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FAQs About Goldfish Systems: Filtration

Related Articles: Goldfish Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease, Goldfish Nutrition, GoldfishGoldfish VarietiesGoldfish Mal-Nutrition,

Related FAQs:  Goldfish Systems 1, Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 5, Goldfish Systems 6, Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish System: Tanks (Size, Shape...), Lighting/Tops, Decor, Gravel, Plantings, Heating/Temperature, Aeration/Circulation, Water Quality (Algae, Smell, Cloudiness... Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling), Maintenance, Trouble/Fixing, & Goldfish 1, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Feeding, Goldfish DiseaseGoldfish Breeding/Reproduction

Need complete biological filtration... along with mechanical/physical... and you to do regular maintenance, change-outs of the media to assure it doesn't accumulate solids, dissolve to contribute to dissolved organic materials.

Medium sized tanks can get by with hang on power filters, larger ones need canisters...

Even with the biggest, best filtration... still need to do regular partial water change-outs.

Do I need another filter for my goldfish setup?      3/20/15
My tank is 30" L x 12" W x 18" H
The store I got the tank from said it was 29 gallons.
It has a sponge filter and air pump rated for 80 gallons. It has a 100 watt submersible heater.
I currently have 2 fantail goldfish and 7 ghost shrimp in the tank.
The store said the fish would eventually grow to be 6 inches to 8 inches.
<In years time>
The goldfish are currently 2 inches long each.
As far as gallons and filtration go, is my current setup ok for the fish and shrimp to live their lives out in? I have a 75 gallon power filter.
Should I use this power filter in addition to my sponge filter? Should I use any other filters other than my single sponge filter? Thank you.
<Redundancy in filtration is a good idea. I would have both. Bob Fenner>
re: Do I need another filter for my goldfish setup?

Thank you Bob! :)
<Welcome Cam>

goldfish filter questions       3/5/15
Hi Crew,
It's been awhile since I had to write. My reef tanks are doing well thanks to your help. Awhile back, my cousin's son won a gold fish at a county fair. I have been reading your gold fish pages, and have a question. They set it up in a 5 gallon tank, before I gave them a used 15 gallon I had sitting around. There really is no room to go any bigger with the tank. My
hope is to move it to my parents pond this summer, then get the kid some fish more appropriate for that tank. In the meantime, the filter that came with the 5 gallon is not getting it done. I have a spare Aquaclear 70 sitting in a box, that isn't too much flow, is it?
Thanks for all the help past, present, and future,
<If this is the Aquaclear 70 hang-on-the-back filter, it's rated at a turnover of 300 gallons/hour, which is about right for community tanks around 40-50 gallons in size. As a general rule, community fish tanks are maintained best with filters providing a turnover rate of around 6-8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So 50 gallons x 6 times would
be 300 gallons/hour. Make sense? Now, common or standard Goldfish (such as Comets) are a bit messier than community fish, so you might choose to increase that turnover rate a bit, 8 or even 10 times per hour, so for a 50 gallon tank, you'd go with a 400 gallons/hour filter. Of course fancy Goldfish (such as Moors) are poor swimmers, so you'd not increase the flow
rate for them. So depending on whether your Goldfish is a fancy variety or a standard Goldfish, you'd equip a 15-gallon tank with a filter rated at either 6 x 15 = 90 gallons/hour or 8 x 15 = 120 gallons/hour. Now, with all that said, the flow rate from the Aquaclear 70 can be adjusted, I believe, so you may well be able to reduce the flow rate sufficiently that it doesn't buffet your Goldfish around the tank. You'd need to experiment. It should be pretty obvious if the Goldfish is having trouble swimming comfortably. If it isn't, then getting a simple in-tank canister filter might be the easiest solution. I like the Eheim Aquaball series for their affordable price and very long term reliability, but even the cheaper models should last a few years without problems. Does this help? Neale.>
Re: goldfish filter questions       3/5/15

Thank you. That does help. I will find a different filter if that will be too big. I just want to do the best thing possible for this fish. If i had a choice, they would outlaw those carnival games that involve live animals.
<Amen to that Dave. Such bans have been mooted a few times in the UK, but so far as I know, they're not laws yet. The argument is that they're a "popular and traditional" part of the fun fair experience. Well, so was bear-bating and cock-fighting at one time, so I'm sure in time the Goldfish racket will be phased out too. As you appreciate, as "gifts" go, Goldfish come along with a whole heap of expense and responsibility if they're going to be looked after properly. In any event, it's great you're helping out your family to look after their pet in the right way.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Filters 6/18/2013
Hi. I have questions regarding two types of filters in two different types of goldfish system.
The first system I have questions on is a basic indoor tank of 30 gallons.
It contains 1 redcap Oranda and a 350 gph bio wheel power filter. Do I need to clean the bio wheels? If so, how often? Do I need to replace the bio wheels? If so, how often do I replace them?
<Mmm, I'd leave them on permanently, never replace; or if you find yourself doing so, leaving the other media in place for weeks thereafter>
How often should I clean the carbon filters in this system?
<As often as you'd like... every week, few weeks. The carbon, though high quality from Marineland, gets exhausted within hours>
When should I replace the carbon filters? How often should I clean the whole filter system?
<I'd check on all weekly; when you do your water changes... IF you have multiple sets of the mechanical filter media, including the wheel... you can switch these out, purposely bleach, rinse, air dry between changes>
The second system I have is a plastic, above ground, outdoor pond system.
It is a 50 gallon system. It is rated for outdoor use and is fish safe. It has a 325 gph, submersible flat box filter, a fountain, a pump, and two airstones. The filter itself consists internally of a course <coarse, homonym> sponge, a fine sponge, and some smooth, pea-sized gravel. I change the water and clean out the tank once a week.
How often do I need to rinse the sponges?
<About this often during the warm months (when water stays above about 55 F.>
 Do I rinse them both at the same time?
<Yes; can be done>
 Or do I rinse them one at a time?
<Not so much a worry here w/ ruining your biofilter... can be done on the same day>
How often, if at all, should I clean the whole filter (the pump included)?
<I wouldn't do this ever>
 Do I need to add a carbon filter pad?
<Mmm, no; you could though; would benefit by having cleaner, clearer water... best to put said carbon in a purposed Dacron media bag... same sources as the carbon itself>
If so, how often do I rinse it?
<Only when first installing>
 How often do I need to replace the carbon filter pad in the pond system?
<Mmm, every month or so during the warm season>
Thank you for your time and patience.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Question, filtration per stkg., vol.     1/30/12
I have a 29 gallon tank. It has 2 filters. One filters at 20 gallons, the other at 30 gallons. Combined that is roughly 50 gallons of filtration.
There is currently 1 Oranda goldfish in this tank.
My question is, if I were to increase filtration to 70 gallons, could I another goldfish with the Oranda that is already in the tank?
<Greetings. Your key misunderstanding here is that the "filter for a 20 gallon tank" statement on a filter means anything. It means zilch. Or at least, it's wildly misleading. When a manufacturer sells a filter as "suitable for a 20 gallon tank" what they mean is "suitable for a 20 gallon tank in the best possible situation, i.e., lightly stocked with small, Neon-sized fish that don't make much/any mess." It's much the same as "servings per box" on cereal packets, or "battery life on 3 hours" on a laptop -- at best, a guideline, at worst, total fiction so far as real-world usage goes. A better (if still imperfect) approach is to use gallons/hour turnover rates. All (non-air-powered) filters will have the gallons/hour turnover rate stated on the pump somewhere. If you have a 30 gallon tank, then for small fish a turnover rate 4 times that will be adequate, i.e., 4 x 30 = 120 gallons/hour. Bigger fish that make more mess would need up to 6 times, and Goldfish, being very big and very messy, would need at least 6 and ideally 8 times turnover rates, i.e., for a 30 gallon tank, 180-240 gallons/hour. With that in mind, go back and look at your filters, and act accordingly. Of course, this is a guideline as well, albeit a more flexible one that scales up or down depending on the types of fish being kept. The acid test is whether your aquarium is clean. Provided the water is clear, and detritus like faeces are being removed from the water, and above all else, ammonia and nitrite levels are always at zero, then your filter is doing its job. If you find the water gets murky or smelly, then more filtration and more water changes will be needed, doubly so if you plan on adding more fish. In theory, a 30 gallon tank should house 2-3 fancy Goldfish without problems, but do be aware that in such small tanks and in such small groups, Goldfish can sometimes be aggressive, especially if you have a male harassing a female all the time. Cheers, Neale.>

Filtration    1/5/12
Hello, I have two twenty gallon tanks, each with a hang on back whisper filter sized for 30-40  gallon tanks, I also have an old , old, BioWheel filter sized for 125 gph, don't know the tank size for this, they don't make them anymore, now they make 100, for 20 gallon tanks, and 150 for 30 gallon tanks, I wanted to know what your opinion on getting the smaller New BioWheel, made for 20 gallon tanks, or go with the one larger for 30 gallon tanks,
<I'd go w/ the larger for messy fishes like goldfish; or two of the smaller on each tank>
I attached a photo of each I was wanting to get a new one as this old one on each tank is about 10 years or so old, and it is getting noisy,
<Mmm, sometimes these can be (easily) repaired. Do take it to your local fish store for them to check out>
 the wheel is very old looking .
<And these can be either bleach-washed (see WWM re cleaning, decor...) or replaced by themselves, w/o tossing the whole unit>
Cathy Hart
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

In regard to the last message sent about filtration and getting new BioWheel filter, I have larger sized Goldfish in these 20 gallon tanks
Thanks again
Cathy Hart
<Yes; had "read ahead". Cheers, BobF>
Re: Filtration

Ok Thanks for advice, So it is ok to add  on each twenty gallon tank, the larger BioWheel rated for 30 gallon tanks,  as I already have the hang on back whisper filters rated for 30- 40?? I don't want to over filtrate!!
<Ahh, not to worry. Practically speaking this is not possible. Better to have more than less by far>
Thanks again
Cathy Hart
<Cheers, B>

Interactive Goldfish Aquarium at a Public School in Ohio.  Filtr.    6/7/11
HI! We corresponded about this 55- gallon, interactive aquarium in a Public School 2-3 years ago because I was unsure about how to feed the fish when I was not there. So I got the live plants (as you suggested), got them growing and now, the fishes: Three fancy goldfish (Orandas) + White Mountain Tetra (9) and asstd. guppies... and an undersize 8 year-old Pleco are doing well on an every-other-day feeding schedule.
The goldfish have grown (and gotten cuter and more interactive). But they are definitely gulping for air at the top of the water on the days they get fed, and the Red Oranda (Harry) has fungus issues.
My question is this: I have an oversize hanging box filter on this tank plus a bubbler (no undergravel filter). I do a 20% water change every week on Friday. I think I need more filtration since the big fish have gotten bigger. What should I get to really DO IT, besides a bigger water change?
<Hello Christine. If you want something you can set up and largely ignore for months at a time beyond water changes, perhaps the best system is the reverse-flow undergravel filter that uses an external canister filter that sucks in water, cleans it, then pushes it into the gravel bed where the water rises up through the gravel. This in turn pushes silt and debris into the water column so the external canister can remove it, and so on, ad infinitum. The benefit of this system is that it's more or less self-cleaning, provided you get in the habit of rinsing the canister filter every 4-8 weeks. Because the "good" bacteria are in the gravel, you can be fairly aggressive about cleaning the canister. Eheim make all the bits you need for this, and while pricey, their hardware lasts years, by which I mean 20 year lifespans or more are not uncommon. If you want something simpler, then you can buy large internal canister filters (again, the Eheim ones are perhaps best) some of which are rated for larger tanks than yours.
They're very easy to maintain, simply unplug and rinse under a luke-warm tap, and can work extremely well. They do sit inside the tank of course, so they're less easily hidden. If all else fails, a big-ass canister filter like an Eheim 2215 or 2217 (or some equivalent model from any other good manufacturer) would make an excellent supplement to the hang-on-the-back filter you have. Provided you cleaned each one with a 6 week gap in between them, if you happened to wash away the bacteria from one, bacteria from the one you didn't clean would pick up the slack and eventually all would return to normal. So having two filters is an excellent way to do things.
Some brands and models are designed to be much easier to open and maintain than old-school canisters like the 2215 and 2217 units mentioned, though the older designs are very reliable and excellent value. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Oranda care and filter requirements   2/1/11
Good afternoon, My name is Charlie and I am fairly new to fish keeping so please be gentle :-)
<Ahh, a remembrance from "desiderata"... "In dealing w/ others, be gentle and kind". Thank you for this reminder>
I currently have a fish-less cycled 50gal set up with a Fluval 4plus filter and airstone for my adorable Oranda goldfish - his name is dumpling (I've decided he 'looks' more he than she) he is around 3 inches and is very chunky.
<We of the chunky set prefer the term/adverb "prosperous">
My question is what would be a better filtration set up for him - I don't think that the Fluval is enough for a messy goldfish (I am considering getting him a tankmate probably a black moor or another Oranda if you think the tank is big enough for 2 - I want the fish to be properly cared for) could you recommend a better filtration system for my set up and maybe could you pass on any tips to keep dumpling happy.
Thanks in advance
Charlie x
<I "run" my goldfish systems w/ canister filters as well (Eheims), but do agree w/ you re the addition of an/other filter here. I'd situate a hang-on power filter of good capacity on the back... clean this out on alternating times with the Fluval. Oh, do read here as well:
Bob Fenner>

Re: Disinfecting a Used Acrylic Tank 1/12/11
Hi Bob, thanks so much for your time and quick response! I'd like to follow-up in the bio-ball/filtration concern you raised. I read your link and understand that the bioball concern is that it will produce high nitrate levels in the areas where there is not good water flow and gunk accumulates,
There are pre-filter rolls that sit above the bioballs in the Aquasystem set-up--would these remedy that issue?
<Actually, these DLS ("double layer spirals") of batting/polyester material make all worse. I'll try to make up for my lack of completeness this AM and state that I am VERY familiar w/ the TruVu/Aquaplex "system" you have...
and would abandon it en toto. I.e., I'd leave all the compartments empty...
and likely drill through the back, situate a sump and refugium of whatever design below, aside or even higher than the tank. Please see here re:
the second tray down, OR go w/ canister filtration (which is what I do w/ my fancy goldfish systems)>
Also, I plan to float Anacharis and other plants in the tank per your goldfish diet recommendations, as I have had floaty issues in the past.
Will this mitigate the nitrate problem of the bioballs?
<Not at all, no>
But here's another concern: With fancy goldfish, who are so sensitive to anaerobic bacteria, perhaps this dead spots would also be problematic?
I do have 2 Eheim 2217 filters on my current 50 G setup, but this will not be sufficient for 10x tank volume turnover--however, I could buy a new canister, I suppose. What would you recommend?
<Eheim canister/s>
This Aquasystem has the overflow/sump built into the back of the tank.
If I use the Eheims or some other non-bioball solution, should I just bypass that and keep it dry?
<Mmm, no... I'd pull the water from there... use the extra volume>
I do like the idea of hiding the heater and UV sterilizer back there...
To be honest, I bought the tank for its volume, not for the Aquasystem.
<Ah good>
Now that I have it, though, the bioball idea seems attractive as the system in hidden, it seems to be low maintenance, and it apparently oxygenates really well--but I am not bent on using it if it is not the best option. How would you set up this tank for goldies?
<Not really functional w/ the media>
There will be 6-10 medium to large fancy GF in this 125 G at the end of the day. Thank you again for your advice and guidance, always appreciated.
<Very glad that we are sharing. BobF>

Hello again! GF, sys., filtr.    11/11/10
Hello Crew,
I hope you're having weather as nice there as it is here. 68-70 degrees of gorgeous.
<Uh, no, I'm in England, where it's a brisk 10 degrees C, overcast, and intermittently rainy. Not much fun, but good the garden!>
I wrote a few months back to ask for help concerning my goldfish. They are alive and well thanks to the abundance of information on the site and help from Neale.
<Glad we helped.>
I had mentioned at the time that I would write back to update and also to ask for a tiny bit of guidance once I am ready upgrade. Alas the time has come. Here's some background- 3 goldies ( 2 Orandas, and one Ryukin) 4-6 inches 20 g tank 2 filters. (one Fluval C2, and one Aqueon (for 10-20 g)) Temp. 74 degrees F now that winter is coming I have a heater ready for when the temp fluctuates Decor: Planted tank with a couple of large rocks (no air stones since there are two filters) and large/medium sized gravel of a med. beige
<All sounds fine. There's nothing wrong with letting the temperature drop a bit in winter, and a couple of months at 18 C/64 F will be quite healthful for most fancy Goldfish. The thing with fancy Goldfish is that really cold conditions don't suit them for a variety of reasons, and at very low temperatures Goldfish shouldn't be fed, so keeping them at or slightly above a cool room temperature is the easiest way to keep them.>
Water is changed twice a week 25% at a time with treated water (AquaPlus) gravel lightly vacuumed and filters gently squeezed and rinse to get big chunks off Parameters- Ammonia 0 Nitrate- 0.2-0.5 Nitrite- 0 PH- 8.0
<Are you sure you have nitrAte and nitrIte the right way around here? Test kits for nitrate usually go up to 50 mg/l, 40-50 mg/l being typical of municipal water. Nitrate levels below 5 mg/l are basically negligible.
Anyway, nitrate levels up to 50 mg/l shouldn't do Goldfish any harm, though you should aim to keep nitrate below 20 mg/l if possible. Nitrite -- with an "i" -- on the other hand is very toxic, and needs to be at zero. If it's above zero, then that's one reason you'll have sick fish.>
My Ryukin Pepper has a deformed bladder so he perpetually sits on his butt and waddles instead of swim. He doesn't show any other symptoms however.
<Not uncommon, sadly.>
He eats well and swims good he's just special. :) They are rapidly outgrowing their tank as I expected and are now ready for a new tank. I have looked and looked for a tank for about 2 months now and found a
whole set up for a very good price! It is a 50 gallon rectangular tank.
<Ideal. You should be able to keep 4-5 good sized Fancy Goldfish in a tank this big.>
Now that I have the tank I am ready to make the transfer. I wanted to know if it is Ok for me to put the fish in the new tank straight away.
<Yes, so long as you move the filter -- and its mature media -- as well.
Moving gravel has only a slight benefit, and moving water almost none. It's the biological filter that has to be moved across.>
I plan to use all the gravel and decoration from the 20 gal. I also am going to use the Fluval for the new tank and pour the water from the old tank into the new. Does the tank still need to be cycled if I do it this
way or will the bacteria be transferred?
<If the filter is moved, I'd honestly, put completely new water in the 50 gallon tank, check water chemistry (i.e., pH) and temperature are about the same as the 20 gallon tank, and if they are move the filter across, then switch the filter back on. Then empty the 20 gallon tank about half way down, fill up in 3-4 stages using water from the 50 gallon tank across half an hour, so the Goldfish can adjust to any slight differences in chemistry
and temperature. Then move the Goldfish from the 20 to the 50.>
I am limited with space so I am trying to find the most efficient way of going about this, but I don't want to do any harm to the fish either. I've read some stuff lately on your FAQs pages but still am not clear on the
course of action. I would appreciate the advice greatly. :)
Thank you for your time and effort on the site. It is one of a kind!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hello again!  11/11/10

I've always wanted to visit England and have a nice beer outside in the cold weather.
<Gosh no! Cold weather would cool down the beer, which the English prefer at room temperature. Much better to find a nice country pub with a log fire, and sit close to that supping your ale.>
Thank You Neale for a prompt response.
<Most welcome.>
I will take your advice. I will be using the same water I use to fill their tank now. Usually I store the treated water in the same room for about 3-4 days before I change their water.
<Okay. Might be easier to fill the 50 gallon tank today, but don't move the fish or filter until, say, Sunday afternoon.>
The NitrAte is at 20ppm like you said and I typed it 0.2
<Ah yes, I see.>
(I test the water so much I have developed a habit of not looking at the decimal but rather the area where the water is acceptable WHOOPS)
<The devil's in the detail.>
I have two hang on the back filters, but do you think I should get an under gravel or wet/dry?
<If you don't have plants, then there's A LOT to be said in favour of undergravel filters. They are very durable and easy to maintain, except that every year or two you probably will need to strip the tank down to clean underneath the filter plate. I happen to prefer external canister filters which occupy a sweet spot in terms of performance versus maintenance, but I know in the US the good canister filter brands like Eheim are imports and can be a bit expensive -- though Eheim does have legendary performance and longevity, units often last 10-20 years. Hang-on-the-back filters can be very effective, but their capacity in terms of how many fish or gallons they filter is sometimes optimistic, and I don't like the brands that force you to install "modules" that only one manufacturer makes. So if you choose an HOB filter, do look for a brand that allows you to dump whatever media you want into the compartments, ceramic noodles and sponges being critical, and fine filter wool being useful for trapping silt. Carbon and other chemical modules are worthless in this sort of aquarium.>
I don't know a lot about filters so I'm nervous about venturing outside of my comfort zone. The temperature here in Florida doesn't change much during the spring and summer months, but in the winter sometimes it can fluctuate between 5-10 degrees throughout the day. At least in my house it does hehe. I know that temperatures that change rapidly is not good for them and since Pepper is extra sensitive I want to err with caution, so that's why I have a heater ready to go.
<In Florida, room temperatures by summer and winter should be fine for fancy Goldfish. It's serious cold that causes them harm, basically freezing conditions, and below 10 C/50 F you shouldn't be feeding Goldfish because their digestive system won't work and the resulting decay inside their gut promotes bacterial infections. Neither of these problems is likely in Florida.>
I would love to go out and rescue some more fish, but I also want my fish to grow to their full potential and have plenty of space.
<Yes; 50 gallons will do this nicely.>
They seem to be very fond of each other at the moment so I'll wait and see how things are before I decide to add another member to the family.
<Wise. Goldfish are gregarious and they do love company, but the males are competitive. A good idea might be to wait until spring and then avoid ones with spawning tubercles on their faces, as these are boy. If you have all girls or one boy and, say, three girls, you should be fine.>
All the fish I have so far I've rescued from work or the pet shop. Just can't stand seeing mistreated animals and turn a blind eye. I guess that's another reason why I didn't major in the Vet. field. I would have to come up with a farm.
<I sympathise! My father was the same, bringing home the most forlorn looking Goldfish because he was sorry for them and wanted them to have at least die somewhere warm and comfy. Often the fish would recover, one in particular he called Sharkey grew into a huge but lovely Black Moor with just one eye.>
Thank You again Neale and everyone at WWM.
<Your kind words are appreciated. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hello again!  11/14/10

If someone could lend me advise while Neale is gone I would appreciate it greatly. If not I'll keep reading until I find something. What do you mean when you say another typical western thing?
<Common behavior observed>
Like I've explained in the email I've been looking for an upgrade for two months and all the while I see people trying to "rehome" their pets for a small price. In their posts they write things like, "I can't afford the money or time. I didn't know she would be this big." I feel no sympathy for these people. While I admit I don't know them and am being judgmental I still feel strongly about the responsibility, I think it's a universal thing. Thank you for your response. I realize you are volunteers and do this on your time. I think it's very kind that you emailed me back to at least let me know that Neale won't be around- but really I'm asking for advise
from people who know more than me not just from Neale.
<Please phrase, rewrite your question/s and send it/them along then>
By the way, I'm from the east where they eat dogs. I have two that are family members. Both my parents are mixed with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Caucasian. My parents and me were not born here in the US. It is our goal to keep the good of our culture and learn from others too. So "typical" to me is debatable.
<I see... well, "easterners" are "typically" inclined infinitely (vs. finitely), not so much "living in the past"... which I deem "a good thing". BobF>
Hello Crew... misc., reading    11/15/10

Hello Bob,
Thank you for your response. Pardon the grammar mistakes, I get to writing and my thoughts stay far ahead while my fingers lag behind.
<I see>
Here are the questions I sent in. I've been doing to more reading while I waited for your response, but I think I was looking in the wrong area. There's A LOT to learn!
<Ah yes>
I've always marveled at the fact that I would go more out of my way to help
>an ailing animal than I would certain people as harsh as that might sound.
><Another "typical" of westerners>
>Here's some basic details about the tank and my progress-
><Neale's out till Tues. Write back if this won't keep
> I've decided to put three HOB on the 50 gal. I have four HOB and it seems a
>waste to let them collect dust and go buy a canister. I haven't had any problems
>with them so far. I've found snails hidden in the substrate of the 50 (used)
>tank. I decided to scoop out all the rocks and rinsed the tank with the garden
>hose and let it dry out today. I wont be reusing the rocks that came with the
>tank since I don't know what else is hidden in them. The new set up is
>approximately 9 years old. (this is what the previous owner tells me) He kept
>Oscars in there (2) and they died after a some sickness that left holes in their
>heads. After those two died the man decided to have a planted tank w/ small
>tropical fish. He never got to the tropical fish, he just had a plethora of
>plants in there before he had to relocate and take the take down. The time
>period from the Oscars to his selling the take took 9 months. Do you think
>there is any possibility of the sickness sticking around in/on the tank?
<Not likely... HLLE is more nutritional deficiency caused than otherwise>
Like I said I've rinsed everything out and left it to dry. If so could I use vinegar
>and water (read this off one of BF's posts)?
<You could; though likely unnecessary>
Also I plan to follow your advice and fill the tank, treat the water, let it sit for 2-3 days, then transfer
the filter and fish. I have a question about the stand. It is a stand built to fit a
>55 gallon tank. It's solid wood that has not been finished with paint or, for
>that matter, anything at all. I wanted to know if treating or painting the stand
>would make it last longer?
<Yes, it would. See WWM re>
I've read somewhere on the site that wood warps
>through time and this may be a problem. The stand granted is about as old as the
>tank, around 9 years old, but doesn't show any age. (No cracks or mildew etc...)
>Of course if I decided to put a fresh coat of something on the tank I will let
>it dry completely before having it near the fish tank. I'm just concerned about
>the stand being structurally sound. I can send a picture if that will help.
<Please do>
>There will be plants in the tank and I'm heading out after work today to get a
>set of lights for the hood. Do you have any suggestions about brand and function?
<All sorts... do you know how to use WWM? Please read here:
I'm leery about asking any pet shop "experts" since they cost so much
>(I just want basic plants like elodea, moss ball, and hornwort.) I'll be
>looking forward to your response and appreciate it.
Thank You again and have a Happy rest of the day.
<Welcome. B>
Re: Hello Crew  11/15/10

Thank you Bob,
I'll do some more reading before I start. Yes I know how to use WWM web search.
<Ah good>
Since I'm a beginner, I wanted confirmation on me progress. I have bought new light for the hood already, let's see how they work out. I'm very excited to start this project. I will write back to update and send some pictures once I get a good amount of progress going!
<Real good>
There is a Wet Pet store in Pasadena, FL here where I live. I was wondering if the store is a branch of yours. It would be neat if it is! I would then have a place to where I would be in good hands.
<Ah no... our businesses ceased in the early 1990's>
Thank You again Bob for you time and the Crew for the great website. Have a blessed day.
<And you and yours, BobF>

Goldfish, tiny unfiltered tank, the usual story... 5/28/2010
I have a comet goldfish that is about 2.5 inches long.
<Will get much bigger than that, if kept properly. Comets are really pond fish, and even in an aquarium should top 6 inches/15 cm within a couple of years, and potentially reach 8 inches/20 cm or more.>
I have him alone in a 10 gallon tank with no filter
<Not good enough; this is precisely why he's sick.>
but I do change 50% of his water 1-3 times a week and test it for nitrates and ammonia regularly.
<And? What are the results from these tests? Remember, anything above 0 nitrite and 0 ammonia will stress him. Nitrate is largely unimportant.>
He is about 1.5 years old and started having problems when we upgraded to a bigger tank for him and his buddies about 2 months ago.
<The problems weren't caused by the bigger tank, that's for certain.>
It all started with Pop Eye, I learned I was over feeding
<Overfeeding doesn't cause the damage, that's a myth. Overfeeding swamps the filter with nitrogen, and water quality plummets. In a reasonably large, adequately filtered aquarium overfeeding is unlikely to cause problems because the filter should be able to handle a little extra food.
But if someone keeps a fish in a tank that's too small and doesn't have a filter, then even with normal rations there'll be ammonia in the water, and if you overfeed, that ammonia level quickly reaches dangerous levels.>
and secluded him to this 10 gallon tank around his 2nd week of having it. I treated with Maracyn 2 and he seemed to get better,
<Temporary, at best. Environmental problems aren't cured with drugs any more than fat people lose weight by switching to Diet Coke.>
he went back in the community tank. He got Pop Eye again so I sequestered him again and treated him then he seemed better so back in the tank he went.
Then a week later I noticed his fins were all clamped together.
<Spotting the pattern yet...?>
Treated him for a week with Maracyn, seemed better, all but the top fin were totally open, back in the tank he goes. Two weeks later I see this weird round white circle on his side and he looks like he is getting white
slimy stuff on his side.
Now I decided to just keep him in the 10 gallon tank for a few months until he is totally healthy so I can stop setting up and taking apart a tank. I treat him with Maracyn, he gets better and his top fin opens up beautifully at the exact same time as his back fin develops tail rot.
<It's environmental; fish his living conditions, then treat the symptoms, and he'll stay healthy.>
At this point I really don't want to spend any more money
so I let it go for 2 days then I just cave and start treating him with Maracyn again. So now his tail is very short , about .75 inch and the end has grown dark brown, I've been treating him for 3 days, tonight he gets
his 4th dose.
I'm leaving to go out of town for a week in 4 days and I really don't know what else I can do to get him healthy.
<Read what these fish need, and then keep them properly. You can't keep Goldfish in small, unfiltered bowls and tanks. Never could. Just because you see them in bowls on TV doesn't mean that works, any more than Superman can fly just because he does in the movies. Goldfish are animals and animals have requirements.>
I do use aquarium salt, 1tbs per 5 gal
and I do 5 gal water changes so I don't mess up the levels.
<The levels were messed up a long time ago! Try and understand what you're doing, rather than flailing about. Remember the nitrogen cycle? You presumably learned about in school, in biology class. Certainly taught to everyone here in England. Anyway, nitrogenous wastes come out of the fish, and have to be processed. If they're not, the ammonia sits in the water, causing all sorts of harm. Think about how you manage that ammonia -- FILTRATION!>
I also feed him a little once a day but will tell the person taking care of him to only feed him every other day to keep waste down. Aside from doing a water change right before I leave is there anything else I can do? Is the tips of his tail getting darker a good or bad thing?
<Likely ammonia burns, and definitely not good.>
Is there hope or am I fighting a loosing battle?
<If it is a losing battle, it is so because you chose not to keep this fish properly. Remember how Hitler lost the Second World War because he decided to invade Russia? Lack of understanding and planning cost him dearly.
That's where we are here. Any aquarium book would have told you Goldfish need large tanks and they need filters.>
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish, tiny unfiltered tank, the usual story...
Hi again,
When I test his water the levels all come back at 0.
<What levels? The pH should be between 7 and 8, not zero.>
The main fish tank (20 gal with 5 other goldfish)
<Insanely overstocked.>
has filter and the water tests fine, I have taken it to pet shops and tested it myself.
<Might well be fine while they're small, but honestly, I can't believe it's "fine" if these are big fish. Been at this game for far too many years...>
I'm just hesitant to pick up a filter for the 10 gallon tank he is in
because it should be temporary.
<A bad plan.>
Ideally he will go back into the main tank. I was told that I could avoid getting a filter as long as I do partial water changes every couple of days.
<Well, perhaps, for a while. But clearly he's ill, so this obviously isn't working, is it? What more can I say...>
I have actually taken samples of his water into pet shops and been told that the ammonia and nitrite are at 0. At this point is it better to put him in the main tank with the filter or keep him separate and do the regular partial water changes?
<It's the lesser of two evils, yes.>
Also is 10 gallons really to small of a hospital tank for a 2.5 inch goldfish?
<Yes. Because people do this is precisely why most Goldfish die within a year of purchase. I don't have stock in companies that make aquaria! I'm telling you the truth, as opposed to what you want to hear.>
The idea is to eventually move them all to a 125 gallon tank by the end of the year.
<Now that's more like it! But even a 55 gallon tank would be fine for 4-5 fancy goldfish.>
Just a side note, these are my boyfriends fish and he had no idea what they needed or how big they would get when he got them a year ago.
<Hence the need to read a book before doing anything else.>
It wasn't till he moved in and I talked him into upgrading the tank because they looked crowded and the subsequent health problems occurred that I read up on it and realized what he had gotten us into!
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish (RMF, thoughts on super-saturation of gases vs. pop-eye)<<>>   2/28/10
Hello again, thanks for the help,
<You're welcome.>
I wanted to ask another question,
<Go ahead.>
I am changing from whisper 20 to 40 on one 20 gallon tank with one 8 inch fish in it and putting a whisper 60 in another 20 gallon tank I have with 3 - 4-5 inch goldfish in it, will this be too much filtration?
<Look on to filter or its packaging, and determine its turnover. For Goldfish, you need at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and for Standard (as opposed to Fancy) Goldfish, 8 times the volume of the tank is desirable. It cannot be stated too strongly how messy Goldfish are, partly because of their size, partly because they're plant eaters (so like cows and horses, defecate a lot), and partly because they stir up the substrate (making the water cloudier than otherwise). I wouldn't keep Goldfish in a 20 gallon tank, and invariably Goldfish kept in
tanks this size end up in poor health and the aquarium looks grotty and murky. So if you're in the process of shopping still, save your money, and get a 30 gallon tank. For a 30 gallon tank, the minimum sensible aquarium
for 2-3 adult Goldfish, filters rated at between 6 x 30 = 180 gallons per hour for Fancy Goldfish (the ones with two tail fins) will be okay, while Standards (with one tail fin) would do better with a filter rated at 8 x 30 = 240 gallons per hour.>
I am keeping the old filter pads in there for awhile, but can too much flow on the filters cause this supersaturation?
<Not really, no.><<Agreed>>
I have BioWheels in each with aerators too. I read somewhere where supersaturation can cause cloudy or Popeye, I cant find out enough on supersaturation ,
<No. If you have a lot of fine bubbles in the water, it is possible that the water becomes more than normally saturated with gases, and potentially these gases can come out of solution inside the body of the fish. The tiny
bubbles accumulate inside various places causing damage, including inside the eye, hence the potential link with Pop-eye. Having said this, such problems are exceedingly rare, and only likely to happen in aquarium with
extremely high turnover rates and vast amounts of splashing that would allow super-saturation of the water. As such, it's normally a problem in marine aquaria, or was in the past at least, because filtration methods that used to be popular include much mixing of air and water, e.g., trickle filters and wet/dry filters. It's far less of an issue now because of the shift towards live rock filtration. Immeasurably more Goldfish are killed by tanks that are too small for them (like your 20 gallon tank) than super-saturation, so I wouldn't allow yourself to be distracted by this issue.>
understand that it is the nitrogen coming from bottom of tank and bursting at top to dissipate?? But can find out how to prevent it? Can you explain first if it is okay to make these filter size changes and a bit about what causes supersaturation? Thank you very much
<Filter turnover rates give you an approximate (some would argue *very* approximate) handle on how well a filtration system will remove ammonia and solid waste from the water. Turnover rates also indicate how quickly oxygen levels will be "recharged" as water from the bottom of the tank is pumped to the top. Hence, higher rates are usually better. All tanks are different, and you can have low turnover rates but excellent water quality if other factors are at work, such as rapid plant growth, which both adds oxygen and removes ammonia. This is important when fish that don't like strong water currents, like Gouramis, are being kept. But Goldfish eat plants, and produce vast amounts of solid waste, so without a good filter, conditions get bad very quickly. They are air-breathers *in extremis* so will often get by with low turnover rates if the water quality isn't too bad, but such tanks look murky and the Goldfish tend to just "hang about" since they're minimising oxygen consumption. Eventually even that doesn't help, and they sicken and die. It's important to understand how big Goldfish get, between 20-30 cm/8-12 inches, depending on the variety.
That's a BIG fish by aquarium standards, and many would argue, they're pond fish not aquarium fish. Fancy Goldfish are deformed, so can't swim well, so you do need to balance turnover against current, for example by using a spray bar to spread out the current. But other varieties, like Comets and Shubunkins, are active swimmers and enjoy a good water current. Cheers, Neale.> <<I don't think hang on outside power filters can produce the circumstances (pressure, fine air entraining...) that generate gas super-saturation issues, like "Popeye". Could be tested for. RMF>>

Re: Problems with Goldfish (RMF, thoughts on super-saturation of gases vs. pop-eye)   2/28/10
Thank you again, MY water quality is really good with crystal clear water, However in explaining the turnover for filters I need for goldfish, NON fancy type, you mentioned 8 times the turnover but then I think you said that supersaturation occurs when you said only likely to happen in aquarium with extremely high turnover rates and vast amounts of splashing that would allow super-saturation of the water.
<Actually, no... this action is much more likely to "de-gas" the water.
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm
and the linked Related FAQs file above>
I leave a space about 1 1/2 inches at top so it can make a splashing noise and allow more movement on top of water, should I fill it to top instead, If water is good and fish eat, why is it so bad to have them in 20 gallon tank?
<Dilution of wastes, provision of surface area for biological filtration and gaseous exchange, room to move... Please read here:
and the file above "size"...>
I ask this as when I moved them to the twenty years ago, I had so many problems and about lost them all? Thanks again for you time, you've been very kind in answering my questions! I do have well water with softener and they have lived well in it for years, Could you explain why this is so bad, you mentioned it in another email,
<This too is posted. Please search, read on WWM before writing. Bob Fenner>
Re: RMF Re: Problems with Goldfish (RMF, thoughts on super-saturation of gases vs. pop-eye)
Oh I missed something in last message, what is RMF??
<Sorry for the confusion Cathy. This is the acronym for my name, Robert Milton Fenner, aka BobF, who generally "puts all away" here on WWM and conspires w/ my fellow Crew Members>
Re: Problems with Goldfish (RMF, thoughts on super-saturation of gases vs. pop-eye)   2/28/10
Thank you again, MY water quality is really good with crystal clear water,
<If you say so. But seriously, long-term success with Goldfish in 20 gallon tanks is not likely, certainly not once they are more than, say, 10 cm/4 inches long. They are pond fish after all, so a small aquarium really isn't what they need.>
However in explaining the turnover for filters I need for goldfish, NON fancy type, you mentioned 8 times the turnover but then I think you said that supersaturation occurs when you said only likely to happen in aquarium with extremely high turnover rates and vast amounts of splashing that would allow super-saturation of the water.
<No. As I said, it's not the turnover that's the issue, it's the mixing of air and water, and specifically, where the water is cooler when it mixes with the air than when it warms up inside the main part of the aquarium. That's something that can -- very rarely -- happen in tanks with external wet/dry filters and the like, but isn't going to happen in the average aquarium. Compare the water movement in a river or the sea, and now think about your aquarium. If the fish are fine in the wild, what makes you think weak (by comparison) currents in an aquarium are going to cause problems?>
I leave a space about 1 1/2 inches at top so it can make a splashing noise and allow more movement on top of water, should I fill it to top instead,
<Splashing at the top of the aquarium actually does very little in terms of oxygenating water. That's a myth. There's very little you can do to increase the rate at which oxygen is absorbed by the water, but what high turnover does is draw oxygenated water down to the bottom of the tank more rapidly. So it's like comparing a low heartbeat rate with a high heartbeat rate: the higher the turnover (the heartbeat) the more oxygen is carried around overall.>
If water is good and fish eat, why is it so bad to have them in 20 gallon tank?
<Partly, it's to do with dilution. All fish produce a certain amount of waste regardless of the size of the tank. The bigger the tank, the more this is diluted, and the less likely you are to have water quality problems. It's also about pH stability, because fish wastes lower pH between water changes, and again, the bigger the tank, the slower this process will be, so the smaller the pH changes when you do your water changes. Then there's socialising issues, about fish needing a certain amount of space to swim and interact with (or avoid) each other.>
I ask this as when I moved them to the twenty years ago, I had so many problems and about lost them all?
<Fish won't die from being moved from a small tank to a big tank *if* water chemistry remains the same *and* water quality remains good. But if you take fish from a small tank where the water chemistry was X, and then stick them in a bigger tank where the water chemistry is Y, then the shock could kill them unless you carefully acclimated them across, say, an hour, using the drip method. As for water quality, they may well be okay in the small tank if water quality was good, but if the big tank is not cycled, and water quality is rubbish, then the move could kill them.>
Thanks again for you time, you've been very kind in answering my questions!
<My pleasure.>
I do have well water with softener and they have lived well in it for years, Could you explain why this is so bad, you mentioned it in another email,
<In short, water softeners don't soften water. What they do is remove the mineral salts that create lime scale in pipes and appliances. Usually, they do this by replacing calcium and magnesium salts with sodium chloride (table salt). The resulting water is slightly saline, which may or not be a problem, but the key issue is that the water now has no carbonate hardness.
Since carbonate hardness is what keeps pH steady, this so-called softened water is pH unstable, and it's easy to have wild changes in water chemistry that can kill your fish. On the whole it is recommended you don't use water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium. Hard, basic tap water -- even well water -- is fine for aquarium fish, so long as you choose species, like Goldfish and Livebearers, that like hard water. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: RMF Re: Problems with Goldfish (RMF, thoughts on super-saturation of gases vs. pop-eye)
Oh I missed something in last message, what is RMF??
<The initials of Bob Fenner, owner of this site and general all-around fish expert. If I'm somewhat outside my limited field of expertise, I do like to have Bob look over my outgoing messages and append any thoughts/corrections he deems appropriate. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems with Goldfish (RMF, thoughts on super-saturation of gases vs. pop-eye)   2/28/10
Hello again, I have another question , since my water is probably alkaline for the most part, a pet store owner told me to add aquarium salt to tank,
<Non sequitur. Salt has nothing to do with hard water, and neither improves nor worsens hard water conditions.>
( I was asking her what I can do about one with cloudy eye ) in a tank by himself and another with the Popeye (in another tank with 2 others) that you said might be an injury. With this all this in mind, should I use aquarium salt??
I did when she told me but I noticed after a while that the smaller one with Popeye had started to change color and lose a few scales so I quit putting it in, but if you think it would help, ill start again!
<All this is here at WWM. Read about aquarium salt, here:
Read about Pop-eye here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problems with Goldfish   2/28/10
I thought alkalinity in water meant soft! Sorry
<Nope, alkalinity is roughly the same thing as carbonate hardness. Water with high alkalinity tends to have a high pH and high general hardness.
Even if you had soft water, adding salt wouldn't fix that either. Salt has NOTHING to do with hardness. If your retailer thinks it does, he/she need to go back to school. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Problems with Goldfish, sys., filter flow rates   3/3/10
I got my 60 whisper filter today, I has double filter cartridge area and move 330 gallons per hour, is this too much for my 20 gallon tank with 3 common goldfish,
<Far too much water current.>
will it cause supersaturation or will it do well for them. I read below where you stated they need 8 times the gph and you said 240 gallons per hour is good, I need to know as if this wont help at all or cause problems I will return it, thanks for the help Cathy
<I would return this. As I said, 6-8 times the volume of the tank is good. More is unnecessary, indeed, stressful to the fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Filtration for Goldfish, 75g Tank - 09/24/2009
I currently have 2 Orandas, two 6-8" comets, but need to move four more comets in, as my leaking outdoor pond needs to be rebuilt.
<Yikes! Leaking ponds are never fun.>
I set up a 75 gallon FW tank in July (2 months ago), using 140lbs stone, drfitwood, and several bunches of Anacharis from my pond. Cycled w/Orandas (no stress whatsoever),
<Tell that to the fish. Please don't cycle with fish.... There are easier ways that don't cause damage to gills, skin, eyes.... Though you might not see the damage, it's still not appreciated by the fish, I'm sure.>
tank cleared w/no amm/nitrite/nitrate, and added 2 comets, then went cloudy again and never recovered (4 weeks now). Having read much of the FAQs on WWW for filtration I realize now my filtration is less than ideal, and am
agonizing over the best fix (with least amount of cost). Everyone I spoke w/online and off have all sorts of ideas, mostly running several hundred dollars (LFS employees and friends with deep pockets mostly).
<LFS has lots to gain, if they convince you to buy a shiny new monster of a filter!>
So instead I seek wisdom of the WetWebMedia crew.
<Eek! Wisdom? Uhh, I'll try!>
Hoping you can steer me right in how to improve things!
<Let's see.>
Current setup includes the following:
* EHEIM 2215 Classic (163 gph)- doing so-so for filtration
<Yeah.... That's not NEARLY enough turnover.>
* 2 Hydor Koralia 2 Powerheads (600gph each)- doing great w/water movement
<Okay, there's the turnover, but no filtration.>
After much fussing w/the Eheim 2215 to make sure I had no air bubbles, clogs, kinks etc, I cleaned and reassembled, and noticed that the flow rate really didn't change from the 1st start up when it was newly installed.
Hence I realize I need more filtration, at least to 6x turnover (or 450gph),
and more probably would be better (but cost prohibitive).
<I do understand that.>
And now for the guidance help needed: Which of the following options would be wisest to add, or what other option would you suggest (barring adding a $400 canister filter)?
*Eheim Powerline Internal Filter 2252 should add an additional 317gph filtration, bringing me to ~470gph
<Not bad, but.... harder to clean and change media than a standard power filter. Eheim does make exceptional products, however. I adore their Professionel II canisters - but they come with that ugly price tag that you mention.>
*Marineland Emperor 400 to add 400gph, bringing me to 563gph (which would probably drop as the BioWheel inevitable does)
<This. Actually, I'd probably recommend the Penguin 350 instead. Though I personally prefer the Emperors (unless I'm feeling lazy), the spray bars can quickly clog or grow a layer of bacteria which can significantly reduce
the flow. The Penguin doesn't have that issue, and is super easy to clean and maintain. Were I you, I'd go with the Penguin 350. Or two of them, and nix one or both powerheads if the fish dislike that much water movement.>
Honestly, I'm setting up & maintaining my reef 75gal tank w/a 20gal sump refugium is/was easier than this freshwater tank!
<Heh! Not a big surprise, really!>
I'll keep reading the FAQs, but nothing seems to pop out as being obvious.
<Hope this has been useful.>
Thanks in advance!
<You're quite welcome, George. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

re: 75 gallon filtration, freshwater, planted w/ Oranda & Comets  9/25/09
I love you guys...thank you for the helpful & quick response!
<Welcome George! BobF> 

Goldfish... sys.  11/25/2007 Hi WetWebMedia, About six months ago, I rescued three goldfish from a county fair. The goldfish started out about 3/4 of an inch a piece. They are currently living in a 10 gallon tank with a GREAT filter. However, my goldfish are rapidly growing and are now about 1 1/2 inches a piece. (One is closer to two) I realize that even with great filtration, a 10 gallon tank is not enough, however, my goldfish are still somewhat small. I am in the market for a new tank, but I don't know what size to buy. I was considering a 30 gallon. Would this be enough to house my goldfish? I really don't have room for anything larger, and I read that 10 gallons per adult goldfish should be adequate. I'm not quite sure on the species of the goldfish, they're just the regular kind they give away at fairs. Do you think a 30 gallon would be good? Also, what size filter should I buy, because goldfish are quite messy? (Right now I have a 20 gallon filter for my 10 gallon) Thank you for your help! -Carly <Hello Carly. A 30 gallon tank would be perfect for your Goldfish. 10 gallons per Goldfish is too little space: these fish get to at least 20 cm in captivity, and potentially more than 30 cm. So A good rule of thumb is to set aside 30 gallons for the first Goldfish, and then another 10-15 gallons for each additional Goldfish. Some people would recommend more space than that, and I certainly wouldn't disagree with them. Goldfish are schooling fish and like to be kept in groups, at least a pair. The more is definitely the merrier. Instead of the fish just sitting there, as tends to happen when a single specimen is kept, pairs and trios will constantly play around, chasing each other. To some extent it depends on the variety; fancy goldfish (i.e., fish with twin tail fins) are less active than regular goldfish (i.e., fish with a single normal tail fin). Comets and traditional Goldfish are active swimmers, and the more space you give them, the better. Length of the tank is more important than depth, so if that's a factor when choosing between tanks of identical volume, go for the longer tank. As for the filter, ignore what's written on the box: manufacturers are often rather vague and/or optimistic when writing that stuff! Instead, look at the turnover of the filter. This is a measure of how much water goes through the filter. You want something that provides a turnover of not less than 4 times the volume of the tank, and ideally 6 times. So if you had a 40 gallon tank, then a filter that was 4 x 40 = 160 gallons per hour in size would be the minimum, and a filter 6 x 40 = 240 gallons per hour would the ideal. Simple as that. This number will be printed on the box somewhere, and is usually provided by retailers on their web sites as well. You don't have to use just one filter, you could simply buy another filter to go with the one you have. So long as when added together they provide enough turnover, you're fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Fancy Goldfish Info., sys.    3/3/08 Hello again crew (Bob and Salty Dog were helpful with my last SW inquiries!), I'm in the process of "shopping" around for my next venture into the wet pet world. I have a 125 gal FOWLR down in our clubroom and am now ready to set up a fancy goldfish tank in our new living room upstairs. I've read quite a lot over the last 2 weeks and have decided on either the Oranda, Ryukin, or maybe Pearlscale. I'm trying to think "long term" and was thinking of investing in another 125 gal for the goldfish as it seems they would prefer the width and more shallow depth of this sized tank? <A tank this size would be ideal.> If I go with a 125 gal for them....how many could I comfortably fit? <At least a dozen adults. Thirty gallons for the first two adults, and then about another 10 gallons for each additional fish is about right. Depends somewhat on the variety, filtration method, etc.> I was thinking 2 but would 3 be too much? I'd like to start with young fish and watch them grow so I know the tank will look a bit bare for quite a while I'm sure. The room is somewhat formal in decor (old world Italian) and even though my husband would rather a tank with a large variety of FW....I really prefer the look and personality of the fancy goldfish.........and the varieties are just amazing! <Big Goldfish in a spacious, not-overstocked aquarium can look amazing, especially if care is taken to use a decent filter (to stop water going cloudy) and nice decorations are used. In this setting, I'd suggest tall (3'/1 m) plastic plants in quantity together with terracotta urns, so you get something like a pond in Ancient Rome or Greece. Add some decent airstones and maybe some submersible lights, and off you go!> Ok, now to substrate....I was looking into a gravel called Shallow Creek Pebble Gravel (25lb bags) from That Pet Place (I live about 40 min from there) and like the "natural" look of it. Would this be appropriate for the larger goldfish? <Fine.> I haven't figured out what do go with filtration wise but would love to hear any suggestions........ <Anything, provided not less than 6x the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Remember, mechanical filtration really is important with these messy, herbivorous fish.> I do know that I will be filtering the heck out of it though as I know they are "dirty" fish. A neighbor has a 55gal with? way too many) "feeder" goldfish who are now about 6+"!! She just bought a Fluval FX5 Canister Filter (925 gph) and I love how silent it is....you don't even know it's running. She's only had it a week but her water is crystal clear and she has A LOT of big fish in that tank. I was thinking of buying this unit but would an additional means of filtration be needed (like a hang on box/canister type)? <Skip the hang on the back/internal filters; too little turnover to be worthwhile. Go with what you suggest, the big external canister, perhaps connected to a Reverse Flow undergravel filter so that detritus is pushed into the water column and sucked into the filter.> A friend of the family who is building our fireplace mantle is going to build a custom unit for the tank so as soon as I know what size I'm getting....we'll start the design. My problem is where to start!? lol? I was thinking of having him encase the tank (so you can just view from the front) and have 2 cabinets on either side....one for supplies and the other to house a large filter of some type (maybe the Fluval) and have him drill holes for the piping and such to run behind the tank. <A sump system would work well here, but is perhaps overkill.> Even though I know they don't "need" light, I will probably go with something very basic for when we are in the room/entertaining etc.......and that would be attached to the lid I suppose. Should I have fans installed on either side of the "lid" so it doesn't get too warm.....or do you think that some low light fluorescents won't be much of a problem? I was thinking of just a full sized hinged top that can open all the way up for feeding/cleaning, etc. Any suggestions? <I'd actually use a decent amount of light so you get (pretty) green algae on the ornaments and plastic plants rather than the ugly brown algae. Say, 2 Watts per gallon. Use a heater to keep the tank around 22-24C, and then add a Garra sp. algae eater of some type. I like Garra; they're pretty, not as big as Plecs, and constantly active. You might have space for multiple specimens, though in twos and threes they tend to be aggressive towards one another. Look at Garra panda, Garra flavatra and Garra cambodgiensis for example.> And although I do generally prefer a more natural setting for fish (like mt SW tank), I don't want the hassle of live plants so we "may" go with a few artificial ones if any. And I have looked into the faux stone columns and roman looking tank decorations (I know..a bit tacky but they'd tie in with the room?? lol) and wondered if that would be ok for the larger fish> Nothing overdone.....very simple and clean is the plan. <All fine. But I suspect garden-sized terracotta will be more effective at this size scale: at least here in England garden centres sell many different "urns" and other pots that are safe in fish tanks and once covered with green algae look really nice.> I know this is terribly long and I'm asking more for "personal opinions" rather than having major concerns but I don't have anyone else to turn to for help. And of course...I want to do this properly....from setting up the "correct" type of tank/substrate/filters, etc...letting it cycle for the proper term, and keeping the fishies happy and healthy! Thanks so much! Lisa <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Fancy Goldfish Info 3/3/08 Thank you Neale for taking the time to respond to my inquiry! <Not a problem.> Wow......I was a bit surprised to read a dozen adults! I was thinking 2 full grown Oranda or Ryukin would be "comfortable" but maybe I will go ahead and get 3 or 4. I just can't imagine 12 big goldfish, even in a 125 gal!? They'd eat my checkbook faster than my SW fish do!?? lol <Indeed. But fancy goldfish aren't as big or as space demanding as, say, Comets. And 125 gallons is a LOT of tank-space. Especially when you factor in some decent filtration.> I think I will look into some ancient looking pots and such and a few artificial plants. I like the silk ones better than plastic but will goldfish pick at the silk plants in an attempt to eat them? <The silk plants should be fine; but modern plastic plants are pretty good, especially when they have the algae on them *and* are used in bulk. I admit, once plastic plant sitting there looks kinda crummy.> I will more than likely go with a large canister type filter (maybe the Fluval) but what is the reverse undergravel filter you spoke of? <You set up a canister filter and an undergravel filter. But instead of putting a powerhead or airstone on the undergravel, you connect it to the OUTFLOW from the canister filter. So water is scrubbed in the canister (removing solid waste) and then the silt-free water is pushed into the gravel and up into the tank (biological filtration). The benefit is that you don't get any crud in the undergravel filter (so no "nitrate factory") and you don't have silt sitting on the bottom of the tank either, because there is a gentle flow of water pushing it off into the canister filter.> The only thing I read about undergravel filters was something that Bob wrote about them being "old school"......maybe you're speaking of something different? <Indeed. Reverse-flow UG filters combine the best of both worlds. The only reason they aren't more widely used is you can't combine them with plants.> Is this something I can easily find at the LFS or is it something I need to rig up myself? <Mostly with off-the-shelf parts. Might need a little fiddling about to get Brand X canister filter connected to Brand Y undergravel filter uplifts, but nothing beyond the wit of man.> the concept sounds good. I initially wanted to use sand because I thought it would look nice and the "waste" from the fish would fall on top and it would be easier to clean (scoop out with a turkey baster even) but other things I have read say that it's not good with goldfish as they may inhale too much and too many gasses would get trapped in the sand. <Sand is excellent with Goldfish and both these "problems" are myths. For a start, sand is used in tanks with fish that "earth-eat" precisely because it doesn't get swallowed or trapped in the gills; it is gravel that can cause this problem. Secondly, a thin bed of sand is zero risk of anaerobic decay, and even if you did get anaerobic decay, oxygen in the water neutralises hydrogen sulphide so quickly there danger to your fish is non existent. Odd: people accept anaerobic decay in marine tanks and ponds, but think it is dangerous in freshwater tanks!> I have a DSB in my FOWLR marine tank but didn't know if it would be suitable for the freshwater goldfish I want to house. <Not what I'd use in this instance, though doubtless it would work.> I also was curious about your mention of adding an algae eater because I'm a little nervous about that due to what I've been reading. Seems that many of these like to "suck" and some eat the slower moving goldfish......have you heard of this? <Sounds possible. Have read this, but only observed with very small algae eaters (Otocinclus spp.).> And algae eater would help with tank maintenance I'm sure but I don't want their to be a problem in the long run for the goldfish. <Indeed; on reflection maybe a good idea to either skip the algae eater or use something like Apple snails you know will be safe.> Thanks again and look forward to your response. Lisa <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fancy Goldfish Info 3/3/08 Thanks Neale..........you're the best!! <I try...> Going with the sand.... add some apple snails I'm ready. I'll have to send pics when it's all set up and has livestock in it.... <Indeed!> so you'll see something is say 6-8 months!! lol Lisa :o) <Very good. Enjoy the aquarium! Cheers, Neale.>

Filtration for 190 liters, FW, goldfish   4/19/08 Hi WWM, I'm new to this game so please bear with me! I am ripping my hair out about Eheim filter/s for my 190L fancy goldfish tank which we would like to put into our bedroom situated around 50-cm from my ears; when it comes!!! We are thinking of giving it a try for a month first in the bedroom (before putting the fish in)! <Good idea; do add fish food every day or two though: this will "feed" the bacteria, and so cycle the filter for you perfectly.> I am a light sleeper and need a deadly quiet filter/s plus worried about the smell! <A properly maintained aquarium has no smell. Smells come from decaying things. So if you smell something = fish tank is dirty! I have had fish tanks in my bedroom. Not a problem. Use a good external filter. Adjust the outflow so the water "ripples" but does not splash. Completely silent!> The guy at the fish-shop suggests the pro 2 2028, but I'm not sure if it is a good idea to put all my eggs in one basket! I think it's better to have two on the go. I have a classic 2211 ultra silent on my 60L but is a bit of a pain for cleaning reasons & getting the top off. So these are my suggestions: 1: 1x 2026 pro 2 plus 1x 2224 pro 1 2: 1x 2028 pro 2 plus 1x 2211 classic 3: 1x 2217 classic plus 1X 2211 classic It's for my 2 fancy goldfish in 60L tank, one with swimming problems & stunted growth and there two babies six months old in 20L tank. <Any of these should work.> Turn over 5 times an hour minimum, I think! My fish are messy, maybe due to overfeeding. <So: cut back on food! Goldfish need little food. Turnover of 5 times is good for Goldfish. I'd even say 6 is best! Big filter = less the filter needs cleaning, and the cleaner the water. Spend a little more money, but save a lot more time! A good filter lasts many, many years.> I would like to alternate cleaning. With the 2211 I'm worried I will be cleaning it every 2 min.s including pipes! eek <I clean my canister filters once every 2 months! Some of my friends every 6 months! Take care to remove dirt from the aquarium when you see it, with weekly water changes of 50%.> Another problem one of my fancies has a swimming problem so the flow has to be reasonable. <Also put plastic plants in one or two corners. In nice clumps. These will break the water flow, and create a gentle area for the fish to rest. Rocks and wood can be used in the same way.> So if you have any suggestions for the filter plus your thoughts on fish-tanks in the bedroom i.e smell & noise! I will be so so happy. P.S This is becoming an obsession 24/24 <Yes, it can be so!> Thanks a lot Jeanette <Bon chance, Neale.>

Re: filtration for 190 liters   4/20/08 Hi Neale, Thanks for the speedy reply! I really appreciate your help - I don't know where us "rookies" would be without internet sites like yours. <You are most welcome!> Anyhow I've opted for the full on 2028 even though it intimidates me a bit & run this along with the 2211 until I can afford to upgrade the 2211 to a 2215. <The Eheim 2028 offers 1050 litres per hour; for a 190 litre aquarium it should be plenty, even by itself.> What do you think? <A good choice.> For the 2028, I've heard a few moans & groans that it's not as good as it's made out to be. <Eheim filters generally have a good reputation. I've used both Fluval and Eheim filters over the years and had good experiences with both of them. In general, if either type rattles or makes odd noises, even when set up properly, assume it is "broken" and demand a replacement. Both manufacturers make filters that are silent and easy to use. The Eheim 2211 and Eheim 2215 filters are "old school" in design, but work extremely well. I see no real advantage to upgrading the Eheim 2211 you already have (300 litres per hour) to the Eheim 2215 (600 l/h) if you are buying the Eheim 2028 as well. You already have more than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour (1050 from the Eheim 2028 + 300 from the Eheim 2211). That should be ample for Goldfish.> Just curious - do you have any experience with this pro 11 & what would be your personal choice out of the batch I've suggested? <No personal experience. To be honest, I tend to choose the filter that is best value at the time I go shopping. I balance my needs against price, and then choose.> I don't want to make any other mistakes. I think I've gone through the lot! <Agreed!> Happy fish & a good nights sleep is what I'm aiming for. Thanks again & have a great weekend Jeanette <Good luck, Neale.>

Goldfish shut off the undergravel filter? Eats shoots and leaves...  7/14/06 Hello, <<Hi. Tom with you.>> I read on your web site that undergravel filters are not recommended for goldfish. <<Goldfish in particular because of their "messiness" but the recommendation holds for other species as well. I, and others, have addressed this one before but it may bear repeating. We don't recommend against this style of filter because it doesn't work. They can/do work quite well, in fact. The two primary causes for concern, however, is that these MUST cover the entire bottom of the tank and they MUST be maintained properly. When the first admonition is ignored or misapplied, pockets of detritus/mulm can build up in the "unfiltered" areas leading to potentially toxic levels of nitrates in the tank. Also, when not properly maintained, the same situation may arise should the filter plate(s) become clogged and left untended. This one may sound like a case of "pilot error" rather than the fault of the filter and, while we wouldn't argue that point, there are just too many good alternatives available to aquarists to justify the use of a style of filter that has led to a great many problems including otherwise "mysterious" deaths of livestock.>> I have a 46 gallon tank with 2 medium Orandas and 1 Ryukin. Currently I have an undergravel filter and a TetraTec PF500 power filter. I am considering shutting the undergravel filter off. I have a hot magnum filter that I could use to clean the gravel with prior to shut down and then reload with carbon to assist filtration during the transition. Do you have any advice or feedback? <<Your plan sounds fine and will eliminate potential problems down the road. Why run the risk?>> Thanks! <<Any time. Tom>>

Small fantail goldfish with big filter  2/12/07 Hi, <<Hello, Quang. Tom with you.>> I am a beginner and I learned a lot from your web site.  Thank you. <<Youre most welcome and Im glad to hear weve been of help to you.>> I have a 30 gallon tank (cube), and I plan to use Fluval 305 for it: since goldfish can be quite messy. <<Very true. 30 gallons is a good size, by the way.>> I also plan to have 2 to 4 small fantail goldfish in it.  I wonder if the filter is too much for small goldfish.   <<Keep the number of Goldfish to two, Quang. The filter you suggest will be fine for these fish. The flow from the output tube can be regulated by the shutoff handle if you feel that its too much for the fish. Simply lift it up a little to slow the flow down. (I have the 304 model and this works very well.)>> Or should I go for 205 model (which is recommended up to 40 gals)? <<Id prefer that you use more filtration rather than less. Small Goldfish wont stay small. Its better to have the larger filter.>> Thank you very much, Quang. <<Youre very welcome. Tom>>

Filters--question in general then specific to goldfish  - 2/11/2006 Hi WWM, <Katie> I'm planning a 29-gallon goldfish tank (2-3 fancies).  I read in your goldfish care article that wet/dry and trickle filters are not recommended, that power filters are recommended.  What category does a BioWheel fall  into? <An outside, hang-on power filter...> I kind of thought it was a wet/dry (I guess I thought it was a  trickle too, since water "trickles" over the wheel!), but the Penguins are in  the power filter category in online stores, so I'm confused. <The BioWheels are basically Penguins with a wheel added> Also, would  you mind recommending a particular filter for 2-3 goldfish in a 29-gallon  setup? <The Penguin would be close to ideal>   Having only an Eclipse right now, I'm not very filter-savvy, and  would appreciate your advice.  I was thinking of just getting the 29-gal  Eclipse and calling it a day, but I don't want to make that decision based  on my "fear of the unknown"! Thank you, Katie <The Eclipse can be made to work here... with limiting feeding, keeping low stocking level as you propose, and weekly water changes in conjunction with gravel vacuuming... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Filtration - 03/18/2006 I would like to take the best possible care of my treasured Orandas. These fish are like members of the family to me. I would die if anything bad ever happened to them. I just have a few quick questions. 1.)What brand of filter and size is the best for my goldfish since they produce so much waste? Currently I have a 29 gallon with two power filters on it. One is a 40 gallon TopFin and the other is a Marineland 40 gallon Bio Wheel. I add the Ammo Chips to it to absorb ammonia. I also have a 20 gallon tank with a 30 gallon Tetra Whisper Power Filter. By the way, I did have a Bio Wheel on the 20 gallon, but it was too noisy in my bedroom, and I also didn't like it as the only filter because I can't add media to it. The other tank is in the living room so it doesn't matter. I heard that Bio Wheels are the best and to get double the gallons of what your tank actually holds. If Bio Wheels are the best, then I will go buy one and get used to it because I want the best for them. Also, how much aeration is recommended for goldies? Each tank has a foot long bubble bar. < The best filter is the one that is the easiest to service. Filters collect waste from the system but you need to remove it from the system. I really do like the Bio-Wheel technology on the Marineland filters. The Marineland Penguin Model 200 pumps up to 200 gph and has an additional basket for adding filter media. Take the cartridge out once a week and give a good shot from the nozzle of a garden hose and you are back in business in no time. With these filters you do not need a additional bubble wand.> 2.)What is the best goldfish food? I feed mine Hikari Gold and HBH brand both sinking pellets. I read really great reviews on a food only available from Goldfish Connection called Pro Gold and I want to order it. What do y'all think? <  There are lots of foods out there. Breeders may use foods that are higher in protein to promote spawning and increase egg production. Many foods are very messy and are designed for fish kept in large systems. I am always trying out new foods all the time. Order the smallest quantity you can and try it. You can always go back.> 3.)What is the best ammonia removing chemical? I am using Amquel, but I have read a lot about AmmoLock on your site. < Bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates are the best way to go. They work all the time and are never exhausted or quit. I use White Diamond from Marineland but really don't use or need it that often. The other products work very well too. I just have a preference for a product that works well for my particular water and fish.> 4.)I test my water at least once a week at PetSmart and my ammonia is always safe, but the nitrates are high. How can I keep nitrates down? Are there any good chemicals? I change 20% of the water about every 10 days. I plan to increase water changes to 25% every week after doing some research. The pH was also only 6.0 in the 30 gallon tank! I think that's bad, what do I do? I was going to buy the pH up by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, but I don't know if that's the best. Will a sudden increase in pH shock them? < Reduce nitrates with water changes. Clean the filter, change water and vacuum the gravel more often. I have not found any chemicals that really work over a long time to reduce nitrates. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with tap water and test it. Bring the ph up to 7 in the bucket and let it sit for 24 hours. Check it again the next day. If it is still at seven then you can use this water for changing water. Never change the pH directly in the aquarium with fish. Always change it in a separate container first and make sure it is stable. After a few water changes the pH will gradually move up to 7 and stay stabile.> 5.)Are there any scavengers that eat poop? I know that sounds gross, but I would like to keep the tanks as clean as possible. I do vacuum my gravel once a month. < Vacuum the gravel more often. Snails and weather loaches will eat any leftover food and may keep the sand cleaner.> This is nothing urgent. I have had my 30 gallon tank very successfully for about a year. The 20 gallon is only about 6 weeks old. I have always wondered if I am taking the best possible care I can of my goldies. If there is something I could be doing better, I would love to know. I greatly appreciate your time and your website. Happy St. Patty's Day! Thanks so much, Adrienne N. Duque < If all aquarists were like you we would probably not be needed here at WWM.-Chuck>

Submersible pumps, goldfish sys.    3/31/06 Dear Crew,   I have a 29 gallon Wal-Mart tank that used to house a variety of fish.  Due to a bit of a catastrophe, I am down to 4 goldfish. <This is or will be too many for this volume...> I have an undergravel filter that is powered by a noisy pump that vibrates the shelf it is on, and also the wall the shelf is on. <There are quiet/er pumps available... you may want to look outside Wal-Mart>   There are two air tubes leading from my pump to my filter.  I purchased a Rio 600 submersible pump to power my filter and please my husband (who keeps unplugging the pump because it annoys him.)  Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to hook the Rio pump up to run my filter set up.   <Mmm, it may not be able to... but you might ask that annoyed spouse to look into flexible tubing that will fit on the discharge of the Rio, a "tee" to split the flow and tubing and small/er pieces possibly to adapt to the (currently) discharge pipes of the UG filter... to make this a "reverse flow" set up... do make sure to screen the pump intake, as goldfish et al. can be sucked up against these> Do I need an adapter of some sort or a different pump?  Thank you for your time, Kathy <Can adapt the Rio... or look for another less noisome air pump... but really, for goldfish, and this tank, a hang-on power filter with removable sponges, pockets for using/changing activated carbon, regular/weekly water changes is about ideal... I would look into this and change all myself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Submersible pumps, goldfish sys.    4/4/06
> Dear Crew, >  I have a 29 gallon Wal-Mart tank that used to house a variety of fish.  Due to a bit of a catastrophe, I am down to 4 goldfish. > <This is or will be too many for this volume...> > I have an undergravel filter that is powered by a noisy pump that vibrates the shelf it is on, and also the wall the shelf is on. > <There are quiet/er pumps available... you may want to look outside Wal-Mart> >  There are two air tubes leading from my pump to my filter.   I purchased a Rio 600 submersible pump to power my filter and please my husband (who keeps unplugging the pump because it annoys him.)   Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to hook the Rio pump up to run my filter set up. > <Mmm, it may not be able to... but you might ask that annoyed spouse to look into flexible tubing that will fit on the discharge of the Rio, a "tee" to split the flow and tubing and small/er pieces possibly to adapt to the (currently) discharge pipes of the UG filter... to make this a "reverse flow" set up... do make sure to screen the pump intake, as goldfish et al. can be sucked up against  these> > Do I need an adapter of some sort or a different pump?  Thank you for your time, Kathy > <Can adapt the Rio... or look for another less noisome air pump... > but really, for goldfish, and this tank, a hang-on power filter with removable sponges, pockets for using/changing activated carbon, regular/weekly water changes is about ideal... I would look into this and change all myself. Bob Fenner> >  Thank you for all your help and information.  I may try to set up the Rio, or just find a quieter outside pump.  I have a hang on filter on the tank now and had recently added the undergravel because the hang on couldn't keep up with the load.  But then I forgot that my son had played with the plants in the dishwater and put them back in and killed most of my fish. I still run the pump for the air stone if I'm not running the undergravel just to keep some circulation, so  I will need to find a quieter solution!!  I appreciate all the assistance!!!!  Thank you, Kathy <Do look into hang-on power filter options here... Bob Fenner>

Filtering and Tank size  12/24/05 Hi there, I have a small white fantail goldfish but am having some difficulty with his tank. The tank is a 18x9x10. He's a year old now and sadly his tank mate died after having swim bladder problems so he's all alone. <No worries. Goldfishes don't get/feel lonely...> I take a pint of water out and replace it with a fresh pint each week and feed him once a day. <Mmm, better to change a bit more out, feed twice daily. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm> My problem lie's with the filter I bought a few months ago. It is  what the pet shop recommended me for the tank size but when I got is up and  running it was blowing him about everywhere. In the end he just swims against  the current or hides in his treasure chest. I went back to the pet shop and  explained what was going on and was told that it was quite normal and the fish  would get used to it. <Mmm, am not so sure here... some current, circulation is useful, but there are limits> Its been quite a few months now and I only switch it on for a hour or  two each day because I can't stand the sight of my fish swirling about. It's  just a shame. Is this ok? <No...> The pet shop said his filter should be on 24 hours a day  but I really don't think he could handle that all the time. The filter is the smallest I can get and is on the lowest setting. Is it possible to not use  it at all? <I would trade this filter in... talk with someone else at the shop... perhaps the owner or manager... there are small/er hang on units that do a good job for this size (about ten gallons) and type system> I was told that all fish need a filter whether you change the  water on not, did they only say this to sell me it? Thank you, Steff <Do speak with someone else at your LFS. Bob Fenner>

Filtration for Big Pond Fish in a tank Hello, I bought a used 150 gallon tank for over-wintering my pond fish, a 12 inch goldfish and a 15 inch koi. The tank came with a UGF, a Magnum 350 and an Emperor 400. I have been using 3 400gph powerheads on the UGF and am running a HOT Magnum with bio media. I vacuum the gravel once a week and change 30% of the water, but cannot seem to stay ahead of the accumulation of waste. <Good protocol... but these are messy fishes... I would cut way back on feeding... especially if the water is cool> I had hoped to be able to rotate cleaning the filters so they were cleaned every four weeks, but they have been clogging in just 2 weeks. <I would clean one or the other every week, when you do your gravel vacuuming/water changes> These fish will go into a 400 gal stock tank with my water lilies in another 6 weeks, but I would appreciate suggestions to help me next winter. Do I need more, or different, filtration? Should I vacuum the gravel and siphon water more often? Or do I need another approach altogether? Thank you very much. Kerry <You might want to add a couple of large size in-tank air-driven "corner filters"... with "wool" (Dacron floss) and activated carbon... otherwise, your set-up is about ideal... Some folks would caution you against the UG use... but if you're changing water as you state, and your source water has sufficient alkaline reserve (buffer), I think this is fine. Bob Fenner>   

Filtration for Big Pond Fish in a tank - II Hi Bob, Thanks for the quick reply, the suggestions and the encouragement. What is the concern about using the UGF?  For several years I kept a 75 gal tetra tank and used the UGF plus 2 HOT Magnum Filters, so I assumed I should use the UGF on this tank.  <Ah, times change... am still a big fan of this technology... for some applications. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ug5proscons.htm > I will purchase corner filters for use next year, thanks for that idea. I am using AquaClear powerheads and they make a Quick Filter attachment for them. Would it be feasible to disconnect the powerheads from the UGF and use them with the Quick Filters stuffed with floss?  <Mmm, not practically... much better to use air... added benefits of aeration... Look at the Tetra Luft pumps for best value here> Once the fish go outside I will have the summer to play with the setup. Thanks again, Kerry <Welcome. Bob Fenner>   

Goldfish System Filtration Hello There! Wondering if you guys can steer me to the proper canister filter for our 75 gallon bowfront aquarium. This aquarium has been up and running for 4 months. It houses 5 Fancy Goldfish ranging in sizes 2-5 inches. The aquarium has cycled. Yes, I know that Goldfish are messy :-)  The problem lies with the fact that I am now having to change the water (this is a 70% change) twice a week in order to have anything resembling clean water for these fish. We are presently using a Fluval 404 canister filter. <Just one? I would have used at least two for a standard community tank. For goldfish, I really like to use trickle filters if possible.> Filter media (floss) is changed on a rotating schedule a day after the water change. Half of the media is changed, sponges are squeezed out in the tank water. <The water changes are helping, but removing and disturbing your filtration is not. Even tough you are under filtered, all of this "maintenance" has got to be wreaking havoc on your nitrifying bacteria.> Tank is vacuumed every water change! I truly have stopped over feeding, as I did at first. Lights are on about 9-10 hours daily.  So, we are figuring that the Fluval filter is not the proper filter for our setup. <I agree.> To be fair, I understand it is made to work below the tank, and we have it set up beside the tank. Our tank sits on the hearth about 5 inches off the floor, with the canister beside it. <This is both a plus and a minus. The reduced head pressure should make the pump's work easier and increase the flow, but it will make it harder to clear the air out of the canister.> With the tank covering the fireplace opening, there is no type of hang on filter we can use. There is A LOT of air trapped constantly in the Fluval, although we are constantly messing with it. We were thinking of switching to an Eheim canister, the biggest they make! It would be another enormous expense, and as much as we are enjoying the fish, the every other day chores (water change or filter change) are getting exhausting and I don't want to put money into something else that is not going to work out. Sorry if this is so long! <No worries> Do you have any recommendations on what we are doing wrong, <Yes to the water changes, with perhaps being able to cut back to one per week of about 50%, but with 5 goldfish in a 72 you are going to have to perform large frequent water changes. It is the filter itself and your cleaning of it that is hurting you. I would add a second canister filter, as that is all you could add due to placement, and I would clean each filter less. Once per month for each, one every other week on alternate schedules.> and if the Eheim would work for us? <Yes, in combination with your Fluval.> Thanks much for your time! ~Robyn~ <I do want to mention that you should be applauded for your incredible efforts thus far. Few people are willing to put in the amount of time and effort you have done. -Steven Pro> 

Fun with Your Goldfish - Revisited Hi! <Hello again, Eitan!> I have two Veil-Tails and two Shubunkins in an aquarium, <Still in the same size tank (8gUK)?  I cannot stress how much these guys need large volumes of water....> I have heard that you can teach goldfish to follow your finger along the glass. Do you know of any methods that I would be able to teach them to do this? <Indeed.  Just get them to start accepting food from your fingers during feeding time, and get them to the point where they'll take the food from you even when your fingers are mostly in the water.  Soon, they'll associate fingers with food, and will follow your fingers quite gladly, hoping to get some food out of 'em, even through the glass.> In addition, I have made a (fish-safe) hoop for them to swim through but they seem to be ignoring it! Are there any ways to tempt them to go through it?! <I hate to break it to you, but goldfish really aren't that bright.  In fact, they're pretty dumb.  If it doesn't involve food, they're not interested.> Also, the Veil Tails sometimes swim to the top and it looks like they stick their mouth's out of the water and breath the air. <Very likely they're just looking for food - but it could be due to a lack of oxygenation, as well.  If in doubt, add an air stone to the tank.> I use a Fluval 1 plus filter <Regardless of your tank size, this is vastly under-filtered for four goldfish.  As I said in our previous email, these are MESSY fish.  Simply said, they poop a lot.  Weekly water changes (or more often than that, even, in such a small tank with such a heavy bioload), infrequent feedings, and heavy filtration are a very serious must.  Goldfish really need to have 10-15 US gallons per fish to be easily maintained.> and add a biological supplement and an Easy Balance product to neutralize the pH and reduce ammonia and nitrate levels every week, so I think the water should be clean. <Adding chemicals without doing water changes really isn't a good idea.  When you do water changes, you should use a dechlorinator.  Goldfish are tolerant of a very large range of pH, so keeping it steady at whatever comes out of your tap is more important than trying to keep changing it to 7.0.  Please do very frequent water changes, vacuum the gravel when you do them, and get a much stronger filter - I prefer the hang-on-the-back types, myself, and I believe you'd find them very easy filters to use/maintain.  And most of all, I cannot stress how important it is to aim for a much larger aquarium soon.> Thank you very much for your help and I am sorry to take up your time, Eitan, London <No prob.  -Sabrina> 

Undergravel filtration, and funky water quality Dear fish saviors, <Good afternoon, Kaz - Sabrina here with you this lovely (rainy) lunch hour> I've had a long and generally successful fishkeeping career but this year 2 of my goldfish died (at ages 19 and 17 years old). <Oh my.  What a loss.  I'm so sorry to hear that.> Only one sad survivor was left. I was away, the water went 'off' and they died :( Anyway, I worked hard to stabilize the tank with the Lone Black Moor (who had some scars, general poor condition, floating prob.s etc). He came good and after a few months I got LBM some friends - a small comet and a small fantail. My problems came back. The new guys were hungry all the time and I am guilty of giving in to their shameless begging. <Just say 'no'! to fish obesity ;) > Also I changed fish food on advice of LFS (sinking pellets, 34% protein) and am not sure if this has contributed to the instability. <And what were you feeding with before?  Do your guys get any vegetable matter?> LBM seemed happier and with more energy but developed two little white spotty bits on his head. These then seem to have gone away (I treated with fungal cure) but he has a new one further back on his head. <Can you describe this in a bit further detail? Do the spots stick out? Or are they pits?  Are they fuzzy looking?  Waxy looking?  Look like cauliflower?  How big are they?> After uncontrollable pH problems I checked with LFS and changed my filtration system (from charcoal and wool type filter to undergravel filtration).   <Filtration isn't very directly related to pH swings (except as far as organic materials building up), I can't imagine why they told you to switch....> But my question is (I know its very naive but..) how do I keep it clean? I have used the gravel siphon cleaner thingee and have done a 25% water change since I got the UGF two weeks ago but my plants are disintegrating. <Argh.  UGF and live plants do *not* play well together, and there's not much of a way to make 'em work out.  Your only plant species is elodea, correct?  Perhaps try letting it float only, and see if it grows any better.> We work in centimetres and litres here in Australia <I wish we did, too!> so I'm not sure of how many gallons but tank is 24inches x 12inches x 12inches. It is certainly not overcrowded, with the LBM and his two new little friends and the plants are (or were) Elodea. <Okay, I do believe that's about 15 US gallons.  I usually recommend goldfish to be kept in tanks where they'll have 15-20 gallons per fish; they are hefty waste producers, and can foul the water very, very quickly.  Three goldfish in a 15g aquarium with an undergravel filter.... well, I can guess that in short order, you'll have some serious nitrate problems, possibly other water quality issues, even with the best maintenance possible.> How do I clean the crud which I assume is collecting under the plastic UGF tray??? <Wonderful question.  I've heard using silicone air hose fed down the lift tube(s) and siphoning from there will help get some of the grunge out.> Should I go easy on the gravel siphon thingee? <Gosh, no.  Vacuum like a madman.  And slap that wet/dry filter back on the tank, too.  Then when you vacuum your gravel, let the filter cartridge stay in the filter so you've got plenty of bacterial life still around. Probably only vacuum about half the tank each time, as well.> Did another partial change today and the fish are happy and starving but there are lots of floaty bits of plant matter still in there. Should I siphon these out? <Yes, absolutely.  Dead, decaying plant matter will contribute to ammonia problems just as will fish waste.> When I do water changes I use Cycle, ammonia treatment, <Skip the ammonia remover, unless you're registering ammonia on your ammonia test - oho, I should mention/ask that you should be testing for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH - if you don't, please do get yourself a kit, so you can have a better grip on your water quality.  And far better than using ammonia remover schtuff is to simply do more frequent water changes.> pH stabilizer, <What's the pH out of your tap?  It's far more important to keep pH stable than to keep affecting it chemically; goldfish are very pH tolerant, so if your tap waters anywhere close to decent, they'll be fine without pH altering chemicals.> StressZyme, Tristart chlorine and chloramine remover. I let the water sit for 24hours, make sure the temp is the same etc. <Wonderful.> My main concern is that I found out from your site that UGF require lots of work but what type of work? Can you let me know what I need to do to keep my friends happy? <Mostly the weekly vacuuming of gravel, jamming air hose down lift tubes.  UGFs must be cleaned thoroughly and religiously, lest all that waste building up in the gravel begin to poison the fish.  If it is in any way possible whatsoever, please, please try to get a larger tank for these fellas.  Believe me, they'll thank you for it.  Wishing you and your scaly pals well,  -Sabrina> Cheers, Kaz 

Undergravel filtration, and funky water quality - take two Thanks, Sabrina, Will head off and get the testing kit today. <Wonderful!  Try to get a liquid reagent type kit, the test 'strips' that you just dip in the water can be grossly inaccurate.> I suppose what puzzles me is how come I could keep the same number of goldfish (and same type) in the same tank for 8 years (since the last fish arrived) with little problem - long living and happy fish - and now everything's going wrong??   <Likely you going away and the water turning south started your problems.  These are really, really messy, waste producing fish, and in such a small tank, missing even one regular water change will result in a buildup of waste toxic enough to kill them.  Hence the major reason I usually recommend 15-20 US gallons per goldfish, there's SO much more room for error in a larger tank.> The white spots on the remaining old fish are small and very white, about large pinhead size, they seem to stick out and after a few days just fade to nothing. <This sounds like either Lymphocystis or fish pox, both of which can be found in goldfish from time to time.  Lymphocystis is kinda cauliflower-like in appearance, whereas fish pox looks rather waxy.  Both are viral infections, and there is no treatment.  Fortunately, neither are often fatal.  Just maintain the best water quality you can, with regular water changes and testing, and he should be fine.> Apart from plants in the tank I don't give them any veggies - should I?  Thanks!  Kaz <Couldn't hurt.  Mine adore unsalted canned peas (rinse, and squeeze the inside of the pea out of the shell).  Blanched zucchini is another good one.  Lots of goodies out there for them, but just the Elodea will do, if necessary.  Best wishes to you,  -Sabrina> 

Goldfish, meet Filter. Hey A couple of days ago my fantail goldfish was partially sucked up in the filter (that filter was replaced so the incident would not happen to the other fish in the tank).   <Ouch!> A lot of his fins were sucked off and only the ridges are left of the tail, the small "threadlike" things that run through the tail and hold the webbing I think.   <The 'rays', yes.> He's been isolated and seems to be doing better, I know his tail will grow back but I'm not sure how long I need to keep him in isolation (I don't want the others to pick on him while he's still trying to recover).   <Until he is back to normal, or nearly so, I would keep him separate, for sure.> By reading some of the FAQs I learned that I should put in some medication to help him heal but I'm not sure what it is or how much.   <I have found Kanamycin and/or Nitrofurazone to be quite useful in treating fin rot, and preventing/eliminating bacterial infection.  Aquatronics manufactures these as "Kanacyn" (Kanamycin sulfate) and "Spectrogram" (Nitrofurazone/Kanamycin combo).> Also, I am at college and have to go home soon, I can't leave the fish in my dorm because there is no one to check in on them and all sorts of maintenance work has to be done to the room over the month long break, so I need to take them home with me.  What is the best way to transport all of them and especially the weak one?  Its a four and half hour drive, and I'm not quite sure the way to give them the most stress free ride.   <I have transported fish long-distance (four days' travel, at the longest) using Styrofoam crates lined with clean, unscented, watertight trash bags, filled partway with aquarium water (and treated tapwater as necessary), and aerated with battery-operated aerators.  For a (comparably) short drive such as yours, you could probably get by quite well with a large bucket with a battery-operated aerator.  A five gallon bucket filled halfway would do nicely; keep it covered so it'll be dark for the fish.  The sick fish, if still undergoing treatment, should be transported in a separate container.  Try to avoid bumps, don't drive like a maniac, etc., etc., and always wear your seatbelt ;) > Appreciate your advice,  Jessie Howard <Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina> 

Keeps Killing Biological Filter I have a ten gallon tank containing three average size goldfish, one large goldfish and an average black moor. For the past several weeks I've found that they've been gasping for air at the top of the tank. Several times, the goldfish have developed red marks on their faces. Each time I've done either a partial or total water change and cleaned the sides of the tank. Afterwards, the gasping stops for two to three days and then continues with a transparent brown film on the sides of the tank and gravel. I've tried parasite treatment, ick treatment, algae treatment and anything else I've come by. Any advice at all would be appreciated. I can't stand seeing my fish like this. < Check the nitrates. Your filter should be turning the water over at least 3 times an hour. Goldfish in general are pretty messy so you may need more, especially in a ten gallon tank. I suspect that the biological filter is having a tough time keeping up and is slowly converting the ammonia to nitrites. A slow conversion may have led to elevated levels of ammonia and have started burning the gills, thus the red on the face. I would recommend a filter that you can easily service, make sure there is no left over food after every feeding. and to check the nitrates so you can establish a regular water changing schedule and not have to wait until the fish are so stressed that they are gathering at the surface of the water.-Chuck> 

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