Goldfish Extremely Sensitive To Nitrates

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by DAYNAMITE, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember

    Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum so forgive me if I'm posting in the wrong place.
    I am a beginner when it comes to fish keeping but I have always loved and had goldfish, I currently have two goldfish in a twenty gallon tank that I now know is way to small but it's temporary.
    I test the water parameters all the time with the api test kit and it is always... ammonia 0 nitrite 0 and nitrates in between 10 or twenty.
    I'm always surprised that the water is that way considering its two goldfish in a twenty gallon but anyway...... the problem I'm having lately is that one of the goldfish keeps showing signs of high nitrates, last week he got so bad that he was in that bent c shape for three days, when I noticed that he wasn't right I isolated him to a spare tank and was basically waiting to see what happened.
    After three days of him in a c shape I woke up to find him swimming like normal and he had actually eaten the pea that I put in there just in case.
    I could not believe it, after a few more days I put him back in the main tank, he was fine for a day and then started to act lethargic again, I started to do a water change every second day in the main tank to keep nitrates as low as I could.
    What I have been noticing is that the day after the water change he acts lethargic, loss of appetite, sometimes drifts through the water like is really week and starting to bend so I panic and put him back in the isolation tank where he again makes a full recovery.
    This has happened four times over the last three weeks, it seems that he is extremely sensitive to nitrates or something because I can't think of anything else that could be causing this and its driving me crazy.
    The other goldfish is perfectly fine, I also noticed the last few weeks that the sick goldfish seemed to be a bit skinny and not thriving like the other so I think this is probably down to the lack of appetite or something.
    I have been keeping the nitrates as low as I can but I swear as soon as it gets to 10ppm he looks unwell, is this possible? Is there any way I can get him to tolerate nitrates better or is it something completely different that's bothering him?
    I don't want him to die before I get a new tank but it seems like he needs pristine water and I just can't get my parameters any better.
    Any advice would be great as I am really desperate to make this fish comfortable.

  2. GoldiemomWell Known MemberMember

    Are they comets/commons or fancies? Goldfish are pretty hardy and I doubt nitrates are doing it. What dechlorinator do you use and how much do you feed?

  3. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember

    Thanks for the quick reply.
    I have one calico fancy and the sick one is a common ( I rescued it from my sister a year ago).
    I use seachem prime.
    I haven't been feeding much, a few soaked flakes a couple of times a day for one day then I would give them some veggies the next day or ill put a lettuce leaf in for a day but skip the flakes, and I give them a pea or two each once a week and I give them frozen blood worms around every week and a half.
    I really don't think I over feed them, I skip feeding days also.
    I read that if the goldfish was exposed to high nitrates before that it would be more sensitive so that's what I was kind of goin on.

  4. GoldiemomWell Known MemberMember

    If he had a bad earlier life he may have some damage. Sounds like you’re doing everything right. I do think it has to be something else. @Gypsy13 may be able to come up with something. Gypsy?
  5. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Hi guys. Sorry I’m just checking in. I don’t think it’s the nitrates. Have you checked your ph? Especially the ph of the water you’re adding? How big a water change? What are you soaking the flakes in? If this one is thin, why would you skip days of feeding? How big are these guys? Anything else in the tank?
  6. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember

    Ya I'm doing everything I possibly can but he just isn't right, I was thinking that maybe he's stunted and its causing him pain or something?
    I have had him for a over a year now and I swear he's barely grown at all, if anything lately he seems to be getting smaller!
    The other goldfish has grown very well considering the tank size but I'm well aware that he definitely needs more space.
    I would love to give the common to someone with a pond but I just don't know anyone that has one.
    Could stunting cause symptoms like this?
    I would of thought that he could grow more than he has in that size tank before he stunts though.
    I live in ireland by the way so I don't think garden ponds are all that common over here, probably something to do with our lovely weather!
  7. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I don’t have anything to add, except that I’m also in agreement that nitrate isn’t the problem. I just wanted to reinforce that, and get to the real issue. Whatever the problem is, I hope it gets resolved.
  8. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember


    Ph is always around 7.9 to 8.
    There is nothing else in the tank, the fancy is just under four inches and the common is about the same but he has always been that size, the fan tail was only around an inch when I first got him.
    I usually only skip a day feeding say every week and a half but since I have noticed him getting thin I have started to hand feed only him on those days.

    So should I stop worrying about nitrates?

    I'm changing about 40% every water change and I vacuum some of the gravel every time also to try to control the waste.
    I'm just soaking the flakes in tank water, sometimes garlic water.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2018
  9. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes. Stop worrying about nitrates being this problem. But don’t stop your regular water changes. What size tank did your sister keep him in? If a goldfish is kept in too small a container it can cause a lot of issues. But. You’re saying this happens after each water change? It has to be something with the new water coming in if that’s the case. Tell us everything about your clean water (tap or well), ph temp everything.
  10. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember

    My sister kept him in a ten gallon but she didn't know anything about the nitrogen cycle so the fish was dying.
    It doesn't happen right after the water change, he's perfect after water change but starts to go downhill maybe a day or two after so then I do another water change and he's back to normal for another day or two.
    The water is tap, I think the ph is 8 from tap.
    I don't know the exact temperature as I don't have a water thermometer but I always make sure it's as close to tank as possible.
  11. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Ok. Gotcha. Do you have a pic of him?
  12. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember

    I could get a picture later for sure, he will probably look normal then as I'm doing a water change today.
  13. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Well of course. Like taking a sick anything to the vet. Get there and it’s just fine!
    But the pic may at least show us what condition it’s little body is in. It should be growing.
  14. DAYNAMITENew MemberMember

    Ya I'll try my best to get a good pic and post back then, thanks for all the help!
  15. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    We will all try. Positive thoughts:)

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