Fins clamped, bottom sitting goldfish... Help

Discussion in 'Goldfish' started by Curly B, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. Curly BNew MemberMember

    Hello everyone! You've all been so helpful in the past, and I regret that I come to you with an urgent problem now...

    My Celestial goldfish has been sitting with his fins clamped on the bottom of the tank for the past couple hours. This is very odd for him because he was mostly floating at the top of the water for the past few days due to his persistent bowel issues(more on that later). There's a lot of background on this tank, so this might be a little long...

    I've been trying to cycle the 10 gal tank(with the goldfish in it) for 2 months now, and I thought it was cycled about 3 weeks ago(got readings of 0 amm, 0 ites, 10 ates one time) but that was the last time I saw it get that close. Since then there was an ammonia spike, and any nitrites and nitrates have all but faded. There is usually residual nitrate readings of 5, but I almost NEVER see any nitrite readings.

    This evening I took some substrate from my cycled 2.5 gal(cycled using fishless cycle) and mixed it in with the substrate in my goldfish's 10 gal tank, in an effort to seed it to promote more bacterial growth. I have been adding this cycled gravel bit by bit for the past week. I also bought an anubias plant and planted it today hoping it would help my fish get through the cycle and increase oxygen. Since I did that 2 hours ago, he's been bottom sitting and looking very unwell... I also noticed that his tail looks more see-through and less healthy than it used to. Overall he seems to have less luster. When I mixed the cycled substrate in, I noticed a lot of debris got kicked up. I think this may have come from the seeded substrate, it could have been leftover fish food from that tank's cycle... But I'm very worried about him still, this behavior is totally out of character for him.

    The other point I wanted to mention is that he has perpetual "bowel" issues... he's always constipated! I have to feed him a pea every 3 days otherwise he's all plugged up with air. I feed him sinking pellets to lessen his air intake, but he gulps air at the surface anyway. Is it healthy to feed him peas this often? I put in a bubbler to help increase oxygen, but it only seems to have helped his gulping a little bit. If his gulping is the result of ammonia burn, there's only so much I can do about that, since the tank is still cycling... I use Stress Coat with aloe vera to soothe him in case it is ammonia burn.

    Also there's been some algae growing in my tank lately. It clings to the filter mostly. It's slimey and mostly white, though sometimes tinged with brownish green.

    Hope this wasn't TMI for you guys! Sorry for sounding like a worry-wart :-[
  2. Red1313Fishlore VIPMember

    No worries :p
    Better too much info then too little lol.

    First, you tank seems to be cycled (hence the nitrate readings) however if you're having constant ammonia problems it could be that your goldfish is simply producing too much waste for the tank volume. Goldies are messy fish and the fancies are the worst of them, what size of filter do you have on the tank? How often are you doing WC's? Do you do gravel vac's with them?

    Fancy goldies have aLOT of digestive issues (it's due to the way their intestines are in they're little pudgy bodies), pea's are fine, his gulping at the surface could be due to the ammonia but it may also be because the surface is where he can see (his eyes do point up). Are you using Prime as well?

  3. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    I'm sorry your fish isn't feeling well. I have to say I'm not too surprised that you're having trouble maintaining a cycle in your tank. Goldfish produce more waste than many other species and for that reason they require larger than average tanks. For just one fancy type goldfish you should have a minimum of a 20 gallon tank. In a smaller tank you will have perpetual problems keeping your tank cycled as they produce more waste than a tank that size can handle, not to mention that he will quickly get too large for it. The debris you mentioned might actually be waste. Despite cycling I would recommend doing a gravel vac to clear that out a bit. Your goldie will produce more than enough ammonia for your tank, you don't need leftover food decomposing and adding to the ammonia issue.

    As for the gulping/gasping it may very well be the result of ammonia burn. The Stress Coat will help to soothe it, but you should get yourself a bottle of Prime or Amquel+ to neutralize the ammonia between daily water changes.

    For the constipation, make sure you are not overfeeding. Generally speaking a fish's stomach is the size of one eye, but you can't really use that logic when dealing with celestials as their eyes are larger than normal. Also keep in mind that pellets will expand so you have to take their expanded size when deciding on how much to feed. Try soaking the pellets in tank water before feeding to get a better idea of how much you are feeding. You can also soak his food in garlic juice to soften and expand it, the garlic will have the added benefit of helping his immune system.

    I hope your fish feels better soon. Good luck!

  4. Curly BNew MemberMember

    Hmm, when you guys put it in perspective like that, it does seem like the underlying problem is that the tank is too small for him afterall. I had hoped that he'd get by in a 10gal until I could move to a larger apartment since he's not very big, but it seems like I might have to upgrade now and sacrifice some of my surface space for his health(my apartment is TINY!). I just might spring for a 30+ gal because I do want to get him a Black Moor buddy at some point in the future. ...good thing my tax return just came in, hehe! ;) Any suggestions for a good filter(or two) for a 30+ gallon tank that can provide good surface action?

    Right now I do daily water changes and use the gravel vac when I remember to. Need to be more diligent about that I guess! I'm not sure of the name of the filter, but it was part of an Aqueon 10gal starter kit.

    I had a bottle of Prime and used it regularly for the majority of the time I had the tank, but switched to Stress Coat since the bottle said it neutralizes ammonia too. Plus my bottle of prime went bad, it got black specks in it, began to leak, and stunk something terrible!! My dresser still smells somewhat of sulfur. :( It scared me away from getting it again :X I will try Amquel instead.

    I turned out all the lights in the room to let him rest. He's still bottom sitting but he's switched positions a few times now, so he's not totally incapacitated.

    Thanks for all the help! You guys are lifesavers!

  5. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    I also have an Aqueon Starter kit. The filter is also an Aqueon, it's a decent filter which makes a pretty powerful waterfall, but I don't think it would be adequate to handle a goldfish. They generally require extra filtration. Definitely go for the biggest tank you can afford/fit into your apartment. 30 gallons would be the minimum for two fancy type goldies, but bigger is always better! Believe me I know tiny apartment living. I've tried to convince my hubby that we don't actually NEED a sofa and that a nice 125 gallon tank would look much nicer in our living room, but so far no dice. :)

    As for a filter, you could go with an Aqua Clear filter if you prefer HOBs, or a good canister filter would also work on a larger tank. Canisters generally allow for more media than HOBs so you would have more surface area for your BB to grow. Once you get your larger tank you can hang your Aqueon filter on it to transfer over any beneficial bacteria that you already have growing. If you wanted to keep the 10 gallon going with different stock then you would want to leave the Aqueon on the larger tank for at least a few weeks to allow your new filter time to seed.
  6. Red1313Fishlore VIPMember

    If you can go with a canister I would and over filtering with goldfish is never a bad thing. I have a tetra EX 70 on my 56 gallon tank.
    I hear you on the small apartment, my whole place is maybe 400square feet so it can get pretty tight :p I'd suggest a 33 gallon if you can get your hands on it or even a 40.
  7. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    :animal0068:I've moved your thread to the Goldfish section of the forum.
  8. Curly BNew MemberMember

    This morning he's still bottom sitting. He always swims to his food bowl when I splish the surface with my fingers(the signal for food) but he's not even responding to that. I didn't give him any food last night or this morning, I doubt eating will make him feel better in this state. I guess there's not much I can do except hope he's better when I get home from work. :(
  9. chillifishNew MemberMember

    I really don't know what to say.
    1. If he is constipated then probably the easiest way is to not feed your fish for 1-2 days. Or give him peas for 2-3 days.
    2. did you quarantine the plant? new plant in your aquarium could mean there are flukes in your aquarium.

    hope this helps :)
  10. ElvishswimmerValued MemberMember

    With constipation I agree, fasting for a day or two and then peas is the best way to go.
    Make sure you soak the food before feeding.

    Also Re: your prime. It says on the bottle that the sulfur smell is normal. Prime just smells really bad in general.

    I noticed when I cycled my tank I noticed that the air was more from the ammonia burns than from being constipated.
    I've noted similar things as this site says:
    I've had constipated fish with very long thick poops... I cut down on their eating.
    I've had fish that are constipated and have long clear poops with bubbles. Fasted and used peas on them.
    And my fish that were air gulping I noted they have normal coloured and sized poops, but with air bubbles.

    What food are you feeding other than peas? Check the ingredients. Low fibre is bad, but most commercial foods have low fibre (which is why you supplement with peas and veggies)
    Also foods that have a lot of starchs and such aren't good either. If the first 10 ingredients have a lot of starch (wheat and such) in it, it isn't good and hard for them to digest. I'm not sure if that affects constipation or not, but maybe worth a try?
    I purchased one food that had 4 out of the first 10 ingredients as wheat or some other wheat product. I stopped using it once someone told me that it isn't the best for them.

    I'm sorry that your guy is getting worse! I'm really hoping he can pull through. Clamping may be a sign of flukes.
    You can look into Prazi... it is a bit pricey, but effective and very safe with Goldfish.
  11. Curly BNew MemberMember

    Okay, on a whim this morning I checked the pH of the tank... It's 7.2! My tank ph was previously much higher at 7.8! I checked the tap and it's about 7.6. Is the plant causing the drop? Should I remove it?

    Also, I put some melafix in the tank last night and directly afterwards he swam around fairly energetically for about 20mins, then returned to bottom resting.

    Will update more later, am late for work!
  12. Curly BNew MemberMember

    Okay, on a whim this morning I checked the pH of the tank... It's 7.2! My tank ph was previously much higher at 7.8! I checked the tap and it's about 7.6. Is the plant causing the drop? Should I remove it?

    Also, I put some melafix in the tank last night and directly afterwards he swam around fairly energetically for about 20mins, then returned to bottom resting.

    Will update more later, am late for work!
  13. Curly BNew MemberMember

    I bought a 37 gal tank and moved the fish into it. It looks pretty ridiculous with such a tiny fish in a huge tank, and nothing but a tiny plant, heheh! Today I saw him moving his gills pretty rapidly, now he's stopped, but I'm getting more and more worried it's gill flukes. I will order some prazi. Any other suggestions? Any way to tell if its definitely flukes other than his visible symptoms?
  14. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    Congrats on the upgrade! your goldie will be much happier in there. :)
    Don't worry about the tank looking empty, now that he has room to grow he will and will fill up that tank in no time. The gasping may have been due to the change in environment too. If you feel more comfortable ordering the medication, go ahead, but give him some time before medicating. Also make sure that you have a stable cycle as a tank still cycling could be the cause of his behavior. You don't want to medicate if the issue is just stress from being moved or a cycling tank. Also make sure that (if you haven't already) you move the filter from your 10 gallon to your new tank. Run both filters for at least a few weeks to give your new tank time to seed. Your 10 gallon filter will have some beneficial bacteria already there. Even though you were experiencing a mini cycle, there is still some beneficial bacteria there so you won't have to start the cycle from scratch. Just keep a close eye on your parameters and do your daily water changes if they become necessary. As for your pH, don't worry about it too much until you're fully cycled as it will tend to sway until the cycle has stabilized. I'm sorry I don't know about gill flukes, hopefully someone with experience can give you more insight. Good luck though!
  15. ElvishswimmerValued MemberMember

    The only way to positively test gill flukes is to identify them under a microscope. Here are some of the symptoms:
    Body Flukes:excessive slime coat, isolation, clamped fins, scratching and flashing, sores and ulcers as the result of the scratching.
    gill flukes: gasping at the surface, gills being irritated and cloppy looking..

    Prazi is a very safe treatment that was actually designed for goldies because they do not respond well to other fluke and worm parasite treatments. I've been told you actually can't overdose on it, unless you want to spend a couple hundred dollars on the medication.
    Here is a Q & A about it:

    That is for pond prazi, but it has the same active ingredient. I bought Prazipro and used it. It also is said that it can be used as a preventative too.
    If you have Prazipro there is a recommended treatment schedule in this link:

    I would wait a day or two though as Prince Powder said to be sure that it isn't just a switch in environments.

    Great on getting a new tank... I'm hoping that will help with some of his stresses!
  16. Curly BNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the help guys. Unfortunately, he died last night... I buried him in the planter box outside. I think I'll plant some flowers there for him.

    Thanks again for all your concern
  17. Curly BNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the help guys. Unfortunately, he died last night... I buried him in the planter box outside. I think I'll plant some flowers there for him.

    Thanks again for all your concern, he was such a great fish.
  18. chillifishNew MemberMember

    well, sometimes they live, sometimes they die. you've done all you could do.
    Okay, so with what goldfish are you going to start to repopulate your new aquarium? :)
  19. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    Oh I'm so sorry about your fish! :console:
  20. platy benWell Known MemberMember

    I'm sorry you lost you little buddy!

    Just as a note, please cycle fishless in your 37G, being in a cycling tank is deadly to fish and this may have been one of the main reasons your little guy passed :(

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