Troubled Goldfish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Troubled Goldfish

I have a blackmoore goldfish who has a variety of ailments, most of them I'm assuming from genetics and poor breeding. I want to know if there is anything I can do to give him him a better, higher quality of life.

Gus (the blackmoore) is about 2 years old, was well cared for from purchase, but the original owner gave him to me when they went to college. Gus is blind, has deformed gill covers, and the most troubling recently is that he has developed a tumor.

He's been blind since I got him, his eyes are cloudy and his pupils are oblong rather than circular. His "bulges" also look poorly formed compared to my other two blackmoores. Gus also has a milky appearance around his head, which I think is from a thickened slime coat, but I'm not sure. I did try treating with PraziPro for flukes, but didn't notice an improvement in behavior or health.

The gill covers, while seeming to function well, are not shaped like they should be. They flip out around the outer edge, instead of being flush like they should be. I'm worried that there is an underlying cause for this?

I'm mostly worried about the tumor that has developed on him though. It's on his left side, near the back of his dorsal fin. It appears to be growing (and I don't think he had it when he was first given to me, about 6 months ago) and feels pretty fleshy. He's also become increasingly unbalanced since developing this tumor. He was always a bit unsteady, I'm assuming because he's blind, but lately he has been tipping onto the side with the tumor, like it's too heavy. Sometimes it gets so bad that he's completely on his side when he's resting.

As for the tank setup, it's a 90 gallon cycled tank. PWC (25-50%) are done weekly. It was a bit neglected while I was also away for college, but never to an extreme point and all water parameters are back to acceptable ranges. He's housed with 4 other fancy goldfish, which can make feeding difficult, but he usually gets a few bites to eat.

So, a) is there anything I can do about his tumor? I've looked into vets who may be willing to operate, but obviously I'd prefer to fix things from home if possible. And b) any ideas as to how I can make his life better and easier?

I've attached pictures of his eyes, a top view for the gill covers, and a picture of the tumor as well (not sure why all the pics are sideways).
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:58 AM
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I'd put him down. I had a goldfish with a tumor by the abdomen so it was an easy decision.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 05:09 AM
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I would also put him down. The eyes and gills are genetic and can't be treated. This fish honestly should have been culled by the breeder.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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I'd prefer to save euthanizing for a last resort, but I do understand sometimes it's the only option. Any other ideas?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:22 PM
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There is no treatment. Your only other option is to live with it.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:43 PM
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Kill it with fire! That would scare a blobfish.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 03:32 PM
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One thing many people have a hard time considering is when to put a pet down. Quality of life is very important to consider in this decision. It may seem that putting a pet down is a last resort to some, as they feel taking the life of a pet should not be their decision based on moral, religious or other principles. Sometimes I feel as though our personal attachment and self interests are often put in front or the quality of life of our pets. I had a friend who's dog was diagnosed with cancer that was bleeding internally and would not survive more than a few days without surgery and his quality of life would have been poor at best in constant pain after surgery. He was struggling immensely with putting the dog down as they had been life long friends. In the end he put the dog down and it was the right decision. When looking at euthanizing a pet we must consciously step back from our personal attachment and self interest in order to make the right decision as to what is best for our pets and consider the quality of life they will have.

That's all I'm going to say.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 03:56 PM
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The open operculum is genetic and, while unsightly, doesn't really impair the fish (Jennie from solid gold aquatics on youtube has a goldfish that she bred with flipped gill cover and that fish looks very healthy). Most telescope goldfish develop pearls in their eyes and have terrible vision and a lot go blind. Neither of those things are really issues that I would euthanize the fish for at this point especially if they haven't bothered it for 2 years. The tumor on the other hand is troubling. Is the fish laying on the bottom on his side or just off balance in the water? Is the fish still active? Does the fish still eagerly eat food? Does it seem bothered by the tumor? Is the fish just sitting on the bottom of the tank all day and night? Kokosgoldfish is a forum with tons of experienced goldfish keepers that may have better suggestions for what to do about the tumor if anything. Sorry about your sick fish.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 04:57 PM
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Too many people make their pet suffer because they don't want to suffer with the loss of the pet. Put the poor thing down.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not against euthanizing him. I came here looking for advice and opinions about if I could make him better, if I had other options to make his life a happy one. If he was in obvious pain I wouldn't even be thinking twice about it. I'm simply covering my bases before making such a decision as to end his life. I know he's just a fish, but life is life and needs to be considered carefully, in my opinion.

@shhh - Thank you for your input, it's been the most helpful and informative. His activity level and appetite remain good and unchanged, but whether he's swimming or resting he tilts. It's the worst when he's resting. He's not as active as a regular goldfish, but I believe his lack of sight is what makes him spend most of his time swimming/hovering around the surface. He does not seem to be in pain (yet), but if nothing can be done about the tumor I know his quality of life will not improve.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 08:53 PM
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Fancy goldfish are adorable, but because they are so genetically modified they can be quite tricky to care for (even when the fishkeeper is doing everything right) and they aren't robust fish. I wouldn't euthanize the fish unless his quality of life continues to deteriorate—in obvious pain, bottom sitting, not eating, lethargic, no control over buoyancy. If he’s still swimming around and eating, I’d hold off. Tilting isn’t a huge issue unless it makes him lean or the bottom or his body poke out of the water and be exposed to air because that will lead to sores and bacterial infections. Something that may help him feel less stressed at night is to place him in a large fry net box that clips onto the inside of the tank. This will allow him to relax without the water pushing him over and makes it easier for him to right himself. This has worked well for constipated goldfish buoyancy issues I’ve had before, but obviously your issue is long-term (and this is definitely a quality of life issue if he needs to be in the box during the daytime as well). There are many reasons why a goldfish hovers near the surface: oxygen, buoyancy issues make them float up, less water pressure so it’s easier for a fish to right himself (it may be easier for your goldfish to live in a shallow tank), less current in that spot to push the fish over, irresistible protein film that they want to gulp, idiosyncrasy (goldfish are weird little characters). Kokosgoldfish forum is definitely worth checking out. There are people on there who have had goldfish with growths/tumors—some have had them removed, some had to euthanize their goldfish when their condition worsened, some lucky people had magical fish whose growths went away. I really wouldn’t worry about the moor being blind. I’ve seen horror stories in which careless owners have sucked their telescope fishes’ eyes half off with python water changers!!! (Seriously, how hard is it to get some mesh net and a rubber band to put over the hose?!? Ugh…) Many of these fish recover and go on to live relatively normal happy lives eating and swimming with the sighted goldfish.

Your goldfish’s tilting problem is most likely due to the growth, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention diet. A lot of goldfish have tilting buoyancy problems because of their compacted innards getting all backed up. I wish someone had told me about how miraculous spinach is when I first started keeping goldfish. People talk all the time about peas, but you’re not supposed to feed goldfish peas every day because of the high protein content. But you won’t need to cure your goldfish’s constipation if they eat spinach because they will poop constantly. Spinach has drastically improved some floaty fish that I’ve had.

Again I’m sorry about your sick goldfish. I get so attached to mine, much more than I do to the tropicals I keep.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:23 PM
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I agree with shhh. The blindness and gill covers aren't really anything too unusual in a highly modified breed like black moors. I think everyone else here is just jumping the gun saying to put him down. If the fishy is floating a lot, bottom-sitting a lot, or lethargic for long periods of time, then i would consider euthanasia. Not everyone has time or the heart to care for a 'special' fish, so I think that's where everyone else is coming from. My ranchu is in at the vet right now, because she has a swim bladder problem, and may have to live with a backpack for a swim bladder, permanently. This is on the vet's recommendation. In fact, they have a fish there with the same little backpack thing, living at the office with them. That's the kind of fish parent that a lot of people are afraid of being, i think. Maybe they can't handle it. Personally I think you're doing the right thing. If you have a vet near you in the area you could schedule just a look-see with them and they can tell you if the tumour is going to be cancerous or not. I know that commonly, koi and other carp have a big problem with tumors, especially in the winter. It may be something that's removable and will never come back.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anorea View Post
I agree with shhh. The blindness and gill covers aren't really anything too unusual in a highly modified breed like black moors. I think everyone else here is just jumping the gun saying to put him down. If the fishy is floating a lot, bottom-sitting a lot, or lethargic for long periods of time, then i would consider euthanasia. Not everyone has time or the heart to care for a 'special' fish, so I think that's where everyone else is coming from. My ranchu is in at the vet right now, because she has a swim bladder problem, and may have to live with a backpack for a swim bladder, permanently. This is on the vet's recommendation. In fact, they have a fish there with the same little backpack thing, living at the office with them. That's the kind of fish parent that a lot of people are afraid of being, i think. Maybe they can't handle it. Personally I think you're doing the right thing. If you have a vet near you in the area you could schedule just a look-see with them and they can tell you if the tumour is going to be cancerous or not. I know that commonly, koi and other carp have a big problem with tumors, especially in the winter. It may be something that's removable and will never come back.

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I don't think anyone here is jumping the gun. Rather differing views on quality of life. Euthanizing a pet is a personal decision based on abilities to accommodate a quality of life, which means different things to different people. It is not a fun or happy topic and judging people for their views does not help that. Its not like you can ask a fish if they are feeling pain but rather you can only try to get a sense by the physical signs its showing. Either way it is a personal choice and should not be judged. If you feel your pet is able to live happy and comfortable and can provide that environment great, if you don't think your pet will be happy and comfortable or cannot provide the extra money, effort or care then its not fair to your pet to prolong suffering. Just my opinion

Added: Just want to add just because something is common does not mean it does not effect quality of life. Like pugs and breathing problems.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
I don't think anyone here is jumping the gun. Rather differing views on quality of life. Euthanizing a pet is a personal decision based on abilities to accommodate a quality of life, which means different things to different people. It is not a fun or happy topic and judging people for their views does not help that. Its not like you can ask a fish if they are feeling pain but rather you can only try to get a sense by the physical signs its showing. Either way it is a personal choice and should not be judged. If you feel your pet is able to live happy and comfortable and can provide that environment great, if you don't think your pet will be happy and comfortable or cannot provide the extra money, effort or care then its not fair to your pet to prolong suffering. Just my opinion

Dan
I'm not judging anyone for their personal decisions or views. However when people casually stroll into a thread with this level of emotional struggle on the owners end, and then have just a one-sentence response derisively (imo) telling the owner to off his pet, with no consolation, and no real apparent care for the situation, then yeah, I consider that jumping the gun. Responses like "Yeah kill your pet. It should have been dead a few weeks after it was born" are not nice or proper responses. It shows a lack of empathy, and has nothing to do with helping the owner.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Anorea View Post
I'm not judging anyone for their personal decisions or views. However when people casually stroll into a thread with this level of emotional struggle on the owners end, and then have just a one-sentence response derisively (imo) telling the owner to off his pet, with no consolation, and no real apparent care for the situation, then yeah, I consider that jumping the gun. Responses like "Yeah kill your pet. It should have been dead a few weeks after it was born" are not nice or proper responses. It shows a lack of empathy, and has nothing to do with helping the owner.

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But they do have their reasons that you may not see I can explain the obvious ones I see. I used to breed fish and would cull all of the fry that were deformed, weak and even some runts. There is a selection in nature and the ones I listed generally do not survive. They also contribute to a decline in health of the overall species in the aquarium hobby and that's why that statement was made. Agree with it or not it is a valid and highly debated reason. Just because people put in a few words does not mean they have not considered the information given, to give their opinion. It may show lack of empathy but that has no difference on whether the opinion has merit. You or myself may not like it but that does not make it invalid. The fact is blindness and gills and swimming tilted all need to be considered. Just because they can be common does not take away from the fact they contribute to quality of life. For instance blindness may cause a fish not to be able to effectively avoid aggression, Gills will have an affect to an extent on breathing and overall health, swimming tilted will cause the pectoral fin to be extremely overworked on one side and will lead to further complications in the future, tumor may or may not be cancerous but may impact digestion swim bladder and other internal organs. I would hope that on a subject like this everyone has considered what was stated by the OP before recommending a decision but just because they use 5 words does not mean they did not or that they are jumping the gun.

Added: And just to add I agree with everything @shhh has said also.

Dan

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