to minimize this by salting the tank to 0.3%, but there is still risk.

That's what I would like to suggest, but I also would like for you to understand the risk.

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Again, thanks for replies...

Raivynn: Thanks for info on gravel. I will remove a good portion of mine shortly. I'll have a look at some hiding places too.

PhoPho: Thanks for sorting video link out :)

Regarding flukes... I'll have a look into this and get back...

Many thanks!

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When most of us take the gravel from our tanks, we do it over extended periods of time -- I think so members removed as little as 1-2 cups per day. It would take quite some time, but didn't harm the tank's cycle (because those bacteria lost were easily replaced elsewhere in the system), and the fish weren't shocked by a total environment change. So, a couple large silk plants would give your guys someplace to hide -- but I'd get three -- one for each fish. :)

Alex is amazing, and I will take his advice for my fish any day!! A fluke infestation can be a pain, and you can never really truly eliminate them -- you can just get them down to a number that your fishes' immune system can fight off.

<3 for your babies!! :) Good luck!

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I've been wondering how your fish are and thought I'd check in.

Like has been said above, normally when flukes are diagnosed, the suggested course of action is lots of clean water with a good conditioner and matching ph / temp, anti fluke treatment and raising salt levels in 12 hour increments from 0.1%, 0.2% to 0.3%. It's frustrating that you have to consider you might shock your fish if you change things too much because of their age. Have you decided a course of action? Maybe start with stepping up water changes? Maybe increase aeration as well. I was wondering if you could have a look at her vent and tell us if it is red coloured or not. Also what colour are her gills (healthy colour or pale)? BTW is it the oldest fish that is the most sick?

Good luck and sending healing vibes!

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There is also a scientific paper showing that tea tree oil (Melafix) can reduce (not eliminate) the numbers of flukes on a fish. That's a much milder treatment, and something that perhaps we could try.

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Arggh ignore the multiple posting my computer got stuck and I hit the post button a couple of times too many!

The first posting is missing a couple of questions - see the quadruple posting.

Sorry about that :-)

Edited by Isabella

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:hi guys

I fixed the problem with this thread... Please guys only use photobucket or youtube for videos. Others cause problems on the forum... :(

Continue please :)

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Thanks Koko for fixing up my mishap of multiple postings :-)

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Again... many thanks for all the replies! Although they don't know it, my girls are all thanking you :)

And again, in order...

Raivynn: Many thanks for the info on removing gravel. I will do this slowley once I've sorted this current problem. I would have just done it all in one go without this info. :(

Raivynn: I looked at some silk plants today too. I agree this is a vital step. I will have to do this later, however, as I'm a bit short on cash right now. I get paid next week so will do that then! I am sure my oldest one will love somewhere to hide :)

Isabella: I've gone for the flukes treatment as it appears to be the most liekly culpret. She has got so much worse in the last few days I have no choice other than to go with the most likely cause. I couldn't find the Kusuri product in any local shop and as I don't want to wait until Monday for delivery, I chose an alternative product which is Prazi based. I'm hoping you're not all going to shout at me now, but after doing lots of reading and driving around (and pulling my hair out), it seemed the best option. I also invested in a heavy duty airstone to increase oxygenation.

Isabella: I will check her vent tomorrow morning and report back. I'm not sure on her gills. Would I need to catch her to see this or do you mean externally? I really want to avoid disturbing her right now - she's not a happy bunny :(

Isabella: Yes, the worse one is the oldest fish. And thanks for the vibes! :)

dnalex: I've used Melafix (tea tree oil) before (in another tank) and have found it to be very effective for bacterial problems. I have already purchased enough for 7 days treatment, for use after this treatment, to help protect the fish against secondary infection.

koko: Thanks for sorting the post! My bad on the video :(

Update: I started the fluke treatment this lunchtime (9 hours ago) and also installed the airstone. So far no real change to the older (more ill) fish. However, the other two have perked up dramatically. This may be a coincidence of course, but I'm very pleased to see it. They both have spent all evening at the front of the tank begging for food (usual behaviour!) I have fed them a small amount, a couple of flakes at a time, and they've eaten it all.

It's bed time here in the UK now. I really appreciate all the replies and suggestions and will report back tomorrow.

Many thanks :)

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Hello,

I'm glad the other two have perked up. The older hopefully will by tomorrow as well. :)

I would add the Melafix with the flukes treatment now. It works better running concurrently.

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Hi, glad to hear two of your fish have perked up. Keeping fingers crossed for your 12 year old (what are their names?). I usually look at gills when my fish are eating since they open up the gills more when they chew. Is she still eating? If it proves difficult to check her gills without disturbing her, I would leave it for now, good luck :-)

Edited by Isabella

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