Shubunkin reoccurring red streaks and sores

  • #1
Hello, before I complain about my fish and how to better help it first of all I've collated my test result:

Tank: juwel Rio 240 litre freshwater
Temp: Approx 21 degrees, can increase to approx 24 degrees when the heating is on in the house
Filter: Aqua One 850 external canister, fully cycled mature tank approx 3 years old
Monitoring tools: Seneye USB (30 min water scan digital monitoring device for PH, Ammonia & Temp) API liquid Master Test Kit & additional GH/KH test kit, Sera PH liquid test kit

28th Feb liquid test results

Aquarium Water

API Master Test Kit & GH/KH Additional Extra Kit:
High Range PH: approx 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20-40
General Hardness: 15 drops to turn green
Carbonate Hardness: 12 drops to turn yellow

PH: approx 8

Tap Water:

High Range PH: Lowest it can measure was 7.4

Normal Range: Between 7.2 & 7.6 (but not as close to the darkest blue at 7.6 compared to when put it side by side with Aquarium Water test using Normal Range, so I would estimate approx 7.5 as that's also what our water provider, Southern Water, is listing on their website

General Hardness: 19 drops to turn green
Carbonate Hardness: 23 drops to turn yellow


Now onto my fish, I have 3 shubunkins approx 6-7 years old, up until recently they have been through a period of approx 9 months of poor LFS advice where my aquarium salt levels were as high as 4.8%! I've given up trying to find a knowledgable LFS and want to get some help from some experts on here instead

I've eliminated the salt and for the past couple of months we've lost 1 shubunkin to suspected bacteria infection again multiple LFS gave me terrible advice to treat all 4 of them in different ways

I now have 2 that are fine and 1 that keeps giving me the impression it's immune system is weak because it can't stop getting problems, over the past couple of months it's responded to melafix when it had blood streaks on its dorsal fin and tail and shredded fins, then when it was starting to improve it gets more blood streaks on its dorsal fin and so I did melafix and pimafix together and it made it worse, after several water changes I gave it 2 courses of myxazin and then it improved again, then to my absolute horror it started getting white spots and sitting on the bottom of the tank so I done a course of protizin and that cured the white spots but it still spends some time sitting on the bottom and then came the red streaks this time on its left front fin so I'm now day 4 of 5 of myxazin and just as the blood streaks are starting to go it then gets another blotch of red in a circle like red sore on its back left fin

This fish is a beautiful blue with lovely mixtures of red orange and black markings and it's so frustrating to see it swim around with its dorsal fin down most of the time and going from sitting on the bottom when it knows I'm not around to swimming around waiting for the next round of food (4 feeds of tetra gold flakes) and it behaves just fine when there's movement around the tank it's just when it's left alone it goes to ground

I've noticed this week some white and clear poo at the top of the tank which I believe is coming from the sick fish and today I've seen a poo coming out that was quite small and a colour of dark brown and a bit of red

I really want to get on top of this problem as I don't want to keep medicating the tank if it's not going to recover it just seems to cope better when there are meds in the tank but ultimately I think I need to boost its immune system so it can fight of problems instead of having to wait for me to guess which medication to put it, seems like Waterlife products are a good happy medium as they don't seem to have a lot of complaints of fish death due to using their products

Please can I get some help with this, if I need to lower my PH I have some RO water on standby and have used it in small amounts previously to bring it down from 8.4 to currently 8.1

Why on earth my tap water starts off at approx 7.5 then wants to rise upto 8.4 I just can't work out, I've got a few millimetres of gravel just so it can have some good bacteria sit on it and other than that some mopanI wood which has been in there about 6 weeks and 2 plastic plants made by Tetra (I don't dare add anything else incase it causes any problems)

Pedantos The Red
  • #2
If you put a high level of salt in the aquarium you can't just remove it all at once or it will kill the fish.

Wood in the tank could raise the ph which is coming close to the danger levels. I would take all that out and soak it in a bucket or something for weeks before considering putting it in.

Sounds like he has ich now and for that you pretty much need to raise the heat in the tank. So I would get a heater in there asap.

Sounds like you are not changing the water enough in general if your ph is creeping up that much, so I would start also immediately vacuum the gravel and after that give 50% water changes daily for the next week or so.

But you need to figure out how much salt you have in there if it's still a high amount, and add enough so it is only slowly changed out.

The guy who's sick now I would tank out and put in a smaller quarantine tank an give him not just heat but also antibiotics.

Shubunkins are very nice fish unfortunately they are not quite as hardy as regular goldfish and don't live nearly as long. At that age they are probably too big to have so many of them in that size tank, too.
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  • #3
To clarify the salt was removed through water changes that took place over a 2 week period and it's been salt free for about 3-4 weeks now

I will remove the mopanI wood immediately as it happens the problems started around the time that was introduced

I will start to remove the gravel completely and the plastic plants so it's just water and fish

Please do correct me if this is not the right thing to do

Do you feel my fish are under stress with a PH of 8.1? I want them at 7.5 and I have a Seneye digital device that's able to scan the water every 30 mins to keep me updated it seems pretty accurate as the liquid test kits say the same level

Pedantos The Red
  • #4
Don't remove the gravel that would be bad. Just use a gravel cleaner to clean it off - one that works like a siphon.

PH usually doesn't matter so long as fish are not sensitive type and as long as it does not get to poisonous levels but yours is getting high enough that I would worry.

Could be some chemicals in the wood if you bought it commercially and it's not meant for aquariums. If it has a finish of some kind I'd throw it out. If not then I would soak it a long time until you are sure nothing comes out.

In general, I would not put the wood in if I got it from a store unless it is marketed for aquariums. If I got it from outside it is probably not poisonous but it is still better to soak it a week or so and periodicially pour out any water and leeched tannins while it soaks.

Red streaks often mean bacterial infection so the one guy is not doing so well, but it's probable he'll recover with medicine and a hospital tank (and if you don't have one get one, the savings on medicine costs alone will make it worthwhile).

I had some shubunkin for a while, and the prettier they were the more fragile. My favorite one was a longfin with an eyepatch and was sick like clockwork every 6 months or so while all the regular goldfish were fine. I guess they are more inbred to get those nice colors and long fins.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for the advice I've removed the wood completely it came from a LFS but I only boiled and soaked it overnight when I got it about 6 weeks ago this could be why I've had all these problems or a lot to do with why

I won't remove the gravel then I was just boiling the net to get rid of it when you replied

Do you agree I should wait until tomorrow afternoon UK time to do the last dose of myxazin then the next day which would be Tuesday start doing water changes

Or should I start the water changes now and if so how much

I need to be careful with a change in PH can I expect it to go down naturally now that the wood is removed or will it only go down once I change the water due to the KH buffering the PH

I've opted for a 60 litre water change (25%) as I've been advised the PH at 8.1 is close to a dangerous level and I as my tap water is approx PH 7.5 I should be aiming to get this back down to what it should be for safety of my fish

If the blue one decides to get worse at least I know the water parameters are ok and maybe then I can sort the fish out without keep having these constant problems reoccurring what do the experts here think?

Pedantos The Red
  • #6
I don't know about the dosing of the medicine, it depends on what they have but I am pretty sure you need antibiotics for the one who has big problems. The medicine you currently have is for protozoa though not an antibiotic.

I am not too worried about the ich it treats but moreso about the red streaks and veins which usually means an infection.

With lots of water changes and some heating the ich will go away quickly, anyhow.

But the sores may be something else. If you post pics maybe someone here can diagnose for sure, which is the first thing needed aside from making sure water is changed.

I think ich mainly comes in from overfeeding.

You probably need a big filter on that tank with shebunkins in it, if you don't have one already - they are some of the messiest fish.

I would also just stop feeding them at all for a while, for a couple days, then feed only small amounts. They are pigs and will eat a giant amount of food but I would give them only about 10 pond sized pebbles max for the whole lot of them for the next week or two once you start feeding again.

Don't be afraid to do a large water change, it hurts nothing to do so, even 80%+ water changes won't really affect your "cycle". It is only scrubbing down the ornaments and walls and filter cartridge that will do that.

If you have a bunch of germs and parasites in the tank every time you change the water 80% you get rid of 80% of them. You can't ELIMINATE them this way but it helps a great deal.

Shubunkin should not have heat longterm but it's OK to heat them up to get rid of ich, and it is very difficult to get rid of otherwise. I think they must go to 81 degrees for ich but maybe it's just 80. Should probably google it to be sure.

Hope your pal gets better and that your tank gets back on track.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Ok great thanks just to clarify the ich aka white spot isn't a problem anymore I got rid of it last week it's just the red blood streaks on its left fin which are clearing and this recent red blotch on its left rear fin

I believe this is bacterial and in the UK I understand you can't get antibacterial food

However I've been hitting it with a product by Waterlife called Myxazin which is basically machelite green with some other ingredient and it does respond to this

I'm very pleased to say I've done about 20% water change and seen the Seneye USB digital device scan my water a few times and report the PH reducing gradually so it's gone from 8.14 to 7.96! A great result and proves you right on the mopanI wood because each time I've done a water change the PH went up with that wood in there

I'm going to let them settle for the evening and relax then hopefully tomorrow I will come downstairs to find 3 fish swimming around as they are now asking for breakfast instead of 2 ok and 1 on the bottom

I do have a real sense of elation that I am finally getting the right advice after being let down so bad by the 4 LFS in my area, thank you once again

  • #8
Could it be septicemia? It seems to be common in goldies.

  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I'll have a read into that thanks

I've woken up this morning and my PH is back up to 8.17?????

Apart from the thin layer of gravel which doesn't even cover all of the tank there's nothing else in the tank even the filter is an external Aqua One 850 why is this happening when I tap water PH is 7.5 do I need to change more water to totally get rid of this higher PH so it's just tap water that's been conditioned using Aqua Safe?

If I can't get this sorted I will need to rehome them it's making me ill keep losing sleep and worrying about them all day and night that I'm harming them what can I do? Should I use something like a bag of peat to lower it?

I've got about 10 litres of RO water left in a container, seeing as my tap water is ridiculously hard (21 drops to turn the colour using API liquid kit) and my current tank water was 15 drops before a 20% water change (I had used some RO on the tank water recently) then I need to start adding some RO to the water

I cannot run my tank at 8.1 they are supposed to be in 7.5 maybe I just need to soften the water without dropping the KH too low (was 12 drops to turn the colour before I done a water change so could be much higher now)

Pedantos The Red
  • #10
Total alkalinity in water can raise your PH. Rinsing out your canister good might be necessary to correct this.

But If the wood is gone I imagine the goldfish themselves are doing it somehow perhaps due to illness so it's more of a symptom than a culprit. But I don't like it climbing so high.

Like I said you almost certainly need a a big water changed followed by a bunch of antibiotics but if you get them in the tank and stop their feed a while you should hopefully be OK.

Rehoming is not a good idea when they are sick.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
They seem fine when I've checked them even the blue one wasn't at the bottom or gained anymore redness could it be this mopanI wood all along causing upset to the fish by leaking bacteria out?

Before I knew anything about water chemistry I used to just change about a third of the water over the course of a week because I had sunlight on the tank for some of the day and I had some algae build up so I put some shelving in the way of the window and that stopped it

I never had any of this hassle when I was just changing the water twice a week approx 1/6th at a time and since that wood went in all this is happening

  • #12
I think removing the wood & salt are great. About your fish with the problems, some fish don't tolerate nitrate very well, perhaps keeping nitrate levels lower (under 20) might help him? Do you have nitrate in your tap? Keeping live plants can help lower nitrate levels, too.

I think the issue of pH that is concerning is that yours is rising for some unknown reason; if pH is stable, I do not think higher pH hurts goldfish - it's just that you can't do a water change bigger than 50% if tap & tank don't match closely (although you can do a second 50% pretty quickly). My tap water has a pH of 8.2, my tank stays stable at 8.0 & my goldfish are doing well.
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  • #13

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  • #14
I've uploaded some pics so it's easier to see what I'm seeing, I've just pulled out the biggest poo I've ever seen in the tank it looks like it's a sausage not sure how clear in the pic it is but can only describe it as appearing to be wrapped in something like a sausage lining?

Pedantos The Red
  • #15
That's probably due to water change. Seems like a weird place for ich on your fish's fin. If that's what it is. Did it have that before?

Fish actually does not look that bad now. Maybe he was just stressed.

Also, do they flash?
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Nitrate levels are approx 20-40 at present due to having to keep the same water in the tank during Protizin and then Myxazin but I will keep doing small water changes (20 litres at a time) to avoid the same thing happening to my PH dropping to 7.96 then rising to 8.17 overnight (I did about 60 litres last night)

It only had ich (white spot) on its tail but that's been and gone

The redness on its front left fin has eased off its just around the joint now as you can see in the pic

The other small sore on its back left fin came out the other day and hasn't got any worse

Maybe it's just intolerant to the water not being changed as often lately because of using meds?

Do you think just continue to do water changes and maybe add some

They don't flick on the surface or anything but the blue one has twitched sometimes when the Myxazin has been in the tank so maybe it was killing off some of the bacteria?

Maybe if the water quality is improved by reducing nitrates it will improve the fish ability to fight off any problems itself?

  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Been fine today no sign of increased redness since 20% water change last night

I've just emptied out the Aqua One 850 canister filter and replaced the white sponge filter didn't want to rinse the filter media incase it disrupted the good bacteria but so far a lot of dirty waste has been removed and hopefully a lot of harmful bacteria as well

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  • #18
For anyone reading this it seems reducing the nitrates through water changes has stopped the redness

My blue fish may have had bacterial problems as well so I'm glad I used Waterlife: Myxazin

PH is 8.23 on my Seneye and stable

I'll continue to remove the gravel as I want a simple setup of water and fish only

I may look to soften the water to reduce the PH in due course but right now my fish are looking fine so don't want to mess with anything

Hopefully the PH will reduce once any gravel has been removed, I've already emptied the canister filter but didn't want to rinse the media incase I lost good bacteria

  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Forgot to say I think goldfish / shubunkins need a massive amount of water changes so my plan is to do 10 litres a day (240 litre tank)

  • #20
In a 240 liter tank, 10 liters isn't much. I'd be looking to do at least 50% changes if you think it's a water quality issue.
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  • #21
Found the issue to be an intolerance to nitrates so I'm changing water each day and they seem fine

  • #22
Glad to hear you found the problem, & fixed it!

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