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The Goldfish Gazette, Issue #076 Feeding Enough?
April 30, 2020

Goldfish Care Tips

A Free Monthly Resource For Goldfish Enthusiasts
April 2020
Issue #076

In This Issue
Feeding Enough?

Working out how much to feed your fish is one of the skills required by all Goldfish keepers.
Not feeding enough, or fish not being able to compete equally for food, can often show up as buoyancy issues.

Feeding Enough?

I often remind readers on Facebook that mixing Goldfish varieties doesn’t work if all the fish can’t compete equally for food. An extreme example I often see is a Water Bubble Eye in with single tailed varieties. The more usual mix is a Black Moor with normal eyed fish.

Usually, a post shows a fish in distress, and lots of suggestions follow regarding treatment. What is generally missed is the fact that the fish is severely under-weight, which has led to a weakened immune system leading to a fungal or bacterial illness.

But it isn’t always this easy. Sometimes healthy fish being fed the ideal diet start exhibiting swim bladder or buoyancy symptoms.

Learned Behavior?

The image above is one of my second-generation Black Moor.

After selecting him and 5 others from a spawn of about 4000 fry, I was very pleased with the way they had turned out, as I had no idea about the history of the parents.

Shortly after, I noticed he seemed to have an over-inflated swim bladder.

He would swim nose down, and when he wasn't swimming, he would rise to the surface. The rest of his siblings were fine.

This has gone on for several years now, and he wasn’t getting his fair share of the food as he would struggle to get to the bottom.

I couldn't sell him, and a freak accident had killed one of his male siblings, so I needed to try and see what could be done with him.

I brought him inside with the intention of deflating his swim bladder, hoping he would re-inflate it to the correct level.

I noticed when he was in the aquarium, he was perfectly fine. In fact, he had extremely good buoyancy when he was motionless in the water.

I thought that perhaps by sheer coincidence, bringing him inside had cured the problem, even though water depth and temperature were the same as his pond.

The next morning, he was bouncing off the surface again. So much for that theory.

I knew there was nothing wrong with his air bladder, so I started to think perhaps it was a learned behavior, possibly related to feeding.

I completely covered the water surface in his aquarium with shade cloth, which allowed an air exchange to occur, but he couldn’t get to the surface.

Whenever his dorsal touched the cloth as he floated upwards, he would immediately swim away from the surface.

After a day or two he started swimming normally. I started feeding him heavily, as he was a little under-weight.

After a week, I removed the shade cloth.

He has continued to swim completely normally, maintains perfect buoyancy, and has put on weight.

The only conclusion I can come to is some fish develop air gulping tendencies if they aren’t getting enough food for whatever reason.

Feeding Basics

In most cases, buoyancy issues with fancy varieties are caused by poor food, and/or not enough food.

Feeding must match the season as most Goldfish aren’t kept in a stable water temperature all year round like tropical fish are.

If a fish isn’t plump, it is under-fed. Younger fish need a lot more food than older fish, with a higher protein content. 2% of body weight at each feeding is a starting point for younger fish.

If you have a fish exhibiting buoyancy problems, and you are confident that you are feeding enough of the right food, separate the fish to remove competition, and feed it heavily.

This can only be done safely with gel foods such as Repashy’s.

If the buoyancy issue stops, you can assume it is competition that is causing the problem.

If it doesn't stop, consider doing what I did, and put a physical barrier at the surface. A fish can't gulp air if it can't reach the surface.

To read more on feeding Goldfish, click here...

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think, or what topics you want covered.

Next Month's Topic

Breeding nacreous (calico) scaled fish

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