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Tarah

HELP! New Goldfish with Clamped Fin Sitting Inside Decorations All Day

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Hello, everyone! Last week, I was at a wedding where baby goldfish were used as a centerpiece. They were planning on killing them all afterwards, so I took 4 of them to try to save them. I am a first time fish owner, so please bear with me. 

I obviously didn't have time to cycle a tank, so I am trying to start that process. I have tested the water every day for a week now and so far, liquid tests have picked up no changes to the ammonia or nitrite levels (always 0), so I'm not sure if/when cycling will complete. Today was my first time using strips, and those seemed to pick up a bit of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.

The smallest fish of the bunch has been exhibiting strange behavior. The first day, he was perky and excited. He was even stealing food from the others. The next day, he started sinking to the bottom of the tank and listlessly floating around. I thought it was swim bladder so I added freshwater salt to the tank and started introducing fiber to their diet. I fed kale one day, skipped feeding the next, and then only kale the next day. I then reintroduced soaked pellets. He still didn't perk up and continued to act lethargic, so I turned off the air stone to make his last days of swimming a little easier. I also added 50 mL of Tetra SafeStart to start the cycling (this would be 5 days ago). He perked up immediately after the air stone was turned off and even stopped fin clamping. Two days later, I introduced a pot for him to hide in because he seemed a bit nervous around the other fish at times (other times, they all swim in a happy little pack). Then, about 2 days after introducing the pot, he started floating in the pot all day, fin clamped again. He started developing black spots around the same time (I'm guessing ammonia burn from his atrocious conditions at the wedding, with filthy water and no oxygen). And 2 days ago, he started sitting at the bottom of the pot and not even floating. He comes out for feeding times and gets really excited, but then returns to the pot afterwards. Shortly after he started floating in the pot, I added 6 extra drops of Prime, 5 mL of API StressZyme and 10 more mL of Tetra SafeStart (I added the 2 bacteria additives a day apart). I also tried just giving him ambient light in case the bright lights were stressful, but it didn't help. All the other fish are doing just great, swimming in packs, greeting me, etc. What can I do to help him? I'm so worried and I feel helpless. :(  :(:( 

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  • * Ammonia Level(Tank) = 0 (via API liquid test kit) or .5 ppm (via Tetra EasyStrips)
  • * Nitrite Level(Tank) = 0 (via API liquid test kit) maybe .1 ppm (via Tetra EasyStrips)
  • * Nitrate level(Tank) = probably around 10 ppm (via Tetra EasyStrips)
  • Ammonia Level(Tap) = 0 via strips
  • * Nitrite Level(Tap) = 0 via strips
  • * Nitrate level(Tap) = 0 via strips
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Around 7.6 Via test strips, hardness is between 75 to 100 ppm, alkalinity is probably 20 ppm, and chlorine is 0.
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) = around 7.2 via test strips. harness is 150 ppm, chlorine is 0, and alkalinity is about 40 ppm.
  • Other Required Info:
    • * Water temperature? 74 degrees Fahrenheit 
    • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallon and one week (the 20 gallons is absolutely temporary until I can afford to buy a larger tank)
    • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Filter included with Aqueon 20 gallon tank called Quietflow LED Pro Power Flow
    • * How often do you change the water and how much? New Tank. No regular schedule yet. Unsure how frequently to change it during cycling
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 6 days ago, 10 gallons
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 4 feeder goldfish about one inch
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? 66 total drops of Prime (3 per gallon at times of water change plus 6 additional drops later on to build up slime coat). 60 mL of Tetra SafeStart. 5 mL of API StressZyme. 15 teaspoons of freshwater salt. 
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? I rotate pellets, mashed peas, and blanched kale approximately every day (veggies every day, pellets every other day. I soak and mash up the pellets so they fit in their tiny little mouths. I occasionally give them a few tropical fish flakes, too, since it seems easy for them to eat)
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? All 4 are brand new
  • * Any medications added to the tank? None
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank.Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. 15 teaspoons of freshwater aquarium salt 6 days ago
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Sick fish is developing black spots (I believe this is from the ammonia in his previous home). Another fish previously with black spots is actually getting fading on his spots.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? He sits inside a pot in his tank all day at the bottom with his fin clamped up. At feeding times, he perks up and swims around. He seems to have a bit of trouble swimming. His front fins look very small. He flicks his tail and wiggles while swimming more than the other fish, too, almost as if he has a bit of trouble getting around. He also seems to perk up before bed or for brief stints randomly (they all enjoy nipping at my test strips and my syringe that I use to suck out water for liquid testing)
Edited by Tarah

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Hi Welcome to Kokos! 
Poor babies, been used as centrepieces with no plans for them other than to kill them afters :( Upsets me to much to hear of these things happening!

For Fish in Cycling, I tend to test the water every day, If Ammonia+Nitrite together are less than 1ppm I add a double dose of prime, if its more than 1ppm I do a WC to try and get it down to 1ppm or less. Its been a long time since I cycled a tank but fish in cycling does take a bit longer than fishless cycling since the ammonia and nitrite cant climb so high without harming the fish.

 

I think the black marks most likely are healing ammonia burns like you suggested,I'm not certain on the hiding and clamping. A video of the behaviour will help a lot though!

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Please do a 100% water change.  Remove the fish to another container, empty the tank, put in fresh water, and add 1/2 teaspoon of prime.  The instructions say 5ml (=1 teaspoon) treats 50 gallons so 1/2 teaspoon treats 25 gallons.  You have a 20 gallon tank, so 1/2 teaspoon will eliminate chlorine.  (Prime is safe to use at up to 10X the recommended dose, so you won't hurt your fish.)  Your fish have been experiencing chlorine poisoning because you haven't added enough Prime.

Prime can also protect your fish from ammonia, but you must add the full dose for your tank (1/2 teaspoon) every two days for ammonia protection.  

During cycling, you should change 50% of the water every two days,  but your fish are still small, so you might get away with changing 30%.  When the tank water consistently reads zero ammonia and zero nitrite before a water change, you can switch to changing the water every three days, and if the ammonia and nitrite stay at zero on that schedule, you can change 50% weekly.

I don't recommend soaking and mashing pellets.  Soaking leaches our nutrients so the fish don't get them.  The leached nutrients lower water quality.  If small goldfish pellets are too big for them, get a good quality goldfish flake like Omega One.  
 

 

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Welcome to Kokos!!!

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Thank you for the quick replies! FishyMandy, I will take and upload videos when I get out of class in an hour.

Shakaho, I'm a little nervous to do a full tank change and presumably kill all the bacteria. The dosing on my Prime bottle says 2 drops per gallon, so to be on the safe side, I've been doing 3 per gallon whenever I add water plus an extra 6 drops directly into the tank previously and then 6 more this morning. My Prime bottle does not come with a cap for measuring, but rather a lid that creates droplets, so I think this is why our dosing info is different. Also, my chlorine levels in both my tap and in my tank read as 0. Is it possible for them to get chlorine poisoning when there is no chlorine in my tap and I followed the dose on the Prime bottle?

I'll do a water change in an hour, too, and I'll stop mashing the pellets. Thank you for the advice!

 

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Ok, here are some videos. He was just sitting in his put before feeding. I fed some flakes and the videos of him trying to swim are during and post feeding

20170925_120348.mp4

20170925_121721.mp4

20170925_120831.mp4

20170925_121510.mp4

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2 hours ago, Tarah said:

Shakaho, I'm a little nervous to do a full tank change and presumably kill all the bacteria. The dosing on my Prime bottle says 2 drops per gallon, so to be on the safe side, I've been doing 3 per gallon whenever I add water plus an extra 6 drops directly into the tank previously and then 6 more this morning. My Prime bottle does not come with a cap for measuring, but rather a lid that creates droplets, so I think this is why our dosing info is different. Also, my chlorine levels in both my tap and in my tank read as 0. Is it possible for them to get chlorine poisoning when there is no chlorine in my tap and I followed the dose on the Prime bottle?

Nitrifiers live on surfaces, particularly The surfaces in your filter, where they get a continuous supply of ammonia and oxygen.  As long as you use dechlorinated water, fresh water will not harm the nitrifiers.    Do you have well water?  Virtually all municipal water has chlorine or chloramine.  Do you filter your drinking water?  What strips did you use to measure chlorine? What was the smallest amount of chlorine the strips would test?

It took me a long time goggling to find the little bottles of Prime with a dropper.  They didn't even mention these on the Seachem site. 

 

 

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I don't have well water. I'm just using tap water from a town that gets a lot of mountain runoff. The only water issue I know of is that my apartment is old, so a bit of copper from the pipes leeches into the water. The test strips I used were Tetra EasyStrips, and the smallest increment they can pick up is .5 ppm. 

I went ahead and measured the size of the drops for my own sanity, and it looks like there are about 50 drops from this bottle per every half teaspoon. Since their tank currently has 72 drops, that would be the equivalent of about 3/4 teaspoon, so I don't think it's a chlorine issue, especially since the other 3 fish are happy campers. I'm actually thinking it's some sort of tail damage based on the videos I posted. What else do you think could be causing this behavior?

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Hey Tarah, great job rescuing the fish. Definitely not a cool centrepiece! You're in wonderful hands with shahako, she's exceptional with all things illness and water quality.... All things goldfish really :)

good luck! 

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Hello, welcome to Koko's! This forum is a fantastic resource, the people here are kind and experienced. There is a wonderful article on quarantining new goldfish, which I believe you might find helpful, here https://www.kokosgoldfish.com/Effective%20Quarantining.html Even though you're not technically quarantining your new guys, the methods in the article can help ensure they remain healthy. Of course, if Shakaho or Koko say something different, I would take that advice because they know their stuff.

 

My story is similar to yours. My goldfish were feeder fish, crammed four to a bowl as centerpieces at a school banquet. I had "fishkeeping" experience ONLY in that fifteen years ago I had tried to keep a tank and killed a succession of fish until I gave up. I took home two bowls, and lost five of the fish before I managed to get a tank. (It was an awful time for me.) I kept my three survivors in a 20 gallon high for four months before I got a bigger tank set up, but they hadn't outgrown the smaller tank yet, if that helps. I also live in the foothills of the mountains, and our water is very soft (low KH) so I would suggest that you keep an eye on your pH. You might need to add crushed coral or cuttlebone to your tank if the pH doesn't remain stable. Also, I made the rookie mistake of adding aquarium salt *directly* to the tank, so I just want to be sure that you know to dissolve the salt fully in water before adding it to the tank.

 

Tetra Safestart Plus isn't really compatible with Prime and you're not supposed to change the water for two weeks, so I would switch to Seachem Stability. Stability is a bacterial supplement that's dosed every day, so a water change won't hurt anything. I think you're also going to want a bigger bottle of Prime. I didn't even know those little bottles existed until someone on a betta forum told me, LOL.

 

Good luck, I hope your little guy feels better! I can't play your videos, but I'd love to see pictures of your fish, just because I like looking. :-)

 

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It was sweet of you to rescue to fish!  We are here to help :)

 

Don't fear the full water changes.  As Shakaho indicated, the beneficial bacteria doesn't live in the water column.  The nitrite level and ammonia is absolutely part of the issue, if not all of it, so we want to keep the water as clean as possible while we cycle the tank with them in it. Daily water changes, or changing every time your ammonia hits .25 ppm (parts per million), is going to ensure the safest and best transition for the fish while the tank filters mature.  Goldfish are very messy and notoriously finicky on water quality, so water changes are your best tool in the toolkit for keeping them healthy and happy.

 

Welcome to Kokos!

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Thank you all for the help! It's been invaluable to get your help and tips! :)

I didn't realize that Prime didn't usually come in a dropper bottle, so I'm sure you all were horrified since drops sound like a very tiny unit of measurement and it sounded like I was poisoning my little guys with chlorine! 

As an update, I panicked and drove to an exotic fish store yesterday. I showed them videos of my fish and they said there's a smudge by his tail that looks like a bacterial infection. They gave me Seachem NeoPlex and told me to treat the whole tank since the other fish were exposed. It was supposed to take 3 days to see any effect, but he was actually swimming around all day today without hiding in the pot once! :) I'll keep you all updated if anything gets better or worse.

 

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Mothercrow, I'm sad you couldn't view the videos! Here are some pictures!

Fishy1.PNG

Fishy2.PNG

FishyCrookedTail.PNG

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Unfortunately, the ammonia went up after I added the Neoplex and removed the carbon filter, so I had to do a small water change. Does anyone know if I can add in more antibiotics proportional to the amount of water that was changed? 

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Your fish doesn't need antibiotics.  It needs you to change the water and get rid of that ammonia. A small water change will not lower the ammonia level significantly.  Put the carbon filter back in.  It probably contains a population of nitrifiers.

A "smudge" particularly a blackish smudge like those I see in your pictures results from ammonia burns.  No bacterial infection causes such a symptom.  

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Please only get advice from one spot - it's really hard for us to help go if you take treatments from multiple perspectives and do it before we can look it over.  Some of these treatments have side effects, interact with other medications we might try, or will knock back the progress of your filter (which is what the Neoplex did, made worse by removing filter media). 

 

He gave you bad advice, honestly.  That isn't even a particularly effective medication for goldfish and the kind of infections we would be seeing in them from water quality issues.  But I'm with Shakaho, I don't think this is an infection at all.  It's the water.  Until we square that away the rest is moot - high ammonia and nitrite will literally poison them, as well as making them susceptible to other pathogens from a weakened immune system.

 

So please, let's work on the water and filter maturation.  If you want to get advice elsewhere just let us know and we will wish you well and not spend more time trying to troubleshoot.  But if we are helping, please ask here so we have the full picture to work with, okay? :)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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We need your water tested before you change it so we can see how bad it gets, make sense?  I'm sorry he is taking a turn!  The stress could just be too much for him.  The pictures up above don't appear to show fish that are in good condition. They're skinny and stressed and look sick.  Shakaho and I both think it is the water but like I said if they're weakened by poor water quality something else can gain hold, like a virus or parasite.  But if we treat those without addressing the water quality first it makes it more likely to Jill our fish with the stress, not less.

 

if you can upload your pictures to photobucket or a similar site and link them we will be able to see them and help better.

 

Did you make sure your water change was the same temperature and treated with prime?  Sometimes if the water is very toxic doing several smaller changes back to back will be a little less stressful. Like changing half. Refilling.  Changing half again. Make sense?  Two or three half changes and refills will get all the gunk out.

 

And remember, changing out 100% of the water, even out of the gravel, won't disturb the bacteria as long as the water that replaces it doesn't have chlorine.  The nitrifyers colonizing the surfaces don't just fall off.  If you're treating and such your tank could be making it harder to clean.  Could we see a shot of the whole tank so we can troubleshoot anything else that might be causing a problem?

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I see you did add prime, good!  Remember to measure your salt so that it's the proper amount removed.  If you add the exact same as before the salinity goes up :)

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Ok, so as an update, he came out briefly, so I tried feeding them. The other fish started bullying him (one or two nips, but a lot of bumping), so I went and bought another 20 gallon tank and I will be moving the other 3 into that new tank tonight. They don't seem to bully him at times other than feeding time (they mostly get annoyed if he's in the way because he's slower and push him), but I don't want to deal with it. He seems to be a very sensitive fish, so he retreated to hiding and has been there since. 

Also, if I'm using the same amount of salt per gallon (both initially and with every subsequent water change), does it still climb? If so, that's very scary! It's the first I've heard of it!

For the new tank, I got dechlor (this stuff: http://www.petguys.com/-028023100040.html) because it's apparently not supposed to interfere with Tetra SafeStart. Is that true? Should I wait before adding SafeStart to the new tank? The other 3 are pretty hardy so I'm confident they can survive a tank change given that the water parameters are the same.

Is there a good way to get them in the new tank without stressing them out too much?

I'm also sorry I didn't test the water before a change! I'll be sure to do that in the future. Is that necessary if I just commit to small 4-5 gallon changes daily since he clearly can't tolerate large changes?

My phone phone is terrible and dies every time I try to take pictures, so I will post updated pictures when I can get ahold of a friend's phone. 

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My poor baby died on Friday. I couldn't bear to post it until now. I named him Buddy before he died. 
I added the filter back in, and after that, over the next 2 days, his fins decayed into nothing. I ran to the fish store in his last few hours desperately trying to get help, but they weren't sure what to do. I guess fin rot typically takes weeks, not hours, to progress like that. They had never seen or heard of anything like it. 
A horrible end to a horrible, all too short life. I buried Buddy under a tree. 

The others are doing well in their new tank. 

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There are a few things that can deteriorate fins on a fish that fast.  Do you have the others in salt? I’d recommend three weeks of it in the water, minimum, as per our normal quarantine recommendations. 

 

Here are are detailed instructions on how to administer it and what types, in case you needed more help:

https://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/topic/60876-using-salt/#comment-674973

 

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IM so sorry for your loss. RIP Buddy.

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I'm so terribly sorry that he passed away. :-(

Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

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I'm so sorry you lost him

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Thank you all so much for the sympathy. Everyone thinks I'm crazy for having invested so much time, money, and concern into a 20 cent feeder fish. It's nice to have responses from people that understand. :)

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