Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dug99 11-07-2007 12:24 AM

Need help with injured fish....
A few days ago I noticed one of my two fantail goldfish wasn't eating the food I was feeding them. He kind of chase it around but couldn't get it into his mouth. Then I noticed there was something wrong with his mouth. Its deformed... its like his upper lip is gone or has caved in or something. When he opens his mouth the bottom lip opens normally but the opening is too small for him to take in any food.

I've been feeding them Tetra Goldfish Crisps which they love but the pieces are too hard for the injured fish to take in. The other fish gobbles all the food before the injured one can get any. I bought some flakes and it seems he is able to suck the smaller pieces in better. Other than his injured mouth he seems to be swimming around just fine.

I really don't know what to do for him other than just keep the water clean and feed him the flakes....

Can anyone here offer any suggestions?


More info:

Aquarium is 10 gallons.
Fresh water.
Had it for about 3 months.
I have two fantail goldfish (about 1.5 inches each).
No live plants.
Water is 23 C (room temperature)
Using an AquaClear 10 gallon filter (Sponge, Carbon and Biomax Filters)
Tank receives diffused sunlight for most of the day.
Weekly water changes of 25%
Tetra Goldfish Crisps twice a day.
A single flourecsent lamp in the tank hood is on for about 3 hours each evening.
Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nirate=5ppm (API liquid test kit, not strips).
Bought the last fish about a month and a half ago, no unusual behavior unitl recent.

willow 11-07-2007 02:11 AM

aww poor thing,have not got a clue what's wrong,
i know the tank won't last them long though,
keep the water pristine as you are doing and
crush the flake so that he is able to eat.

MegK 11-07-2007 07:38 AM

i think that u should only feed once a day, and since he has an open wound u might want to treat the water with antibiotics :)

JouteiMike 11-07-2007 08:21 AM

There are many different options that you use to feed this little guy. Flakes and small crisps are a good basic diet...but there needs to be a variety other than that. Pick up some freeze dried brine shrimp, blood worms, or even krill. The brine shrimp you can break up and sprinkle into very small pieces, most blood worms are very small too. The krill, depending on which brand you buy, can also be broken up into very small pieces...however this usually should be soaked in tank water prior to feeding...softens it up a little. Also you can feed a wide variety of fruits and vegetables...just remember, if it has a peel or skin to remove it completely. Fruits and vegetables include small piece of chopped apples, shredded carrots, skinned peas, skinned grapes, cooked spinach/romaine lettuce, the list goes on with most fruits and vegetables....just make sure they are properly prepared and washed.

You could even pick up a small tank divider to ensure that the deformed one if getting an adequate portion, because it seems like the other fish are getting to the food and eating it before he gets a chance.

A couple side notes...

Your fish will quickly outgrow the 10 gallon...I hope you have plans of getting at least a 55 gallon to temporarily house them. Ideally they should eventually be placed in a 90-120 gallon tank.

Meg, was there a mention of an open wound? I didn't see one.

dug99 11-07-2007 12:31 PM

Thank you for your replies,

I know I need a bigger tank, we had this one given to us and we've only had it 3 months now. At first we thought we would only have one fish in there but after a month he started to look lonely (if fish get lonely?) so we got him tank mate. They are still small and the water is kept very clean.

I forgot to mention that I also feed them a mashed pea heart once a week and occasionally clip a slice of orange in the tank (they really go for this). I tried clipping romain lettuce once but it seemed like the lettuce wasn't being eaten even though they would nip at it once in a while.

I like the tank divider idea. I figure if I can just get him to eat and keep him healthy he'll be fine. He just needs to grow a bit so he can handle the food better. The is no open wound, just looks like his upper lip is somehow making the opening of his mouth smaller. I can't figure it out, now I am wondering if there is something making the inside of his mouth swell up and it is restricting the opening. Would it be obvious if somthing was stuck in his mouth? Because I don't see anything.


dug99 11-08-2007 12:07 AM

My fish is not doing well....I don't think he is getting enough food.
I keep trying but he doesn't seem interested.
I don't know if he'll make it until morning. :cry:

JouteiMike 11-08-2007 06:28 PM

Have a picture of him?

What are you current water parameters?

When is the last time you have performed a water change? I say do immediate water changes, this may perk him up a bit.

dug99 11-08-2007 09:52 PM

I finally got him to eat! This morning he was in the same state he was last night (floating around and barely moving) so I tried feeding him some flakes (he didn't even notice them but my other fish enjoyed the extra breakfast). Then at noon time (I had the day off) I thought I'd try the crisps (not the flakes) one more time, but this time I pulverized them into very small pieces and sprinkled them (dry so they would float, I normally soak them first) on the top of the water where he was floating and almost instantly he went after them. It was like he was not ready give up. I saw that he managed to get some in his mouth so I immediatly did the same thing again. Ever since then he's been swimming around the tank and nibbling on the algae and stuff. I fed him one more time (same way) this evening and he was going after it like he use to.

Is it normal for fish to get sick and then spring to life again? I seriously thought he was going to die. His mouth is still some what restricted but it looks like he is able to eat small pieces of food now. :D

Oh, the water is good, I did a 50% water change two days ago, and the tests were 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5ppm nitrate berfore the water change. I'll vacuum the gravel and do another 50% water change tomorrow night. Thanks!


bettababy 11-09-2007 02:47 PM

2 more options for you.... get some live plants into the tank, especially anacharis. This will add decoration until the fish nibble it to death, it's healthy, and there is no competition if you put it in more than one place, plus, enough of it will eat some of the nutrient levels that may be in the water quality between water changes.

The other option is try some pellet food... small goldfish pellets, sinking... he may be able to suck them in, and the longer they're in the water the softer they become, so if you soak them first, this should make them easy to eat.

Can you post a picture of the fish? A good shot of the mouth would tell us alot more that maybe we could help you with.

Best of luck to you and your fish!

dug99 11-10-2007 01:14 PM

I'll do my best to get a clear picture of the mouth, but my camera sucks. I'll try to get the pics asap.

Are aquatic plants hard to care for?

I have a tank divider in now so I can feed them separately. Its funny, they are just staring at each other through the divider.


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