Hi I'm a keen newbie fish keeper, I inherited a fibreglass pond of approx 1500 litres when I bought my first house last year. When I moved in the pond was in a real state (dark green water ect) and contained no fish or signs of life. Since then I've drained the water, cleared out everything (sludge, weed, golf balls ect) and installed a pump / filter with a waterfall back into the pond.
I filled it up with tap water and left the pump running for about 2 months before buying my first fish. I now have 2 Sarsa Comets, 3 lemon goldfish, 2 shubunkins and a goldfish. The have all been in the pond for about 6 months and have been doing really well (growing well ect) until recently when 4 of my fish have developed ulcers on their bodies.
I first noticed a mark on the side of one of the lemon goldfish, which I kept an eye on as I wondered if it was a injury and noticed over a week it seemed to be getting worse. I netted the fish and checked out the wound, reading a book I have on pond fish I came to the conclusion it was a ulcer. I purchased some spray on ulcer treatment from my local aquarium and applied this to the wound daily for a week. Following this week of treatment I then noticed that 3 more of my fish were developing similar ulcers which has lead me to believe there is something wrong with my water.
I've checked the water quality and the stats all look good, except for the ph being a little high. Ammonia Nitrate and Nitrite are all close to zero and my ph is around 8.5 to 9.
I went back to the aquarium to get advice on what to do next, I came away with some ph treatment for alkaline ponds and some anti ulcer treatment for the water. I was advised to use the anti ulcer treatment first and then use the ph treatment as as ph of 8.5 to 9 isn't going to cause immediate danger to my fish.
The anti ulcer treatment has now finished but my fish don't look any better, if anything the ulcers seem to look worse now then they did last week. Although the fish don't seem to be bothered by the ulcers on thier bodies as they are still swimming round happliy and eating well.
I've been back to the aquarium and didn't get any useful advice, basically they told me the my fish are only cheap and it'll be cheaper to buy new fish than to keep treating them.
I know my fish are only cheap but I really don't want to just let them die and replace them.
Can anybody advise me on what I could to to try and help my fish fight whatever is attacking them. I've attached pictures of 3 of my fish netted so you can see the wounds / ulcers they have on their bodies. Sorry if I've posted this in the wrong place but it seems like an emergency to me as I'm worried all my fish will be dead soon.
Are they showing any signs of parasites such as flicking, scratching/rubbing on things or flashing (when they fling themselves at the bottom on their sides so you get a flash of belly)? It could be that there is a parasite problem and the wounds left by the parasites have become infected Some pics would really help if possible I'm no pond expert either but hope this helps anyway
The exact results of my last water test are as follows.
Ammonia 0.0mg/l Nitrite 0.0mg/l Nitrate 0mg/l ph 8.5 to 9.0 (bit hard to tell on the scale)
I don't know if the fish are showing signs of parasites, is this something I can look for on the fish in the water or should I net each on for a close look? The fish don't seem to be rubbing themselve on anything although some of them do swim around the water lilly stalks frequently. But I don't know if this is just normal behaviour. I haven't seen any of them flashing either, the only thing I've seen them do regually is chase each other round the water, when this happens the fish chasing will 'head butt' the belly of the fish they are chasing.
When I filled the pond with tap water I didn;t use any dechloronator as I planned to leave the pond for a few months before stocking anyfish. My local aquarium told me this would be OK as the chlorine will have evaporated, however I have had to top up the pond with tap water directly a couple of times becasue of evaporation and losses.
However thinking about it 4 weeks ago I had to fill up approx 25% of the ponds volume with tap water as my fountain developed a fault and sprayed my pond water onto my flower beds thus empting the pond to the level of the fountian pump, which luckliy happens to be approx 8 inches under the surface.
Is it possible that becasue I used tap water to top up the pond I have somehow casued this problem by weakening the fishes immune systems?
I haven't added anything to the pond for atleast 4 months, the last fish to join the pond was one of ths shubunkins and also has a unlcer on its back, but this fish was the second to last fish to devlop a problem.
Regarding the ph addative my local aquarium sold me it by Interpet and is called ph adjuster for alkaline ponds. I've only added one dose to the water so far, according to the instructions I should add 2 more does in the next 2 days. Should I stop adding this to the water?