FANCY GOLDFISH: Quarantine, Parasite Treatments, Care and Feeding.
Aquarium and site preparation: Locate the aquarium in an area which is kept at a stable temperature such as 72 degreesF. While they can be kept warmer or cooler, stability of the temperature is important. An aquarium generally will have a filter, a cover, as well as a light. Depending on the location a submersible heater may be needed. I find that lights on timers work the best as it is another part of the tank and site stability.
Wash the new aquarium with soap and water, then rinse thoroughly. If it is an old or used aquarium it would be wise to give it a mild bleach soak and then wash and rinse. The same for any equipment you plan to use, except for the light. Water and electricity don't mix very well, so clean it by wiping it down and allowing it to thoroughly dry before use.
Since I'm referring to an aquarium used as a quarantine tank, keep the tank bare. No gravel or decorations are needed. Gravel, whether with an undergravel filter or not is just a place for detritus to gather and foul. I also would suggest that the outside back and two sides be painted, preferably black, to give the fish a feeling of safety. I have seen them painted blue, and if the color of a koi viewing bowl it is fairly attractive.
There are a wide variety of external tank filters available so my best advice is to obtain either a canister filter which can be placed under the tank or the less expensive hang on the back filter. Canister filters pose a possible problem in that if they are not set up and serviced properly they may drain the tank water on the floor, causing damage and a further discussion of site location by a distressed spouse.
An air pump with dual outlets should also be included with the tank, as goldfish like a little current as long as it doesn't completely disrupt the tank. Position the airstones to one end or on the back side of the tank with maximmum separation. An airstone is also of importance if you wish to keep the fish food from entering the filter.
The aquarium water needs to by cycled prior to the introduction of fish, OR it must be large enough to dilute the fish waste while the tank is cycling. One of the easiest ways to cycle an aquarium is to simply add two small fish per 30 gallons and slowly begin to feed them. The filter will gradually build a bacterial film and start digesting the fish waste. In most cases it takes a minimum of six weeks to cycle an aquarium. There is a faster way. If you currently have filters that have been running for several months you can simply transfer the filter OR the media from the aged filter to a new filter.
As the aquarium water cycles algae will form on the interior. Allow it to populate the aquarium except for the front viewing glass. Algae aids in the cycling process and is an excellent food for goldfish.
Upon receiving new goldfish it is advisable to immediately treat for parasites. Fancy goldfish have been so highly bred for particular types and varieties that their systems are for the most part, squeezed together in a body that simply does not allow for a lot of "give". Hence they are easily stressed and are prone to bacterial infections and other maladies. That is why it is very important to treat them for parasites upon arrival.
Step one: To begin with, float the fully inflated shipping bag in the tank where they will be housed. As I just indicated do not open the bag until such time as you wish to release the fish. Hopefully it is a tank that has a fully cycled filter and a minimum of ten gallons of water per fish or that it is a tank which has at least 30 gallons of water for each goldfish.
While the bag is floating prepare the following treatment:
1 part household 3% hydrogen peroxide to 8 parts tank water.(the water from the tank where they will be housed) in a bowl or small aquarium.
After the bagged goldfish has floated for a minimum of 30 minutes, remove it from the bag and using a net, hold it in the hydrogen peroxide solution. Immediately remove the goldfish after 10 seconds and place into your tank. Some goldfish may be slightly stunned by this treatment but they quickly recover.
Having dipped the goldfish to remove most of the parasites it is now time to move to:
Step Two: Measure out 99.97% water softener salt at a rate of .6% for the tank. Using a scale, 1lb of salt will treat 20 gallons of water at .6%. Over a period of 8 hours slowly add the salt to the tank. If you wish to dissolve it beforehand it is fine but not necessary.
Goldfish should stay in a .6% solution of salt for a minimum of two weeks. Making the necessary water changes weekly means you must also add the appropriate amount of salt based on how many gallons you have replaced. I would suggest a 30% to 50% water change weekly, depending on the number of goldfish producing waste product. Salt works very well for all microscopic parasites except flukes (which I'll get to shortly).
Water changes: When changing water determine the temperature of the tank and match it with any new water. If you are using tap water you will no doubt need to add a dechorinator before adding new water. Make a note of it and put it somewhere prominant so you don't forget. I've heard about many fish poisoned simply because the dechlorinator was forgotten. Don't forget to add the appropriate amount of salt for the water you're replacing. After two weeks of the salt treatment you can begin to remove the salt by simply doing the normal water changes.
Parasite pictures: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...s-in-the-works
Treatments for Flukes:
There are two safe and reliable treatments for flukes, whether gill flukes or skin flukes.
They are: Praziquantel and Kusuri Fluke-M
If at all possible it is best to complete the salt treatment before using either of these treatments. However, that may become impossible due to the behavior of the fish. Generally there might be a little flashing, clamping of the fins and isolating from the herd during the first day or two of the salt treatment. If this continues it is time to treat them as salt has a limited effect on flukes.
With either Praziquantel or Kusuri Fluke-M it is important to do a 50% water change. This reduces the salt to a level which willl have no effect on the treatments.
Using Praziquantel: After the water change, measure out one gram of Praziquantel to 100 gallons of water. Keep in mind that the manufacturers of aquariums slightly exagerate the size of their aquariums. Most are about 5 to 10% less than the label. Even so, using the MFRs label will have no effect on the fish as Praziquantel is very forgiving in terms of any ill effects from over treatment. In fact I have never seen nor heard of any documented case of Praziquantel harming a treated fish.
Treat the aquarium water by mixing the Praziquantel with water in a peanut butter jar or similar jar that can be sealed. Shake it thoroughly several times and add it to the tank. Some of the material will float but over a few hours will dissolve.
Allow this mixture to "stand" in the tank for one week. Then repeat the cycle twice more for a total of three weeks.
Using Kusuri Fluke-M: As mentioned before, do a 50% water change to reduce the salt.
Open the packet in which it was shipped. Empty the contents into a wide mouth poly jar with cover. Other jars can be used. Just use one which can be sealed with a screw on cover.
Shake the contents of the jar vigorously. Measure out the proper amount of Fluke-M. .88 grams will treat 75 gallons. Place the material in a jar which can be shook and fill the jar about half way with hot tap water. Shake it vigorously for a minute and add it to the tank. Repeat this procedure after seven days. Allow second treatment to "stand" for another seven days.
Either treatment will work. Praziquantel just takes a bit longer.
Keep Praziquantel and Kusuri Fluke-M in sealed containers and cold. The shelf life is several years.
To prove the eradication of flukes or any microscopic parasite you will need a - yep you guessed it - a microscope. It need not be lab grade but simply one which will magnify up to 600X. They are available on eBay and are inexpensive, relative to the cost of a show quality goldfish.
Caring for your goldfish:
Of most importance is water quality. Fancy goldfish do not do well in aquariums with accumulated waste product whether in the water or in the filter or on the bottom of the tank. When doing water changes, try to siphon off the bottom of the tank first, and when finished make it a habit to rinse out the filter with a tub or pail of the water you've removed. Then refill your tank making sure to add dechlorinator if necessary. Check the water temperature of the tank and the water you are adding. They should be very close to the same. Once you've refilled the tank then restart your filter and check for proper operation.
Other over-the counter additives or supplements are unnecessary. Good quality water, changed frequently will do more to assist your goldfishs' health than anything else.........except: Food.
I'll give you some ideas for food to use, but you can be quite creative as they like many things.
Without a doubt Repashy Soilent Green is the best food for fancy goldfish. It comes in a powdered form in a sealed bag. Keep the bag sealed and cool for good shelf life. The powder is measured and mixed with hot water, then poured into a low container which can be sealed. It forms a gel-like consistency which can be cut into small pieces. I like to see that each fish gets a couple pieces twice a day.
I also use three different flake foods, which I pulverize, and use a small portion in a half glass of water. After briefly soaking it, I pour into the quiet end of the tank. Goldfish are vacuum cleaners with fins. I limit the flake food to three times a week.
I use sinking shrimp pellets which I soak so that it is allowed to release the air and falls to the bottom. Goldfish love them.
I use three different frozen foods: Brine Shrimp, Bloodworms and Adult Krill which I cut up for the smaller fish. The frozen foods should be thawed thoroughly and added in small portions so the tank is not fouled. Whatever you decide to use make sure you rotate your diets so they get some variety and stay interested.
Stay away from floating foods simply because they contain air and goldfish have enough trouble with their swim bladders as it is so adding air with food makes this situation worse.
If you have valuable fancy goldfish, my advice is to make Repashy Soilent Green your main food. Repashy Super Green also should be considered as it contains no meat products. Only greens..
In the last couple weeks a fellow goldfish fancier had a new ranchu decide to swim upside down and continued to do so for more than a week. The Ranchu had been treated for parasites in the normal fashion and indicated no other symptoms.
A decision was made to feed the ranchu Repashy Soilent Green four times a day and use no other food. On the third morning the new ranchu was observed swimming upright as if nothing had ever happened. Interesting, isn't it. Although I cannot prove that the Repashy actually caused this turn-around, I'd like to think it did.