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Goldfish appears to be dying then comes back to life

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Julie Mc, Jul 3, 2018.


  1. Julie Mc

    Julie Mc PetForums Newbie

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    i have a goldfish on its own in a 17 litre tank. He is around 15 years old. Some days I think I am going to lose him, he is lifeless, floating on its side etc then he comes round and is moving around normally. I have a pump in the tank, I had the water tested a few weeks ago and it is normal. I use aquarium salts and have also been feeding him the odd frozen pea. When he is poorly it looks like a swim bladder problem but a bit puzzled if he appears to be recovered later in the day. Any advice would be appreciated
     
  2. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

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    Wow, 15 years! You have done very well with him to reach that age, is he a single-tailed/common goldfish or a double-tailed/fancy?

    Sadly though, if he is living in a 17 litre tank his growth must have been very stunted which unfortunately puts a lot of stress on the body so that could be contributing to his problems. When you say the water tested as 'normal', what does that mean? Did whoever tested it give you the exact results? What some people consider normal can actually be quite harmful, lots of people think that nitrate isn't a problem for example, but in higher concentrations it can cause swim bladder-type issues.

    Personally I would be looking at getting a bigger tank for him, or a larger, plastic (food safe) storage box is a good, cheaper fix. Extra water changes for the time being may help, what is your usual routine?
     
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  3. Julie Mc

    Julie Mc PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Maggie, he is a common goldfish
    He has been in the same tank about 10 years. When the water was tested it did not show any high/low levels of anything, was just told the water wasn’t a problem. I usually change about 25% of the water once a month, a routine I have had for a few years now. I can’t understand how he can be half dead in the morning but right as rain in the afternoon!
     
  4. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

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    Honestly, I'm baffled! At the very least you should have quite a high nitrate reading, unless you don't feed him at all, lol! 25% water change once a month wouldn't be enough even in a large tank, with goldfish it is recommended that you do a minimum of 50% once a week, so I don't understand your readings at all. I would advise getting your own test kit, so you can check it yourself.

    Common goldfish can and should reach 12 inches long and are pond fish really, so a larger tank can only benefit him.
     
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  5. Julie Mc

    Julie Mc PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks Maggie,
    I am going to see an aquatic specialist on Friday. Will take another sample of water in. The first place who tested for me deal mostly with reptiles, pretty knowledgable but would trust the other people over them. Will certainly take your other comments on board
     
  6. Julie Mc

    Julie Mc PetForums Newbie

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    Went to see our local fish place today, did an extensive test, no problems detected. The only thing he could suggest was some food that sinks. He said that as it’s warm it makes the fish hungrier and could be taking in a lot of air when feeding at the surface. He also agreed that the tank is not big enough. At this moment in time he is bent double at the bottom of the tank, was swimming around normally an hour ago! Don’t want to put him through a tank change (lost one fish already by doing this) unless he picks up
     
  7. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Hi Julie,
    Changing to a bigger tank shouldn't cause any problems so long as you move all your filter media over too. Be sure to dechlorinate the water in the new tank before switching media over. And make sure you temperature-match it with the old tank
     
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  8. Julie Mc

    Julie Mc PetForums Newbie

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    Seriously thinking of doing this, he has been fine for the past 24 hours. Got some food that doesn’t float so he doesn’t gulp in too much air when he feeds. Had some more peas yesterday. The fish guy suggesting using the water from the current tank and the same filter then gradually top water up to fill the new bigger tank?
     
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  9. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Yes this is a good method. Also it's worth stopping feeding him for a few days and see if that helps. Goldfish are fine missing a few days worth of food.
    And it might clear any excess air in his system. My golden barb has this problem when he eats. The dried food even when it sinks has a little air with it and he gets air bubbles in his digestive tract which cause him to float. It's very tiring for fish to keep struggling against this. When he poops the air out he is fine again for a bit.
     
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  10. Picklelily

    Picklelily PetForums VIP

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    I would also look at the position of the tank. Is it perhaps getting high sunlight in the morning which in this current weather would be heating the tank a bit more than usual making less oxygen available in the water so that your fish is on his side gasping for oxygen then by afternoon the water cools allowing for more available oxygen?
     
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