Goldfish Illness – How To Diagnose The Symptoms?

The 'old fashioned' salt bath treatment for sick fish can be helpful for some conditions including fungus, velvet, ich, tail rot and other malignancies
The ‘old fashioned’ salt bath treatment for sick fish can be helpful for some conditions including fungus, velvet, ich, tail rot

It’s never good when goldfish begin acting differently and showing signs they might be sick. It is often hard to determine what is causing sick goldfish to act in a particular way. Detecting a goldfish illness can be easier if you are aware of possible symptoms associated with the most common diseases and infections.

Although some symptoms may be signs of different problems, understanding what to look for can be helpful in catching and treating an illness before it’s too late.

Parasitic Goldfish Illness

Diseases associated with parasites are usually caused from bad water conditions or stress. The most common parasitic disease is goldfish ich. This goldfish illness can be deadly if it is not treated. The goldfish will seem extremely irritated. They’ll usually rub against the side of the fish tank.

Their eyes may become cloudy and they may have difficulty breathing. Physically the goldfish will have white spots all over. Some people say it looks like the goldfish has been sprinkled with salt. The entire tank will need to be treated to kill the parasite. Adding aquarium salt to the water may also kill the parasite.

Click here for more information and treatments for Ich that you can do.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections cover a variety of common goldfish illnesses. Tail and fin rot and ulcers are caused by bacterial infections. Symptoms of bacterial infections are:

  • ragged fins
  • white or open red sores
  • bulging eyes
  • reddish tint to the skin

Open sores can be washed with peroxide and an antibiotic ointment should then be applied. Adding a small amount of aquarium salt to the tank will help make up for the amount lost by the infection.

Click on this link to find out how to give your sick fish a salt bath.


Dropsy is dangerous in goldfish. It isn’t a goldfish illness, but a symptom. The goldfish may have swollen eyes and bloating occurs. The scales on the goldfish will also stick out. The cause of dropsy can be from a number of things. It can be environmental, bacterial, parasitic, or viral, and it commonly leads to kidney failure. Dropsy may be fatal as it is hard to treat.

The goldfish should be isolated in a very warm temperature tank. Salt can be added to the water. If the goldfish is eating, there’s special food they need to eat. If the goldfish is not eating, there are injections available to help try to get the goldfish healthy again.

Click on this link for more detailed information and treatments for dropsy.

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