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Old 09-14-2014, 05:45 PM   #1
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Shubunkin Keeps Going For Air

Hello everyone, this is my first post here. Before I describe my issue, I'll let you know my tank stats,
I have a 30 gallon with a 3 inch Shubunkin, a 1.5 inch Common Goldfish, and a 2 inch Rosy Red Minnow. I also have a 10 gallon with 2 guppy fry and 2 blacknose dace fry. When the guppies and daces get big enough I'll move them into the same tank as the other fish. I know my goldfish will outgrow their tank so I'm going to get a 75 gallon for Christmas and may make a pond over the summer. I've had my water tested at my local pet store and all my levels are perfect except for my water being slightly acidic (almost 7). I always treat my water with stress coat before adding any, I do 1/3 changes every week, my tanks are fully cycled, and I add the reccomended amount of salt (6 tbsp in the 30 gallon). As for oxygenation, I have an air stone and a properly rated above tank filter in both tanks. I keep the tanks at room temp. I'm feeding them high quality fish flakes, except for the daces which seem be very partial to blood worms.

Now, with that out of the way, here's my issues. My shubunkin keeps swimming to the surface to gulp air every 20 seconds or so. The tank should be properly oxygenated right? He's quite active and seems healthy otherwise except that he won't eat any food except flakes; which is odd because I was told goldfish love spinach for example, but he just spits it out. I'm very worried about him and I don't want to loose him. Occasionally, but less often, my common will do this too. I have heard it's never ok for them to exhibit this gulping behavior; but what could be the problem?

I hope someone can help... thanks!
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:43 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!!

A few more questions to help us help you better so please bare with us! How long has this tank been running with fish? Were any of the fish properly quarantined before adding them to this tank? Is your water being tested with strips or liquid tests and what are the exact numbers for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Why are you adding salt?

There a few things that are a bit of a cause for concern. Salt misuse is first. With each future water change, do not add anymore. Goldfish are stenohaline fish which means they have a very poor tolerance for salt. When used properly as part of a medically reasoned treatment, its fine short term. Long term, it can have health repercussions.

I would further suggest to toss the flakes and switch to a proper sinking pellet along with daily veggies. Flakes result in air ingestion and buoyancy/digestive issues as well as bad habits such as piping at the surface.

Water conditions may be playing a factor here but more information is needed to figure out if its a concern that needs to be addressed further.

The remaining possibility (and the most frequently encountered with commercially purchased fish) is a possible fluke infection. Flukes are goldfish's number one enemy (aside from poor water conditions). Gulping air at the surface (piping) is a common symptom. Lets start by looking over everything and addressing simple concerns first to see if this will rectify the issue although I do suggest addressing flukes in your tank(s) at some point in the near future! Please do not hesitate to ask any questions!!
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply jlk.

Quote:
How long has this tank been running with fish?
I bought this new tank two weeks ago. Before this I had a 4 inch Koi and a 4 inch Comet in my ten gallon that I have the daces and guppies in now. The Comet was my first fish along with two other fish. I got them this summer, so, as you can tell I'm inexperienced with fish. The reason I got them was my friend was moving away from me and gave me his 1 gallon tank as a parting gift. I went to a large pet store chain that I will leave unamed but ironically ends in smart. Knowing nothing about fish, I asked the lady in charge of the fish department what I should get for my tiny tank. She recommended I get a few comets and, not knowing any better, I thought they would do fine in the tiny tank. It was only after my fish were dying of ammonia shock that I learned that goldfish were dirty, grew large, and then even later that I needed to dechlorinate my water. It enrages me that to this day goldfish bowls are still sold at places like ***smart and people are advised they make good starter fish . As the comets started dying few weeks later of ammonia shock I rushed out to buy the 10 gallon and luckily one of them survived in it. I bought him a koi friend and they seemed to be doing fine in the tank. At this time I still did not know about dechlorinating your water but I only moved a few weeks ago and the place I was living at had very good water quality (low chlorine content), so maybe that's why they seemed to be doing fine. A few weeks ago though I moved to where I am currently residing where, unfortunately, the water quality is very poor. I noticed my fish were piping and changing colors so I researched online and learned about dechlorinating your water. Unfortunately I received poor advice that you could dechlorinate your water by just leaving it to sit for 24 hours, so I thought I was fine and the problems would pass. About three weeks ago I decided to buy a bigger tank because my koi and comet were outgrowing the 10 gallon. At this other store I met someone who actually was very knowledgeable and helpful who informed me that I was not actually dechlorinating my water and that I was slowly killing my fish. I bought my 30 gallon tank there and some stress coat. When I transferred them to the new tank I used the old gravel and water so this is why I assume the tank should be cycled. Sadly, after treating my water my comet quickly became lethargic and then sick. He developed a bad infection and died. The koi died at the same time rather unexpectedly (he seemed ok except a bit lethargic). My theory is that the chlorine was killing off any infectious organisms but also slowly killing my fish; when I dechlorinated the water they did not have the immune system to fight off the infections. As upset as I was after being so attached to my fish, I decided to get new goldfish because I love how goldfish behave (or any fish in the carp family for that matter). This was two weeks ago, so my fish have been in there for two weeks.

Quote:
Were any of the fish properly quarantined before adding them to this tank?
No, as I mentioned prior I am inexperienced with fish and didn't know I should do this.

Quote:
Is your water being tested with strips or liquid tests and what are the exact numbers for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
Today I went to the aforementioned good pet store and had my water tested (they do it for free), the figures they gave me were:
pH: 5.5 !!!
Ammonia: 0.5ppm
Nitrate: 0.0ppm
Nitrite: 0.0ppm
I can't believe my my pH dropped that much over the course of a week! The lady there told me that the city water can be, in her words, "A mess to deal with," but she also said that eventually things should stabilize if I'm diligent. She set me up with some crushed coral and a pH test kit. I'm happy to report that after only a few hours my pH has risen to 6.6. Maybe this was my problem? I've noticed black marks on my Common but dismissed them as remnant of the darker fry coloration since he's still so young, but now I suspect they are burns .

Quote:
Why are you adding salt?
I was adding salt because the girl at the pet store (not the guy who was extremely knowledgeable, I think he has quit), told me last weekend that I'm supposed to add salt because it helps the fish to absorb oxygen. Frankly, as I mentioned before, I don't know any better so I just took her word for it.
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:25 AM   #4
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Thank you for all the information!! There's quite a bit going here and I am going to need to sit down at computer to address everything but lets just start with a deep breath! Taking a crash course in aquariums is a lot to take in at once and bumps in the road are pretty common. We are going to try to help you avoid some of these bumps so that your fish are happy and healthy.

There are some issues with your tap water so let's start with this and a few basics. Do you know if your store tests KH (carbonate hardness or alkalinity) and GH (general hardness or mineral content)? You can call and ask them. If they do, bring them a sample of your tap water (not tank water) and have them test KH, GH along with ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Please post these numbers when you are able to! This will give us baseline numbers for what to expect as your tank's baseline. It would also be worthwhile to look up your water company/supplier/municipality to read their most recent water reports. These can provide mire information on your water such as the disinfectant used, mineral content levels as well as contaminants.

The next two things are important investments for your fish's health and tank's well being. A good liquid test kit (such as the API master test kit) will be vital as your tank is not yet cycled. You will need to be able to test your tank water on a frequent basis in order to be able handle toxin spikes to keep your fish healthy. Daily testing is recommended in a fish-in cycle.

Prime by Seachem is the other item I would recommend investing in. Prime is able to help detox harmful ammonia and nitrite between water changes during a fish-in cycle. Few water conditioners are able to do this. It also aids in slime cost as well as handles contaminants such as heavy metals.

Hopefully, we can get a better understanding of your water so that we can offer better advice for your tank! Feel free to ask any questions!!!


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Old 09-18-2014, 05:46 AM   #5
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Thanks again jlk.

I went out and bought an API 5 in 1 test kit. My GH, KH, Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite levels are all zero in my tap water. pH is 7. Maybe it just smells worse than it actually is? I found a site (can't remember the link) that said the water is treated with chloramine.
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