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Comet Goldfish, around 6 years old, mouth rot I think, help!

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Hi,

I am new to Kokos and have recently been learning a lot about goldfish as this is the first time my fish has gotten sick.

I believe my fish may have mouth rot, but am not too sure. 

I currently am treating it with Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater (recommended by someone at Petco). I have aquarium salt, and have slightly salted the aquarium (about a tspoon) but have not tried a salt dip (I've never done one and am scared too lol). I've also been reading a little too many blogs and posts and have become slightly confused as to how to approach treatment.

I know I haven't been treating him for too long, however, I'm super worried, as I do not want the condition to worsen, and I haven't been seeing it get better. 

A little backstory: I won this fish at a carnival while in high school, and have a 20 gallon tank with a basic carbon filter (with the little extra sponge to reduce ammonia), a basic heater, and oxygen going through the tank, I've never, until recently, measured the pH or was concerned about ammonia or anything because I've never seen him get sick. Fast forward to about a month ago, his original filter had broken, and I did a terrible thing and did not get a new one until about a week ago (I know, I'm horrible).  I noticed a little swelling above his mouth, and figured it would go away, but now it has gotten worse and I am really worried and need some help.

I recently took some measures and his water conditions seem okay (according to some of the internet):

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank): Not sure

* Nitrite Level(Tank): 0 ppm

* Nitrate level(Tank) 200 ppm

* Ammonia Level(Tap): ?

* Nitrite Level(Tap): ?

* Nitrate level(Tap): ?

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines):  7.0 ph; KH: 40; GH: 180 (I know it's super high, but it's been his norm since I won him at a fair) 

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API 5 in 1 testing kit

* Water temperature? Around 78 degrees

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallons (I know, I need to make it bigger, I've just been changing the tank size slowly as the fish gets bigger, but right now he's sick)

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? It's a 30 gallon filter (cause the 20 gallon one broke and wasn't the best), Aqueon Quiet flow

* How often do you change the water and how much? 25% change about once a week or week and a half, 50% change once a month

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 2 days ago, 20%; filter has been turned off due to current medication

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 goldfish, 20 gallons

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Safestart and Goldfish Protect; Currently some aquarium salt as well 

* What do you feed your fish and how often? Tetra Goldfish Vitamin C Enhanced Fish flakes; Once or Twice a day 

* Any new fish added to the tank? No

* Any medications added to the tank? Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater 5 days; a little less than 1 tspn a day

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? See photo - the rest of his body looks fine, just that mouth area and eye; but mouth is my biggest concern at the moment

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Some. Without the filter, he doesn't seem to realize when he's getting fed (he used to be able to recognize when I was right about to feed him, and would just eat the flakes in the water as they were pushed down by the filter. Now when I feed him, he doesn't float to the top to eat :(  (so this has been going on for about 5 days). He waits for everything to sink to the bottom). Additionally, for the first few days, he was hanging out at the top corner of his tank, but now he is swimming around, back to normal). I took out most of the small plants and decorations that might be able to hurt his mouth (since I read that with mouth rot fish will try to scratch themselves).  

 

IMG_0544.JPG

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* sorry, forgot to add, I have not added the API Goldfish Protect Water condition with the current medicated water since I'm worried the ingredients might clash, however, I have also purchased the API Stress Coat Protect and will be adding that tomorrow since I figured it might help the tissue heal. 

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Welcome to Kokos!
 

So to be clear, how long have you owned this fish? Has he ever been treated for gill flukes?

Is that nitrate test amount a type? 20 ppms is getting a little high, but 200 would be very toxic to the fish :)

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Hi! Thank you for responding!

I have owned this goldfish for about 6 years. 

I don’t think he has ever had gill flukes; I have never treated him for it. (But now that it’s been brought up, do you think the picture shows gill flukes?). I won this fish 6 years ago and didn’t realize how much went into goldfish care at the time (and I assumed he’s been relatively healthy). 
 

the Nitrate levels are that high! I will be sure to do a water change today and keep you updated on those conditions!

 

 

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Hi,

So an update on the tank conditions.

I did a 65% water change and added the API Stress Coat Conditioner, the Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater, and the API Protect Goldfish. I have not added any salt. 

Physically, the fish's mouth looks more red and the tissue near one of his eyes has 3 little white bumps. Additionally, on his body, I also found a new white little bump sticking out which he did not have before. I think he's getting worse :(  . 

Additionally, these are the updated stats on the fish's water and behavior:

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank): Not sure

* Nitrite Level(Tank): 0 ppm

* Nitrate level(Tank) 80 ppm

* Ammonia Level(Tap): ?

* Nitrite Level(Tap): ?

* Nitrate level(Tap): ?

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines):  7.5 ph; KH: 80 (that went up, idk why; GH: 120 - 180  

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API 5 in 1 testing kit

* Water temperature? Around 78 degrees

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallons (I know, I need to make it bigger, I've just been changing the tank size slowly as the fish gets bigger, but right now he's sick)

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? It's a 30 gallon filter (cause the 20 gallon one broke and wasn't the best), Aqueon Quiet flow

* How often do you change the water and how much? 25% change about once a week or week and a half, 50% change once a month

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 2 days ago, 20%; filter has been turned off due to current medication

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 goldfish, 20 gallons

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? API Stress Coat Conditioner and the API Protect Goldfish

* What do you feed your fish and how often? Tetra Goldfish Vitamin C Enhanced Fish flakes; Once or Twice a day 

* Any new fish added to the tank? No

* Any medications added to the tank? Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank.

Day 1: API Aquarium Salt and Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater 5 days; a little less than 1 tspn a day

Day 2 - 5: Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater 5 days; a little less than 1 tspn a day

Day 6: Just Microbe Lift Artemiss Freshwater and Saltwater; Did a little more than a tspn today, since I did a 65% water change

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? See photos - little white bump on skin surround by red; some more scales that are red; white bumps near eyes; mouth is a lot redder, with more peeling 

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? He seems more frightened; when people are not around, he is swimming. However, when, for example, I or someone else walks by, he sits at the bottom of the tank (he is not gasping for air or opening his mouth though) or sometimes he moves very quickly side to side if someone walks by. Additionally, I did not see him eating/trying to eat today. He did not come to the surface of the water for food. 

I uploaded more pictures with the new symptoms.

Thanks in advance!

Day 2 Body Red Streaks.JPG

Day 2 Eyes and Lips.JPG

Day 2 Face.JPG

Day 2 Side of Body.JPG

Day 2.JPG

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Your water change schedule and filter maintenance is the problem for sure, and that’s what needs to be remedied. Those nitrates are dangerously high. 
 

What kind of filter do you have? Filter floss, pads, and sponges MUST have the mulm (poo and broken down food) emptied out of them monthly.  Squeeze, dump, or knock the filter media in a five gallon bucket of tank water (half full, we are just trying to rinse out the excess not splash all over) or the side of your sink.  ONLY EVER RINSE YOUR FILTER MEDIA WITH TANK WATER.  Never tap water, the chlorine is hard on your beneficial bacteria.

Once the media has all the loose waste rinsed from it, it will still look brown and dingy.  That is GOOD AND NORMAL.  Do not toss your media for fresh or you lose your denitrifiers and have to cycle your tank all over again. The only other step to filter maintenance is wiping down or rinsing off any poop in the corners of the plastic, if your filter has a casing, again with tank water and not tap.  Then you reassemble your filter and proceed with your normal water change. This should bring your nitrates down to 5-ish ppms, which is the safe zone.  They MUST stay under 20 ppm or it’s time to knock the crap from your filter again.

 

Second point is water changes. Goldfish are not like your average small tropical fish, they’re very big and very messy. To manage this we recommend a very thin layer of substrate (large rocks or sand) or a bare bottom tank so no waste gets trapped. Then with vacuuming the bottom or siphoning out the water you want to aim for weekly large water changes.  80%-ish.  I usually suck it down until there is barely enough water to cover the fish and then refill with tap water conditioner and fresh, temperature matched water. This is EVERY WEEK.

In this case I want you to stop the salt and medication for a bit. JUST focus on being the perfect water keeper and letting your goldfish rest for a week or two. When you fix these issues I think you will see some of the problems your fish is experiencing clear up with the cleaner environment, and during that time I want you to go online and order powdered praziquantel from eBay, please.  It is a gill fluke treatment and one we do on goldfish when they’re new to us, as babies, or once every year or two for maintenance from there on out :) with the red mouth and his age, this is where u would start.  If that doesn’t work the other medication I would try is Kanamycin (kanaplex), which can be ordered on eBay or amazon or Chewy.

 

In summary, the way to get nitrates lower is very regular filter maintenance in removing the broken down mulm - that stuff sitting in there turns the filter into a nitrate factory. Then weekly we need bigger water changes to give the goldfish a cleaner and more health promoting environment. That stops most illness before it starts.  Finally, after all that if he is still sick we can treat. But your tank and maintenance habits are what made him ill, and that’s where the long term fix for your friend is :)

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