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Category: Pet
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The goldfish mouth is open and does not close. he (or she)

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The goldfish mouth is open and does not close. he (or she) seems stressed because he is swimming rapidly around the tank and does not seem to take a rest. I thought it was because I forgot to change his water recently (maybe that was the cause, I am not sure) I usually change his water every four or five days because I just have a fish bowl (one gallon size). It was 8 days since I last changed his water prior to noticing this problem. I feed him goldfish flakes only, and use water condioner to treat the water prior to changing.

Two days ago I changed the water, and have been changing every day, but his condition remains the same. He does still eat, but his mouth remains open constantly.

Can you tell me what might be the problem? I am baffled because he doesn't exhibit any of the symptoms I have read about on the internet. If there is a way I can send a picture, please let me know and I will send a picture of the fish.

Thank you for your time,
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 6 years ago.

Hi Anton.


If you'd like to send a picture, there is an icon at the top of your message page that looks like this , click on it and you will be able to send an image/picture.

Edited by TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO on 3/16/2010 at 2:11 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX some of the pictures. I hope they came through.



Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 6 years ago.

The pics did not come through.


These are the requirements for uploading images-Graphics must be in one of the following formats: JPEG, GIF, or PNG.
Maximum size: 1MB.

If your pics do not fall within these guidlines they will not appear.


You can try again if you'd like or I can proceed with my answer as I basically know what the problem could be.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi again, I don't know why I can't seem to upload the pictures (they are JPEG and only 250 kb each)


Anyway, please proceed with your answer.


Thank you for your time,


Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 6 years ago.

Hmm, it's possible that there's a site problem/issue on our end that's causing the pic upload problem but I'll proceed with the information you've supplied.


When a goldfish's mouth is stuck in an open position it is either being caused by something that's enlodged in it's mouth, i.e., piece of decor, gravel,etc.etc, or unfavorable water conditions, i.e.,presence of ammonia and/or nitrites in the water.


From what you'e described there existed unfavorable water parameters due to the fact that no water change was done for 8 days but you have since rectified that although you did mention that the fish still appears stressed.


Unless you feel that it's possible that the fish might have attempted to eat something and therefore has something enlodged in its mouth I'm going to treat this as a water quality issue.


First thing to do is ascertain that the water temperature falls within the correct range for goldfish which is 62f-72f degrees. If not then slowly adjust it.


Next--do a water change, making sure to use same temperature water, but instead of changing all the water change only 1/2 of it as sometimes changing too much water will shock a fish due to a drastic change in water parameters, i.e., ph, temperature. etc.,etc.


I know this is a no-brainer but I always like to reinforce this and that is to make sure to add a dechlorinator to the new water before adding to the bowl/tank. Keep in mind that chlorine is lethal to fish and chloramine is turbo-lethal to fish.


The dechlorinator I recommend be used is called AmQuel +.

AmQuel + will detoxify ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine and chloramine in the fish's water. With the addition of AmQuel+ to the water you will be guaranteed, at least temporarily, ideal water conditions for the fish which will rule out any water quality problems in case the open-mouth syndrome continues which I don't think it will. Click on link below for a view of the product which is easily found at most major pet stores.


Also add 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt to the water with the water change.


Continue doing the above listed regimen every other day for the next 2 weeks adding the corresponding amount of Amquel+ and aquarium salt. As you'll be changing 50% of the water you'll only need to add 1/2 teaspoon of aquarium salt wth each water change.


Make sure that the water temperature does not fluctuate too much and also important is to not overfeed the fish. Feed only a very small pinch of food once a day as overfeeding tends to deteriorate water quality rather quickly especially in small systems such as yours.


If these recommendation do not effect a cure then we must consider the possibility that the fish has something enlodged in its mouth for which you might need to take a hands on approach but we'll wait on that.


Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.




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