Ammonia Burn Or Just Changing Color??

MaggieKobich

New Member
hello everyone! I’ve adopted a goldfish and I’m very concerned about him. So I brought him home about two weeks ago now (poor fishy was crammed with 20 other fish in a small Walmart tank). He started to slowly turn black and now, his whole fin and some of his scales are black! It’s been about a week and calling pet stores has not been any help. I was wondering if maybe this could be ammonia burn healing since he was crammed into the Walmart tank or if maybe even it could be my fault? I clean his tank about 50% water change weekly. ThIs that not often enough? I’ve grown very attached and am super nervous about losing my little Nemo. I’m defiantly new to this. Hey
 

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shiv234

Well Known
first of all that goldie doesn't belong in your tank. it needs more than a 120 gallon tank since it grows over a foot long and is very active. Also they need friends so you looking at about a 300 gallon tank. Test your water to see if it has ammonia in it and have you cycled that tank
 

Drip&derp

New Member
first of all that goldie doesn't belong in your tank. it needs more than a 120 gallon tank since it grows over a foot long and is very active. Also they need friends so you looking at about a 300 gallon tank. Test your water to see if it has ammonia in it and have you cycled that tank
I don't own goldfish but could you get say a 75 until he gets large enough for a bigger tank? I'm not trying to be rude just curious.
 

shiv234

Well Known
I don't own goldfish but could you get say a 75 until he gets large enough for a bigger tank? I'm not trying to be rude just curious.
say he is 4 inches. If you buy the 75 gallon tank within 9 months you will need to upgrade..even sooner maybe
 

California L33

Well Known
Welcome to Fish Lore!

So, let's dispense with what should be and concentrate on what is. That poor little fish does not look healthy. His fins are clamped. Is he showing any other symptoms? Is he gasping, for instance?

Could it be ammonia burn? Maybe. Since you don't know the former numbers or current numbers you don't know. One thing for certain is that Goldfish produce a tremendous amount of waste- and waste equals ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate- all toxins to fish. How big is the tank he's in now and how often are you doing partial water changes? Is the tank filtered? How long has it been running?

(And what others are saying is absolutely true. Contrary to popular belief Goldfish are not 'easy' fish. People treat them like they're easy because they're inexpensive and easily replaceable, which is sad. They grow to gigantic size and need a monster home. If you successfully treat him and get him healthy he'll need a big home. Big Goldfish homes don't have to be ridiculously expensive, though. People raise them in solid walled kiddie pools and animal watering troughs.)
 

MaggieKobich

New Member
Hello! Thank you everyone for the responses. It breaks my heart to hear about his fins and that he doesn’t look healthy. Currently he is in a smaller tank because my 20 gallon is going through the nitrogen cycle. (I’m now realizing that I shouldn’t have gotten the fish until AFTER. I’ve never raised a fish before) But, it defiantly sounds like that wouldn’t be big enough. My grandma does have a pond at her house which is a lot bigger. So, if I were to ask her to let him live in her pond, would he have a better survival rate? I know you cannot just throw him in and except him to adapt, that would be very cruel. BUT my grandma would probably know how to properly add him to the environment.
 

shiv234

Well Known
Hello! Thank you everyone for the responses. It breaks my heart to hear about his fins and that he doesn’t look healthy. Currently he is in a smaller tank because my 20 gallon is going through the nitrogen cycle. (I’m now realizing that I shouldn’t have gotten the fish until AFTER. I’ve never raised a fish before) But, it defiantly sounds like that wouldn’t be big enough. My grandma does have a pond at her house which is a lot bigger. So, if I were to ask her to let him live in her pond, would he have a better survival rate? I know you cannot just throw him in and except him to adapt, that would be very cruel. BUT my grandma would probably know how to properly add him to the environment.
I would put him in the pond as soon as he is cured as he will get stunted in a small tank
 

Fearyn

Well Known
I have goldfish living outside in 150 gallon livestock troughs, and mine have been very hardy. I would think he could live in a pond depending on a lot of factors. Keep in mind racoons like goldfish as snacks, so a net over the pond might be needed.
 

Aurah

Active Member
A 60 gallon is considered the bare minimum for a comet goldfish, which yours is.

That aside, it looks like the black could simply be natural coloring. Goldfish are well known for going through drastic color changes over their lifetimes - it's not unheard of for them to change colors entirely once or even more during their lives. He does look stressed and modestly underweight, though, so you'll want to feed him several times a day with food mass approximately the size of his eye until gets back up to par. Be cautious when doing this, however, since all that food will turn to ammonia as his body processes it. Frequent large water changes will be a necessity. 50% once a week for a goldfish (they are notorious for producing really high ammonia relative to their size because they need to eat so much) in a small tank is likely not nearly enough.

Solid Gold Aquatics on YouTube, who breeds goldfish, has a lot of good videos specializing in goldfish care. You might want to consider watching a few of her videos aimed at beginners.
 

2211Nighthawk

Fishlore VIP
A 60 gallon is considered the bare minimum for a comet goldfish, which yours is.

That aside, it looks like the black could simply be natural coloring. Goldfish are well known for going through drastic color changes over their lifetimes - it's not unheard of for them to change colors entirely once or even more during their lives. He does look stressed and underweight, though, so you'll want to feed him several times a day with food mass approximately the size of his eye until gets back up to par. Be cautious when doing this, however, since all that food will turn to ammonia as his body processes it. Frequent large water changes will be a necessity. 50% once a week for a goldfish (they are notorious for producing really high ammonia relative to their size because they need to eat so much) in a small tank is likely not nearly enough.

Solid Gold Aquatics on YouTube, who breeds goldfish, has a lot of good videos specializing in goldfish care. You might want to consider watching a few of her videos aimed at beginners.
Eh... have to disagree with 60 gallons. My 8” common is in a 60 gallon and he makes it look small. They *need* bigger ponds long term.
 

Aurah

Active Member
Fair enough. I agree that non-fancy goldfish aren't really tank fish. I've often heard 60 as the bare-dead-end-minimum for the fish to survive, but I agree that it's far from ideal. Then again, I typically don't keep a fish unless I can at least double it's recommended minimum tank size, so you're right to take my "minimum" suggestion with a shaker of salt. Thanks for clarifying for the OP!
 

2211Nighthawk

Fishlore VIP
Fair enough. I agree that non-fancy goldfish aren't really tank fish. I've often heard 60 as the bare-dead-end-minimum for the fish to survive, but I agree that it's far from ideal. Then again, I typically don't keep a fish unless I can at least double it's recommended minimum tank size, so you're right to take my "minimum" suggestion with a shaker of salt. Thanks for clarifying for the OP!
Trust me, 60 is a heck of a lot better then what they usually end up in, and he’s still small enough that a 60 would last a while but...

0C01D607-FB67-4909-86D0-78CCAEB188BD.jpeg
Yeah... he don’t take much to make it to either end.
 

Aurah

Active Member
Yeah, it looks like that little guy might appreciate some more space, especially with as energetic as the long-bodied goldfish tend to be. His pattern is super cool though!
 

2211Nighthawk

Fishlore VIP
Yeah, it looks like that little guy might appreciate some more space, especially with as energetic as the long-bodied goldfish tend to be. His pattern is super cool though!
Thank you. he’s an old boy, 9 years old. Unfortunately I have 0 access to a pond or bigger tank. So as hypocritical as I am, I won’t ever advise what I’m doing. He stopped growing at 5 years cause I made some of the same mistakes. He’s a smart fosh though, when he wants to go for a swim he sticks his nose into the filter output on the bottom and swims against the current. He’s funny that way.
 

California L33

Well Known
Hello! Thank you everyone for the responses. It breaks my heart to hear about his fins and that he doesn’t look healthy. Currently he is in a smaller tank because my 20 gallon is going through the nitrogen cycle. (I’m now realizing that I shouldn’t have gotten the fish until AFTER. I’ve never raised a fish before) But, it defiantly sounds like that wouldn’t be big enough. My grandma does have a pond at her house which is a lot bigger. So, if I were to ask her to let him live in her pond, would he have a better survival rate? I know you cannot just throw him in and except him to adapt, that would be very cruel. BUT my grandma would probably know how to properly add him to the environment.

If it's a fish pond it would be ideal for him. I wouldn't move him at this time of year, though. While Goldfish live pretty much anywhere the ice doesn't freeze their homes solid, they have to be prepared for winter with fasting, and I assume you've been feeding him. He can probably overwinter in the 20 when it's cycled. As Fearyn says, ponds need to be protected from wild critters- either with netting or good 'swI'm through' hiding places like cinder blocks back to back, so if a racoon chases him into a 'hole' he's out the other side and hiding in the plants while the critter is still pawing at the hole he swam into. Overhanging ledges are also good for fish ponds. Straight edges aren't bad. Gentle slopes leading into them aren't great because animals feel safe walking right in.
 

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