New Fish Owner Worried about Comet

janinelevin(9)June 14, 2013

Greetings - I have a new(ish) pond that has cycled and tests within "ideal" levels on laguna 5-way dipsticks. It's just under 400 gallons, above ground with a large variety of oxygenators, water lettuce, water hyacinth, bog plants, and water lilies. I have a pump and an urn in the center through which water circulates and aerates. I have two other smaller ponds of the same design. All three ponds have supported fish happily since they arrived about a month ago. I have taken great care to do exactly what the experts at Sunland Water Gardens have instructed me to do as regards fish care. I do not overfeed or leave floating food behind.

In the large pond, I have two comet goldfish, three shubunkins, a plecostomus, an apple snail, and four 4" koi. One of the comets (his name is Comet. Silly I know), anyway, Comet was the joker of the bunch and the liveliest, most social of the fish until about five days ago. He has gone from being totally orange to having white areas on his side and top, and he spends most of his time resting under lily pads. He will swim down when startled, and occasionally takes a turn around the pond, but he does not hang with his pals anymore. He does not seem to breathe faster than the others, though I am by no means familiar with how quickly a fish should breath. His fins are not clamped. He does not seem to have any open sores or worms hanging on him. He does not seem distressed. But his behavior and color have changed.

Should I do something or wait? I am quite worried.

Thank you in advance.

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

When you mentioned the marks I thought the fish had escaped a heron but the picture shows something different. Is it possible the fish have been spawning? Are you sure it is a he? The missing scales(white areas) look like scrapes. Could Comet have gotten into a too small hole or an intake pipe or crowded against some rocks? All the fish you mention will join the excitement of a spawning. All the male fish will chase the fertile one, who often gets roughed up.

I hope Comet regains that confidence soon.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:02AM
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It is hard to tell from the photo, but I don't see damage or any injury. Color change is not uncommon in these fish but his behavior may be note worthy. When they don't hang with the gang and isolate may indicate a problem. It is very hard to see the symptoms of disease when looking down on a fish in the pond.

Net the fish so you can give him a good look over from both sides and the bottom. If you don't see any red sores, ick or worms put him back in the pond. If you do, you may want to dig a hole.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:39AM
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Still new here, so forgive me if I have responded twice. First response vanished. :) Anyway, spawning is certainly possible as it is happening in the other ponds, and there are bricks and concrete block "tubes" for them to hide in under the potted plants so he could have scraped himself (herself?). Sounds like you think it is a mechanical injury, as opposed to disease, which is something of a relief. Missing scales, so that's what they look like! I will keep my fingers crossed. Thank you for your thoughtful responses.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Thank you Mike. I will check Mr./Ms. Comet out tomorrow and hope to find no ulcers, ick, or worms.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 1:42AM
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From the body shape I would guess she is a she and has been spawning.. or at least the boys are trying, she looks ready. The behaviour you describe sounds like a fish that is recieving unwanted attention. If the males are pushing her against bricks and concrete blocks that are too rough she would certainly loose scales and look like that.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Well this morning I thought she might be a goner based on how she looked... but I spent the whole day in and around the yard, and did some maintenance on the pond plants ... and low and behold after nearly a week of this, she seems to be snapping out of it. About two hours ago she just perked up and decided to start swimming with the gang. I'm gonna assume Comet's a female. Thanks for all input and let's hope this is the end of the thread. :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 9:16PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Not so fast. Now that you think it is a female shouldn't the name be changed to "Cometa"?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Cometina it is. :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 1:34AM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

My favorite girl comet, Spot, would take to hiding when Whitey, the buffoonish lover, would chase the girls. He liked her the best. I was afraid he would chase her to death.
The mosquito fish did the same thing until Big Momma had some babies and then gave up the ghost. The chasing was very fast and frantic. She would try to get some food, but they were always after her. Poor thing.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 5:15PM
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Honestly i had no idea what was going on the first time i witnessed spawning behavior. When the three fantails in one of my small ponds started doing it I was a bit freaked out. I came out and found the three of them like Moe, Larry and Curly trying to squeeze through the same space between two cattail stems. They kept flipping out of the water and banking curves so hard they'd generate waves in the water. But as a grown up lady and I did figure it out soon enough. ;) They do seem relentless and a bit pushy at times. But seeing the way a rooster treats a chicken in the same situation I guess Cometina got off easy with some missing scales. Meanwhile there are many baby minnows at the moment, and I could swear I saw a tiny black moor in the third pond. We'll see. Ain't love grand?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 6:12PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I'm glad Cometina is doing better. You might want to plan on some sort of separate temp home the next time if she is getting too much attention for her own good. Popularity can be overrated.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:16PM
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