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lukenterror lukenterror
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Very sick fish, please help. #1
Hi guys,

I'm Luke, new here and wonder if you can give me some assistance.

I've got a mature pond in the back garden, its been there well over a decade and has lots of healthy fish, is well maintained etc. They are all standard goldfish. One particular fish however is set apart from the others, he is the only named fish in the pond "Terror from the Deep" because he's the biggest, but he never turned gold so is black and just kind of turns up out of nowhere to basically eat out of my hand at feeding time.

Recently I've noticed he has been really struggling to swim properly or line up to get the food. I also noticed during this same feeding that the other fish seemed almost to be attacking him. I fed them again and noticed the same and also noticed a mark on his side. Ordered an aquarium off Amazon (18L) with a pump, filled it with his pond water and caught him (wasn't hard, he's very tame).

It was when I put him in this aquarium for examination that I really saw how unwell this fish actually is. Its only let me attach one image to this so will post other images in a follow up. Basically he is lying on his side at the bottom of the water because he cannot balance properly because one side is bulging.

I had initially assumed this to be conspitation induced swim bladder so I followed guides to fast him for 3 days then to reintroduce food with frozen peas (no shell, just the inner bit mushed up as much as poss.) and then slowly back onto pond sticks. This hasn't helped and I've since noted that the white mark on his side almost looked like it had an incision, a perfect straight incision about 1cm long.

In addition to this he also seemed to potentially have a little bit of fin rot, OR he was being attacked by his peers and thats the reason they look a little frayed. I am using API MELAFIX 2.5mil daily and also Blagdons All in One Fish Aid a miniscule drop daily.

I have been using the Blagdons for about 4 days, and the Melafix only for 2 days.

Can anyone please advise what I can do to help him, or advise what his condition could be? I would really like to see him back to normal and returning to wreak vengeance in his empire in weeks to come.

Best regards

Luke

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lukenterror lukenterror
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Re: Very sick fish, please help. #2
Another image.

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lukenterror lukenterror
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Re: Very sick fish, please help. #3
His opposite side, not as bad, but still some sort of damaged to his scales?

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fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 1/7 18:18
Re: Very sick fish, please help. #4
Very sorry to read about this.

Given that you've already tried the 'pea' suggestion I had in mind, I actually think that an Epsom salt bath might be the best course of action next. (Aquarium salt / sodium chloride is a mild antiseptic, but Epsom salt / magnesium sulphate helps to draw fluid out of the body.) There's a possibility that this fish is a 'she' with impacted eggs but there's also a possibility that she's retaining fluid and/or that this is a dropsy-like condition.

Is there any possibility that you could get a larger tank/container for the fish? If you could get a larger "Really Useful Box" - the 145-litre would be ideal - which could be re-purposed afterwards if you wish, then you could keep her/him in this while unwell and being medicated, but put him/her into the 18-litre one for Epsom salt bath dips.

eSHa 2000 or Waterlife Myxazin would be much better and more effective treatment options than the meds you have which might be ok if a minor issue but this seems like a stronger treatment is necessary. Treat the fish with either of these in the larger tank/container - and there's also much less chance of the fish succumbing to water quality problems in this bigger container (ie ammonia or nitrite presence or high nitrates).

In the little 18-litre one, move the fish into this twice per day for an Epsom salt bath/dip for an absolute max of 30mins each time - but remove him/her immediately and back to the bigger container if any signs of distress at all.

Hope this helps. Best of luck! Keep us posted or feel free to ask any questions or for further clarification if need be in the interim.
lukenterror lukenterror
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Re: Very sick fish, please help. #5
Thanks for your reply

I found one of the products you said on Amazon titled:
eSHa 2000 - Fungus, Finrot and Bacteria Treatment *Pack Of Two* - should I go for that and start using in place of Melafix? or even in place of both the Melafix and Fish Aid? I removed the carbon filter from the pump as I read that was going to strip the medicine out of the water otherwise. I am doing regular filter cleans and partial water changes though.

I found 145L Box on eBay named exactly this "Plastic Storage Box Clear Boxes with Lids Clip Locking Large Store Home Office" does it look suitable? Literally put him in there with the pump on? should I take the extra water from his pond or as new?

I already got some "API AQUARIUM SALT Freshwater Aquarium Salt 453-Gram Box" (Amazon exact name) and have added 1 TSP, I planned on adding another 1 TSP tomorrow after I do another 20% water change (I've been doing them bi-daily). Based on what you are saying about moving him/her from the bigger box when I get it, putting in the smaller box for Salt bath - how much of the Aquarium salt do you think should go into the 18L Tank for this occasion and how long would I keep the fish in there before putting him back into the bigger container?

Thanks so much for helping so far :)
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 2/7 9:09
Re: Very sick fish, please help. #6
It's Epsom salt you need for the bath, not aquarium salt.
fcmf fcmf
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Re: Very sick fish, please help. #7
Yes, use the eSHa 2000 in place of the Melafix and FishAid.

The 145-litre box you found on e-bay sounds ideal, with the pump/filter and pond water (as s/he's used to that) although you could top it up with a little (eg up to 20%) dechlorinated tap water if you have dechlorinator such as Seachem Prime.

As previously mentioned, and as Fishlady kindly re-emphasised/reminded you, it's Epsom salt (not aquarium salt) baths which you should be doing. I've already mentioned the timescales for these dips/baths in my previous post - 30mins max but removal sooner if s/he becomes distressed. The dosage seems to be 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts for every 4-5 litres of water - best to err on underdosing if unsure, though.
lukenterror lukenterror
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  • Posted on: 4/7 6:57
Re: Very sick fish, please help. #8
OK Noted ref Epsom salts thanks. I searched eBay and came across this one "Epsom Salts BP FCC Food Grade |100g, 250g,500g,1 Kg,2 Kg,3 Kg,5 Kg,10 Kg, Bath" it says its Food Grade in its subheading, so I would guess that would be the safest one for him/her? or is there an actual "Fish Product" version of Epsom Salts I should be after?

I've ordered 145L Box as recommended, and a more powerful pump/filter to keep it aerated. I have ordered eSHa 2000 to replace Melafix and Fish Aid. I've also ordered lots of all in one water testing strips so I can monitor nitrite nitrate and all that sort of stuff.

Terror from the Deep is still as responsive to food etc as he/she ever was. I put it in and he goes mad for it no hesitation. I am feeding Tetra pond fish sticks and giving an even distribution of each of the three colours (as I assume they have different nutrients). Given that no one seems to think its swim bladder from constipation I guess it's actually best to feed him/her as normal now? I will continue to give a pea or two a day also.

The update on this so far is that the wound on the fish's side seems to look faded, ie it doesnt look so deep. But a few scales have been shed (attached a pic) so not sure what to make of that.

Thanks for your kind assistance so far :)

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fcmf fcmf
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Re: Very sick fish, please help. #9
Great.

As long as the Epsom salts only contain that, and not some other ingredient/perfume, you should be fine. I buy Epsom salts from epsomsalts.co.uk

The all-in-one water testing strips don't actually measure ammonia, so I'd advise getting a liquid-based test kit for that as it's a crucial reading to take (and the strips for it aren't that accurate / easy to read).

Your feeding regime, and especially the daily inclusion of pea, sounds fine, although it might be worth soaking the pond sticks in the water beforehand so that they sink and the fish doesn't take in air from the surface which can contribute to buoyancy problems.

As for the new filter, move the filter media from the existing pump/filter into that, so that any beneficial bacteria built up over the past few days is transferred into the new filter. Monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate daily to ensure they remain at 0, 0 and 20 (or no more than 20 above tap water levels), and do larger or more frequent water changes as required to ensure that they remain consistently at this - they are liable to creeping up as the filter media goes through its fish-in cycle.

The shedded scales may be from the pressure internally but I wouldn't worry too much about that particular aspect.

Keep us posted, and good luck.
lukenterror lukenterror
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Re: Very sick fish, please help. #10
Thank you fish commander, Epsom salts ordered from the same site you order from and kit specific to Ammonia on the way.

The really useful box got here. I'm going to fill it 3/4 with water from the pond and 1/4 with treated tap water (using water safe) and leave it in the living room for a bit for temperature to adjust (because thats where his little medical tank has been) I will then transfer him over later. Like you say I'll transfer the little filter over to this new bigger tank for the good bacteria.

Should have all the stuff for epsom salt baths to commence monday. I will report in if any progress :)

Cheers

Luke