(Sag Harbor NY)
My son has had these two carnival goldfish for quite some time. Twice now in the past few months I noticed he had swim bladder disorder in the white Gold Fish. Did a few water changes, treated for both Bacteria and Parasites and fed them peas and it did much better.
I put the regular charcoal filter back in and thought I was good to go. After about three weeks he started doing it again, I did another water change noticed he was spending a lot of time at the bottom and his scales were coming off, black marks on his head and saw what appears to be sores near his eyes / head.
We bought a larger tank and after running it for almost 24 hours put them in there as a local pet store thought the ammonia level may be too high and they'd be better in the new tank.
Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. I am going to have the water checked on Sunday when I head towards the pet store.
You have certainly approached the problem in the correct manner with water changes and by treating for parasites and bacteria, as the swim bladder issue may be a symptom of other problems.
As a generalization, long bodied Goldfish don't normally get swim bladder problems.
The white Goldfish looks very under-weight, and swim bladder problems can occur if a fish is very under-weight.
Being under-weight will cause its immune system to weaken, which will leave it susceptible to bacterial or fungal attack as these pathogens are always present in aged aquarium water.
The local fish shop may have been correct regarding the ammonia, but it isn't the size of the aquarium that causes or stops it.
Any new aquarium will generally run for 2-3 weeks, and then an ammonia spike will occur, whether there is a filter running or not. An aquarium, or more correctly, the filter must be cycled
before fish are introduced.
From your description of black marks and sores, I suspect the water quality had dropped to a dangerous level, and the white fish was the first to exhibit health issues.
So, getting back to the swim bladder issue, I would first add some aquarium salt (or un-iodized cooking salt from the food store) to their water at a teaspoon per gallon ( 1 gram per liter) as a boost for their immune systems.
I would check their food as it may be stale. If it is over 3 months old, replace it.
The body weight of the white fish needs to be increased substantially.
Ideally, live food in the form of mosquito wrigglers, daphnia or blood worms should be fed daily until the body shape is normal. If you can't get live food, frozen or freeze dried equivalents will do, but the advantage of live foods is they won't pollute the water.
Read the website page on Goldfish Feeding
to check if they are being fed enough.
As for testing the water, buy a test kit from the local pet store, not the test strips, but one with test tubes and testing chemicals. You can then test the water yourself and determine when water changes
The ideal water parameters for Goldfish are:
pH - around 7.0 to 7.4
Nitrates - below 20ppm
Nitrites - ZERO
Ammonia - ZERO