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Category: Pet
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HI, Please help! My neighbor went on vacation and brought

Customer Question


Please help! My neighbor went on vacation and brought her goldfish (actually I think it's just a feeder fish she has for her kids) (Never the less it's a pet) over for me to take care of. The tank was filthy. Tons of poop and food at the bottom. It's almost a gallon tank, no rocks, no heater, no pump but it does have hiding places. An old frog tank or something.

I took the fish out which was very hard because of the way the tank is. Put in another bowl with his dirty water and added fresh water. Let him sit for 30 minutes. My clean water consist of bottled water with 1/4 teaspoon aquarium salt, .50 ounces Amquel + and the same amount Nov Aqua+.

The goldfish is hanging around the bottom not swimming it's whole tank like usual. When I looked at him he darts really fast from one end of the tank to the other. It is not eating. Please help me save this fish. I was only trying to give it clean water and now I'm afraid I am killing it.

Thank You
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 8 years ago.

Hi Sharon.


You did everything correctly when preparing the new water for the fish but the one area you might have missed is the water temperature.


A drastic and sudden change in water temperature will shock a fish.


The fish might also be in a bit of shock from the sudden change in its environment so what I suggest be done is first make sure that the water temperature is in the proper range for goldfish which is 62f-72f degrees. I know you mentioned there are not many if any accessories in the tank but if you could get a hold of or buy a cheap thermometer it would help to know what the temperature is.


Stop feeding the fish and I say this for 2 reasons and they are 1) the fish is not eating and can go a few days without food and 2) fish waste created by food pollutes the water as does excess decaying uneaten food. You can begin to feed again on Saturday but only feed a tiny small pinch of food once a day.


Important--place the fish's tank in a low traffic area so as to not stress the fish with constant and/or frequent activity near its surroundings. Try and cover the perimeter of the bowl with some cloth or something as this will give the fish a sense of security as the fish darting is a symptom of fear.


Later on this evening or early tommorrow morning change 1/4 of the water in the tank making sure to use same temperature water and a dechlorinator. No need to add more aquarium salt. When doing the partial water change try not to disturb or frighten the fish.


I think the fish will be allright once it has calmed down and adapted itself.


Good luck!






Customer: replied 8 years ago.



Thank You!! I have a aquarium of my own. It is different fish of course but would it help this little guy if I added some of my aquarium water to his tank? I also have Biozyme would that help? If so how much on both? The tank the goldfish is in is a little less than a gallon. I realize this is a inexpensive little goldfish but I'd like to save it.



Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 8 years ago.

It would help to add some of your aquarium water to the goldfish's tank providing that the water is free of ammonia and nitrites and low or zero in nitrates. Add about 1/4 gallon.


Adding Biozyme isn't necessary as your not trying to cycle the tank.


The key thing is to provide ammonia/nitrite free water and a stable water temperature that's within the proper range for goldfish. Nitrates below 20ppm are also important.


Frequent small partial water changes will help.







Customer: replied 8 years ago.


One more thing!


He seems to be doing better. I'm observing from a far. He's hiding less and swimming around the tank more. He does however still dart around the tank. Hopefully if he makes it through the night he will be okay.


Even though he did not have wonderful living condition in the tank he has before I got him he seemed to be fine.


Please let me know anything else I might do for him. I guess the rest is up to him.


Thank You

Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 8 years ago.

Ok that's what I figured would happen--that he'd adjust and begin to do better and as I mentoned earlier "I think the fish will be allright once it has calmed down and adapted itself." which is apparently what's happening.


As for anything else you can do for him--just follow the recommendations made earlier

particularily the ones in which providing a peaceful atmosphere is important. The darting is a reaction to fear and will subside. What you could do is provide a hiding place in the tank such as a large artificial plant. This will give the fish a sense of security.


And please remember to not let many days pass without doing a partial water change. We don't want lethal ammonia building up. Change about 25% of the water every 3-4 days and do not overfeed the fish. A small pinch of food once a day is ample.


Good luck!





TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.



I was wondering if you would answer one more quick question without charging another fee?


I'm the one you helped that has her neighbors goldfish and I changed all it water. It is doing much better as I mentioned in the last e-mail however I think it may be tramatized! I can veiw it from a far but the sightest bump or quick move by it's tank it goes crazy. It darts franticaly. It is eating.


My question is : I changed all her water Wednesday night (March 3rd). My neighbors are coming to get her this Thursday (March 11th). I'm afraid to change any of her water before they get her because she seems to still be sooo upset with any movement in her tank. Should I add more water conditoners to her water since I do not want to upset her anymore? How much? I use NovAqua and AmQuel or I also have Stress Coat. When the take her home she will go crazy!


Thank You so very much for your help one more time.


Expert:  TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO replied 8 years ago.

Hi again and I'm glad to hear the fish is alive and doing well.


Instead of doing a 100% water change what we're going to do is a smaller partial water change, 25%, and the benefit of this is that you'll be improving the water quality and not exposing the fish to too much of a drastic change in water parameters.


With the water change add the recommended doses, found on the product labels, of Amquel & Stress Coat so that is to say if both are already in the water only add the amount that corresponds to 25% of the water so as to not overdose although both products are difficult to overdose.


To calm the fish down keep the tank in a low traffic area and keep the hood light off.

Basically do not give the fish any external distractions such as people hitting the glass and people quickly moving toward the tank.


You're almost there!



Edited by TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO on 3/8/2010 at 9:51 PM EST