Please Help!

Please Help!

Please help my fish

Please help.

I’m fairly new to this hobby, however having learned the hard way, and losing many common/comet goldfish along the way…… I am still confused as to why my goldfish can be happy one day and listless the next day.  We’ve had our 3 goldfish for over 2 years living in a 5.6g tank, 1 died recently last month so I rehomed the surviving 2 goldfish into our 10g sump.

Admittedly I panic and try to administer either Api General Cure or Hikari Prazi-Pro because in the past I’ve watched each of our goldfish start out with sunken bellies then eventually die. After going to many pet stores and reading almost every forum I can only assume its wasting disease and have been told these fish are “usually” feeders preferably not kept as pets.

But after 2 years of hopefully “healthy” living I assumed our comets would be long term pets….. till last month our white and red goldfish became sick and died.  And now that the 2 orange survivors have been living in a 10 g sump, one started exhibiting the same listless behavior.  Fins still up he just seemed not interested and no stringy poop but could see what I assume was the start of a sunken belly.

Fish need help

Quickly took him out in fear of disease spreading and put him into a 1 gallon tupperware with an air stone and 1 bag of old filter media.  To my amazement he perked right back up and started swimming and eating. I got excited and went out bought a 15g tupperware, same air stone and 1 filter sock from the sump.  By that night he was back on the bottom sitting lifeless.

Please help

Now that I’ve read your forum I see maybe its been my mistake by transferring the fish from home to hospital and only thinking “zeroes” are good for all water parameters actually may have stressed him out more.  He was listless then became folded and when he tried he could only swim in spirals? Two days later he has passed….. nitrates poisoning or levels too low?

Sorry for such a lengthy post but I’m still confused as to why a healthy goldfish can turn sick so fast, the other habitats in the tank are all still healthy I HOPE!! No new fish introduced. Water parameters are 0 Amm, 0Nit, and 20 Nitrates. Ph 7-8 range.  Try to do weekly tank cleanings but usually becomes every 10 days.

Hoping for some insight as to why my goldfish always seem to develop some sort of parasitic disease? Even after 2 years without problems?  Ultimately i want to know if I’m doing something wrong and how I can make our last goldfish live for years to come…. 


Thanks in advance,


By | 2019-04-01T14:11:11-05:00 March 9th, 2017|Categories: Goldfish Koi Health Issues|

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  1. Venus (Goldfish Master) March 10, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Harry? You’re the first that’s ever posted a blank page; congrats

  2. Venus (Goldfish Master) March 10, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Okay, one thing I’m picking up on, your set up is way to complicated. There’s no need for the sump. These types of filtering systems do more harm than good. Keep it simple. All you really need is a pond pump or two. Your set up invites bad bacteria, and although the issues you describe aren’t due to infection, it’s just around the corner

    It’s common for people to tag anything that grows on substrate as algae, but algae is never black or any color other than green. The black stuff you see is fungus

    The string algae is commonly found in tanks with extreme lighting. It’s considered as invasive, quickly covering the surface, but it can be controlled, and it does feed on nitrates. It’s unusual to see it in a heavily planted tank due to competition for nitrates

    Goldfish are freshwater fish. Keeping them in a constant saline solution stresses the organs, and in time they will suffer from organ failure. There are a few if not many websites that recommend it. They believe the salt keeps bad bacteria at bay, but such is not the case. Bad bacteria as well as parasites quickly build an immunity to salt

    Bad bugs can’t build an immunity to oxygen, and they cannot survive in a heavily oxygenated environment

    Co2 running? Not only is this unnecessary, it’s not a good idea. Here’s why; goldfish make waste, and lots of it. The waste they produce creates Co2. Unless your fish are tiny compared to their environment, they’ll produce enough Co2 to feed the plants

    Co2 is a major issue with most goldfish keepers. It takes up space in the water, keeping oxygen from entering. Oxygen is absorbed by moving water at the surface, and this is why I recommend keeping the top open

    If nitrates are low, it’s because your plants feed on this toxin. We say plants feed on Co2 and produce oxygen, but this isn’t really true. They consume Co2 when the lights are on, clearing the body of water so oxygen can enter. When the lights go off, they release the same Co2 they consumed

    You’re keeping goldfish as though they were tropical salt water fish, which do not create much waste, and adding Co2 is a must for a heavily planted tank in this case

    One of the toughest things I do is try to convince people to change their set ups. They go to a lot of expense and trouble, only to hear me tell them it’s not right, but I hope you’ll consider making the change

    Here’s an article on supersaturated gases; just in case this is the issue. It’s more common than people think, mainly because no one knows what it is

    Stop using salt and Co2

    If you find your fish aren’t producing enough Co2 for the plants, get more fish. lol

    My thought is, during lights out, the oxygen levels drop, and although your fish can survive these few hours without oxygen, it’s painful. If nitrates or SSG (supersaturated gases) are an issue, this will aggravate their condition

    I hope you don’t feel too defensive, and truly, I’m glad to help

    In the meantime, perform smaller and more frequent water changes to keep the water table as high as possible. Keep nitrates consistently low. Work your freshwater over to remove SSG. You can learn more about SSG in this article
    Supersaturated gases

    • harry March 10, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Venus! I came to this site to gain as much advice as possible to help maintain the best possible situation for my fish so i’ll take all the criticism you can give! :yahoo: I agree…. my tank is unnecessarily complicated as I was thinking when purchasing a tank that maybe one day in the future I could run a saltwater setup. Plus I fell in love with the rimless open look of the tank. If it makes the fishs’ lives healthier I could just run an external canister out of the main tank and totally disregard the sump below, I was only thinking it was an additional layer of filtration.

      As for keeping my goldfish in a tropical setting this has been my biggest challenge. I dont want to give up the goldfish and the only reason we bought a bigger tank is so they could happily grow. But one day I do hope to have them live happily in a community tank with other coldwater mates, although every site and forum i read suggests not mixing goldfish with any other species. Adding salt, I would only sprinkle aquarium salt in IF i ever thought there was a parasite looming around…. usually after a fish dies.

      Algae growing on substrate and rocks is definitely green. I don’t mind the green algae as the pest snails and 1 pleco feeds on that. But the hair algae I think you’re right about the extreme lighting causing its growth and I should try raising the lights further away or lessen the time down even further. The black beard algae growing on the rocks is something very new to me, it just started appearing about 2 weeks ago shortly after installing a phosphate removal pad to the canister filter.

      Thanks for all your insight as I really dont want any more fish to get sick. Now that theres only 1 goldfish left I wonder if I should get him another companion!! :good:

  3. harry March 9, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks so much for your reply Venus!!
    My tank is a saltwater tank and below the display tank is the sump where the filtration takes place. I use an external canister and just a return pump and heater sit inside the 10g sump.

    My tap water is a 6.6 – 6.8, i run it through a drip charcoal filter and then use prime and let the water sit till i need it. Sometimes the Ph is under 6 after its aged so long. But my tank water is always usually a dark 7.6 or darker.

    I have a planted tank with CO2 running for the duration of the lights which is now only 4 hours because of a hair algae bloom i couldnt control. I’ve added a phosphate pad and still have algae growing on the rocks with a new found discovery of black beard algae. Down below in the sump my last remaining goldfish only gets a bunch of java moss to play with.

    I think you may be right about the nitrate poisoning, although i just measured 0 nitrates and apprx 30% water change was done 3 days ago.

    I do notice the gassy bubbles every so often but not all the time. Usually when i see the bubbles i think a water change is overdue?? :wacko:

    Does that mean i have been mis- diagnosing my goldfish the entire time? I sure hope its not a parasitic disease that could still be lingering.

  4. Venus (Goldfish Master) March 9, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Harry, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been losing fish. To some of us, it’s devastating. Myself included

    I love it that you’re honest. Most of our members are embarrassed, and it’s hard to get to the real story, but in order to help you, the real story is a must.

    I’m not sure what a sump is, or is that a typo?

    Although your parameters look good right now, maybe nitrates have gotten too high in the past. Your pH levels aren’t half bad, but not half bad isn’t as good as it could be. Test your tap water for pH, and let me know the results

    In all too many cases, the fish owner sees the fish is feeling poorly, and so they perform a large water change. Even if they test and know that nitrates are too high, they don’t know how to reduce levels safely. As you’ve been reading, nitrates must be reduced or increased gradually. This is mostly due to the fact that nitrate sensitive fish can’t tolerate shallow water

    To exchange water safely, perform small and frequent water changes; 5% every half hour for example. This keeps the water table high

    The concave looks is a symptom of nitrate poisoning. This is due to the fact most fish affected by nitrates lose their appetite, but it’s mostly due to the fact that nitrates rob the blood of oxygen. The blood slows and thickens; the vessels begin to constrict

    There’s something else that causes similar symptoms that most people aren’t aware of; supersaturated gases. These gases found in freshwater are caused by pressure. They’re the tiny bubbles you see clinging to a clear glass of water. You may see them on your tank a day or so after a water change. They too cause extreme pressure in the body

    In your case however, I believe nitrates are the culprit. Do you have algae or plants? If water changes are an issue, you can reduce the amount and how often you need to exchange water by allowing algae to form. Algae feeds on nitrates, while offering a nutritious food source for our fish. What more could we ask?

    No, meds, which are actually dangerous chemicals are never the solution. Most all issues are related to bad water, poor maintenance routines or improper feeding, not disease

    I have a feeling your lesson is learned, and in the future nitrates won’t be an issue. Don’t feel bad. In the beginning, we all kill a fish or two. I’ve killed more than what I can count on my fingers and toes. It’s hard to take, but that’s why I’m here

    Perform this 911 water change. You and the fish will feel much better after the fact. Read the 10 Steps (long or short version) and follow each step. This will help you to create a healthy environment your fish will thrive in. Instead of dreading to look into the tank when you wake up, you’ll be looking forward to it

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