Please help! I think my fish may be sick but I'm new at this and not sure!


Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Our pond was put in last year (2000 gallons, EPDM liner, skimmer returns water to a biofilter/waterfall). We added an aerator a week ago. Have 12 plants, a well established water lily (that we moved from a front fish-less pond to this pond in fall last year). Added fish May 1 (seven medium comet/fantail and two 6 inch koi and one koi that's a little larger maybe nine inches). The fish seemed to be doing well. It was generally cold since they were put in until this week when temps were in 80s and two days ago peaked at 92 but back to 60s 70s today.
The fish loved to eat and used to be active at that time. They would also swim around but at times they would all look like they're sleeping? Anyway, for two days the four comets and three fantails have become very lethargic and have stopped eating (I put a handful of floating koi food just once a day that I'll remove excess in some time with a net). The koi appear to be doing much better and have been eating really well but have been doing some flashing (not all the time but every now and then). The 7 goldfish/comets have never flashed, just appear really lethargic and stationary. Some of them are resting at the higher level (only 8 inches deep shelf) and not moving but then every so often they will swim around and then again come back to that spot and just lie stationary. Today we looked at the one comet and it had 6-7 white spots on the body near the dorsal fin on both sides. We're not sure if this was always there? Also, the spots did not look like salt and we didn't notice this on any other fish but then most are deeper and we can't see them too well.
Tried taking pics but they were out of focus and not useful. I'll try again. Also, the one fantail that parks itself in a stationary stance on the shallow shelf lost three scales yesterday but that was it as far as scale loss.
Should I do anything yet? Is this Ich? Is there anything that affects goldfish/comets but not koi? Or are the koi going to get it next? I'm pretty confused as to what to do. Sorry for the ramble.
 
Ad

Advertisements

IPA

Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
686
Reaction score
412
Location
63b Chesapeake-Pamlico Lowlands and Tidal Marshes
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
Did you do anything to cycle the pond before adding fish? Typically this can take 6 weeks. If you don’t already have one, The first thing you need to do is order a good test kit, not test strips. API makes a pond master test kit and it’s available online for under $30. Also get the API GH KH kit. Most likely the ammonia is at a toxic level causing stress and underlying disease such as ick to overtake their immune system. Please test the water immediately and post the results.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
2,580
Reaction score
1,575
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
It's perfectly normal for the fish to just "hang out" in one spot. Mine do that all the time. They line up all together and just seem to be sunning themselves. However, if you have fish that float sideways and seem off balance, that's a problem.
Missing scales and white spots, I'm not sure about that. Hopefully someone here can help you diagnose that.
I do know mine have been very active with spawning lately. The males are relentless in chasing down the females. Almost in a violent manner. The females do get beat up sometimes, so maybe the missing scales are due to this?
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Did you do anything to cycle the pond before adding fish? Typically this can take 6 weeks. If you don’t already have one, The first thing you need to do is order a good test kit, not test strips. API makes a pond master test kit and it’s available online for under $30. Also get the API GH KH kit. Most likely the ammonia is at a toxic level causing stress and underlying disease such as ick to overtake their immune system. Please test the water immediately and post the results.
We were given test strips by the pond place which we have used everyday including this am. Would it be too long to wait to get the test kit from online? Would pond stores or maybe pet supply stores in the area have those kits?
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Did you do anything to cycle the pond before adding fish? Typically this can take 6 weeks. If you don’t already have one, The first thing you need to do is order a good test kit, not test strips. API makes a pond master test kit and it’s available online for under $30. Also get the API GH KH kit. Most likely the ammonia is at a toxic level causing stress and underlying disease such as ick to overtake their immune system. Please test the water immediately and post the results.
What effect does GH and KH have?
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Did you do anything to cycle the pond before adding fish? Typically this can take 6 weeks. If you don’t already have one, The first thing you need to do is order a good test kit, not test strips. API makes a pond master test kit and it’s available online for under $30. Also get the API GH KH kit. Most likely the ammonia is at a toxic level causing stress and underlying disease such as ick to overtake their immune system. Please test the water immediately and post the results.
Also the strip showed that nitrite and nitrate were absent but total hardness was in the hard range. Does that mean anything?
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
It's perfectly normal for the fish to just "hang out" in one spot. Mine do that all the time. They line up all together and just seem to be sunning themselves. However, if you have fish that float sideways and seem off balance, that's a problem.
Missing scales and white spots, I'm not sure about that. Hopefully someone here can help you diagnose that.
I do know mine have been very active with spawning lately. The males are relentless in chasing down the females. Almost in a violent manner. The females do get beat up sometimes, so maybe the missing scales are due to this?
If they were just hanging out I wouldn't worry. But the seven goldfish/comets have not been interested in eating at all for two days at least and koi are eating really well which is exactly the opposite of normal. Normally the comets and fantails have been super good eaters and the koi tend to be more shy and eat later.
 

IPA

Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
686
Reaction score
412
Location
63b Chesapeake-Pamlico Lowlands and Tidal Marshes
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
We were given test strips by the pond place which we have used everyday including this am. Would it be too long to wait to get the test kit from online? Would pond stores or maybe pet supply stores in the area have those kits?
It’s good that you have tested the water. Was ammonia at 0, nitrite 0? You can add a little baking soda to temporarily raise the KH, it’s something on the order of 1 cup per 1,0000 gallons.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
It’s good that you have tested the water. Was ammonia at 0, nitrite 0? You can add a little baking soda to temporarily raise the KH, it’s something on the order of 1 cup per 1,0000 gallons.
Dont have ammonia in the strips. Just going to pickup the api master kit from pet supplies plus curbside delivery!
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
262
Reaction score
149
Location
Winchester, VA
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
The strips are not very accurate so they aren't very useful. The liquid tests are better. You likely will need the high range pH kit, not the wide range one that normally comes with that pond kit.

KH is carbonate hardness, or alkalinity. The nitrogen cycle produces acid and if and when that acidity gets to too high in your system, your pH can crash into the acidic range, killing you beneficial bacteria and your fish. So KH is something that needs to be routinely checked and adjusted when necessary. Ph swings can make the fish flash, but I don't know if that is the reason your fish are flashing. They could also be flashing from ammonia burning them and their gills, or they could have parasites. Good testing tests will help narrow down the possibilities there.

Personally, I never worry about GH, or total hardness, generally calcium and magnesium. On the rare occasions I have checked mine, they were fine so I stopped being concerned about that.

KH will keep the pH stable if it is in the range of 100 to 200 ppm, the higher level is better for pressure filters. A specific number pH is not necessary, but keeping it stable is. Baking soda is a good way to raise that level.
 
Joined
May 29, 2017
Messages
265
Reaction score
157
Hardiness Zone
5
Country
United States
Disclaimer: I know nothing about koi health or diseases. All my knowledge and experience concerns goldfish.

Not eating is a critical symptom in goldfish. I've had some on the brink of death, puffed up with dropsy, that still wanted to eat. I tend to think of them not eating as the human equivalent of being very, very weak, or nauseous. In any case, it's a symptom that always means trouble and should never be ignored.

My first thought with that kind of behavior would be some type of water chemistry poisoning. I know you're looking to pick up water chemistry tests, so we'll find out more about that later. In the meantime, look closely for clamping and red streaking in the fins if you're able to get close enough on the fish. Also check for blackened edges of the fins. These are classic symptoms of ammonia poisoning.

If it turns out not to be a water quality issue, you may have some kind of infection. Your fish are new, after all, and could have brought anything with them from where they came from. If that's the case, you'll need to inspect them closely for other symptoms and consider a general treatment of praziquantel for parasites and metroplex for some mild bacterial infections. Neither of these will hurt your biological filter, though you have to make sure you take out any activated carbon you have before putting in the medication.

You may want to remove the fantail goldfish for now. Fancies are more fragile than single-tailed goldfish, and can rapidly decline in poor water quality that single-tailed fish can show little signs of distress in. Additionally, I don't like to house fancies and single tails together unless they're divided by sex, and none of the fish show a propensity for bullying. Single tailed goldfish can bully a fancy goldfish to near death without even breaking a sweat, especially when attempting to mate. But there's no point in worrying about that unless you actually see it happen.

If you choose to take out the fancies to hospitalize, you'll want to place them in at least 10 gallons of water per fish (more if they're large), and do daily water changes because you won't have established filtration. You will also want to use Sechem Prime or Safe to dechlorinate the water and detoxify for ammonia. This will protect the fish for the hours between the daily water changes.

I am really pleased how seriously you're taking this! I know it's common for people to feel goldfish health isn't worth paying attention to, especially when they're a new pet. I am glad you do not see it that way!
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
The strips are not very accurate so they aren't very useful. The liquid tests are better. You likely will need the high range pH kit, not the wide range one that normally comes with that pond kit.

KH is carbonate hardness, or alkalinity. The nitrogen cycle produces acid and if and when that acidity gets to too high in your system, your pH can crash into the acidic range, killing you beneficial bacteria and your fish. So KH is something that needs to be routinely checked and adjusted when necessary. Ph swings can make the fish flash, but I don't know if that is the reason your fish are flashing. They could also be flashing from ammonia burning them and their gills, or they could have parasites. Good testing tests will help narrow down the possibilities there.

Personally, I never worry about GH, or total hardness, generally calcium and magnesium. On the rare occasions I have checked mine, they were fine so I stopped being concerned about that.

KH will keep the pH stable if it is in the range of 100 to 200 ppm, the higher level is better for pressure filters. A specific number pH is not necessary, but keeping it stable is. Baking soda is a good way to raise that level.
Got the test kit. I have a meeting in half an hour so I'm kinda in a time squeeze but I did check the ammonia level immediately. The test tube color looks yellow which according to their chart is either 0 ppm or the first level of 0.25 ppm which is a lighter yellow. The levels after that get greener and for sure the levels are lower than that. So I am assuming that means that ammonia level is ok, right?
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Disclaimer: I know nothing about koi health or diseases. All my knowledge and experience concerns goldfish.

Not eating is a critical symptom in goldfish. I've had some on the brink of death, puffed up with dropsy, that still wanted to eat. I tend to think of them not eating as the human equivalent of being very, very weak, or nauseous. In any case, it's a symptom that always means trouble and should never be ignored.

My first thought with that kind of behavior would be some type of water chemistry poisoning. I know you're looking to pick up water chemistry tests, so we'll find out more about that later. In the meantime, look closely for clamping and red streaking in the fins if you're able to get close enough on the fish. Also check for blackened edges of the fins. These are classic symptoms of ammonia poisoning.

If it turns out not to be a water quality issue, you may have some kind of infection. Your fish are new, after all, and could have brought anything with them from where they came from. If that's the case, you'll need to inspect them closely for other symptoms and consider a general treatment of praziquantel for parasites and metroplex for some mild bacterial infections. Neither of these will hurt your biological filter, though you have to make sure you take out any activated carbon you have before putting in the medication.

You may want to remove the fantail goldfish for now. Fancies are more fragile than single-tailed goldfish, and can rapidly decline in poor water quality that single-tailed fish can show little signs of distress in. Additionally, I don't like to house fancies and single tails together unless they're divided by sex, and none of the fish show a propensity for bullying. Single tailed goldfish can bully a fancy goldfish to near death without even breaking a sweat, especially when attempting to mate. But there's no point in worrying about that unless you actually see it happen.

If you choose to take out the fancies to hospitalize, you'll want to place them in at least 10 gallons of water per fish (more if they're large), and do daily water changes because you won't have established filtration. You will also want to use Sechem Prime or Safe to dechlorinate the water and detoxify for ammonia. This will protect the fish for the hours between the daily water changes.

I am really pleased how seriously you're taking this! I know it's common for people to feel goldfish health isn't worth paying attention to, especially when they're a new pet. I am glad you do not see it that way!
Thanks! My son is testing for the other stuff right now and I'll get back with the results.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Did you do anything to cycle the pond before adding fish? Typically this can take 6 weeks. If you don’t already have one, The first thing you need to do is order a good test kit, not test strips. API makes a pond master test kit and it’s available online for under $30. Also get the API GH KH kit. Most likely the ammonia is at a toxic level causing stress and underlying disease such as ick to overtake their immune system. Please test the water immediately and post the results.
OK the test kit test tube results:
pH: Between 8.2 and 8.4
Nitrate and Nitrite: 0
Ammonia: 0
Does this help form a better idea of whats happening?
 

IPA

Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
686
Reaction score
412
Location
63b Chesapeake-Pamlico Lowlands and Tidal Marshes
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
It can be hard to tell. Ammonia should be 0, keep monitoring it daily but seems like we can rule that out as the cause.
Is it possible that their behavior could be caused by a predator. New fish often times carry disease with them and stress can cause those diseases to show. If the stress is not simply from water quality issues, what else is causing the stress?
Get a clear container, I use the disposable Ziplock/Glad type, filled with pond water large enough for one of the gold fish and net it. Try to be quick but gentle. Take some photos and post them.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
It can be hard to tell. Ammonia should be 0, keep monitoring it daily but seems like we can rule that out as the cause.
Is it possible that their behavior could be caused by a predator. New fish often times carry disease with them and stress can cause those diseases to show. If the stress is not simply from water quality issues, what else is causing the stress?
Get a clear container, I use the disposable Ziplock/Glad type, filled with pond water large enough for one of the gold fish and net it. Try to be quick but gentle. Take some photos and post them.
OK, Will do. Thought of doing that earlier but didn't want to stress them even more :(
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
@IPA @poconojoe @WaterGardener @AlyssaFish
Thank you all for your guidance so far. I was able to take a couple of pictures of the black comet and also took one of the general setup so you guys can have more info. Not sure if the stuff on the black comet is just dust but it doesn't look very different than it has before. Also it does not look like those 7-8 spots on the golden comet which again may not be new and/ or we just weren't paying that much attention to their exact colors?
 

Attachments

Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
193
Reaction score
133
Location
SE Michigan
Country
United States
Also I just saw one of the fantails and it had a dark red patch on the one side between it's belly and the tail that was not there before! Couldn't take a pic.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
May 29, 2017
Messages
265
Reaction score
157
Hardiness Zone
5
Country
United States
So, water chemistry doesn't seem to be an issue at the moment! That's good. That means their immune systems have a better fighting chance.

That black comet's body doesn't look right to me... It does look like it has a thick slime coat (which crud can get stuck to very easily) and is a sign of stress/disease. However, I am more concerned with the bloating. See how the way that the roundness starts right behind the gill plate? Common and comet goldfish usually have very gently tapered bodies that do not bulge out like that. It could be the early stages of dropsy. If the scales behind the gill plate (or any others, for that matter) start to rise up like a pinecone, and you still haven't found a cause for the disease, you'll want to treat with antibiotics right away. I usually start with Metroplex when treating dropsy.

Dark red patch on the fantail's side could be an ulcer (which would be another important symptom) or it could be a scrape from rubbing against something sharp (or even from being wounded by a predator).

If it were me, I would put that comet in a quarantine tank and do salt treatments help with the slime coat, and try to get a closer look at all the potential symptoms.

How's the water temperature been this month?
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top