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Old 03-16-2014, 12:38 PM   #1
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Goldfish gasping for air

I have 3 comet gold fish (feeders) temporarily living in a 10 gallon while their permanent home cycles. I've been doing 90% daily water changes, so my parameters are basically 0s all around. Filter is an aqueon QF10, PH is about 7. Only things in the tank are 3 fish and a bag of crushed coral.

Everything had been fine, even with 2 fish recovering from ammonia burns, except for last night.
When I left in the morning, they looked fine, when I returned, they were bottom sitting and being lethargic. They also haven't eaten anything since last night. Now this morning they are often at the surface. I lowered the water level so that the filter gives more agitation to the surface, and vacuumed all gunk from the bottom (bare tank). There was a bubbly film that I haven't seen before. It remained after the water change to.

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Old 03-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #2
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Anybody? I found one goldfish stick to the filter intake, the healthiest looking of the group, in fact. I added an air stone to the tank in hopes that is just a lack of agitation at the surface. Ammonia is 0 nitrite is 0, testing nitrate currently, should be 0

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:12 PM   #3
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Are you sure the pH is 7? Crushed coral raises the pH, I think your goldfish may be suffering from alkali burns.

Typically crushed coral is used in marine, brackish, and ciclid tanks.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:15 PM   #4
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PH is 7, maybe less. I use crush coral as a buffer because my water is fairly soft so with it I experience bad PH crash

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:28 PM   #5
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How long has the 10Gal been established? What type of fish were displaced for the comets?
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:33 PM   #6
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It's not established, hence the rigorous water change schedule. There were no fish in there before. They seemed great all last week even yesterday morning,.and when I fed them in the evening they ate none of it. I siphoned the waste and unbeaten food or this morning when I changed 50% of the water.

The white/orange one has died, btw. He had no signs of physical damage and never clamped his fins like the other two.

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:36 PM   #7
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Do you use a tap water conditioner such as Prime when changing water?
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:36 PM   #8
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Don't have chlorine, been adding stress coat because I figure it can't hurt

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Old 03-17-2014, 01:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mifsud View Post
Are you sure the pH is 7? Crushed coral raises the pH, I think your goldfish may be suffering from alkali burns.

Typically crushed coral is used in marine, brackish, and ciclid tanks.
Very unlikely. Goldfish actually do best in hard, alkaline water with a high ph. To suffer burns from from alkaline conditions, the ph would need to be in the 9+ range. 7 is honestly bordering on almost the acidic side for goldfish.

An oily residue that appeared out of the blue and sudden fish illness and demise makes me suspect that a contaminant of some sort got into the tank. Were any aerosol sprays of any type used in the area (windex, febreeze, lysol, perfume, etc)? Carpet powders? Flea treatments (sprays, collars, drops) used in the area or did you handle a pet with these? Were your tank cleaning items exposed to anything?

All of this aside, also keep in mind 'feeders' are mass produced for quantity (not quality) and generally are in very poor health. The possibility of them being disease-ridden and malnourished is very likely.

My suggestion is to change their water (assuming everything is clean) and run some new carbon in the event there is a contaminant and hope for the best. Please ask if you have questions!
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by enrgizerbunny View Post
I have 3 comet gold fish (feeders) temporarily living in a 10 gallon while their permanent home cycles. I've been doing 90% daily water changes, so my parameters are basically 0s all around. Filter is an aqueon QF10, PH is about 7. Only things in the tank are 3 fish and a bag of crushed coral.

Everything had been fine, even with 2 fish recovering from ammonia burns, except for last night.
When I left in the morning, they looked fine, when I returned, they were bottom sitting and being lethargic. They also haven't eaten anything since last night. Now this morning they are often at the surface. I lowered the water level so that the filter gives more agitation to the surface, and vacuumed all gunk from the bottom (bare tank). There was a bubbly film that I haven't seen before. It remained after the water change to.

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Poor guys, dont look healthy, to me they look malnurated. Did you get from a petstore? How long did you have them before they got sick? Did they have ammonia burns when you got them? If they have ammonia burns outside then it is possible they have internal damage.

One of my goldfish is very sensitive to any changes. If I see him bottom sitting I know to check everything right away. He had ammonia burns when I got him from the petstore. He got better but I think there was internal damage that made him very sensitive. But most goldfish are tough and will adjust quite well to water changes.

Will they eat anything, have you tried peas or other vegetables? I would try to get them to something. What were they eating before getting sick?

Do you have any medicated food? I think you should remove the corals, just to see if that helps. It's worth a try anyway.
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:31 AM   #11
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Please listen to jlk, she has give great advice that saved two of mine.

Just one more thought, maybe I'm way off, but when fish get parasites they sometimes produce LOTS of slime in an attempt to rid themselves of the parasites. I've seen this myself in slimy/bubbly water in a hospital tank. Quick cure in the main tank got rid of the parasites.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:20 AM   #12
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Very unlikely. Goldfish actually do best in hard, alkaline water with a high ph. To suffer burns from from alkaline conditions, the ph would need to be in the 9+ range. 7 is honestly bordering on almost the acidic side for goldfish.

An oily residue that appeared out of the blue and sudden fish illness and demise makes me suspect that a contaminant of some sort got into the tank. Were any aerosol sprays of any type used in the area (windex, febreeze, lysol, perfume, etc)? Carpet powders? Flea treatments (sprays, collars, drops) used in the area or did you handle a pet with these? Were your tank cleaning items exposed to anything?

All of this aside, also keep in mind 'feeders' are mass produced for quantity (not quality) and generally are in very poor health. The possibility of them being disease-ridden and malnourished is very likely.

My suggestion is to change their water (assuming everything is clean) and run some new carbon in the event there is a contaminant and hope for the best. Please ask if you have questions!
The only contaminant I could think of was possibly a fertilizer from the buckets I was changing water with. I was rinsing seedling roots out in the buckets, but I had to rinse the bucket several times just to get the dirt and styrofoam out. We don't own any aerosol cleaners or febreeze. Could this be caused by my water being too acidic? I'll pay closer attention to the PH of my change water. I've mainly just been checking ammonia.

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Old 03-17-2014, 08:27 AM   #13
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I've sold enough feeder goldfish at one of my pet store jobs, to NEVER want to buy any myself. Often times, they come in from the supplier and just crash. My guess is that they were sick when you got them.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:49 AM   #14
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Very unlikely. Goldfish actually do best in hard, alkaline water with a high ph. To suffer burns from from alkaline conditions, the ph would need to be in the 9+ range. 7 is honestly bordering on almost the acidic side for goldfish.

An oily residue that appeared out of the blue and sudden fish illness and demise makes me suspect that a contaminant of some sort got into the tank. Were any aerosol sprays of any type used in the area (windex, febreeze, lysol, perfume, etc)? Carpet powders? Flea treatments (sprays, collars, drops) used in the area or did you handle a pet with these? Were your tank cleaning items exposed to anything?

All of this aside, also keep in mind 'feeders' are mass produced for quantity (not quality) and generally are in very poor health. The possibility of them being disease-ridden and malnourished is very likely.

My suggestion is to change their water (assuming everything is clean) and run some new carbon in the event there is a contaminant and hope for the best. Please ask if you have questions!
You could be right. I was thinking an elevated pH could be breaking down proteins and saponifying fats in Goldie's gills, causing the film on the surface, and making him gasp for air.
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:40 PM   #15
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You could be right. I was thinking an elevated pH could be breaking down proteins and saponifying fats in Goldie's gills, causing the film on the surface, and making him gasp for air.
My water isn't very hard and I don't add anything to modify PH unlessess I do something stupid. The crushed coral causes a slow change in hardness, based on how soft your water is. It will be absorbed as it is needed, and especially not sitting in the bottom of the tank, as opposed to the filter. It's not really necessary but just precautionary.

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