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ikcaj 06-25-2009 02:07 PM

Diagnose Newbie's Black Moor?
I am a newbie, but have learned quite a bit in the past 48 hours. This black moor was purchased on June 16th and seemed fine. Within 24 hours, he developed what appeared to be an ulcer or laceration on his back (first pic).

Now, less than 48 hours later it looks as though his skin is peeling (second pic). Nothing I've found on the Internet thus far describes his condition.

He is housed in a 2 gallon tank with a gold fantail that is about 25% smaller than him. The Ph level is between 6.8 and 7.2.

I fully acknowledge having made a mistake in purchasing this fish without understand more about his needs, but I hope someone will help so that he dosent' have to die because I was ignorant.

Thanks so much,

ikcaj 06-25-2009 03:44 PM

Sorry for posting in wrong thread. I thought all things goldfish related had to go here. I've moved this thread to the Tropical Fish Disease thread.

Sorry again.

Lupin 06-25-2009 07:02 PM

Welcome to, Jacki.

Have you read this thread yet? Look into columnaris and costia as those are the likely causes.

Could you please answer this?
1. What is the size of your tank?

2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used.

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water?

4. How long the aquarium has been set up?

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?

7. What temperature is the tank water currently?

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium?

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity.

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)?

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)?

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate?

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule?

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish?

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis.

To start over, I can give you some tips of how you can properly accommodate the goldies. They are such lovely creatures. It is unfortunate they are often sold for small tanks although I realize not everyone is always aware these are not exactly beginner fish, particularly the fancy ones such as black moors.

With fancy goldfish, a general guideline would be 15g per fish.Pond types such as shubunkins, comets and common goldfish require at least 20g per fish as these ones generally are feistier, larger and require more space to swim around. The fancy ones can reach at least 8-10 inches depending on the water conditions provided for them. Your fancies would surely reach 7-8 inches in time if they were housed in spacious tanks with plenty of feedings and water changes. I really suggest you should start planning a tank upgrade. With two of your goldfish, a 30g would be the minimum. However if you plan to add another sometime soon once the moor recovers, get a 75g to expand your options. Craiglist has lots of deals so check it out.

I am confident however you still can keep goldfish properly if you take the steps accordingly and correctly. Do you have a test kit? Do you know the water parameters of your tank? If not, you really need a test kit particularly the liquid based ones by API due to their reliability and accuracy. Test strips are grossly inaccurate and should be avoided at all costs. You could invest in API liquid master test kit at $20-40 range. It will last you a year and it will give you assurance your water conditions are safe for the fish. This may help you as well discover that it may not just be constant harassment that cause their demise but whacked out water parameters. With seven small goldfish, I am certain your water parameters would easily get out of safe range particularly elevated ammonia and nitrite.

Have you read about cycling yet? If not, I recommend reading this thread. Plenty of options and details are available there to help you know what cycling is all about.

Here's a chart of the nitrogen cycle obtained from another forum but it certainly helps give you a better understanding of what nitrogen cycle is.

Could you please tell us what you feed your fish and how often? How often do you change your water and how much? Water changes certainly help but in most cases, water changes will help only to an extent (and in severe disease outbreaks, it will not) but nothing is still better than the clean water quality maintained through lots of water changes as part of the basic maintenance regimen needed for healthy fish.

As fancies prefer their temperature a tad warmer, 24 degrees Celsius is fine. Of course, the higher the temperature, the faster their metabolism and the faster they grow but this is also compensated by their shorter lifespan as a result.

We'll cover more topics in time once the issue is resolved. Hope the fish will be able to recover.

Lupin 06-25-2009 07:10 PM


1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) - 2 gal

2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water? - fresh, filtered tap water

3. How long the aquarium has been set up? - 2 months, but has had no fish. Had a small snail in it

4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know) - one gold fantail purchased and put in tank at the same time as the black moor

5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? - one small grass like plant with four tendrils

6. What temperature is the tank water currently? - 70

7. What make/model filter are you using? - Hawkeye stone filter

8. Are you using a CO2 unit?- Not that I am aware of

9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? - indirect sunlight from windows on other side of the room

10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? - when fish were purchased, they were adapted in live bag, then I removed enough of the old water to allow room for the water from the live bag to be put in the tank

11. How often do you perform water changes? - once per week

12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? - Goldfish flakes, have fed them three times per day for last two days

13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? - small watt light bulb in hood, kept on during the day, about 6-7 hours

14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? - see pics above

15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. - I only know the PH is between 6.8 and 7.2 as determined by a swimming pool test strip

16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? - do not have one yet

17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? - the are my first fish, purchased Tuesday 6/16. They seemed fine at the store.
I was not aware you posted your results in the other thread which I have requested the staff to delete so we can focus all issues here.

In regards to the issue about test kits, see my previous post as I have covered already the purpose of test kits and why test strips are best avoided. We need your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tested as well. At 2g tank size, the ammonia will elevate quite dangerously and cause gill burns, listlessness, clamped fins and red streaks or veins on the fins to appear.

From your photos shown, your fish is visibly burned by ammonia, not just bacterial infection possibly setting in. In this case, I would advise upgrading your tank quickly to at least 15g temporarily (which you can later on used as a quarantine tank for new goldfish) and transfer your filter there. Throw the old water out when you move the goldfish to a new tank and use new tapwater with dechlorinator added to bind the chlorine and chloramine. Do you use dechlorinator? If so, what brand? Your answer here is clean water. With a 2g, you would have to change the water twice a day daily to cope with the wastes. I'd recommend larger tanks as my experience with quarantining goldfish in tanks smaller than 15g was quite horrendous and tedious.

I'll get back to you further in at least two hours. If possible, please PM me when you've answered some of my queries here so I won't forget to look into this when I come back online.

ikcaj 06-26-2009 05:36 AM

Thank you for your detailed response Lupin. Unfortunatley the Black Moor died, but I will be following your advice and doing more research to keep my remaining gold fantail healthy. I'm embarassed by my situation, having made the mistake of getting (from a discount store no less) what appeared to my untrained eye to be two simple goldfish for my daughter to put in her little tank.

As for the dechlorinator, I use a PUR water filter attached to the sink faucet to filter the tap water here, which is what I believe is referred to as "hard water".

I will be reading the links you provided, as well as doing further research before purchasing a new tank and test kit.

Thanks for your time.

Lupin 06-26-2009 07:03 AM


Originally Posted by ikcaj (Post 209065)
Thank you for your detailed response Lupin. Unfortunatley the Black Moor died, but I will be following your advice and doing more research to keep my remaining gold fantail healthy. I'm embarassed by my situation, having made the mistake of getting (from a discount store no less) what appeared to my untrained eye to be two simple goldfish for my daughter to put in her little tank.

As for the dechlorinator, I use a PUR water filter attached to the sink faucet to filter the tap water here, which is what I believe is referred to as "hard water".

I will be reading the links you provided, as well as doing further research before purchasing a new tank and test kit.

Thanks for your time.

I am sorry to hear your loss.:-( Don't feel embarrassed by your situation. I had been through a lot of losses myself and some were worse than your black moor suffered.

I am not familiar with the Pur water filter. Does it sort the chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals often found in city tapwater? To test your pH, KH and GH, I'd get a set of API liquid test kits which should include ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, high pH, KH and GH to be sure of the hardness levels. With hard water, calcium deposits often form on anything they touch. You will notice white flakes forming on the rim of the tank where the water surface is. Those are calcium deposits. They won't harm anything, just plainly annoying to sight.

To bind both chlorine and chloramine, make sure to buy dechlorinators such as Prime that will cover both the chlorine and chloramine as neither is safe for the fish. Despite chlorine being a gas and can dissipate if left aerated with an airpump for hours, chloramine remains the problem as it is not a gas and therefore will not be removed out of the water at all which is where dechlorinators that bind chloramine, comes into play. The dechlorinator will instantly bind the chloramine as soon as you add it thus dechlorinators are quite useful.

Just a few more information put into play to make researching for you much easier...

Concerning the growth rate, it is quite variable depending on the conditions provided. With my own fancy goldfish, I feed a few times a day (out of the recommended 1-2 times a day for adults) and compensate it with 3-4 times large water changes a week aside from my 600g filtration capacity which I am hoping to upgrade in time to cope with more wastes. I could have sworn my goldfish have gained bulk and grown a bit but we will see in the next few months hoping by that time, they may 5-6 inches as they are currently 3-4 inches as I vary their diet with almost anything I can find from proper commercial foods for goldfish to the natural things I find in my ponds like algae and plants. Yes, my goldies love the Egeria densa that I have been feeding them those almost daily.

The ones I moved in my pond have grown noticeably bulkier. Well. obviously, some fish grow faster in the pond due to the availability of food far greater than in the pond. I live in the tropics myself so they get to stay there all year round from summer to rainy season. They have all the luxuries they can live their whole lives.

As far as the ideal pH, fish can tolerate a various range of water conditions but the most important point is to keep everything stable. If your fish is fine with the way you set up your tank, don't attempt to fiddle the chemistry anymore or the fish will never be happy at all. Regarding the ideal temperature, fancy goldfish prefer their temperature a tad warmer than the pond types. Being from Asia myself, the temperature in my pond ranges from 72-82 degrees in shaded areas (with sunlight for at least a few hours and colder at the bottom part). The tank is pretty much consistent at the bracket of 74-78 degrees, but mostly 76 degrees as it does not get too much sunlight exposure at all.

The pH and KH increase is the least of the issues I would be concerned into. Goldfish generally prefer their water hard and alkaline and certainly will appreciate the increase of pH and KH better than most tropicals would have. I would stick to fine gravel or sand (at least 1.5" thick; 2" for planted tanks) as there is a tendency large pieces of stones can choke your goldfish. I had removed almost all pieces of stones in my substrate that would potentially choke the goldfish as I had experienced with my watonai in his temporary tank a few weeks ago.

Continuing this post with a few edits so this won't be lost as there is a storm in my area...

Here are a few references for feeding issues as this is quite complex to explain.

Goldfish and Aquarium Board Gel Food Recipes

If you were hoping to try the commercial foods, Hikari Lionhead or Hikari Oranda Gold are your best bets for the oranda to encourage wen growth due to the high protein content. Mazuri gel foods are also tops based on the reviews I've read. Yes, this is one of the foods that is still pending for me although you could make homemade gel food recipes yourself (see second link above).

I might add as goldfish also like to eat plants, you could add your extra plant cuttings to their diet. I feed my goldfish hair algae and Egeria densa that I harvest from my ponds.

The goldfish in my ponds get to eat tadpoles, insects, small fish (particularly guppies that breed nonstop there), plants, bloodworms and anything else that harbor my ponds. Your choice of proper food menu is endless.

For nutrition facts about fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, etc, check this out.

If you want to proceed through more information, let me know and I'll give you everything you want to learn. So far, we have covered nitrogen cycle process (which is main priority), tank size (top priority), space for each fish, temperature for fish, foods and water parameters (partially).

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