I have two goldfish. One that is swimming normally, and one that is now swimming on its side. I think that she is swimming on her side becasue she split her back tail in half about a month ago and has progressively gotten worse at steering her body. I can tell that just moving is taking a lot out of her and I'm worried that she will die from exhaustion before the tail heals. What should I do?
Oh no. The right eye of my fish is starting to protrude out. I know that's a sign she has something else is wrong with her but I'm not sure what. She had a white infection on her tail a few months ago, but that has now cleared up. The other fish is still acting normally. Someone please help!
It could be an internal parasite. Another symptom is white stringy excrement. Fish usually get diseases and parasites when their immune systems are weakened by toxins such as ammonia and nitrite. The toxins are the result of uneaten food, dead plants and fish waste. They're easily removed by weekly partial water changes.
It may be too late for the goldfish, but to give him the best chance, change about 1/3 of the water, and syphon out any uneaten food and dead plants. You need to get the ammonia and nitrite down to zero, and that may require some more partial water changes. If you decide to use medications, make sure you follow the directions exactly so that you don't over medicate. In addition, you should remove any charcoal from the filter; it will soak up all the meds. Some medications are successful, but partial water changes are usually much safer and more effective. If the fish have a healthy environment, they will not need medications. Of course, that's just one opinion. Please keep us updated.
Thankyou for your help. After my last post I added a general medication for the white stuff on her tail. Then I got your message and decided to do another water change even though the meds will be partially removed. I figured it was better to try and remove the ammonia and nitrate than to rely on the meds which are only treating a secondary problem. I also added Prime to remove the ammonia and 'detoxify' the nitrate. The nitrate is at 30 after the water change, but I don't have a test kit for ammonia (still a novice)so I won't know what level this is until I get one tomorrow. I'll keep doing daily water changes until I get both down to 0, and then see what happens. Still not sure what I'm dealing with. She doesn't have stringy white excrement, but then again I haven't seen a poo in a couple of days either. She is still on her side when she rests on the bottom, but can right herself for a bit when swimming forward and seems to have energy to swim but she doesn't have control where she goes and ends up spearing into the ground or other objects around the tank. It seems to fustrate her when this happens and she swims even harder to get where she wants to be, which makes her exhuasted by the time she gets there. Does anyone know if a complete split of a goldfishs back tail will affect their steering abilities? Could this stress a fish out and cause these problems?
I have seen fish with split tails before and it did not really affect their ability to swim. If the tail is missing then it will. Your fish may have a problem related to its swim bladder. You could try feeding it a mashed pea. This is used to relieve constipation in fish which can affect their swim bladder. As for the protruding eye, there is likely some water retention. This is also what causes dropsy. The water retention can be from organ failure which is why fish with dropsy usually don't make it. If it is only the one eye that is affected than it could be a localized infection. Possibly bacterial. Is the fish's fin permanently split? You should be able to fix it with time, clean water, and a therapeutic level of salt. Diagnosing a fish is far from an exact science unless you have lab equipment. I know it doesn't help much, but I hope it helps some.
I fed my fish some peas as suggested.
I also did another two water changes and added Prime to bring the Nitrate down from 40 to 15ppm, and the ammonia down to 0.25ppm. The pH is 7.4. I will do another water change tomorrow and hopefully I can get them all down to 0. The healthy fish is still acting normally, whilst the other one is still on its side and swims to the left in large circles. The sick fish does have something on her tail. It almost looks like the tail is calcifying out from her body along the ridge lines. I've taken all the meds out with the water changes, so should I try to treat this condition again?
Also, the split in the tail looks like it is trying to heal but it hasn't moved pass the part which looks like its calcifying in a couple of weeks.
The eye is not popping straight out, but on an angle. I hope that doesn’t mean she has organ failure because I love my little fishy
One last thing, the sick fish has not been eating (that I have seen) and I did notice a very thin slightly white excrement coming from her. So maybe John was right. It could be an internal parasite. Could the symptoms be linked? How do you get rid of a parasite?
You can buy medications for internal parasites.
Are you measuring nitrate (NO3) or nitrite (NO2)? The nitrite, with an I, is what you want to stay at zero. Nitrate under a certain level is fine. Ammonia test kits are around five bucks, and they're a good investment.
I have put Promethyasul into the tank. It has Mafenide Hydrochloride for Bacterial Diseases, Aminacrine Hydrochloride for Fungal Diseases, and Malachite Green for the parasitic diseases.
I have tested the water. Readings are:
I think the gh is an annomly due to the medication, because the water I use to put into the tank reads at 8dGH, and there is no other source of metals getting into the system.
I also put in some Epsom salt, as I read somewhere that this will reduce pop-eye and the bloating by drawing out fluid. It may have some merit. I noticed that the eye has gone down slightly, although the whitish skin around her eye is still at the streched lengh. Also a thin clear line of excretment has been coming out of her in the past two days, along with more whitish stuff.
The affected fish is now lying on her side not moving, and is gulping quite regularly. I have been able to touch her to try and hand feed her, as she can't or won't move. I also noticed that the area inbetween her back tail and bottom fin has a rather darkish look behind the scales, and that the red blood viens in her back tail have gone a very dark red - almost black.
Not sure what all that means, but it doesn't sound very good for her. If anyone has had a similar experience and knows what to do please tell me, as I'm not ready to say goodbye to her just yet.
On a side note, the other healthy fish is being very protective of her. Its always swimming close to her, either beside or above mostly. It hasn't been eating either, becasue it has always been skittish and would wait for the other fish to come out and eat before it would race in and grab a few bites whilst the other fish was there for protection before retreating just as quickly. The (now)sick fish was always the first one to want food and would stay and eat at the front of the tank where the food was. Hence why she has a bigger stomach than the other one. But now that she's sick the other one doesn't know what to do and tries to nuzzle the sick fish to get her moving. It's so sad! Which is why I have to make the sick fish better again, otherwise I'll lose them both.
Any help would be appreciated.
Did you measure the ammonia? Most of the time when fish are sick it can be traced back to water quality, not lack of medications.
I have tested the water. Readings are:
Ammonia has been at 0 or below .25ppm for the last four days since I got the tester.
On a side note, I haven't ever tested for Ammonia or Nitrite before as no pet store has bothered to tell me that I need too. It's only after I tell them there's a problem that they ask 'are you ok with handling these tests'. Geez, it's not rocket science! Now that I know what to do and how the tank cycling works I feel better about being able to help my fish.
The only test I did when the sick fish started to become unbalanced a week ago was the Nitrate test, which was quite high so I can probably assume that the Nitrite and Ammonia levels were also high.
It might be that the damage to the fish has already been done in the weeks leading up to when I first noticed her odd movement. In which case I probably can't do anything to save her.
Not sure what to do now. I've given her some Promethyasul to kill any bateria and fungus that might be attacking her. I've got the levels down to the right range - apart from the GH which is still a mystery.
Sorry. I didn't notice the ammonia results in your previous posting. You're correct that if the water was unhealthy previously, the effects can be manifested later. Goldfish tend to produce lots of ammonia, so the partial water changes are important.
I think I know why the GH is so high. The Epsom Salts I've being putting are basically Magnesium Sulphate which would make the water harder. However I'm glad I put Epsom Salts in as her pop-eye has reduced back to almost normal now.
I have a bit of a dilemma now, as I want to put another cycle of Promethyasul in to make sure that I really have killed the parasites in their free living stage and I'm concerned that when I do the water change from hard to soft will kill both fish.
Having not done this before, I'd like to know if a change from hard to soft water will kill goldfish, and if so how I should approach this safely?
Rapid changes in any water parameter can shock the fish. If you change only about 20 percent of the water the fish should be OK. Since the water has all those meds, you could do the partial water changes every three days. Please be careful to avoid over medicating.
I've completed a 20% water change, but decided not to add more medication as we have to move house which will mean that I'll have to restart a new tank environment. Bad timing I know, but there's nothing I can do about it.
The poor thing is still on its side. I've taken a photo to show you what she looks like. She has red streaks through her back tail, some white pin points in a line on her fins (shown in red circles), both her eyes are 'popping' out, there are some funny dark circles on her side that just recently appeared(green circles), and she is losing her 'gold' colour. It's been two weeks and she hasn't really shown any signs that she will get better. I'm just going to maintain the water quality and hope for the best when we move.
Intrestingly enough, the other healthy goldfish has red streaks through its tail too. He also has the same whitish stuff on the back tail as the other one did just before she got very sick. I could only get a photo showing the sick fish with the whitish stuff (see blue circles). It reminds me of a wound that is healing on a human, which has some contact with water that makes the flesh around the wound fuzz up. The white stuff on the sick fish grew very fuzzy just before she started to down downhill, and when I changed the water and put the meds in, it went back to a looking like a healing wound (see pic). Not sure what it all means but hopefully the healthy fish won't progress to the fuzzy stage because the water quality is ok now.
Anyways, thanks for all your advice John. I do appreciate it. I will let you know how things progress....hopefully with a happy outcome.
Here's a close up of the back fin
Wow what bad luck. It's a good thing you have hope on him and didn't flush him! Good luck.
Nearly a half century ago I moved several aquariums, with fish, from Dallas to Phoenix in a U-Haul trailer. Of course i was young and stupid then (as opposed to old and stupid later), but most of the fish survived. The aquariums were drained to 1/4 or less of their water and just put into the trailer. Naturally, you're not supposed to move an aquarium with all that water and gravel and I would recommend against it; but it worked.
I do not have an answer for you, but I am having the same problem with one of my goldfish (The picture you shared is identical to my problem).
My fish is in a pond, and the Koi is fine. But the goldfish has been on its side since September 2009 (It's now April 2010). I thought for sure he was dying, I found him with some white spots and it looked like he had been in a fight. I treated the tank with medication and the spots went away, but he has never gotten himself upright. Then at the end of October, I close up the tank for the winter. I assumed he would be dead by the spring.
The winter came and went, I cleaned my pond and started it back up today. And sure enough the fish was still on its side and still alive.
When it initially happened, if it was not diseased I thought maybe he was attacked by some animal life, but got away (seems to have fin damage), but after seeing your post I am not so sure. Is your fish still alive? If so, did you do anything?
Oh no. Our Golfish Is doing the same thing. Did you find out anything about your fish's condition on that matter? Would love to hear a response...feel bad for its condition. All the other fish seem so concerned and this matter has been going on for 3 months!
Dwight, how big is your tank? What kind of goldfish do you have? How often do you change part of the water? How long has the tank been set up?
Goldfish tend to live well in slow, flowing dwellings. The fish adapt to a variety of water temperatures, yet the plants must have fresh water and plenty of plant stuff. Open pools is the leading choice of water environments for goldfish. Goldfish are small colorful fish, which come from eastern Asia waters. Goldfish are normally housed in tanks, aquariums, or ponds.
IT IS DYING
Wow I read you answer for the two fish one swimming normal and the other one swimming on its side. I have two fish doing the same. My fish had been swimming on its side for two days. I saw your reply I took the two fish out last night and put them in some water i had ready for them for when I clean fish tank. When I got up this morning the other fish was fine. Wow that is amazing Thanks to you I saved my fish!!!!
Thank You Mike
Most of the time when fish get sick it can be traced back to water quality issues or moving techniques. Since water quality is a primary issue, you may want to read a brief description of the nitrogen cycle:
Moving a fish from the pet shop to your aquarium can be stressful enough to make the fish sick. Drip acclimation greatly reduces that stress. More details are under the TOP ARTICLES list at the upper left of the page.
Visitors and new forum members are always welcome, as are their questions.
Hi john my name is samantha and l have had my surbucken for 3 years naw and l noticed this morning he was swimming upside down on his stomic and naw his at the top of the tank and plus Ave got another small fish witch l have had other a mouth please can you help me and plus l have never seen anything like this before and l hope my fish is fine
My Fish does the same thing. it hasnt pooped for ages, keeps going to the top upside down, but when we tap it it swims for about 10 secs then goes back on its side.
My kids have 2 goldfish and one just started swimming upside down,on it's side and just went crazy. I changed the water in the tank and left them in 2 different tanks. It's swimming around fine now. I think it just needed to be on it's own as it was fine this morning.
This is most likely parasites or a swim bladder problem. Do not feed the fish flake food in general, feed it sinking pellets, and soak them first. For now, stop feeding the sick fish for a few days, then try to feed it thawed peas (remove the skins). If it is a swim bladder problem due to constipation, this could help.
I hope your fish gets better!
This is almost definitely a swim bladder problem due to constipation. In general, do not feed flake food, instead feed pre-soaked sinking pellets. For now, stop feeding the fish for two days, then give it thawed peas (skins removed). This should help.
my fish is almost two now.
he has had a healthy life
when i changed the water and moved him from one tank to another it decided to float at the top on its side
i tapped and called its name he moved but went back to the top