Asking for advice regarding my little fan tail goldfish who I’ve had for 2 years and up until now had no problems. I have moved house back in March and my fish has been fine up until around 2 weeks ago now.
My mum was babysitting a couple weeks back and In the morning we had all woken up and I found that the fish tank had been turned 180 degrees and some ornaments in the tank were slightly tilted. The food was also moved so I was unsure if someone had over fed him too. The 7 year old later admitted she did in fact move the goldfish because “she couldn’t see him”. The tank is a 24litre capacity.
Since then he hasn’t been himself... he has been laying at the bottom of the tank, he’s hasn’t been able to swim up at all. He tried to swim up but just fails and flips onto either his side or more recently, onto his back. I assumed possible swim bladder issue from either trauma that he may have experienced when his tank was moved round, or over feeding(I don’t know for sure if she fed him). I opted to test his water and purchase a swim bladder treatment.
His water parameters were okay except from nitrates which were slightly elevated 3ppm and ammonia was present at 0.5ppm. Nitrites were 0, pH 7.6. I think this is maybe where I went wrong... I thought it would be better to treat for swimbladder over using prime to detoxify the ammonia and nitrates. I did a 25% water change and applied the swim bladder treatment(interpet brand) to the water. I waited a few days and he didn’t really improve, so I tested his water again and got the same readings. I then did another 25% water change and applied the second dose of the swimbladder treatment(4 doses required in total). Waited a couple of days, still not much improvement.. I saw him to be more in an upright position but occasionally he would move onto his side again. I decided to do another water change and add prime to the water whilst i was waiting a couple more days to give the next dose of his treatment. Water parameters still the same at this point. I also added some mature alfa grog as filter media, that my friend kindly dropped off that was from his tank.
During this time my fish also hadn’t pooped for a week so it made me question whether he is constipated and maybe that was the cause? I wasn’t feeding him as often since he got unwell, so I was feeding once every 4 days. He would eat his food fine and the lack of poop wasn’t too concerning at that stage, as I didn’t feed him much during this period so it would make sense for him not to poop much. Just incase it was constipation, I tried to hand feed him a thawed, cooked deshelled pea. He ate it and spat it out about 20 seconds later. I cut another one into even smaller pieces and tried that incase the first piece was too big, he did the same thing. I also tried with cooked dried chickpeas cut up into small pieces but he didn’t like those either. I know it’s a matter of he doesn’t like it because he would eat his flake food when I gave him that instead.
I then purchased some 100% Epsom salts to try help with any stress and I also read it could act as a laxative. I added this to the tank and a couple of days later he pooped! It was a normal coloured poop and a decent but still below normal amount. He did some more poop later on that was stringy and went from red to white? I removed the poop as soon as I saw it - he did try to eat the first poop :(
Again, couple days and I tested his water, ammonia was decreased to 0.25ppm but nitrate test looked closer to 0 but still had some tint of other colour so I believe it probably remained between 2-3ppm. pH 7.6 and nitrites 0. The prime only lasted for 48 hours so I decided to give him another dose of his antibiotic treatment. He appeared to have improved a little bit but not much.
Left it a few more days and gave his last dose of antibiotic and since then his progress has been up and down. Today I have bought an internal anti bacterial treatment (NT labs brand) that i have put in the water along with doing a 25% water change before hand . Water parameters today were the same as before, ammonia still 0.25ppm. I have fed him today and he has taken it fine, he has been moving less and more on his side/back before I put the internal treatment in. I also added some more Epsom salt to try help him along. I have also bought an airline pump to help with the dissolved o2 levels as he has been at the bottom of the tank for 2 weeks. He has still been laying on his side but I have seen him more upright the last few hours.
He has no lumps, blotches or spots on his body, there has been a slight fading near below his dorsal fin but it really is slight. The contrast of his colours has been fluctuating over the course of two weeks - one minute his colours are really strong, occasionally he looks abit pale but maybe I am just seeing things?
I am asking if anyone else has any more ideas on what could be the actual problem of my little fishy.. I do not want to be doing anything unnecessarily but at the same time I want to give him his best possible chances of surviving. He is just a fish but he has helped me through a lot and the last thing I want is for him to be suffering.. I mean imagine being a fish that can’t swim around :( he is a lone fish, hence why I haven’t moved him to a temporary tank and I also didn’t want to stress him out more than he already is.
How long would you say I give him to see some more improvements ? and when would you say is the right time to send my fishy to heaven?(if I have to!). Do you think I have missed anything or not done enough.. maybe even done too much?!
Any thoughts/comments/suggestions are really appreciated.
The poor wee mite doesn't look good. :( Having said that, I had a goldfish that was in a similar-looking situation but Interpet's anti-bacterial infection treatment resulted in a turnaround and he went on to live for another 4+ years beyond that. Yours is still very young, and it's a good sign that he's still showing an interest in food, so fingers crossed.
I know you've already started on a new course of medication but, if I were you, I'd definitely do a 50% water change with the Seachem Prime to see if you can get the ammonia and nitrite both to 0 - any level above that affects fish health. Nitrates should be no more than 20 above whatever your tap water nitrate level is.
Once you've done that larger water change, then you could dose half of whatever today's dosage was to replenish the amount that was lost in the water change - and count this as Day 1 of treatment.
Just before the second dose of medication is due, test the water. If ammonia or nitrite are more than 0, do another 50% water change with Prime; it they are still 0, then do a 25% water change. Then add the medication. Continue in this way until the medication course is complete.
In terms of treatment, the deshelled/chopped pea, fasting, Epsom salts, extra airline pump, swimbladder medication and now the anti- internal bacteria infection medication are the correct courses of action, for all the reasons you suggest. I would keep trying the pea and occasionally the flakes (crushed up and pre-soaked in tank water); sinking pellets are another option but I possibly wouldn't purchase them until/unless he makes an improvement.
As for what contributed to the problem, it's very possible the house move and the duration of the filter being switched off during that might have been enough to cause a mini-cycle to occur. This will be all the more problematic in such a small tank - check out https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... esheet.php?caresheetID=83 to see what size of tank this species really needs - as the tank will be prone to swings in water chemistry. Added to that, the 7-year-old's antics almost certainly stressed the goldfish into his current state, unfortunately. Could he have been touched/squeezed? That might account for his sudden demise. Is he opening and shutting his mouth fully or might he have swallowed something such as gravel?
Thanks for the reply, unfortunately my little Pablo didn’t make it :’(
He did still eat today but he was mostly on his side and more lethargic.. I did have a feeling he might not of made it through all this. I don’t think he had any gravel in his mouth, as I did check for that before feeding him. I think I made some late decisions but I did try my best and did what I thought was best at the time..
I think the child knew not to squeeze Pablo because that would hurt him.. if anything she could’ve over fed him but I didn’t see lots of food floating around in his tank.
Thank you again for your advice and response, sorry it’s not the better outcome :(