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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18369
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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my goldfish is not eating and is lying listlessly at the bottom

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my goldfish is not eating and is lying listlessly at the bottom of the tank. Sometimes he is upside down and struggles to right himself. What can I do?


Can you tell me what your water parameter readings are? Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and PH?

What type of test kit was used a Stip or test tube type test?

What size tank is Temple-Tuttle in?

Do you have filtration?

What type of water conditioner did you use?

Is he bloated?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The nitrites and PH are within acceptable limits.I did not test for the others as I do ot have a kit. Test tubs type tests were used. the tank is 20 gallons. We have filtration and use a liquid water conditioner. He is not bloated.


I suspect that the water parameters are off. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate toxicity can cause the symptoms you have described. I suspect that this is Nitrate Poisoning. This link goes over problems with water parameters:

I suggest picking up an API Master test kit.

Water parmeters can change rapidly with gold fish. My first suggestion is to do a 3/4 water change. Once this is done please test the water to see what the water paremters are. The Ammonia should be at 0, Nitrites at 0 and Nitrates 20ppm or less. The PH should be between 7.0-7.2. When the water change has been done you can add 1 teaspoon full of aquarium salt per gallon of water. Please watch the Temple Tuttle and see if there is a change. You may have to do several partial water changes to get a full recovery.

I believe with the water change and if you can adjust the water parameters Temple-Tuttle should start to show more activity and start recovering. You will need to keep a check on the levels and if they are too high do partial water changes to help. Please let me know if you have further questions, My goal is to give you 100% Excellent Service. Joan

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did everything you suggested. Got the master kit, did the tests, got the water into the parameters you gave me and it hasn't made any difference. Temple Tuttlle is lying supine on the bottom of the tank. He hasn't eaten. When he swims (which is seldom) it's dizzy and erratic. He's obviously close to death, but still hangs in there. I just don't know what to do for him. It's very sad.


There may be more going on than what we suspected. It is harder with fish than mammals, since we cannot take them out and examine them. We need to check the most obvious first. I can suggest a way to euthanize him, if you feel he is suffering, or the other option is to try and locate an Aquatic Vet for you. Please let me know what you would like to do. My heart goes out to you, because I understand the helpless feeling that you are experiencing right now. Joan

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you do both? As far as the vet goes, I live in Snohomish County, Washington, which is near Seattle, although I can't really see picking him out of the tank and traveling with him at this point so the vet would have to come to him, which I don't know if they do.


This link gives instructions goes over the most humane way to Euthanize a Fish: XXXXX gives step by step instructions.

As Far as Aquatic Vets, this is the link I have for them:

This Vet is Mobile, but I do not know if they cover you area:

Please let me know if I can assist you further. I know this is heartbreaking. Joan

Joan and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.


I hope the Mobile Vet was able to come out to assist you with Temple-Tuttle.