When you see signs that your goldfish may be ill, make sure you check the water and correct any problems before medicating. Visit GAB's sick fish forum for more help.
You an also see the following GAB Articles: Diagnosing by Symptoms and Ingredients in Over-the-Counter Fish Medicines.
General Symptoms: Flashing (rubbing against objects in the tank), difficulty breathing, spots or changes in slimecoat.
Treatment: Treat the whole tank as the parasites often live in the environment. Remove carbon from filter and perform a small water change before treatment.
- Symptoms: white grainy spots that look like salt sprinked on the fish, flashing, lethargy
- Treatment: Vacuum the gravel well, then treat the whole tank with salt as described here. Or treat with Quick Cure or Rid Ich+.
Other Protozoan Parasites
- Symptoms: tiny red spots or yellow dusting, or changes in slimecoat (often looks white, sometimes dark patches ), flashing, lethargy.
- Treatment: Treat with Quick Cure or Rid Ich+.
- Symptoms: irritation, flashing, lethargy, gulping for air, flashing - hard to diagnose without a microscope.
You need a gill scrape or a body scrape to diagnose flukes. Here is a video of moving flukes from Koivet and more information of flukes can be found here.
- Treatment: Praziquantel (Sources: PondRx, Drs Foster and Smith, Goldfish Connection). Vacuum well. Use a slightly rounded tsp per 20 gallons (2.5 milligrams per liter of water).
- When treating for flukes with Prazi Pro GAB recommends the following treatment regime:
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
Copepods: Lice and Anchor worms
- Symptoms: Both these parasites are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Fish lice will be grey-green to brownish slightly raised spots on the goldfish. If you look closely you can see the louse's eye spots on the bump.
- Anchor worms look like an attached worm with split ends.
- Treatment: We recommend removing the parasite with tweezers and cleaning the sore with some iodine or hydro peroxide. The whole tank should be treated with dimilin - also an ingredient in Anchors Away.
General Symptoms: Redness on fins or body. Sores that are red or white, fungus looking white growth.
Generally: Test the water. Remove affected fish to a cycled Hospital Tank. If there are open sores clean areas with iodine or 3% hydrogen peroxide and apply a coat of triple antibiotic ointment. Add a small amount of salt to the water (0.1% solution, 1 tsp per gallon). Our preferred antibiotics are injectable antibiotics (however, you will need a vet to prescribe), medicated food (e.g. Medi-Gold or Metromed). Tricide Neo dip (sources: PondRx, PondDoc, Aquatic Eco-Systems, etc) is also very effective against bacterial pathogens.
- Symptoms: Fast eroding fins (often tailfin). The fin tissue gets red and then sloughs off leaving the rays (which later break off). If you have clean white (non fuzzy) edges, keeping your water pristine should be all you need. In the pic below:
2 red area has sloughed off
- Treatment: Check your water parameters, vacuum well and do a partial water change. Clean the fin with 3% hydrogen peroxide and apply triple antibiotic creme. If that doesn't stop the rot: Feed Medigold medicated food. If Medigold is not available use one of the following water antibiotics: Kanamycin, Spectogram, Maracyn 2 or or Antibac. (Maracyn 2 is not compatible with Medigold). An alternate treatment (which should be done if any of the above methods are ineffective) would be to treat the fish with Tricide Neo dip.
- Symptoms: Redness in blotches and streaks on fins or body often near the base of the fins and tail. These are signs of an internal infection. Note that red streaks on fins can sometimes be due to poor waterquality (Pics).
- Treatment: Feed Medi-Gold or Metromed
Ulcers and Sores
- Symptoms: Open sores that are red or have white centers.
- Treatment: Clean the sore once with either 3% Hydrogen Peroxide or iodine and apply triple antibiotic creme. Feed Medigold. Dip the fish in Tricide Neo dip (sources: PondRx, PondDoc, Aquatic Eco-Systems, etc) or Neocide 3.
Because ulcers are often triggered by parasites it is good to check for flukes and other parasites. If a microscope is not available give the fish a short saltbath (0.6% - 6 teaspoons per gallons for 5 minutes) and raise the salt-content in the tank water to 0.3 until the ulcer has healed. Also, consider treating with praziquantel for flukes.
- Symptoms: cottony like growths, sometimes moldy looking (if your fish is in a pond, white fuzzy growth could also be a fungus, Saprolegnia.)
- Treatment: Despite its fungus look, flex is caused by a bacterium. It will respond to Medi-Gold or common water antibiotics like Kanamycin, Spectogram or Maracyn and Maracyn 2. (Remember Marcyn and Maracyn 2 are not compatible with Medigold). Adding salt to the water (3 teaspoons per gallon) also helps because it keeps flex from being able to stick to the fish.
Other Goldie Health Issues
- Symptoms: Bloating and scales sticking out - making the fish look like a pinecone when seen from above. With goldfish this is often preceded by swollen eyes.
- Treatment: Dropsy is not an illness but a symptom. The real cause can be bacterial, parasitic, viral or environmental and typically results in kidney failure. Also when fish dropsy, it is severely affected and internal organs may be damaged. For these reasons dropsy is very hard to to treat and often (but not always) fatal. Isolate the fish in a Hospital Tank. Keep the temperature in the high 70s. You can add 3 teaspoons of salt per gallons and bring calcium hardness up to 250ppm (with calcium chloride). Make sure you have plenty surface agitation to promote gas exchange. If the fish is eating feed Metromed or Romet B. If the fish is not eating, you can administer baytril or fortaz injections preferably, or bath antibiotics like maracyn plus, or maracyn 1 & 2.
Floating or Flipping
- Symptoms: Goldfish can not control their position in the water. They may flip over or tilt or stand on their head. Often they are flipped over and cannot get to the bottom of the tank. They may flip over momentarily or for a longer time. Because of their body shape, goldfish often have swim bladder issues.
- Treatment: Bouyancy problems may be cause by multiple things (some of which we can't do anything about without surgery).
- keep nitrAtes low
- feed a varied diet that includes fresh and live foods.
- Some goldfish get gas from processed foods (look for floaty poop). eliminate pellets and flakes and feed fresh foods (e.g. shrimp, peas, to see if that's the culprit.
- constipation Fast for 3 days and then feed a shelled green pea. Avoid pellets or flakes for the next few feedings and add fresh foods to their diet.
- See our article Buoyancy Issues in Fancy Goldfish for more information.
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