My goldfish is gasping for air at PH 7.6
I have 2 comet goldfish. One is older. I just got another recently. The older fish always was gasping for air and I discovered my ornaments were rising the PH really high overight, so I removed all the ornaments and the ph is stable now around 7. THe old fish is happy. But the new fish is lethargic. I tested the water this new fish came in and the ph is rather high. So, When I raise the ph of the tank for the new fish, the old fish gasp for air and opens his moth really wide all the time. I tried putting the old fish in a lower ph (temporary smaller) tank with PH 7 and then this old fish is ok. I do not know what to do. I have a 10 galon fish tank and a smaller 5 gallon temporary fish tank. I would like to have both comets together but the ph is a factor of stress. The paramenters are fine. I keep my Ammonia levels in zero or 0.25. Doing water changes everyday. I do have a whisper filter with carbon included. I had been battling with PH increase still but not overnight. It always will go up, no matter what, even know there is no ornaments. only the filter runing. I use well water treated by a softener only, so it is soft well water. I use a water conditioner that removed toxic heavy metals (as my well water does have heavy metals) the softener does not remove. I am using, just today a PH stabilizer product but it sems does not work with my water, initially PH 10. Marineland, PH regulator. I tried it today. The old fish is not lethargic. He looks happy, but my old fish is struggling already. I will move him to a smaller tank with pH 7 again by himself if he continues to struggle. It is the only way to keep him happy. Why having fish is so hard?. Someone help me please!!
Your problem is probably tank size. ten gallons is so small, and goldfish produce so much waste, that they're probably being poisoned by themselves, to put it simply. Comet goldfish need VERY large tanks, and for a pair, i think you're looking at something more like 75, even 90 gallons. thekoimaiden has a lot of knowledge about goldfish, i will try and direct her to this thread
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I agree that two goldfish will very quickly need more space. But there is something else going on, even more urgent, with this gasping. And that is likely all the chemicals being dumped into the water.
Products that supposedly adjust water chemistry rarely work, and this is because of other water parameters that are all connected. And not only this, but these products cause fluctuating values which is even worse for the fish. So let's take a step back.
What is the pH of your tap water that you use for the fish? When testing tap water for pH, put some water in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid and shake it very vigorously for a couple minutes, then test the water. This outgasses the CO2 which can affect the pH.
Also, when you test the tap water, also test the aquarium water; no need to shake this, but don't test after a water change, wait 24 hours.
Once we have the two results, we can proceed. One other question too, are you using a water conditioner when you change water, and if so, which one? And are any other additives going into the aquarium?
You mention using softened well water... if you can get water from ahead of the softener and test it, you would be better to use unsoftened water or, if the water is too hard, cutting it with reverse osmosis or distilled water to bring the hardness down. I'm not sure what parameters are best for your particular fish.
The issue with softened water is that it has other minerals that replace the typical hardness, usually salt.
Between the softening and the other chemicals that you are adding this may just add up to too much in the water for the fish.
The tank is too small as well... but daily water changes can help at least with the water quality, which you are already doing.
Everything that I have read is that the optimum pH for goldfish is 7.5. I agree with everyone else 10 gallon is way to small. I have kept a goldfish tank for about a year now and I've got 7 goldfish in a 55 gallon and I do weekly sometimes biweekly water changes on them to keep the water numbers where I need them to be. Remember comets can grow up to 12 inches if you keep them right so they will need that extra space.
Byron, Regarding my comets goldfish. Here is how the water comes. I use well water. We do not have citiy water, so clorine is not an issue.
-I use a softener for the tap water at home. The well water (before the softener) contains heavy metals and the water is very hard and the PH is high also. it measures (PH strip) about 10.
-The tap water after my softener is very soft, but alcalinity is 300 high and PH 9, the heavy metals are still present.
I make sure my water conditioner removes heavy metals. I lower the pH with PH down TOP FIN brand (which is sulfuric acid). I use a dropper. I dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of fresh water salt per gallon of water (sometimes less) as I learned the softener replaces the calcium and magnesium with salt. Should I stop the salt adding at all?
-I prepare a few gallons in a bucket adding water conditioner per instructions. I stirr well and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Stirr again and check pH. If pH is about 7.5 I do the water change. I add the nitrifying caterias in the tank after the water change.
-My fish still gasp for air. I do water change everyday to my 10 gallon tank with 2 small comets I purchased at the store 2 months ago.
-They just came back recovering from tail rot. They have lost their tail, but it healed with medication. They used to eat with apetite but I was concerned about the air gasping. Ammonia should not be an issue if I changed 3 gallons everyday. The filter is on track with weekly cleaning and montly replacings.
-I do have a PH issue. My PH tends to go back high by itself after 12 hours. I tried lowering it back again but it comes back to high after 12 hours. If I do water change to control this, I am using lots of water and lots of PH down product and I practically live next to the fish tank, plus I am wasting the bacteria that I add to remove again after 12 hours.
-I feel something is not right. I purchased a buffer product (proper PH 7 TOP FIN brand). It is a powder and it says it removes heavy metals and it is a water conditioner by itself. I used it, but the PH came back high again after 12 hours. This product claims to use salts to regulate the PH and alcalinity so I stopped adding salt to the water.
- I purchased another PH Regulator (Marineland) it claims to keep the PH 7.2 - 7.8. but the PH keeps coming back high the next day. This is suppose to be used weekly only, but with my water changes 3 gallons a day, I need to replace it. I am not sure I can use it again in the same week.
-Byron I am confused.
For my comet fish that swim without tail but seem happy - because when they are in distress with all these products I just put them in a separate 2.5 gallon tank that I have prepared with just PH down product, water conditioner and a pinch of salt, they seem very happy. And the main tank (10 gallon) I just can not control.
Sometimes I have had my fish in the 2.5 gallon tank for a couple of days recovering and doing twice a day 50% water change. and they eat and recover because they were not doing well in the bigger tank. I would like the can live in the 10 gallon tank, me do a 20% water change daily and see all the PH and alcalinity parameters on track plus see how the bacteria biofilter is working. All these water changes, do not let the bacteria work. I add bacteria and then I flush it and put new water and flush again. The water is on ZEROI ammonia because of my water changes, not because of the expensive bactreria I am adding and flushing.
Please help me. - Virginia Holmes
Byron, I sent you a detailed message about my tank and goldfish..
Byron, I forgot to mention. For a while, before using my tap "soft" water, I used half Reverse osmosis water and half my tap "soft" water, with water conditioner and some salt. The fish was happy and It only needed one water change a day. The problem was that it was costly for me to buy water all the time for the water changes. We only buy this water for us to drink at home. So instead of making a montly trip to the water machine, I was going weekly and it was turning expensive. REcently I did buy RO water only for the fish while they were on medication for fin rot. Now that they are fine, I am going back to my own tap "soft" water and trying to fix it with products.
Should I continue doing the Reverse osmosis water mixed with my tap water as best option?. If so, do I need to add salt?, buffer?. I still feel that I am flushing the bacteria by doing 3 gallon water change a day, but it scares me when I used to do 10% (1 gallon) water change a day, the ammonia raised and it seemed the bacteria were not working and my fished got ammonia burns. I started the 3 gallon water change and they never got those ammonia burns anymore. they faded. My ammonia measure is always Zero. is the bacteria needed at all with so many water changes and so much volume flushed everytime?
Thanks - I hope someone help me.
Can I just change the direction of this conv for a moment. The MAIN reason a fish will gasp on the surface is lack of agitation of the surface tension... Meaning when your filter is running on your tank, the "output" water must be above the surface of the tank's water and thus break the water tension when it is running properly. If an "output" is under the surface you will see an oily film look to the surface and all fish will start to gasp at the top. Water with a "still" water tension goes stagnant. As soon as this is corrected the fish recover.
Can you confirm that your filter is working correctly and that the water returning to the tank is above the surface? If not, or you cannot move it up, add an air stone and air pump to break the surface tension.
Can you post a picture of your tank ?
Something not mentioned is water temperature, what do you keep it at?
Seeing as the pH is already high AFTER the softener the first thing I would suggest is to ignore the pH as a factor initially. Also, seeing as the adjuster is not working, just stop using it, the swings are harder on the fish than a steady high pH is.
What is the GH and KH before the softener? I deal with hard water, as high as 23dGH (that's over 400 ppm) with a 18-19 dKH (over 320 ppm) and my pH rides just under 8. You can expect it to be a little high. If the water is too hard for the fish you would be better cutting it with distilled or RO water than running it through the softener. I just use it straight but I selected my fish accordingly.
Stop using the salt, although you already mentioned that you will, I thought I'd reiterate this point.
If your tank is somewhat established (anything more than 3 months perhaps) then you won't need to be adding bacterial supplements... particularly if you have plants... I don't recall, any plants in there?
If you are treating the water with Prime or something that deals with the heavy metals, that might be the only thing to keep up, although it really depends on what these levels are and I would suggest that you only treat the water that you are adding rather than the entire tank volume.... to be honest, I would sooner see you not treating the water at all, unless those levels are unusually high they are not of as much concern as all the chemicals and additives that you are already putting in.
If you are changing water every day, the surface will not stagnate and there should be no reason to worry about that even if your filter doesn't break the surface. Mine doesn't and I have next to no surface movement at all and no surface film layer develops to impede the gas transfer... so this depends on more than filter setup.
Basically, pull back to the simplest setup.Water changes with unsoftened well water. Let the water sit for a day before using it so the pH at least stabilizes and the CO2 off gases. Just do 10% to 20% changes for a week with this so the total water parameters going from the softened overly treated water to the well water are not too drastic for the fish. If your well water tests REALLY hard you can cut this with your bottled water if you need to, this will depend on the fish requirements though, but you need to know what it is first.
Stable is better than perfect.
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