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Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 11/4/2017 12:27
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From: Avon
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Ok, I'm devastated to be writing this and can't believe how upset I am. We have a 14 year old ordinary goldfish which we bought for our daughter's 2nd birthday (it was daughter's 16th yesterday). The water had got pretty mucky (we had been away) and the fish wasn't looking well when we got back on sunday night. My husband did the usual full water change (which I now know is very frowned upon, but has been done this way from when she was tiny). The tank is approximately 92ltrs. The fish is now very sick. I have taken advice and the water has been tested twice (yesterday and today)and is all at good levels. I have been adding the tank salt, a new plant, plus interpet anti internal bacteria stuff (as advised) 24 hours ago. She is still poorly. Basically she just lies on the bottom and it sometimes seems to be panting. The advice I have had is that the water change was too drastic and all of the "good bacteria" has been removed.Is there any hope that she will pull through when things are this bad or do you think it's the end of the road? Is it too soon for her to recover and she may well pick up in a few days time? Daughter is away until Thursday and I'm dreading telling her as she adores her. Any help gratefully appreciated.


Re: Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 12/4/2017 18:11
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Sorry to read of this and apologies for the slow response – I’m unable to type at present and am having to use assistance to compose this.

I completely empathise with how distressing this is, having been through several similar episodes myself when my goldfish was alive, before I discovered these forums.
While the full water change may have caused a shock to the fish through considerably altering (reducing) levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrates which may have been very high before the water change, it is unlikely to have affected the good bacteria. At least 90% of these live in the filter, with only a small proportion elsewhere (in the substrate, decor, possibly water).

However, if the filter media (sponge, wool) was changed completely or cleaned under tap water, then this would have killed off the good bacteria – it should only ever be given a gentle squeeze in tank water which has been removed from the tank during cleaning. If all you did with the filter was either leave it as it was or give the filter media a gentle squeeze in old/removed tank water, then that’s good. If, however, you changed it completely or rinsed it under water straight from the tap, then I’d advise using Tetra Safestart (not any other product which claims to do something similar) and Seachem Prime as your dechlorinator (which has the added benefit of detoxifying ammonia, nitrite and nitrates for 24 hours after its use).

Presumably the new tank water had some form of dechlorinator added to it?

Aquarium salt should only ever be added occasionally – when a fish is ill – and this is exactly the type of circumstance in which I would recommend it. I’ve also had a good outcome in a couple of similar situations by using Interpet’s Anti-Bacterial treatment (one time it did seem to be a bacterial infection, the other time probably more due to inadvertently over-cleaning the tank), but it did take several days. Whether or not she pulls through or not is difficult to gauge – but I’ll be keeping everything crossed for you that she does.

From now on, and in the hope that she does pull through, a few points of advice:

As goldfish get older and into their teens, they become less “forgiving” of a missed water change and more susceptible to health problems as a result – you’d need to be doing at least one 50% water change per week or possibly two of these from now on, without fail.

Do more frequent water quality checks, ideally with liquid-based test kits, and especially just before a water change – ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are the key tests and these need to be 0, 0 and <20ppm respectively (or no more than 20ppm above your tap water nitrates level). Any level above these is toxic to goldfish, and older fish will be more susceptible to them.

Additionally, knowledge around goldfish has changed over the course of the time you’ve had her – she really needs a tank of 4’ / double that water volume. http://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... esheet.php?caresheetID=61
http://injaf.org/aquarium-fish/the-go ... t-size-tank-for-goldfish/

Hope that helps. Keep us posted.


Re: Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 12/4/2017 18:58
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From: Avon
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Hello, thank you very much for the reply and sorry to hear you are incapacitated at the moment. Hope things improve for you.

All noted and really useful advice. Her regime will be very different if she pulls through.

To be honest my husband only ever deals with her, so I'm not too sure about the filter. I know that when I reported back that I had been told "good bacteria" had been removed, he immediately put an original filter (it's a white one that I think is probably wool - I know it definitely isn't a charcoal one) back in. I'm sure he always washed the filters in tank water or dechlorinated water at water- change time. It is something he is fastidious about.

There is no change in her condition unfortunately, she is still just lying there, looking really sad. Occasionally we walk into the room and she has moved, but that hasn't happened at all today. I'm really hoping she is just recovering and that it will all just take time.

Can you tell me please if 14 is in fact old for a goldfish? The first place I went to said it wasn't and that "they live until 30". The second place said that they usually live 5-10 years so she is old and that this could just be her natural end.

Also, they did offer to euthanase her if we consider her to be suffering by using an anaesthetic called something like Koy Calm. Is that the most humane thing do you think?

Thank you for your time.


Re: Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 12/4/2017 21:24
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Glad to have been of help. (Thanks for your kind words. Getting some practice of voice-activated typing now.)

The second link above, in addition to http://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... -size-life-expectancy.htm, probably explain life expectancy best.

I never advocate euthanasia, mainly because my goldfish spent almost a week in that state twice (only his eyes moved) and I was advised to euthanase both times – but didn’t – and he pulled through on both occasions and went on to live several more years.

In the event that you do decide to use that method, though, I’ll send you the appropriate info / bona fide method which an aquatic vet sent me. However, I would only consider that route if still no change/improvement after several days following the final dose of treatment or even a second course of treatment.

Hope that helps.


Re: Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 12/4/2017 22:37
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From: Avon
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Isn't technology wonderful (sometimes)? My husband couldn't get used to his voice-activated kit so it's still in its box!

We had a glimmer of hope tonight. Throughout the day both of us have been holding our fingers near the glass to let her know we're there (one of her eyes is cloudy so we think she's a bit blind in it) which she usually enjoys, when she suddenly moved a couple of centimeters in response. A minute or so later she moved to a different part of the bottom of the tank and then I'm sure she fed briefly on her new plant, then went back to the original spot.

Your post really gave me hope and I'm glad your fish recovered so well. I think ours is due a second dose of Interpet anti bacterial stuff tomorrow so hopefully that will help further.

So we're keeping everything crossed that I don't have to revert back to you about euthanasia. Our daughter comes back from camp tomorrow - hopefully she'll have an improving fish to chat to!

Many thanks


Re: Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 18/4/2017 13:32
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From: Avon
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Just an update, she died last Thursday night whilst we were out. She was in trouble so it was the best thing really. Thank you.


Re: Think "she's" dying - can anyone help please?
Posted on: 19/4/2017 19:48
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I’m very sorry to read this. I had been wondering how she was getting on but thought I would leave it for a bit before asking. Thanks for the update, though.

It's very upsetting when a goldfish dies, especially one which has been part of the household/family for so many years, so hope you're all "bearing up" ok.






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