Do My Goldfish Have Parasites? Or Something Else?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Kristeng1215_, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. Kristeng1215_

    Kristeng1215_New MemberMember


    Hey everyone! Sorry, my message was supposed to be included with those photos but my post didn't upload properly:

    A couple of months I noticed that one of my goldfish had a clear/ white string hanging out of him which I assumed was just unusual poop. Throughout the last couple of months however, I have begun to occasionally see the same thing wrapped around the plants in my tank, laying on the substrate or floating around in the water. Two nights ago, I noticed HUGE grayish-pink poops all over the bottom of the tank, some clear hollow poops with black specks/ pieces in them, and the white strings on more of the plants (See attached photos). I have absolutely 0 experience dealing with fish parasites and diseases so I have no idea what their warnings signs are. Therefore I also am unsure what is causing this to happen - assuming it's not normal.

    Just some background, I rescued these 3 goldfish when they were tiny babies and I have been consistently upgrading their tank size as needed. They are currently in a 60 gallon with a Fluval FX4 filter and I perform regular water changes. They all have some white raised patches on their scales which I assumed was just from injury as they are sometimes aggressive towards each other. I am now concerned that it is something more serious. Also, one of the fish has much longer fins and she has a clear bubble on one of them, as well as some red streaks and white dots throughout the fins. I am hoping that someone with more experience with these issues than what I have can help me determine what is wrong and how to stop it. Please help!
  2. Swampgorilla

    SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    Okay first thing to do is check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

    Also ... how much are you feeding them? Poop problems often arise from overfeeding.

    ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS arise from bad water. Water changes are not a substitute for water testing ... you need both.

    EDIT: Pics of the fish themselves would help.
  3. OP

    Kristeng1215_New MemberMember

    I just tested the water. Nitrites are at 0, ammonia seems to be at/around 0, and nitrates are WAY up there. Not sure what the nitrate levels mean.
  4. Swampgorilla

    SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    Nitrates are like a pollutant ... for your fish, it's like jogging in the smog in L.A. ... except they're "jogging" all the time. High nitrates can wear down their immune systems and cause them to be susceptible to disease and parasites.

    Due to the color-scale on the API kit - it's very hard to tell the difference between 40ppm and 80ppm. For goldfish, I would never go higher than 40 and actually my limit is 20, but I stay around 0 due to my filtration media.

    Sooo ... if you can't tell between 40 and 80 then I would say err on the side of caution and just assume it's 80 ... and do a big water change. Note - when it's that high ... even with a big water change you won't get it to 0 but you will get it well within safe range. A subsequent large water change the next day will probably clear it below 10 or even 5.

    Goldfish usually tolerate large (I'm talking 80 percent) water changes pretty well. Mine play around with the incoming water.

    So I would do the water changes, watch the water parameters ... and then ...

    See if you're feeding your fish too much. I don't know how much you're feeding them.

    But with good water that you constantly monitor - see if the problems you're seeing start going away. A lot of times, all it takes is good water.
  5. OP

    Kristeng1215_New MemberMember

    Thank you so much for your thorough response! I will definitely do a larger water change. I would usually only do around 25% weekly because my tank is 60 gallons and it takes me forever, lol. I didn’t know that about the nitrates - I always thought nitrites were bad and nitrates were good. If they do have parasites, will getting the nitrates down get rid of them? Or will it just them from getting worse? How else could I go about getting rid of the parasites?
  6. Swampgorilla

    SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    No reduced nitrates won't get rid of parasites. There are always parasites in your tank ... it's just that your fish can fight them off when they have a strong immune system. Lower nitrates will help to promote a stronger immune response. I'm not saying that reducing nitrates to zero will cure your fish. What I am saying is that the most healthy water possible will help the fish to cure themselves.

    If this doesn't work - then stronger measures will be required - but hopefully by then, if it comes to it, you will have more information on exactly what to treat. One of the worst things you can do is to stress a sick fish by treating it for something it doesn't have. That's the difficulty here. Ich, and some other forms of diseases ... are easily identified and can be easier to treat because you know the cause. Other diseases, with multiple symptoms - it can be guesswork.

    So I just recommend good clean water for few days - see if the fish improve ... at the very least some of the symptoms should go away and you can have a better idea of what is happening here. The red streaks in the tail can be a symptom of stress from ammonia poisoning - the clean water will help heal it - if that's the case. If not, then you'll have to look at other causes and cures for it. But always try the gentlest form of treatment first - and that, in this case, is good water.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018