Sick Goldfish...please help, I don't know what to do - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 01:23 AM
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I'm starting to think this is more than just a temp issue. Can you tell me the temp difference between the new water and the tank water?
Can you also tell me the pH reading for each of those? What kind of gravel do you have in the tank? Decorations... anything like seashells or anything that was once alive or had an animal living in it?

This is the hardest part of helping online. If I could see the fish I could tell you what is wrong and what to do... but to do it long distance like this.. you'll have to be my eyes and such on that end as best you can.

Please be patient, we're doing all we can to help. Sometimes just like a Dr has to run tests on us, we have to run tests to diagnose a problem with an animal.

Please do not warm the water in the microwave. This is horribly dangerous. How long are you letting the water sit and how far from the tank? You can wrap a towel around the bottle of water to help insulate it, but that would be about the only easy solution I can think of other than maybe moving it to another room where the temp is warmer. There isn't a heater in the tank, is there? We'll sort it out, sometimes its just not so easy. Hang in there, and pay attention to what he seems to respond to in a positive way. Those things will tell us as much as the negative!

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #22 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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The water warmed up to "normal" by the end of the night last night, but now it's cold again (in the tank, that is, I had to take the lid off of the tank so it adjusted more to room temp...)

The pH reading was exactly 7.0. I have some decorations/blue gravel but nothing that was once alive or that had animals living in it

The videos I'd posted a while back might help you see what the tank looks like....

And if I'd already warmed the water in the microwave, should I be panicking? I'd let the water sit out for hours (almost all day) and even put lights on the sides around the container (not the tank, the replacement water) but it remained cold. About the coldness: my room is moderately cold, so the water adjusts to just about as cold as the room, but when it was in the tank it did somehow manage to be a bit warmer. The temp. gague is broken, but I'm getting another one today.

He's definitely a lot quieter today, I sank his food and he's eating with as much enthusiasm as ever. He is still swimming around the tank but definitely a lot quieter.

I'm really worried about this microwave mistake, now...I don't mean to sound impatient, I'm just worried that I keep doing stupid things. As for the positive things, I think/thought the less shaking and still eating were pretty good things, I THINK he may have eaten a single thing of epsom salt, but I couldn't tell. I don't really know what else to comment on for the positive; he's still active, eating well, I haven't seen him listless or abnormally quiet, the shaking thing just looks almost as if he was cold as he swims (but it's not constant, its only sometimes)
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post #23 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 11:58 AM
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I wouldn't worry too much about the cold water thing, but can I ask what you mean by "normal" temperature? Goldfish are meant to live in cold water, under 70 is perfectly healthy for these fish. Is it possible that the light on top of your tank is heating the water up, or that there is a heater in the tank? If you could find out the exact temperature of the tank it would be helpful. But let me stress that cold really shouldn't be the problem with a goldfish!
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post #24 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 01:57 PM
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Okiemavis, cold in itself isn't what we're concerned about. The temp issue, and the reason I asked for the temp of both the standing water and the tank just before adding the clean water is because of temp fluctuation.
While it is true that a goldfish does best between 65 - 68 degrees, if the water in the tank is 75 and you add water that is 65, it creates a cold pocket that the fish swim through, and this rapid, drastic change in temp is what is so dangerous. A fish's body can't handle such a rapid change in temperature. Fortunately goldfish tend to be a little sturdier than some of their tropical cousins, but the end result can still be the same if the changes are too rapid, to drastic, or too often.
Water that changes temp of more than 1 - 2 degrees in the course of the day can be enough to make any fish sick. It is highly likely that the light over the tank is warming the water, and if it were mine, I'd simply turn it off and leave it off.

After reading this entire thread again and reviewing the videos again, it seems to me that this fish is still likely suffering from damage to the nervous system, in which case there is nothing to be done for it. Continue the epsom salt treatments and water changes for about 2 more days, then stop adding salts and back the water changes to 25% daily.

Knowing the pH in the tank is one thing... the reason I asked for pH reading in both water sources is because I'd like to compare to see if this also is different enough to be causing harm. Here again we are dealing with drastic changes, and the effects of a rapid pH drop are similar to that of the shock from drastic temp change. Without a reading on both water sources, there is no way to determine what else may be causing a problem, or how to fix it if it is.

I promise I don't ask questions just for the sake of asking... I'm not a nosey person by any means. I am asking because I am in the position of a Dr trying to diagnose an illness before something really bad happens. I understand what all of the answers to these questions mean when they are put together. There is a balance I am looking for, and at times like this, just the slightest thing may be off and that is all it would take to cause such a severe problem. With answers to the questions I ask, I am able then to judge how the answers relate to each other. Just like I was able to watch that first video and diagnose the swim bladder problem instantly. I have been doing this for a living for over 10 yrs now, I have studied under some of the top people in the fish industry/hobby, and my husband is an aquatic biologist. Teaching about fish care and health issues, nutrition, etc... this is my career, and most of my training has been hands on. I come here to help because I, unlike most professionals in this industry, have the time to devote, the concern for the animals, and am not concerned with making my living with it... I have a living made other ways. (and yes, those other ways are still in this industry) I have spent enough years in pet stores to know that the majority of employees in a LFS don't know squat about fish or their environment. The fact that someone sold a goldfish for a 2.5 gallon tank (which was an upgrade from it's original home) says it all right there. LFS's don't make enough money to pay the kinds of wages it would take to staff all experts. The store where I worked had their way around it. They wanted a staff of experts, so they forced us to train and become experts in order to work there. I lived on $6.50/hr for over 6 yrs, because I was an expert and the job just doesn't pay. Some of us with the training & formal education have also learned a deep passion for what we do, and in understanding that not nearly enough people do what we do, we make sacrafices of our own for the greater good.
If you could please post those pH levels and temps for me, I can then help further. Don't worry about the microwaved water at this point, there isn't anything that can be done about it now.... you just don't want to do it again. Sometimes it takes a long time to learn all of the things needed to raise a happy, healthy fish... be patient with yourself and let us help! I know you don't know me personally, but I'm sure a lot of others here on the board can vouch for me... I know what I'm doing and talking about, and my only desire is to save your fish and see it properly cared for. This board is here anytime you need help, and we are always glad to help.
The fish sounds as if its on the road to recovery, so give it time, watch it carefully, and helps us to help you with figuring out what else is going on in there that still needs fixing.
The #1 lesson in fish keeping.... patience.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 04:01 PM
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Agree completely with you bettababy! It's really helpful having someone with your knowledge always happy to help, I've definitely learned a lot from reading your posts.

In rereading my earlier comment, I realized how unclear it was. What I meant to express was that the water in the tank should be cold, rae seemed worried that the tank water was too cold at room temperature.

The water warmed up to "normal" by the end of the night last night, but now it's cold again (in the tank, that is, I had to take the lid off of the tank so it adjusted more to room temp...)
Hopefully the light was the source of the heat, and that leaving it off will keep the tank temperature down. I really hope this goldfish does well!
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post #26 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Believe me, I know you're not asking questions for the sake of doing could ask what type of laundry detergent I use and I would not question your approach. You're pretty much my savior right now.

Current tank water pH: 7.0
Water to go into the tank(new water) pH: Weird, 7.0 also, yesterday it was more like 6 or 6.2

As for temperatures, I still haven't gotten a thermometer, but the new tank water is sitting under a lamp/surrounded by towels. I keep feeling both water temps to see the differences to the best I can,but it's a guesstimation. Would it be better to wait to get a thermo. and know exactly or to do the best I can by guessing? (I would go get a new therm. now but I have class really soon)
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post #27 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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This just in:

Tank water: 74/76
Other water: 68/70?

I think the filter was warming up the water....
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post #28 of 33 Old 01-24-2008, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, this just in:

Changed 50% of the water, the new temp matched the current temp (74) and the pH is 7.0--tested three times. Put epsom salts in--he actually ate a bunch.

New video:

(Don't bother with the sound...and if you do, sorry, my housemates were listening to bad music and having a mini-party.)

Throughout most of today he's seemed a LOT better and calmer in a good way, but I always get nervous/think he's shaking more when I change the water.

As you said, I'm remaining patient (even if it doesn't seem like it) and doing the best I can and loving him. If there was nervous system damage, is it still possible for him to live a (moderately?) long life as long as I continue to care for him to the best of my ability?
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post #29 of 33 Old 01-25-2008, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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He's hardly swimming aroudn at all now. He still ate everything enthusiastically, but he hardly moves.


I had a smalllamp on and some light from the window that keeps my room decently bright (but no direct sunlight on) when I wrote that...I turned on the overhead light and he starts moving around more, almost just like normal.
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post #30 of 33 Old 01-25-2008, 11:08 AM
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know you don't know me personally, but I'm sure a lot of others here on the board can vouch for me... I know what I'm doing and talking about, and my only desire is to save your fish and see it properly cared for. This board is here anytime you need help, and we are always glad to help.
totally agree. :) rae3988,you are in great hands.
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