Very sick goldfish - please help

RBPumpkin

Hi everyone,

New to this forum and desperate for help with understanding what is wrong with our lovely goldfishWe have had him for a year- he is a fancy goldfish and he has had a few problems over the year but is now much worse than previously. We check his water constantly and do a 25% replacement every week- levels of nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are all very low or non existent.

Timeline of issues are:
- he started to get a little ‘floaty’ and would occasionally float upside down. We fasted him for a few days and started to feed him less as recognise swim bladder is usually over feeding. This issue came and went a few times but seems to have gone for now.
- next, we noticed he was a little listless at the bottom of the tank but he was still feeding and interested in food
- then, about 2 weeks ago, he started to develop black marks all over his body - we know this is often ammonia burns but there has consistently been 0 ammonia in the tank.
- at the same time as the black marks we felt he looks like he has some dropsy as his tummy is swollen and scales a little spikey.
- the black marks and worsening and he is no longer showing any interest in eating.
- We have just begun treatment with Melafix but so far no improvement.

We know from extensive reading that poor water quality is usually the issue but we don’t have any water quality issues - we regularly clean, test, change and have a constant water filter and air stone. We are really struggling to know what is wrong and are very worried.

One other thing to mention is that we have had pumpkin for a year now- however when we got him we didn’t cycle the tank in advance (we didn’t know any better at the time sadly). Once we learned we tried our very best to get through the cycle whilst keeping him safe (daily water changes etc)- but wonder if we have caused him lasting damage?

I have attached photos showing the worsening blackening and the slightly spiky looking scales on his tummy. Any ideas or help would be so appreciated as we just want to make him well!
 

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smee82

Welcome to fishlore.

A few quick questions first of what size is your tank, second are you cleaning your filter when doing water changes or changing media and lastly what are the exact numbers for you water parameters before a water change.
 

RBPumpkin

Thanks Smee. Our tank is 94 litres which I believe is around 25 gallons. It houses just one fish. We have not ever changed the elements within the filter but we regularly clean them (just by hand in treated water). Is there more we can do here?

Our water readings are as follows:
Nitrate - 0
nitrite - 0
PH - 7.5
High range Ph- 8.2
Ammonia - 0

He is looking even worse now - we put the Melafix in last night but he is now breathing but floating completely listless moving from bottom to top of tank (with current in water I believe). I am very worried ☹️. He hasn’t touched his food for first time ever today- almost like melafix has made things worse?
 

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Dunk2

Thanks Smee. Our tank is 94 litres which I believe is around 25 gallons. It houses just one fish. We have not ever changed the elements within the filter but we regularly clean them (just by hand in treated water). Is there more we can do here?

Our water readings are as follows:
Nitrate - 0
nitrite - 0
PH - 7.5
High range Ph- 8.2
Ammonia - 0

He is looking even worse now - we put the Melafix in last night but he is now breathing but floating completely listless moving from bottom to top of tank (with current in water I believe). I am very worried ☹️. He hasn’t touched his food for first time ever today- almost like melafix has made things worse?

What are you using to test? Because your nitrates are 0, I wonder if the test results are accurate.

When is the last time you did a water change and how much?

I’d suggest you stop medicating and focus on a potential water quality problem.
 

RBPumpkin

Hi Dunk2

I have both the strips that you dip and also the test tubes that you put droplets in. Here is a photo of our nitrate result from test tube but we did change water 24 hours ago. Worried fish might not survive long enough to wait a week before sharing more water quality results.

Our dip stick is showing nitrates slightly higher - between 20 and 40 on dipstick. Could nitrates be causing such a big issue and the black marks on skin? Is there anything we can do other than more water changes?

And to answer your question we do a 20-25% water change once a week- last one was 24 hours ago and a then week before that.

Sorry for all of the questions - we are just very worried and desperate to help.

Thanks
 

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Dunk2

Hi Smee,

I have both the strips that you dip and also the test tubes that you put droplets in. Here is a photo of our nitrate result from test tube but we did change water 24 hours ago. Worried fish might not survive long enough to wait a week before sharing more water quality results.

Our dip stick is showing nitrates slightly higher - between 20 and 40 on dipstick. Could nitrates be causing such a big issue and the black marks on skin? Is there anything we can do other than more water changes?

Sorry for all of the questions - we are just very worried and desperate to help.

Thanks
Using the API Master Test kit, can you test ammonia, nitrites and nitrates now and post a picture of the results here?

Make sure you do the tests exactly according to the instructions. Read the instructions for nitrates carefully. Also make sure that you shake each of the test solution bottles before using them, especially the nitrate bottle.
 

RBPumpkin

Using the API Master Test kit, can you test ammonia, nitrites and nitrates now and post a picture of the results here?

Make sure you do the tests exactly according to the instructions. Read the instructions for nitrates carefully. Also make sure that you shake each of the test solution bottles before using it, especially the nitrate bottle.
Yes- photos attached here. I wasn’t shaking the solution bottle on nitrates enough previously so thank you and this is showing a higher result than before. Could this be the cause of all of these issues? Thanks again for the help.
 

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Dunk2

Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?

Especially if you think your fish has deteriorated since dosing Melafix, I‘d suggest you do another water change of around 50% ASAP to start diluting the medication. Plan a similar change for tomorrow and continue to test your water parameters daily for a couple days.
 

RBPumpkin

Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?
Especially if you think your fish has deteriorated since dosing Melafix, I‘d suggest you do another water change of around 50% ASAP to start diluting the medication. Plan a similar change for tomorrow and continue to test your water parameters daily for a couple days.
the
Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?

Especially if you think your fish has deteriorated since dosing Melafix, I‘d suggest you do another water change of around 50% ASAP to start diluting the medication. Plan a similar change for tomorrow and continue to test your water parameters daily for a couple days.
We did a 20-25% water change about 24 hours ago before adding melafix but will now do another 50% change. We do the 20-25% change every week and have done since we got him a year ago. However we did not cycle the tank before getting him so we were doing daily / every other day changes for many weeks at the start when we realised levels were bad- but this was a year ago. We will continue to change more regularly over next couple of days. Do you have any idea what could cause such significant blackening if not ammonia (which it just can’t be!). The blackening has appeared within last month - gone from pure orange to the current dark spots all over. It all feels very odd and he has never been so still and listless ☹️. Do you think he looks like he has a bit of dropsy from the photos we took 2 weeks ago? Thanks so much
 

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Dunk2

He definitely looks bloated, but I’m not sure if it could be dropsy or not. If not ammonia burn or a natural color change, I’m also not sure about the black spots.

I’ll tag a disease expert.
A201
 

RBPumpkin

Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?
Especially if you think your fish has deteriorated since dosing Melafix, I‘d suggest you do another water change of around 50% ASAP to start diluting the medication. Plan a similar change for tomorrow and continue to test your water parameters daily for a couple days.
Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?
Especially if you think your fish has deteriorated since dosing Melafix, I‘d suggest you do another water change of around 50% ASAP to start diluting the medication. Plan a similar change for tomorrow and continue to test your water parameters daily for a couple days.
We did a 20-25% water change about 24 hours ago before adding melafix but will now do another 50% change. We do the 20-25% change every week and have done since we got him a year ago. However we did not cycle the tank before getting him so we were doing daily / every other day changes for many weeks at the start when we realised levels were bad- but this was a year ago. We will continue to change more regularly over next couple of days. Do you have any idea what could cause such significant blackening if not ammonia (which it just can’t be!). The blackening has appeared within last month - gone from pure orange to the current dark spots all over. It all feels very odd and he has never been so still and listless ☹️. Do you think he looks like he has a bit of dropsy from the photos we took 2 weeks ago?
He definitely looks bloated, but I’m not sure if it could be dropsy or not. If not ammonia burn or a natural color change, I’m also not sure about the black spots.

I’ll tag a disease expert.
A201
Thank you. I know it’s easy to say but I’m just convinced it can’t be ammonia - we are so careful with his water always and haven’t seen ammonia since we cycled the tank a year ago ☹️. If anyone can help or make any suggestions please do. Thanks again.
 

A201

The exhibited symptoms are consistent with "Black Smudge".
The dark spotting is common in goldfish exposed to deteriorating water parameters or possibly parasites.
Try upping the weekly WC to 50% & feeding a food laced with garlic.
I feed New Life Spectrum Thera +A as a nutritious parasite preventative.
 

Dunk2

Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?

Those test results look fine, including the nitrate level. When was your last water change and how much did you change?? And how often had you been changing water before the last change?

We did a 20-25% water change about 24 hours ago before adding melafix but will now do another 50% change. We do the 20-25% change every week and have done since we got him a year ago. However we did not cycle the tank before getting him so we were doing daily / every other day changes for many weeks at the start when we realised levels were bad- but this was a year ago. We will continue to change more regularly over next couple of days. Do you have any idea what could cause such significant blackening if not ammonia (which it just can’t be!). The blackening has appeared within last month - gone from pure orange to the current dark spots all over. It all feels very odd and he has never been so still and listless ☹️. Do you think he looks like he has a bit of dropsy from the photos we took 2 weeks ago?

Thank you. I know it’s easy to say but I’m just convinced it can’t be ammonia - we are so careful with his water always and haven’t seen ammonia since we cycled the tank a year ago ☹️. If anyone can help or make any suggestions please do. Thanks again.
I‘m sure someone else will jump in with ideas. Good luck and keep this post updated!
 

RBPumpkin

The exhibited symptoms are consistent with "Black Smudge".
The dark spotting is common in goldfish exposed to deteriorating water parameters or possibly parasites.
Try upping the weekly WC to 50% & feeding a food laced with garlic.
I feed New Life Spectrum Thera +A as a nutritious parasite preventative.
Thank you. I have purchased this food online so will begin using that and upping water changes. Although at the moment he isn’t eating anything. Appreciate the help.
 

jtjgg

its definitely pineconing. some kind of internal infection.

the black smudges could be because the goldfish is getting scrapped by hiding in that back corner in between the rock and the other tank equipment. remove rocks and other sharp and rough decorations.

don't use Melafix, its just a mild herbal remedy, and the oil can coat the gills and surface of the water reducing oxygen exchange.

do larger water changes.

you might try Kanaplex since it works both as external and internal antibiotic.
 

RBPumpkin

its definitely pineconing. some kind of internal infection.

the black smudges could be because the goldfish is getting scrapped by hiding in that back corner in between the rock and the other tank equipment. remove rocks and other sharp and rough decorations.

don't use Melafix, its just a mild herbal remedy, and the oil can coat the gills and surface of the water reducing oxygen exchange.

do larger water changes.

you might try Kanaplex since it works both as external and internal antibiotic.
Thank you for the help. I’m struggling to get Kanaplex shipped here (UK) do you know if this is the same- this is what Appears when I search for it. If not I will call around some shops to see if I can find it. Interpet Anti Bacteria Aquarium Fish Treatment, 100 ml https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FH2K2GM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_H2ZPN0DVQ1NK2G28XM0Z

I will also remove the plants / rocks as he is hiding a lot at the moment. Black smudges are primarily on one side which also could be consistent with your comments.
Thanks again.
 

jtjgg

they're not the same, different active ingredients. Interpet has good reviews, so you might give it a try if you can't get Kanaplex.
 

RBPumpkin

Thanks everyone for your help but I’m sad to say Pumpkin died last night ☹️
 

jtjgg

sorry for your loss :(
 

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