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Old 09-28-2008, 03:27 PM   #1
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Exclamation Oranda Goldfish - Swim bladder issues?

Hey guys just got off the phone with my mom and she was telling me that my Oranda Goldfish is having swimming problems.

She says that he either is vertical or upside down and is having trouble staying at the bottom an seems to just float back up. My first instinct is to tell me that this is a swim bladder issue, but I know nothing about them or why the ar caused.

What do you guys think this may be, and what could be causing it?
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:03 PM   #2
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Sorry guys accidently forgot to put a thread title, can someone change it to the post title, thanks!
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:19 AM   #3
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We need more information. Go to the sticky in this forum and answer as many Qs as possible about your fish and its environment.
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:34 AM   #4
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1~What type of fish is afflicted? In addition, please describe what is wrong with the fish to the best of your ability (i.e. cotton like growth, bloated, etc.). Oranda Goldfish, Having trouble swimming floating either vertical of upside down and has a hard time going to the bottom of the tank.

2~What are your tank parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, temp, pH)? Please give exact values. Nitrite : 1.0 , Nitrate: 200 These is all I had, it was using the test strips so it might not be completely accurate but either way they are both extremely high

3~ How large is the tank? How long has the tank been set up? 10g/ over a year

4~What type of filtration are you using? Please give the name and number (i.e. Fluval 304) and amount of gph if known. Topfin 10, I believe its 50gph

5~How many fish are in the tank? What kinds of fish are they and what are their current sizes? Oranda Goldfish/6 inches, Fantail Goldfish/3 inches, Common Pleco/4 inches

6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? How often do you do this? How much water do you remove at a time? Tonight at 50%, lately been done ever 2 or 3 days at 50%

7~How long have you had the fish? If the fish is new, how did you acclimate it/them? Had fish for well over a year, not new, acclamated by floating back.

8~Have you added anything new to the tank--decor, new dechlorinator, new substrate, etc.?None

9~What kind of food have you been feeding your fish, have you changed their diet recently? Sinking pellets, giving him fresh greens for the next several days to see if it helps
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:27 AM   #5
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You have way too many/too large of fish for a 10G. Thats your issue. As you can see the bioload of the tank cannot support the fish. Also that filter is not very good especially in those conditions.

So you need to do large water changes everyday and ASAP, to try and get the nitrite/nitrate and more importantly ammonia levels down. You should match the temp as close as you can and change 70% asap!

People suggest 15 gallons for 1 gold fish as a minimum, then 10 gallons for each additional one, they are known as dirty/messy fish and get very big!

Also the pleco if its a common one gets very big as well, up to 20" long.

While your goldfish may be having swim bladder probs, it is the same type of behavior of a dying fish. I'm pretty sure your fish is dying and severely stressed at this point, its prob too late.

You really need to find a suitable home for those fish as they are way way too big for that tank and you will never be able to keep them in good conditions.

That tank would be OK for that smaller fantail fish by itself only.

BTW have you recently replaced the filter media with new? If so you may have uncycled your tank to some extent.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:47 AM   #6
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Im getting a larger 30g for the fish when I can make it home in the next few weeks. I am just trying to keep them as healthy as possible and alive until then.

I'm not sure if my mom has replaced the filter media or not as she is taking care of them for me while I am away. Would it be a terrible thing is she has?
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:58 AM   #7
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If your not familiar with the nitrogen cycle in aquariums, it would be good info for you especially if your wanting to setup a new tank. Anyway, there are a couple articles on this site as well as many other on other sites and google searching should bring up many.


Basically fish eat and produce waste, the waste is toxic to them(ammonia). Well bacteria grow in your aquarium(mostly on the filter media/pad), these bacteria consume the ammonia and release nitrite as a waste. Then another bacteria consumes nitrite and releases nitrate as waste. Nitrate is the least toxic but still can be toxic.

If your tank is cycled properly then you should have 0 ammonia and nitrite and the nitrate levels should rise. You control nitrate levels with water changes. Normally 10% weekly water changes is a good recommendation. If you have dirtier fish like goldfish then you should change more like 25% of the water weekly. Its recommended to keep the ammonia and nitrite under .5ppm and nitrate under 40ppm otherwise it is stressing the fish.

Anyway, if you throw away the old/used/cycled filter media and just put a new one in, then you just threw away your beneficial bacteria and the tank is no longer cycled.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:14 AM   #8
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Doesnt beneficial bacteria live on other surfaces though, eg. Gravel, decorations..etc?
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:02 AM   #9
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yes but the bacteria also likes/needs oxygen which is what HOB filters do, they re saturate the water with oxygen.

Also think of it this way: if you are in a room(aquarium) and there is food(ammonia/nitrite) scattered a little here and there in the room, then there is this conveyor that has food that keeps coming down it(filter) and it also has a fresh air vent for the freshest air in the room.

Wouldn't you hang out on/near the conveyor/vent(filter) so you would have access to the most amount of food and clean air?

The ammonia/nitrite are in the water, it flows through the filter, so most of the bacteria are there because they get easy access to a constant flow of food and oxygen.

Put it this way, since you have high levels, you need to do large PWC's, and you should vac the gravel very thoroughly as any excess food or waste is adding to your issue. Also stop feeding as much, every other day just a tiny bit is fine, any more adds to the problem, actually if you have been feeding everyday then fasting the fish for 3-4 days would be a good idea also.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:45 AM   #10
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An aerator would also provide some oxygen for the bacteria on the other surfaces in the tank, would it not? So the cycle would not completely be broken down, only partially with the replacement of the filter, and it would not take the full amout of time to cycle again.

Don't get my wrong I understand what you are saying, and by no means am I justifying completely taking out the media and replacing it with a fresh one. I just did not know that it had a negative effect on the tank of this magnitude, and at the same time am trying to think logically and positively that I have not completely ruined my tank set up.

I have large PWC's in plan for the future, and I always throughly vac when I do my PWC's. I think I am going to try feeding them some fresh greens for the next 3 days to clear their systems, then cut back on feedings.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:49 PM   #11
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That's why in his first post the said you may have "uncycled your tank to some extent." It's not completely uncycled. There are bacteria on every surface in your tank. By design, though, the filter has a huge amount of surface area compared to the rest of the tank, and because it has the fastest flowing water it will also have higher food concentrations (since the bacterial activity tends to deplete NH3/NO2 in their vicinity and water movement helps replenish their concentration from other areas of the tank). For these reasons the filter contains the largest quantity of bacteria. Luckily the rest of the tank provides a ready source, so the new filter will be recolonized much more quickly than it was originally, but in the meantime there is now more bioload than the existing bacteria population will handle. This will always be true since the original bacteria population, once the tank has reached equilibrium, is limited by the food supply - the bioload - and with the removal of a portion of the bacteria there are now too few to eat all the available food.
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:56 PM   #12
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OK, I like to add something practical .....

You can argue all day on where the nitrifying bacteria live, etc. However, we do have a sick fish to look after ....

Agree that it sounds like swimbladder problem. Feeding peas is a good start. Good clean water is more important. A nitrate of 200 is high enough to cause swimbladder dysfunction on its own, not to mention nitrites ....

Orandas are sensitive to bad water. What you need to do is a lot of water changes. You do not want your nitrates to be over 40 (5-10 is even better). To get your level down, you basically have to change out ALL the water in the tank. I am not suggesting you do a 100% change all at once <It is stressful to the fish, and needs to be done carefully & only in an emergency.> I would suggest doing 25% changes every 12-24 hours until you get the levels down. <When your levels are sky high for a long time, you need to bring the levels down a bit slower or you might shock the fish ... aka "old tank syndrome".> You'd need to do at least 10 25% pwc to equal a 100% water chagne. So you will be getting the water parameters to "perfect" over the next week. Thereafter, you do as much pwc as needed to keep levels there (likely pwc daily or every other day indefinitely.)

Supplemental aids to treat the swimbladder:
1. Increase temp to high 70's - aids in digestion & improve immunity
2. Add a low level of salt (0.05%) - protects against nitrite poisioning
3. Check the ammonia level - use a binder like Prime to tie you over the rough spots until you get the water paramenters under control.

The long term solution is of course a bigger tank. <And start looking for a new home for the pleco ..... it will outgrow even the 35!>
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:29 PM   #13
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You can argue all day on where the nitrifying bacteria live, etc. However, we do have a sick fish to look after ...
Agreed....

He got a 25% water change last night and a 50% water chance today...

New water params:
NitrAtes: 80
NitrItes: .5

I will continue with the water changes to get water at a good level.

Also fed him some fresh greens and he seems to be doing better. My mom said that he was apparantly bloated because he looks a little skinnier today.

As for the pleco, I plan to put him in my girlfriends dad's pond when I get the 30 and get some snails to do cleanup in the 30.

Hopefully all will be well and my goldfish will have a happy healthy home in a few weeks, I can't wait!
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