Goldfish fry staying at top & seem stressed

  1. fenway99 Initiate Member

    I hope someone can help. I have 3 goldfish fry about a month old. Last weekend they were all swimming and eating normally - scavenging for food at the bottom etc. I started to notice the two smaller fry were swimming around the perimeter of the tank at the top and zipping along the surface in a funny manner, they were not going down lower in the tank very much. I spoke with my local store and was told I may have a dominance issue with the largest of the fry - which has become so much larger seemingly overnight - it looks 3x larger that the other two. The store instructed me to buy a divider as the other two might be frightened and bullied by the larger one and might take a couple of days to recover. I installed the divider this morning and have been watching their behaviour the two small ones are simply staying at the top - I noticed one of them trying to go down and seeming to be pulled back up.

    I have been doing daily 25 per cent water changes siphoning off excess food daily, I am feeding them spirulina softened up and mixed with their water, and alternating that every couple of days with soaked flakes. They were eating either of these foods regularly and easily. All of the chemical levels are exactly where they are supposed to be. I have a breeder sponge filter, 10 gallon tank, no media on the tank bottom. I have fed other gold fish peas before and that has helped with buoyancy issues - however I am not sure how I can get them to eat it if they cannot go down to get it. I treat the water with Stability and Prime. I really don't want these two babies to die any suggestions please?
     
  2. apple429 Well Known Member Member

    Your info says that you have 3.0ppm of ammonia, is that true??

    If so, then they might be freaking out... I do not know a whole bunch about goldies... maybe someone else could help!

    How many goldfish do you have?
     

  3. fenway99 Initiate Member

    Sorry forgot to update the tank info - the ammonia level is 0ppm I have updated the tank info and chemical readings in my profile. I am trying to get them to eat some peas from a toothpick since last night - the 2 small fry are about a half inch long. The larger 3rd one which is separated now with a screen is about an inch long and its body mass is far larger maybe 3x or more larger than the other two.
     
  4. yukoandk Member Member

    A lot of things can go wrong while goldfish are in fry stage. I don’t know what kind of goldfish they are and how you ended up with them, but not all fry especially in fancy goldfish develop properly—some will be deformed externally/internally and not able to grow or have less chance of surviving. They need tremendous amount of food (and according water quality maintenance) for proper growth; if one fish is faster and others are not getting enough food, they will become malnourished with less chance of surviving. They should look pretty “plump”, if not they’re not getting enough food. Throw in the possibility of parasitic and bacterial infection, the survival rate drops further.

    Caring for fry is a lot different from keeping a juvenile/adult goldfish. You can consider putting them through a treatment to see if they are capable of recovery and catching up. A few things I’d suggest are: improving water quality through careful water changes, raising the temperature to upper 70’s, add salt and/or mild meds like Methylene Blue.

    Hope this helps.
     

  5. fenway99 Initiate Member

    Thanks for your help - I have fed them peas which was not easy... had to chase them around with a chunk of pea on a toothpick. Anyhow they are now miraculously at the bottom bobbling like they are pogo sticks they have been non stop eating for almost an hour now - just voracious so it may have been a combo of fear of the big one and swim bladder. Can you tell me what is supposed to be done with adding salt or why and how much?
     
  6. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    I like many people do not believe in using aquarium salt. (Although many people do believe in using it). From what I've read, salt use is really kind of an old time remedy, but as more was learned about it's use, it went out of favor for many people.

    One of the main reasons for using salt was to increase the fish's slime coat. But they reason it increases the fish's slime coat is because it irrates the fish's body, so the fish creates more slime to protect itself from the irratation. Much the way people with allergies bodies produce mucus because pollen irratates the nose and respitory system.

    My take is that since these fish are called freshwater fish for a reason, i.e. they live in a saltless environment, so there is no need to put them in water containing salt. Sure, many fish stores will recommend using it, but did you ever notice that everything the fishstore recommends involes buying more stuff from them?
     
  7. yukoandk Member Member

    Yea, people have different opinions on use of salt. It stimulates slime coat as mentioned and help create barrier against infections, it increases the level of dissolved oxygen in water, it kills several types parasites at different concentration (0.3% concentration covers 5 to 6 parasites common in goldfish, I have to check to be sure, “Fancy Goldfish” by Erik Johnson & Richard Hess), it creates unfavorable environment for other pathogens (bacterial/parasitic) hindering population outbreak. It is also true that some pathogens have grown resistant to salt, requiring higher concentration to be used as a treatment. According to a Japanese publication by a goldfish breeder, goldfish (I don’t know about other fish) have internal salt level of 0.5%, and this is maintained through osmoregulation which requires up to 30% of their energy intake. Breeders grow their fry out in this concentration in theory by reducing the energy requirement of osmoregulation that energy can be used for growth. These are professional breeders who’s aim is to raise goldfish to certain show standards in terms size and form. The accuracy of calculation aside, fish like any animal need energy to function, and the argument is that by reducing the energy requirement for one function of osmoregulation, you can reduce stress in sick/weak fish.

    Well, I’m glad your fish is doing better. They’ll probably love a little addition of animal protein such as frozen bloodworms. Good luck!
     

  8. fenway99 Initiate Member

    Thanks re the info on salt. I have one other question regarding the dominance issue with the 3 fry. I have separated the two small ones with a screen and the large one is solo on its own side. How long do I keep them apart? Just until the small ones catch up? And do I then separate them again if I notice stress behaviour? The large one seems to be sulking on his side of the barrier am I now going to have to take him to Dr Freudfish for depression treatment? The three fry are common gold fish.
     
  9. yukoandk Member Member

    I personally have never seen goldfish hurt other goldfish except during spawning. I have seen some chasing around when new fish is introduced to a tank, and I am positive they do have their own hierarchical system in any given system. But generally speaking, goldfish is social fish that feels more comfortable in a group setting rather than solitary and terrestrial. It is natural for some fry to grow bigger than others because they’re faster, smarter, stronger, or whatever, and able to get more food. If you actually saw aggressive behaviors in the bigger fish, it may be safer to keep them separated for a bit until the small guys recover, just so you can make sure they’re getting their share of food. Sounds like extra water changes helped, indicating you had a problem with water quality (likely high levels of nitrate and/or buildup of other toxins). Increase your water changes and remember the more you feed, the more water changes needed. Hope they do well for you, and do consider a bigger tank and soon. If you’re planning on keeping them long term, I’d recommend at very minimum 40 gal breeder (wider and shallower) with a diligent water maintenance program, ultimately common goldfish will be better off in a larger pond setting.