Disease Information

Sick Goldfish? This new website can help, Visit Goldfish Emergency now. For general information keep reading below.

Is your fish sick, a lot of your fish dying? First let me say the reason I created this particular page was because of the large amounts of emails I have recienved about sick fish. I estimate that 90% of all the emails I get from this website are about sick fish.

I've never had a page on diseases before because I only know the basics, but these basics work well for me and others so I have decided to include the page here. The reason I explain all this is that I am not a vet, I can only give you some advice. If you have a question about something I say here send me an email from the contact page and I'll try to help, but I am including everything I know here.

First - clean water. My treatment is always lots and lots of clean water. Now this doesn't mean you need to spend $30 on water treatment chemicals to save $10 worth of fish. There is a cheap easy way to get lots of clean water, this is how. Get a pail, fill with water, let it sit for 24 hours. That's it! After 24 hours most of the clorine, floride and whatever else the city puts in your water evaporates. If you need to add chemicals because you have hard water, well theres nothing I can do about that, you will need to add the chemicals.

Now, make sure the water is a good normal temperate for the sick fish, you will want to feed your fish very little, it anything at all for 1 week, and during this one week move the fish to a new clean pail of water every 12 hours. The clean water will do wonders for their health. If you have rock salt you can always drop a douple rocks per litre of water, the salt will help heal the fish too, even fresh water fish.

Now, while your fish is jumping between clean water homes (you can just use pails or buckets or large bowls for that) you have to clean the tank. If there are parasites or bacteria in the tank making your fish sick you have to clean the tank or this is all for nothing. If you don't know why your fish are sick, clean the tank.

This is how you clean the tank. First move all living plants to a clean bowl, you can choose to throw them out or keep them, if they look healthy, keep them. Now, get some very warm water and put lots of salt in it (table or rock). Wash all the rocks, the tank, plastic plants and anything else not alive that goes into the tank with the warm salt water (avoid really really hot water, it can crack glass). Once everything is washed, fill the tank with the saltyest water you can make and let the tank sit for a day. Then pour the water down the drain and rinse the tank good (gotta get rid of all that salt). Fill it up and it is once again ready for the fish, when they get well you can toss them in the tank.

A note on medicines from pet stores. I don't recommend them. Its not like people medicine and there is little or no evidence they do anything. My record is that I can save about 50% of my fish using the clean water system I explained above. And of the hundreds of fish I had and the few of those that have gotten sick over the years before I came up with the clean water system, not a single one survived with store bought medicines.

There's no hope, he's gonna die :(
If you decide that your fish is too ill to live, this is a painless way to kill them. Put them in a non-glass cup of water and put the cup in the freezer (make sure its non-glass, glass can end up cracking sometimes). As the water cools the fish will go to sleep and not feel anything as he freezes into the water. Once it is a block of ice (about 24 hours) the fish is dead and you can throw it away.

FYI, common life times of fish:

  • Betta - 2 years, usually die in the Fall
  • Most other small fish - 2 to 3 years
  • Goldfish - 8 years, but they need a large area to ensure a long life, can live up to 30 years

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©1999-2004 Peter Sadlon