GOLDFISH CURLED 2019-04-09T06:55:16-05:00


by Shadow
Day 1

I have just acquired 2 butterfly moors with Nitrate poisoning.

I tested the water the fish came in from the store.

PH 6.8 (not great)
GH 80 (too low)
KH 60 ( way too low)
ammonia 0
nitrites 0
nitrates 60 (very high)
All measured with api master kit (pretty accurate)

Salinity 10 ppt (very high)
measured with hydrometer

One of them was very sick. I would say on the brink, on her side and curled. The other one was bottom sitting and not eating. I placed them in a plastic container, with the water from their original tank.

I then is slowly reduced the nitrates over 10 hours using my tank water

Goldfish curled
temp 72
PH 7.6
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 5

As the white butterfly (I decided to call her Snowbell) was curled I knew that the only treatment that could possibly save her was the chlorophyll chamber treatment.

First I had to look for a suitable container, the taller the better. My tank at 18? was not tall enough. My kitchen waste bin was looking good at 30?, but better still was a very tall 36? vase sitting in the bedroom with ornamental branches in it.

Goldfish curled

I moved her into 3′ tall container filled with tank water and chlorophyll added as per instructions.
I realized that some surface action was required and all the pumps I had were way too powerful for a 7 gallon container. I found an old marina hang on back filter and tried that. The surface action was still not good so some modifications were necessary. I removed the filter sponge and took the body apart. Inside was lurking a mini pond pump. I fitted the filter sponge using a rubber band and it worked a treat.

Goldfish curling to side

Day 2

I added chilled tank water to the chamber every 4 hours (10% water changes) and moved the chamber to the coldest room in the house. I made sure that the heating in that room was off.

The white butterfly was still bent and laying on her side. Only movement was her gills. It was very hard to see her in the green water tank (3? vase).

I had a strong reading lamp shining down the vase. She did move slightly if I taped the vase.

Day 3

I carried on with water changes as mentioned above.

The white butterfly was trying to swim, but just swam in circles, not eating gill movement slowed a bit.


Still maintained the water changes

Snowbell was moving more but still not much improvement, but still alive

Day 5

She started uncurling, but looked a bit more emaciated from lack of food

Still maintained low tank temperature of about 55f with chilled water changes.
Day 6

She was swimming slowly about 1″ from the bottom, and not eating. I still maintained 10% changes using main chilled tank water. All she managed to eat was 1/2 of a pea in 4 days. The lack of interest in food was quite worrying. Venus reassured me that they can go without food for a few weeks.

Goldfish poisoned nitrates

Day 7

She seemed more active than she did a few days ago. Her swimming was very erratic, but she’s pretty much in control now. She just swims very slow.

Venus told me that the increased water pressure offers a great deal of relief from a very painful condition.
And also
?Consider raising the pump closer to the top. There’s really no need for it to sit on the bottom. Are you feeding regularly? If not, you’ll lose whatever bugs you’ve acquired in the pump. This should increase surface action.?

?If you can manage this, after the fish has been in the chamber for one week, gradually raise water temps; 65 to 70. Take a few days to do so.?

?Since we know nitrates deprive the blood of oxygen, increasing oxygen levels in the water will be beneficial. As the temps warm slowly, the oxygen levels in the blood should increase at the same time.?

I moved the pump to about 18″ midway. Surface action was vastly improved.

I fed twice a day. First she didn’t show any interest at all. Then she swallowed, but spat it out again. She is constantly moving now though. I’m surprised she’s lasted this long.

I’ll start raising the temp tomorrow; it’ll be a week then.

Day 8

Things are still about the same. It’s about 60f at the moment my main tank is at 72f so I?ll slowly increase it using un chilled tank water aiming for 2 degrees increase per day.

Ok… I?ve raised the temperature of her hospital tank to 70f and she’s become a lot more active. She?s swimming around the bottom and on occasion she swims up and down with her nose pressed against the side of the container as if she’s trying to get out. She’s uncurled too. Sometimes her swimming looks a little uncontrolled.

Day 9

It?s now time to get her ready for the main tank. I need to slowly lower the water level and make sure that the chamber contains 100% tank water. I also need to watch for adverse behavior such as bottom sitting or uncontrolled swimming.

I have her water level at 24″ now and she’s managing to swim right to the top, she’s ate the antibiotic gel food with no problems at all and has shown no erratic swimming for over 24 hours now looks like she will make a complete recovery.

Day 10

She is now in the main tank and showing normal behavior. I need to check my nitrate levels don?t exceed 5 over the next few months. She is one lucky little fish.

Well as a follow up here is another diary of 2 fish that I recently rescued. I told my work colleague that I would take his small fantail, he was in with his tropical fish. Another co worker took his 2 commons for his pond. I?ve seen this guys pond setup and they have an excellent home.

I asked him if I could see his tropical tank setup (where he housed the goldfish too) as he was also having trouble with some of his tropical fish.

Anyway I took a drive over to his place after work, and I was appalled at the condition of his fish.

He had a smallish 2? tank maybe about 15-20 gallons with about 30 fish in it. All of the fish were stressed. If you went near the tank, they started to panic, some of them jumping out of the water. I saw missing eyes, scales and fins. Fin rot tail damage, signs of parasites and you could hardly see the sand substrate for waste. He lives alone and says he has a hectic work and social life and don?t really have the time for tank maintenance. Unbelievable! I bought 3, 5 gallon buckets and took all his fish home with me, he?s going to clean his tank out and sell it on.

His water parameters weren’t great, but I have tested worse from pet stores. Nitrates were quite high at between 80 and 160.

8 of the fish didn’t survive, one of them was dead by the time I got it home (only a 10 mile drive). And 7 of them were so badly damaged I decided to euthanize them. The 17 remaining tropical fish, including the pleco are in my 50 gallon tropical community tank. I?ll treat them and most likely keep them, most are guppy?s and tetras and don?t take up a lot of room.

Two of the fish were small fantail goldfish. I have put these 2 fish In a deep chamber with chlorophyll and dandelion to ease their nitrate poisoning symptoms.

one of them is also pine coned. the other has very red gills, was bottom sitting with a slight curl, if she tries to swim she spirals. also neither are eating.

The remaining little tropical fish are doing fine on my 50 gallon community tank. The bristle nosed pleco is in my 75 gallon sail fin molly tank along with the surviving platy’s platy’s.

Nitrate poisoning

Day 1.

The 2 little gold fish I?m treating are in a very bad way. The pine coning has gone down on the bloated red, black and white fantail. I think it was because he had been kept in tropical temps at about 80f. I have also added dandelion for the bloat, which too looks better so I think it was more temperature related he’s in the chamber because of the bottom sitting and lack of appetite. The little white fantail is the worst. She was spiralling and lying on her side not easting with reddened gills. I was surprised to see here still alive this morning. She?s pressed to the bottom along with her little friend. It?s hard to for me see them in the 3′ deep container with the green juice.

if the 2 little fantails make it, I’ll be keeping them too. I already have a tank set up for them (too small for my main tank). Keeping my fingers crossed. they are both lovely little ones. the white one has massive black eyes, looks like she’s wearing sunglasses. the little red, black and white fish swims a little, then sits at the bottom by her side.

Day 2.

not much change with the 2 fantails, but it’s only been 24 hours. never treated 2 together in the chamber before. they seem to be quite calm which is good, not too stressed. The little white one has stopped spiraling, but she’s stopped trying to swim also.

The redness around her gills I’m putting down to anoxia as she was in an overcrowded heated tank with no surface movement. The other fish is showing some improvement, still at the bottom but swimming about a little always returning to sit next to his little friend. Both of these little fish are less than an inch long.

day 3.

the 2 little goldfish are showing signs of improvement. I’ve been having to work over the weekends so my daughter has been helping. She cried when I had to put the other fish to sleep, but they were too far gone she has named the 2 little ones in the chamber Bonnie (the little white one. and Buddy (because he’s her buddy) for the red black and white fish.

day 4.

bonnie is starting to uncurl

just plain old water and green juice did the trick, I added dandelion to the mix for the bloat/pinecone, that was definitely heat related. Nitrates in the chamber are now down to 20ppm. We have been ever so slowly reducing them over the past 48 hours. should have them down to near 0 tonight.

got my 10 gallon tank cycled and ready for them, it will b their home until they are big enough to not get eaten by my bigger goldfish It’s home to 6 minnows at the moment.

nitrates at zero and totally uncurled now. Still both pressed to the bottom and not eating but still early days yet. keeping temps low and just using the green juice in the water now.

The treatment works very well just 4 days and a big difference. The little red, black an white fish has started to swim a little now. Looks like they will make a full recovery.

The little red black and white fantail is swimming about in the container. He’s started eating, but every time I feed, he goes into feeding frenzy mode knocking his sick little tank mate on her side sometimes forcing her into the side of the container I’ll place a breeding net over her to prevent this from happening during feeding times. Once all the food has gone, he’s fine. I cant move him as I have nothing else that deep and I don’t want to send him backwards with a sudden pressure change.

day 5.

Just got home and bonnie the white fantail is quite active, she’s moving about the bottom, but from what I can see, she’s mostly upside down. she tries to peck at the bottom of the container, but flips over onto her back then starts to panic. It’s almost like severe swim bladder disorder. At times she swims normally but seems to struggle if she gets more than a couple of inches from the bottom. I suppose this is normal and should improve and as she recovers.

I’ve taken 6″ of water out of the container over 6 hours and no I’ll effects. I’ve not added anymore green juice and can see them a little better too. Bonnie managed a little wheat germ but not interested in the gel food. Ill keep trying. buddy swam to the surface for the first time and took his food out of my fingers

bonnie seems to be swimming a little better. she sort of hovers about an inch from the bottom and mostly right way up her swimming seems a little weak and erratic. If she tries to move fast, she rolls. massive improvement though.

Tomorrow I’ll carry on reducing the water table slowly. It’s at 24″ at the moment, their tank is 18 ” so not far to go

day 6.

they are in the 10 gallon tank but still have a way to go. The red black and white one is just scared and need to settle down. Apart from that he’s fine and acting as expected

The white fish has some serious swimming issues her. she seems more disorientated than swim bladder. She can surface and dive to the bottom ok, but when she’s pecking at the bottom of the tank she often goes upside down. and if swimming quick in a straight line, she barrel rolls. If she takes her time, she’s fine and swims normally. Also she cant seem to handle any current.

These 2 little fish are survivors The redness has totally gone from her gills, swimming is normal, favourite pastimes are eating, fighting over food, checking out the gravel and vandalizing their plants

they are both looking really active and healthy. started the garlic treatment today for the Ich. A success story

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