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Tammy, Consultant/Horse, Many other Pets.
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 274
Experience:  40+ years Horse and Rider Certified Instructor, Owner of 52 horse show boarding facility for 20+ yea
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Goldfish tail disintegration

Customer Question

We have had a goldfish that we won at a state fair for the past 4 years. He has gotten quite large, and has always been very healthy. He has outlived 3 or 4 tank mates that we have gotten him, and is now alone. Over the past few weeks, he has been developing a problem. First, we noticed blood in his scales and going down into his tail. (not dripping out of him, just in his scales). I cleaned the tank out, thinking maybe there was something in there effecting him. Then the top portion of his tail disintegrated over a few days. Now the same thing is happening to his lower part of the tail. He also has a large white-ish area where the end of his body meets his tail. His upper and lower fins dont seem to be moving a lot, but the two on the sides are constantly moving. He is staying up towards the top of the tank all day long. Not floating like he is ill , but treading water. Any ideas?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Tammy replied 11 years ago.


Thank you for sending your question to Just Answer!

You are dealing with Fin Rot. The best way to prevent your fish from becoming ill is to follow the basic rules to having good aquarium management. Feed the fish specified amounts, maintain proper temperature and water conditions. Be sure to make frequent water changes and supply enough oxygen. Unfortunately, illness sometimes still occurs. When fish become ill they show signs in their behavior.

  • clamped fins
  • shaking bodies

  • constant scratching against objects in the tank

  • hiding in the corners

  • gasping at the surface

  • swimming abnormally

Fin or Tail Rot -Fins that are badly torn or frayed for reasons other than fighting will usually indicate fin or tail rot. Fin or tail rot is a bacterial disease that usually attacks weak or minimally damaged fin edges. Once established, the bacterium consumes the fin as it works its way up toward the fish's body. This causes the fins to appear frayed or ragged or in severe cases nearly stubs. Frayed fins can also be a sign of water problems in which case the pH, ammonia, or nitrites are too high. You should check your water conditons before treating. The best prevention is to maintain accurate water conditions. Sometimes the salt level will be too high. This can cause the effects of fin-rot.

Symptoms: The fish's tail or fins are ragged, frayed or appear to be shrinking or decaying. Goldfish may have red streaks in their veiltails.

Treatment: It is best treated with an antibiotic. There will be one best suitable at your local pet store. Make sure it states that it treats Fin or Tail Rot. In some cases a secondary infection or fungus will appear. If this is the case, treat the fish for the fin rot and then proceed to the fungus problem

I hope this helps. If you need further information, please feel free to contact me.

***If this answer was helpful, please go ahead and click ACCEPT so I may receive credit for answering your question. A BONUS and FEEDBACK are also welcome too! Thank you, Tammy (JustAskTammy)***