Fish Diagnosis? opening their mouths constantly

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by grelsner96, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. grelsner96New MemberMember

    So, I am pretty new at this still. I've had my fish for almost a year but got more enthusiastic the last couple months. Here is what they are doing. I can not tell why they are swimming around and opening their mouths. They don't necessarily do it at the surface of the water, so I can't tell if they are trying to get oxygen or food. I did a 2/10 gallon water change yesterday, so that's 20% of the water. My filter seems fine. I tested and my nintrite, nitrate, and pH are all correct. I don;t have an ammonia tester. Does anyone know what could be causing that? When I feed them, they don;t even go after the food. It's been going on about 2 days or 3 tops. Before this, I had nitrite,nitrate and ammonia were all incorrect. the fish were like barely moving, like sleeping all the time, I thought they weren't too far from dying. But, that was fixed and they recovered for a few days until now this....


    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  2. FiscCyning

    FiscCyningWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore! I'm sorry your fish are having problems but we will do our best to help.

    Your profile indicates that you don't yet know about the nitrogen cycle so I would strongly recommend reading up on that (you can click the blue link in this post). If you don't have an ammonia test in your kit you can bring a water sample to most fish stores and they will test it for you.

    If you give us a little more information that can also help us figure out what is going on. How big is the tank? How many fish are in it and what kinds are they? How often do you usually do water changes? When you say your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels were incorrect before, can you give us actual parameters?

    edit: I just realized that was a video, not a picture :rolleyes:

    So it looks like you have 3 common goldfish in a 10 gallon, correct? Unfortunately that tank is very overstocked. The tank recommendation for goldfish is 20 gallons for the first goldfish and 10 for each additional goldfish. So your 3 fish should really be in a 40 gallon tank or possibly even larger, since common goldfish grow larger and are more active than other kinds. This overstocking leads me to think this is most likely an ammonia problem. Is the water cloudy or is that just the video quality?
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  3. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Hi welcome to FishLore!!

    Alittle more information might help the members give better responses.

    What size is that Tank?
    How many and what kind of fish?

    It would be a good idea to get the ammonia tested to rule that out.
    What are the exact readings for nitrite and nitrate?

    How long ago were your readings off and your fish were lethargic?

    Sorry for all the questions. :)

    Ooops..Ninja'd by FiscCyning :)
  4. OP

    grelsner96New MemberMember

    Thanks guys, so yeah, since it's a video instead of a picture, the first responder was right. ten gallons, three small goldfish. They were doing fine up until this. I WAS doing water changes every wee or two, and that was for a year. There were no issues during that time. Then, I accidentally changed the water over 50%. Since then I've had the issues. I've also added a heater about a week ago, and added a live plant (the first on the tank's ever seen, in order to hopefully help water quality), and added a snal about 5 days ago. I thought the snail would eat the food that drops to the bottom on the gravel, which if not eaten, turns to bad stuff in the water(I was told). However, the snail stays on the sides of the tank, so that doesnt seem to help. Since I've had issues, I am doing 2 gallons changes about every 3 days.

    My nitrate WAS in the red zone, the darkest color on the test strip for both nitrate and nitrite.. The ammonia was very high as well, i think the second from the highest on the strip.

    The lase couple weeks the nitrite and nitrate has been fine, and pH is one notch away from the "desired", but two away from the "danger".

    I've bbeen feeding them almost none the last couple days, because when I do my water changes I notice that there is alot of uneaten food on the bottom gravel. Should I be feeding them? IF so, should I cut back to like half? I usually feed them in the morning and evening....the light is on a timer to turn on around 8am and go off at like 10pm. Is that ok??
    THanks you seem very helpful!
  5. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Unfortunately with three goldfish and a snail in a 10g you'll be hard pressed to keep the levels steady.
    The issues with your water quality is not only from the leftover food but fish/snail waste.

    Goldfish are big waste producers. Their digestive system if different from most other aquarium fish in that what goes in comes out a heck of a lot quicker with some foods not broken down in the process.

    Their digestive system is really a very interesting subject.
    Here's a link to some info:

    With any fish if you're seeing too much uneaten food it means they are being fed too much.

    FiscCyning provided good info on tank sizes for gold fish.
    Commons can get really big.
    If kept in too small a tank it inhibits proper growth and shortens their lifespan considerably.

    We hope you consider the fact that your goldies need much more room.
    In the mean time It would be a good idea to up the water changes and feed less.

    I'm sorry my post isn't more positive.

    Sorry, it didn't really seem like I addressed your question but it really does come down to water quality.
    What it is now and what they've been exposed to that can cause damage to their blood cells.

    High nitrites cause what is called brown blood disease.
    I'm not sure of the technical terms but it has to do with lack of oxygen in blood from the nitrites absorbed by the fish.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  6. aHumanBeing

    aHumanBeingWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore :)

    Petco is doing their $1/Gallon sale right now, a 55 Gallon would be $55 and your goldies will love you for it. I doubt the 50% water change set off their illness, rather just a coincidence. As others have mentions, a 10 Gallon is too small for Goldfish...they produce too much waste.

    Temporarily you could get some Seachem Prime and add 5x the normal dose per their instructions. Prime is available at most pet stores and lots of us on this forum use it. This will detoxify the water for 24-48 hours and may perk your fish up temporarily. But in the end those fish need a new larger tank. Prime is also a water conditioner which I personally use with every water change as do many other members on here.

    As for the extra feeding, yes you should probably cut back on food if there is spare food on the bottom. Most fish keepers including myself feed what the fish can eat within a minute and vacuum up the rest. Anything that is left on the bottom will just create additional Ammonia and harm the fish.

    Why did you add the heater? Goldfish don't need a heater unless you are treating for Ich or other diseases.

    Best of luck with your fishies :)

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