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Goldfish lying on bottom of tank

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by nightkitten, Aug 22, 2014.


  1. nightkitten

    nightkitten PetForums VIP

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    One of my 6 goldfish has started lying on the bottom of the tank. This has been going on for about 4 days now. She does swim around at times with the others but always ends up on the bottom again.

    I tested the water and ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels are all ok. I did add some aquasafe 2 days ago too just in case.

    I have been feeding peas for the past 2 days but no change either.

    Fish tank is 550l

    All fish are 2 years+ and I have had no new additions.

    Should I do a partial water exchange although the levels are ok? Or what else could be wrong with this particular fish as the others seem fine?
     
  2. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    It does sound like a swim bladder issue, but can you take a look at her scales and see if they look like they are sticking up at all (best viewed from above, you might have to catch her and put her in something shallow to see this)? Sticking up scales indicates something called dropsy, which is a generic term for a disorder people don't really know much about, but is possibly bacterial in origin, and causes problems with fluid exchange, sometimes bloating, and sometimes issues with maintaining balance/floating in the water.

    If its purely intestinal (swim bladder) in origin, you will need to discontinue all food for a couple of days, then reintroduce the peas (make sure you remove the outer 'husk' of the pea and make sure the sunk goldfish gets his share). Epsom salts (you can buy these from the chemist) are thought to be a good fish laxative if there is a blockage, but you will have to google the dosage because I can't remember. Aquarium salt (this is not the same thing as either epsom salts (which are magnesium based) or table/cooking salt (which have anti-caking agents and stuff in them) can also help if a fish is bloated. Again I cannot remember the dose, but it does say on the packet.

    If there is some sort of infection of the swim bladder at play you will need a fish antibiotic - you might be able to ask your vet for advice on this, but some on here have tried something from the eSHa range (I suspect this one: eSHa 2000®) with various degrees of success - mostly positive from what I have read.

    The main cause of these swim bladder/digestive issues is hard to pin down, but in general it can be attributed to a few factors: The shape of the goldfish (round bodied fancy goldfish have been bred to be so 'distorted' and essentially malformed that their insides have become twisted up and are prone to blockage), the diet (largely dry food bungs them up) and their environment. If kept in too small a tank for too long, particularly when young, they become 'stunted' ie for the period where their environment was too small their outside body stopped growing, but their insides did not (this pause in external growth is meant to be a temporary measure!) causing malformation, which added to their shape and diet is the number one reason why goldfish today cannot live in small tanks or bowls.

    I know you said you have a 550L tank, but what was the situation before that? Did you buy the tank then buy the fish as a baby, or did your fish start life out in a small tank?
     
    #2 Phoenix24, Aug 22, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  3. nightkitten

    nightkitten PetForums VIP

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    I can't see any scales sticking out so it looks like it is a swim bladder issue.

    I have had this tank for about 5 years now - my oldest goldfish is 6.

    The one goldfish who is ill was around 6cm long when I got him so not a baby anymore. Bought him from P@H so I guess it is very likely that he was kept in a far too small environment.

    I feed mainly flakes which I soak in water before feeding them to the fish, peas once a week and frozen daphnia once a week. One day a week I don't feed them at all.

    Will go to the vet and see if they can help me with the antibiotic.

    Thanks so much for your detailed reply!
     
  4. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Does sound suspiciously like early stunting is to blame, but all you can do now is help him get over it and take precautions for the future. This is going to be a long term health issue for this fish, alas.

    If the vet refuses help (or doesn't issue any medication) I do suggest you try the epsom salts and eSHa, some people have had success with those. One person on here actually keeps a low level of epsom salts permanently in the water, personally I would say start with a separate bath rather than adding anything to the main tank, and slowly increase the concentration of the epsom salts in the bath over a period of half an hour to an hour maximum (any longer than that and the fish will stress out from ammonia in the water and lack of oxygen).

    Be sure to find a vet that has experience with fish. Try looking on koi forums, as koi carp are most likely to be seen by vets!

    ETA: Antibiotics are usually administered as food (or on food). Do not dissolve antibiotics in water as they will kill the filter bacteria. The products like eSHa are all safe to add to water as they are supposedly safe for filter bacteria (unless otherwise stated on the bottle), but pure antibiotics issued by a vet will not be filter safe.
     
    #4 Phoenix24, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  5. nightkitten

    nightkitten PetForums VIP

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    The ill fish is back to normal again. After speaking to the vets we agreed to try swimbladder treatment first and it seems to have worked.

    I do think though we might have a problem with this fish in regards to stunting in his early life as I remember exactly this fish being poorly once before. I will have to keep a close eye on him.
     
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