starting all over again - complete with illness! goldfish with finrot, ich, the works

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indomitable

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2007
8
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tri state area, KY
well, im a returning keeper here, we had to move a few years ago and gave away my beautiful 55 gallon freshwater planted tank. it left a bit of a hole in my heart, and as we plan to move again, i didnt want to set up another huge planted tank.

well.. as fate would have it, grandma took the little one to the fair... and what did she come home with? hmmm? thats right, you guessed it, GOLDFISH! she brought home three little things last year. (i believe theyre comets, not commons, judging by tail shape, they have a "deeper V")

i dug out the old ten gallon, (knowing i was in for it all over again... it never ends... bigger tanks, filters, test kits, medications, the list goes on.) and settled them in without a filter, just doing frequent water changes and gravel vacs. everyone was healthy and happy, though two of the originals died due to mysterious causes. (no symptoms, just... died shortly after she brought them home... probably just trauma from being sloshed about in that bag all night while they did the fair...)

knowing goldfish are social creatures, and seeing how lonely the one little fish was, i went to the local LFS to get him a buddy. the owner convinced me what i "needed" was a fancy goldfish, im not sure on its identity, and didnt have much experience with goldfish (none) but its a long finned single tailed goldfish... looks like the comet, but slightly larger. not only did i "need" a fancy goldfish, but three chinese algae eaters.

they had a grand old time, healthy, happy, swimming about, doing goldfishy things, but i knew i needed to get them a larger tank, so i went and got a brand new shiny 20 gallon.

then a few weeks ago, as i was cycling the tank with ghost shrimp and plants, guess what time of year comes? hmmm? any guesses? thats right. the fair. i told them no more goldfish, but grandma apparently didnt see the "problem" and she came home with two more.

le sigh.

i didnt have a hospital tank, and didnt want to risk the bigger tank, so put them in with the others after giving them a once over, adding only the fish, none of the water they came in.

i notice one day as i was feeding them the large fancy had a red raised "pimple like" wound on one side... i had learned belatedly that chinese algae eaters are known to go for the slime coat on slower moving fish, and had resolved myself to keep an eye on them... that was it for me, i immediately pulled them out and gave them to a friend with a larger freshwater tank.

few days later, i notice... WHITE SPOTS. ick. (pun intended.)

i begin treating with jungles ich guard - (victoria green, nitromersol.) and melafix. doing a 50% water change daily with a gravel vac, and adding stress coat with the change.

after a four or five days i saw little improvement, in fact, everyone looked worse, acting listless, sitting near the bottom, and developing fin rot with reddened veins. i went back to the LFS looking for an alternative treatment and was recommended "life guard" which is supposed to treat a broad spectrum of various illnesses, including ich, finrot, etc.

i began treating with that two days ago. one of the "new" fish has already died, everyone else is "holding" not worse, not better.

i discontinued use of the ich guard when i started with the life guard... im wondering... can i use them together? should i move everyone into the larger tank?

water parameters are holding "normal" in the small tank. though the ph is very high, theyve always been in that water, its high from the tap, and from what ive read, as long as it doesnt "change" alot, goldfish are ok with high ph.

im really lost as to how to help these guys, im not well versed in goldfish to begin with, and ive never had fish with finrot or an illness quite this bad.

from what i understand, most tanks have ich in them to begin with, and since theres only ghost shrimp in the big tank now (though its NOT fully cycled, not by a longshot.) wouldnt it be "better" water quality and stress wise to move them? im wary of medicating the entire 20 gal. but im happy to do it if its better for the fishies. i quite like these little guys, theyre very... personable.

should i try an antibiotic next? if so, what kind? can i use the antibiotic with the meds im already using? arg! ive been reading and reading, checked out many posts here, and i cant say i really know what to do next. im thinking if i dont move them into the big tank, im going to start by removing all decor and vac the gravel VERY WELL in the small tank, giving less areas for parasites and bad water to "sit".

sorry for such a long post, i appreciate any advice or encouragement you guys have to share.

thank you!
 

JamieMonster

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Mar 16, 2012
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Chicagoland, USA
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Jamie
Ok- so, how many goldfish do you have in the 10 gallon tank? All single tails? How big are they? Is the tank still unfiltered? You said it tested OK- what does that mean? What are your exact test results, and what kind of kit do you use? (strips, or liquid)
 

indomitable

AC Members
Original poster
Jul 16, 2007
8
0
0
tri state area, KY
jamiemonster:

ok, right now i have one single tailed "fancy" goldfish... shes about... 5 inches long including the tail?

and two comets, one from the first set of fair fish she brought home, hes about 2 1/2 inches, and one "new one" about an inch long.

i was using test strips (not the most accurate, i know, but as theyre goldfish in an unplanted tank and i was doing lots of water changes anyhow, i just needed a rough estimate.) im currently out of them, (used the last one a few days ago and forgot to pick up more.) but with the daily 50% water changes, and no signs of bad water when i was using them, (besides the abnormally high ph i mentioned.) im reasonably certain the water is ok, or no different than it had been while they were healthy.

the tank is currently unfiltered with an airstone on high. the 20 gallon theyll be moving into has a filter, but with the medications, ill have to remove the carbon anyway, so really its just to keep excess debris out of the water by my thinking, and im gravel vaccing with every change (removes water slower, i dont want to shock them so i move it very slowly and use that for the daily change, and reverse the siphon to replace the water at a nice slow rate.) to keep things clean anyway.


psyche:

yes, i had read that AFTER i got home with them and had them a while. i used to have them in my 55 gal. freshwater, i knew they stayed small, which is why i was "ok" with getting them... but i didnt know they attack slower moving fish. i had read some people never have problems, so decided to "wait and see" ... at the first sign of damage they were GONE.
 

indomitable

AC Members
Original poster
Jul 16, 2007
8
0
0
tri state area, KY
hmmm... i may be imagining things, but its been a few hours since the water change and latest dose of lifeguard... and after a few blood worms and a small piece of celery leaf, everyones looking much perkier. swimming about and looking almost normal, behavior wise. they also dont seem to be clamping their fins nearly as much now that ive watched them a while.

however, they STILL have little white dots and reddened veins in their frayed fins.

anyone know if its safe to use ich guard alongside life guard? the ingredients arent the same... hmmm.
 

JamieMonster

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Mar 16, 2012
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Chicagoland, USA
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Jamie
Ok- I can't help you with the mixing of meds. I have nowhere NEAR enough experience with treating fish illness with meds and chemicals to give any advice. For Ich, I always just use the aquarium salt and heat method (which would also be helpful for healing fins). Someone else will have to help with the treatment part, here. (sorry.) From the sound of it, you have spetecemia (causes red streaking in fins) going on- and need to be feeding medicated food for bacterial infection. The fin rot 99% of the time is a water quality issue- I am not sure if that can be bacterial, as well. You really need advice on what to do for treatment from someone with experience treating goldfish for these diseases, though. Posted pictures of the fish would also help. Honestly, the "fancy" single tail isn't really what most goldie keepers consider to be a "fancy" variety. Fancies are fantails, moors, orandas, bubble eyes, etc- which all have the double tails, and stay smaller than the single tails. I am guessing you have either a sarasa comet (orange/red and white patches), or a shubunkin (calico single tail)- those will grow to be 12+" each. Now the bad news- single tailed goldfish are recommended to have minimum of 30 gallons each, and for the first one, you need a 55 gallon tank, for sheer size of the fully grown fish (from 12-18"). They won't grow to the size of their tank, and remain healthy... they'll become stunted, which is both unhealthy and painful for them, and they will also be subjected to disease frequently, and it near impossible to maintain good quality water in small volumes with these large fish. I really REALLY wish fairs would stop giving away comets as prizes, because they require a big tank, and those fish usually don't live very long because of that. They also need very heavy filtration (minimum of double the recommended filtration amount for the volume of the tank they are kept in). So, for your 3 fish, it is recommended that you should have minimum of a 90 gallon tank, with bare minimum filtration for 180 gallons. I really wish I had better news, but, this is what single tailed goldfish require. My first suggestion is that you really need to go out and get a filter rated for 20+ gallons for that 10 gallon tank as soon as you can. You're going to need it as additional filtration for the 20 gallon, once it finishes cycling, anyways. I'm not trying to be offensive, but, would your daughter be horribly upset with rehoming the goldfish to a pond somewhere as soon as they are healthy again, and doing a community aquarium with her 20 gallon instead? I have to be honest- single tailed goldfish won't be healthy, and won't live long in a 20 gallon tank (maybe a couple of years, but their lifespan is up to 20 years, for comparison)... there are PLENTY of beautiful fish that would be suited for the 20 gallon, and I bet she would have a lot of fun picking them out. (with the help of an adult to make sure all of her fish are compatible species). Sorry I can't help more, and I wish I had better news. One thing I can say, is that comet goldfish are stunning when they are fully grown, if you did want to make the investment for the proper environment for them. If not, they are also very happy living in ponds. The 20 gallon- they will likely suffer illness frequently, and pass on prematurely. I'm sorry, but, I just have to be honest, there.
 

indomitable

AC Members
Original poster
Jul 16, 2007
8
0
0
tri state area, KY
oook lots of info there.

i had thought of septecemia and looked up pictures online (in fact read a post here about a gentleman with a far more crowded tank than mine who had posted pictures of his two fish that had it... was horrible) however, the pictures ive seen dont quite look like what im seeing on my fish... at least not yet. red streaks and clamping can be a sign of stress as well, which is likely, as they definitely have ich. yes, fin rot can be bacterial, which is why i was considering antibiotics, but im wondering if the fin rot is a result of stress + ich.

i had read up on the use of salt, and may give that a try alongside the other treatments if no one thinks it will hurt them, its not something ive ever done, so ill admit im a bit wary.

im guessing youre right about the larger fish being a shubunkin, though he has no markings, and looks like an oversized gold comet.

from what i understand 20 gallons is recommended for one, with an additional 10 thereafter. while i cant afford a larger tank now, ill continue to "upgrade" as time goes on. (probably to a 50 gallon, i cant imagine needing a 90 gallon for three goldfish, except perhaps if they reached the "record" of 18 inches...) as i said, i like these fish, theyre sweet, and my daughter adores them.

also, if goldfish can be dumped in a pond, i dont see the need for a crazy filtration system, between a few hardy edible plants, water changes, and gravel vacs... i imagine theyll be fine. (a larger filter is in the cards for me anyway though, as its just nice all around, i had two in my 55 gallon planted before.)

i realize overcrowding is an often hammered issue in these forums, and i appreciate the advice, but im really looking for advice on whether these two medications can be mixed, and opinions on whether it would help if they were moved right away into the larger tank.

someday id love to have a large freshwater planted tank again with tropicals, etc. but for now, these are it. when we move, perhaps ill set up a pond for them or get a larger tank for my little ones room.

thank you for all the replies!
 

Semilla

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Jun 2, 2012
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Semilla
I would get a heater, raise the temp to 86, add some salt, and treat for bacteria. I don't find ich meds to be all that effective. Some stress coat type product might be nice. Of coarse, this is assuming you don't have septicemia to deal with. Either way, I think heat/salt for the ich will leave more options for dosing with other mess.
As for the stocking, three comets (or two and a shubunkin) really won't be very happy in a 20. Lots of water changes will help with toxins, but they need the swimming room. hence ponds.. Which are generally filtered, and have a huge volume of water to maintain stable water quality.
That said, I don't think the gallons per fish equations for goldfish are totally inflexible. Goldfish are primarily lateral swimmers, so a large footprint is what we're looking for, not necessarily gallons.. But, like in ponds, more water is more stable water.
my daughter has a carnival goldfish named Isabella. She is what started me on this hobby, and it's been a bumpy ride (for both of us). She is in a 29g, almost two years old, and HUGE. I have a larger tank for her, just need to build the stand.
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