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Guest Hugity

Shubunkin Being Lethargic?

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Guest Hugity

I've had my shubunkin Franz for a little over a year, he's always been very energetic, and sometimes sleeps in his cave ornament at night. For the past 2 days though he did not come out of his cave. He still comes out for food and swims up to get it like he normally does , but as soon as he is finished he goes right back down and sits on the bottom. Sometimes I see him shooting up to the top to take a big gulp of air. I figured the oxygen may be low in the water, and I knew it was around the time to clean the tank so I vacuumed the gravel, changed the filter cartridge, and did a 50% water change, still no improvement. I almost wondered if he was choking on gravel but I don't see anything in his mouth. I even temporarily isolated him in a separate tank with fresh new water just to be on the safe side (my other common goldfish is just fine). So far it's been 24 hours and he's exactly the same, and I'm still not sure what to do. His dorsal fin is still up as if he's awake and alert, and on the outside there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with him. He will occasionally get up and swim around for a few seconds, then he'll sit right back down at the bottom. Another observation is he hasn't been pooping. Could he be constipated? He doesn't look bloated, but I may start feeding him peas just to be safe.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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Some information on your tank set up would help. What size tank? How many fish? What type of filtration? What is your cleaning schedule? Do you take the cave out and clean it during cleaning (underneath ornaments can build up some nasty bacteria)? What do you feed? Do you have your water params?

Sorry for all of the questions, but it really helps us diagnose what is happening.

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Has your cycle crashed? It wont re-cycle if you throw the filter media as that's where the good bacteria live that convert the ammonia and nitrites. Sounds like nitrites to me. Quick fix: 50% water changes daily for 3 weeks. No less.

Also, as Amy above says if you could give us more info by filling out the answers (as many as you can) to the diagnostic chart in the white box above that would really help us help you :)

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Guest Hugity

Sorry for the lack of info before:

Tank Size: 20 gallon

Filtration: Tetra Bio Bag carbon filters

2 goldfish (common and shubunkin)

Cleaning: about once a month (probably not as often as I should) And I do clean out the ornaments, rinse them in warm water.

Food: Tetra Fin goldfish flakes, and I just started introducing cooked peas yesterday (which they gobbled up instantly)

Water Params (tested after tank cleaning and 50% water change)

pH - 7.4-7.5

nitrates - between 0 and 5ppm

nitrites - 0ppm

Ammonia - 0ppm

The common is doing just fine. While observing the shubunkin he kind of swims like he is heavy. He will still come up for food, but he sinks down very fast and rests. And he has been pooping yesterday and today, so I don't think he is constipated.

I really appreciate your help!

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I'm going to pop in really quickly to advise you on doing more frequent water changes (preferably weekly) until you get a larger tank. these two fish of yours can grow to quite large beauties and they need lots of space to swim. plus, the larger water volume you have, the less time you spend cleaning! :thumb:

also, the water parameters aren't exactly helpful considering they were taken after you performed the water change. next time try and take them before the water change. what happened here is that if you were showing and high nitrates/nitrites or ammonia we have no idea b/c of the new water introduced in addition to the old water being taken out.

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Yes- those are single tail fish and need a lot of swimming room. It happens suddenly, fish outgrow their tanks and the good bacteria just cannot manage anymore.

An extra filter until you can get a larger tank would help meanwhile.

It sounds like he may have some swim bladder issues. Longterm feeding of only flake food can cause this because fish gulp air to take them in on account of their shape and that they float. Also flake food does not keep well. Generally speaking all nutritional content of flake food has been destroyed after the pot has been opened several months. 3-6. New food often gets fish back on their fins I find. Try switching to sinking pellets and some fresh food, the peas you are trying now are great, make sure they are softly boiled and skinned, also brocolli, kiwi and brine shrimp to increase vit C intake which they need on a daily basis for good health.

As for the sinky swimming..it could be food alone issues (plus maybe some water issues) and you will know for sure if you switch food and wait and see. If he does not improve with the change in diet, I should consider treating both fish for flukes which tend to gain hold when fish are stressed and multiply. Some fish cope with a huge fluke load where others will bottom sit... all fish should be treated at some point with praziquantel (only) for flukes to rule out the possibility.

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You have gotten the best advice...first Martha then our one and only Trinket! :)

She has helped me out way too many times to count! :heart

How is it going? I know the whole....geesh I have single tails and they are HUGE! Bigger tank and bigger water changes....should fix you issues. you are absolutely fab with you parameters. :)

Please post back.

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Guest Hugity

thanks everyone for your responses! He is still bottom sitting, and appears to be gasping wider as he breathes now. He is having some balancing issues too, falling down on his side but still breathing, though he seems to have propped himself against the glass. The common fish seems to be worried, as he is cautiously swimming up to him and even hovering above him as he sits there!

I am continuing with the daily water changes, and will be changing up their diet too. Is it a good idea to fast him for a couple days before I feed him anything new, especially since he's not doing well?

I definitely want to put them in a bigger tank, though space is kind of limited in our apartment, and there is also the possibility of us moving into a new place soon... so I'd hate to set up a huge tank only to have to move it in a couple months.

I will consider the fluke medication too. I'm just hoping he makes it through the night :/

Edited by Hugity

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Guest Hugity

Unfortunately my shubunkin Franz didn't make it last night. He was struggling to breathe a lot and couldn't stay upright.

I really appreciate everyone's input and help, I'll certainly take this experience as a lesson to keep my other fish as healthy as possible. I think until I get a bigger tank, my common will be the only goldfish in the 20 gallon.

Though have any of you experienced strange behavior from other fish after another dies? This morning my common almost seems sad! He is hovering close to the gravel hiding in the corner. He definitely doesn't look sick, but almost scared. Do goldfish recover socially if they lost a fish after they've been with a companion for their whole life?

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oh my I am sorry that Franz is no longer with us. :( RIP

keep in mind that you did the best you could for Franz and you were trying to help him. :hug

fish are amazing creatures. I have read many obit stories where the fish have become mornful. just keep an eye on your common, he made need some extra loving since his buddy is gone. :heart:k055:

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I'm sorry for your loss, and to your question I have my own experience as an answer.

I actually had a goldfish die from, believe it or not, depression. She was very attached to her tank-mate, and when he died due to being lodged between the glass and the filter in-take (no abnormal behavior from either of them before this, both peppy and eating, and healthy), he dorsal fin slumped backward, she moped around, and finally just... sat on the bottom and died within that same day. Tank params were fine and everything.

I'm not saying that your fish will do the same (let's hope not!), as it really depends on the fish and how attached to each other they were, the goldfish I have now (that was with the other three) is doing perfectly fine, but she was very anti-social to begin with.

Edited by Aiyklen

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Guest Hugity

Thanks Aiyklen :D My common (named Pez) has had a tank mate his whole life, over 3 years. Right now he acts very apprehensive without any other goldfish with him and gets scared easily... though if he's hungry he will still come up to the glass to greet me haha. He is swimming around at least so I take that as a good sign, he's probably just a bit shaken up to be on his own. I'll certainly keep an eye on him though!

Edited by Hugity

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Perhaps you could try to make him feel better by trying a new food? Something interesting like a banana? Make sure it's still somewhat green though or else your filter will get more than Pez O.o, and that's never any good, but my own goldie just LOVES to push it around the bottom of her tank and nibble at it. Or if not a new food, maybe an ornament he can explore? I'm not sure if fish do the same thing but I know I feel better when I get distracted :D

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You need to get Pez a companion as soon as possible - goldfish do NOT like to be alone.

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Well, I know others are trying to be diplomatic and "gentel" here, but I have enough of a reputation of being a nasty old lady, so I am going to jump in here and state a few facts.

I am glad you all care for your fish as much as you do. That is great. I do, too. That is what Koko's is all about. But when we fail to give the fish the care they deserve because we are so busy anthromorphizeing their feelings, I have to step in.

Fish are not humans. They do not have the same emotions as humans. Some types of fish (goldfish included) benefit from tank/pond mates for they are schooling fish. They survive in nature better with companions for they are all watching for predators. The more eyes to watch for danger, the better they all can escape when a problem arises. Fish also have certain "habits" - they can have routines they create or you create for them. They "get used" to a set of parameters in their lives. This means the light going on means food, the water syphon means a change, a person coming to the tank/pond means food, a hand is not necessarily dangerous, etc.

All this is fine, but fish do not die from depression. Let me repeat that.... FISH DO NOT DIE FROM DEPRESSION. If one fish is having disease problems and another in the tank has slightly better immunities, it may or may not show symptoms at the same time. Just as you can have a whole classroom full of children, not all will get a cold if one does. Not all will die of SwineFlu, but some do. Same with the fish. Some fish, through genetics, stress, physical design or lack of immunity will take disease VERY hard and fast - and may die almost without warning. Others may be able to hang on with a lack of many outward signs of distress...

Your Shubie had a problem. I am glad you tried to address the problem - many of the issues were addressed for you, Hugity. Water upgrade, food upgrade, and water changing habits upgrade will go far in the future to help you help your fish. That is fine. But please do not just pass this latest problem with the common off to "depression". Fish do not get depressed.

It sounds like your fish have parasites. If I had to toss out a diagnosis, I would guess flukes. Fish can live for years and years with a small load of gill flukes - and do not have any particularly noticible problems UNTIL another stress comes along. Then the fish's immunity can lower and the flukes can grow out of control and kill. If the water parameters slipped (I think that may have happened), if the tank got hot or chilled, if the food changed, if, if, if.

Parasits also open a fish up to opportunisitic bacteria. There is ALWASY bacteria, "good" and "bad" in every environment. You cannot eliminate them - even with a UV. When a fish is attacked by parasites, they make a "door" into the fish for the "bad" bacteria. It is the most common senerio in fish problems/death. A stress occurs, the fish's immuntiy takes a hit. The parasites start multiplying. The fish is stressed further and sinks to the bottom of the tank. (Many types of parasites have life stages where they are wait in the substrate for a stressed fish to sit on the bottom in proximity to the parasites. This creates more parasite load). The fish has gill flukes - so the gills do not function as well as they should. The fish needs extra oxygen - and swims to the surface when it can. The flukes open the fish up to a bacterial infection - and the fish dies.

The tank mate now has a fluke load - and, being the only fish in the tank, the out of control fluke population is "ganging" up on the remaining fish. Bacteria will take over soon - and you will lose this fish, too.

I strongly suggest that you treat for flukes. A salt level of 0.3ppm will help. Prazi will help control them even better. Please - you have done a good thing coming here for information and help. I am proud of you. You care about your fish - so do not sit back and let others mistakenly advise you that you need to get a fish psychiatrist. Let's see if we can save your remaining fish!!!!

Do not get a new companion until this problem is resolved. To do so would only prepetuate the problem..... and the new fish would succumb to the same problem.

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Guest Hugity

thank you daryl, your response has been most thorough and I will treat for flukes.

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Ha ha... I so wish I could be Daryl! smile.gif

She really did give you excellent advice. heartpump.gif

She hates flukes because she has had serious issues raising fish/fry.......she knows what she is talking about. Get the prazi and salt and you should be golden.

I guess I should say welcometo.jpg

Edited by newbiefishgirl

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