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When old fish die.

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For those of you with older fish, have you noticed any patterns when they died?


I had an oranda, Bob, who recently passed away. I had her for about 3 1/2 years. She was quite large when I purchased her, so at least six months to one year. She was my upside down oranda, But in the last 3 to 6 months she was actually upright more often. However I did notice that she seem to be thinner and losing color despite eating well and being very active.


Then one day while I was doing a water change I noticed that her scales seemed to be maybe a little lifted in one area by her tail tube. I wasn’t sure if it was real or just due to the angle her belly and her tail tube met at. She was otherwise doing fine so I let it go, figuring I would keep a close eye out. The next day she was floating upside down listlessly in the tank.  She occasionally would right herself but I put her in a quarantine tank to give her rest and see what I could do. Unfortunately shortly after that she passed away. It was probably about two days. In that time while she was alive in the QT she had that “blank stare” look. This was different from other sick fish I’ve cared for and she also had some noticeable quivering, like seizures or involuntary muscle contractions. Any dropsy that she had did not get worse. 


I’ve seen sick fish before, and this was different. My other sick fish generally seem to have kept “brain function” despite severe dropsy. This fish seem to be gone before she died.


Just curious if others had experienced this with old fish that were not necessarily sick but maybe it was their time to go?  I had really hoped and expected her to live for much longer.  I’m not sure if I should attribute it to disease or aging. Perhaps it was some combination of the two.  The other fish in that tank is fine, perhaps just a bit lonely now.


For what it’s worth, there were no recent fish introduced, the water parameters were stable. Ammonia zero. Nitrite zero. Nitrate 40 (my tapwater is 25). 95% change every week if more. Temperature is 75. PH 8.0.  55 gallon tank with two fish (now one), this oranda and a ranchu.


Old pic for remembrance.



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