In tank fish cycling questions and potential fish illness

Demetrius
Member
I've recently been watching some goldfish for a friend of mine and they came by and cleaned out the entire tank one evening. Washed everything and replaced with a brand new filter. This has resulted in us having to do fish-in-tank cycling. She has a black moor and what I think is a Ryukin. The tank is 5 gal (yes it's too small). I have been testing the water every 24 hours via a liquid test kit. Results are as follows.
Day 1:
pH: 6.8
Ammonia: 0-0.1mg/L
Water temp: 78 (we live in Hawaii)

Day 2:
pH: 6.5
Ammonia: 0-0.1mg/L
Nitrite: 0.1mg/L
Nitrate: (can't remember but was safe)
Water temp: 76

Day 3:
pH 6.5
Ammonia: 0.6mg/L
Nitrite: 0.6mg/L
Nitrate: 20mg/L (may be thrown off by nitrite levels)

The fish have been clearly stressed from day 1.
Fish 1: was laying on the floor of the tank not moving, fins at its side, and appeared to have spasms. The same fish now has some film coming off of it and is gasping near the surface. He has not been eating food.
Fish 2: is stressed but not to the same extent. Fins were at his side on day 2. He is still eating and not staying near the surface.

She fed them pellets two to three times a day so I worked in some soft peeled peas yesterday.
I am thinking of performing a 20% water change and treating with seachem prime as the nitrite levels appear high today. I'm just not sure if they are sick if the conditions of the tank are uninhabitable (as the levels appeared safe the first couple of days but they still seemed ill), or what to honestly do at this point to make them healthy. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
mattgirl
Member
Welcome to Fishlore :)

Oh my, poor little guys :( It may take doing 50% water changes daily to protect these fish from the waste in this tiny tank. Add enough prime to treat the full 5 gallons with each water change. I would only feed them very lightly once a day to try to keep the amount of ammonia/nitrites down.

Do you have a cycled tank? If you do you can help this tank by moving some of the bacteria from it over to this tank. Anything you can spare from your tank to this one will have bacteria on it. Some filter media would be best though.
 
StinkyLoaf
Member
Welcome! :)

First I want to say that having goldfish in a 5 gallon tank will not work long term. I don’t see the point in trying to keep those fish in there at all because ammonia spikes will become common as they grow, causing “mini-cycles.” Swimming space is in low supply too; in fact, a fully grown goldfish is almost as large as a 5 gallon tank. I’m sorry...

To do a fish-in cycle successfully do a 50% water change whenever ammonia and nitrite combine to reach mg/L (otherwise known as ppm (parts per million)). Also, only feed them a light snack once every other day to cut down on the production of ammonia and waste. Goldfish are messy.

Keep in mind that eventually the goldfish would need a bigger tank or to be rehomed. There are many fish that are suitable for a 5 gallon that you and your friend can look into once the goldfish are gone for whatever reason.

Good luck! :emoji_pray:
 
  • Thread Starter
Demetrius
Member
mattgirl said:
Welcome to Fishlore :)

Oh my, poor little guys :( It may take doing 50% water changes daily to protect these fish from the waste in this tiny tank. Add enough prime to treat the full 5 gallons with each water change. I would only feed them very lightly once a day to try to keep the amount of ammonia/nitrites down.

Do you have a cycled tank? If you do you can help this tank by moving some of the bacteria from it over to this tank. Anything you can spare from your tank to this one will have bacteria on it. Some filter media would be best though.
Thank you so much for replying! I will keep monitoring the levels and do water changes. I have one of the old filters from the previous tank but it's been sitting out of the tank for 2 days now would it be harmful to put it back in the filter? Also, should I try to lower the water temperature of is around 78 degrees okay for these fish given the location we live? Thank you again for your help I greatly appreciate it.
StinkyLoaf said:
Welcome! :)

First I want to say that having goldfish in a 5 gallon tank will not work long term. I don’t see the point in trying to keep those fish in there at all because ammonia spikes will become common as they grow, causing “mini-cycles.” Swimming space is in low supply too; in fact, a fully grown goldfish is almost as large as a 5 gallon tank. I’m sorry...

To do a fish-in cycle successfully do a 50% water change whenever ammonia and nitrite combine to reach mg/L (otherwise known as ppm (parts per million)). Also, only feed them a light snack once every other day to cut down on the production of ammonia and waste. Goldfish are messy.

Keep in mind that eventually the goldfish would need a bigger tank or to be rehomed. There are many fish that are suitable for a 5 gallon that you and your friend can look into once the goldfish are gone for whatever reason.

Good luck! :emoji_pray:
Thank you for your advice! You mentioned changing water whenever ammonia and nitrite combined to reach X but you didn't put a value. Could you clarify this for me? Also what size tank should I advise her to get for these two goldfish? Thank you again!
 
mattgirl
Member
Demetrius said:
Thank you so much for replying! I will keep monitoring the levels and do water changes. I have one of the old filters from the previous tank but it's been sitting out of the tank for 2 days now would it be harmful to put it back in the filter? Also, should I try to lower the water temperature of is around 78 degrees okay for these fish given the location we live? Thank you again for your help I greatly appreciate it.
You are so very welcome :)

If the old filter has dried out I don't think it will help. As long as things are kept wet the bacteria will still be viable but drying out tends to kill it.

If it is possible to lower the temp and keep it constant the fish would probably appreciate it but we don't want it going up and then bringing it back down. Consistency is needed in our tanks.

Maybe you can convince your friends to get a bigger tank for these little guys and maybe point them to the forum so we can help them get and keep the tank cycled. I have to think they shouldn't get anything smaller than a 20 gallon but bigger would be even better. As you know 100% water changes, scrubbing the tank and replacing media it not a good idea.
 
StinkyLoaf
Member
Demetrius said:
Thank you for your advice! You mentioned changing water whenever ammonia and nitrite combined to reach X but you didn't put a value. Could you clarify this for me? Also what size tank should I advise her to get for these two goldfish? Thank you again!
You’re welcome!

Whoops! I meant to say 1mg/L. Sometimes the forum cuts out some words and characters... not sure why. Maybe I made that mistake.

What type of goldfish does she have?
 
  • Thread Starter
Demetrius
Member
StinkyLoaf said:
You’re welcome!

Whoops! I meant to say 1mg/L. Sometimes the forum cuts out some words and characters... not sure why. Maybe I made that mistake.

What type of goldfish does she have?
She has a Black Moor and a Ryukin.
Demetrius said:
Thank you so much for replying! I will keep monitoring the levels and do water changes. I have one of the old filters from the previous tank but it's been sitting out of the tank for 2 days now would it be harmful to put it back in the filter? Also, should I try to lower the water temperature of is around 78 degrees okay for these fish given the location we live? Thank you again for your help I greatly appreciate it.


Thank you for your advice! You mentioned changing water whenever ammonia and nitrite combined to reach X but you didn't put a value. Could you clarify this for me? Also what size tank should I advise her to get for these two goldfish? Thank you again!
Okay so some new developments have occurred and I believe one of the fish has fin rot now from what I assume is the poor living environment as we discussed. His fins are fraying at the edges and some are completely losing entire edges on them at once. It's unclear if the other fish has been infected at this moment but they have both been in direct contact many times. My friend was going to go to the pet store today to get another tank but we will run into the issue that it also won't have been cycled. I'm beginning to get desperate and feel like we will lose both the fish. What steps if any are there we can take at this point to treat the first given the circumstances? Should I move one to a hospital tank (we don't have one yet but we could use the new tank we buy)?
 
mattgirl
Member
If at all possible move them to a bigger tank. Often keeping the water fresh and clean will do wonders. If you don't already have it get a carton of aquarium salt. Follow the directions on the carton. The salt along with the fresh clean water should help these little guys. I would also add extra aeration to help compensate for the fact that the water is warmer than it should be for goldfish.

I have to think being in such a small tank ammonia is building up quickly. That alone could be what is affecting the fishes fins. I am not sure fin rot is something contagious so just because one is having problems doesn't mean the other one will too.
 
Top Bottom