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Old 07-15-2018, 10:24 PM   #1
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Bottom sitting and canít understand why

Our fantail goldfish has been consistently bottom sitting for about a week or so now and I cannot figure out the cause. Heís not normally the one who bottom sits, thatís usually the common.

Prior to tonight, he was in a 30 gal tank with the common goldfish and a small 4-5 in koi. We used the filter that came with the tank. They were in this tank for about a year or so. A few months ago we had an algae bloom I couldnít stop so I added a uv filter which cleared it up. We never really had issues with the fish or the tank maintenance. Weíd do a good scrub of algae and at least 50-75% water change (which I now know was too much) per week or 2 weeks and every month change the carbon media.

I did a textbook water change and clean up one night last week. Everyone was fine and happy. Next day I see the fantail sitting. I thought it was odd since he was fine the day before. I didnít have my API drops kit yet but the strips said all levels were fine except pH which was low (6.8). I asked my 6 yr old if sheíd added anything to the tank and she said no and still claims innocence. I added Tetra EasyBalance to adjust the pH and work on ammonia. We also did a water change and added more bacteria.

He still was bottom sitting and not interested in doing much except eating. Heíll still eat. We did a partial change again and added 2 airstones as someone in a video suggested it was a lack of O2. Still no change. This entire time my other 2 are fine and not affected at all, even the fussy one who normally bottom sits.

Finally got an API kit and tested the water. Ammonia was .25 ppm and stayed that way for a day or so. Tested it this morning and it was .50. pH has stayed the same, about 7.2-5. Nitrates and nitrites have stayed at 0.

We finally decided to upgrade tonight. Figured this would be a continuing problem as they grew and wanted to deal with it quickly. I did an instant cycle by soaking and swishing the old filter media and pouring that water (dechlorinated) into the new tank with the new treated water. I also saved most of the old gravel. I also added bacteria to supplement.

The koi is happy as a clam. Not affected by the move at all. The common is fussy and swims around a lot but then bottom sits some. The fantail isnít any different. In fact he was almost completely on his side a minute ago before he adjusted himself. Not a single thing has changed with him. My husband joked maybe he ate gravel and is now too heavy. He can swim around but usually just floats back down to the bottom and sits. Even if I put my finger on the glass he wonít move.

None of them have any signs of parasites or illness and no clamped fins or anything. Just the bottom sitting. I know the new tank will need time to adjust and he may improve afterward but till then... Could this be a sickness or something? Heís had swim bladder issues before and has completely flipped upside down. Usually fasting and/or peas fix that. Any ideas on anything at all?

New tank parameters:
55 gal, Penguin 350B filter (2 cartridges)
50 lb gravel (half old half new, soaked new in treated water before adding)
A few new plastic plants (also soaked)
Dragon bubbler (also soaked)
Airstone (one free and one in the dragon)
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:33 PM   #2
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.50 ammonia is high and lethal to your fish. do a 50% water change immediately. cant say that is the reason it is sitting on the bottom and other fish arent though but it still needs to be done or i see alot of fish deaths in the next few days.
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:11 AM   #3
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The .50 was this morning before I upgraded to a new tank and a did an instant cycle by seeding old filter material into the new tank.

When I checked all parameters an hour ago they were:

pH: 7.5
Ammonia: .25
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kperk7692 View Post
Our fantail goldfish has been consistently bottom sitting for about a week or so now and I cannot figure out the cause. Heís not normally the one who bottom sits, thatís usually the common.



Prior to tonight, he was in a 30 gal tank with the common goldfish and a small 4-5 in koi. We used the filter that came with the tank. They were in this tank for about a year or so. A few months ago we had an algae bloom I couldnít stop so I added a uv filter which cleared it up. We never really had issues with the fish or the tank maintenance. Weíd do a good scrub of algae and at least 50-75% water change (which I now know was too much) per week or 2 weeks and every month change the carbon media.



I did a textbook water change and clean up one night last week. Everyone was fine and happy. Next day I see the fantail sitting. I thought it was odd since he was fine the day before. I didnít have my API drops kit yet but the strips said all levels were fine except pH which was low (6.8). I asked my 6 yr old if sheíd added anything to the tank and she said no and still claims innocence. I added Tetra EasyBalance to adjust the pH and work on ammonia. We also did a water change and added more bacteria.



He still was bottom sitting and not interested in doing much except eating. Heíll still eat. We did a partial change again and added 2 airstones as someone in a video suggested it was a lack of O2. Still no change. This entire time my other 2 are fine and not affected at all, even the fussy one who normally bottom sits.



Finally got an API kit and tested the water. Ammonia was .25 ppm and stayed that way for a day or so. Tested it this morning and it was .50. pH has stayed the same, about 7.2-5. Nitrates and nitrites have stayed at 0.



We finally decided to upgrade tonight. Figured this would be a continuing problem as they grew and wanted to deal with it quickly. I did an instant cycle by soaking and swishing the old filter media and pouring that water (dechlorinated) into the new tank with the new treated water. I also saved most of the old gravel. I also added bacteria to supplement.



The koi is happy as a clam. Not affected by the move at all. The common is fussy and swims around a lot but then bottom sits some. The fantail isnít any different. In fact he was almost completely on his side a minute ago before he adjusted himself. Not a single thing has changed with him. My husband joked maybe he ate gravel and is now too heavy. He can swim around but usually just floats back down to the bottom and sits. Even if I put my finger on the glass he wonít move.



None of them have any signs of parasites or illness and no clamped fins or anything. Just the bottom sitting. I know the new tank will need time to adjust and he may improve afterward but till then... Could this be a sickness or something? Heís had swim bladder issues before and has completely flipped upside down. Usually fasting and/or peas fix that. Any ideas on anything at all?



New tank parameters:

55 gal, Penguin 350B filter (2 cartridges)

50 lb gravel (half old half new, soaked new in treated water before adding)

A few new plastic plants (also soaked)

Dragon bubbler (also soaked)

Airstone (one free and one in the dragon)


As mentioned by others, any amount of ammonia will be toxic to your fish. A water change is needed.

As a general note, you donít need to change your carbon media monthly. I rinse mine in tank water every 2-3 weeks and replace every 8 weeks or so. You want it to be a little green; the bacteria helps the filter do its job.

On a similar note, a common mistake is not rinsing those carbon filters enough before installing them. They need a looong rinse to get all the dust out.

How is the fishís appetite?? Whatís the temperature of the tank??

Keep us posted with the details, especially water test details. And keep an eye on your other fish. Good luck
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:36 AM   #5
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Since we upgraded to the bigger tank tonight, I installed a larger filter to accommodate it and did soak the filter cartridges as well after I soaked the new gravel and decorations. I also ran the filter for about 30-45 min before we put the fish in.

The other two are sitting now but i think that may be due to the tank move and stress. The fantail hasn’t changed. While I do need to watch the ammonia, I’m starting to wonder if part of this could be his swim bladder issues. Can that make a fish sink? It’s almost like he can’t get himself off the bottom when he does try to swim. Very lethargic. Appetite wise he actually was the only one to go after the cooked zucchini I threw in there hoping to help any constipation. I scooped out what they didn’t eat. Temp I’m not sure. We had a temp strip on the other tank and it ripped when I tried to transfer it so I need to get a new thermometer.

Although we used a water changer and an outside hose to connect to it to fill the tank so it felt warm.
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:13 AM   #6
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Parameters this morning:

pH: 7.5
Ammonia: kinda looks between 0 and .25 color wise but I’d say closer to 0
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0

Fantail is still bottom sitting. When I turned off the lights last night he became a little more active but he’d swim around for a few seconds and follow the others then sink to the bottom. He doesn’t actively swim to the bottom but just lets himself sink. The others are bottom sitting sparingly. When they do, they go to where the fantail is. Sympathy sitting? Lol.

Any ideas? I’m going to also try fasting them for 3 days then introduce peas. Maybe he’s constipated or something?
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:31 AM   #7
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OP, you seem to be on top of things. You have a good working knowledge about water parameters and maintenence. Your GF' s problems were probably brought on by the noted ammonia spike. It's difficult to determine if a fish will bounce back after absorbing ammonia into their circulatory system. Some fish are tougher than others. The fact that the GF is still eating is a good indicator of recovery. A bigger tank was definitely a good move.
Sometimes instant cycle attempts fall short. Be prepared for a mini cycle. Hope things level out for you soon.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:17 AM   #8
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Yes I’m keeping an eye on the instant cycle as the old filter didn’t release as much material as I’d hoped. But I added a bacterial supplement so hopefully that will help.

Yes, I’m at a loss with this fish. He was doing this in the other tank too. This has been going on for almost two weeks now. And it started AFTER a water change within 12 hours. That’s why I was worried my kid had added something but she swears she didn’t. She tends to wake up before I muster enough energy to get up myself but she knows not to touch chemicals. But even if she did the other 3 partial water changes should’ve fixed that.

We’ve done everything we can to improve their tank’s quality and the parameters seem fine now. So I’m just clueless now. He’s moving more today but still spending most of his time bottom sitting. We put the tank on a lower cabinet to where the kids can see into it and they are reacting when the girls come up to the tank.

It’s odd because when the common bottom sits, he swims to the bottom, like it’s a deliberate thing. This fantail will swim up and around and then just stop and falls/sinks to the bottom. He’s always had issues swimming but this seems like he doesn’t have energy or ability to stay afloat now which is why I’m thinking swim bladder issues? Like I said I don’t know if that can make them sink. He’s only ever had floaty issues and upside down issues.
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