Important Old Goldfish Stuck At Top Of Tank

JulianBarbera

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Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 10gal
How long has the tank been running? ~5yr
Does it have a filter?yes
Does it have a heater?no
What is the water temperature? unknown
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 goldfish (used to be 3)

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 1/3months
How much of the water do you change? ~half
What do you use to treat your water? Aqueon water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? no

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? nothing
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: unknown
Nitrite:unknown
Nitrate:unknown
pH:unknown

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? twice daily
How much do you feed your fish? Somewhere under a half tablespoon. Auto feeder.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tetrafin goldfish flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 5+yrs
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 1 week
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? fish floats on his side or upside down at the very top of the water
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? no, besides being upside down at the top of the tank

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
My ~5yr old gold fish I got from a pet store along with two other goldfish who had both died. Had started (around one week ago) floating on his side, at the top of the tank. He eats his food and occasional will swim to the bottom of his tank and grab a rock. He appears normal, hes mostly white but a few darker reddish scales.
 

Cognac82

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Welcome! Sounds like your fish is having swim bladder problems, and not knowing your water parameters, can only speculate that the cause is due to water quality issues. A ten gallon tank is far too small for one goldfish, much less three, and likely the reason why the other two died.
Nitrates accumulate quickly in small tanks where fish are producing a lot of waste and they can affect the fish's swim bladder, making it swim sideways, upside down or unable to rise or sink.
Floating foods such as flakes can also contribute to this problem, as the fish swallows air when eating at the surface.
You should invest in a proper test kit in order to be able to measure ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. A single fancy goldfish needs at least twenty gallons of water to offset some of its waste, with very large water changes weekly to keep it healthy. Common goldfish need even more space as they get larger.
Perform an immediate water change of 50 percent, matching temperature and dechlorinating. Continue daily water changes until you can get a test kit. Your ammonia and nitrites should be at zero and your nitrates should be twenty or less.
 

Momgoose56

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Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 10gal
How long has the tank been running? ~5yr
Does it have a filter?yes
Does it have a heater?no
What is the water temperature? unknown
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 goldfish (used to be 3)

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 1/3months
How much of the water do you change? ~half
What do you use to treat your water? Aqueon water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? no

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? nothing
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: unknown
Nitrite:unknown
Nitrate:unknown
pH:unknown

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? twice daily
How much do you feed your fish? Somewhere under a half tablespoon. Auto feeder.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tetrafin goldfish flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 5+yrs
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 1 week
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? fish floats on his side or upside down at the very top of the water
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? no, besides being upside down at the top of the tank

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
My ~5yr old gold fish I got from a pet store along with two other goldfish who had both died. Had started (around one week ago) floating on his side, at the top of the tank. He eats his food and occasional will swim to the bottom of his tank and grab a rock. He appears normal, hes mostly white but a few darker reddish scales.
In regard to water changes, the question was "how often do you change your water" and you said "1/3 months". How often is that please? I'm not getting it.
I suggest testing your tank ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. In a tank that's 5 years old, there are problems that can arise from build up of dissolved minerals and toxins. A 5 year old common goldfish is young. Common and Comets can live past 25 years with good care. Fancy goldfish life expectancies range from 5 to 10 years.
 
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JulianBarbera

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In regard to water changes, the question was "how often do you change your water" and you said "1/3 months". How often is that please? I'm not getting it.
I suggest testing your tank ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. In a tank that's 5 years old, there are problems that can arise from build up of dissolved minerals and toxins. A 5 year old common goldfish is young. Common and Comets can live past 25 years with good care. Fancy goldfish life expectancies range from 5 to 10 years.
once every three months I do a 75% water change. sometimes smaller changes between that.
 

scarface

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Best thing to do right now is a large water change, 75% or more being ideal. I'd do this every other day, in the morning or evening. At the same time, I'd fast for a week (don't worry; it won't starve), or less if condition improves.

What type of goldfish is it? 5 years can be pretty old, depending on the variety.
 

Cognac82

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Best thing to do right now is a large water change, 75% or more being ideal. I'd do this every other day, in the morning or evening. At the same time, I'd fast for a week (don't worry; it won't starve), or less if condition improves.

What type of goldfish is it? 5 years can be pretty old, depending on the variety.
Ideally a 75% change would be good but if this tank hasn't had a water change in 3 months then the huge reduction in nitrates and change in water chemistry will further shock this fish. I adopted some goldfish that I did this to. They were living in a tank that never had water changes and I put them in clean water and they all floated and swam sideways for several days until they adjusted. Reducing the nitrates too quickly may be a problem.
 

scarface

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Ideally a 75% change would be good but if this tank hasn't had a water change in 3 months then the huge reduction in nitrates and change in water chemistry will further shock this fish. I adopted some goldfish that I did this to. They were living in a tank that never had water changes and I put them in clean water and they all floated and swam sideways for several days until they adjusted. Reducing the nitrates too quickly may be a problem.
I'm aware of the "nitrate shock," but I don't really believe in it. No scientific papers on it, as far as I know. Until then, it's just conjecture.

I don't mean to put down your experiences as invalid, but there could be another reason for what you experienced. I've cleaned old, yucky aquariums before with no ill effects, doing a complete water change. What I mean by cleaning, I mean a complete teardown: removing all the fish, gravel, decor, scrubbing the tank clean, adding everything back in with 100 percent new water. My experiences tell me the fish were fine. They were actually more active and appeared healthier.
 

Cognac82

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I'm aware of the "nitrate shock," but I don't really believe in it. No scientific papers on it, as far as I know. Until then, it's just conjecture.

I don't mean to put down your experiences as invalid, but there could be another reason for what you experienced. I've cleaned old, yucky aquariums before with no ill effects, doing a complete water change. What I mean by cleaning, I mean a complete teardown: removing all the fish, gravel, decor, scrubbing the tank clean, adding everything back in with 100 percent new water. My experiences tell me the fish were fine. They were actually more active and appeared healthier.
I changed about 75 percent of the water for the remaining tropical fish and they were fine (yes they had tropical fish in with the goldfish amongst other issues), better even than before, because, well, clean water, duh. The pH and temp was the same. Hardness was the same. Perhaps some fish are more prone to issues with the change. Perhaps it was something else affecting osmotic abilities of fish. Not a fish scientist, so I don't really know. All I know is that the two groups of fish from the same tank had differing experiences when exposed to clean water. One group was three bronze corys, a common pleco and two black skirt tetras. The other group was five fancy goldfish. The goldies were floating and bobbing and doing all kinds of weird stuff as soon as they were acclimated to the new water. Of course I do basically a 100% water change every week on both of my goldfish tanks with nothing but excellent health to show for it. But that wasn't the original experience with those fish. I'm just saying to proceed with caution. We all suspect a water quality issue here. Sorry to derail your post, OP.
 

Skavatar

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goldfish need large 50-75% weekly water changes. will probably benefit from two large weekly water changes in a small tank.

if worried about nitrate shock, then do daily 30-40% water changes for a couple of days straight.
 

Cognac82

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goldfish need large 50-75% weekly water changes. will probably benefit from two large weekly water changes in a small tank.

if worried about nitrate shock, then do daily 30-40% water changes for a couple of days straight.
This^
 

Skavatar

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you'll want to do another 50% water change within the next 2 days. then another 50% water change 2 days after that. then start doing 50% WEEKLY water changes.
 

Momgoose56

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Instead on floating with one side out of the water, he's now upside down facing into a corner. I guess its better he can breath.
You'll need to do another 50% change tomorrow, then again Saturday, then every Saturday after that. You can do? Then then your goldfish can be happy and healthy till you graduate from college lol!
 
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