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I think my goldfish is dying

I just went out 10 minutes ago and observed the younger of the two. Its constantly opening its mouth at the surface, and wont react to me, even if I put my finger right next to it. Worringly I saw it twice go on its side for a breif moment.

I gave the pond alot of oxygen but nothing has changed. When I did pour water in the suspicous one did go down as fish do when water pours into the pond.

I did see the older fish chill under a lilly pad do this for about 5 minutes, but that one only did it rarely these past few months.



  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,948

    It does sound as if it's struggling for oxygen.  Sudden changes in weather can create problems.  Spraying a hose onto the surface  may help raise the oxygen levels.

  • RubyLeafRubyLeaf Posts: 260

    Hi KT53 I did that soon as I noticed the behaviour, then took some water out (about two watering cans worth) and replaced with the rain water I had left.

    I've just been out and its not at the surface as much. Its swimming below but not coming up as much. I will give it another go with the hose image

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Firstly, you need to get a test kit and test the water for excessive levels of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Cyprio is one brand. When you have done this you can rule out poisoning from the list of possible problems.

    There could be a problem with its swim bladder or it could be a fungal infection (can you see anything like cotton wool on the fish) or there could be a worm infestation or there could be internal parasites or it could have been injured by a scratch (see any spots?)

    Good garden centres will sell any or all of the following mixtures:

    Melafix,Contraspot, Gold Med or General Tonic all sold by Tetra Medica.

    The sick fish should be isolated in a 45 litre tub (like builders use) with a bit of garden net as a lid (fish jump) and a 6 inch length of plastic pipe for it to hide inside. treat for up to a week, giving it topups of fresh water.

    Another thing you could try is a salt bath. 45 litre tub bucket filled with rain water to which one heaped tablespoon of kitchen salt has been mixed in well prior to adding the fish.Put the fish in and leave for a maximum of one day. Then move it to fresh water.

    Be wary of online advice as many people are just the blind leading the blind. I have done all the above with good results. Many vets have no experience of dealing with fish. It's sad that there is so little in the way of reliable help for fish keepers.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Oh, and when you isolate the fish in the tub/bucket make sure that the temperature of the water is close to that of the pond. Fish are very sensitive to changes in temperature.

  • RubyLeafRubyLeaf Posts: 260

    I just went outside to find it lying on the surface dead. It must of died within an hour. With my torch I checked all over its body and couldn't find any scratches or abnormalities.

    I strongly belive this is my fault. The old water pump died many months ago, and the blue orfe died a few months later. We (the other being my grandad who had ponds before) decided to wait until we got the new BIGGER pond in spring. We relied on rainfalls, and topping the pond up ourselves. Only a month ago we did over half water change.

    I suspect the old goldfish (who is over a year old) was old enough to have a better immune system, whilst the younger one died because the pond health was too much.

    This is what I have my last goldfish in

    I am assuming now I've done a terrible job, and I apolgise to any fish keepers seeing this (dont worry I feel really awful atm). I'll still go out and buy a pond test kit (despite being laughed at before by family when I brought up the issue of the red one briefly doing it). 

    My new pond will be 6 x 3 x 3 and WILL have a pump/filter/UV light in one. I will even go and buy the same £25 pump that only lasted a year. Anything to keep the other goldfish alive.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    I know how you feel Ruby. It is tragic that people sell fish without any aftercare help and no advice as to where you can find information to help yourself learn how to care for them. They are living creatures but are bought and sold like bags of sweets.

    I bought some orfe and some rudd and some shubunkin. A year later one of the "orfe" turned out to be a koi. And that was from a reputable dealer.

    I picked up help here and there but it is very difficult to know who to believe. My brother is a retired vet, but even he couldn't help me.

    I have found that fish are prone to a lot of illnesses and infections, most of them hard to detect until it is too late. The salt solution treatment is a good one and often produces the most remarkable poos as the salt has a dramatic effect on parasitic worms.

    The most important thing, however is to ensure that the pond water passes the ammonia,nitrite and nitrate test and that it is adequately areated. Does your pond have plenty of pond weed in it?

  • RubyLeafRubyLeaf Posts: 260

    By pond weed do you mean algae? There is *some* in the bottom, but not alot by the surface. We left some slime on the sides (cleaning some of it off) since we heard and read it shealthy to have some in. There are two plants on the shelves, and one tiny water lilly. There is also one of those oxygenating plants that eventually sink to the bottom in.

    About these pond kits. Say it doesn't pass one of the tests, do I have to go out and buy treatment kits too?

  • Another thing to be careful of is Tap water, full of Chlorine ,a no go with fish, so use a product that takes out the Chlorine.

    Why will you be using the same type of pump for a bigger pond as you did on a smaller one and it only lasted a year??

    How do you oxygenate the pond???

    I think a visit to a garden centre with a fish dept, the staff are very helpful and will give you great advice.

    The pond weed is not algae ,It is a plant that gives off Oxygen at night, also somewhere for fish to hide and breed in.
  • gvgv Posts: 2

    i think the key to healthy outdoor fish is the amount of underwater plants. i've had outdoor ponds, from small 12in diameter pots, to bigger 6ft length ponds. none of them have had any filteration. the fish thrive because i have 70% or more of the container/pond filled with underwater plants and algae.

    also u mentioned lily pads. make sure u keep them at bay because they can easily grow to cover the surface which will reduce water/air surface area. 

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    There are plants that are specially sold to add oxygen to the water, Ruby. When the weather is warm you can actually see bubbles of it coming off the leaves. The staff at the place where you bought the fish should be able to sell you some. The plants are sold in a little bundle tied together with a lead weight to keep them submerged, You just throw the bundle nto the water and away they go.

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