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Here are our considered answers to your problem enquiries.

We hope that you will find them of value but we can't guarantee success - there are just too many variables in fishkeeping (especially if there's a vital fact you omitted to tell us in the first place!)

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I am concerned over one of my pond goldfish, it moves very slowly if at all, and keeps on gulping. I have five other goldfish and they seem quite happy.
I have a pump and waterfall, filter and UV, I have deep water, marginal, floaters and oxygenating plants.  Thank you, Bert

It does sound as though your Goldfish is not quite as it should be, judging by everything else in the pond being fine.

If by gulping you mean constantly 'breathing' at the surface then it could be that it is suffering from some parasitic attack to its gills, rather than there being a general oxygen depletion in the water which would have affected the other fish too.
It might be worth having a look inside its gills to see if they are inflamed, damaged or have tiny things growing on them (your fish shouldn't be too hard to catch if it only moves slowly!)

You can obtain a remedy for Gill Flukes from your local aquatic dealer. You should treat the affected fish in a separate tank out of the pond (treating the whole pond could come expensive!)


I've owned my Goldfish for 4/5years. From your diagram on your website, I think he is a Singletail Comet. I've noticed that one of his eyes has suddenly swollen, and is considerably bigger than the other.
Could you please recommend something I could use to reduce the swelling. Many thanks, Lucy

Of course, some Goldfish such as Moors and Telescope-eyed Fancy Varieties do have protruding eyes 'by design' but let's assume that your fish is a Comet.

'Pop-Eye' is not a very frequent ailment and is not usually contagious - just distressing for the fish's owner to see. It can be caused by a variety of things such as poor water conditions, a worm infection in the eye itself, poor (unvaried) diet etc. Very often the eye will subside back to its original position but, generally, it doesn't affect the fish's overall health too adversely.

Sadly, there doesn't appear to be any remedy for it and all one can do is wait and see what happens. You might feel that isolating the fish in a separate tank with a little salt in the water to act as a tonic bath might alleviate the symptoms but that's about all we can suggest.


We have never kept fish before and have just set up a Juwel tank, according to instructions, with one 1/2" and one 2" young Fantails.

We can't work out how much food - minimum and maximum amounts - you are supposed to feed them. We have a tub of pellets. The shop says it's trial an error most of the time but are there any guidelines, such as an average weight/number of food pellets per fish?
Appreciate it's not an exact science, but any advice would be welcome.
Thanks, R & C Graham

Feeding fish is a double-edged sword. Most experienced fishkeepers will tell you that most fish deaths are caused by over-feeding, not because the fish get too fat but that the amount of uneaten or undigested food leads to water pollution, and other problems.

Goldfish, regardless of variety, have a continuous alimentary tract rather than a stomach and can, theoretically, feed all day. However, when 'surplus-to-requirements' food is available they do take it in and almost at once pass it out the other end undigested.

As you are keeping your fish in an indoor aquarium, your task is made far easier, as you can see what's being eaten or not. In a pond, especially with fast-sinking foods it's a bit harder to gauge what amount to give.

You should aim to feed as much as the fish will eat in around a minute or two - how's that for an exact science? With a family aquarium, and the fact that fish expect you to feed them every time you pass by their tank, you should ensure that everyone in the family knows when the fish have been fed, otherwise the "Well, they looked hungry" syndrome will set in and the tank will be over-fed.

Feed morning and evening is a rough guide to frequency of feeding but it often needs an iron will of self-discipline to deny perhaps just a tiny feed at other times!
Try to vary the diet with different brands of food: flakes, granules, pellets, sticks etc are all fine. You can also feed live foods such as Daphnia, Tubifex and Bloodworm or their frozen equivalents.


You gave me some useful advice back in May about my cement friendly pond and was wondering whether I could pick your brains again.

I need to recharge the zeolite in my filter but am getting different advice from different people about which salt to use (ie pond salt or household salt), how much per gallon (i.e advice ranges from 2oz per gallon to 1lb gallon) and for how long it should be soaked.
I would be most grateful if you could please advise me as to what is the correct procedure. Many, many thanks, Pam

The information I have for re-charging zeolite is to use 30g in 5 litres of water (sounds like about just over an ounce of salt in just over a gallon of water). As you say, you do get conflicting (confusing?) amounts quoted. However, I don't think that the actual strength of the salt is too critical as long as the water tastes obviously 'salty' and you won't be wanting need to use more salt (cooking salt, not table salt) than you need to.

You should soak the zeolite for around 24 hours or so and then rinse through with clean water before using it in the filter. Incidentally, ideally you should place the zeolite in the waterflow after any biological filter section as the bacteria need ammonia for food.
In practice this means in the waterflow returning to the pond.


Hi there, just a quick puzzle. Recently one of my goldfish died, but rather than floating, it actually sunk to the bottom of the tank!
Do you think this could have been from disease, so therefore could affect my other fish? Please write back with any answer as I am rather confused! Thank you, Sarah

It is not a general rule that when a fish dies it floats. In fact, most fish are found dead on the bottom of their tank. What often happens is that a death may occur unnoticed for a few hours and decomposition of the body starts with gas building up inside it, and then the body floats up to the surface.

However, your query about disease may be relevant. If a fish dies through disease there is a chance that other fish in the tank could contract the same disease by eating the dead fish or that pathogens from the dead fish transfer to the other fish.
In every event, remove dead fish from the tank as soon as you notice them.
Please wrap the body up in plastic and place in the dustbin or even incinerate it. Flushing it down the toilet may transfer any disease present into our waterways system.

In the meantime keep a check on your other fish for signs of illness. If none appear after a few days, you should be OK.


Last updated July 6, 2005