CARING FOR A SICK GOLDFISH
Thoroughly read these instructions before starting
Take a clean (preferably new) 10 litre bucket and half fill it with water from the aquarium your sick goldfish is in. Fill the remaining half with tap water, adding the correct amount of a dechlorinator.
If you have a spare airstone or aerator you can place this in the bucket as well, though this is not critical. Positioned the bucket to avoid temperature fluctuations (ie. not in direct sunlight or near an open window etc). This bucket will be your fish’s home for the next few days.
Using a net, gently catch your goldfish out of the aquarium/pond and place in the bucket. It is a good idea to cover the bucket with a lid or towel to prevent the fish from jumping out as well as creating a dark environment which will help the fish to relax.
After a few minutes, add 1 heaped teaspoon of salt (Sodium Cloride) to the 10 litre bucket. You can use rock salt, sea salt, cooking salt or swimming pool salt but not Iodised table salt or salt that contains anti-caking agents or other additives.
Add 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulphate) to the 10 litre bucket (in addition to the Sodium Cloride).
24 hours after you add the first salt dose, change half the water in the bucket, replacing it with fresh tap water (and dechlorinator). After you have changed the water, add another heaped teaspoon of Salt & Epsom Salt.
Every twenty-four hours, repeat Step 6. Do this until you have added a total of eight salt doses (of each type of salt, including the dose in Step 4 and 5). Perhaps make a mark on the outside of the bucket in felt pen for each dose so you do not lose track. If the fish appears cured prior to eight doses, you can try jumping to Step 8 earlier.
24 hours after you’ve added the eighth dose, change half the water but do not add salt. A few hours later, change half the water again without adding salt. Wait a few more hours, and your goldfish is ready to go back to its aquarium.
Gently catch your goldfish out of the bucket and place it back in its aquarium.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE:
For all the time your fish is in the bucket, . All feeding will do is pollute the water, stress the fish and make its condition worse.
Goldfish are very salt tolerant, while most freshwater bacteria and parasites are not. This treatment is the best way to deal with a sick goldfish - if this does not fix it, chances are it couldn’t have been fixed at all. For this reason we cannot accept responsibility if fatalities occur during treatment.
All problems with sick fish can be avoided with correct tank maintenance and stocking levels. This means a 10 - 30% water change and gravel clean once a week, light feeding and the use of appropriate foods and dechlorinator. Please read our other handouts if you would like more information on how many goldfish to keep in your aquarium.