(1) 2 3 »
merpig merpig
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 30/4 21:01
  • Group: Registered Users
  • Posts: 19
  • Posted on: 30/4 21:32
Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #1
Hi all,

First post here, and it's going to be long so please bear with me! There's a summary at the end for those who can't get through it all! I just can't seem to get my goldfish tank right, I've tried a lot of different meds, and want input on whether my treatment plan seems sensible. I've had a browse and it seems like there are a lot of really knowledgeable people here so hopefully someone will have some ideas too.

I've had a tank for roughly 2 years, the original tank was a bit of a novice fish keeper situation, internal filters on a 200l, it never really got cycled (which I realise in hindsight).

Last September I decide to upgrade my tank and get serious. At that time I had one oranda in the tank. I'd previously had a common in there (first fish, from a fair), who exhibited a lot of symptoms I've since come to associate with fish tb - stunting despite being in a decent size tank, lethargy, crooked spine, and eventually dropsy, which is when I euthanised. At that time I did not have a test kit, so realise it could have been severe nitrite/ammonia poisoning rather than anything more sinister.

In Sept I upgrade to a 250l tank and an fx6 canister filter. I order 3 new fish at the same time and put them in the 200l and move my existing fish to the new set up. The old tank promptly springs a leak 3 days into quarantine. Into the main tank they go.

All good behaviour wise, but I notice white lumps on the mouths of 2 of the fish about a month after I got them. Suspect fungus, but by this point I'm deep into attempting to fish-in cycle having finally got a test kit and realised I'm not cycled. I figure I can mess around with meds later. The fungus never really gets bad, but is persistently mildly there to this day, despite now multiple rounds of treatment.

Around 3 months later the cycle is reliably established, but one of the new additions develops a suicidal habit of obsessively eating sand to the point he's constantly expelling it and swelled up like he has dropsy. Sand removed, needless to say, now it's bare bottom. Fish in question recovered but is left with slightly protruding scales on one side. He was fine for a while but nowadays is lethargic.

As of the last few months, another of the newer 3 editions looks a bit bloated. She has iridescent scales and I couldn't decide if that's what I'm seeing or whether it's early dropsy. She is the fish most affected by the persistent fungus. I leave it alone initially thinking I'm imagining the protruding scales.

Again, in the last few months, the oranda is persistently bottom sitting. Good behaviour when looking for food etc but otherwise she's on the bottom.

And in the last few months, the third of the new editions has developed swim bladder issues. She's a large ryukin and topples over nose down a lot, occasionally upside down but generally correcting herself. She often sits at the surface and surface breathes.

Treatments: each one I've tried I've then removed with carbon, and waited a week to 14 days waited between each one, generally with no noticeable effect at all, positive or negative:

Methylene blue baths for the fungus - this removes it but it reappears. I've done as much as 21 consecutive days of baths to no avail.

Interpet anti fungus and finrot

Waterlife Gill and Body flukes sterazin (active ingredients acriflavine, malachite green, piperazine citrate)

Fluke solve (active ingredient praziquantel)

Now the situation has escalated because the fish I was concerned about protruding scales is starting to pinecone. I've ordered antibiotics online from the USA (kanaplex and metroplex) because that seems to be the only stone left unturned, and can't get to the vet due to financial worries brought on by the lockdown, and because of the lockdown itself! I have a 90l quarantine tub and am considering just removing all four fish and treating them all, because something is going on.

tl;dr - all four fish have a separate issue and I've tried obvious parasite and anti fungal treatments. Tank is 250l, 4 fish, readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5ppm nitrate, water change schedule is 60-70% every 4-5 days, I treat the water with prime. Filter is an fx6 and they have a large airstone.

Symptoms -

Fish 1 - raised scales from eating sand 4 months ago from which he recovered, now lethargic and breathing heavily;
Fish 2 - pine coning, mild at present and the main reason for buying antibiotics. Treating with epsom salt baths daily until the antibiotics arrive. Behaviour still good;
Fish 3 - swim bladder, surface breathing;
Fish 4 - bottom sitting;

Should I blanket treat with kanaplex and metroplex? Any thoughts if there could be a root cause.

I know this is super long, so thank you anyone who read to the end.
fcmf fcmf
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Joined: 17/10/2014 12:20
  • From -
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership Advisers
  • Posts: 886
  • Posted on: 1/5 13:47
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #2
I've read your post thoroughly and can relate so much to it from when I kept goldfish (in particular the in-hindsight-never-cycled aspect and the sand-ingestion aspect leading to a bare-bottomed tank - my goldfish got gravel lodged in his throat too many times which led to sand substrate which resulted in similar problems to you).

I think, as you suspect, the lack of cycling most likely accounts for the onset of the problems, and possibly it's had a bit of domino effect. As for the fish that had the habit of ingesting the sand, it's altogether possible that his scales will take time (maybe even up to a year) to settle back into position as he may well have distorted/stretched his innards quite extensively - although I wouldn't rule out potential dropsy just yet either. I'm not surprised that the bloated fish with possibly protruding scales did progress to pineconing - having had a goldfish with definite/unmistakable pineconing in the past, and then a cardinal tetra with possible pineconing in which it was only evident from certain angles and wasn't 100% covering her body, I now understand that any queriable cases almost always are a mild case of it.

I would advise:

* monitoring ammonia, nitrite and nitrate regularly during the week - I agree that a bare-bottom tank is best under the circumstances but, as beneficial bacteria can be located in the substrate too (which acts as a little fallback), it means in your case that it's all the more important that the filter functions perfectly as all the beneficial bacteria are housed in that one location;

* have you any photos of the fungus to see how mild/severe it is?;

* considering getting an airstone for the tank - ordinarily, I wouldn't recommend these as they're more aesthetic than practical, and I've never had one so can't make any recommendations, but I've read of folk finding their extra oxygenation beneficial to ailing fish and the key factor in a turnaround - I wonder if this might help the lethargic and bottom-sitting ones (although I don't know whether it might hinder the ryukin and cause further toppling...);

* generally, for swimbladder malfunction, varying the diet can help:
** peas (shell off, each half cut into small morsels) are usually well-received (and spark up some interest rather than lethargy) and should be fed a couple of times a week as well as dried foods;
** if you feed flakes, pre-soak them in some removed tank water, then add to the tank to avoid the fish inadvertently inhaling air which contributes to swimbladder problems;
** try feeding pellets too as an alternative to flakes - lots of options nowadays for fancy goldfish who are prone to swimbladder type problems, and maybe even live/frozen foods; [some examples at https://www.pro-shrimp.co.uk/94-food-by-species]
** also check out http://injaf.org/aquarium-fish/the-go ... bladderbuoyancy-problems/

* continue with the daily Epsom salt baths/dips to help with bloating in the pineconed fish;

* proceeding with those treatments you've ordered as the situation has escalated and if the pineconed fish is still alive by the time of their arrival, and as you seem to have exhausted all other possibilities (but, equally, you've been sensible about your approach by allowing time for the fish to recover in between treatments) - NB it might be that the altered diet in the interim resolves Fish 1, 3 and 4's problems, in which case they wouldn't require treatment (depending on how bad the fungus aspect is);
** if you do proceed with these treatments and treat all 4 fish, you could move them to the quarantine tub with reduced water level in it so that those with swimbladder difficulties have less distance to 'fall'/float up/tumble BUT unless you used the existing filter with it, you'd be subjecting the fish to a new fish-in cycle (as the current filter has the correct amount of beneficial bacteria to support the existing fishes' bioload), in which case you might be as well simply to treat them in the main tank. If only Fish 2 ultimately gets treated, then move her into the quarantine tub with ~25% of the filter media from the main tank's filter moved into the quaranatine tub's filter to support her bioload, keeping the others in the main tank.

Hope that helps.
merpig merpig
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 30/4 21:01
  • Group: Registered Users
  • Posts: 19
  • Posted on: 1/5 14:19
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #3
Thanks very much for your reply, good to know others have been through similar things trying to get a goldfish tank sorted, I’ve felt unlucky!

Forgot to mention in the post, they have an air stone in, and I’m feeding repashy soilent green gel food which I switched to recently as I heard it can be helpful for swim bladder. Before that I used new life spectrum sinking pellets. Can’t say I’ve noticed much difference since switching over but they seem to enjoy repashy.

Re filtration for the hospital tub - I thought the antibiotics would kill the beneficial bacteria so was planning to just add an air stone and do 80-90% water changes daily (rip my water bill). Do you think that would work? Maybe treat two at a time so that there’s less waste production and reduce feeding down?

Main concern is the fish with dropsy making it to when the antibiotics arrive now, although she’s eating well and more active than all the others tbh!🤞
fcmf fcmf
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Joined: 17/10/2014 12:20
  • From -
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership Advisers
  • Posts: 886
  • Posted on: 1/5 14:45
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #4
Ah good - glad you mentioned the Repashy Soilent green; I had meant to include that as I know others have used that to good effect for fish swimbladder problems. Great that you're using it, to at least give it a chance to see if it works. Spirulina is also often mentioned as helpful - it tends to be found in some of the dried foods.

As for the antibiotics affecting the filter, I had actually planned to check up on that very issue myself after posting but have had to take a break, so hadn't got round to it yet. If it does, then your approach sounds sensible. [Edited to add 14:55: I've since checked up on that - some antibiotics do kill filter bacteria, some don't, but what seems to be clear is that they ought not to be used in combination; this is quite a good article https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa084]

Yes, that was my experience with fish that ultimately acquired dropsy - they always had extremely hearty appetites and very active/deft at zipping about to get to the food first!
merpig merpig
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 30/4 21:01
  • Group: Registered Users
  • Posts: 19
  • Posted on: 10/5 17:45
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #5
Unfortunately the fish with dropsy symptoms passed naturally overnight and had recently stopped eating so I would have been looking to euthanise shortly anyway. Gutted that the meds didn't make it here in time, but I assume they're caught up in the coronavirus postal delays as well as having to make their way from the US.

The other three aren't getting any worse or any better - still got one with persistent bottom sitting, one with heavy breathing/lethargy, and one with mild swim bladder and surface breathing. All three occasionally show up with stringy bits of fungus hanging off them which a methylene blue dip takes care of.

I am still intending to treat all three with the kanaplex and metroplex - my partner thinks that's overkill and maybe my fish are just kind of lazy and not active all of the time but surely something is going wrong here? I'm hoping that in three young fish a course of antibiotics won't do them harm...

Thanks for the input on the antibiotics and filter - I'll be using the hospital tub and doing daily 100% water changes just to be safe. I can't stand the idea of doing another fish-in cycle!

The only other question was - might it be worth investing in a UV steriliser long term? From what I've seen I'm not sure how I'd set one up with the fluval canister but I could give it a go!
fcmf fcmf
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Joined: 17/10/2014 12:20
  • From -
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership Advisers
  • Posts: 886
  • Posted on: 11/5 14:20
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #6
Sorry to read about the dropsied fish having died.

I agree with you that I think something is accounting for their problems. Is the more varied diet making any difference at all?

If you do use those two treatments in the hospital tub for all 3 of the remaining fish - and NB the point about not using both treatments together / at the same time - then, if the main tank is empty, don't forget to keep the beneficial bacteria alive in the empty main tank's filter by topping up with ammonia to simulate fish waste.

Re UV sterilisers, these threads https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... wtopic.php?topic_id=20201 and https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... wtopic.php?post_id=198993 might be helpful.
merpig merpig
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 30/4 21:01
  • Group: Registered Users
  • Posts: 19
  • Posted on: 12/5 22:25
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #7
In all honesty I’m not seeing any difference with the diet, other than them enjoying it! The swim bladder problems are at a very manageable level at the moment so I’m hoping the repashy and veggies keep that fish ticking over.

Today the kanaplex arrived so I’ve decided to crack on with it, since it looks like using it in conjunction with metroplex could be unwise. I’ll use the metroplex if the issues don’t clear with kanaplex.

Having filled the 90l tub it only really holds 70l so I’ve decided to treat the more obviously symptomatic two together first - that being the lethargic sand eater (!) and the bottom sitter, and leave the one with swim bladder to maintain the cycle and treat him after the other two.

Quick questions:

- directions on kanaplex say treat every other day for 3 doses but I’d intended to wc at least every other day. Is the dose of the kanaplex cumulative or will those water changes not make a difference to the dose?

- I was going to pop the two in the tub back in the tank while I change the tub water every day/every other day. Is there any issue with this? Reinfection? I figure that whatever is in the tank will still be there after they finish their whole treatment and their immune systems will need to deal with it once they’ve recovered so it wouldn’t make a difference?

Thanks again!
fcmf fcmf
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Joined: 17/10/2014 12:20
  • From -
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership Advisers
  • Posts: 886
  • Posted on: 13/5 14:13
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #8
Will need to be brief, so apologies in advance:
* dose is cumulative and can become problematic to attempt to compensate (may result in overdose); best not to do water change for duration of treatment course but to monitor ammonia/nitrite/nitrates and only do water change if levels >0/0/20 at any stage (and do a partial water change prior to dosing);
* returning fish to main tank (from medicated to non-medicated back to medicated tank) may shock the fish, and so another reason for not doing this;
* if leaving one fish in main tank, beneficial bacteria will pare back to only become sufficient to sustain one fish, so take extra care that when tank is re-stocked with all 3, to monitor ammonia/nitrite/nitrates daily for next 4-8 weeks in case at least a mini fish-in cycle is underway.
merpig merpig
  • Just popping in
  • Just popping in
  • Joined: 30/4 21:01
  • Group: Registered Users
  • Posts: 19
  • Posted on: 18/5 13:41
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #9
Thanks!

Coming to the end of the 7 day treatment for the two in the tub - it's hard to know whether their behaviour has improved as the tub has opaque sides so I only really get to watch them standing directly above, which makes them think they're getting food!

I've seen them behaving normally but also sitting on the bottom.

Weirdly, the ryukin currently solo in the main tank has been through something of a transformation while on his own - he is still showing veeeery mild swim bladder issues, but behaviour wise he's more active, perky, and sailing round like he owns the place. I don't know why that could be (water parameters have not been 'better' other than nitrates obviously rising more slowly, but I change the water when it gets to 20ppm regardless) but I'm now questioning the need to put him through antibiotics at all.. any thoughts? I guess the swim bladder issue itself is potentially a bacterial infection?
fcmf fcmf
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Coldwater Adviser
  • Joined: 17/10/2014 12:20
  • From -
  • Group: Registered Users Basic Membership Advisers
  • Posts: 886
  • Posted on: 18/5 14:40
Re: Weird string of unrelated issues? Help with goldfish treatment #10
I'd advise keeping the two fish in the tub, give them a break from treatment for a week or ideally a fortnight, then decide whether or not to dose the other treatment.

As for the ryukin, no - I wouldn't put him through the medication process. It sounds like it's a situation of him coping better with the more balanced diet and possibly reduced stress hormones (from other fish in the tank), etc. It might be a bacterial infection but, equally or possibly more so, there could be a whole host of explanations, including that he's actually a she, egg-bound and being harassed by a male. I would continue to monitor carefully, especially once the other fish are returned to the main tank.