Goldfish laying at bottom of tank

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Shamerama

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Joined
Jan 22, 2022
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Location
Canada
Tank size: 75 gal
Tank age: 9 months (fish in for 6 months)
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: <10
Temp: 72F

Fish symptoms: Goldfish is laying at bottom of tank and is lethargic. No signs of clamped fins or external injuries (that I can tell). Images attached.

Water changes & Frequency: 30% water change once a week

Media & chemicals: currently using API aqua essential during water changes. Hang on back filter with sponge, carbon and bio rings.

Tank inhabitants: two 4 year old shubunkin goldfish and one 4 year old sailfin pleco and roughly 7 pest snails (see more details below)

Recent Additions: tried to add Amazon frogbit, however snails made fast work of eating all that I had. This was about 3-4 weeks ago.

Exposure to chemicals: no exposure to any other chemicals other than API aqua essentials.

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Hello! I’m hoping someone may be able to help me out with my one goldfish who has been at the bottom of the tank for a while. For context, about a month and a half ago I did have a nitrate spike in my tank. I try to keep my tanks at no more than 10. But when my issues in this tank started it was at 80 (Many factors came into my play with this spike, the two major ones was that I was unable to have any water changes preformed for a month and had a huge chunk of live plants die). Since then I have gotten it back down to below 10 and have been closely monitoring it. At first this seemed to be doing the trick as my lethargic bottom dwelling goldfish started swimming around, doing their food dances and acting normal.

But then the larger of the two started getting lethargic again and was hanging out at the bottom of the tank. My water testing showed that my levels were normal (I use API freshwater liquid tests [my norms are pH: 7.6/7.8, ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0 and Nitrates: =/<10 ]) so I thought that maybe he had a swim bladder issue as his fins aren’t clamped and I don’t see any external issues (But I 100% could be missing something). So I did switch up their diet as if was constipation causing the swim bladder issue. But it’s been a couple weeks now, and there’s no improvement nor decrease in his health. He will swim up for food and eat, especially with the bug bites as it’s his favourite, and he will swim around near the bottom from time to time. But then afterwards he’s right back laying on the bottom. Typically right under the heater or behind the driftwood. When he goes down he does go head first, not like vertically. But almost like the weight of his head is pulling him down. I have tried to check inside his mouth and I don’t see any rocks or sand in it. My other goldfish for the most part is acting normal. He will occasionally lay at the bottom of the tank beside the other. But he doesn’t seem stuck there like how the other one is. He will swim around at the top of the tank and do his normal food dances. But he will at feeding time nudge the other goldfish if he hasn’t already come up.

In this tank m there are two 4 year old Shubunkin Goldfish, one Sailfin pleco and roughly 7 pest snails. But I am in the process of trying to rehome the pleco, so the tank isn’t as overstocked. When it comes to the snails I try to keep their numbers low so durning water changes I’ll pick out as many as I can find and only leave a couple behind. Then I just put the rest into a 20 gal with the precious ones.

Originally when I got them for the first 3ish years they were in a 30 gallon tank with a second sailfin. It’s only been since this February that they have had the upgrade. But I did try to have the tank cycled the best I could prior to adding the fish and I added them one at a time over the course of a month. At the time of purchase I was told that the 30 gal was more than enough space for all four (I have since learned how horribly wrong that is). However negotiating with my homeowner eventually allowed me to have the 75gal. Which is still pushing it for the goldfish, but is better. In this region large goldfish aren’t very popular, as were in a bad area for easy-ish ponds. So when I was initially looking into it I wasn’t able to find a suitable home for the goldfish. But my end goal is to get them into a pond, whether I can make one or find someone who has one.

Sorry for the info dump, I just wanted to include as much as possible! But yeah I’m hoping that there’s something I can do to help get this guy back to normal. I haven’t dosed the tank in any medications as I don’t want to cause more harm than good. But if need be I do have the 30 gal still set up with some mollys in it that I can shuffle around so I can make it into a temporary isolation/hospital tank. On hand for medication I do have pimafix, melafix and some aquarium salt. However I can head out when the stores open up to get anything else that may be needed.

If any additional information or photos are needed let me know and I can do my best to get those.

Thank you in advance!
 

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I had almost the exact same thing happen, Nose bobbing down, laying, but still perking up for food time. You may need to change your fishes diet. They need less protein once they are older and more grown. Mine was being fed food that had expired! and it slowly took its toll on its health.
The fish did slowly begin to recover on a new diet, but they will lay on the bottom pretty much all day unless your feeding them, so you may want to make sure your substrate isn't cutting up and injuring the fishes belly and fins for the meantime.

I hope it recovers, very nice fish!
 
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

The tank had a nitrate problem about 4-6 weeks ago.
How long ago did the fish start acting like this?

Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the tank?

How often and how do you clean the filter?

What do you feed the fish (pleco as well) besides bug bites?
Do they get any plant matter?

What does its poop look like?

Can we get a picture of the entire tank?
Can we get a video of the fish swimming and sinking?

Do you have a picture of the fish when you first got it or before this started?
Has the fish's head always been that colour?
 
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

The tank had a nitrate problem about 4-6 weeks ago.
How long ago did the fish start acting like this?
They first acting like this for about a week a month ago when the problem first happened. This time around it’s been just over 2 weeks.
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the tank?
I’ll often have two vacuums going. One will just be pumping water near the middle out and the second one I’ll go around at the bottom vacuuming into the sand. When adding water back into the tank I use two 1 gal jugs and use a syringe to measure out and treat it prior to adding it to the tank.
How often and how do you clean the filter?
Usually about once a month I will take out the media in the filter and give the canister a quick rinse out with aquarium water as it’s draining to rinse out any sand that got in it. Media changes I go based on the box for changing it unless something looks bad. So the sponge once every two months, bio rocks every three months and carbon every month. If the dates over lap then I’ll adjust the timing by at least a week so I’m only changing out 1 per water change.
What do you feed the fish (pleco as well) besides bug bites?
Do they get any plant matter?
I try to vary their foo. But the typical others are broccoli, frozen bloodworms, flakes, algae wafers, lettuce, peas and cucumbers. They used to eat some plants in the tank as well. But now all they have left is a lucky bamboo. Which they will often uproot and will either leave alone or eat the roots off of.
What does its poop look like?
I’ve only seen brown or dark green poops.
Can we get a picture of the entire tank?
Can we get a video of the fish swimming and sinking?
I’ve attached some more images. I’ve attached an image from March when they both got in the tank and where stifling around in the sand. There used to be fake jelly fish decorations in the tank that I did removed. I also attached an image of the tank now. This image is after I was trying to get the other to swim. Which I did accidentally stress them both out in the process so the white one is sticking near the bottom. I can’t seem to be able to upload the videos from my phone, but I’ll try on the computer here soon.
Do you have a picture of the fish when you first got it or before this started?
Has the fish's head always been that colour?
I’ve attached a couple photos of the fish from before. From what I can tell his head has mostly been this colour. However my other goldfish did pretty well turn completely white with a partial transparent head. That I was told at the time was normal, but I am very skeptical of it. The white one does have a deformity in his tail as well. I do have an air stone rated for a 80 gal and usually also have a 20 gal one too in the tank because I was worried it may be more of an oxygen issue. However during yesterdays tank cleaning I accidentally broke the air stone on the 20g line so I had to remove it until I can get a new one today. But the white one has been that way for 2 years.
 

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I had almost the exact same thing happen, Nose bobbing down, laying, but still perking up for food time. You may need to change your fishes diet. They need less protein once they are older and more grown. Mine was being fed food that had expired! and it slowly took its toll on its health.
The fish did slowly begin to recover on a new diet, but they will lay on the bottom pretty much all day unless your feeding them, so you may want to make sure your substrate isn't cutting up and injuring the fishes belly and fins for the meantime.

I hope it recovers, very nice fish!
Ah I did not know that! I can definitely lower the amount of protein I’m currently feeding them to see. Currently I don’t see any cuts on his belly or tears in his fins. So hopefully it remains that way! If not I may just remove the substrate all together. Do you by chance know how long it took on the new diet until you started seeing some improvements?
Thank you!
 
Usually about once a month I will take out the media in the filter and give the canister a quick rinse out with aquarium water as it’s draining to rinse out any sand that got in it. Media changes I go based on the box for changing it unless something looks bad. So the sponge once every two months, bio rocks every three months and carbon every month. If the dates over lap then I’ll adjust the timing by at least a week so I’m only changing out 1 per water change.
You shouldn't be replacing filter media except carbon, and you don't normally need carbon in the filter.

Sponges and ceramic beads can be washed out in a bucket of tank water and re-used until they start to fall apart. Then replace them. Sponges and ceramic beads should last 10 years easily.

------------------
Goldfish can change colour but it usually happens during the first 12 months. On rare occasions they might change colour after a few years.

------------------
Apart from maybe adding some more live aquarium plants for them to eat, I would probably just try doing a big (50-75%) water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. This might get the fish going.

If there's no improvement after a week of water changes, then post more pictures and a video of the fish feeding and sinking.
 
Only certain substrates are sharp and cause issues, sounds like yours is OK. I wouldn't mess with things too much if you don't need to, less stress the better. It took maybe 2 months before improvements were noticed in my case.
I'll be watching this thread to see what happens, hopefully you reach some diagnosis with the help of the pros here.
 
You shouldn't be replacing filter media except carbon, and you don't normally need carbon in the filter.

Sponges and ceramic beads can be washed out in a bucket of tank water and re-used until they start to fall apart. Then replace them. Sponges and ceramic beads should last 10 years easily.

------------------
Goldfish can change colour but it usually happens during the first 12 months. On rare occasions they might change colour after a few years.

------------------
Apart from maybe adding some more live aquarium plants for them to eat, I would probably just try doing a big (50-75%) water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. This might get the fish going.

If there's no improvement after a week of water changes, then post more pictures and a video of the fish feeding and sinking.
Ah I did not know that. I thought they had to be changed out that those times. Well that'll be a nice change then! I did attach the video [as a .gif] here. But I'll preform the large water change here shortly and do the extra gravel cleaning, and update y'all with the results. Thank you for the help!!
 

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Only certain substrates are sharp and cause issues, sounds like yours is OK. I wouldn't mess with things too much if you don't need to, less stress the better. It took maybe 2 months before improvements were noticed in my case.
I'll be watching this thread to see what happens, hopefully you reach some diagnosis with the help of the pros here.
True, true. May cause more problems if it can be avoided. I'll give this a shot as well and hopefully soon they'll be back to their normal selves with some time. Thank you for your help!!
 
Just to let you know that you've been having problems trying to upload the video because the video upload function on this forum doesn't work I'm afraid. But if you upload the vid to youtube and post the link here, people can see it that way :)
 
can you make another video, longer if possible (a one minute video would be good) :)

The fish just sort of drops when it swims, that's kind of interesting.
 

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