Fancy Goldfish Health Problems

Unfortunately, our goldfish are prone to many diseases and problems mostly caused by bacteria and parasites. The best way to prevent most of these is by doing frequent water changes, maybe 15% or 10% every week. There are treatments for many of these ailments, but some are deadly and untreatable.

These are many of the better known fancy goldfish diseases :

Ichtyopthirius, commonly known as ich, is one of the most common goldfish parasites. They attach to their bodies and feed off them. When fish are stressed they are most vulnerable to this parasite. They look like little white dots stuck to the body of the goldfish. The danger is that these miniature parasites fall off and reproduce in the gravel so there will be recurring infections in the tank, and they can take over the whole body of the fish if left untreated. It can be treated with medication or a salt treatment and raising the goldfish water temperature.

Fungus is a bacterial infection that needs to be treated quickly or it can be deadly for your goldies. It commonly infects open wounds or develops if Ich is left untreated. Fungus appears like fluffy white growths under their scales and on their fins. It normally develops with other goldfish health problems when the fish is in a weakened state

Fin Rot
The weakened state of the fish, mostly caused by stress and other goldfish health problems, makes the fish prone to goldfish fin rot.Goldfish fin rot It is a common problem caused by bacterial infections. The edges of the fins look whitish, ragged and torn and they can also develop fungus. Most of the time goldfish fin rot can easily be cured with antibiotics.

This is very normal in goldfish. Fancy goldfish are compacted and this causes digestive problems. Foods can cause a goldfish to get constipated, so it's important to feed them green foods from time to time to help them in their digestion. Frozen peas are a favorite to treat constipation. Watch to see if your goldie appears bloated, is lethargic, and doesn't.

Goldfish DropsyDropsy in Goldfish is a side effect of various bacterial infections. It causes the scales to stick out from the goldfish's body. They will also start floating upside down. Most of the time, dropsy is not curable, but there are times when a fish with a strong immune system will recuperate and survive. You need to treat it with anti-fungus medications. If you feed your fish flake food, make sure you soak the flakes well before putting them in the tank.


Pop Eye
The goldfish's eyes bulge out of the socket, which usually is the first sign of Dropsy. It can be stopped with medication.

Anchor Worm
When you are looking after goldfish and you notice a white worm like thing sticking out of its body, it might be an anchor worm. The goldie will try to scrape it off rubbing against things so look out for this kind of behavior. Sometimes the worms can be pulled out manually, but they can also be treated with medication.

Fish Lice
These are parasites that have a greenish disk shape wide enough to be seen by the naked eye. The goldfish will try to rub against everything to get rid of them. You will see them on the fins, the tail and everywhere else in the body. They reproduce quickly so the tank needs to be treated right away. The ones you can see on the fish can be gently removed manually with tweezers.
Swim Bladder Disorder
This is a common problem for goldfish. The fish start having floating problems. Some sink, some float. Fancy goldfish tend to have this problem due to the way they are compacted. High nitrates and bad water quality can cause the problem, as well as not soaking the food properly.

Body And Gill Flukes
Flukes are the number one cause of death among goldfish. You cannot see these parasites with the naked eye. They are strong and survive for many days, even months in colder water. Gill flukes can also be found on the body. Body flukes can also be found on the gills. The important thing is that both bite through the fish's protective slime coat causing bacterial ulcers, and eating away at the gills until the fish cannot longer breath. You will not see the flukes; you will only know you have a dead fish. You will see them rubbing against stuff, but other problems causes them to do that as well. You can notice heavy breathing, but again, other things can cause this as well.  The best way to prevent them is by treating the whole tank at least once a year or whenever you get a new fish. There is a treatment called Prazi that will not harm the "good bacteria" in your filter or stress your goldfish in any way.

Hole-in-the-head Disease
The disease starts when the fish develops a small blister on his head. The blister opens and the area turns red, larger and deeper, until it kills the goldfish. There are treatments that involve injecting the fish with medication.

You will recognize it when you see a red spot or small hemorrhage under the chin. It's hard to treat and can result in sudden death. Sometimes doing a salt dip will help, but it kills the goldfish very fast.  It is another kind of goldfish parasites and happens when other goldfish health problems are present.


Photos courtesy of: katemonkey