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Re: [APD] My goldfish are dying

On Tue, 30 May 2006 18:24:12 -0600, "Jamie Bright"
<jamiejoybright at msn_com> wrote:

>I really appreciate any help you might offer.  Thanks, Jamie

Jamie, This is Melis, Don Hellen's wife, and the one
who's been pursuing the goldfish hobby for years. Some
questions I'd like to ask are have you seen the online
instructions posted by Jo Anne Burke for a 'goldfish
physical'? It describes how to pick up your fish and
examine him/her to try and tell what's ailing it. I'll
try to describe some of it for you here so you can try
to see if you can get a handle on your fish problem...

First part is observation of the fish swimming around
in the tank. Do you notice anything different? If your
fish is light colored, can you see the veins in the
tail looking sort of red or enlarged? Are the fins at
all ragged or different-looking from what they were
before? Can you see under the operculum or gill cover,
does it seem redder than usual? Is the fish breathing
harder than usual? Is the fish 'piping' or sucking air
at the top of the tank?Sitting on the bottom? Are there
any red, white, raised or swollen places on the fish's
body? Now for the squirmy bit: after carefully washing
your hands and RINSING the pants off them (remember how
deep your arms go into the tank and wash/rinse up that
high)gently but firmly grasp your fish and turn it
upside down, hold it so the body is just out of the
water, over the tank so if it wiggles loose it'll go
splash instead of splat! and so at least one gill is
down in the water (they'll struggle less if one gill is
still in the water but they're upside down) Now gently
slide a thumbnail from the hand that isn't holding the
fish and lift the operculum just a bit so you can see
the gills. They look like tiny combs of red flesh. They
shouldn't be angry dark red(fried from some chemical or
organic poison in the water) or pale(anemic, suggesting
parasites). They should be cherry red. They should not
be glopped together with anything snotty-looking
(infection of some sort of bacteria). You can tell a
TON from looking at a fish's gills. At this point if
you had a microscope you could do a couple quick
scrapes and be able to spot what kind of parasite or
bacteria is screwing up your fish. Last thing, hold
your fish underwater and bring it to the surface mouth
first. The fish will reflexively gape it's mouth open
as it's mouth hits the air. This will give you a chance
to look for columnaris, a fungus that shows itself in
trails of long white strings. Also look for reddened
skin inside the mouth (same thing). Now you can let
him/her go.As you do, take note of the slime coat. Did
it feel unusually thick? Can you actually see strings
of slime coat trailing from the fish's body anywhere?
(Indicates parasites usually. For instance, in ick,
fish increase their slime coat to make it harder for
the free-swiumming ick parasite to get through to
burrow into the fish's skin).

Re: your plants: in future, you might want to remove
your fish into a hospital tank whenever you need to
treat with heat or (particularly) salt. Salt can kill
your plants real fast. Re: the salt, were you careful
to use salt free from that yellow prussiate stuff? I
always used kosher in the past and recently picked up a
box and noticed they started using the prussiate stuff
in it. Bad mojo. Now you have to buy pickling salt to
avoid the prussiate soda which can kill your fish.

JoAnne also posted a great page on diagnosing your
fish's condition via observing the poop coming out the
back end. Long story short, if you see long strings of
clear poop it might be bacterial infection. Brown water
that isn't coming from wood decorations in the tank can
be bloody diarrhea (and an extremely bad sign re: the
fish's chances for survival).Clear that's coming out
like a zig-zag is eggs that didn't get laid and are now
being discarded. Unusually chunky thick ones can be
you're overfeeding.  Normal ones should be a nice
consistent size and the same color as the food you're

The fact your oldest fish died first makes me think
there was some underlying condition that was slowly
sapping the strength of your fish and whatever it was
it finally came to a head when the oldest fish died. Do
you suppose you have anything in the tank as a
decoration that might be exuding something toxic? What
source was your plants taken from? Were they bought at
a LFS or got through fellow plant enthusiast? Sometimes
plants grown at farms and sold at LFS need good
cleaning as they're sprayed with things that might be
toxic to fish. Hobbyists who share extra plants at club
meetings is a much safer bet.

That's me out of ideas.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
   -Albert Einstein

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