I have had goldfish most of my life with little to no problems. Boy was I lucky…. 7 years ago I moved out to the middle of Wisconsin farm country. I had a few near tragedies over first few years. Then out of nowhere in 2016 my largest comet’s veins in his tail turn bright red and he curls up. I tried many water changes, staying up late at night etc. I eventually put him out of his misery much to my own misery. I brought water from the tank to be tested at the pet shop when I first noticed the sickness. They said it was high nitrates. I eventually tested my water from the tap and the aquarium specimen side by side. I was unable to discern one from the other! My tap water has high nitrates.
After I lost that goldfish I sent a water sample from the faucet into the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Here are the results of that test:
This is the most recent data I have for the quality of my tap water.
I reached out via the contact link on this page. Here is a rundown of my operation. I have lost my way and need some help. Starting with the basics.
I have 1 sarassa comet (approx. 16”)
1 Common goldfish (approx. 12”) along with a black moor
I also have a brushy nose Plecostomus and a regular one too. 5 fish total. This is them on any given day https://youtu.be/Y9nssIWrJ-E
All these guys live in an 210 gallon All Glass brand aquarium with dual over flows. I have approximately 2-3 inches of small rock substrate (similar size to coarse rock salt) a few decorative rocks, an old stump, and a single strand of a broad leafy plant (alive) but unknown type at the time of this writing. I have used salt in the past (as directed on the API brand container) but got away from its use, and am now back using it.
I have 2 Fluval FX5 canister filters doing my hard work. In each of those canisters has all of the original foam filters. Each of the 3 baskets in each filter has a decent sized mesh bag of Seachem Matrix bio media stones. Due to the high nitrates in the water I have used a total of 4 pouches of Seachem Purigen (2 in each filter). I rely on the agitation across the surface from the pump output for oxygenation. That is it for filtration.
I have a LED light bar that I set on a timer for evening light for a handful of hours. The tank is in the basement and stay nice and warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I maintain great natural temperature year round.
Cleaning- I have got behind before in this department. The tank has never appeared green, cloudy, or gross at all. Please do not judge….but when our 3rd child was born I went 1.5 years doing nothing at all. The water and tank looked clean and all the fish appeared healthy and vibrant. I did get back on track with the cleaning, but during that time I had absolutely no problems.
I have a Python vacuum to get the junk from beneath the rocks.
When I wash the canisters I only rinse these items. Wringing out the muddy mess into the drain. The Purigen pouches are soaked in bleach and restored using Seachem Prime (all according to directions from Seachem) A few years ago I came down with a case of small snails in the filters. A few have appeared in the tank over the years. When I see them I dispatch them immediately.
I will give the walls a scrub here and there with a brillo type pad or a magnet scraper.
I have not set up an organized or routine maintenance schedule. I have 3 small children and spare time is a figment of my imagination these days. But I am hoping to establish something reasonable with your help.
30 days ago I wanted to measure the common comet. I got him 1 year ago at that date and he has grown from approximately 5 inches to 12 inches in 1 year. At that time I noticed that the Sarassa comet had really bright red veins in the tail. I began daily water changes of 25% – 40% and I completed 4-5 over a week or so. I added 2 extra pouches of the Purigen and cleaned both of the filters. I have vacuumed some but still need to do an exhaustive vacuum job. I added salt which hadn’t been used in a year or so. And I added Seachem Purigen to cut down the nitrates. I opened all 3 glass tops and added a submersible pump aiming at a 45 degree angle to add additional agitation to the surface. I used an air stone for a short time but it lead to more of a mess.
The Sarassa has been laying at the bottom of the tank for a month now. The first week he was aggressively swimming to the top of the tank and gulping air. A small part of his lower tail fin broke off. The veins were still red. It should be noted that BOTH of the other fish appeared fine. But both changed their normal patterns of swimming around to lay at the bottom with the Sarassa. They all three lay together still.
As of today the Sarassa veins are light pink and no longer bright red. There is no more gulping of air from the surface. I had curtailed feeding as they used to feed as this video shows https://youtu.be/pczc1enbhpE They will eat sinking pellets and I have not seen anyone begging or eating on the surface since this all started. (so I only use sinking pellets as of now) I only feed them once a day during this recovery. And normally they are fed 3-4 times daily. And boy do they eat when they are healthy!
I hope this story makes sense to anyone who might read it all. I hope to get some help from Venus. I cannot thank you enough!!