Blind Goldfish? Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish and Invertebrates' started by JustKeepSwimming, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    Long story short as I've said in another thread my husband bought me a 5g aquarium for my desk. It came with a very large white fantail goldfish (pictured in my icon) that was way too big for a 5g. She's in a larger tank now waiting for my 55g to cycle so I can put her in it.

    Anyway I am starting to think she's either blind, or can't see very well. She never sees my hands but gets startled when she bumps into them, and she can't see the food at all, never goes after it, but searches tirelessly through the rocks at the bottom for food. She does eat when she finds it. I think at most she can see movement and shapes.

    How likely is it that she's somewhat blind? What do you think the cause of it would be? I have a calico Ryukin that eats readily from my hands and can see the food when it falls. Having them in the same tank made me start to recognize the symptoms of blindness.

    Is there anything I can do to make things easier for her?

  2. throwthesandValued MemberMember

    Wow, I've never heard of a blind goldfish. What is her name? My betta is not blind, but he also has trouble finding his food because he is in a big tank with lots of fake plants. It helps him if a gently ripple the water, or drop the food from high up so it splashes a bit. After a while, he remembers where I drop the food and goes there when I turn the light on in the mornings. Maybe that will help?
    I don't know if you have any plants, but it might make her feel more secure to have something to hide in. As the for the cause, I have no idea.
    I hope this helps :)

  3. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    I tap tap tap on the glass and feed in the same spot for my stuborn fish or frogs.

  4. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    Sometimes I call her pearl, my husband sometimes calls her goldie (which is bizarre to me because she's pure white!), she doesn't really have an official name yet. The Ryukin is named Whiteface because he was the only calico with a white face. Dropping the food in the same place and giving a tap are both great ideas and I'll use those, thanks. :)
  5. binkbenjiValued MemberMember

    blindness is common with a lack of pigment.

    it's possible she's been born with this fault in her genes or it is possible that both have stemmed from ammonia burns... have a look at her gill covers and see if they curl at all. That's another clue.

    The fact she came with a 5G tank suggests to me that it might be the ammonia burns...
  6. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    I was doing water changes and I took the opportunity to look her over. Her eyes are dark in the center with a cloudy outer ring. There do not appear to be ammonia burns on her gills, her body is almost translucent in areas and very reflective pearly white in others (mainly the belly and midsection).

    When we got her the previous owners said they had three (!!) of the goldfish in the 5 gallon, but the other two died. She was the only one that survived, and they'd had her almost two years.

    They swear she was gold before, and turned white over time. I've heard this can happen as a goldfish ages, or depending on the light, so I just took them at their word on that.

    She came to me with a pretty bad case of swim bladder disorder that doesn't seem to want to kick. If I feed her peas she seems to manage swimming up and down, but if I feed her anything else (such as her proper sinking pellets) it seems to get worse, so I just try to feed her that twice a week for nutrition. It's a pretty stubborn case of swim bladder, worse than I've ever had to deal with. They were feeding her frequent, large meals of floating generic flakes and floating pellets, which explains the issue.
  7. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    I heard cucumber is good for swim bladder as well so I cut up some pieces and gently scooped her toward the top of the water. She tried to bite at it when she felt it bump her face but missed. Couldn't get her to take a bite of that, my Ryukin ended up gobbling it all down.
  8. riptide904Valued MemberMember

    I've had luck with peas before, but if she won't take it you could look up some recipes for gel food, some fish take better to that.
  9. guster730Valued MemberMember

    Yeah just take the peas out of their shells and see if she eats them. Or if they're too big you can crush them up.
  10. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    What brand of food are you feeding? Cheaper brands of food tend to cause swim bladder issues in fancy goldfish. There are a few thoughts as to why this happens is either an allergy to something in the food, or something in the food cannot be digested by individual fish. Try New Life Spectrum. I've been using the large fish formula for my guys, and only of them has problems with it. I may try the goldfish formula soon. Usually though, I make my own gel food. I'll find the link to my thread for that :)

    Here it is
  11. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    I always take the peas out of the shell and quarter them or make them even smaller.

    Also, as I said above she developed swim bladder disorder with her previous owners who were feeding her wrong and keeping her in a 5 gallon.

    I feed New Life Spectrum sinking pellets. Short fat bottle with a blue cap and reflective label that costs a pretty penny, LOL.

    I will try gel food next. She eats the peas okay but has trouble finding the cucumber.
  12. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    What type of NLS are you feeding? The goldfish one, or a different one? Since NLS is basically all the same, you may try a different brand. I'd just make gel food, though. You can chock it full of garlic so that she can find it by scent.
  13. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    The goldfish specific one.

    It does not seem to be getting worse anymore. I fed her some of the pellets a couple of days ago, and again today, and there's been no increase in her swim bloat this time. She's starting to swim almost normally!

    I'm definitely going to do the gel food, I'll get set up with the stuff to do it in a week or so. :)
  14. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    After doing some research I am starting to think she is eggbound. Apparently it's common in goldfish, particularly the fancy varieties. Her abdomen is swollen on one side. Normally this is one way you can tell they're female, but the eggs don't reabsorb. The swelling just gets a bit bigger.

    I've read there's little to nothing you can do about an eggbound goldie. Is this true? (It is definitely NOT dropsy.)

    She's generally happy other than her swimming problem. Eats when she can find her food and swims actively, even if it's a bit off.

    The Ryukin in with her works to right her and steer her, almost acting like a seeing-eye-dog! It's so odd, but cute.
  15. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Try an Epsom salt bath. May help her release them or reabsorb them. The only other option is a full grown, ready to mate male to stimulate her to release the eggs.
  16. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    I've given her two salt dips with abdominal massage. If nothing else she seems to be pooping a little easier. We'll see how it goes.

    We've determined she is 100% blind. We did a bunch of things to test her field of vision. She doesn't see light and dark, doesn't see objects move, BUT it doesn't hinder her from eating and living happily. So luckily, it's not really a problem as long as she can smell the food or feel it touch her face.
  17. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    Just reporting in that she is doing much better! She and the ryukin are now in the 55 gallon. She's had two salt baths total and for a few days she was pretty listless, but I gave up on the not feeding her then feeding her peas thing and just kept her on a steady diet of NLS and cucumber, and the temperature in the 55 is two degrees lower than the one she had in the other tank. Because of the eggs she still has a hard time staying at the bottom but it's less hard now, and she no longer tips over.

    And best of all, it appears some of her vision has healed! She can see myself or my husband walking by the tank now, and she can see food when it drops. So maybe her eyes were just burned by ammonia and needed a little TLC to heal?
  18. JustKeepSwimmingWell Known MemberMember

    She's doing so much better everyday. I've got some pictures though because my 55 gallon isn't completely set up (few plants, no lights yet) it's hard to get a clear shot.

    And we finally named her. Snowstorm!

    Here she is begging for food:


    Here she is dancing back and forth in her tank:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018

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