Goldfish tumor please help!

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Goldfish tumor please help!

Goldfish tumor please help five year old Goldfish

My fish has had a round spot about an 1/8 inch in diameter for about two years. Initially it was white in color and slightly raised. The cebterm had a black tint to it. In the past two months, however, it has grown drastically and looks angry and cancerous to me. The tumor is behind his eye and now spreads almost to his gill. It is about an inch now and white with red veins.

I have been more focused in the past few months on maintaining water quality for him using tetra brand easy balance weekly and tetra brand aqua safe monthly as well as tetra brand safe start. I’m very worried as the sore is growing very rapidly and my once very active fish just mostly sits at the bottom of his tank. When  he does swim around, he seems to move well with no buoyancy issues, but I’m afraid if this gets any larger, it will cover his eye and/or gill.

He lives alone in a 55 gallon tank. Please view attached photos, any help would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. Venus August 1, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    We’re having problems with the order of the comments, so I hope you find this one

    Natural pea gravel is the only way to go. You can find it at your local lawn and garden center; it’s natural, so no worries

    Do nitrates read high? The goal for nitrates is 20 to 40 ppm. We lower these levels by exchanging water as you know. If levels exceed 40 ppm, exchange a maximum of 5% of tank water at one time. This keeps the water table high, which reduces the risk of nitrate shock. I’ve learned that deep water reduces the pressure high nitrate levels cause

    Test nitrates again, and report back with the reading. You could take a photo of the reading, but be sure to snap at the appropriate time. Strips are pretty good for reading nitrates

    You say pH and KH test high, and these are the parameters I don’t trust with strips. If you could get KH tester and pH tester that would be great, as these two tell me the story on oxygen. Another way to tell if your tank water is rich in oxygen, is the position of your fish. Does it spend more time closer to the top of the water or the bottom? If top is the answer, the water may contain Co2 (gas created from waste) which fills the water, keeping oxygen from entering. This gas hangs heavily at the bottom of the tank, where waste settles. To date, I have never seen a filter that was capable of eliminating it. As you may have already learned, I recommend pond pumps. They sit on the floor of the tank, pulling water from the bottom, sending it to the top in a jet stream where the Co2 is eliminated. They are simply amazing

    As for the tumor, I’ve been trying to talk someone I’ve been helping whose fish has the same issue to post here, but they’re having difficulty, or maybe feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, their fish passed away this morning just after it’s third treatment. Too little too late I’m afraid. The fish died suddenly, as though it experienced a heart attack. The treatment includes injecting a remedy into the tumor, feeding a similar remedy orally, and using the remedy in the water as a treatment

    Because your pH and KH test high on the strips, we should assume they’re not low, so I don’t see any reason not to proceed with treatment if you’re game. Tell me what you’ll be able to do or not do as far as the therapy I described; injection / feed orally / perform treatment in house. Of course all three are preferred, but anything you do is better than nothing

    Try creating as natural environment as possible by removing plastic decor or painted rock; no sand; no under gravel filter. If you like, I’ll help recommend a pond pump. No fish house is complete without one. Actually, for your tank size, I would recommend two 220 GPH pumps; one for each side of the tank

    • k80c August 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Thank you so much for your input. I went to home Depot today and could not find any natural pea gravel. What was there is covered in a lot of brown material that almost looks like mud and I was unsure if I should purchase so I did not. Instead, I removed 95% of the painted gravel that has been in the tank and left a very small amount which I will explain later. Other than that, I have a bare bottom tank right now. In the past two weeks since I made my original post, the tumor has changed again. It is even larger in size and mostly white (not red and streaky as before) however there is one red spot at the top. Today I took a sample to the pet store and they advised that nitrates were incredibly high (above 200) kh was too high (above 300) and pH was too high (8.4+) I did a water change and nitrate is reading somewhere between 20 and 40 now which I am so happy about. I removed all fake plants and put in a wisteria live water plant and water fern live plant. I hope this was a good idea. My goldfish really likes plants so I didn’t want to leave him empty and the girl at the pet store advised it wouldn’t do any harm and that it could help remove some nitrates and phosphates. The very small bit of gravel i left in the tank was to keep the plants rooted/weighted on the bottom. I’m still interested in the thought of marimo balls and what your thoughts on these are. I’m not entirely sure what a pond pump is vs a regular pump (please forgive my ignorance) so if you could educate me I would appreciate it. I don’t know that I understood the co2 vs o2 comment you last made. My fish definitely spends most time on the bottom of the tank. Does this mean oxygen levels are good or bad? I would love to administer something orally to help my goldfish if we could head that way in terms of treatment. Right now he’s eating a mix between goldfish pellets and flakes. Depending on the time of day. The girl at the petstore recommended a seachem brand pH neutralizer powder for the tank because pH is so high but they were out of stock. Do you have any opinion on this? I am very concerned about how best to regulate pH and kh because the tetra brand items I was using seemed to not do any good and just make the tumor worse and yet I still have this very high pH so I am very frustrated. I’m clearly missing the memo on how to make these levels better and more ideal. I am also so sorry to hear of the passing of the other users goldfish. That is all I am trying to avoid at this point. I feel horrible too as this tumor just keeps growing and despite my fish Oliver not seeming to be bothered by it, I am concerned it’s just going to get larger and larger until I fear it is inhumane to not end suffering. Then again every vet and pet store I’ve called in my town do not treat fish and do not know any one who does or who would euthanize if it needed to come to that. Honestly, I’ll do anything I can to avoid that happening. Getting frustrated and feeling like I’m letting my sweet fish down..

  2. Venus July 28, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Consider changing out the painted rock for natural pea gravel. If the plants are plastic, remove them, and replace with silk. Most of these products are made in China, and could be toxic to our fish. Creating a more natural environment is in keeping with good health

    Contact your city to find out if your water is disinfected with chlorine or choramines. If chlorine, we can remove it naturally without using water treatment, which contains chemicals that are dangerous to our fish

    • k80c August 1, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      I am going to be replacing the gravel this weekend with pea gravel. Is there a brand you can recommend as I read something stating some is treated with herbicides and dangerous to fish if bought from a hardware store. Is sand a good alternative as well or should I shy away? The plants are plastic, i will be replacing these also. Trying the little things I can do to help. I again am not sure of actual numbers in regard to water quality, as I only have test strips, which don’t give any reading other than a color. Nitrates, ph, and alkalinity, were all in the high range colorwise, but unfortunately I don’t have a number range to give. I am going to be purchasing a drop test kit to get more accurate numbers, however I can’t seem to find one that tests all the things you’re asking about, so I am wondering if you know of a brand that sells one or if you can recommend one. Do you think it would be wise to purchase an “under gravel” Filter as currently I just have a tetra power filter for the tank. Do you think introducing Live Marimo Plants would help maintain water quality? I don’t have a pumice stone or anything to induce oxygen. Just trying to save this fish’s life. 🙂

    • k80c August 5, 2017 at 3:38 pm photo I took of him before Taking out gravel and fake plants… showing how the tumor has changed and grown in the past two weeks

  3. Venus July 25, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Okay, let’s work at getting the water right, and then we’ll try a remedy. Just today I sent a remedy to someone whose fish has a tumor. It’s also located on the head, but different looking, and the growth is slow and steady. We’re going to try injecting the tumor with a remedy and administering orally as well. During the injection the fish will be placed in a bath with the remedy

    I’m going to see if I can get her to come on board this thread so we can compare notes

    You didn’t say what your test results were, so I’m going to give you ‘what I consider’ to be the comfort zones

    Ammonia and nitrite should be zero
    Nitrates 20 to 40 ppm unless the fish is sensitive to the toxin, and then 10 to 20 ppm
    KH 120 to 140 ppm is preferred
    GH 200 to 400 ppm is preferred

    pH should be 8.0 plus if KH is at the preferred level stated above. This because KH is a part of pH. The other part is oxygen. If KH is close to or on the mark, and pH is low, this tells us oxygen levels are low. Healthy oxygen levels depend on KH because this is the parameter responsible for alkalinity. KH gives water the ability to support oxygen, but this doesn’t necessarily mean oxygen levels are health if KH is healthy. Other things can determine oxygen levels; like water movement or having an enclosed tank for example

    Test tap water for KH and GH. Test tank water for pH. Test tap and tank to compare for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates

    Strips work pretty well for testing ammonia, nitrite and nitrates, but not so well for KH GH and pH. Drop test is preferred, although they cost a little more

    You can take samples to the pet shop, but chances are they’ll use a strip test as well, and they’re notorious for giving vague results. Safe, low or high is not a test result

    Yes, I love nothing more than hearing ‘teach me your ways’ although I’ve never actually heard it put like that. lol These days, the industry pushes chemicals at us, and we’re falling for it. More and more fish are dying from organ failure, and we’re seeing more tumors than ever before. I know the industry is to blame. In the wild, fish are healthy without all that toxic waste, and so can our fish in captivity

    So, we need better test results first and foremost. I prefer waiting until we get the water right or knowing it’s right, whichever the case may be; before starting therapy. Excellent water is all important when it comes to healing

    When we’re ready, I’ll prepare a custom remedy for you that includes a treatment for the water and a hypodermic needle if you don’t have one. This remedy is designed to be diluted in your tank water as a treatment, and used full strength, can be injected into the tumor. The remedy treats 80 gallons, so one bottle should be enough for you to do a full treatment. I’ll also include a one ounce bottle of the remedy customized to be administered orally. We’re going to hit the fish from a few different directions for maximum effect

    I can’t make any promises, but we’ll both know everything in our power is being done to bring the fish back to good health

    Once I get actual test results I may recommend a few changes in your set up, and or a water treatment that converts toxins to a safe form.

    What type of substrate you use if any. Tell me about any decor or plants you have and what they’re made of. We need to make sure the environment is a safe and healthy one. The industry pushes painted gravel and plastic decorations made in China. No wonder our fish struggle

    Have you read through our 10 steps? Check out ‘Knowledge Base’ in our menu. Click on goldfish care. Following these 10 steps leads to a natural and healthy environment for fish

    I appreciate your confidence in me

  4. Venus July 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Not sure what the large space is up to, but I hope it doesn’t keep users from seeing the next post

  5. Venus July 23, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Yes, that’s some angry looking tumor alright, and definitely life threatening, although cancerous, no one can say unless a biopsy is taken, and with goldfish, that may be a little extreme. This depends on your budget and your heart

    Cancerous or not, the good news the tumor is outside the body, making it visual for us to treat. We must be as aggressive as the tumor. Interestingly enough, I have another user with a fish sporting a tumor, although it has a different appearance. Tumors are abnormal cells that can be destroyed. Some experts may recommend removing the tumor, and this is something we could try if you’re of the mindset. Some experts say this could cause the tumor to take a different direction, and grow internally, but without xrays, we can’t know the tumor isn’t internal; we can only guess. I would say it’s not growing internally because the fish looks good except for the growth. Besides, I think cutting it off without a vet to say it’s okay could be risky

    I haven’t tried it, but I have a theory on treating these masses; inject with a combination remedy. A few herbs are proven to destroy cancerous cells, or cells that have been affected by virus, such as warts. We look at warts as a common thing, but in some cases warts can grow rapidly, and cover a fish’s body in a short time. The holds true with chlorophyll and a few others as well. The combination can be pretty powerful. If the herb is in the water as a regular treatment, administered orally and injected into the growth, the fish may have a fighting chance; the growth could very well shrink, and eventually be destroyed

    It’s also possible treating the water alone could do the job

    I will warn you, this isn’t going to happen in a short time. It will take several treatments and several months, and then we might be disappointed with the outcome

    Before getting started, the water quality in your fish house should be top notch. If you want to give it a try, I’ll need your water parameters, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, GH, pH and KH

    The products you’re using doesn’t assure excellent water, nor do they assure that toxin levels will be safe. In a cycled tank, none of these products are necessary. I recommend stopping there use, and seeing just where the cycle is. If you don’t have testers, you would need to obtain. It’s also important to look at the overall set up, as this has a great deal to do with oxygen levels in the water

    I’m game if you are

    • k80c July 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Dear Venus, Thank you so so much for all of your input. I unfortunately doubt that I have the funds to get my sweet Oliver a biopsy or excision of the tumor, unless you know of a way this can be done without costing an arm and a leg. In agreement with you, he does look great other than the growth and doesn’t seem to be bothered too much by it. I am 100% percent interested in any herbs/ natural remedies you have in mind that may help. I recently started using all those tetra brand products and in the past two months (since incorporated the products regularly) the mass has grown substantially. He is in a 55 gallon tank, with a dual filter which is cleaned and changed about every two weeks. Tap water is treated with a conditioner containing aloe and stress coat. After I posted on Sunday, I performed a simple water test (I don’t have a fancy kit, but am willing to purchase one if you know of a good one to buy?) and the test strip (tetra brand, 5 in 1 easy strips) showed dangerously high levels of nitrate, alkalinity, and ph. All these test strips test are nitrate, nitrite, hardness, alkalinity, and ph. I did a 33% water change, which seemed to lower the high levels a bit without shocking Oliver too much. I have struggled for a long time with maintaining optimum water levels, do you have any recommendations to bring these back to a more normal range? I want to keep toxin levels to a minimum and am willing to do anything I can to keep both bring my fish back to good health and keep him healthy for as long as possible. I’m definitely game. Teach me your ways.

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