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Fancy Sitting and not eating (opening mouth)

Discussion in 'Goldfish Clinic' started by Brooksonline, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Brooksonline

    Brooksonline New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Location:
    Uk
    Hello! First post of a very worried owner! Thought I'd come and post online while the little man is still alive to see if there is anything that can be done! or if anyone has seen this type of problem before.

    We have 2 Fancy Goldfish - tiny little things for about 8 months now and they have been amazing however one of them has completely changed its habits and I'm frankly worried that she inst eating.

    We have them in a Biorb 30 (please don't complain!). We use the standard ceramic media in the tank that has a number of white and fake moss stones across the top. We use the standard Biorb filters that we change every month and do a big 40% water change when we swap them out that we obviously treat before hand (sometimes using the Biorb packets and other times with TapeSafe).

    I mentioned one of them is completely fine, he loves swimming around picking on things, always comes for his food and although is a little shy-er, he doesn't complain at all! The other however has been sitting at the bottom of the tank, and not opening its mouth at all as far as I can see for a few weeks now. She does swim around if you go closer to the tank and she sees you but otherwise she'll be tucked away. Also when food is around, she will come to the surface but never eat anything! We feed a mixture of decent flakes and mushy peas depending on the day.

    I've taken an ammonia test for the tank and although not the most accurate it shows elevated levels compared to the control sample from the tap and I was given a Biorb First Aid kit that i'm currently using for the next 2 weeks (only started yesterday). We have also increased the number of water changes we do to 3 each week (20% each time) rather than a 50% each week. They never get stressed at all after the water changes.

    here are some links to the pics on my onedrive: http://1drv.ms/1KwdmJg

    Control water sample: http://1drv.ms/1SDkag0
    Tank water sample: http://1drv.ms/1SDkdsn
    Ammonia kit used:http://1drv.ms/1WDEZaj
    Close-up video of Fish sitting at tank:http://1drv.ms/1WDET2F

    I can get a ph test tomorrow also if needed. Hope anyone can help!

    Please Dr! Save my Fish!! :)
     
  2. CaliGold

    CaliGold Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Hi there!

    I'm certainly no expert, but I'd like to help at least figure out the problem. I know you specifically asked us not to complain about the size of the tank, so clearly you already understand that 2 fancy goldfish (even if they are little) need more than 8 gallons of water. But I think there's more than just the water quantity in the Biorb that makes it unfit for goldfish. Firstly, there's the shape of the aquarium itself to consider. Bowls and globe-like aquariums do not allow for very much surface area for the necessary gas exchange at the top. You also mentioned you had a number of moss stones along the top; are they inside the actual tank, or part of the filter? Anything that is restricting the available surface area of the water is essentially preventing oxygen from entering the water column via gas exchange at the surface. I also imagine that there's really no water movement in the tank, either, unless you've added an airstone of some kind? Try putting your little goldfish in a large plastic tote (they're usually available for pretty cheap in most stores) with the filter from the biorb and an airstone. At the very least it'll be a temporary home that allows them to get some more oxygen (which goldfish use up in great amounts).

    Another thing you mentioned were your water changes. For a heavily overstocked aquarium like yours, weekly water changes of 50% aren't enough. It simply allows too many toxins to build up in the timespan. Doing water changes 3 times a week is better, but 20% is not nearly enough to remove a majority of the toxins from the tank. Aim to change about 70-100% of your water with each water change. I know it seems like a lot, but goldfish are very messy (in terms of waste they produce), and in such an overstocked tank that messiness could be very harmful. And make sure you dose the tank with a quality dechlorinator (many of us prefer Seachem Prime) at every water change. Also, by replacing the filter media every month, you are probably not allowing your small tank to properly cycle, as there is very little media that stays for a long enough time period. So the beneficial bacteria that would normally be present by 8 months and helping to break down ammonia and nitrite into nitrates (which are still harmful, but only in higher concentrations) are simply not there.

    As far as testing goes, just testing for ammonia when you think you've got a problem isn't a very good strategy. Instead of preventing a problem, you're basically waiting until the problem occurs and then hoping you can fix it. Try to buy a quality liquid test kit (like API's Freshwater Master Test kit) and do each test (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph) at least once before each water change. This will tell you how toxic your fish's environment is, which should dictate how much water you change out. If ammonia or nitrites are high, a 90-100% water change is going to help much more than a 70% change.

    So my advice in short would be to move them to a larger container (it doesn't have to be a fancy tank, a food-grade tote works just as well), test the water parameters frequently, and do large water changes. Your sick fishie is probably just feeling the effects of oxygen deprivation or other toxins building up.

    Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along soon, but I hope what I said helped, too.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
    Joshua's golds, Fishheadz and shakaho like this.
  3. shakaho

    shakaho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    I wish I knew a kinder way to say it, since I know you want the best for them, but your fish are in a torture chamber. If you must keep the fish in that fishbowl, remove all the removable junk (other than the ceramic media) , fill the container no more than 2/3 full so you have some surface area for gas exchange, and change 100% of the water daily. You do need to test for nitrite and pH as well as ammonia.

    Caligold gave the best advice -- get a much larger container, at least 20 gallons. I don't know if the filter in the biorb can be moved to another container but if it can move it in and get another filter to supplement.
     
    Fishheadz and CC11 like this.
  4. Faebinder

    Faebinder Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Location:
    Hershey, PA
    You need a biorb 120. That oughta fit them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  5. Brooksonline

    Brooksonline New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Location:
    Uk
    Hi thanks for the replies (I guess lol). Just a few points I like to add which may help.

    Both fish never struggle with air and there is definitely a good movement of water in the tank from the gas exchange. I've lowered the water line a little bit which in these tanks drastically increase the surface area.

    The stones sit on top of the ceramic media and I wouldn't say are overstocked. The model in the middle is quite large which I've considered changing now as when food gets in the holes like the peas they try to swim in and on the last occasion almost got stuck so that's coming out.

    I don't want to sound stupid on here but the other fish is so happy in the tank I can't see the environment causing a huge problem at the moment. I've considered a larger tank when they get a little older.... I was hoping people would know why only one struggles to open its mouth though. If the tank was that bad I would expect both fish to show signs would you not?

    Thanks again
     
  6. Faebinder

    Faebinder Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Location:
    Hershey, PA
    You said the ammonia level is elevated. How much is it?
     
  7. joe

    joe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    I live in Miami Florida
    you have a lot ornaments in the tank as well that debris and un eaten food can remain. Have you placed any new ornaments or shells recently in the tank. You need to change at least 80 percent of the water when doing water changes and I would add one teaspoon of rock/ice cream salt per gallon when you do your water changes
     
  8. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    ...I couldn't have said it any better myself!
     
  9. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    The image that the OP uploaded showed what I would guess to be 0.15 Ammonia, (which is still toxic) , in between 0 - 0.25.
     
  10. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    *Also, I'm wondering, you(OP) said something about feeding mushed peas, do you remove the skins from the peas before feeding?
     
  11. CaliGold

    CaliGold Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Location:
    South Carolina
    @Brooksonline, I agree that normally I would expect both fish to react similarly to their environment, but with fancy goldfish it seems that some are more sensitive to water quality that others. Whether or not the ammonia levels are what's causing the fish trouble, that should still be a priority to fix, so large water changes for now at least. Joe's advice with removing ornaments and dosing salt is good, too.

    Are there any other signs or symptoms that your goldfish is displaying? Reddened gills, streaking, pineconed scales, odd lumps or bumps? Anything that you don't remember being there a few months ago, basically. Or was there anything in the tank that the fish may have tried to eat that jammed his jaw up? I've honestly never seen a goldfish that couldn't even open its mouth, but it sure seems that way in your video of him. If you could take another photo of your sick fishie, maybe someone here will see something you missed. I hope your little goldfish is getting better!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  12. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    After reviewing your video footage, and your general description, I honestly suspect Columnaris Bacteria to be the culprit. Despite any white cottony growth protruding from the fish's mouth, and despite your other fish displaying no signs, or symptoms of illness. This bacteria can be fatal for fish, and not necessarily all fish will show signs right off, or at the same time.
    The growth may have actually sealed the fish's mouth shut. It may be extremely difficult, but, if you can get the fish into a small bowl that is deep enough for your hand and the fish to be submerged, hold the fish just below the water's surface, and with your other hand, try to physically (very gently) open the fish's mouth, (with your thumbnail, or pinky nail). If the fish's mouth will not open, you may need to perform surgery, immediately. I'm pretty sure there is a way to anesthetize a fish(not to be confused with euthanize), I think the information can be found within this forum. This procedure would consist of very carefully making an incision(with a scalpel, or Xacto knife, alternatively you may be able to use a heavy duty straw with the end cut at a very sharp acute angle(like the needle on a hypodermic syringe), to punch through the lips/mouth & growth inside the fish's mouth), through the growth to unobstruct the fish's mouth, followed by medication(preferably medicated food), and SUPER, SUPER, SUPER clean water (100% WC daily-min 2 weeks).

    This is sort of a fish tracheotomy, though instead of creating a new hole for air(or in this case water) to be taken in from, you're just reopening the hole that is already there, the fish's mouth.

    I suspect that you have encountered this issue due to the biological load that you have placed within the constraints of the container in which you are keeping the fish in, and poor husbandry. (i.e. too small of a container for ANY number of goldfish,overstocked- obtain larger container, insufficient biological filtration-larger filter, irregular,insufficient WC routine-up your WC game, replacing filters too often- clean them in old aquarium water instead. Never replace the filter & do a large WC* at the same time, stagger the days/weeks you do that)

    *40% is not a large WC, 75%+ is a large WC. This should be done weekly. Filters rinsed bi-weekly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  13. Brooksonline

    Brooksonline New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Location:
    Uk
    Hello! Raising this post from the dead.

    Further developments. He is still alive! we emptied the tank of all ornaments and stones etc., we changed the water every day for 2 weeks and now do large 75% water changes each time (twice a week now). I wash the filter out in the old water and do the same for new filters which i dont change as often now. The levels in the water are exactly the same as fresh water from the tap. He hasn't got any smaller or bigger for a while now too.

    Good news is, we took the fishie out in a net for a short period, while i cleaned the tank and guess what... SHE OPENED HIS MOUTH!!!

    The other fish is still happy and doing fishie things so no change there. I've been feeding a mixture of peas and flakes and never see him eating still.

    gets a bit sad when other people notice it now, at one point i stopped caring as we were trying so hard and not seeing any improvement. Going to try some blood worms if anyone could suggest a brand i can get in the UK?

    Cheers

    Matt
     

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