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Author Topic: Strange behavior?  (Read 1156 times)
ladygold
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Strange behavior?
« on: April 02, 2012, 12:08:27 AM »

Hi there! I was introduced to this forum by another goldfish keeper on another forum. -I have a goldfish-specific behavior question.

My 1.5 inch fantail goldfish; till now very active, is acting strange. (Maybe I'm just being a paranoid fish mama - the tank is in my open concept living-room/kitchen so I can see it almost at all times.) It (unsure of gender) has started floating up to the top right hand corners of the tank (farthest away from the pump) this evening. Not puffing or gulping air, not upside down, on it's side, or head down, and not breaking the surface of the water. Could it be sleeping? Do goldfish tend to sleep in any particular place in the tank?

I haven't really seen it sleep before because it's been so active during the day, and lights are off at night.  After a few moments, it seems to "wake up" and swim around a bit... In particular to the front left hand corner of the tank, where it hovers just slightly above the gravel and "wiggles". -Almost like it's rubbing its belly on the gravel - but it never touches the ground. Could it be preparing to lay eggs? There are no signs of discoloration, illness, or injury anywhere on it. I've been feeding Aqueon sinking color enhancing goldfish granules... Only a very little bit, once or twice daily - in efforts to keep excess waste down while the tank cycles... Nothing is ever left on the bottom of the tank to break down.

The tank is 30 gallons, with an AquaFin 30 (floss/carbon filter) pump. The fantail is the sole inhabitant of the tank. The tank has just begun cycling (3 days), but I've had this goldie for about a week and a half and haven't really seen this behavior - especially not in this new tank where its been nothing but active.

The water parameters today (before the water change):
pH: 7.2
Ammonia: 0.50 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm

Today I performed a 20-25% water change, adding NutraFin Aqua +Plus to the new water. Till this point I've been using NutraFin Cycle, but on the recommendation of others I think I'll be purchasing a bottle of Tetra Safestart.

 Huh Am I just worrying over nothing? Is my gold fish sleeping or wanting to lay eggs? Sick?  Thanks in advance!!
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scrivens345
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 01:06:45 AM »

well, that is a nice size tank.Your fish might be reacting to the ammonia(fish emit ammonia from their gills)

Try the effect of doing a 50-60% water change...............Large  and frequent water changes will be necessary Grin

You might wish to read through this thread (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 01:48:58 AM by scrivens345 » Logged
orandagal
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 10:12:54 AM »

Hi Ladygold,
I'm glad you joined and I know you will get help with your questions. I know the one thing that helped me was reading many of the posts, and especially about cycling (which helped tremendously with my new tank, as I had no idea what I was doing)
A lot of good people here with good info  Smiley
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Sarahfish
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 01:21:42 PM »

as said above, your fish is most likely reacting to a cycling tank. Do large water changes and add Prime to detoxify the ammonia!
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ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 02:07:48 PM »

Today I performed another water change. Roughly 30%. Water readings taken afterwards showed:

pH: 7 (down from yesterday's 7.2)
NH3/NH4: 0.25ppm (down from yesterday's 0.50, yay!)
NO2: 0 ppm
NO3: 0 ppm

Knowing the ammonia has gone down gives me a bit of peace at mind. Less stress on the fish. I've also read that lower pH values can help give relief to fish when there is ammonia present.

Last nights antics have subsided; no more "timeouts" in the corners. I'll watch tonight to see if they commence again.

Question: What do your guys' goldfish look like when they're sleeping? Obviously with no eyelids, we can't tell they're sleeping by them closing their eyes... What are their sleep habits like? Do you find they like one spot more then others?

I have kept fish before (mostly tropicals, and a LONG time ago at that), but never just 1 alone in the tank. -I think I've probably got a little micro-managing with only 1 goldfish to watch, every action is analyzed. Tongue
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ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 04:00:45 PM »

Update: Goldfish has now started bumping it's head on the glass and bouncing around erratically, bonking it's head on the gravel.  Huh  It doesn't look like the classic case of trying to reach his reflection. Just looks like he's drunk or loosing his marbles...

Water parameters are decent considering it's only just begun cycling this week, so I hesitate to chalk it all up to just the ammonia. (Not ruling it out, but would like to consider other causes as well.) There are no outward signs of parasites, so if the fantail is infected, it would have to be internal. Wouldn't illnesses caused by parasites have shown up before now since I've had him almost two weeks?

Sarahfish, I had intended to use Prime... But then many other people recommend I use Tetra Safestart (and discontinue use of NutraFin Cycle) and TSS cannot be used with Prime. I haven't yet purchased either product because I wanted to be sure of which ones I wanted.  The company who makes Prime also carries a product called Stability which is supposed to work the same way as TSS, but is safe to use with Prime. Perhaps I should go that route?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 04:07:25 PM by ladygold » Logged
scrivens345
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 03:44:25 AM »

sounds like he's flashing...ammonia is highly toxic and irritating..I should do a very large water change and see if he settles down
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Skwishee
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 05:25:56 AM »

Hi Ladygold,

Sorry to hear you're goldfish is a little out of sorts.

I would agree with Scrivens, it does sound like your goldfish is flashing. When I was cycling a tank with my goldfish, when the Nitrites spiked, she began swimming very erratically and would often swim head first into the filter current.

Perhaps test the water daily and if ammonia or nitrite are above 0ppm or nitrate is above 40ppm, do a large water change. When I had a nitrite spike I found doing daily water changes really helped and after a week the nitrite was down to 0ppm in my tank Smiley

Good luck with the cycling.

As for sleeping, I generally find my goldfish just happens to settle down near the gravel somewhere. In her old tank she used to snuggle up next to the cabomba plant. But in this tank I think she settles down in one of the open spaces of gravel.
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cdale
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 06:53:28 AM »

Hi Ladygold!
I had very similar behaviour in my fish which is the reason I joined this forum. Mine was laying on the gravel then getting up and bashing himself around, his scales ending up coming off as a result, was very distressing to what so I understand your worry! Mine also did not show any external signs of illness so to me this sounds like your water quality! Does your fish sit on the bottom then get up and erratically swim around?

At the time I didn't have the best water testing kit but I just did daily water changes to make sure if there was a spike it would get rid of that. So just carry on with the regular water changes and let us know how you get on!

Mine was slightly different to yours in that my advice was that my tank was a biorb and too small for the comet I had, I have since got a bigger tank and my fish improved instantly but your tank is big enough...

Try not to worry too much, my little fishy is still here after his troubles...Good luck! 
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ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 11:58:28 AM »

Thanks everyone! Smiley

I'll be doing another water change today, this time much larger then the previous day's. Last night my hubbie bought Prime and Stability while he was out. Cycling is so important, but still I want my fish to be around to enjoy it when it's ready!! Hopefully Prime will add that little extra boost of protection to help between water changes.  (This has been a good experience, but I definitely see the wisdom behind a fishless cycle. -No stress! On people or fish!)

Edit: After completing a quick vac and about 50% water change today parms are:

ph:6.8-7
ammonia: just a tad less then 0.25 ppm (color is a bit more yellow, not a perfect match like the other days)
nitrite: 0 ppm
nitrate: 0 ppm

cdale: the fantail swims around normally and then occasionally will swim erratically - but he doesn't lay on the gravel floor. -After inspecting him closely last night I noticed breeding tubercles (not ich) on his gill plates. Recent water changes (and slight temperature fluctuations) must have triggered the spawning behavior.

And... eh. (Hides face and prepares for a slapped hand.) Hubbie also remembered how much I liked Oranda's and brought home a pretty little girl. He figured it would be better to cycle with two fish. Annnnnnyway. Long story short... My (now known to be male) fantail has been almost exhaustively "escorting" her around everywhere. (I did rearrange the tank... Some people say it helps keep the fish from getting too territorial.) I currently have them separated; having mercy on the poor girl to give her a break from her lover.

As much as I love the little girl (1.5", orange metallic, healthy and pretty) I'm not looking to get into breeding. I'm tempted to take the little Oranda back because I don't want her chased to death. How long/often do goldfish spawn for? Is it a legitimate worry that he'll exhausted her to death or is this just another one of those widely published myths?

Orandagal: I know you keep orandas. Do you ever have a problem with spawning behavior? I don't mind having a mixed gender tank (possibly a pre-rec when they are bought so young/small and they're difficult to gender?), but I don't want them dying from exhaustion on me.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 01:41:14 PM by ladygold » Logged
orandagal
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 01:07:03 PM »

Hi Ladygold,
I have to be honest here, I have only (ever) had two goldfish together. The ones I have now, I've had for over 2 years and have never had any problems or really thought about their gender. They have always been happy together (my biggest one is probably a year older than her companion Tangerine and not extremely active) With adding the newest one (Lemonade) in the last month, I think he might be a male because I was reading up on those little bumps they get on their heads when wanting to spawn and he has shown a few of them, but they have gone away. He and Tangerine are best buddies (and I'm assuming Tangerine is also female-that is why she and the big one got along well?) I seriously hope there will be no "hanky panky" in the tank  Grin I'm sure others will have a much better answer for you, but you have given me something to think about  Smiley
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 04:39:04 PM by orandagal » Logged
ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 03:18:16 PM »

 Shocked Important discovery: I decided to test my untreated tap water and discovered that it registers at roughly 0.25 ppm/ammonia... So even keeping goldfish; essentially, I've kept my water "immaculate". Immaculate here simply meaning my biological filter has started work and kept goldfish waste down... Now it just needs to grow to be able to keep down whats in the water supply.  Hmm....

In fact, in some ways I might be doing my tank more of a DISSERVICE than service by the large water changes... taking out helpful bacteria and water, and ADDING a consistent 0.25 ppm of ammonia.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 03:25:26 PM by ladygold » Logged
Skwishee
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 04:37:31 PM »

I have 0.25ppm ammonia in my tap water as well. For the past month I've been 2 - 3 water changes a week.
I have just found it difficult to get the ammonia below 0.25ppm and down to 0ppm. As a result I'm currently trying Prime water conditioner at 1.5x dosage, to see if that helps with things Smiley

As for water changes, they've never harmed anything, the bacteria live in the filter and gravel, not necessarily the water -unless your tank is cycling and the bacteria haven't settled yet, usually this is when the tank goes quite cloudy because the bacteria are developing and settling- but even so, if ammonia or nitrites are above 0ppm, then regular water changes are better than just leaving it to build further.

As your tank is newly set up, it's possible that the ammonia will go down as the nitrites spike. If after you're nitrites have spiked and gone to 0ppm, and you have nitrates showing, and you still have ammonia showing, then you may have to consider using a stronger water conditioner. May I ask what water conditioner you currently use?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 04:42:54 PM by Skwishee » Logged
ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2012, 06:29:47 PM »

Skwishee, the tank was newly set up on Thursday so it is still in its first week of cycling. I started the tank using both NutraFin Aqua Plus conditioner and Cycle as the bacterial additive; since then (both through my own research and people's recommendation) I've switched to Stability because it can be used with Prime, unlike TSS. So now I use those two Seachem products. -I didn't have any old filter media, otherwise I would have used that.

Today during my w/c I added water just ever so slightly warmer then the tank temperature, knowing it would cool to room temp. The idea was that maybe I could fool my fantail's body into thinking it wasn't Spring anymore (when water normally warms)... And it seems to have worked. He isn't nearly so aggressively pursuing her and actually leaves her alone for periods of time. Makes me feel better knowing she's getting some rest... But the potential for this to happen again is still there. Do you think she should be rehomed?
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Skwishee
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 08:31:24 AM »

If the behaviour continues, it may be an option to rehome her.
I think for now, perhaps separating them would be best. If you don't have a second tank, you could always use an egg crate to divide the tank in half. It'll look something like this;

[image]


Cheri could possibly give you more details, as I know she's used this method.

Also be aware that Prime can mess with ammonia results, depending on what water test kit you are using. I believe it's covered here; (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)

Pretty soon you should start to see Nitrites appear Smiley
If you find after the tank has finished cycling you still have ammonia above 0ppm, then it may be appropriate to use a slightly higher dosage of Prime. As I mentioned I use 1.5x the dosage, to deal with the 0.25ppm of ammonia from the tap, as my tank has already cycled. (I used mature media so it didn't take long).
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 08:33:42 AM by Skwishee » Logged
Nossie
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2012, 12:16:47 PM »

I seem to have missed a lot *_* I just sort of quickly read through the posts, so sry if it's repetitive or unhelpful.

It's obviously not better to cycle with two fish in a tank though, since that's another shock the filter doesn't need Undecided Well, she's there now either way, so you better make the most of it Smiley Just take out 50-60% of the water every second day or whenever the ammonia is high, test ammonia every single day and DO NOT FEED THE FISH more than once every three days. Buy some beneficial bacteria if you don't have that already, and add that with every water change Smiley Make sure you vacuum the gravel so no food leftovers or waste is left to rot there, the goldfish will be creating ammonia just by breathing, so the filter bacteria will have things to work with anyway Smiley

As for the chasing around, I highly doubt you even have two fish of the opposite gender, if a fish is in the mood, it's in the mood Wink Sometimes even girls are chasing other lady-fish around for no apparent reason, just make sure they're not being too stressed about it. The poor water quality is the biggest problem for now. Oh, and even if they'd lay eggs and possibly fertilize them (both highly unlikely) the goldfish will soon eat the eggs anyway as they have no parental instincts whatsoever.
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ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2012, 07:01:57 PM »

I've had a busy few days. Water parms are:

Ammonia: 0 ppm!!!!
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm

Nitrate levels are more then zero but don't quite match the 5ppm color swatch of the API test kit yet. But very close. -Since I last posted, I have NOT had any nitrite readings. So unless they spiked yesterday (the only day this week that I tested ammonia and nothing else)... I don't know what's going on. Tongue I KNOW my tank is cycling and bacteria are working, because there's no way I can have 0 ppm ammonia when my untreated tap water (without a dirty goldfish) is already 0.25 ppm ammonia... Can Nitrite really spike and fall that quickly? Hope so. At any rate, as long as this keeps up, it would appear my tank has cycled (I used Stability). -Haven't done a water change in 3 days (ammonia was always quite low, nearly zero). Have been using Prime too.
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Nossie
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2012, 07:40:45 AM »

Well, the beneficial bacteria are removing the ammonia from the tap water that you add to the tank... Smiley
Did you change any water recently? Are the fish better? Smiley
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ladygold
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 08:41:51 PM »

The fish are doing much better, displaying none of the symptoms they did before. I did however decide to return the fantail, since my preference leans more in the direction of orandas and ranchus and the problem was bound to come up again in the future (the fantail was quite slim/streamlined so he could swim fast). So just one HAPPY goldfish in the tank now. Cheesy

Water parameters are the same today as my last post (0, 0, 5), with very little variance since then. Today (first time in a week of careful water monitoring) I decided to do a 30% water change. Still no nitrite readings though... Will be keeping an eye on that. Smiley
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Skwishee
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2012, 03:45:10 AM »

So no nitrites have appeared?? Just ammonia and then nitrates? How odd...

I've had the same thing happen, BUT I was using matured media, so it didn't surprise me all that much.
It may be possible that it skipped that? Nossie if I remember rightly, didn't you once say your cycling skipped a phase?

(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
Check out the last bit in the FAQ. It could be the Prime causing it?
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Nossie
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Re: Strange behavior?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2012, 01:39:31 PM »

Yes, when I cycled my 300L it basically went from ammonia to nitrates as well, in only a week so it happens Smiley It's really easy to miss them I suppose, particularly while adding beneficial bacteria to the tank on a regular basis. And if I'm not completely wrong, most of the beneficial bacteria products are meant to handle nitrites particularly well? (Or at least I was once using one that was).
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