I know a plethora of information has already been written about fancy goldfish and issues with swimbladder disorder but I thought I'd ask people's thoughts on this particular issue.
I have a 600l tank with 6 Oranda's, 1 Ranchu and 1 Lionhead - they are all healthy and swimming about happily however my black oranda has some buoyancy issues which I believe is food-related.
I used to feed the fish a combination of Hikari sinking pellet, frozen food & peas (on varying days, not in 1 sitting), feeding once in the morning and once in the evening.
I have owned the black oranda since April but over the past couple of months he has displayed problems with his swimming, in particular when he is feeding from the gravel his back-end lifts up to the point where it tips him over and he has to barrel-roll to "right himself" - his swimming overall is poor and he often appears to struggle whereas the others swim with relative grace (well as much as fancies can bearing in mind they aren't strong swimmers).
Around a month ago I withheld food for 4 days and this seemed to solve the problem, after this I fed the fish peas and he appeared to be ok.
I have also stopped feed Hikari and replaced this with Repashy Soilent Green, a gel food which is meant to be much better for fancies when it comes to SBD as I hear some fish can react badly to Hikari food.
But, over the past couple of weeks his buoyancy issues have come back, he isn't stuck at the bottom or at the top but he is definitely struggling with his swimming again.
I am currently feeding once in the morning and once in the evening, any suggestions as to how I can alleviate this issue for him? None of the other fish in the tank have ever displayed any SBD issues.
PH - 7.2 (I use crushed coral to raise the ph as I am in a softwater area) Nitrate - 0 Nitrite - 0 Ammonia - 0
You have tried all obvious suggestions re food. I once had a fancy who was like a mine canary - but for detecting nitrate, and floated if the nitrate rose above 20 when the others were fine. I see your nitrate is 0. That would be unusual, can you redo test shaking very vigorously, and check it's in date, just in case? It may just be physiology you cannot overcome - but wait for any better ideas before despair sets in!
Ah that?s interesting, I hadn?t heard of that kind of behaviour before.
I did a large water change on Sat (50%) and tested the water Tues night, the nitrate levels appeared to be very low and I interpreted it as 0 on the chart (I use the API Freshwater testing kit, only bought it in March) so assumed the levels hadn?t built up enough but I?ll check again as that is an interesting thought.
Given all the others are fine, could be genetic, given how compact there insides are many fancies suffer swimming issues no matter how well cared for. I presume you give your food a good soak before feeding? I did feed mine repashy, but found it very messy compared with saki hikari pellet I feed now. If your nitrates are truly zero.. then sir, I am truly envious. I know mine dislike anything above 20. Whats your tap water nitrate?
Yes could be genetic and he must be more sensitive to certain foods than the others but he is a few years old now, 6" in size - I contacted his previous owner (I bought him privately) and he told me he never had issues with buoyancy before.
Yep all my food is well soaked before feeding.
Tested the nitrates again using the API kit, did a water change about 6 days previously and again the nitrates showed up very low, certainly not above 20ppm - I then tested the nitrates from the tap and the colours look identical, strange.
I may have to feed him less frequently than the others although that could be tricky!
The only other reason I can fathom as to his issues could be related to the height of my tank.
The tank is 60" wide, 20" deep and 30" high which from what I gather can be regarded as being a bit too deep for fancies with their heavy, rounded bodies.
The reason the other fish are fine could be because the majority of them were raised in ponds, this is certainly what Star Fisheries told me and until I had them they had never even come close to a fish tank before - being raised in ponds they would naturally become accustomed to deep water.
I can only assume my black oranda has been raised in an aquarium all his life and so therefore isn't used to the deep water of my tank and this could be causing his buoyancy issues, this may also explain why his previous owner never had any issues with him (his tank appeared to be no more than 20" high from what I could see) and these issues only developed once I had him.
If anyone else could confirm / reject this idea I would be very welcome.
I woke up on Saturday morning and felt completely exasperated at still seeing him barrel-rolling and struggling to swim, he has been exhausted lately trying to swim properly and it?s been getting me down seeing him that way.
So I took him out of the tank and placed him in a container and fed him 3 crushed (skinless) green peas, fed the other fish as normal in the tank, after he had finished eating I put him back in to avoid stressing him out too much. I did that in the evening as well and same twice again on Sunday, he wasn?t too impressed with being fished out of the tank twice a day but it was for his own good.
This morning I woke up to find up to find him swimming around the tank happily, a few wobbles here and there but 100% better than he was 48hrs ago, I?m really pleased.
So overall I think he must be VERY susceptible to bloat issues when it comes to food, I?m going to have to keep him on a majority veggie diet to keep him in check with the occasional treat of Hikari / live foods.
I think long-term it will simply be a case of me feeding them all peas and veg 80% of the time with the occasional Hikari / frozen food / repashy treat with a few days in-between to avoid any blockages for the Black Oranda ? obviously it simply isn?t practical to either remove him from the tank or put in some sort of divider at every feeding time.
The other 7 fancies are relatively slender by comparison so this probably explains why they can gobble up anything and everything and suffer no ill effects whatsoever whereas he is noticeably more rotund.
The others may not like it much but they?re suddenly going to get a lot more vegetarian!