Here are the symptoms of my 4 fantail goldfish, as described by my girlfriend:
Small black spots on 3 of the 4 fish
Fish darting around the tank
Fish swimming to the surface for air
We just got them last Friday. Our pH tests have been high, and we've done 1 water change. I suspect alkalosis maybe, but is it too late to save them? We have a pH neutralizer product...should we use it? What should we do?
4 fantail goldfish
10 gallon tank
Aquarium has been set up for one week
No live plants
Room temperature tank water
Using a Whisper filter
no CO2 unit
Aquarium gets modest daytime sunlight
Goldfish have been fed flakes 2/day
Room lighting being used, just put in flourescent lamp
Test strips used, showed low Ammonia and nitrates, but high pH, alkalinity, and hardness
Where are the black spots on the fish? If your fish are gasping for air you probably have very bad water conditions. You should do 10-15 water changes daily until the toxins in your water are gone... If you don't have a water testing kit you should get one. API master test kit is good just as long as it's liquid.
This is all as my girlfriend describes it. I live an hour away, and do not have access to details on the water tests.
We did a water change and used a pH neutralizer, which brought the tank down to 7.2, according to our test strips. The fish have calmed down, and appear not to be darting around or gasping for air at this point. We did another test today that said the pH was rising, so we'll do another water change, and maybe neutralize it again.
For the record, I was wrong about the size of my tank when I bought the fish, and would not have put 4 fish in it had I realized it was a 10 gallon. That being said, they aren't even 2'' at this point, and while I admit, it is more than an uncycled tank can handle, I hope I can stabilize things for a while, as I can't afford a new tank to put these fish in at the moment.
I'm less worried about the black spots. After reading about Melanophore Migration and seeing pictures, my gf and I are pretty sure that this is the cause of the black spots. According to what I've read, this problem should go away.
Thanks for your help so far, both of you.
I'd actually be very tempted to give away two of those fish.
How high was your pH?
When you start messing with the pH you will have to constantly alter it.. This is often harder on the fish then just leaving it where it is.
My fish tanks stay at a pH level about 7.7-8
If I can find someone to give them to, I probably will, even just temporarily perhaps.
The pH from the initial tests appeared be about 8.5-9, maybe more.
Just wanted to add that you should steer clear of the ph chemicals. They cause a lot off instabilities and are very stressful on the fish. If you want to soften it add some driftwood but stable ph is much more important. Your problem, as far as I can see is that yo are massively overstocked and the tank is not cycyled. There's a great sticky on cycling in the starting and maintaining section which you should read.
Minimum recommended tank size for 1 goldfish is 30 gallons, + another 10 gallons for an extra fish.
Hope this helps.
The other problem here that I didn't see mentioned is the oxygen content in the water. Aside from the waste affecting them (which will continue until the tank is fully cycled) so will the oxygen content. Goldfish consume more oxygen than the average fish, so adding an air stone will help a lot.
I agree with the others except with the 10 - 15 water changes in a day. If that should have been 10 = 15% of the tank water every day that would have been accurate. With that many and that kind of fish in that size of a tank... daily water changes will be needed to keep it going short term.
Another easy way to control the pH in your tank naturally, safer... add some peat moss to your filter. This will require a good liquid pH test kit. If you're using strip tests, please be aware that these are known to be extremely inaccurate and unreliable. You'll need to use liquid kits to get accurate results.
Another issue I see is flake food with fan tail goldfish. This is just inviting more problems. Fancy goldfish should eat sinking pellet food and other sinking foods only. If they feed at the surface they gulp a lot of air, which in turn causes severe swim bladder issues that can be fatal.
As the others have said, messing with your pH with chemicals can quickly become deadly. Goldfish should be able to thrive in pH of 8.0 without any problems. If they were originally in softer water, then the shock of the change can cause problems, but they should be able to adjust to it easy enough. The average pH around here is 7.8 - 8.0 and I've been keeping goldfish for years. I currently have a 5 inch oranda that I rescued about 3 yrs ago. His pH is steady at 8.0 and he is thriving. The chemicals are a sure way to kill all of your fish really fast.
:shock: I really didn't mean to say 10-15 a day!!!! SORRY! I forgot the %!!! Yikes... That could have been bad.
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