Hi Venus,
I caught the goldfish eating algae. It’s back, too. Like a vengeance. Some spots are brown some are green. I looked to see if it actually got some and it sure did. Fishes are doing great, thanks to your support. I always try to tell people about the pump. Nobody seems to bite, or be interested. I feel like it’s a key component.
The toads did not get their glory. I drained the pond. It was just about time to lay eggs so I just had to nip it in the bud. Feel bad cuz I know they like it, but too many babies jumping around for months while we tip toe.

For the algae, should I just leave it on the back wall and side and keep the front clear? Does algae put out anything bad? or change water conditions? Should I get some plants. Was reading that Elodea and Anacharis are good ones. I’ve pretty much given up on flakes because I think it’s constipates them. Was feeding peas for a week straight until my all orange one stopped swimming funky, like swim bladder problems. She is blind, or prob just can’t see well, so she always goes to the top for food and gulps a lot of air. Started happening after her eyesight went. I think it’s in one eye only. Looks silvery inside the pupil. I dunk my food and swoosh my hand around, so eventually she goes to the bottom looking for food. She will eat out of my pinched fingers when i feed peas though. This always seems to clear up the swim pattern like floats coming on. I think I’ll only use the food as a treat. But I need more food ideas. Any suggestions?

Thank you!



  1. I’m so happy to know I’m not the only one with black gunk, or okay, I’m calling it algae from now on. I hope it changes colors. I took the lid off my aquarium a few weeks ago, and that’s when it went dark. It was brown. The lid had a light on it. I was reading about light, and now I wonder what to do for light on the aquarium. Maybe you could shed some light on the situation. lol

    I have ordered a test kit and a pond pump, and they’re supposed to come tomorrow. I also ordered a sea sponge. It’s already arrived, and I’m enthralled by it. I’m going to trim it so it will fit over the basket of the pond pump. I’m a little nervous about cutting into it. Hope I don’t mess it up.

    I’ve been changing 20% a week, but I have no idea if this is enough to keep nitrate toxin low enough for the fish. I’m afraid to do more or I could break the cycle, which I’ve obviously done in the past a few times. I was cleaning my filtering system. I had no idea there were little good bugs in it.

    I’m so excited to see the test results. I’ll post as soon as I have them. I really want to dig in to this fish keeping

  2. I use dead sea salt for tof salt remedy, but you can also find pure sea salt produced by Morton at your local grocery store. When it’s all said and done, aquarium safe salt is good too, however, don’t follow the instructions which typically call for too much salt. I would use half the amount on box instructions, and use only one time as a tonic

    Dead sea salt contains essential minerals such as Magnesium, Bromide, Iodine, Potassium, Sulfur, Calcium, Sodium and Zinc

    Here’s an interesting article on various salts, although most of these are unsuitable for fish

    Here’s more info on salting fish

  3. All goldfish and their environment as well benefit from a light salt tonic now and then, however, goldfish that have experienced extreme amounts of salt, medications or even water treatment should not be salted. If the fish were salted continuously while they were in the pond, they may have an adverse effect, because as you say, they’re freshwater fish. You’ll have to be the judge

    Yes. Old fish may not handle salt as well as young fish, so this is something to consider as well

    Salt has been used and abused in the industry, and many websites recommend using all of the time. The idea is to eliminate bad bacteria from water, which is a big problem with most goldfish keepers. The thing is, bad bugs build an immunity to salt and other medications in a short time, so all they’re managing to do is stress the fish’s organs

    There’s one thing that bad bugs can’t build immunity to, and that’s oxygen. This is just one of the reasons why it’s important to maintain a healthy pH balance of oxygen and carbonate mineral levels

    When salt is used properly it does destroy bad bacteria, fungus and parasites in the environment and on the fish. Salt baths are given to fish that have experienced oxygen deprivation due to the effects of chloride improving gill function. Don’t ask me how it works. All I know is that it does. I lost a fish during a pH crash, and the bath revived him instantly. I was sold

    If you have a low KH, a salt tonic is especially beneficial. Even though goldfish are freshwater fish, just like all creatures, they need salt too. KH contains salt, and if the value is healthy, your fish will get all the salt they need. This is one reason why fish perish in water with too high of a KH content

    Oddly enough, some of the most popular brands of fish food seem to be causing floating issues. It looks like you’ve pretty much found a diet that works for your fish, and it sounds like a really healthy one. I wish I could get my fish to eat spinach, but they act like a monster has been dropped in the tank. lol

    Right now I’ve got common type fish, and happy to report no swimming issues

    Don’t forget toasted wheat germ. It’s excellent for digestion, and very nutritional. My fish are crazy for it

  4. As for the Pond Pump, I adore it! It really is a wonderful addition and it’s blowing my mind that this is not more widely used! I would think this would be essential for even tropical fish, which I kept for 25 years and never even thought of! Venus is a Genius! The small pump I use by LifeGard has made a big difference. Makes air stones obsolete. My fish never liked an air stone. They acted like they were drunk if I used one. They might look pretty, but they they seem to cause problems, really. The pond pump on the other hand, really moves the water and circulates and filters creating a more oxygenated environment. I’m sure of it.

    As for the swim bladder, I’m pretty certain at this point it’s the flakes. This one particular fish has gone blind and can’t find the flakes in the water so looks to the surface because a few manage to get there. But mostly I feed by hand because I don’t want it surface feeding. It def has a habit of looking for food there. And constantly goes around the gravel looking for leftovers. The ‘floaty’ problems started right after I got a fresh jar of flakes. I think it got constipated. Peas cleared it right up. One jar is Omega One Protein flakes the other just says Natural flakes. I think the High Protein one caused it, so not using it.

    We spoke long ago about salt baths, but I really can’t remember. My fish are older, like 10 or 11ish. Is salt always good for goldfish? Why do they even need it? For instance, Pond Salt. When the fish were outside I did add it because I just thought you do that! But why?? I remember thinking one day, they must hate this stuff. So I sucked out half the pond and refilled it. They seemed to love the fresh water. So what about salt? What makes it good for Goldfish? They’re not really a brackish water fish, are they?? Thanks!

  5. Hi Catlady,
    Yes, the ‘gunk’ is algae. LOL, mine has gotten black before too. SO thick on the back wall. I scraped it off once not long ago and on of my fish got in a funk and it also create excess nitrates. I mean HIGH. I was flabbergasted at the number. I followed Venus’s directions of water out/water in and did this continuously until Nitrates came up normal at around 20-40. I used to do water changes once a week or every two weeks, but that just clearly isn’t enough for me anymore. My 3 have outgrown their 36 gallon so frequent water changes are a necessity. My maintenance has def gone up. It rather becomes a habit now, plus the fish really enjoy the interaction. I also noticed I can’t feed flakes as often so I resort to peas and spinach. I really need to get some plants. Keep hearing about this gel food, but haven’t tried that yet. The algae is back – with a vengeance, too. Browns and Greens. I think if I scrape some areas again. I’ll put the fish in a tub/bin and suck out the debris and do water changes before I put them back in. The previous nitrate shock was terrible!

  6. Hi Catlady, Have you read the 10 Steps? Follow each and every step, and your fish will not only live, they will thrive. Start by reading the 10 Easy Steps found in this link

    When you’re ready, read the full version found here

    Yes. What you’re seeing is algae. You may not like the look, but if you would leave it on the back and possibly the sides, your fish will appreciate it. Algae feeds on nitrates, the last toxin to form in the nitrogen cycle. If you don’t understand the cycle, you’ll learn all about it in the 10 Steps. Algae is a very nutritious food source. It’s filled with nutrients as well as roughage. Have you seen your fish nibbling at it?

    No fish house is complete without a real pond pump. They come in all sizes, but for a 20 gallon tank, you’ll need one that pushes at least 200 GPH or even better, two pumps (one on each end) that push 100 GPH. This distributes the action, and you’ll have a back up if one goes down

    I hope you’ll create a post telling us about your experiences, and your progress, and thanks so much for chiming in, and joining us here

  7. Is this what I’ve been scraping off the glass? How can I be sure it’s algae I’m removing? The stuff I have is dark, almost black

    Do you guys think I should get a pump for a pond as well? I have an aquarium that is 20 gallons, but it already has a filter. I felt envious after reading this post. I want nothing more than for my fish to live. The longest I’ve had a fish is two years, and I swear I’m quitting if these die. I’ve had them for just over a year, and getting nervous. It seems if they’re not at the top they’re on the bottom. Is this a bad sign?

  8. Hi Marsha, It’s great to here from you, and I’m delighted to hear the fish are doing well. You’re so right about the pond pumps being the key factor. The right kind of water movement is what it takes. I learned this accidentally when I switched from an aquarium to a stock tank. The HOB filter didn’t fit in the new set up, so I ended up buying a real pond pump. It was the only thing that worked, and work it did

    Loss of eye sight is common for fish, and most the issues that lead to losing an eye or going blind are related to low oxygen levels; something you won’t have to worry about now. Sadly, I’ve never known a fish that lost sight to regain it, but as long as the risk of infection is low your fish will be just fine. We have a few members whose fish have lost sight in both eyes, and one member with a fish that lost both eyeballs. I have a photo of it, and it’s on the site somewhere, but I’m sure you can use your imagination. lol

    It’s such a great feeling when you know the fish are doing well, and don’t have to dread looking over at the fish house

    How much algae you leave on the glass is a matter of taste I suppose, but the more algae you have the better. When you remove it, remove it a little a time instead of letting it go, and then doing a massive clean up. This is one of the main reasons for a nitrate spike, and I’ve seen some large ones going from 20 ppm to 160 ppm within a few days. This tells us just how effective algae is

    It’s a plus that your fish are eating it. They’ll be all the healthier for it. Some fish don’t care for it, but if you had to walk away from the tank for a few days, you can bet they’d be glad to have it

    It’s just as well you drained the pond. I think having a million frogs in the back yard are what nightmares are made of. They’re cute and all, but there’s no escaping them, and eventually, they’ll find their way into your house. If you had some good sized fish in the pond, they’d take care of the frog eggs for you, but I get that too. When you live in the country, there are so many predators, the fish don’t stand a chance. What could be worse than providing the raccoons with sushi

    It’s possible gulping air at the surface causes swimming issues, but not likely. In most cases the fish blows bubbles after gulping air. I just wonder if the fish is getting enough oxygen. In some cases it’s hard to tell. If the fish was ever fed on the surface it remembers. If you see this behavior just before or after feeding, it’s just a bad habit. If you see the fish doing this in between feeding, maybe we should give it a salt bath or salt the tank. Have we discussed salting in the past?

    Chloride in salt improves gill function. Fish that may have experienced poor water quality in the past may have issues with their gills due to bad bacteria infection. I’m not saying the fish is infected, but bad bugs cause a lot of damage, and the internal parts of the gills may not repair easily. This is more true of older fish that experienced infection

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