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These are almost always breeding stars or chasing stars that indicate a male fish. They  are little, hard and can look like shiny pimples or bumps, sometimes they look pearly.  They may also be found on the leading ray of the pectoral fins and around the eyes, especially of moors. Males may have them all year or only during breeding season.  When they are found, it indicates the male is old enough to breed, somewhere between 2 and 3 years old.

or when fish hang around where the oxygenated water enters or returned to the tank or pond.  This is also known as piping and is a symptom of fish not getting enough oxygen.

First check the water parameters.   Then a partial water change is done immediately.  If the fish seem much better right away, nothing else is needed. Check the oxygenation, see if the air stones have become clogged or the aeration has slowed down.  Change water and increase oxygenation. The gills must be checked and the water tested.

Abundant algae can indirectly stress or kill fish by depleting the water of dissolved oxygen.  This usually happens in the dark hours when photosynthesis stops and oxygen is consumed by respiration by the algae.  Sudden die off of the algae can cause the same problem since decay also robs the water of oxygen.  It is usually the biggest fish that are affected the worst.

Algae can also produce toxic compounds.  Species that produce substances toxic to fish are: protogonyaulax tamarensis, protogonyaulax acetenella, protogonyaulax catanella, gonyaulax spinifera, gonyaulax plygramma, gessnerium monilatum, noctiluca miliarias, and so , chlorophyta (chaetomorpha minima).

The blue greens that cause problems: Microcystis aeruginosa, anabaena flos-aquae, ocsillatoria agardhii, oscillatoria rubescens, schizothrix calciola.  Spelling  is optional.

The cyanobacteria that form in tanks can kill fish.  Most produce neurotoxins that are really painful for the fish.  It is a very dark blue-green color.  The normal light green and browns are not toxic.

There are two main conditions that result in bulging eyes.  Mostly in spring, but any time a fish is spawning an eye can be damaged.  But it will be one, not both eyes.  Fish can also damage an eye on objects in the tank or pond. There is little that can be done except put a little salt in the water and keep the water very clean until the eye is healed.

When both eyes bulge it is most likely the result of a dropsy.  However, highly alkaline water can cause a fluid build up around the eyes or dropsy. According to Noga, this usually occurs when a fish is moved from acidic to very alkaline water.

Check in the mouth for a rock.  Is the #1 problem.
2. pH shock - check pH of tank water vs water as it comes out of the tap
3. Temperature shock (new fish in pond syndrome) or recent water change
4. Ammonia or nitrite spike- check water parameters
5. Lack of oxygen - in general big fish die first
6. Bad food - all the fish fed will be affected
7. City spraying for mosquitoes or other pests, neighbor using spray of some kind that floated into pond.  Look for oil slick, fish at top gasping.  All fish will be affected.  Immediately start running water into the pond to dilute the spray.
8. Not frequent in young fish, but if there is simply no hint of anything else it could be a heart attack or a stroke.  This can be confirmed by autopsy.

The number one reason is poor water quality.  Even when water quality appears fine, high nitrates can cause chronic fin problems.  Wide swing in pH will also cause fin damage as will heavy salt concentrations.

Salt can accumulate over time by "salt creep".  This happens when water evaporates but salt doesn't. For example, the tank has lost a gallon to evaporation, and the water change is 10 gallons and replacement salt for 10 gallons is used.  That is 1 gallons worth of salt too much.  The solution is to fill the tank up with water and then remove water to a mark on the side of the tank that is exactly 10 gallons.  Then add 10 gallons worth of salt.  Even better (but pricey) is a salinity meter.

Fins get shredded during spawning.  Provide spawning mops.  Add some salt to the pond water.

The most common cause of black spotting on fish is transient ammonia spikes (or other toxins)  that cause burning. Check water parameters first, do big water changes.  Black is a sign of healing.  Spots should fade in about 2 weeks.
If these are new fish, if there are snails in the pond then it is possible the fish have  "black spot disease".

If the white are like sugar or salt grains, this is ich.
White to sorta gray greasy looking spots, especially on the fins is most likely lymphocytosis, a virus.
If the grains seem to only be on the gill covers, and/on the leading edge of the pectoral fins, and/or around the eye socket of telescope fish then they could be breeding stars.
If the white is fuzzy, hanging from mouth, white in the middle of a sore that is red around the edge or if the mouth or anal port is red, it is more likely to be columnaris.
If there are white "shreds" hanging from body, if the slime coat appears cloudy, the eye looks cloudy the slime coat is sloughing.  This is an indication that there is a water quality problem or a heavy parasite infection.
If thin white poop is seen, it is most likely an internal bacterial infection.
White fuzzy material on the tail means a possible fungus after parasite infection, treat with Quick Cure, which has formaldehyde for the parasites and malachite green for the fungus.

Two reasons for red streaking, ammonia and/or nitrite spikes in the water or the water has really degraded.  That means the gills are most likely to be fried and dark red. Using a harsh medication on fried gills is not a good idea and will stress the fish further.  The only thing that helps in this case is water changes every two or three days for a while.  And then the right sized tanks with gravel cleaning/water changes once a week.

The second is systemic bacteria infection and the gills would more likely be lighter red to pink.  Antibiotic food and/or oxolinic acid is indicated along with water changes.  Healthy, unstressed  fish are quite resistant to bacteria.  Unless a new fish has been added without quarantine.

Dropping scales
If it isn't mechanical damage from spawning,  is mostly due to usually myxosporidia.  The Goldfish Guru says "check gills for little white round nodules".  Myxos is not treatable.  Only thing is changing
water.  The GG also says, "there is a big big epidemic of gills flukes all over the country, everywhere even in pristine ponds birds and other things carry them in". 1998
Lumps under scales could also be columnaris.

First, it has got to be persistent.  Not occasional. It is due to parasites.  High water temps favor gyros, dacs, costia and other parasites.  If there is anything dead in the water, the parasites will multiply like crazy on the dead stuff. Even bugs, tadpoles, etc.  So check the pond carefully.  Good quality water doesn't prevent infection.  Costia nearly always causes little red hemorrhages, especially under the chin, but also on the back.  Dacs will have the fish up at the top of the water for oxygen.  Gyros will show up on the caudal peduncle most of the time, but can be found all over.  First thing to do when fish are suspected of flashing is add salt if you haven't already.  Water changes can thin down the number of parasites.  Fish in good condition with good immune systems can throw off low numbers. Most of these parasites can be treated in the pond or tank with Quick Cure or any other formaldehyde/malachite green medication.

Lumps can be due to bacteria or benign and cancerous tumors. I have seen fish that have had benign tumors for many years.  In this case, all the fish in the tank had tumors, which means some infectious agent, or, the fish were all treated/overdosed for disease with a tumorigenic medication in the past.  It could also be the genetics of the fish.
Pictures of tumors

Lumps and bumps that suddenly appear are usually infections. If due to bacteria, it usually resolves by rupture (like a boil) pretty quickly. The white liquid that oozes out is pus that is formed when the white blood cells ( immune cells) die while killing bacteria (in general).  DO NOT TRY TO POP OR SQUEEZE THE LUMP.  Like a boil in humans, squeezing can cause regurgitation of the pus into the blood stream of the fish with deadly results.  It is also not a good idea to seal a draining wound unless it is bleeding.  The most common bacteria of GF is Columnaris and aeromonas.

Wounds that are white on the edges and red in the center are aeromonas. Those that are red on the edges and white in the center are generally columnaris.  Both are gram negative bacteria   TMP-4 is a sulfa antibiotic with trimethoprim  which can be put in the water and mixed with food (that is what Romet B is).  It is still effective against most, but not all gram negatives bacteria.

It is very important to move fish with wounds to a new bucket of freshly aged and salted water every day to move them away from bacteria and/or parasites in the water.

Blood spots under the scales is generally bacterial. Also see Costia.

Skin color lightens with stress, darkens with illness.  Color is under the control of the neuroendocrine system, so loss of neurological control (like due to brain flukes AKA eye flukes) this leads to color changes in the skin.

Heavy slime coat also leads to a loss of color or darkening.  Many GF are fed steroids while young to increase their size and make them "color up".. but when sold and not fed steroid containing food, they don't grow and lose color.  They also get dropsy easily and other illnesses and don't live very long.  Nutritional deficiencies, especially lack of vitamin C also leads to BENT SPINE and thinness.
Injuries can cause bent spine, as can stray electricity.

Red sores that are wounds, red on the outside, white on the inside are most likely the bacteria Columnaris.
Red sores that are wounds, white on the edge, red in the middle is most likely the bacteria Aeromonas.
Red dots under the chin or along the back are often a parasite called Costia.

Floating problems are complex.  If it occurs only after feeding, see below.
Females full of eggs can have balance problems.
Dropping a fish can result in swim bladder damage.
Toxins can cause swim bladder problems.
Cranial kidney and floating
It can also be due to problems with regulation of the air bladder.  This organ can be damaged by medications and treatments before you even bought your fish.  One is "tranquilizers" put into the water when fish are shipped.  The damage does not show up right away.

The primary cause of floating is feeding food that floats and/or too much food at one time.  Soak the food and squeeze the air out so the food sinks.  Best is to get high quality sinking food.  Or, feed foods that sink, like grapenuts, rice, veggies, oatmeal.  If feeding is only done once a day, feed at night, and all they can eat for 5 minutes. If twice a day, all they can eat in 3 minutes.

The other parameter here is temperature.  Increasing the temp of the water seems to ease the floating problem.  The activity of their digestive tract increases with increased temperature.  However, increased oxygenation of the water must be done at the same time.

For a fish that is already floating, check the belly (see the 3 point physical).  IF the fish is fine according to the 3 point check, or if the fish is constipated: The minimalist approach is to not feed the fish for 3 days and  if it stops floating, then resume feeding but soaked/sinking food with more veggies like peas.

The more aggressive approach is to feed a pea with a crystal of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in it to the fish.  Epsom salts is a purgative.

Even more aggressive is to do a salt dip on the fish. This purges the fish out.  Ammonia levels must be watched carefully.

If this doesn't work, there is a procedure called the "Chinese Water" method.  The fish is put into a tub and only enough water is added to just cover the back fin.  The fish is not fed for 4 days.  If the fish is upright, each day a little more water is added (the fish must be moved to fresh, aged water each day to move it away from ammonia accumulation). After 4 days, if the fish is upright in deeper water, then a couple peas can be fed.  After that, gradually add a little more food.

Another cause of damage is toxins in the water. One of the most common is hydrogen sulfide produced by anaerobic bacteria that live in areas with low oxygen, like the gravel in tanks.  GF are bottom feeders and will turn gravel over looking for food.  I have seen a GF turn over a piece of gravel
and go into distress.  Thought the GF had got the gravel caught in the mouth but gravel could not be seen.  The fish displayed balance problems for quite a while.  Chronic low levels of toxins with  hydrogen sulfide can lead to persistent and finally permanent floating problems.  This typically
occurs when the gravel is cleaned by siphoning and the crud gets mixed in the water.  The gas is released during siphoning.  H2S toxicity should be suspected when a fish shows balance problems during or right after cleaning gravel.  Increasing oxygenation of the tank helps the low oxygen problem

Getting rid of gravel in tanks prevents the problem entirely. Using potassium permanganate at 1/2 strength in the tank during cleaning can also prevent toxing with H2S. PP reacts instantly with H2S and organic compounds and turns from pink to yellow.

OK.. here is the deal.  Jo Ann and I been in discussion about floating and "swim bladder" disease.  I have never been able to get past the fact that the explanation doesnt fit the observations.
>The fish floats upside down.
>The swim bladder is at the "top" of the fish under the back.
>Necropsies of "floaters" show the swim bladder is full.
I can see where a fish that cannot submerge, or cant get off the bottom may have a dysfunctional swim bladder, but it doesnt explain "upside down" I was reading in Stoskopf  (p. 127) "Gas-forming enteritis can mimic disease of the swim bladder.  In addition to the development of abnormal swimming postures, bulges from gas-filled bowel can cause the clinician to misidentify the bowel as the swim bladder. "
Now THIS would explain a fish being upside down.  The belly has a greater quantity of gas than the swim bladder and the fish flips over.  IN addition, I have seen this "bulging" of sides of the fish and especially at the back of the fish leading to that "dumpy" look.  The fish is often curved, as if muscles on one side are not operating (on the side that is bulging out) and the muscles of the side curved in seems to be permanently contracted.    Most likely is that the gas so fills up one side that it pushes that side up and it is impossible for the fish to straighten out.  Think of those of us who get "gas" and how contorted we can be trying to find a position to avoid the pain.  In support of the pain theory, in those fish I have made little weighted jackets for, the fish seemed to be in discomfort at the bottom of the tank.  Altho subtle in a tank, the pressure might also be painful.  In fish with egg binding, the eggs are often infected, and this could lead to gas formation as well, also with the fish flipping over.

In cases of enteritis that I have had with my dogs, the treatment was no food or water for a couple days to give the inflammation of the intestines a chance to calm down combined with antibiotics.  The recommended treatment for possibly food related floating is no food, epsom salts with a pea, heat.  The recommendation for egg binding is epsom salts, heat and antibiotic food.

First try to determine if the fish has any parasites and treat for that.
Then put the fish into a 10 or 20 gallon tank and just put in enough water to cover the fish.  Use filtration!!! Ammonia MUST be carefully monitored and water changed if the filtration is not removing it. Whisper filters may need to have the "joints" sealed with silicone to keep the siphon working in lowered water .. even the basket on the bottom may need to be removed and a piece of aquarium foam tied on.
Add 1 teaspoon of epsom salts to the water.  Do not add more, even if some water needs to be changed.  Do not add any regular salt.
Lay and attach a heater along the corner where the sides and floor of the tank meets so that the fish CANNOT end up laying on it and frying their side.  Crank the heat up to 84oF.  Put an airstone in front so it will move the water up and away from the heater.
Treat any surface sores with antibiotic creme, like Panalog (at the vets) or neosporin.
Do not feed the fish for up to 4 days.  Look for expelling of airy, bubbly poops and get them out of the tank.
On the 4th day feed the fish 1/2 of normal rations of high protein (sinking, or soaked and squeezed) food for 4 days.  After that, normal amounts of sinking food.
The fish needs to be "walked" while in the tank.  This involves placing your hand underneath the fish to get it upright and slowly moving it thru the water to get the fins moving.  Do this as many times as possible during the day for about 3 minutes each time until the fish is swimming on its own.  This could take up to 3 months if the fish has been floating for a long time.

Spring is the time for spawning related injuries.  Do you have spawning mats to cushion the female, or rough rocks around the edge or in the pond?
The slime coat is continuous over the entire fish on top of the scales. When spawning, the slime coat is rubbed off, and/or scales are dislodged. The slime coat is the first and most important line of defense for the fish.  When it is gone, the parasites attack, and the bacteria follow.  You most likely have both a parasite and a bacterial problem now.
You must treat for parasites first, bacteria second.  In this case, you have to treat for the bacteria quickly.

The fastest way to deal with parasites first is to simply strip as many off the fish as possible with a salt dip and get rid of the slime coat.  This will also cause the fish to purge.  If she is full of eggs, this might help get rid of them.  She will blow off a lot of ammonia, so check and change water if needed the first day or two more often than 1X per day.  Second is to topically treat the wound area.

Use peroxide on the wound the first time, keeping it away from eyes and gills, follow with neosporin creme (only) rubbed into the area very well twice a day.  If you can get panalog from a vet, it is even better.

Then you have to bring the temperature of the fish up to 84oF with a tank heater.  This will get their immune system up and running (from less than 65oF, this takes a couple of days) kill aeromonas and treat the dropsy if present. You cannot bring the fish up more than 2oF per hour, however.  Put the fish in a bucket with an airstone, heater and no filter, add about 1/8 teaspoon of epsom salts (BUT NO SALT NaCl), and feed antibiotic food, romet B is preferred.  Food soaked in any antibiotic is good.  Prepare a second bucket of water to move the fish into the next day.  A shot of Baytril would be ideal, but I have halted and reversed dropsy without it.  Move the fish to a new bucket (generally 5 gallon buckets or rubbermaids are used) every day for at least 2 weeks.  If you don't have a second tank heater, I have partially filled the bucket with very hot water, then cooled it down with the aged water to 84o before adding the fish.  The 2 weeks is the minimum with dropsy.  You must have a good sized airstone going in the bucket at all times.  Feed the fish before moving, that way excess food is left behind.  Also do the 3 point physical to check the condition of the fish, especially for any columnaris that might be present.

Goldfish Guru says "it is most likely internal damage that has healed but leaves the fish disabled".. When I asked about adhesions from internal infection with columnaris she said "yes, that would do it".

SYMPTOM: bubbles under the skin anywhere, but usually in the fins.

Gas bubble disease happens when the water is full of supersaturated gases.  The fish swim into the area where the water is saturated (usually with nitrogen) and takes the gas up across the gills.

It is most often seen when water from deep wells is run directly into ponds or tanks.  In the deep well, the water is colder (more gas is dissolved) and under pressure (more gas is dissolved).  In tanks, the fine bubbles are seen on the tank walls and everything else and is obvious.

In ponds, a small leak in big pumps that suck air into the stream of water an also create supersaturated conditions, as can swimming pool type sand filters.

Inside, aging water with an airstone degasses well water.  For ponds, spraying the water into the air or using  degassing columns (running the water over lava rock in a PVC pipe).

Koi seemed to jump for several reason:
1. When  they are first put into fresh water or  water they are not used to
2. When they have parasites.
3. When they are spawning
4. Where ever there is fresh water coming in, at the base of waterfalls (going upstream?)
5. Where there is an airstone.

It takes about 20 minutes for anaerobic bacteria to start fermenting and producing toxic gases.  Whether or not a fish will be toxed depends on how close they are to outflow when it is turned, how long it is off and  on the volume of water. So a single fish can just belly up if it is right in the first jet that comes out.   Low levels of hydrogen sulfide don't kill fish, just stress them.  They will sometimes wobble or float for a while, then seem OK.  Chronic hydrogen sulfide toxicity will stress fish to the point that their immune system crashes and they develop disease.

People with ponds full of leaves or other organic matter have anaerobic bacteria working on the on the bottom.  It can be quite a toxic brew that finally "blows" methane, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide when stirred up.  One indication is seeing bubbles when the bottom is disturbed or oil on the surface (the oil we pump out is the same thing put down millions of years ago).  The bottom of dirty ponds should never be cleaned or disturbed with the fish in the pond.  Even reasonably clean ponds should have potassium permanganate added when netting fish or moving plants.  PP instantly detoxes noxious gases.  Water should remain pink during cleaning, if it clears, it is best to stop and add more PP (up to 2X dose) and wait until the next day, add some more PP and continue.

This is usually the first symptom of something wrong with the fish.
1. The first thing to do is the fish physical.
2. Check the water parameters, then change some or all of the water.
3. Check the food to make sure it smells all right.
Generally,  if the physical shows nothing unusual changing water and adding a little salt to the water is enough to bring a fish around. Give the water changes and salt about 24 hours before doing anything else.  The next step is a salt dip and moving the fish bucket to bucket (rotating bucket method).

Protrusions of the anal port (picture)
The forceful and improper stripping of the eggs from the fish can result in the oviduct and/or the lower part of the colon is protruding thru the anal port.  This condition is fatal.