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Old 06-08-2011, 09:47 PM   #1
fis
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Exclamation Goldfish keeps injuring himself - help please!

Hello,
Hoping someone has an idea..this is a bit long, so I apologize in advance!

I have a 10 year old goldfish in a 29 gallon tank with a fluval filter, and 1 fresh plant that's been in the tank for more than a year.

The fish has been flashing on and off for the last 4-5 years, with no explanation as to why. The water quality is ok - zero ammonia (has gone up slightly at times, but with a water change it is ok again - but maybe that's the problem?) and appropriate ph.

The flashing was intermittent, maybe a few times a week to start, but the fish would wind up hitting the sides of the tank and the rocks on the bottom (small stones). His mouth area began to get red. We took him to a veterinarian, who gave antibiotics for a while, with no apparent result. He decided it must be a neurological problem, and I'm not sure what to make of that.

That was a few years ago - since the flashing has continued, maybe once every two days, but recently it's gotten worse, and now his mouth isn't healing well anymore. In the beginning it would become completely white again, to match his "skin" color, and now it remains fairly red, and a very small part has turned black, as though the skin is dead (this is on the side of his mouth). He can still eat, and move his mouth, but I would imagine it's painful, and every time he flashes he hits it again, making it worse.

Is there something to do??!!!! Am I missing something he could have? I don't know what to do anymore and I don't want to see him in pain.

Thank you!!

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Old 06-08-2011, 10:33 PM   #2
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It sounds like ick to me. Does he have white, salt looking specks on his skin?
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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Please do your water tests? It is very possible he has some type of parasite.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:20 PM   #4
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He has no white spots on his skin but he is a white fish. His tail has some white streaks but I think those have always been there. Any other way to tell?

How would I know about parasites? When I test I test for ammonia, ph, and nh (nh - it's either Nitrate or Nitrite I'm testing for - not sure and don't have the box in front of me). What should I be looking for?

Thanks for the quick responses!
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:24 PM   #5
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0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, under 20 nitrate. Go out and buy melafix and aquarium salt and start treatment for the injury.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:37 AM   #6
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We tried melafix many years ago - would that definitely help? I know you obviously can't know for sure, but I don't want to give him more stuff that will only serve to irritate him and not help the situation. Any more thoughts on it and exactly what it does?
We tried aquarium salt and that seemed to make the problem much worse.
Thanks for the help!!
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:13 AM   #7
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Do you have any pictures of him like this? If your doctor was right and it is neurological, you'll need to remove all decor except for live plants, and change your gravel to sand to keep him from hurting himself more.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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What filter model do you have on your tank? Goldfish are dirty and you should be filtering for at least double your tank size IMO (I triple filter my Goldie tank). In a seasoned tank like yours (and mine), you should never see ammo, as long as your doing regular PWC of 50% (for goldies) a week IME.

How many/kind of fish are in the tank and what are your water parameters (test results in actual numbers help).

Flashing is a sign of a possible ick attack or other parasite. One of my Moors developed an unexplained mouth fungus a couple years back and I was able to successfully treat it using Maracyn 2.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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I will send some pictures -
It's a fluval u3 rated for a 20-40 gallon tank. He lives in a 29 gallon tank. Perhaps that's not enough?
I'm not changing that much water every week! I should be! Oh no...

He is 1 fish - I will test the water and get back to you with numbers and photos in a bit-

Thanks-
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:53 PM   #10
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Exclamation Pics-

Here are pictures of the fish-

The side you see on his mouth that's sore is the only part of the mouth injured. The other side seems ok. I notice his tail is starting to get more black spots - I'm not sure if that's from hitting himself? He's had two black lines on his back fins for years, and they don't seem to change, but now I notice spots on his tail.

Any help greatly appreciated. I would love to help him and finally fix the issue if I can-

Thanks-
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:54 PM   #11
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I forgot - there's been no flashing for 2 days now...but the area still looks very red on and off -
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:31 PM   #12
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Melafix and aquarium salt. They'll work, you just have to keep adding the melafix. It's sounding neurological at this point IMO.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:42 PM   #13
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+1, if a fish had a parasite or something of that sort the flashing would be fairly frequent. With your fish being 10 years old, I would say it is a neurological problem that causes the physical injury. The salt and melafix should do the trick with that wound.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adadkins1
+1, if a fish had a parasite or something of that sort the flashing would be fairly frequent. With your fish being 10 years old, I would say it is a neurological problem that causes the physical injury. The salt and melafix should do the trick with that wound.
And it'd probably have killed the fish by now as well lol. All I can suggest is take out any gravel, driftwood, and decor, so that you literally just have live plants and sand. This way, he can't flash and hurt himself too bad.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:46 AM   #15
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Thank you! How long should I do the melafix for? Dose? How much salt? How long? Can I still have the filter running?
And lol - yes, frankly I kind of stink at the whole caring for fish thing - I did not expect this one to live so long - his two "friends" died within the first year...
I appreciate all the advice! - Lauren - you said sand? Is there a type of sand I should look for? He has no other ornaments besides the live plants and the gravel, but clearly I need to get the gravel out!
As far as the neurological problem, I can't fix it obviously? The Melafix will heal the wound, but what about when it happens again? Or actually as I'm writing this I'm thinking with the gravel taken out I guess it has less of a likelihood of happening again...
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by fis
Thank you! How long should I do the melafix for? Dose? How much salt? How long? Can I still have the filter running?
And lol - yes, frankly I kind of stink at the whole caring for fish thing - I did not expect this one to live so long - his two "friends" died within the first year...
I appreciate all the advice! - Lauren - you said sand? Is there a type of sand I should look for? He has no other ornaments besides the live plants and the gravel, but clearly I need to get the gravel out!
As far as the neurological problem, I can't fix it obviously? The Melafix will heal the wound, but what about when it happens again? Or actually as I'm writing this I'm thinking with the gravel taken out I guess it has less of a likelihood of happening again...
Alright,
1. Dose the melafix for the full 7 days (follow directions on the back of the bottle)
2. Dose 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt for every 5 U.S gallons
3. Dose the salt for 7 days, then do 2 50% water changes, wait a week, and start again if not healed.
4. You need to have the filter running, but you'll need to remove the carbon in the filter if there is any.
5. Yes I did say sand, pool filter sand works best... DO NOT use paver sand.
6. You can't fix neurological damage sadly, but you can make his environment as comfy as possible.
7. If it happens again, you'll just have to keep treating I'm afraid. It's just like owning a child with special needs, you have to sacrifice some normalities that the fish can't handle.
8. The sand should help stop it from happening again.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:59 PM   #17
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I would like to suggest something else, and I might be completely wrong, but here is my thought...

That appears to be a big fish. And a 29 gallon tank is not a large tank. I had one for years (it is currently in use as my QT tank). Maybe he is frustrated, and cramped, and this "flashing" might be his way of saying "I NEED MORE SPACE!!" A larger tank, with more horizontal space than vertical, might go a long way to improving his life. And he is a beautiful fish...a bigger tank would display him better.
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:12 PM   #18
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Thank you so much - this is all beyond helpful.

I'm sad to hear I can't "make it all better"..but I'm glad I have something to help heal the wound.
I will get salt and melafix this weekend and start Sunday.
As far as the sand, I'm guessing a pool supply store or a home depot? I don't want to ask a stupid question, but is there any risk of cross contamination with chlorine or something if it's pool sand? As I write the question I realize it sounds insane but I feel compelled to ask just in case. I assume since it's a closed bag it's ok...and that won't clog the filter? And he won't eat it? Sorry, I have no idea...
Any idea how much sand I might need for a 29 gallon tank? How thick would you suggest the layer be at the bottom?

Thank you again - I really appreciate you taking the time to help-

Mel
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:18 PM   #19
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glassbird I just saw your response - you don't think it's big enough? And thank you, I'll share the compliment with him
Price is an issue right now, and frankly I don't know how I can afford a larger tank, unless I find a used one...perhaps I can look on Craigslist. I'm not sure if it will fix the problem, but I think that couldn't hurt anyway...and I'm sure he'll be happier either way.
I thought it was 1 gallon of water per inch of fish? Or is that not right? How large would you suggest for a fish of this size? Will he continue to grow do you think?
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by fis
glassbird I just saw your response - you don't think it's big enough? And thank you, I'll share the compliment with him
Price is an issue right now, and frankly I don't know how I can afford a larger tank, unless I find a used one...perhaps I can look on Craigslist. I'm not sure if it will fix the problem, but I think that couldn't hurt anyway...and I'm sure he'll be happier either way.
I thought it was 1 gallon of water per inch of fish? Or is that not right? How large would you suggest for a fish of this size? Will he continue to grow do you think?
I'd go with a 30 gallon or even better... A 55 gallon. The 1 inch rule is unreliable... And goldfish have a GINORMOUS bioload. For sand, it'll be fine. You can get a 50 lb bag of it for like... 3$ at home depot. He won't eat it, and if you rinse it and give it time to settle, it won't mess with your filter. And definitely check out craigslist. You can find a 55 gallon with stand for only about 100 bucks!
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