Goldfish trouble

Goldfish trouble

Goldfish trouble after moving fish

Goldfish trouble first began a few weeks ago when I moved fish from 2 gallon to 5 gallon set up. The new set up has a filtering system, and there is gravel on the bottom. I feed two or three times a day. The fish are each close to 2 1/2″ from head to tail. There’s no top of the tank. It’s a hand me down aquarium and the lid if cracked so I trashed it.

I haven’t medicated because I don’t know what’s wrong with the fish.

Goldfish trouble

I add little salt to the fresh water every time I clean the aquarium, but just a sprinkle. I heard this keeps the water from going bad. I clean the entire aquarium once a month adding fresh water with water treatment that removes chlorine.

Trouble with goldfish

The fish were happy in the 2 gallon aquarium, but I knew they were growing and needed more space. They were okay for the first week, and now they’re quiet and won’t eat or swim around. It looks like their colors are fading if that helps. I’ve tried to take photos but they’re blurry and you can’t really see the fish very well

Both fish are called shubunkins. They’re really beautiful, and I’m greatly attached to them, so any help I can get would be much appreciated.

I don’t have a test kit. Not sure what to get or what I need in that department.


About the Author:


  1. Venus Goldfish Master May 14, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    If you would, start another post titled, Cycling my tank, or something to that order. This post is growing a little long. Thanks

  2. JimBean96 May 13, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Will do. I have two fish. Thanks for the advice Venus, and I’ve just ordered another aloe remedy. Better to be safe than sorry. I’m invested emotionally and financially too. Ammonia is zero in the tank, but starting to show in the cycling tub. Levels are close to .5 ppm, I’m using the Prime in the fish house every day

  3. Venus Goldfish Master May 13, 2019 at 6:52 am

    This is a good sign, as I’m sure you’ve already learned. The darkened coloration means the ammonia burns are healing. The fish should be feeling much better soon. If you can afford, and feel the fish would benefit from another aloe treatment, it sure wouldn’t hurt, but I believe they’re out of the woods with or without it

    Most important is making certain they’re not exposed to ammonia again. Test for ammonia in your new fish house daily, and don’t allow ammonia levels to exceed 1.ppm. Make sure to use a single dose of water treatment once a day, and your fish will come through this just fine

    Keep us posted on the cycling process

  4. JimBean96 May 13, 2019 at 6:37 am

    One of the fish is getting black marks on the tips of its fins. It has multiple colors on the body, so I can’t really tell if the body is effected, but its fins are normally translucent white. From what I’ve read, this is caused by the ammonia. Is there anything else I can do? Will the aloe remedy be enough? Should I order another bottle or two

  5. Venus Goldfish Master May 11, 2019 at 5:51 am

    I realize you’ve never said how many fish you have; just that they’re each 2 1/2 inches in length, but assuming you only have two or three, they’ll need every bit of space the 40 gallon has to offer in the future. Goldfish grow fast and furiously

    Shubunkins are of the common variety, and they get really big as they age. I had a shu in my first school, and she was 11″ from nose to tail when she passed at the age of 13. She was a beauty

    I’m glad to hear your fish enjoying the new fish house. This is a very exciting time for you and the fish. We all love getting more fish, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re prepared to upgrade tank sizes in the future. I have a 170 gallon stock tank in my living room, a 50 gallon in my bedroom, and a 45 gallon tub set up in the laundry room for rescue fish, and they’re all filled to capacity. The big question; what is filled to capacity?

    How high your stocking levels is depends on how much water you want to exchange. If you’re overstocked, you could exchange water daily, and still have issues controlling nitrates. It’s also important to keep the fish’s welfare in mind. An aquarium or even a pond is much like a prison as the fish outgrows its environment

    I don’t exchange much water because my tanks have a lot of algae, which feeds on nitrates. I hope you’ll educate yourself on this amazing plant, because it makes keeping fish easy. Most fish keepers spend a lot of time removing it, which increases their work load by far

  6. JimBean96 May 10, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Forgot to mention I’ve also added Aloe remedy. One of the fish seems to be a little worse than the other. He’s not swimming around as much, and not as interested in food, but is still eating a little. I feel pretty positive they’ll both survive my bad fish keeping skills, thanks to you guys

  7. JimBean96 May 10, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Most of the bubbles have disappeared, so I’ve moved the fish over to the new tank. Maybe it was because I’d just moved them recently, but they’re not scared in the least. They’re all over the place, investigating every square inch. They look really small in the big tank, and now I’ll confess, I was going to get a couple of new fish, but I didn’t. After reading Cricket’s comment about how big they get, I didn’t want to push it

    I’ll set up the cycling bucket tomorrow. Tonight I’m setting up the five gallon as the fresh water tank. Would you believe it’s as long as the forty gallon is wide? It fit’s perfectly at the end of the coffee table. My dog thinks I’ve just given him a giant water bowl

  8. Venus Goldfish Master May 10, 2019 at 6:41 am

    For now, add the second pump to the fish house to double the action. The two pumps together should have the gases dispersed within a few hours. Should have recommended this previously, but not everyone has high levels of SSG. This is a great reason to set up the old tank for freshwater. You could use your old filter

  9. JimBean96 May 10, 2019 at 6:28 am

    New tank is set up, and pump is running. This morning I was all set to move the fish, and I see the glass is covered in those tiny bubbles much to my surprise. Should I wait before moving the fish? How long will it take for the bubbles to go away?

  10. Venus Goldfish Master May 9, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Wow…the fish will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. You don’t mess around do you Jim

    Yes. I think it would be fine to fill the new tank up with freshwater, but I might fill the tank up, install a pump, and let it turn the freshwater over for the night to eliminate supersaturated gases before you add the fish. Read this article

    With such a big tank, it will be more difficult to collect waste. Use the gravel vacuum twice a day, and rinse the pump sponge twice a day in the waste water you collect

    Pour the waste water into the five gallon bucket, but fill it only half way for now. Add the pond pump, and plug it in. You’ll have to use your judgement on how high the volume should be set. You’ll get a lot of action from a 220 in the bucket, so maybe half way. This pump will need a sponge as well to keep the pump clear. Rinse it daily in the bucket water

    You might place a brick or rock under the pump to raise it off the floor. This way the waste will settle to the bottom, and may not bog the pump down quite as much. Watch the action of the pump, and if it slows, rinse the pump, turn the volume up for a moment to clear it out

    The more waste you can collect from the fish house the better. Test fish house daily for ammonia. Perform a water change if levels get close to 1.ppm

    Add one dose of Prime to freshwater daily

    Sitting on the floor, the bucket water shouldn’t get too warm; room temperature is good; 70 to 74f

    Don’t cover the bucket, and if possible don’t place in bright light. Friendly bugs reproduce in darkness

    Use one half of the Aloe tonic tomorrow, and the other half the next day. Check the fish for rapid gill movement, which may indicate the gills have become inflamed

    As for the coffee table, you’ll have to be the judge. Sit on it. Does it feel strong? An aquarium is considered as a dead load, which isn’t too big of a risk for most furniture

    Good luck and keep us posted

  11. JimBean96 May 9, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I couldn’t wait for pumps to arrive, so I bought a couple of pumps locally at Home Depot. They had a really good selection. I got two 220 gph. The smaller pumps didn’t have cups over the intake. I ordered sea sponges, but went ahead and bought regular filter sponges at the pet shop to use until they arrive

    Now comes the daunting task of moving the fish into the new aquarium

    Should I worry about the weight of the aquarium? I was thinking of setting it up a coffee table. It’s fairly solid. Will this work?

    Since I don’t have a cycle, is there any reason to save the fish water from the old aquarium? Which I may follow Cricket’s plan of using it as a fresh water tank. It’s all very exciting

    The fish seem to be doing okay, but not really themselves. The came, but I’m going to wait to use in the new aquarium. I’m moving this tonight

    Thanks again everyone

  12. JimBean96 May 8, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    My stomach actually flipped when I read Crickets comment. The idea of my fish getting up to a foot long makes me feel like a kid at Christmas. I’ve never been so excited. I bought a 40 gallon long on sale. Is that big enough Cricket? It’s really long, so I’m was thinking of getting three of the 100 gph pond pumps. Will that work okay?

    Venus, as soon as the pumps arrive, I’m up for cycling one of the pumps in a bucket, which I have on hand

    Thanks everyone, and thanks for the encouragement catlady. Right back at ya

    • Cricket May 8, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      A 40 is big enough for now. If they get to big for it you can always find a larger one. Shubunkins are very hardy and do well in ponds, so that’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

      For your 40, you’ll want two 200 gph pumps. Place one on one end and one on the other end. Oh I see now, you’re thinking of putting one 100 in a bucket for the semi cycle and 3 in the tank, is that right? I’ll let Venus weigh in on this, but I think in that case you’d want to put two of your pumps in the semi bucket. your cycle won’t be strong enough with just one in the bucket. If you could use a larger tub you might get away with putting one 200 gph in the tub and one in the tank. Fewer pumps are easier to clean than more pumps. I haven’t tried a pump that large in the semi cycle container, but venus will know if it will work. It would help to have a pump you can turn down the volume on.

      So glad you’re excited your fish will get huge!

  13. catlady May 7, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I just got my pond pump today, and have already installed it. The fish are loving the water movement, and happier than they’ve been in a long time. I also got my test kit today. Check out my post, goldfish looking sickly if you want. I think nitrates were bothering my fish. They were a little high. I just learned about the nitrogen cycle too. Good luck with your fish

  14. JimBean96 May 7, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Who ever said goldfish were cheap to keep? I just read lil dippers post. Okay. I’m getting a bigger aquarium, and as soon as I do, I’m getting a pond pump. I saw a link for refurbished pumps in another post, but I’m not sure what size to get. Guess it depends on what size tank I get

    I did add salt when I changed out the water, but I won’t be adding it again. Thanks Venus

    You guys are the best

    • Cricket May 8, 2019 at 2:19 am

      Jim, you’ll want 10 times the pump power for the number of gallons in your tank. So, if you buy a 30 gallon tank, you’ll buy two 150 gallon per hour (gph) pumps. I have a 50 gal tank with two 250 gph pumps. For a 20 gal tank, two 100 gph pumps, and so on.

      Do yourself a favor and get the biggest tank you can afford now. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to move your 8 inch long shubunkins in a couple to few years. They can grow to a foot long. I

      And yes, goldfish are surprisingly not cheap to keep! And not easy either. Hang in there, Venus will walk you through this and your fish will be okay.

  15. Venus Goldfish Master May 7, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Not sure if I told you to stop using salt. If not, stop using salt. Bad bugs quickly build immunity to salt, and it’s worthless in preventing infection. Salt is hard on their organs as well. Boosting oxygen levels will also boost the immunity of the fish and the water they live in, and we’re working on that

  16. Venus Goldfish Master May 7, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Glad to know you’re able to test water parameters, and glad you have the water treatment. Prime is good product, and most of our members use it

    Prime converts 1.ppm of ammonia or nitrite per dose. You can quadruple a single dose as levels rise, however, increased dosages aren’t healthy for your fish. If you’re interested, I’ll walk you through the Semi live fish free cycle. This is a method of cycling a tank with live fish without exposing them to more than 1. ppm of converted ammonia, keeping this safe

    You’ll need a five gallon bucket and a spare pump or filter. You could use your old filter, but a better idea would be to invest in a real pond pump. If you’ve been reading the 10 steps, you’ve learned something about them

    Your KH is perfect, however, your pH is low. This tells me oxygen levels are low in your fish house water. With such a healthy reading for KH, pH should be 8.ppm or a littler higher

    The pond pump is dropped in the five gallon bucket, placed in a cool, dark place. Perform daily water changes (using a gravel vacuum) in the fish house, adding the waste you collect to the cycling bucket. Of course, you’ll need gravel substrate. Waste settles in the gravel, making it easy to collect

    You can remove waste as often as you want. If ammonia levels climb over 1.ppm, perform a water change. If you collect the waste before it breaks down, ammonia levels will stay pretty low in the fish house

    It takes six to eight weeks to cycle the pump. You can test the water to see how it’s doing, and once ammonia and nitrite are at zero with a healthy reading of nitrates, the pump is ready to place in the fish house

    If you feed the fish normally before and after cycling the pump, there shouldn’t be a spike after the fact

    Make sure the top is open so the water is exposed to fresh air. This may help boost oxygen levels. Also, push a pitcher deep into the water filling it. Bring it up, and pour it back in. Repeat this action several times. This removes Co2 (gas created from waste) and boosts oxygen levels. Of course, removing the waste will also keep Co2 from forming in the fish house water

    Keep us posted

  17. JimBean96 May 7, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Hi everyone, Thanks for helping out. I appreciate the advice. The fish seem to be doing better. I cleaned the tank, dumping all of the water, and adding fresh treated water. I bought Prime water treatment, and a master test kit too.

    These are test results before the water change
    Ammonia 5. ppm
    Nitrite 1. ppm
    Nitrates 0
    GH 300 ppm
    KH 120 ppm
    pH 7.5 ppm

    I’ve briefly read through the 10 steps instructions, and I think I understand the cycling process. I believe the fish were being poisoned by the ammonia. After the water change they’re happier, and eating. The fins were and still are clamped. I just ordered the aloe tonic. I hope it gets here soon
    I have one dose of Prime in the tank, ready for ammonia to climb. I’m a little confused over what to do next, so any help is greatly appreciated. I know I have to cycle the tank. You were right Venus. I set up the filter that came with the tank, and obviously this has created a big problem. Who could know?

    Thanks in advance for your help

  18. Venus Goldfish Master May 7, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Good advice Marsha. I hope we haven’t lost Jim. I missed his post, and was slow to respond sorry to say

  19. Lil Dipper May 6, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Hi, What kind of filter are you using and what’s inside of it? Sponges? Filter pads?

    Your tank is fresh and now accumulating the toxins of nitrites and nitrates and probably ammonia due to no cycle. Your job is to exchange water. Take water out, put water in. You have to do this constantly. The smaller the tank, the more maintenance you have to do. 5 gallons is very small for two goldfish this size.

    If you want to help these guys you have to act fast as they’re suffering and could die from it, and get disease in this state. Whichever comes first.

    Do you have Prime by Seachem? You need to get some, esp if your tap water has chlorine. If not, you could also go to the store and get a bunch of gallons of spring water. Syphon out 1/2 a gallon and put back in 1/2 gallon. Keep doing this every hour.

    Water out/water in. You don’t want to do it all at once because it may shock them. So little at a time is better. Maybe every 1/2 hour, considering it’s late now, and you’ll be going to bed soon. But you need to act fast.

    You need to continually make these daily water changes as often as possible until the cycle begins. Don’t change or clean your filter pads during this time. And do not ever overfeed your fish. Feed very sparingly as tis point, if at all till they come out of this state.

    Frankly, these fish will never do well in such a small aquarium. Always going to be high maintenance. A 29 gallon in the very least. Hopefully you can get started on exchanging the water and buy some Prime ASAP. Seachem recommends 2-3 drops of Prime from an eye-dropper per gallon, you can double that amount in the beginning. Def get a water test kit too, You’ll want to know the results of Nitrite/Nitrate/Ammonia at all times during this phase.

    1/2 gallon out, 1/2 gallon in. On the hour, every hour. Dedicate an entire day/ evening to this.

    Venus, do you think 1/2 gallon is right? Or should it be more or less at this point?

    Best wishes to you and your fish. Come back and tell us how it’s going.

  20. catlady May 6, 2019 at 6:14 am

    OMG. I’m thinking this is how I killed my first batch of fish. I moved them from a 10 gallon into a 20 gallon. The aquarium came with a filter, so I used it instead of the old one. Within three weeks my fish were sick and dying. This will never happen to my fish again. I’ve been reading the 10 Steps to goldfish keeping, and have learned a lot

    Good luck Jim. Please tell us how it goes

  21. Venus Goldfish Master May 6, 2019 at 5:28 am

    When you moved the fish, did you use the old filter in the new tank, or scrap it? Beneficial bacteria, the friendly bugs that create the nitrogen cycle, build their colonies in our filtering systems and pumps. When these bugs are eliminated from the environment, the fish are at risk of being poisoned by ammonia

    Here’s how it works

    Goldfish create waste, and from this waste ammonia is created. Ammonia is a dangerous toxin. When ammonia is present, friendly bugs form to feed on it. In a short time they convert the toxin into nitrites, another dangerous toxin. When nitrites are present, another type of friendly bug forms to feed on this toxin, changing it into nitrates. Nitrates are safe in low amounts, and is the last toxin to form in the cycle. This process is called the nitrogen cycle

    Is it possible your fish are being poisoned by ammonia? Are the fins clamped or held tight against the body? This would explain the fish turning lighter in color, as ammonia burns fish, causing this reaction. As the burns heal, they’ll turn dark in color

    The cycle is a long and dangerous process

    You mentioned water treatment. Does yours convert ammonia to a safe form? You’ll need water treatment that converts ammonia and nitrite, and you’ll need it asap

    Prime or Amquel Plus are best for cycling a tank

    Pick up a master test kit that includes ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, but until then, I would perform another 100% water change to keep the fish

    Ammonia also causes inflammation in the internal parts of the gills. This remedy will sooth the burns and reduce inflammation

    The 10 Steps will help you to fully understand the nitrogen cycle, and will guide you through the process of cycling your tank Read each and every step, as once the cycle is complete, 100% water changes can disrupt the cycle, breaking it. We exchange only a portion of tank water for this very reason. How much we exchange depends on nitrate readings

    In a short time your fish will require more space than a five gallon has to offer. Goldfish never stop growing. This is a big problem for successful goldfish keepers, and how I ended up with a stock tank in my living room. lol

    Post test results here, and keep us posted

Leave A Comment

Skip to toolbar