9 year old lethargic goldfish

Home/Goldfish Health Care/9 year old lethargic goldfish

9 year old lethargic goldfish

Hi everyone,

 

We have a 9 year old goldfish. He is very lethargic and staying in one spot of the tank. He has been this way for about 1 month now. He still moves to feed but returns to the same spot and when watching him, his breathing appears very slow. We are going to buy a test kit this evening and I will post the results in hopes that someone knows how to help us. We rescued this fish 9 years ago from a wedding when he was a mere centre piece decoration. We never imagined having him 9 years later so we are supporting and caring for him as best we can. I only have a video so will post some photos to follow this afternoon. He is about 7″ long and 2″ wide, he’s always been a happy and healthy looking fish so not sure what’s changed or what we’re doing wrong now. He is in a 10 gallon tank and we know that it should be triple that for one goldfish but we are in the process of retiring 4 hours north of our city home and don’t have to resources to have a 30 gallon tank. ANY advice or suggestions are very welcome and thank you SO much in advance, we love him dearly!

Here is a link to the photos of the water test strips, a video and photo of Rusty as well. Hope it works. https://www.facebook.com/sammwalkerr/media_set?set=a.10101652975178170.1073741835.187902812&type=3&pnref=story

2017-11-24T18:16:44+00:00

About the Author:

11 Comments

  1. sammasusha November 29, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Venus,

    We’ve lowered the temperature to 55f or just there about, we’ve continued to do the pitcher method for three days in a row now. We did another water test last night, there is a little more activity but not much. I don’t know how long these things take but I’m assuming it’s a few weeks?!

    I’ve uploaded the new water test results https://www.facebook.com/sammwalkerr/posts/10101656847428150 you can see them here.

    We’ve also removed the lid now and are buying the pump tonight. Will keep you posted!

  2. sammasusha November 27, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Hi Venus,

    Thank you so much, I will discuss with my folks tonight. The fish (Rusty) is at their house so I will be going over tonight to discuss your post and what they are wanting/willing to do next. I’m not sure they have the space for a 30 gallon tank especially since they are moving up north in the spring. They will be taking Rusty with them but we have concerns over fish house water. He goes up there every summer for a month at a time and we’ve had to bring city water with us as the water up there doesn’t do well with him.

    I think for now we will focus on improving the water quality in his current tank and upgrade to a real pond pump.

    The one side of his scales have been damaged from when he jumped out of the tank, that was the side he was found on and we’re assuming the chemicals from the cleannig products are what did that to him? There are a few scales in the good side missing which is what I think you saw.

    Just a question to clarify before I go and then I will update you on our progress tonight. Am I to buy baking soda AND hydrogen peroxide and apply both or just one?!

  3. Venus November 24, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    So you do have nitrates, meaning you have a complete cycle; this is good. What’s not so good, levels are too high. The fish is suffering from nitrate poisoning or shock. The tank is tight quarters for such a large fish; the size needs upgrading to 30 or 40 gallons if you can swing the cost and the space. The amount of nitrates being produced is based solely on the amount of waste, and with such a large fish in such a small space, nitrates climb quickly

    Nitrates rob the blood of oxygen, thickening it. Fish sit on the bottom because the pressure of deep water relieves the pressure caused by nitrates. If you do upgrade tank size, get one that has a good depth; min 18″ It takes a great deal of time to recover from nitrate poisoning, and condition during recovery must be just right

    Did you perform the 911 water change? If so, did you lower water temps? This would be very beneficial right now, as the fish would need less oxygen, and this would lessen the effect of the toxin, and buy us a little time to get conditions right. I recommend 55 to 60f. Chill tank water in the fridge

    Did you say how much water you’ve exchanged and when? We don’t want to exchange too much at a time or it cause a spike in the cycle. We need to continue reducing nitrate levels gradually over the next few days. A reading of 10 to 20 ppm is the goal. It’s critical to keep the water table as high as possible, so exchanging 5% of the tank water at a time is recommended

    Because nitrates rob the blood of oxygen, it’s crucial to get the water heavily oxygenated as quickly as possible. Your pH reading appears high, but I’m thinking the test was inaccurate due to timing

    Is the air pump the only pump in your tank? If so, the cycle is unstable, the bugs have built up on the plants and decorations, and possible around the base of the air pump. If you do switch out tanks, keep everything inside the tank in fish water at all times, and move them along with the fish house water. We’ll discuss this in detail when the time comes

    Every fish house needs a real pond pump. Pond pumps eliminate Co2, a gas created from waste. This gas takes up space in the water, keeping oxygen from entering. Even though you shouldn’t be performing 100% water changes for a few reasons, it’s helped to keep your alive all these years. Your set up needs serious improvement. Oxygen enters from the surface by means of diffusion. The movement of water pulls the oxygen molecules from the air, and into the water. Remove the entire lid to the tank, and don’t replace it

    Use the pitcher method to remove Co2 from the water. Push it deep into the water filling it; pull it up and pour it back in; repeat the process 10 times; twice a day, until you have a pond pump installed. If you’re going to keep the 10 gallons; a pump that pushes 100 gallons per hour will suffice. Add 100 GPH for every 10 gallons

    Read the 10 steps to learn more about pond pumps, the nitrogen cycle and much more https://goldfish-emergency.com/10-steps-goldfish-koi-keeping/

    I noticed your fish has some scale loss; probably caused by bad bacteria in the water. Water low in oxygen invites bad bugs. Improving oxygen levels in the water will make the difference

    Your GH levels are good, which is great; no worries there

    Once you think most of the salt is out of the fish water, we’ll being buffering these levels using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) Until then, pick up a bottle of 3% hyrdrogen peroxide at the grocery store. To use, pull a quart of tank water; add one ounce of the H202, pour in all around slowly, mixing with your hand as you do so. Repeat daily until we’re buffering the water

    I’m sure this is all a little overwhelming, but we’ll take it one thing at a time

  4. Venus November 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks so much for the info. I’ll contact my host tomorrow. I have an idea it has something to do with Firefox

    You may notice I’ve deleted your test result post, and added the link to your original post. Let’s continue posting here, using comments, instead of creating new posts, or things will get confusing

    I’m going to comment again in a few on the condition of your fish, and the results of your tests; good work on the video

  5. sammasusha November 24, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Scrolling has been ok but I do have to login in twice to add a comment or post.

  6. sammasusha November 24, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Levels read as follows Nitrate – 30ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Hardness (GH) 150, Chlorine (mg) 0ppm, Alkalinity KH) 100ppm, pH Freshwater 7.0

    Is it because he’s 9?

    Back in May he did jump out of the tank, he was alive and we followed the instructions that Goldfish Emergency suggested on Facebook and he was good to go after the recovery period. We upgraded to a 10 gallon tank in July and I’d say the dormant behaviour has gradually increased since then and now it’s constant. Is it to do with that? The last water change was a week ago and he was active for the first 12 hours and then he was back to laying at the bottom of the tank.

    We also have artificial plants in there, is that helpful or harmful?

    Thanks for all your help so far, we really appreciate it.

  7. Venus November 24, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    So by normal; zero ammonia and nitrites? Any reading for nitrates?

    Some so called experts recommend using a consistent saline solution, but this is dangerous. Goldfish aren’t saltwater fish, and require fresh water. You say your alkaline is low, what is the reading, and by alkaline are you referring to KH? Even though a low KH isn’t good, it may have kept the fish from being poisoned by salt, as carbonate mineral contains low levels of salt; just what the fish require if at healthy levels

    I would stop using salt, and never use it again

    There’s no reason to exchange 100% of the tank water, as this disturbs the environment, and can break the cycle if there is one, however, we can’t be sure your tank is cycled until we
    see a presence of nitrates. Nitrates is the end result of the cycle. Some experts in the industry recommend cycle free tanks, but this puts the fish at risk of being poisoned by ammonia. The cycle is very persistent, and tries to form with or without our help

    From waste ammonia forms. When this toxin is present, beneficial bacteria form to feed on the toxin, converting it into nitrites. When nitrites is present, another type of friendly bug forms to feed on the nitrites, converting the toxin into nitrates. The cycle is vital to a healthy, safe ecosystem

    My guess is, nitrates were present; the cycle complete. These bugs that create the cycle live in our pumps and filters. Washing or over rinsing them destroys the colonies these bugs build. Have you been rinsing the filter? Do you boil or replace the charcoal? Charcoal is used to absorb ammonia, in order to keep the cycle from forming, but the tiny crevices fill quickly, leaving the fish at risk. You cannot depend on any of these products to keep the cycle from forming

    How long has it been since your last water change? It’s possible you have zero nitrates due to the fact, so we may have to wait a few days to see if nitrates appear. Nitrates are safe in low amounts. It’s the standard rule to exchange only a percentage of tank water in order to keep nitrates at safe levels. If healthy levels of nitrates were present, and 100% water changes was performed, the fish could be experiencing nitrate shock. Nitrates must be reduced gradually

    Let me know nitrate and KH readings if possible. If nitrates are zero, we’ll wait, and test in a few days

    Are you having difficulty scrolling on the site? Your feedback is much appreciated

  8. sammasusha November 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Venus,

    Not sure how to attach photos or include them in a comment/post??

  9. sammasusha November 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Venus,

    We’ve just performed the water test, here are our results. It appears everything is normal from what we can tell except the alkaline levels are below where the test suggests they be. I’m sure you’ll be able to analyze these results better than we can.

    10 gallon tank
    Water changes performed every two weeks and 100% is changed at once.
    Top fin pump (came with tank kit) charcoal bag
    He is fed Tetrafin flake and crisps
    Salt is used every water change so once every two weeks
    Stress coat (5ml) and Prime concentrated conditioner (a few drops) are used at every water change. The conditioner we’ve only started using this week.
    No shredding fins or missing scales, he appears healthy. Dorsal fin is up.
    No tiny bubbles.

  10. Venus November 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    If you haven’t performed a water change in the last day or two, perform this one. https://goldfish-emergency.com/gfe-knowledge-base/goldfish-koi-health/911-water-change/

    Lower water temps as directed in the instructions. Goldfish become dormant in colder water, using less oxygen, buying time. Most issues are directly or indirectly related to low oxygen in fish house water

    First and foremost when there’s a problem, we test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. This tells us if there’s a cycle, and if it’s completed, in progress or broken. Do youi understand the nitrogen cycle?

    Next, we test for KH and pH. (Test tap and fish water to compare levels of pH) This parameter (potential of hydrogen) is a combined reading for KH and 02 (oxygen) KH (carbonate mineral) gives water the ability to support oxygen

    GH (general hardness) measures calcium and magnesium. Our fish need these minerals for good health

    Some folks are on filtering systems, which makes for low mineral value, and some have low value due to lack of stone in their region. If possible, pickup a master test kit. You may have to purchase KH and GH separately depending on the brand. A drop test kit is best for testing KH and pH

    Post the results and we’ll examine water quality

    Here are a few questions for you

    What size is the tank?
    How often do you perform water changes?
    How much water is exchanged during a water change?
    What type of pumps do you have installed?
    What do you feed, and how many times per day?
    Do you use salt periodically or frequently?
    Is there medication in the water?
    Do you notice any shredding fins or missing scales? Is the dorsal (top fin) clamped, collapsed or upright?
    Do you see any tiny bubbles on the walls of the tank or the fish?

    That should be enough to get us started

Leave A Comment

Skip to toolbar
View My Stats