Why did my fish die!?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by KDOGG331, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,335
    1,161
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Okay so I got 6 Goldfish from Petco just over a week ago and just put them into the tank over the weekend. Anyway, all was fine but one just died last night.

    The reason I am posting about it is because I want to figure out what happened so that the other 5 don't get sick. They all seem fine and are very active so I don't know.

    The first few days they were in a large probably few gallon bowl and I even did a half water change when the water got really cloudy. Then I bought them a 20 gallon long tank during the $1/gallon sale so I set that up along with a Tetra Whisper 10-30 gal filter and let it run overnight but not 24 hours to test and put them in around noon between classes.

    I didn't cycle the tank before I put them in because I didn't realize if you needed to but I did use water conditioner and I just bought Tetra SafeStart to put in although it might be a little late?

    Anyway, all other fish are healthy and eating. Well, some don't seem to be eating as much while others are pigs.

    The tank just has one silk plant and hiding thing in there now but I just bought more to add so they're not bored/feel more safe.

    I bought Tetra variety pellets I think but they didn't like them so I got some Omega One Goldfish small sinking pellets and some flakes so they eat the Omega One pellets now.

    We plan on adding an air pump and bubble stone or something too, have it bought, just need to install.

    Also plan on moving them to a pond eventually.

    They are the feeder goldfish.

    Anyway, as for symptoms,

    This one was kind of swimming sideways, not completely on it's side or horizontal or anything but just tilted/leaning a little to one side. That happened for maybe a day or two and then it died. So pretty fast death. At first i thought maybe it was just cause it was tired or current from the filter.

    Here is a picture of it. Does anything look weird?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Was it just a weaker fish or was it sick?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,721
    4,403
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    That fish does look sickly. It's extremely important to cycle a tank. If you aren't familiar with the process read up on it. Fish put off a lot of ammonia which is extremely toxic. The bacteria converts it to nitrites, than other convert that into nitrates which is kept in check by weekly water changes.

    They do sell bacteria in a bottle now that can shorten the process. I wouldn't be feeding your fish until you get the tank cycled. You will know it's done when you get no ammonia or nitrite on your test kit.

    Goldfish need lots of room and will put off lots of waste. I personally change about 90% of my tank water every 7-14 days. I have the same goldfish from 14 years ago, they live in a 125 gallon tank with a few younger ones. They are quite large.

    An airstone will help keep the water moving which helps with oxygenation at the water surface. Goldfish use a lot of oxygen so an airstone is a good idea.

    A water conditioner usually removes chlorine and I think adds some salt to the water. I personally don't use anything as we have well water. Our water does go through a water softener but it doesn't seem to bother the fish in anyway.

    I currently have around 30 goldfish in 3 tanks. I enjoy them and find them easy to keep. Change their water, symphony off the debris, and clean the glass and I'm done.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,721
    4,403
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I forgot to add a few thing. Never clean out your tank. Bacteria lives in the gravel bed, on plants and decorations, and in the filter media. I personally rinse my filters as they get full using a garden nozzle to extend the life of the filters as they can clog quickly with goldfish. My big tank I do it every day or so. If you wash the gravel you destroy your bacteria colonies.

    Your goal is to maintain an ecosystem so that the fish can live safely in it. Take care of your bacteria and they will take care of your tank.

    A quick way to cycle a new tank is to take used gravel, a used plastic plant or used filters from an established tank to seed your new tank, or as I do in the spring to seed my pond with the helpful bacteria which quickly reproduce. No cycling is necessary when you can do that.

    As you can see I'm a goldfish fanatic.
     
  4. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,335
    1,161
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    @oldhenlikesdogs Thank you so much for all your help and the info!! It was all very helpful and it's definitely nice to hear from not just a fish person but specifically goldfish, something I wasn't expecting :)

    I admit they were really just impulsive and I originally planned on putting them in the garden pond outside until I realized that was probably cruel to do in winter and it might not be big enough so now they are inside in a tank. So needless to say, I didn't really plan or cycle or anything or know about it. And now of course I feel like an idiot :(

    So cycling is necessary? I read an article after that said you have to do a fishless cycle which usually takes like 4 weeks or they'll all die... is that true? Or is it possible to do the cycle now with them in it?

    Are they gonna all die now or can I fix this? The rest of them seem fine and active...

    Won't they starve to death if I don't feed them or does it not take very long?

    Thankfully I have a full test kit left over from my Betta so I will have to test in the morning.

    Right now there's no gravel or anything so should I add some? I was worried about food and gross stuff getting stuck in it. When you say no cleaning do you mean not even vacuuming the gravel and getting that stuff out or do you just mean not taking it out and washing it?

    Should I take them out and add the bottle of bacteria and put them in or? It says to put a whole bottle in and then it's ready for fish or there's maintenance doses. Since I already have the fish in it I'm not sure which to do.

    There's also a line of bubbles/foam almost at the top of the tank along the front side now? What is that?

    Do you think what it had was contagious or know?

    They're all pretty small cause they were in with the feeder fish crammed in those tanks but the rest are active and they seem healthy to me? They even appear to have somewhat brighter colors than they did in there.

    But of course those conditions and my lack of cycling and untrained eye it's possible they're sick.

    So anyway, usually I might lose interest or not be committed or whatever but I don't want to do that, I'm sick of not sticking to anything, and they are living, breathing creatures that I bought and am now responsible for, plus they're pretty, so I don't want to give them up or anything (and tbh any random Craigslist person might treat them worse just for lack of knowledge so I don't want to risk that) SO. How can I resolve this and make sure no more die? Will I need to buy medicine or anything?

    Thank you for all your help
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,721
    4,403
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    You should be able to cycle the tank with them in there, they are pretty hardy fish. I wouldn't put them outside in winter, if your pond isn't at least 3 feet deep if you are where it freezes they will have to come in during winter anyways.

    Use the bottled bacteria. It should get your tank cycled within a week or so. Check your readings so you know if it is cycled. I think it's only needed once to seed the tank, the bacteria colonies will breed to increase their population to fit your tank. Your fish should be able to ride it out.

    Goldfish can go a long time without eating. If you feed do it sparingly until your tank is cycled. Goldfish are pigs and will eat and eat. The more you feed the bigger your water changes will have to be. Mine get peas quite often. I buy frozen peas than add warm water to a few of them, than I pinch remove the outer skin which they can't digest. I than feed whole or squish them up a bit for smaller fish. When I have more time they get them once a day. I feed twice a day.

    Get a couple of buckets and what is called a gravel siphon or vacuum. You will use it to vacuum out the debris in the gravel when you do your water changes. I recommend some gravel as it gives bacteria a place to live, otherwise you can skip that and use plastic plants which bacteria will colonize as well as the filters biofilter.

    The bubbles or foam could be a few things. It could be from the fish putting off extra slime coat, which is a protective layer on the fish which makes them slimy feeling, it could be from the conditioner, or it could be they spawned if they were moved into warmer water.

    If ever you feel uncomfortable about how they are looking do a water change. It's like opening a window to give them fresh air. Do you have city or well water? And what is your ph? Both can dictate how big of water changes you can do.

    I have killed a few fish over the years learning how to do it right. Many poor goldfish don't live very long.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,721
    4,403
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    [​IMG]

    This is my bigger tank and fish. The tank is 125 gallons, and is 6 feet long. The mag float on the front of the tank, the white algae cleaner is 4 inches long for reference on how big goldfish can get. They grow rapidly outside, but more slowly inside. So if you move them outside during the summer expect to need a bigger tank eventually. A 55 gallon can work for 5-8 or so.
     
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,335
    1,161
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Wow, thanks again for all the info!! Very helpful and you're making me feel a lot better because I was over here crying cause of one fish I killed a while ago cause I was a shitty owner and then for failing this one and I was hoping I would be able to do it right this time and take care of these fish but wasn't sure of my capabilities. But now I have the tools and resources to so thanks again :)

    So I just pour the bottle in and they should be okay? Should I add gravel first?

    Oh and the pond definitely isn't 3 feet deep so that's good to know. The new one when we build it though my dad wants to make 3 feet deep and like 5x6 or something so around 700+ gallons but that might be a little bit big especially never having had a pond before (the one in the garden is fairly small and we don't take care of it) so we'll see.

    That's good to know they can go without eating. Right now I am feeding them once a day because I thought that the recommendation on some feeds of 3 times a day was a little bit high? The one now says 1-3 times a day so maybe I'll up it to 2x after the cycle? And I'll try the peas, thanks.

    I'll get a gravel vacuum and also some gravel and I have a bunch of silk plants and a new cave I'm putting in soon.

    I'm really not sure what the bubbles are from then because would the conditioner cause the bubbles almost a week later? And if it's the slime coat is that bad? They haven't been moved fo warm water but are somewhat near the heater though not right next to it and my room has been pretty warm? I don't think it's spawning though since I assume they're still young?

    That's good to know, thanks. I'll change it when I'm unsure then but not too much. And we have city water and I'm honestly not sure on ph. I guess that's another thing I'll have to check with the kit tomorrow. If I recall correctly though I think it was around 6 or 7?

    That's relieving to know I'm not the only one who's killed a fish or that it's not necessarily cause I'm a bad owner, even thoughi somewhat am for not planning ahead

    And wow your fish are beautiful! And huge! I know we'll probably eventually need a bigger tank but wasn't sure how big or where to get one ha

    Thanks again
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,721
    4,403
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Goldfish requires no heater. They are most comfortable at around 60-70 degrees. A heater might have triggered a spawn. I can tell when mine have spawned by the bubbly protein on the water surface, so I'm thinking that might have been what happened. Did you see them chasing each other all over?

    I would add the bottle of bacteria, follow the directions as I haven't used one in many years. You can add gravel at anytime. I like goldfish because they don't get as frightened of you like other species can. My Angel fish are always running in terror from me where my goldfish recognize me and will come towards me.

    If the temperatures fall below 55 degrees like in an outdoor pond, than you shouldn't feed them as the food will rot in their gut. In the winter outside goldfish will semi hibernate and won't eat for most of the winter.

    Even in warmer weather it can take a well fed goldfish a long time to starve to death.

    If you have city water you will either have to use a product that removes chlorine or let your water sit for 24 hours for the chlorine to dissipate. Just fill your buckets and let them sit. A good neutral ph is good anything lower than 6 will start to cause troubles.

    As I said I have killed my fair share of fish. I always figure many lasted longer in my possession than they would have elsewhere. The feeder goldfish are always treated like garbage at all pet stores and often there are many dead in the tanks. I like to think I've saved a few from a bad end. They are an abused species. Don't feel too bad, the one you showed me looked like it had not been fed in a long while. Once you figure it out it will seem easy to you too.

    I'll be back tomorrow if you have any more questions for me. I like talking goldfish as much as chickens.
     
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    You already got some great info but I just wanted to chime in with my experience. You can cycle a tank with fish in it but you have to be VERY diligent about water changes. I had a fish class and we each got a few goldfish to care for during the two months the class went on. We did not cycle tanks ahead of time so the bacteria needed time to build up. We tracked the nitrites, nitrates and ammonia very carefully. Basically, the bacteria are needed to help prevent build up of the harmful compounds and so without bacteria, things like ammonia build up very rapidly and that can kill the fish. So frequent 50% water changes until all the levels are within normal range is important. Of course, if you can take some gravel or filter material from a well established tank, that will speed up the process. The bottled bacteria also works but I've been told you need to buy it from a store that refrigerated the bacteria (I'm not sure how true that part is).

    The largest issues we had in our class fish was actually with Ich, which is a parasite that can be a nightmare. We lost way over half our fish from the worst infestation myself and the teacher had ever seen. More than likely, that was because we got the fish from a pet store that was already infected.

    Best of luck with your fish!
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,335
    1,161
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    @oldhenlikesdogs I had read that they prefer cooler water so didn't buy a tank heater for that reason so tank itself not heated but would being close to the heater in the room/being in the warm room warm the water enough to cause a similar effect? It's on the back wall now too and one of the fish keeps taking some in its mouth and spitting them out? I haven't seen them chasing but they do swim all over the tank and sometimes follow each other sometimes not so maybe that's it? I read something on how to tell male from female and it said they chase them and like bump them from below?? I haven't seen any of that behavior but I don't watch them that much

    Thanks, I'll add the bacteria. And yeah, I've noticed they seem very curious and not scared. First few days they were terrified but now they seem to like me lol

    I don't think it's below 55 but I'll check.

    The water conditioner said it removed all that stuff. And that's good to know it's a good neutral amount :) It's definitely not below 6

    And thank you, that makes me feel better and I'm glad to know it's not just me. And yeah, it seems they are :( I admit, we used to havr goldfish in bowls as kids but a couple years ago I found out how mistreated goldfish are and how their growth is stunted in bowls/small tanks, etc. And they can really grow huge so now with these guys I'm trying to provide them with a large enough tank and a filter and everything so they can live longer and be taken care of. And aw gee, that's kinda sad. Maybe with all the other fish in the tank it couldn't get to the food? Some were huge and others weren't.

    @Chickerdoodle13 Thank you so much! I had no idea there were even fish classes haha but that sounds awesome

    I will definitely do frequent water changes and testing then! How frequent is frequent though? Like every week or two or every few days orrrr???

    And I forgot to answer OHLD on this part too but we unfortunately don't have any used gravel or filter media since we've never had a tank before :(

    Well, I take that back, I had a betta last year but he died and we sold his tank. Still have some of the silk plants though, we've been soaking them for a day or so

    And well, on the bottle it says live bacteria do not refrigerate so I'm not sure if that means anything

    Sorry you had issues with ich :/

    That reminds me, do you think I need to buy any medicine?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by