Quarantine Guide for Goldfish

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Original poster
Sep 21, 2006
Lupin Information Super Highway/Goldfish Informati
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This page will serve as a guide specifically for goldfish only although it may be applied to koi since most health issues prevalent with goldfish are also similar to koi.

Please be sure that EVERY new goldfish must be quarantined for at least 3-4 weeks. 2 weeks is the minimum but extending even longer is better as there are parasites that may not appear for quite a period of time so do not try to relax your quarantine period. Think patience. You'll find that the long period of quarantine will be totally worth it. Do not learn mistakes the hard way.

Tank Size: For a good start, a 10g may be the minimum to serve as a good quarantine tank. Goldfish are quite MESSY fish so space is very important especially as the dilution of wastes to prevent ammonia and nitrite from elevating dangerously is quite limited.
Ideal Temperature: 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit
Heater: 3-4 watts per gallon if possible to ensure the temperature remains stable. Keep heater beside turbulent areas.
Filter: A sponge filter will work but hang-on-back filters (preferably Aquaclear) that have a turnover rate of 10x the water volume may work even better. There are small canister filters designed for the tank as well.
Food: For food, please be sure to AVOID flakes and floating pellets. These are main contributors of floaty issues. Pellets that also contain too much starch should also be avoided however most singletail goldfish such as comets will not have issues using this one. For ALL fancy variants, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and avoid these floaty-contributing foods altogether.

If possible, encourage your goldfish to eat gel foods. This will be more helpful especially if medicated foods become necessary and most antibiotics (if required) needed to be injected in gel foods are required for internal infections especially involving cestodes (flatworms) and hexamit (flagellates).

DURING the quarantine period, it is recommended that BOTH salt and praziquantel must be used. Prazi for one, is the gentlest med to help eliminate flukes, a very dangerous parasite that cannot be detected without microscopes BUT remain quite prevalent among stocks of goldfish.

Fluke symptoms:
1. Bottomsitting
2. Clamped fins
3. Listlessness
4. Excessive gasping
5. Anemic/pale gills
6. Constant flicking

Please be careful when using salt. AVOID the ones containing ferrous cyanide or yellow prussiate as much as possible. Kosher salt, table salt or pickling salt will work fine. You may choose aquarium salt if you want.

Dosage of Salt:
1. Dose one teaspoon per gallon of salt or equivalent to 0.1%.
2. After 12 hours and assuming the fish has tolerated it very wellso far, repeat step 1.
3. After another 12 hours, repeat step 1 again.

0.1%-one teaspoon per gallon
0.2%-two teaspoons per gallon
0.3%-three teaspoons per gallon

For bottom dwellers such as plecos and loaches, you may need to maintain the saline solution at 0.1-0.2% so it will not be detrimental to them although there have been few instances where some catfishes can tolerate as much as 0.3%. Remember to DISSOLVE the salt.

Do make sure your fish can tolerate the elevated saline solution. If in doubt, be prepared to do a water change to relieve the fish of the osmotic stress caused by the salt. Try not to lose focus on the actual saline solution you already administered or you might end up overdosing the salt more than it was necessary. Should a water change be necessary, make sure you redose the salt solution per the water volume replaced.

A fish intolerant to salt will exhibit the lockjaw symptom, become listless and bottomsit. Watch carefully for these symptoms although it is uncommon for them to exhibit these as long as the salt is properly administered. Should this happen, do NOT panick. Slowly reduce the water until the saline solution falls back by at least 0.1%. A tremendous change will only cause the fish to suffer osmotic shock.

Dosage of Praziquantel:
As recommended in another goldfish forum, GAB...

Day 1 -- remove carbon, perform water change with vacuuming, and add Prazi to tank
Day 2 -- add Prazi
Day 3 -- do nothing
Day 4 -- do nothing
Day 5 -- do nothing
Day 6 -- add Prazi
Day 7 -- add Prazi
Day 8 -- normal partial water change with vacuuming
Day 14 - normal partial water change, then add prazi
Day 21 - normal partial water change, then add prazi
Day 28 - normal partial water change, then add prazi
Day 35 - normal partial water change, add carbon, treatment is complete

Recommended dosage is 2.5 mg per liter.

For US:
Prazipro or Droncit is accessible in online stores and petstores, or veterinary clinics respectively.

Available at Pet Mountain and Goldfish Utopia online.

Flubendazole and fenbendazole are another alternatives and both are quite broad spectrum especially destroying even nematodes (camallanus and capillaria) aside from cestodes (flatworms) and trematodes (flukes).

Fenbendazole is commonly available as Panacur in veterinary clinics.

For UK:
Praziquantel is very limited so your alternative is to get Kusuri Fluke-M (a most recent release by Kusuri) or Kusuri Wormer Plus. Both products are FLUBENDAZOLE.

Flubenol is another choice.

Try this one for praziquantel.

For Canada:
Buy prazi, metromeds and medicated foods here.

For Australia:
Prazi is available as...
Aqua-Worm by Aquarium Science
Fluke and Tapeworm Tablets by Aquamaster

Other Essentials:
Clove Oil/Finquel-For sedation and euthanasia purposes.
Metronidazole-For internal bacterial infections
Epsom salts
Kanamycin (for high pH range; not for dropsy or renal failure cases)
Tetracycline (works best in low pH range or no higher than 7.5)
Acidophilus (to reestablish bacterial flora lost in the gastrointestinal tract of goldfish after a bout with antibiotics; included in gel food recipes; not necessary but can work in hand)
Dimilin/trichlorfon-For external parasites such as fish lice and anchorworms. Trichlorfon can destroy flukes.
Medicated foods-If you can obtain these, then that's good. Jungle Antibacterial Foods and Jungle Antiparasite Foods are quite useful here.
Iodine solution/Hydrogen peroxide

A few "don't do" things:
1. Switching lights on. Some meds are LIGHT-SENSITIVE. Your fish will not appreciate the glare either and it only adds to stress.
2. Plants. When dosing salt, some plants are not salt-tolerant.
3. Hand nets. These are abrasive and can damage the slimecoat leaving the fish prone to infections.
4. Stresscoat with aloe vera. It's fine if the fish suffers injuries or needs bare handling but excessive use can cause them to secrete heavy slimecoat that can suffocate them if it pushes into their gill area.
5. Cutting short your scheduled quarantine period.
6. Treating with other meds not required especially antibiotics.
7. Cross-contaminating your fish with new or old ones. Same with equipments. Keep equipments separated for quarantine or hospital use.
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