goldfish wont stop gasping - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-28-2006, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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goldfish wont stop gasping

my goldfish wont stop gasping for air, most of the time he stays at the bottom of the tank, but mouth keeps opening wide, sometimes he makes jerky moves and while mouth hanging open he swims frantically to the surface of water and gasping for air...then comes back down to the bottom again.
it's so stressing. he looks like he's in a great deal of pain.
water condition is perfect, he's about a size of a golf ball, in a 5 gal tank.
I know the tank isnt too small cuz he's living alone.
he hasnt been eating for 3 days.
any suggestions or similar experience?
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-28-2006, 04:46 AM
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Hi Tinkerbell.

What are your water parameters? A 5 gallons tank is quite small and often would mean that your goldfish is suffering from lack of oxygen.

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-28-2006, 07:42 AM
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other than upgrading the tank...might try adding some extra aeration, or air pump? good luck!


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post #4 of 6 Old 11-28-2006, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the reply.

the water's fine...I have the strip thingy to test water and they're all good.

My goldfish had just recovered from what I think was fungus..had cottony growth here and there. and fins started to rip and looked ragged.
I treated with quick cure and melafix and it got better, not totally tho,...but now the breathing problem.

Are you sure 5 gal is still too small for him? Because I know people like to keep their goldfish in a small bowl.
as long as I change the water 10% every 2 days..wouldnt it be ok?

This morning he is still gasping. poor fish.
I do have aeration for him. I think personally there is nothing wrong with the tank.

I also see some reddish coloring on his tail .maybe inflammation? looks normal just kind of red. fins are also clamped.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-28-2006, 12:29 PM
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5 gallons is really too small to keep a Goldfish...even if he is small, he will eventually get bigger and need A LOT more room. Typically goldfish need 10-20 gallons per fish. What kind of filtration to you have in your tank? Also whe you said that you have aeration, do you mean a bubbble stone?

Another thing, test strips tend to be very innaccurate, and I suggest that you invest in a good liquid test kit, such as a "master test kit." And when you say you tested water and it was "all good" what exactly does that mean?? Did you test ammonia, nitrite, AND nitrate? Also I'm curious as to what your pH is and temperature. Also curious if you are adding a dechloinator to your water when you make water changes, this is really important.

Since your goldie is recovering from the fungus/fin rot...expect to see various areas appear to be black on the fish's body. This is a good sign though and is indicating that the fish is healing.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-28-2006, 03:18 PM
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I have to agree, 5 gallons is WAY too small for a goldfish. Fancy goldfish average 8 inches at full grown and they do this quickly when healthy. Goldfish are also about the dirtiest fish there is.
As was already stated, test strips are VERY INACCURATE and I would not rely on those results. If that is all you have to test with, maybe taking a water sample into the LFS and asking them to write down EXACT numbers and name of the kind of test kits they used, and bring us your results.
The symptoms you are describing are common with high ammonia levels, warm temperatures, and overall, tanks that are too small for the fish that is in them. The red veining in the fins is a warning sign, and I can predict that even if you did a 100% water exchange every day, there are still going to be problems with keeping this fish in a 5 gallon tank for more than a few weeks. Goldfish consume much more oxygen than a standard fish, and warmer temps will mean less oxygen levels. A high ammonia level on top of this will only add to the problems.
Besides the other info that was asked for, I am wondering how often and what foods you are feeding your fish? How much at a time? And, what kind of a filter are you running on the tank?
The best thing for you to do is to get accurate test results and then either move the fish to a much larger tank or find it a new home. Unfortunately, that is really about the only solution to the problem. For one fancy goldfish to get to full grown safely, expect to need 75 gallons. Most goldfish, if healthy, will reach full grown within the first 3 yrs.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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