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freude88

What could I possibly doing wrong with these fish? My daughter is heartbroken!

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I have questions and am seeking advice before it's too late again..........

 
 
My daughter Ella (16 yrs )  LOVES goldfish!  That is truly an understatement :)   From my perspective she takes good care of them.  Feeds them, (from my research seems to be a good diet), changes water weekly (30-50%), checks parameters etc…  We keep seeing her goldfish die.  Mainly from what seems to be swim bladder or dropsy.  It absolutely tears her in apart everytime.  We try starving them for a few days when they seem constipated or sick and then feed de shelled peas to try and correct it.  I’ve tried adding epsom salt at times, which I was told would help constipation.  We’ve even tried a few meds with no help.  I thought maybe she was overfeeding.  I’ve tried to check and it seems to be an appropriate amount.  She even dilutes the pellets to try and help.  She feeds a mix of the following….
 
Hikari Pellets, Dried seaweed, Spirulina Flakes, De shelled peas, occasional flakes, and recently started using Repashy Soilent Green.
 
I have read article after article on the web, in books etc...
 
Her pearl scale is starting to become lethargic and may be starting with some type of issue.  Her tank is planted and it seems to be sitting between among a bunch of plants almost at the bottom of the tank.  I almost think the plants are helping to hold it in place.
 
I have two community planted tanks myself and do well.  I rarely have fish die and I feel like I do know a bit about fish keeping.  I just can’t solve this puzzle!
 
Bottom Line…..  As you goldfish keepers out there..... I was wondering if you could tell me what you would do in this situation, and do you spot anything that I or she may be doing wrong that we could fix in the future?  I don’t know what I’ll do if she loses this one.  I will write everything I know about the tank and parameters below.  Maybe there is something you guys can see that I am not.
 
 
Ella’s Tank
 
29 Gallon bow front 
Fauna: 1 small Tosakin goldfish,  and 1 4-5 inch pearl scale and some type of cold water loach.                                    
Equipment:  Aquaclear HOB (Only has Seachem Matrix and Sponge), and heater (The heater is just set if her room gets too cold.  Her room is in the basement and can get cold in the winter)  It is set to keep the water at about 74 degrees. She also has a air bubbler and a Finnex planted tank light.
Substrate and decor:  Black Sand and Mopani Wood
Planted Tank (Pretty Heavily Planted) - She doesn’t add much to help the plants.  The fish waste does a pretty good job.  She will add Seachem Flourish 1x a week at water change.)  She of course uses seachem prime as a water conditioner.
Parameters:  
     - Moderately Hard Water.  I think GH is around 11-13 and KH is around 8???
     - Ammonia - 0
     - Nitrite - 0
     - Nitrates - Hover around 15
     - PH is about 7.2-7.6, API test.  It’s hard to tell exactly :)
Water Changes: about 30-50% 1x a week
 
 
We have friends that take horrible care of their goldfish and they survive!  What are we doing wrong?  I feel like such a helpless mother!
 
Sorry for the novel.  I just thought it best to write every possible thing I could think off to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
 
 
Thanks in advance from a caring mother!!!
 
 
Joy 
Edited by freude88

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Please start by reading our guidelines for healthy goldfish.  The first thing you will note is that for two goldfish we recommend a larger tank and larger water changes than she currently does.  Unfortunately, most of the guides for goldfish care online contain information copied from other online guides rather than coming from what works for experienced keepers and experimental results, which we use.

 

I will post a copy of our "d/d form" in my next post and will fill in the information you have already given.  I think you only need a few adjustments to have excellent care.

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:hi When Shakaho provides you with the form, please be sure to include which model of Aquaclear you have.  It would be helpful to know the GPH(gallons per hour).

 

Also, if you could post pics of the tank or a Youtube video, that would also be very helpful  :photo:

Edited by Jared

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Equipment:  Aquaclear HOB (Only has Seachem Matrix and Sponge), and heater (The heater is just set if her room gets too cold.  Her room is in the basement and can get cold in the winter)  It is set to keep the water at about 74 degrees. She also has a air bubbler and a Finnex planted tank light.
Substrate and decor:  Black Sand and Mopani Wood
Planted Tank (Pretty Heavily Planted) - She doesn’t add much to help the plants.  The fish waste does a pretty good job.  She will add Seachem Flourish 1x a week at water change.)
 

Please copy & paste fill the following form and fill it out to the best of your ability when requesting help for Goldfish Problems:

  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrate level(Tank)15
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap)
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap)
    • * Nitrate level(Tap)
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2-7.7
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) GH 11-13, KH 8
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or dropsAPI
      • * Water temperature? 74F
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 29 gallons
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Aquaclear (Model?)
      • * How often do you change the water and how much? weekly 30-50%
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? small tosakin, 4-5" pearlscale, loach
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? Hikari Pellets, Dried seaweed, Spirulina Flakes, De shelled peas, occasional flakes, and recently started using Repashy Soilent Green

     

  • * Any new fish added to the tank?
  • * Any medications added to the tank?
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? pearl scale is starting to become lethargic and may be starting with some type of issue

     

 

You can get some advice on how to answer the questions here.

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Hi Joy. Hope your Daughters Goldfish feel better.

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Ok here we go :)  I filled it out as best I could!!  

 

 

 

Please copy & paste fill the following form and fill it out to the best of your ability when requesting help for Goldfish Problems: 

  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrate level(Tank)15
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap)0
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap)0
    • * Nitrate level(Tap)0
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2-7.7
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) GH 11-13, KH 8
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?  API
      • * Water temperature? 74F
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 29 gallons
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Aquaclear (Model?) 70  - It says aquarium capacity 40-70 gallons
      • * How often do you change the water and how much? weekly 30-50%
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 5 days - 50%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? small tosakin, 4-5" pearlscale, loach
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime
  • * What do you feed your fish and how oftenHikari Pellets, Dried seaweed, Spirulina Flakes, De shelled peas, occasional flakes, and recently started using Repashy Soilent Green

     

  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No
  • * Any medications added to the tank?No
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.  She got her tosakin about 3 months ago and the pearl scale 2 months ago.  No medications have been introduced.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?  Nothing that I can see.

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? pearl scale is starting to become lethargic and may be starting with some type of issue.  She is still eating.

 

 

 

This is a picture of her Goldfish.  He came out from hiding  when I came to the tank.

IMG_5864-1_zpsmbxouz4p.jpg

 

 

 

This is her tank setup

IMG_5861-1_zpsdah4xbvy.jpg

 

 

This is where the goldfish has been hanging out.  Kind of sitting between and supported by the plants.

IMG_5866_zpswkqvlnf0.jpg

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That is a lovely tank! 

I hope you get things sorted for the fish, it's trying, but totally worth it. 

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Let's start with the easiest thing to fix -- water quality.  With two goldfish, we recommend at least a 40 gallon tank.  (I don't know the size of the loach, so I don't know how much water to allot t it.)  Until you get a larger tank, you can compensate for the lack of volume with larger and more frequent water changes.  With adequate volume and filtration, we recommend a minimum water change of 50% weekly.  Many of our members do 75-90% water changes.  The first medicine one should always try is very clean water.  I'd like you to try 50% water changes every 3 days for the next couple of weeks to really clean up the water.  With luck, that alone may be enough to perk the pearlie up.

 

I believe the Petco dollar per gallon sale is on right now, so you can get a 40B for 1/3 the regular price.  I recommend this tank because it is shallower and thus has more swimming area and a larger surface area-to-volume ratio than taller tanks of similar volume.  Goldfish get big.  Many fancy goldfish will weigh a pound or more when fully grown --  the real giants, more than 3 pounds.  When goldfish get big, they get lazy, when they get lazy, they get fat, which makes them lazier.  You want the fish to get exercise, so want a tank with a large footprint.  

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I also agree you have a lovely tank setup, but also agree bigger and more frequent water changes might just be what is needed :) I hope things work out for you all :)

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I agree a bigger tank would be better but currently if ammonia and nitrite are 0 and nitrate is 15 there must be another problem? Dropsy usually is a symptom of a bacterial infection (in my limited experience) so maybe it is possible the fish were infected when they were purchased? What was the quarantine process? How many fish have died so far total?

Can we help her try to cure the fish with salt, heat, and an anti bacterial med?

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Jason, while you can't have good water quality with bad nitrogen parameters, good nitrogen parameters do not necessarily mean good water quality.  Zero ammonia and zero nitrite mean the system has cycled.  Cycled systems can have filthy water.  Plants playing their role keep the nitrate down.  DOCs can produce rapid growth of bacteria, including opportunistic pathogens, and without a full veggie filter, you have to remove these with water changes.

 

I didn't see any mention of dropsy,  just a lethargic fish.  If clean water doesn't help, we can prazi the fish.  If we can't correct the problem with harmless treatments like these, we can move to antibiotics. 

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Jason, while you can't have good water quality with bad nitrogen parameters, good nitrogen parameters do not necessarily mean good water quality. Zero ammonia and zero nitrite mean the system has cycled. Cycled systems can have filthy water. Plants playing their role keep the nitrate down. DOCs can produce rapid growth of bacteria, including opportunistic pathogens, and without a full veggie filter, you have to remove these with water changes.

I didn't see any mention of dropsy, just a lethargic fish. If clean water doesn't help, we can prazi the fish. If we can't correct the problem with harmless treatments like these, we can move to antibiotics.

Thanks for that info on water quality.

Look at the picture of the fish. Swelling, pineconing....

Or is that a pearlscale and how its supposed to look? Sorry, I just woke up!

Well gee upon reread and closer look at the picture I see it is a pearlscale! I'm so dense sometimes!

Edited by DieselPlower

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No drunk posting DP!

:joke

OP, I feel for your daughter! It is so frustrating to have mystery problems. Shakaho is bang on though, that more frequent and larger water changes are the best first step. Many of us actually just change water by behavior more than a test kit after awhile. Even if the water has perfect numbers, if the fish are lethargic or hiding, slightly clamped fins, or just 'off' a water change is done even if it isn't scheduled for a few days.

We can escalate treatment as needed from there, but water changes are the cheapest, easiest, and best first solution to try :)

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