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FAQs About Goldfish Systems: Gravel

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, Plantings, Heating/Temperature, Aeration/Circulation, Filtration, 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

Natural (brown, rounded) gravel is vastly better than colored... avoid flat/silicate types.

Finer is better... and not too "mouth size" as sometimes the pieces can become lodged in their mouths. If this happens, often holding the fish  gently in your hand, squeezing the gill covers, while pushing with your finger under and behind the obstruction, will dislodge it.

Safe substrate for goldfish (Bob, do you have a recommended substrate for Goldfish?)<<Yes     7/29/12
#2 or larger natural gravel, its equivalent in the Flora line by SeaChem and others>>
Hi, I am setting up a 38 gallon fancy goldfish tank and need advise. I have noticed a lot of opinions about substrate and the possibility of goldfish choking on it, and want help deciding on the safest choice.
<Much less of an issue than you'd imagine.>
I am willing to use any kind suggested.  I was in the process of getting this tank from Craigslist, and my one year old fantail ate and choked to death on a gravel. Silly as it sounds it was supposed to be his Birthday gift. What type of gravel would be safe for the lifetime of a fantail goldfish?
<Three options. The safest is smooth silica sand, sometimes sold in garden centres (at least in the UK) but in America especially sold as pool filter sand. It's cheap, safe, and being sandy, they can swallow it, spit it out, and generally enjoy themselves with it. Downsides? Big fish swoosh it about, and it can get inside the filter. Dirt and debris doesn't sink into sand, so when your tank needs cleaning, it's obvious! Second option is superfine gravel, with grains 2-3 mm across. This is also safe with Goldfish, works much like sand, but not quite as much in either its benefits or drawbacks, and it may also be more difficult to buy. Finally, there's gravel much too big for even adult Goldfish to swallow; basically, small pebbles. Goldfish can't move it about, so it's no risk at all, but on the downside, they don't get any fun from it either. But it does stay put, and you'll often see it being sold for use with jumbo catfish and cichlids that mess up all other types of aquaria.>
Considering the mouth size increases and they mouth everything. I would like to plant the tank as well, if that's a possibility. Things I have- large river stones, thumbnail sized gravel, pea gravel, epoxy coated gravel (that was in the original set up) Things I have access to- sand (I am reluctant because I do not want to kill my impeller),
<Not as big a risk as you think -- I've been using sand for 10+ years in tanks with external canister filters without problems. The "trick" is to make sure there is a good few inches clear blue water between the sand and the canister inlet.>
small gravel (I have seen one slightly smaller then pea gravel and one a bit larger then sand, Eco complete, fluorite, Fluval stratum. There may be more but that's all I can think of at the moment.
<Well, do see above. I think you can probably draw your own conclusions from my comments.>
I always check your site when I need clarity.  You guys have taught me so much in the past 2 years of learning how to keep fish the right way.  I have researched so much I am burnt out. What is the ideal substrate?
<There's no "ideal" in all regards, and I'm sure many serious fancy Goldfish keepers don't use a substrate at all, and instead keep their fish in all-glass boxes that are easy to clean and completely safe. I like sand, even with big fish (and trust me, my Panaque could go punch to punch with any Goldfish when it comes to messiness!). I personally wouldn't use large gravel they couldn't dig, but of course many people do, and their Goldfish do perfectly well. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GldfshGravF.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshsystems.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Safe substrate for goldfish     7/29/12

Thank you for the advise. I'm thinking 3-6 millimeter gravel to be on the safe side for the fish and impeller.  If something is going to go wrong it will happen to me, Murphy's law and I go way back. 
<Did you see Bob's comment on the Daily FAQ page? He says that #2 or larger natural gravel (or its equivalent in the Flora line by SeaChem and others) would be best. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Safe substrate for goldfish (Bob, do you have a recommended substrate for Goldfish?)     7/30/12

I saw the FAQs and have to admit after several Google searches, that this FAQ is all I can find talking about numbers as a guide for gravel size.
Maybe I'm using the wrong word combination. I have looked for hours since this morning. So to ask simply. What size (millimeters/inches) are #2
<Nominally 1/8-3/16" diameter if memory serves>
 Also could I use this size gravel on top of fluorite?
<Yes; but the two will get mixed>
  If fluorite gets to where the goldfish can reach it, is it a hazard?
<Not as far as I've experienced and I use it w/ my fancy goldfish>
 I am fine with just gravel if fluorite is a problem. Thank you again for the help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Safe substrate for goldfish (Bob, do you have a recommended substrate for Goldfish?)     7/30/12

Thank you for the peace of mind. I scouted my local stores and one has both fluorite and that size gravel. Would it matter if the gravel is light/almost white? 
<Depending on what it's made of... you have read on WWM re freshwater substrates? My Fluorite is brown and black>
I prefer darker (for myself as well as the fish) and I am going to see if I can find or order it. I appreciate the help.
<I'd go w/ the SeaChem product. B>
Re: Safe substrate for goldfish (Bob, do you have a recommended substrate for Goldfish?)     7/31/12

Seachem fluorite right?  If so, that's the one I found. Are you suggesting that alone?  I like the look of it, and that would be strait forward.
Or is there a Seachem gravel?  Sorry to be dense.
<There is only the one. B>
Re: Safe substrate for goldfish (Bob, do you have a recommended substrate for Goldfish?)  8/1/12

Thank you for clearing that up for me.
<Ah, welcome>

Goldfish swallowed gravel   7/11/12
Hello there,
I have a 2-3 inch Oranda not including the tail who got a piece of gravel stuck in his mouth while he was browsing.
<Mmm, does happen; one has to be careful in selecting appropriate size/grade substrate w/ these fish>
 I tried to get it out but only ended up pushing it further into his mouth and he swallowed it. He acted normal after that and started browsing and eating again. It was a pretty big piece of gravel, maybe about the size of a pea.
 Should I have left it for him to sort out on his own? What will most likely happen to him? There aren't any vets nearby that I know of that will treat fish.
Thank in advance, Grace
<Likely "this too shall pass" w/o your further input, but I might administer a bit of Epsom Salt in hopes of moving all along. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/EpsomSaltUseF.htm
Bob Fenner>

A few questions for Neale... Silica sand use in FW, Goldfish sys.   1/25/08 Hi Neale, <Nicole,> Hope you are doing well! <Yep.> I thought I would ask you, since I have heard you say before that you use silica sand (aka silver sand, aka pool filter sand) in your tanks...have you ever heard of any problems arising from goldfish being kept in an aquarium with such a substrate? <Goldfish love sand! Your main problems are these: [1] Sand doesn't hide faeces the way gravel does. Faecal matter in tanks with gravel sinks between the grains, where you can't see it. It doesn't go away, but at least you can't see it until you stir the gravel. In a tank with sand, faeces sit on top of the sand. If you have a strong filter, they'll get sucked into the filter, but otherwise it can look messy. I find "spot cleaning" with an old turkey baster a great solution. If something looks too yucky, suck it up, and dump onto a houseplant. Problem [2] is that Goldfish can kick the sand about when they root about for food. They're happy as the proverbial pigs, but if the filter inlet is too close to the bottom of the tank, you can end up getting sand in the filter.> My friend tried using sand but missed his undergravel filter, so he's giving me 50# of silica sand, and I was considering using that for my future 30 gallon semi-planted goldfish tank. I have read - admittedly, on forums of questionable repute - that this can be problematic, causing intestinal impactions in the goldfish due to swallowing mouthfuls of sand when they are rooting about in the gravel, and have also heard it can irritate their gills as it passes. <Neither of these sounds likely. For a start, these fish live in muddy environments where they routinely throw all kinds of muck through their gills. But from my personal experience I've see smaller fish such as Corydoras and gobies thriving in sandy tanks, let alone massive great things like Goldies.> Would you know if there is any truth to this? I suspect there is not, but if so, my next choice would be organic potting soil with a layer of fine gravel on top, since I have read that soil can be a fine substrate for a planted tank. <Potting soil is rich in nitrate and phosphate, so tends to cause problems with algae. I do use pond soil in aquaria, which is formulated to be nitrate-free, but plain vanilla loams and soils tend not to be recommended. A better choice is coir (coconut fibre) which is relatively inert but looks very nice. Your problem here is that as much as the fish love this stuff, it makes the water completely cloudy *unless* you have teeny-tiny fish such as killifish that can't root about.> I have silica sand on two of my tanks, and I notice that (for me, anyway) it does seem to encourage smudge algae, or brown algae or diatoms - whichever it may be! This is fine since both tanks have a trio of Otos, and they seem to relish the stuff, but I am nervous about keeping Otos with goldfish, so I'll just have to step up on the water changes and do two 30% changes weekly. <The jury is out on whether silica sand genuinely creates a diatom bloom or not. Here's the issue: silica sand is basically glass, and both are effectively non-soluble. The amount of silicon coming out of silica sand will be completely negligible if the chemists are to be believed. My thinking is that silica sand is more difficult to clean than gravel, so perhaps more silt gets in, and *this* promotes algae. Perhaps also the brighter colour of silica sand makes algae more obvious. Finally, it's worth mentioning that all new tanks get diatom blooms; it seems to be part of what happens when you set aquaria up.> My plan is to keep 2 Shubunkins, and a Synodontis eupterus together in the 30 gallon tank. I know this is woefully small for the Syno, but he is still "only" 6 inches and he is moving to a 55 gallon tank by the end of the year. If the Shubunkins ever get too large where maintenance becomes impossible, the same friend who is giving me the sand has a natural clay lined pond that already has a couple of full grown comets in there. <Hmm... some Synodontis are confirmed fin-nibblers, so do your research here carefully.> I plan on massively over filtering the tank: hang-on back, 330 gph filter rated for 60 gallons, plus a Penn Plax 115 gph canister filter rated for 30 gallons, with a spray bar, and chock full of sponges and ceramic noodles. The hang-on back filter will contain filter floss contained in 800 micron media bags. The floss I plan on rinsing weekly and replacing monthly. Does this sound all right? <Sounds great. The more you rinse the floss, the less often you actually need to replace it, by the way.> The plants I intend to keep are a few of the inedible kinds - Java fern, Java moss. Some regularly thinned Salvinia on the top, and Water Wisteria in the substrate. I plan on trying Elodea/Anacharis but I suspect it will be chomped on heavily. <Elodea = goldfish food.> Is there any benefit to adding a thin layer of Laterite (20 oz.) and pouring the sand on top? (That is, if the silica sand is acceptable, of course.) <Laterite mixed with fine gravel, and then topped with sand (with a gravel tidy between the two layers) works very well. It's a trifle old school, but serviceable.> I would really appreciate your comments, and any advice, since I am a planted tank newbie. I have never had luck with plants; I do realize now that lack of lighting has been the reason, along with being sold houseplants. I know better now! My water is very hard and alkaline (alkalinity is off the charts at 300 ppm on my test kit) and I am lucky enough to be on a well, so no need for dechlorinator either. <Goldfish love this kind of water.> The city water I had before this was dreadful, very low in alkalinity. Fishkeeping is loads easier now, it almost felt like you were speaking to me directly when I read your hard water article! I've been meaning to try some fish that would really appreciate the hard water and plant combination, I am hoping that the goldfish will. <You get it! Yep, everyone thinks hard water is a bad thing. It's actually a blessing in disguise, once you understand how aquaria go wrong, and what it is water hardness actually does to help.> Thank you so much for your time. Also, your article about fish for a 10 gallon tank was superb! I suspect you had lots more to say, but had to keep it concise due to space constraints. I am definitely keeping it sandwiched in my aquarium books for future reference. <Glad you enjoyed the article! Yes, there is a lot to say about the topic of choosing the right fish for a given aquarium.> Take care, and thanks again! Nicole <Happy to help.> P.S. By any chance, do you remember what kind of Synos these were? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_cichlid I noticed you were the author of this stunning photo! The sand looks beautiful, I've never seen such a lovely yellow color, although I am guessing it's a trick of the light and it's really silver sand... <The sand does look very yellow under certain lights, especially if you have some bogwood in the tank tinting the water brown. Those cats are Synodontis nigriventris, a nicely-behaved small, schooling Syno ideally suited to community tanks although it is one of the fin-nibblers, so you do need to watch it carefully if mixed with slow-moving fish.>

Goldfish sys.  - 06/08/2007 Good afternoon WetWeb! <Hello again Oliver,> I have previously contacted you regarding my goldfishes, and thank you very much for your advice in the past. I only have a couple of quick questions today; I have recently purchased some crushed coral which I mean to use in my goldfish tank to raise the pH (currently about 6 (terrible), since I have just moved to an area with frankly rubbish water for goldies). I'm afraid I cannot provide the KH reading (a new test is on its way to me and has been for a fortnight...), but hopefully you can help me anyway. I was wondering if you could kindly advise me on two points; <Hmm...?> 1) Whether the crushed coral I have is suitable for a goldfish tank. The brand is CaribSea Arag-Alive, which I had recommended to me by another goldfish-keeper. However, since the packet refers to use in all types of system EXCEPT freshwater, I wanted to check with you first whether this would in fact be safe to use for goldfish. The coral is in water at the moment, if that bears any relevance to your advice. <Coral is aragonite, a relatively unstable form of calcium carbonate. It will dissolve slowly in water, and is perfectly safe to use for this sort of thing. The reason the packet says NOT to use it is that you wouldn't use this as a decorative sand in the typical freshwater tank. Tetras, barbs and so on wouldn't like the resulting hard, alkaline water. But we're using only a small amount, and the Goldfish will be much happier in hard water than soft.> 2) How I should go about adding the coral. I mean to place it inside the filter in a filter media bag, since my research found this to be the best method. My concern, however, is with how quickly the crushed coral will raise the tank pH (the tank itself is 125 litres). I really want to raise the pH with great care (since of course a quick change could cause more harm than good) but I don't know what the best method is to do this, since I can't find any specific detail online regarding how quickly change will occur or how much coral is needed per litre/gallon to achieve a higher pH (the pack I have states that it can raise pH to 8.2). As you can probably tell, I am very confused! <Place the crushed coral into a "media bag". These are basically inert nylon nets with plastic fasteners. You can buy them from aquarium stores. In the old days, people used to use the "feet" from nylon stockings. Either way, all the bag is doing is keeping the coral in one place so you can remove and clean it easily. Start off with a small amount, perhaps half a cup. Put into the media bag, rinse under a tap to wash off the dust, and then place in the filter. Over the next two weeks, measure the pH every few days. What you should see is that the pH gradually climbs up and then levels off around 7.5 to 8.2. If the pH doesn't rise quickly enough, add a bit more coral. But do remember that you're losing biological filtration inside your filter, so don't go mad. I'd not fill a filter with more than 1/3rd chemical media of any type, including coral. Each time you do a filter clean (maybe once every 4-6 weeks) take out the old coral and replace with some new coral. Put back in the filter. Clean the old coral thoroughly under a hot tap, and leave it somewhere to dry. This will get rid of the bacteria and muck that coats the coral particles preventing it from buffering the water. You can now alternate between the dirty and clean batches of coral as required.> I really hope you can help me and any advice or recommendations will be very gratefully received! Many thanks to all the WetWeb volunteers for all your terrific help in the past, and I hope you are all having a good weekend, Oliver <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: using coral to harden aquarium water  6/9/08 Hi Neale, Thank you very much for your extremely helpful advice (once again - I don't know what I'd do without WetWeb). I'll get the coral in there tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing some improvement soon, am sure the goldfish will be very grateful! Thank you very much again for all your help, Oliver <Glad we could help. Good luck! Neale.>

stones in fish tank, NNS?   6/9/08 hello sir how r u i have a 2'x2'x2' tank and have 8 goldfishes we also have stones at the bottom for decoration now i want to inquire that if we don't put the stones then is it harmful <Generally fish prefer tanks with sand or gravel at the bottom. Plain glass reflects light, and fish do not like light coming from underneath them. The reason is that they determine "up" and "down" by comparing where the light is (usually above them) and which way gravity is pulling them (usually downwards).> what is the use of the stones at the bottom <For most fish, it is just to stop light bouncing upwards from the bottom of the tank. But other species, like Goldfish and catfish, like to dig when feeding, so it is a "toy" of sorts, giving them something to do. Other fish move sand and gravel about to build nests or define territories. Gobies and cichlids will do this, for example. Yet others hide on or in the gravel. Loaches and flatfish are examples. Most fish adjust their colours to match the substrate. If you add a brightly coloured substrate, then they don't usually show their proper colours. The best sand or gravel is neutral or dark in colour.> is it only for decoration <The fish don't really care about decoration. But yes, many aquarists choose the substrate to create a particular "look" in the aquarium. I happen to like sand, specifically smooth silica ("silver") sand. It's fun to watch Corydoras dig through the stuff, and it is great for planted tanks too.> pls reply <Have done!> thank you <No problems.> -- SHADAB <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: stones in fish tank  6/9/08 so if i don't put stones then no harm at all??????? <As stated, not putting gravel in the bottom of the tank will make your fish unhappy. They will not feel comfortable. It won't kill them, but if you want your fish to be happy, put sand or gravel on the bottom. Please remember to put your messages in proper sentences next time, with capital letters in the right places! Cheers, Neale.>

Hi, just a couple of questions about Goldfish, please... Sys., beh. mostly    8/26/07 Hi! You really have a great website! <<Hello, Kim. Tom here.>> I just have a couple of questions. I have 2 black moors and a goldfish. <<Not being picky about this at all, Kim, but your Moors are Goldfish, too. I understand the distinction youre making, though.>> I just changed out the rocks in their tank (I read the rocks could be bad for them) to sand & the moors have been lying on the bottom some. <<Goldfish do have a habit of picking up rocks, which can sometimes get stuck in their throats. From this standpoint, yes, rocks can be problematic for Goldfish.>> They still come up to eat immediately & don't look sick at all, so wondering if they are just sleeping? <<Goldfish arent noted for sleeping on the bottom of their tanks. This behavior is usually associated more with some type of stressful situation/condition going on.>> Or if it is constipation- (they do look fat). They do eat like they are ravenous though, since I changed from flakes to worms. I don't really have the opportunity to watch my tank during the day, but I can't think of a time I've seen them poop. <<A high-quality Goldfish-blend of flakes shouldnt be causing constipation, Kim. The worms depending on what type of worms were talking about might contribute to this, though. Greens in their diets should alleviate the problem as will brine shrimp, for what it's worth.>> I have two snails to help clean & the sand is white so I would be able to see it if there was some there. <<Well, you may have given us a clue here with the white sand. First, a white, or very light, colored substrate is unnatural for Goldfish (and a lot of other fish, as well). The light reflecting off of the bottom is disorienting for them. By that I mean that your fish tend to orient themselves in the water by seeing light above them and dark below. When they see light above AND below, they lose their sense of positioning and become stressed, the same way you or I would if we had no sense of up from down.>> It has only been a week since I changed to sand though - maybe not enough time for build up. I tell you what - those snails really scour that tank though! So, should I try the Epsom salt for constipation (1T/5 gal) or would it hurt if there were no problems? Is lying on the bottom at all normal or should they just be swimming constantly? <<The Epsom salt can be effective as a saline laxative, Kim, but Id rather see you try a variation in diet first. Moors as well as some of the other fancy-variety Goldfish have a naturally plump appearance, anyway. Without a fair amount of experience with these fish, the difference between a fish that needs a membership at the gym and one thats legitimately bloated from constipation might be a tough call to make. Id also like to see you purchase some black sand and try to darken up the substrate. Ideally, Id really like to see you change this out completely to a dark substrate but it might be worth the trouble to see if a mix of the two is enough to alter your Moors behaviors. Hanging out at the bottom of the tank is not normal for these fish so there's something here that needs to be fixed.>> FYI- I have been feeding them dehydrated worms lately. I have had a lot of trouble with the water changing colors/clouding (even when the label said it wouldn't) with other foods & can't really afford the expensive stuff online. I have been trying peas - which they ate - & romaine - which they didn't think too much of. <<Zucchini and spinach are a couple of other items you might try, Kim. Vegetable matter, at any rate, is the best way to go.>> Second question. My goldfish has been nudging the belly of one of the black moors, I don't know if this is bullying or trying to get her to spawn? <<More likely trying to get her to spawn rather than bullying her. Might also account for some plumpness in her belly if shes carrying eggs.>> We did have a slight change in water temperature, but not for a long period of time to encourage spawning. Not really trying to have babies, but that would be cute.......little tiny goldfish (: Let me know if I should trade the goldfish or give it to a friend and get another fancy one. <<One thing I dont know, Kim, is how large a tank your fish are in. If the Goldfish is a Comet or Common variety, you require a much larger tank than you would for the smaller fancy varieties. Even with the two Moors and a Fancy, youd really need a 40-gallon tank, or larger, to accommodate them long-term. Given ample room to grow and thrive, the move to trade/donate your Goldfish for another variety isnt something I would recommend one way or another. Kind of like telling you how to decorate your home if you see what I mean.>> Any help would be appreciated! <<Summing this all up, Kim, I would, first, darken up the substrate substantially. Second, keep experimenting with vegetables until you find some (the peas are good) that theyll take to regularly and, finally, evaluate the size of your tank to ensure that your fish have the appropriate amount of space. In this last regard, if your tank is small, i.e. less than 40 gallons, Id move this upgrade higher up on the priority ladder to avoid bigger problems.>> Thanks! Kim <<Youre welcome, Kim. Good luck to you. Tom>>

Re: Hi, just a couple of questions about Goldfish, please...  Ongoing... Kim, Tom  08/27/07 Thank you so very much for your time & expertise! <<Not a problem, Kim. Only so happy to assist.>> Is there some reason you don't care for giving fish away? Maybe the stress of the travel once again? <<That certainly factors in, Kim. The sentimental side of me also likes to believe that folks become attached to their fish as they might with any other type of pet. Sometimes giving the fish up is the only positive action to take but I dont figure that I get paid (cough, cough) for telling hobbyists to get rid of their fish unless theres clearly no other alternative.>> Gosh, after spending the money on the sand - it was expensive for aquarium sand ($26/ 1 gal or so) & not exactly easy to do the transformation. <<Exactly why I suggested trying to darken the sand rather than another transformation, Kim. Im for economic fixes whenever possible. Im sure that there are so-called cheap alternatives to this. Driftwood, dark-colored decorations, flat rock or stones that you might create caves with. Wander around a good LFS and you just might find something that catches your eye and allows you to create something of interest for both you and your fish. Anything that you think might break up the glare off the bottom.>> I just get so worried about stressing them out. I've become pretty attached to those little ones. Although, I admit I really don't have the process down yet & maybe it is more me that is stressed out (; <<Get in line, Kim. The only hobbyists that dont stress, if only a little, are the ones who dont have a clue as to what theyre doing. No guarantees in our hobby but we can hedge our bets with research and knowledge.>> The reasoning behind the white sand is so I can see them better (now wish the pet stores didn't sell white if this is what happens - I didn't know). <<Depends on the fish you keep. Goldfish dont live in white-sand habitats. Many saltwater fish do. LFSs cater to a lot of different hobbyists. Was this something that you should have been aware of? No, it isnt. Its admittedly an obscure piece of information but an important one, nonetheless. Now, you know and you can tuck this little tidbit away for the future. ;) >> I have fashioned a large glazed flower pot into a fish tank- LARGE flower pot (w/submersible filter, lights, etc) and the insides are dark & it is hard to see the moors in this atmosphere, though they are my favorites next to the calico. <<Not big enough, unfortunately, Kim. Your Calico is a Shubunkin Goldfish, which is related to the Comets and Commons. Can grow to a foot in length. Your Black Moors will also need a larger environment unless your flower pot is capable of holding 30 gallons, or more, of water. My advice, if youre serious about your pets, is not to get cutesy where their home is concerned. (We see this with Bettas, as a for instance, all the time.) Commit yourself to a real aquarium where your pets will thrive and reach their full potential. They might come close to outliving me if you do it right. :) >> I will buy them some brine shrimp & keep trying on the veggies. Seems the peas, even after shelling, are a little to large for them to deal with. They eat them, but it takes awhile and one of the bigger moors doesn't really search the bottom, for food that is. Sure is tough to get the food in front of a Moors face sometimes, but it is fun when they eat out of my fingers. (: <<Kim, Ive an Angelfish that has taught every one of my other little crumb-snatchers to push their noses against the front of the tank when they think its meal time. Its practically embarrassing! When I change the water, its a circus! I feel like I just took them all to a Water Park, for Heavens sake. Everybody wants to be in the flow. Amazing to have that kind of connection with creatures from such a different environment than our own. Very special. Please, keep me posted, Kim. My best. Tom>>

Re: Hi, just a couple of questions about Goldfish, please... sys.    8/30/07<<Greetings, Kim.>> Large maybe flat rocks for the bottom is a good idea! Do you think I could stay with a lighter shade? <<I see a pattern here, Kim. :) Actually, I would prefer that you didnt stay with too light of a shade. In fact, the darker, the better. Breaking up the white sand substrate is what were after here. Truth is, any light colored substrate/decor is likely to be just as problematic for your fish. I think I know what you have in mind but if darkening up the bottom of your tank doesnt work this way, were back to square one with the sand, which will have to go.>> What is an LFS? Large fish store? <<Local Fish Store.>> I don't have a calico now, but I have had one before. They are so pretty! <<Beautiful fish, indeed!>> Yea, maybe I will go to a real fish tank. Thinking about making one into a coffee table, maybe with a glass or acrylic top that is easily removed for feeding. <<Not to stifle your creativity, Kim, but are you aware of the differences in power that sound generates in water as opposed to air? Setting a cup down on the top of your coffee table would sound like a thunder clap to your fish, if not worse. If you think the guys are stressed now (How did you plan on running power to a coffee table? Youve got filtration and lighting to consider. What about humidity beneath the cover? What about simply sitting and enjoying your fish? Pretty tough if you have to lean over from the couch to see them.) ;) >> I mostly picked out the pot for the decor thing & thought it looked cool. It sits on the floor - it is about 15 gal - they seem to be happy in it. There are really large pots out there too 30-100 gal, but they are so huge, I don't know if I have the space for one that big. Have you ever seen a round fish tank? <<Not for a home setting, Kim. Ive seen several in commercial buildings, though. Impressive, to say the least, but far too large for most residential applications.>> However, regardless of how cool the tank looks, they are still laying on the bottom under rock 'bridges' during the day /: So, I will look at bumping up to a larger tank. Is it a possibility that my pump is too strong & creating too much of a 'current' up top? <<No. The amount of filtration that Goldfish need is well beyond the norm, Kim. You dont want to look at the gallon size that the filter is rated for as much as the gph rating, i.e. how many gallon exchanges, per hour, your filter is capable of. The manufacturers claims can be downsized by about 10%-15%, as well. Goldfish fanciers tend to shoot for 7-12 exchanges per hour as opposed to the more typical 4-5 exchanges per hour. Translated? Your filter, or combined filtration, should be rated for about 120 gph, minimally, for your current tank. Move up to a 40-gallon tank and you should be looking at 300+ gph. Though the Fancies arent what I would refer to as streamlined, they wont get bounced around in the current the way that other fish will.>> Yea, I am kind of a newbie to really taking care of my fish. Had some as a kid, but of course wasn't really an active participant in caring for them. I guess I will get better at it. Still, I don't want to hurt the little fellas, so my heart is in the right place. <<I know it is, Kim, which is why Im trying to guide you away from any pitfalls I might see. Confidence comes with success and Id rather see you take a more traditional route here until youre comfortable.>> They liked the zucchini - any suggestions on how to feed it to them? <<Check out the LFS and see if they have the little chip clip holders with suction cups on them. I use a couple of these for my Sailfin Pleco and they work very well. Once you get the rocks, you can use a rubber band, or anything non-metallic, to hold a slice in place. (I place a slice under a piece of driftwood, too, which holds it in place quite nicely. Hes ill-mannered when it comes to sharing his zucchini with his tank mates, though. Im working on that. :) )>> They really didn't chew on the large piece, so I had to break it up into tiny bite sized pieces. Should I just leave a large piece in there & let them figure it out & pick at it? <<Yep. Theyll figure it out, Kim. They arent raspers (my Pleco just hunkers down and starts chewing) but theyll get it.>> Your help is appreciated. Unfortunately the people at my PetSmart aren't as informed as you are & don't really seem to have the patience for questions. <<Goes hand-in-hand, Kim. Ive rarely met anyone who was informed on a subject that wasnt willing to share his/her knowledge. Ask them something they REALLY know about and theyll let you draw a crowd!>> As many things go, it just takes time & a lot of research. <<Indeed. Understand, too, that Goldfish arent the beginner fish that many are led to believe. Much (too much) misinformation abounds regarding these fish. If I can emphasize one thing only, Kim, Goldfish need ROOM and lots of it. Give them that, and plenty of filtration, and most everything else kind of takes care of itself.>> Thanks so much Tom! <<Youre more than welcome, Kim. Feel free to get back with any other concerns/questions you might have. My best to you. Tom>>

Goldfish Eating Gravel    3/17/06 My greedy Oranda was eating her breakfast at the same time as my children and I and she suddenly started swimming erratically all over the tank. She had a stone stuck in her mouth. She struggled with it for about 3 or 4 minutes then she swallowed it. Can we do any thing? Hopeful the Drummonds < Gravel is a pretty inert little rock. It won't poison your fish but may become an intestinal blockage. try feeding a food high in vegetable matter so the fiber will help pass the stone through the fish. Change the gravel to a smaller size so this won't happen in the future.-Chuck>

Questions about goldfish .. sys., gravel, other sites - 4/11/2006 Hi again! <Ealasaid> Many thanks for your prompt reply and useful information!  I have decided to pass on the 10 gallon tank and go for a 20 gallon. Luckily for me, one of my co-workers has one they are getting rid of, so they're going to give it to me and I should have it up and cycling in a day or two. Yay! <Very good> As I'm continuing my research, I'm finding that many sources of information have wildly differing stats on fish in terms of compatibility, adult size, temperature, etc. Do you have any advice on reputable sites besides your own? <Mmm, for what sorts of livestock, systems? Best to educate oneself by immersion/exposure... as all sites/sources of information have some shortcomings (ours included)> Also, my friend at the pet store is suggesting CaribSea Aquarium Sand rather than gravel for the substrate in my new tank for my goldfish, but I see that your page on goldfish systems suggests rounded gravel instead. Which is better? <Mmm... really depends on the make-up of your source water (if it has substantial alkaline reserve, elevated pH to start with)... as one of the roles of the substrate is to buffer, bolster changes wrought by goldfish "gluttony"... wastes and food and their consequences... but FW "natural" gravel is better in almost all situations> The pet store in question is PetSmart, which only carries TopFin gravel -- which doesn't come in a rounded variety. Any advice? <Look about at independent fish stores. A good idea to "pick and choose" amongst outlets... Bob Fenner> Many thanks!! Ealasaid

Goldfish and Crushed Coral I got a 30 gallon cube tank that originally had African cichlids in it. I want to use it to house 1-2 fancy goldfish. Is the crushed coral that came with the tank an appropriate substrate for fancy goldfish? If not, what should I use? Thanks for all you good advice. James <I would suggest switching to regular, natural gravel. Crushed coal is used in African Cichlid tanks to keep the pH high and the water hard. Goldfish can live in these conditions but if you have a vastly different pH value in your tap water, water changes could be dangerous. A quick drop in pH is deadly. Don>

Gravel size and Goldfish Hello All. <Hi there> I have a 72 gal established aquarium of Goldfish. Presently there are four fish, 4-6 in size. I messed up the filter and the tank is recycling (again)! After the cycle I have three 1-3 in. Ranchus to add to the tank. My concern is gravel size. When we had a 7" Oranda she would constantly suck up gravel and get a stone stuck in her mouth. <Many goldfish owners have problems like that.  when I first started into goldfish I, on numerous occasions, had to pop a stone out of the mouth of my goldfish.> I had gone by previous advice and put med size stones when starting out and as I say, had constant problems. I am concerned with these Goldies growing and having the same problem with the stones getting stuck in their mouth and before I add the new little Ranchus, I'd like to change the gravel to a smaller size. Or should I? <Yes you should, the smaller the gravel is better for goldfish.  They can suck in the gravel, roll it around and feed off of them and will be able to spit them back out with no problems.  The problem comes when you have larger gravel that is the same size as their mouths.  Smaller is safe for these fish.> I really don't want to have anything happen to these little jewels!  I worry about wrecking the good bacteria that goes along with the gravel and I also worry about having to go through yet more tank cycling. Is it possible to add a little bit of new stones every few weeks and take a little of the old out? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Keeping the filter medium when you change the gravel will greatly reduce any sort of re-cycling that will happen when switching the gravel.  But, if you are still worried I would set up a smaller tank and allow that to cycle so when you are going to change the gravel you can simply move the goldfish to the other tank for a short time and change the gravel at your leisure.  Trust me, I've changed gravel in goldfish tanks and beneath that gravel there is some dark water... no matter how much you vacuum you will have lots of waste trapped below the surface and it might get extremely dirty for your goldfish. That is the method I had used, and with the two tanks running it definitely put my mind at ease.> Regards Robyn <Good luck with the goldies! -Magnus>  

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