Need Help Diagnosis Goldfish Problem

ER01270

EMERGENCY TEMPLATE:
Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 40 gallons
How long has the tank been running? 6 months?
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What is the water temperature? N/A
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Lately, daily
How much of the water do you change? 25-50%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Bare bottom tank, but yes

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10
pH: 7.5

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Daily
How much do you feed your fish? 1-2 Pinches
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tetra Goldfish Vitamin C enriched flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Both, about 5 years
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? On orange/white about 2 months. On gold, about 2 days ago.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?

Orange/white: (been 2 months)

  • Some lethargy
  • Whitish substance on fins
  • Welt on tail fin
  • Red veins in fins
  • Hangs out near filter/surface for air
Gold: (been 2 days)

  • Red veins in fins
  • Hangs out near filter/surface for air
  • 1-2 white dots on tail fin
  • Lost scales
Have you started any treatment for the illness? I finished a day’s course of ick guard, but saw no improvement in spots or behavior.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? (explained below)
Explain your emergency situation in detail.

I am at my wits end with trying to diagnose or treat my goldfish. About 2 months ago, I noticed my gold/white goldfish had been a little more lethargic and was gasping at surface for air. I then saw that he had a pretty large welt on his tail fin, which I had no idea where it had come from. I had previously done a pretty deep tank cleaning, so I ran some tests and found I had probably caused a mini-cycle. I begin doing daily water changes in order to get the levels down until the cycle could complete, and it eventually went back to normal. However, during this time and ever since, my fish have both had problems with gasping at the surface/sitting under filter for air. Over the 2 months that I had done large, daily water changes, no improvement came. My gold goldfish had begun to lose scales in this time, but I attribute this to stress. Their appetite seems to be unchanged. I eventually moved them into their current tank, 40 gallon, (which I had been meaning to do for a long time). I did cycle the tank beforehand for about a month, reading initially high ammonia, then some nitrite, then nitrates. Completely normal cycle and tested it consistently before I put them in with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and about 10-20 nitrate. Initially, they did seemed stressed at the new tank, which I anticipated, but they quickly got used to it. However, the gasping did not go away. They still gasp at the surface and sit under the filter for air. And in the last two days, I noticed round white spots on my gold goldfish’s tail fin. I immediately go out to purchase ich medicine, assuming it to be a disease brought on by stress. (I’m not at all an expert, I assumed ick was a thing that can stay dormant in the water until stress compromises their immune systems.) After a day of this treatment, I saw zero improvement with the spots. They did not change size or go away completely. I ceased treatment because with all of the other symptoms, I do not believe it is ich and do not want to inflame the situation by stressing them more with medication.

I have spent so much time trying to look up pictures and pinpoint what is wrong with my fish. I considered quite a few diseases, and I will state them below and what I believe the chances are they could be. To be clear, the only fish I have are these 2 fish and do not have any other tanks. I have no decorations or equipment that has been in any other tank. I do not believe this is caught from somewhere else unless it’s been there the entire time.

  • Gas bubble disease: the spots on my orange/white fish’s tail fin seems to be reminiscent of bubbles, and I figured this could affect their breathing. However, I did not notice any bubbles on the skin or eyes, nor did I do anything different to how I had been changing water before. For it to come on suddenly seemed strange
  • Nitrite poisoning: This seemed to be my biggest answer at first, since I did have a nitrite spike that I treated late when I accidentally started a mini cycle. However, even in absence of nitrite (for weeks) the condition does not improve.
  • Bacterial Septicemia: This is one I consider a lot, however from what I’ve read, it seems that the disease is pretty deadly when not treated. The veins in the tails are quite prevalent, which is a symptom as far as I know. I did not do any treatment for it, and they are both still alive 2 months later. I figure it would have killed them by now if this were the disease I am experiencing.
  • Flukes: I am open to the possibility that this is also something I have been harboring in my water and has only now taken hold of them (which I’m not 100% is how it works). However, I do not see any visible flukes on their bodies. If it was indeed gill flukes, I am suspicious to how long they may have survived in the water. I got these fish from Petco in 2016, and have had no issues with it until now.
  • Ick: the only time I believed it to be ick was 2 days ago when I saw the first spot. It has not spread and has not changed with medicinal treatment. I also find it odd that this fish (gold) has been stressed during the last 2 months with constant gasping, but only now has shown symptoms. I have not added any new fish, do not have any other tanks, or any new equipment from where they could have caught it.
I have been experiencing this for months, and I’m finally at the point where I kindly ask for assistance. I want nothing more than my fish to be happy and healthy again, and I am lost in a diagnosis or treatment. I am ashamed that I waited so long, but I thought I could do it on my own. Do please correct me for any misconceptions I may have said, again, I am not a fish expert just a very worried pet owner. Any help would be much appreciated.
 

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mrsP

First thing that comes to mind when fish is gasping air is that either it has something wrong with gills (parasites?) or there's not enough oxygen in tank. This might be oversimplifying situation, but most common problems do happen most often.

I hope someone with more knowledge with fish illneses or parasites will give you better answer.
 
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ER01270

First thing that comes to mind when fish is gasping air is that either it has something wrong with gills (parasites?) or there's not enough oxygen in tank. This might be oversimplifying situation, but most common problems do happen most often.

I hope someone with more knowledge with fish illneses or parasites will give you better answer.
Right, and I do have 2 airstones and a pretty good flow from the filter. I try to keep my water on the cooler side so it has more oxygen. I'm also considering parasites, but I'd like to narrow it down with the other symptoms before I treat with medications. Very puzzling. Thank you so much for your reply!
 
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NevermindIgnoreMe

Right, and I do have 2 airstones and a pretty good flow from the filter. I try to keep my water on the cooler side so it has more oxygen. I'm also considering parasites, but I'd like to narrow it down with the other symptoms before I treat with medications. Very puzzling. Thank you so much for your reply!
I would say parasites. Do you have a microscope? You could confirm flukes.
 
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ER01270

I would say parasites. Do you have a microscope? You could confirm flukes.
Hi. I do not have a microscope. Do you know where I could get one/if local fish stores typically have them? If I'm not able to obtain one, do you think it'd be a good idea to treat for flukes (if that is the parasite) anyway? I'm not entirely sure how harsh fluke medication would be on goldfish. Thank you again for your reply.
 
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mimo91088

I'm leaning towards gill flukes as well. The air gulping shouldn't be happening in the tank conditions you described. Try some general cure or prazipro.
 
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ER01270

I'm leaning towards gill flukes as well. The air gulping shouldn't be happening in the tank conditions you described. Try some general cure or prazipro.
Yep, I think prazi will be my next treatment plan. I'll see what my fish store has in my area soon. Thank you so much for your reply
 
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ER01270

Ok, I did my first dose of Prazipro today. I will update when/if I see any changes : ) Thanks again everyone!
 
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ER01270

Hi, Everyone

So, I did my dose of prazipro like I mentioned earlier. At first, they did seem to react to it a bit, I noticed the orange/white fish kind of scrape a little as if something were bothering him, which I hoped was the flukes finally dying off. First day, I saw little to no change besides the occasional scraping/flashing that I noted. The second day, there was a period for about an hour where they were swimming around pretty good, but they went back to gasping after I fed them. The third day, they were gasping again. The welt/red veins still haven't gone away, and they are still gasping for air/hanging near filter. I did check my water parameters during treatment, and nothing seemed off. I do notice that they seem to gasp the most after they eat. Could this have something to do with the food, (tetra goldfish vitamin c enriched flakes) or is it simply that eating makes them use more oxygen? Should I do another dose of prazipro? Wish I had better news to give, but I still appreciate the continued support : ) Thanks.

EDIT: I should also note that the white spot I included a photo of has gone away, it must have been a cyst from stress.
 
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Sc0rPs

Just a thought but it does sound like Ammonia or Nitrite spike may have been part of the issue, which if so stressed them allowing other illnesses to take hold. It is unlikely though since it sounds like you had these fish for quite a while and the tank must be quite mature.

You don't recall giving a good cleaning before any signs of illness? Say even a month, like washed those filters causing a new cycle?
 
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ER01270

Just a thought but it does sound like Ammonia or Nitrite spike may have been part of the issue, which if so stressed them allowing other illnesses to take hold. It is unlikely though since it sounds like you had these fish for quite a while and the tank must be quite mature.

You don't recall giving a good cleaning before any signs of illness? Say even a month, like washed those filters causing a new cycle?
Yep, I did wash it too good once and caused a mini cycle (and nitrite spike), which I suspected to be part of what allowed the parasites/illness to get in. The only problem was that the spike was 2 months ago, all levels have been just fine after that got recovered (the cycle was back to normal in about a week), but they've not improved. You're probably right that the initial spike is what caused everything, though. It's very possible something was able to take hold during this time, my confusion just surrounds what this illness (or parasites) could possibly be. Thank you for your reply
 
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NevermindIgnoreMe

If you feed flakes they could be seeing you and waiting for food.
 
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Sc0rPs

Yep, I did wash it too good once and caused a mini cycle (and nitrite spike), which I suspected to be part of what allowed the parasites/illness to get in. The only problem was that the spike was 2 months ago, all levels have been just fine after that got recovered (the cycle was back to normal in about a week), but they've not improved. You're probably right that the initial spike is what caused everything, though. It's very possible something was able to take hold during this time, my confusion just surrounds what this illness (or parasites) could possibly be. Thank you for your reply

Well, there is no set rule of spikes in stone... varies depending on type & quantity of fish, filtration and tank size. That spike could have stressed them, which gave the opening for the other illnesses. My thinking it may be a few things, that spike caused a bout of poisoning which may hinder their ability to breathe causing continual stress.

Do you have a bubbler and are they hanging by where the most surface disruption is happening/bubbles popping? The tank may have cycled but they still could be recovering which is bringing on the other issues...

*IF* this is the case, you may want to increase oxygen supply, water changes daily and even add a small amount of aquarium salt to help with possible parasites plus help calm them some. There's a guide to help with appropriate salt to add somewhere... if not sure please do double check and understand using it. Such as it does not evaporate, only way to rid salt is water changes.

The other safer general thing I can suggest is to crank up that quality food, to even some nice Hikari frozen bloodworms every 2 - 3 days.

For other treatments, I am sure you know but many medications do mess your cycled tank and carbon filtration can neutralize your treatment efforts. A hospital 'tank' may work best since then you don't mess with your cycled tank... but do consider some fish don't do well to being moved... even can stress from moving around things in their home tank.
 
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