I think the red fins are a sign of ammonia damage and stress. You will need to change possibly 40% of the water each day and test the water every couple of days until you get ammonia and nitrite readings of nil. The nitrAte reading will then shoot up and during this phase you will also need to change some water until it stabilises at below 40ppm.
Have you managed to get a read of the cycling article yet?
Maybe some Melafix to try to help the fish with the fins and possibly some aquarium salt? I think LHG mentioned salt, it helps support the fish thru this bad time. I don't think they really have an illness a such, but are reacting to the toxic water which will be irritating them.
Someone with more experience will advise further. I have not been posting for a while and have lost a bit of confidence for the time being with suggesting things.
edit: If we lived in the same town I would come round now with some sponge full of lovely friendly bacteria! I have loads of mature filter media (sponges) I keep just in case. (See you lot? Huge Juwel filter boxes do come in handy for something!)
Hi Cathie, Ive just seen the tester kit and the water declorinater, i think i should visit an aquarium store asap i dont think i could wait 5 days for delivery i need to save my fish now, i realy appreciate you taking the time to point me in the right direction. Is there something i can do for them now? before the stores open tomrw.
What FairgroundFish suggested first is right, partial water change of 40% ASAP - since you probably haven't got much in the way of bacteria at the moment, it won't make much difference that you can't dechlorinate it - although if you put it in bucket and stir it very vigorously first, that will remove some of the chlorine anyhow. This will diute the toxins in the water.
And the salt she and LHG mentioned, as that helps a bit to protect the fish against the effects of nitrite. Not table salt as that has additives, if you have got posh salt in the house e.g. Maldon salt that's fine, otherwise wait to get aquarium salt tomorrow. Since your tank is about 30 gallons, at half a gram per gallon that's 15 grams. Dissolve it in some water from the kettle first, then add some tank water to cool the solution before adding to tank.
Any and all water intended for use with fish should be dechlorinated and stabilised for metals like copper with a decent water conditioner. This makes the usually horrendous tapwater quality a little safer, and stops chlorine from damaging the fish,and from killing the bacteria in the filter that keep the fish alive my converting the lethal ammonia and nitrite into the forty times less lethal nitrate.
Even in yorkshire youll find that water companies now introduce numerous chemicals that will harm fish and filter bacteria, the days of using tapwater safetly without harm to fish and filters was over some thirty years ago, and even then, water quality for most counties in the uk has decreased again in the last 5 years. Water conditioners are really essential now, tetra, seachem, and api probably make the best ones these days.
If youve never run into cycling concepts before, its worth reading the stickies about the subject on this site. As fairground fish says, once youve learned the subject youll realise in retrospect that youve been putting the aquarium through ammonia and nitrite spikes by overcleaning filter media and by performing unconditioned changes.
If your fish are all indeed goldfish, and im assumming they are,your aquarium will be in overstock, by approximately four years, you probably dont realise the margin by which the fish are beating the odds and staying alive, under those circumstances most fish wouldnt. Take the grace given to you and get them the tank and filter upgrade they need. Changing the filter alone wont really do anything, in fact it will probably change the impetus of problem to massive nitrate production. The fish need more water volume, id recommend at least by 3 times, perhaps even an indoor pond,AND a big filter. A filter has to match the size of aquarium and the bioload, if you overfilter yet keep the tanksize too small you could end up needing 75% water changes per week, which is a loss of stability few fish could easily survive, and it isnt recommended.
If you really love those fish and want them to live, then you need to invest in a bigger aquarium and filter asap, or youll have to love them enough to give them away to someone who has or can get that equipment. I wish merely a fondness for the fish will see them through, I really do, but only the physics of having a correct water volume for them and correct filtration and water conditioning will do that.
You wouldnt by any means be the first fishkeeper to find themselves in this situation, but there are only ever two answers to an overstocked tank, less fish, or a bigger aquarium. You can much about with denitrating chemicals, and various meds over the months to come, but it ultimately wont make any difference. A larger properly filtered and cycled aquarium is the only real solution to the problem, and every day that passes without that situation being rectified will bring with it more consequences of atmospheric poisoning, dwarfed and damged fish, and the ultimate extension of that , fish slowly succumbing to suffocation, maldigestion, dropsy, and a myriad of fungal and bacterial infection that the fish can no longer protect itself against, being that its immune system cant function properly because of its toxic environment.
The fish are showing symptoms now, things only get worse from here, unless their accommodations are addressed.
Perhaps my tone is a bit fatalistic, maybe stern, but I doubt youd appreciate it if I led you round the houses with a load of inapropriate cures and poorly planned technical solutions. Everyone everywhere is looking for a magical solution for overstock issues, theyre all thinking "if perhaps someone would give me the name of a filter pad, a chemical I could add, a magic filter I could use, then perhaps I wouldnt need a bigger tank?"but there really isnt one, its a dream that modern technology simply hasnt yet addressed efficiently. There is only larger aquaria, bigger filters and ponds. There isnt a solution that can fix the initial mistake of overstocking, only a reversal of the situation can help matters.
If you wont let the fish go, then there is only the option of larger aquaria and bigger filters left. That really is the be all and end all of it.
Its like the tips of salt and extra water changes, they help the fish a bit, but will only buy you a few weeks, after that youll be back to square one, with dying fish.
My advice, learn the cycle, do the test kit thing, plan on a larger aquaria, or on giving some fish away. There really isnt anything else that will help.
Overstocking pressures usually are slow, and its the nature of the game that people assume living fish are healthy fish, but lets be honest here, most people wouldnt know by looking. Some peoples fish die slow from overstocking, a thick beginner can kill a tankload of fish in a week, but the perception of most people is that fish that have been around a few years are ok, that there isnt a problem.
The truth is usually that there is a slowly accumulative problem to do with chemical toxicities building up beyond the keepers ability to deal with them, thanks to aquaria being too small, and underequipped, that will kill the fish prematurely , if not immediately, so in one sense you could say that congratulations are in order. You spotted it in time and met people who can steer you out of trouble.
Apart from the reading the only thing left to do then, is find some cash and go aquarium shopping, and think where you can start budging furniture.lol.
Welcome to modern fishkeeping! Though I know its always a culture shock, there are very few mysteries left in the chemistry of this hobby these days, and its often quite an eye opener as to whats actually required to do the job properly when starting out at the start of the knowledge curve. Like I say, your not alone, theres thousands of people in the same position, but first and formost with these problems there has to be a sense of pragmatism, you cant beat chemistry, even if you have got lucky with a batch of tough fish. Equally you cant expect them to go on forever in those conditions, and a fish with a 20 year plus lifespan shouldnt die early merely from lack of water volume, it would be like a puppy not making it much past 4-5 years, people would point in the street and usher their children away from people who keep animals like that.
Fishkeeping morally is still on catchup, , humans are very bad and valuing and respecting the fishy life, but on the principles and technicalities were solid enough to get the job done. If unlike half the globe you do actually love and respect fish, youll find a way to rehome some fish, or get them a bigger aquarium. There really isnt another answer. Check cycling and stocking information and youll know that to be true, just as much as I do.
Thank you for all your advise, i cant tell you how much i appreciate it, i will be getting a tester kit tomrw and looking into another tank, then comes the problem of who goes in which tank, they are all the best of friends lol.
I do feel more comfortable about how to deal with things now, thanks guys Jenny
Could someone suggest a tank size to go for to help Jenny out to make shopping easier tomorrow? Going by the rule 10 gals to each Goldy, 3 could be left in the existing tank ? But I get the inkling LHG would allow more water to each fish? I know I would have appreciated just being told what to go for when I was a learner!
if lhg suggests 150gal/says you would need 150gals-ish, that is like, over 600ltrs. Think you will need to rehome some. Maybe the fish store could take some into a display tank?
Well yes a 150 plus would be eventually required and it will save money in the long run to go directly for that tanksize if the fish are not to be given away, but if the fish are young perhaps a compromised size might see the fish through the next few years on the understanding that those sort of total gallonages are unavoidable.
Perhaps a picture of the existing tank and fish would be the quickest way of assessing a rough guestimate, seeing as most inches of fish per gallon rules are valueless when it comes to goldfish. Perhaps run another 55 gal in addition to the 30 gallon, that way I assume there will be some growing room, the filter in the old aquarium will run more efficently and you can use the old tank to seed the new, possibly easing some of the fishs transition to new accomodations.
If you want to keep the fish together, go straight for the 150gal tank as LHG suggested No splitting the fish up then. Usually, I'd suggest transferring most of the water across with the fish, but in this case, I'd just acclimitise them as though they were new stock
Fill the new tank up (obviously) with fresh dechloronated water, leave it to stand for a few hours (might be worth getting an understrength heater actually - it'll be quicker ) then bag the fish and transfer them across. Float the fish in the bag for 15 minutes to equalise temperature, then open the bag and pour a cupful of tankwater into the bag every 15 minutes. After a further half hour, release them in the new tank. Repeat with any other fish.
Good Morning, I have attached a picture of the tank and fish, i am leaving work early today to invest in a tank with all the testing kit, pump, external filter etc: my credit card will have to take the strain this time but it will be worth it.