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Help! not very well fish...
Firstly, sorry for the long post. I'm new and not very good at navigating around so my apologies if my questions have glaring obvious answers and have already been answered elsewhere!
I've had goldfish for years although would never consider myself a 'proper' goldfish keeper i.e. actually I hardly know anything about them, just seem to have been lucky looking after them.
The oldest fish I have is really not in very good shape and I was wondering if anyone can shed light on what I should or shouldn't be doing about it. He (or possibly she, but he's called Benjamin in any case) is very dearly loved indeed - has travelled all around the country with me during and after uni, and if there's any hope of him getting better that would be utterly wonderful.
Here's the info on the tank:
Approx 30 gallons freshwater set up for years and water quality always clean. I use a tapsafe thing when doing water changes.
It has a few pondweed type plants in it from the fish shop
There are two other fish (both younger than Benj, both fine)
The tank doesn't have a filter, or lights (though it receives plenty of natural light), but I've never had them and he's been fine and perfectly happy all the years I've had him (since '99!)
Here's the info on Benj:
He's pretty old for a goldfish (I think, although actually due to aforementioned lack of knowledge I have no idea how long they generally live for). Anyway I got him in early '99 and he's been growing away ever since. I have no idea what sort of goldfish he is (sorry!) - he's lovely orange and has a long and pretty tail that's orange with white ends (when I first got him he was tiny & it was only a stubby little tail but has grown and grown).
Anyway... For the last month he's had a fin rot type thing, which he had once before a couple of years ago and it went away quite quickly with treatment. This time it doesn't seem to be clearing up, and it's been combined with his stomach being puffed out on one side. In the last week he's now progressed to floating on one side at the top and can't right himself. The side that's always sticking out of the water is now getting red. Since he's had probs I've been treating the water with anti fungal fin rot stuff from the fish shop, doesn't seem to be helping this time and now he's refusing to eat anything (possibly as he can't really swim around to get to the food rather than because he doesn't want to). Help! What should I be doing??
I've moved Benj out of the main tank since he was ill, and into a smaller one because I didn't want the other fish getting ill. The other fish tank I've also treated with an anti fin rot thing just in case. But the other two seem fine.
I've managed to break my digital camera so no photos to help..sorry. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be very happy to receive them. Never did I think it would be possible to get so attached to a goldfish...!
Re: Help! not very well fish...
I've posted 3 links to photos here, if you could let us know which type your Benj is, that would be great!
The other things we will need are your water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. Exact numbers are the only thing that are going to tell us any real info. Also, if using test strips, please have the water retested with liquid kits. Test strips are extremely inaccurate.
The more info you can provide us about your fish, including water temp, foods you offer, how often you do water changes, how much water each time, the sizes of your fish in this tank, type of substrate (gravel, marbles, sand, etc), anything you can tell us will only help.
Ok, with that said, one thing I noticed before anything else is that you have the fish in a 30 gallon tank for a number of years with no filter. This tells me right away that water quality is not going to be good unless you are doing daily water changes of at least 50%.
Comet goldfish can live for 50+ yrs, fancy goldfish average about 20 - 25 if properly cared for. At 9 yrs old your fish should be way too big for a 30 gallon tank. A fish that hasn't grown properly is a good indication of high nitrate levels over a long period of time. High nitrates will stunt growth and cause a lot of internal damage over time, resulting in a slow and agonizing death for the fish. A 9 yr old fancy goldfish should be 6 - 8 inches in length, and a 9 yr old comet should be approximately 12 - 14 inches.
Goldfish are about the dirtiest fish there is, so large tanks, good filtration, cool temps, and proper foods are important, as are lots and lots of water changes! Standard minimum tank size for 2 fancy goldfish is 90 gallons, and with 2 comets would be 125 - 150 gallons. Goldfish are heavy consumers of oxygen, so air stones are also usually needed as the fish grow.
We are all more than happy to help you here, but we need more information to do much of anything. The swollen part of the fish and the inability to swim below the surface are a good indication of a swim bladder problem, and if there is heavy discoloration, it is possible that there is an internal infection that has become quite severe. Again, part of this cause is typically poor water quality alongside of improper foods, and most common in the fancy goldfish. I sadly suspect there is likely permanent damage to the swim bladder after all of this time, and it is just now really obvious because of it's seriousness.
We'll help you all we can, but please understand, you are going to need a larger tank and filter for these fish.
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