August 29 2015 11:50:42
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The Art of Goldfish
B. G. Rand

8"x 10" Book $29.95
E-Book $20.00



10 Steps to
Goldfish Keeping
B. G. Rand

5"x 8" Book $19.95
E-Book $10.00



Diagnose & Rescue Procedures 10 Steps
 Treatments & Tonics
B. G. Rand

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E-Book $10.00



10 Steps to Easy
Goldfish Keeping
B. G. Rand

5"x 8" Book $15.00
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Golden Goldfish Rules
Coloring Book
B. G. Rand

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27-08-2015 11:47
Welcome NIkki! Smile

26-08-2015 21:12
Welcome Samdevelopers!

25-08-2015 20:37
Welcome Frey! Smile

23-08-2015 20:34
Welcome Kwagner ! Grin

21-08-2015 21:43
Welcome Casey !

18-08-2015 19:45
Welcome pac522! Smile

16-08-2015 16:28
Welcome, Stephy. Smile

16-08-2015 16:27
You know a lot more than I do about the site. Do what works. Smile

15-08-2015 19:40
Also, we may not allow photo bucket or similar links in the forum, depending on if we're notified of broken links in the forum; we'll see. Maybe our pics will be sized automatically. I hope.

15-08-2015 19:39
Grin I'm thinking about not putting the ads for our facebook pages on 911, but yours on organic goldfish site. What do you think? I know we'll lose some fans, but better the facebook pages than

Shoutbox Archive
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Diagnose Symptoms and Treat

Diagnose Symptoms and Treat

Buy the Hard Copy Book    Buy eBook

If your fish is in distress, follow this link to the 911 life saving water change before you do anything else

Natural Health Remedies

Anything wrong with your goldfish very likely is related to its environment or its care

Study the 10 Steps to Goldfish and Koi Keeping

Have you recently medicated your goldfish tank?

  If you haven't already, do not medicate. Typically, in most cases medications do more harm than good, killing the friendly bacteria in
  your tank or aquarium. If your fish is sick, the water in your fish house could be to blame. Using medications could push it over the
  edge. With the proper care and nutrition most of these conditions or issues can be conquered naturally as the water's immune system
  is raised along with that of the fish 



Learn everything you can by reading the Goldfish and Koi articles

Scroll down to diagnose symptoms and treat by clicking related headings and photos

Help your fish by helping yourself to our diagnose and treat section, or join us in our 911 Forum or contact our HOTLINE
If you can't find matching symptoms, post in our forum for assistance, and maybe we can help

Symptoms: Clamped fins; white marks; black marks; swollen gills

 goldfish clamped fins

These fish have their fins clamped tight to their bodies in an effort to reduce the 
burning sensation caused by ammonia or carbonate burns

 TEST ammonia (zero is the goal)
 TEST KH (not to exceed 120 ppm) 

Fish that have suffered burns may experience swelling in the gills, reducing their oxygen intake


This previously all orange fish was in water with high ammonia levels, and was severely burned
It's water conditions were poor, and it had little protective slime coat, leaving it at a higher risk
The black marks are healing burns


Symptoms: Red streaks in tail fin, spider veining throughout body; spitting food; spasms


This fish has red veining in its tail fin caused only by nitrite poisoning

Symptoms often show long after the fact, due to slow recovery due to water low in oxygen

   TEST nitrites (zero is the goal)

Fish that has suffered nitrite poisoning my have spasms and or spitting food


Broken blood vessels on body are also symptoms nitrite poisoning



Symptoms: bent or curled positioning, pressed to bottom; bottom sitting; lack of appetite

Goldfish curled; bent position.

This fish's body is curled due to the effects of nitrates, in the final stages

  TEST nitrates (10 to 20 ppm is the goal)
  Do not perform a large water change or move fish exhibiting symptoms

Fish that have suffered nitrate poisoning may lose their appetite, may bottom sit, and then gradually curl to one side as the condition worsens

This fish is laying heavily on the bottom because the nitrate levels were reduced too quickly when
a large and sudden water change was performed, causing nitrate shock



Symptoms: concave looking; missing scales; deteriorating fins; listless; unhealthy looking

Goldfish in poor health.
These fish look unhealthy because they have been underfed and are living in water poor in value, but
they could also be infected with internal parasites, contributing to their low body weight

TEST general hardness (200 to 400 ppm is the goal)
Fish suffering from poor water value become weaker over a long period of time

Goldfish with bacteria infection

This fish was weakened from living in water poor in value, and was injured by a filtering system
without a sponge covering the intake. Weak fish often get stuck in places that a strong fish could easily navigate

Fish in poor water over suffer from multiple related issues

These fish are in water that is high in nitrates and low in oxygen. Their bodies are covered in fungus,
and their fins are clamped because even though the fish house is cycled, ammonia is ever present due to a
low pH. Not long for this world, these poor fish lived and died miserably, their keeper unaware



Symptoms: floating at 45 degree angle with nose down; bulge on one or both sides

 Goldfish bulging on side  

Females alone or with other females will eventually become impacted. Females develop eggs with or without males present
but need their help to release



        bloating; swelling; listless; lack of appetite

This fish is experiencing kidney failure; is very mushy to the touch due to fluid retention

When the liver is compromised, and the organ fails, just like humans, a fish turns yellow; jaundice

This fish is experiencing liver failure. It's body is a little too firm to the touch and is turning jaundice. The raised scales,   
a sign that the body is overheating, in this case by fever, indicates infection is setting in. The black spotting indicates the fish was recently poisoned by ammonia
or a high KH



Symptoms: raised scales; lifted scales; pine cone effect


This fish was in water that was too warm, causing heat stroke. The fish lifts its scales in
an effort to cool its body



Symptoms: bleeding eye, bulging eye, gasping, gasping at surface; reddening around gills

Goldfish Care; diagnosing disease.

This 2 yr old fantail goldfish has suffered from oxygen deprivation; a pH crash

Notice the slight bleeding from the gill in the fish above?

This fish is hanging around the surface, periodically gasping because
there's no oxygen in the water

The higher the fish rest in a body of water the lower the oxygen levels
Most of the issues we see here at goldfish emergency are low oxygen related

Most goldfish will live and die in water that is low in oxygen



Symptoms: overly buoyant; bouncing; floating uncontrollably; floating at the surface and upside down
eats, but cannot hove on the bottom without great effort; eats, but cannot lift off the bottom without great effort

Goldfish upside down 

This fish is living in an unhealthy environment, but being fed improperly has caused the floating issue
Goldfish with floating issues are unable to feed, and live in fear, unable to stay on the bottom where they feel safe


Most floating issues are caused from an impacted tract, trapping gas in the swim bladder

Goldfish with sinking issues are unable to lift, having no gas in their swim bladder

This fish lays helpless on the bottom due to a sinking issue



Symptoms: Mouth locked open or closed; cannot swallow; muscle spasms; raised scales

The bacteria, Tetanus produces a toxin that paralyzes muscles, starting with the face
until it eventually attacks the heart muscle

Treatable if caught in the early stages



Symptoms: Shredded fins; missing scales; white cloud in water; abscesses; fungus


 This fish has lost its fins and most of its scales due to bad bacteria in the water, due to low oxygen levels. It's also
 suffering from ammonia poisoning from a recent spike in the cycle

 Missing scales due to harmful bacteria in water or low general hardness, or even the two combined

 Goldfish with missing scales

This fish is suffering from a bacteria infection; the source being the sand in the substrate, which
harbors bad bacteria, associated with low oxygen levels

Abscesses are often caused by harmful bacteria in sand or gravel, where the fish rest


 This fish has an abscess due to bad bacteria due to improper maintenance                                

Bad bacteria are everywhere, even in a healthy environment, just waiting for an invitation

This fish eventually died from a bacterial infection commonly referred to as 'hole in the head'
Starting as a red spot, it gradually grows into an abscess. The abscess begins to look concave until it finally
becomes a hole, infection eating its way to the very brain of the fish. This infection begins internally; a fatal
side effect of serious ailments, and is more common in geriatric fish



Symptoms: Bleeding under the skin; raised scales

The causes of blood poisoning are many, and in most individual cases the cause will remain unknown
Most common causes are slowing organs, damaged organs, a tear in the tract



Symptoms: Darting; rubbing on substrate or other objects in the environment; visual parasites


The most common external parasites are ich, flukes and anchor worms
with ich being the most difficult to see; tiny white dots that are located on any
part of the body. Flukes are more like blobs, and not as common, and the anchor
worms are look more like hairs that look to be attached to or growing out of the body

Common parasites are easily eliminated with natural treatments

This tiny fish is infected with large flukes, closely related to the leech

Parasites are more dangerous to fish living in water that is poor in value

This fish is infected with flukes (lice) at it's early stages



Symptoms: Concave looking, but has appetite and is well fed

Internal worms are uncommon in the goldfish industry, and this could be because they go undiagnosed
Most internal parasites are easily destroyed naturally without destroying the immune system in the tract



Symptoms: warts;  tumors; growths that form on the external part of the body


This fish has rapid growing tumors

Some tumors are cancerous, and quickly spread           


A common location for warts to start is the tail fin
Warts are caused by a virus, and can be successfully treated



Symptoms: Tumor looking lumps that most commonly form on the upper side of the body

Goldfish with bubble disease

If you look closely to the left of the base of the dorsal fin, you'll see a strange looking lump caused by supersaturated gases
These lumps are easy to distinguish from warts or tumors because the skin is normal looking



Every goldfish tank, aquarium or pond has one goldfish that is more sensitive than the others. A goldfish sensitive to temperatures ranging
on the higher side of the comfort zone may have been kept in too high of water temperatures at one time in its past. Goldfish that have suffered ammonia
or nitrite during the nitrogen cycle may become sensitive to these toxins. Where one goldfish may ignore a spike in nitrites, the more delicate one may
exhibit immediate symptoms. A goldfish that has suffered too high of nitrate levels may become supersensitive to the toxin, having little or no tolerance
A goldfish that has suffered and survived a pH crash may become sensitive to low levels in the future

Some goldfish breeders may be guilty of over salting and over medicating to reduce risk of infection of disease. These goldfish may be super sensitive to salt or medicines

If your fish is sick, follow our instructions to the letter and as quickly as possible. Our recommendations may require spending a little money, and will definitely require hard work, and even then the fish may die, but most of the fish you see above made a full recovery to do the fast actions taken by the fish keeper

Humane Disposal of Goldfish

If you've viewed the photos of sick and infected fish above, you may have noticed some of these fish have more than one symptom; a common occurrence. If a fish is suffering from nitrate poisoning there's a good chance there's not enough water being exchanged, which leads to harmful bacteria infection. Where you find harmful bacteria, you find low oxygen levels and too warm of water conditions. Nitrates are more dangerous in water that is warm and low in oxygen. This is because the toxin robs the blood of oxygen, and goldfish use more oxygen in warmer water. Learn everything you can about the environment your goldfish and Koi need to thrive. All of the issues above could have been prevented, if only the goldfish keeper had known

The care and the remedies recommended on these pages may or may not cure your fish

Bubble Disease                   Oxygen Deprivation                  Bacteria, Friend or Foe?

                     Floating Issues                             Nitrate; the Gentle Giant


goldfish emergency wishes to thank our members for contributing photos of their goldfish symptoms and ailments

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Author: Brenda Rand


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