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Goldfish sick & not eating! Please help!

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by GayleMcG, Mar 6, 2020.


  1. GayleMcG

    GayleMcG PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    I’ve had my goldfish for 14 years and it’s pal died a few months ago of dropsy. I’ve noticed the tail started to have red veins and start to shred, he then just sat at the bottom of the tank and ate occasionally but he wasn’t right. Went to Pets at a Home At the said he’s near end of his life and would need a bigger tank.

    Got a 64 litre tank and put him in it on Monday 2nd March (5 days ago) with aquarium salt, stress coat and fin rot treatment. His fins look a little better and he’s swimming around but his breathing is very fast and he’s not eaten in 6 days!

    I went back to Pets at Home and they tested the water and said the ammonia was in the middle and to do 25% water change. I also noticed a red patch appeared overnight on his pectoral fins. This looks sore. She suggested I use Anti Internal bacteria solution. So I did this with water change, salt and stress coat last night.

    Today the base of his dorsal is red and looks sore. He’s still not eating. I’ve tried his normal flakes, Tubiflex and peas. He takes some in his mouth and spits it out or doesn’t touch the food. I decided to have a look in his mouth but I didn’t want to stress him but there were no stones etc stuck.

    His poo was also long and clear like spiders webs on Monday/Tuesday but no poo since because he isn’t eating!

    Can someone suggest anything else to help with the red fins, rapid breathing and to help him eat please? I feel helpless.
    I have to re-treat with the anti internal bacteria solution on Sunday but I’m not sure if that will or is helping. I have no idea?? Help
    Sorry for long post but I don’t want to lose my 14 year old friend (called George)

    Thank you
    Gayle
     
  2. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

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    Hi Gayle :)

    Sorry your fish is poorly. If he is the fish in your avatar then he's not necessarily near the end of his life as the pet shop said, he looks like a comet and they can live for well over 20 years. As you have already confirmed ammonia is a problem I would be wary of adding too many medications as the red fins/red patches do sound more like a water quality issue. Rapid gill movement could be caused by a lack of oxygen which can be caused by nitrite poisoning (again a water quality issue), and the not eating is probably down to him just not feeling well at all. They can go a long time without food though, so net out anything he doesn't eat so it doesn't pollute the water further.

    It would be worth you getting your own liquid test kit at home so you can keep a closer eye on the water quality (not just ammonia, but nitrite and nitrate too), and it will help you to know when & how much of a water change you need to do. You can comfortably do 50-80% water changes so long as you are using a dechlorinator and making sure the temperatures match, and I would be doing at least 50% water changes daily at the moment.

    Single tailed goldfish like yours have the potential to grow to over a foot in length and are recommended to be kept in either very large tanks (4-6 foot in length) or ponds, so while you have done an amazing job keeping George for 14 years(!), his growth has likely been quite stunted which can also make him more susceptible to illness.

    Can I ask, what is your normal maintenance routine for his tank? How often do you do water changes? Does he have a filter and how do you clean it?
     
  3. GayleMcG

    GayleMcG PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Magpie

    I really appreciate you replying!

    George stayed in a 28 litre tank previously with Percy lol until last year when Percy died. I had no idea that this size of tank was too small but on Sunday I bought a 64 litre for George.
    I previously done 50% water change every week or so before but now that he’s sick I have done a 25% change since Monday and removed as much uneaten food as I can using the gravel hoover.
    I add stress coat with aquarium salt each time.
    I've tried fin rot treatment and last night I tried Anti Internal bacteria because of these red patches now showing, rapid breathing and not eating.

    I currently have my old Stingray filter on and the Fluval one that the previous owner gave me with the tank. She had it running to build up the bacteria or something. She knew her stuff and told me to keep both filters running for a while and take out the carbon filters whilst using treatment. So no carbon are in either filters.
    I also have the Fluval top filter outlet just above the water to get some oxygen bubbles going so he has more air. Hope this is okay.

    I also got a moss ball from Pets at Home last night.
    I also meant to say I got the water checked in my old 28 litre tank last week and it was fine.
    When checked in new tank last night, the only thing was the ammonia levels.
    What would I do if the nitrate was high? Or the nitrite?

    I have ordered Seachem Prime water conditioner which comes tomorrow and seems to be good at getting rid of toxins? I also have water test strips coming tomorrow!

    I just wish the little blighter would start eating. He was always a grubber and now just spits out the food.
    I feel very helpless and just spend my time staring at the tank and making sure I’m doing everything I can.

    Thanks, Gayle
     
  4. GayleMcG

    GayleMcG PetForums Newbie

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    I think I replied okay above?
     
  5. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

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    He'll be fine in the 64L for now, it might be worth taking out some or all of the gravel though, gravel is quite bad for trapping uneaten food & debris which then makes your water quality worse, but if you are confident you can keep it clean then do what you think best :)

    Personally I have sand in my goldfish tank as any waste just sits on the surface ready to be vacuumed up or gets sucked into the filters. I've never used aquarium salt so can't really comment on it's usefulness.

    Fab, keep both filters running. Surface agitation is best for oxygenating the water, so yep, get the filters creating as many surface ripples as possible.

    I've got to say, I'm always a bit wary when a pet shop says that the water is 'fine'. One persons 'fine' is another persons 'catastrophe'! Ideally you want ammonia & nitrite to be always at 0, and nitrate should be preferably 20 or under. Higher levels = water change needed.

    Prime is ace, it detoxifies both ammonia & nitrite I believe. Test strips are not terribly accurate to be honest and I don't believe they test for ammonia, you would be better with a liquid test kit like the API master kit. It's more expensive to buy initially but has hundreds of tests so will last much longer and is far more accurate.

    Try not to panic! As I said, goldfish can go quite a while without food, so the most important thing for now is keeping his water pristine.
     
  6. GayleMcG

    GayleMcG PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks very much for your help. I will remove something of the stones to help and see how it goes. They do seem to trap a lot of food etc.

    I will do another water change tomorrow and add the Seachem once it arrives. I will keep you updated? The more help/advice, the better.

    will also get a water testing kit

    should I do the second dose of the bacterial treatment on Sunday? You are meant to re-treat after 4 days. Or should I leave it. The red fin marks etc are worrying

    thank you
    Gayle
     
  7. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

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    Hopefully someone else will come along with more advice, I haven't had to deal with much illness with my fish fortunately which makes me of limited help! If you can test the water properly before Sunday, I'd do that first and see where you're at. The red fins are not necessarily anything that a bacterial treatment will help with, it may well be purely down to water quality, and therefore adding unneeded medications could add extra stress onto George's immune system.
     
  8. GayleMcG

    GayleMcG PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you. I think he’s done quite well so far getting to 14 years of age and had no problems. I took some of the stones out as you suggested so it’s easier to clean tomorrow.

    another water change tomorrow and I will check what’s going on. Fingers crossed he starts eating again soon!
     
    magpie likes this.
  9. Zoo Keeper

    Zoo Keeper PetForums Newbie

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    Hello Gayle..

    I'm new to this forum, but I've kept all kinds of Goldfish for some years. I've never heard of such a small water change before. 25 percent still leaves most of the toxic water in the tank. The fish add to this before the next water change. I change at least half the water in my Goldfish tanks every week. Maybe a gradually larger change each week would help remove more of the toxic water and the fish would recover. I also feed some Spirulina flakes. The food is very nutritious.

    Zoo
     
  10. GayleMcG

    GayleMcG PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Zoo

    I have been doing 25% changes every day. The ammonia is zero so I have no idea what is going on. I’m using Seachem Prime now with each water change.

    Tonight I’m also due to re dose using the Internal Bacteria treatment because you dose again after 4 days.

    he still isn’t eating and that’s over a week now :-(
    The redness under his pectoral fins looks bigger and very red. I feel so helpless. took some food them spat it out earlier

    thanks for replying

    Gayle
     
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