New fish keeper, poorly fantail. Please help.

  • #1
Hello everyone. I am brand new to fish keeping (got them sunday!) and therefore brand new to the forum. I had no idea it would be this worrying! My cousin needed to rehome his 7 fish so I have taken them in. Brought them home in 2 lidded buckets of aquarium water which I'm sure was very stressful for the poor things but six out of seven of them do look ok now (2 days after the move). There is a small white fantail in there though and the poor thing is having terrible problems. She either sits at the bottom head down (looking completely dead) or floats slowly to the top and stays there. I have read about constipation or swim bladder disease so want to stop feeding her for a few days and then try her with peas. But I'm addition to the weird floating, her white tail is now turning red I am so worried. Is it ok to starve my other guys while I starve her or is starving just going to add to the stress? Should I quarantine her? Not that I have another tank.. But I have a bucket? She has not moved while I have been writing this entire post. I am extremely worried and any help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

I have been reading on the Internet and her reddened tail seems to suggest either ammonia poisoning or septicemia? I feel so helpless as don't know which so don't know how to proceed.
  • #2
Most likely ammonia poisoning... You should definitely read about the nitrogen cycle, this will explain A LOT! Also, if the tank is 65 liters, it's way too small for all those fish... minimum would be at least 75 gallons, about 280 liters. Until you can get a bigger tank, feed the fish less, do daily water changes, and get a liquid test kit, so you'll know when the tank is done cycling. Do you have a good filter? Fish may gasp at the top of the tank if you don't, although if it is only 1 fish that is gasping, it's probably a sign that the fish is really sick.

Try to get a new, bigger tank if you can, or get rid of a few fish. Daily water changes (about 25%) are a must at this stage.
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  • #3
HI nippy betts, thank you for your reply! I am just so surprised my cousin would give me an overstock tank, he is normally very vigilant with animal care I am using the filter that came with the tank, and aqua start aqua one 500, as yet I am unsure what makes a 'good' filter. There is no way I can afford a bigger tank but I have a fish sanctuary in my home town that takes in unwanted fish so I have the option of giving some there if need be? No one gasps near the top though, and I am watching them constantly. Will carry on with daily water changes, I'm just so scared I am doing more harm than good, aren't I removing all the good bacteria when I take out water every day? I am going to buy a water testing kit today!
  • #4
Welcome to the forum.

You're doing a great thing by asking for advice on your situation.

You will not remove your beneficial bacteria with a water change and goldies have a large bioload, so in order to keep up with them in a small environment, you have no choice but to do many more water changes than you would if they had the proper tank size. Are all of the fish goldfish?

I don't see where the tank size you have is referenced except by nippybetta and I'll be darned how they knew.

If it is 65 liters, holy moly, that's tiny for those fish. That's roughly 16 US gallons. Considering that the first fish alone will require 20 gallons, you're in a heap of trouble here.

If they are all goldfish, I would immediately rehome at least 5 of them, or 6 if you're planning on only keeping the 16 gallon tank.
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  • #5
hI LyndaB,

they are mostly goldfish yes, 2 fantails, 1 pompom, 1 black moor, 1 red cap oranda, 1 comet and 1 weather louch. So seven in total. Do you really think I need to rehome 6 of them? Luckily there is a fish sanctuary close by if I do need to say goodbye to any of them Just so surprised my cousin kept an overstocked tank, he knows so much about animals. It is 65 litres yes. I will keep doing daily water changes. I have bought some medicine but read you need to remove part of your filter to use it otherwise the filter removes it within the hour? Gosh, what a minefield :-s
  • #6
Carbon will remove allot of meds, but then again I've read that carbon usually stops working after about a week in a tank. I've even seen meds say to not bother removing it if it's more than a week or two old, but follow the directions of the manufacturer.

The best meds you can give your fish right now is clean water. Doing large changes and measuring your ammonia and nitrIte levels will take care of the water. This may be the only thing you need to do to help the fish, and it's even free. ;-) The fish's immune system is key to healing pretty much anything. Anything you can do to boost the immune system will help. Fresh water and proper temperatures is the best thing you can do to help immediately.

The beneficial bacteria primarily lives inside the filter so be careful when cleaning or maintaining that. The bacteria floating in the water column is not a major player in the conversion process so big water changes aren't really an issue with that.

Don't forget to use a good dechlorinator in the new water.

A tablespoon of aquarium salt in the tank wouldn't hurt anything either. As everyone knows, it stimulates the fish's slime coating to thicken up. It can also take some work load off the osmoregulation process giving the internal organs a bit of a break. Thirdly, it helps to prevent nitrIte poisoning because chloride ions outcompete the nitrIte ions for crossing the gills and getting into the blood. Nitrites in the blood cause the blood to be unable to carry oxygen because the hemoglobin has been converted to methemoglobin by the nitrItes. Methemoglobin will not release the bound oxygen slowly sufficating the fish even though the gills are fine and there is plenty of oxygen in the water. This is often referred to as brown blood disease.
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  • #7
Thanks so much for the reply afremont. The filter in the tank is sponge, not carbon, does that make any difference? I have now bought 3 different meds and not dared use any for fear of doing wrong thing! Table spoon of conditioning salt I could do. Can I deposit it straight into tank or should I put it in dechlorinated water first then add that?
  • #8
I'd just scoop out some water from the tank and mix it with that and dump it back in. Or your could do a partial water change and mix the salt with the new water. It's a small amount of salt for that amount of water. It's a salinity of about .02% which is less than 1/10 the amount used to treat ich. The salt is secondary to doing lots of water changes. Also salt doesn't evaporate, so if you top off your tank with presalted water you will be gradually increasing the salinity of the water. That shouldn't apply here because you will be changing your water faster than it evaporates.

There is likely no carbon in your sponge filter unless it's an unusual design.
  • #9
I agree with the above post- when I add salt or meds that need to dissolve, I scoop out a bunch of water in this old (and clean) peanut butter container and wait for the stuff to dissolve, then pour it in. If you add it before it's dissolved it can burn the fish. I know nothing about sponge filters, or the filter you mentioned. If none of the fish are gasping, they probably get enough oxygen. I would get rid of all the goldies except your favorite. I wouldn't keep the sick one, it would be very frustrating, especially for a beginner. You might be able to keep the loach too, but I know nothing about them, so get advice from some one else.

Once I saw a video on Youtube of a 200 gallon tank with 4 goldies- the poster said he liked quality rather than quantity, and I agree with him. You could probably do a search for it and find it pretty easily.
  • #10
By the way- are you sure it's 65 liters and not 65 gallons- you make it sound like your cousin was pretty into animals. Could you get us the approximate dimensions?
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Definitely litres, this is the tank

I want to do what is best for the fish, I jut have no idea how to tell
My cousin I'm giving em all away! :-s
  • #12
Hmmm... tell him that the fish are getting sick because the tank is too small and that you have to give some away, but that you really don't want too because they're so pretty. You just think you have to get rid of most of them because they'll make the others sick ad all of them will die.

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