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FAQs About Goldfish Systems 5

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Related FAQs:  Goldfish Systems 1, Goldfish Systems 2, Goldfish Systems 3, Goldfish Systems 4, Goldfish Systems 6Goldfish Systems 7, Goldfish Systems 8, Goldfish Systems 9, & FAQs on Goldfish System: Tanks (Size, Shape...), Lighting/Tops, Decor, Gravel, 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

Sharp objects can damage fancy goldfishes...

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 Husbandry 4/09/06 We have a single goldfish that came from the fair 2 yrs ago. <That is how I got started in this hobby.> It lives in a fish bowl with tall plastic grass (for him to swim around) <That does not sound fun.> It has red around its mouth and the tip of its tail, and seems to breathe hard.  Sometimes it stays up to the top and seems to get air above the water. I change the water every other day. <Only partial water changes right?> There is no filter or other fish. What do you think? <I think it is time to upgrade from the bowl to an aquarium.> I feed it twice a day and it eats fine. Its gold color is kind of dull at times. Doesn't like to be looked at, it swims like a nut when you do admire him/her. I feed it flake food. Can you help?? <Your Goldfish really needs a tank, filter, and more hiding places.  A 10 gallon tank would be fine for 1 goldfish, the larger volume of water and filter will improve the water quality, and this will make your fish healthier and happier.  You can change your water change schedule to every two weeks which will make you happier.  Your fish freaks out when you look at him because he has no where to hide, if you add some hiding places he will have somewhere safe to retreat and should not freak out as much.  You can find more on Goldfish and setting up an aquarium at the links below.  Best regards, Gage.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish.htm >

Black Moors... sick, env.  4/6/06 We just bought fish for the first time. <Welcome to the "pet fish experience"> We bought 3 black moors and when I brought them home we let the bag sit in the water for 15 minutes , then added a cup of aquarium water into the bag so the moors could get used to the new temperature.   <Good technique> When I finally put the moors into the tank them seemed happy they were swimming really fast in the tank and going up to the surface frequently. <... could be okay... but there might be something amiss with your water quality... was dechloraminated (the sanitizer removed/neutralized)? The tank cycled?>   One of the moors has one eye that's cloudy and the other two seem to have one eye slightly bigger then the other.  Is it normal for my black moors to spend the majority of their time at the surface of the tank and are there eyes supposed to be  the way they are?    <Mmm, no... something is wrong here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>   Thank you

Great Growing Goldfish  - 04/05/2006 Hi Bob, I was reading the forum, awesome stuff. I purchased a fantail with black but as he/she got older all the black is gone, now 5 months. Later he/she is all Gold, but too big for the 1 gallon tank I purchased. So I bought a 2 gallon tank and a small 1" Calico, but I had the Calico in there for 1 day and thought my Gold fantail needed all the room so I put the Calico in the 1 gallon tank till he/she gets bigger. My question is, is it OK for them to be alone? Do they need company? My Gold fantail has been OK for the last 5 months. But I feel bad! Thanks. Rodney <Your Goldfish will be fine alone. No reason to feel bad about that. But be aware that you will need a much larger tank to properly care for your pets. Goldfish get big and are messy eaters. You will need at least 20 gallons per fish to keep them for life. There are fish you can keep in a two gallon tank, but Goldfish are not on the list. If the tank is heated a Betta would be great. If it is unheated, a few White Clouds would thrive. But not while the goldies are in there. Don>

It All Began With Good Intentions.... Goldfish Plight  - 04/01/2006 Hello WWM. <Hi, Julie!  Sabrina with you today.> Before I begin, let me tell you that I am a newbie to Aquarium keeping, but find it enjoyable and want to learn more. <*Perfect* attitude.> I have made mistakes, <Me too.  All of us in fact.> but am looking for specific advice on where I went wrong. Some mistakes I learned about after the fact, for which I feel horrible, but I'm willing to learn. <Hopefully we can help a little with that - or at least point you in the right directions!> Your FAQ's here have been helpful, but not specific enough for my particular case. It began 2 years ago when I was horrified to discover what to me seemed cruel at a fundraising event. The organizers decided to use 2 large pickle jars filled with a total of 5 one-inch-sized Feeder Goldfish on the bar, used as decorative "Tip Jars". <.... such disregard for life disgusts me.> When I inquired what they planned to do with the fish at the end of the night, their response was "Flush them down the toilet". <Nothing short of murder.  How many animals must this hobby/industry produce for people with no regard for living things to use and abuse, then destroy with no care?  Terrible. Shame also on the store that sold to this purpose.> I asked if instead I could take them off their hands, thinking I could save their lives, and they obliged. <You are kinder than I'd have been!  Kudos to you for keeping your cool.> 2 died within 24 hours. <Not at all surprising.> The remaining three were transferred to a large Goldfish Bowl (3 or 4 Gallon?) which I purchased immediately along with basic Goldfish supplies advised to me by the Pet Store. No filtration whatsoever, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. Amazingly, all 3 survivors lived in that bowl for 2 years, with bi-weekly complete water changes to the bowl, (I used one of the "pickle jars" for holding as I cleaned and de-chlorinated the bowl (never washing it out, just a rinse), and allowed it to sit overnight with de-chlorination chemicals. Suddenly, the smallest of the three developed what I believe was a Swim bladder problem. <Mm, more likely a nutritional disease....  See here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> This inspired me to do Google research on curative measures... at which time I learned that most experienced Goldfish keepers claim that Bowls are deathtraps. <Indeed.> The next day I went out and bought the largest tank I felt I had space for... a 6 Gallon, which came in a kit including filter, test kit, food, thermometer, etc. No live plants were added to the tank, only artificial plants. After bringing it home, I realized I have room for perhaps a 10 Gallon where I placed it, but I set up the 6 Gallon anyway thinking it was better than the bowl. After cycling the tank for a week, the 2 Healthy Goldfish were moved in, and I kept the Swim Bladder affected one behind in a tank where he was being monitored for his problem and treated with skinless Peas in hopes that he would recover. He died a few days later... but gave up a good fight. <You gave him a far better life than he'd been fated by the folks from whom you procured him; I'm sure he was not unhappy.> My tank maintenance regime is set by calendar to once a week, at which time I "replenished" about 10% of the water level which naturally evaporated throughout the week. Because I also treated my tank with "Cycle" and "Waste Control", products, and tested the PH levels (which were reading normal), I felt the "replenishment" was enough... that perhaps I didn't need to "vacuum" the bottom or change out more water in such a small tank. Perhaps I was wrong, but the 2 Inch-long Goldfish were doing very well in the new tank, and their inquisitive personalities developed even further. They would "follow" my husband and I whenever we came up to the tank... feeding time was always a pleasurable thing for us. De-skinned Green Peas were even more fun... like a little toy ball in the tank they'd play with for hours. <Hah!  Fun, yes, and much better nutritionally than "just" flakes.> Three months into the tank, their environment started to grow little green tufts of algae. After some more Google reading, I learned that some believe Algae is very good for a Goldfish tank, but it is good to also try to control too much growth. I wanted to avoid snails because of my understanding [of my fathers tanks as a child] that reproduction can be somewhat uncontrollable. They multiply faster than rabbits! The last thing I want is a tank taken over by hundreds of snails. The pet store I went to recommended a Pleco, (which after the fact, I now realize was a HUGE mistake!). <Indeed....  And a play on words, there, with the ultimate size of the Plec.> Not only did I introduce a tropical into a Goldfish tank, but I didn't quarantine (I don't yet have a hospital tank). <Uh-oh....> 3 days after introducing the Pleco, both goldfish developed what looked like Ich, for which I began a treatment of "Super Ich Cure", the dosage of which calculated considering the Pleco in the tank. 2 days later, the Goldfish Fins began to split, and were streaked with red, and had red spots on their bodies with random scales missing. <Likely toxins/waste building up....  Most/all ich medications damage or destroy the bacterial colonies that keep your animals' environment healthy for them.  In this heavily overstocked small space, ammonia and nitrite can become deadly VERY quickly.> The Pleco also had some white dots on him (Ich?). Yesterday, I lost both the Pleco and one Goldfish within an hour of each other. The Goldfish was very pale, streaked with red, and looked "skin" was hanging off of him in random parts of his body. <Though the ich is partly responsible, it was environmental disease that killed these fellows.> The remaining Goldfish is perkier, but is rapidly degenerating. It appears as if a "skin" of sorts is hanging off of him in several places... a similar fate to the first Goldfish, but he has not lost his orange color as the other one did. <Major water changes are urgent, here.  This guy's environment needs to be fixed, and fast.> I am pretty sure the Pleco came in with Ich and Fin rot... and infected my friends. <Mm, ich, yes, but fin rot is (usually) largely or entirely an environmental disease.> I can't tell you how upset and angry I am about this... 2.5 years considering what they've been through... and we were attached to these "Feeder Fish". <I wholeheartedly understand, and feel very bad for this devastation.  I am heartened to know that you are passionate enough to research and try to help the animals in your care.  Thank you for this.> I admit I wanted more activity, and perhaps was a bit selfish getting another fish for such a small tank, but I wanted to share this for anyone else contemplating the same mistake. <Thank you.> It seems these environments are much more volatile than we may want to believe. <BINGO.  And THAT, my friend, is a VERY valuable piece of information.  Your future finned friends will fare much better for your understanding of this.> What I don't understand though, is that I took daily pH tests since I introduced the Pleco, and all appeared normal. <pH is but one water parameter that affects your animals' environment, and by far not the most important.> I am now of the opinion that perhaps a pH test is not enough? <Right.> Are there other tests that I should be using on a Goldfish aquarium? <Oh, yes, most certainly.> Does PH also account for Ammonia levels? <No.  You absolutely need separate tests for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, in addition to pH.  Ammonia and nitrite should always be maintained at ZERO, nitrate below 20ppm, with water changes.  None of the "waste control" stuff, it's entirely unnecessary and (in my opinion) is of no real use whatsoever.  Water changes are urgent, and your only defense against the waste your pets produce.  There is no substitute for a water change, despite what some products might lead you to believe.> Whether or not my last Goldfish perishes, <I do hope he doesn't.  Please get on those water changes, ASAP.  A healthy environment may be all that this guy needs!> I intend to buy a much, much larger tank and try again, and keep the 6 gallon as a hospital/quarantine tank. <Very, very good.> What I don't want, is to fall into the same situation again. I plan to stick with Goldfish (I like them, and I don't think I'm ready for anything harder to keep. But I now know to never, ever to introduce anything other than Goldies into a Goldfish tank... despite what people at the Pet Store think. <Mm, dojo/weather loaches make great goldfish tank inhabitants - and fare perfectly well in cooler water.  Can even be kept in outdoors goldfish ponds in some areas.> Are there snails that don't multiply faster than rabbits? <Yes, actually!  Apple snails are great critters, are EITHER male OR female, and not both (need one of each to reproduce them), lay their very LARGE egg clusters above the edge of the water (very easy to remove if you desire)....  And, like their name implies, they get quite large.  If you follow our general rule of thumb with goldfish (a minimum of 10 to 15 gallons per goldfish) and have a sizeable tank, you could perhaps keep a couple of these.  There are other, smaller, snails as well.  If you'd like a few suggestions, I would like to give you a couple of ideas for a good tank plan for your upcoming upgrade in tank size....  I'd like to see you get something on the order of a 55 gallon aquarium, as that would allow you space for up to five goldfish to live out their entire lives comfortably.  You could do four or five perhaps, and get a couple or a few weather loaches, as well.  A male/female pair of apple snails to round this out, and I think it'd be a very neat tank indeed.  Or you could go smaller, say, 30 gallons or so with just a few goldfish, omit the loaches, and have one snail buddy.  Or any other variation on the theme.  Ultimately, I do wish very strongly to advise you to go for as LARGE a tank as you can reasonably afford.  Remember, goldfish *should* grow fast (given appropriate conditions), and *should* be able to reach nearly a foot in length.  Also, keep in mind that there ARE plenty of tropical fish that are just as "easy" to care for as goldfish, so if you choose that you prefer tropicals, and wish to go that route instead, there are many options open to you.  And, most importantly, please keep reading/researching.  We have many articles that will help you greatly with this endeavor, from setup to maintenance and beyond.> Thanks again for this service! <And thank you for these kind words, and having such high regard for the lives in your care.> Julie <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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>

New goldfish, new goldfish owner, redux, part 2 (Attn: Bob)  - 03/28/06 Dear Bob: <Anne> Thank you again for your response. Two weeks later, we still are having water issues. After your message of 3/14/06, we continued to stay the course, but then there was a huge spike in nitrite level -- to over 10 (v. toxic!) ppm. <Yeeikes!> We immediately pulled the fish out to an emergency tank (Erm, bucket) and did a massive water change. We had been having trouble keeping the nitrite low but hadn't experienced anything like this spike. We ordered some "magic potion" -- Bio-Spira -- to help the tank cycle more rapidly, and that seemed to help for a bit. <This product is the "real thing"... Does work> My fiancĂ©© has also been adding both Amquel Plus and NovAqua plus as water conditioners in addition to BioZyme -- a source of powdered, dried bacteria. Nothing seems to help consistently. <Mmm, a note here... there are some types/makes of test kits that will give you a false positive for ammonia and nitrite... with the two water conditioners you list> We have, of course, been doing regular smaller (~20%) water changes and test about twice a day. Last night, the nitrite had spiked again to toxic levels. We did a 30% water change last night and another 50% water change today, and the nitrite levels are still at 0.25 ppm. <Much better> Nothing we do -- or don't do -- seems to help keep the nitrite levels low. Our fish _seem_ happy -- they are eating well and are not sluggish or clampy (although the larger one, Mojo, appears to be eating bubbles more than usual [actually, we don't remember him doing this at all before]). Any advice? Thanks! Anne <Do cut back on the Novalek products... pre-mix new water and store... cut waaaaaaaay back on feeding... and be patient (easy to say/key). Bob Fenner>

Goldfish With High Nitrates   3/24/06 Hi Bob Fenner, < Chuck, this time.> I have two goldfish (one's a common goldfish and other is a comet) in a 40 gallon tank.  I've had them since early 2003 and they are both a fairly good size (say 7 plus inches. My concern is that my nitrate levels are sky high and I can't seem to get them down regardless of doing frequent water changes, adding buffers as directed, reducing food amounts, and just regular tank maintenance.  I'm now changing 10% of the water weekly and changing the carbon filter every 4-5 days. The common goldfish now demonstrates this floating behavior.  When he rests and is not actively swimming he floats with his fin up.  He was flipping right over but he seems to do it less now but is still imbalanced.  This has been going on for just over three weeks now.  Some days he seems to get better.  The folks at the pet shop said I should feed them sinking pellets so that way they don't swallow too much air and get it trapped in their bellies.  I'm wondering if this is really the case since I haven't seen anything to that effect on the website FAQs section.  Can you help me sort out what is really happening in the tank? < The high nitrates have stressed you goldfish and they may be starting to get an internal bacterial infection. A big feeding of floating pellets could cause this condition too, but I think it would go away after awhile. Start by doing a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Check the nitrates in your tap water. Agricultural areas tend to have high nitrates in the ground water from years of crop fertilization. Feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. If they don't improve after a couple of days then treat them with Metronidazole. I read about introducing plants into the aquarium but the two fish are rather aggressive with plants and won't let them grow.  Is this another symptom?  Please advise. Thanks, Christine < Goldfish are not really aggressive but rather hungry and continually nibble and tear plants up.-Chuck>

Large fancy goldfish question ... beh., dis., sys.   3/21/06 Hi, I have two red cap Orandas in a 29 gallon tank. One is almost 5 inches long including it's tail and the other is a little over four inches, including it's tail. In the past week, I've noticed the smaller fish has been swimming kind of strange. She seems to have a bit of hard time swimming forward and when she tries to make a turn, she goes over on her side completely. <Might just be the influence of the small tank size> At first I thought it might be something wrong with her swim bladder but then after looking into it more, it sounded more like constipation/bloating. So I stopped feeding for a few days and there was a little bit of improvement then started feeding a little bit of goldfish pellets because they're lower in protein. <Need other foods...> Normally, they are fed ocean nutrition, formula two, I seen it recommended somewhere on your site, they also eat pellets and have plankton and brine shrimp for a treat once in awhile. <More greens...> Anyways, the main reason I'm writing is because since yesterday I've noticed that this fish sometimes goes and lays down on the gravel. Which I've never seen them do. <Yes> Sometimes they would rest right over the gravel but never on it. Every time I try to go closer to the tank to look at it, she notices me coming and starts swimming around. So, since yesterday, I started feeding them baby food (peas). <Ah, good> I was always scared feeding them actual peas because I was worried they would choke on them. :) <Won't, if blanched, the skins pinched from them> But I know they wont choke on the baby food. But I was just wondering if you could tell me anything about it laying on the gravel? <...Mmm, age, boredom... need larger quarters> Is this normal for a fish who is constipated/bloated? <Not atypical> I didn't want to start trying to treat it without knowing if it even needed any medications but then again I figured I better write to you in case it might be more serious. I really wouldn't want to lose my fish. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I tested the water and the ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0 and nitrates are about 10. Did I forget anything else? Oh, when I feed them the baby food, they both seem to really like and both of them are eating very well. So if there's anything you can tell me about whether this might be something more serious, as in parasites or something, or what else I could do if it's constipation/bloating...I thank you in advance. Lindsay <I'd "step up" your water change schedule... maybe 10-20 percent twice a week... but really, they need more space. Bob Fenner>

Black Moor and Celestial beh., sys.    3/19/06 I have 10G tank, originally with 2 black moors (George & Rosie), Rosie was never happy, hung about the pump, never ate and was listless.  She lasted 2 weeks before passing on. <Was/is this tank cycled?> George has personality and swims like a salmon against the pump current.  Very friendly on his own and will wait at front of tank for food and go generally loopy when food is given to him. <This system will eventually be too small...> We left George in the tank for 3 weeks before purchasing a Chinese Celestial (Angel), however George appears to be very aggressive toward her.  He is constantly swimming in and head butting her, constantly swimming underneath her and moving her up to the top of the tank. <Territorial> Is this aggression or likely to be something else... <Is> thanks in advance for any response you may give Stewart <Keep the one fish in a breeding net or plastic floating colander, otherwise separated for a few days... and see if this reduces the aggression. Otherwise, they now (and would eventually) need more space. 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>

Goldfish Tank That Is Too Clean   3/18/06 Hi. I have a problem with my goldfish it has flaky skin and all my fish they were always active and energetic and now they are always at the bottom of the tank. I have changed the water many times and they just lie at the bottom as if they are dead and I think my big one has started scaling. Could you please inform me what might be wrong? Thank you, Gerry p.s. I have a filter and a heater. I clean the filter every day but as soon as I change the water goes cloudy. I put cold water in and use the heaters to heat it up a bit and then put my fish in but the water stays cloudy. < Remove the heater, do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel. The cloudy water is probably ammonia. The good  bacteria that provide biological filtration are being removed every time you clean the filter. The ammonia stresses the fish and they become sick. Bad bacteria are eating away the flesh of your fish. Add Bio-Spira from Marineland to get the good bacteria going. Control the ammonia and nitrites with water changes. The clean water the fish may get better on their own. If not, remove them to a hospital tank to be treated with antibiotics like Furanace or Kanamycin. These antibiotics will affect the good bacteria too. If you treat the main tank you will need to add carbon after the treatment top remove any medication. Then Add Bio-Spira to get the biological filtration going again.-Chuck>

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>

Goldfish and "shark" uncertainty   3/15/06 Greetings   I am the proud owner of one 4in Lionhead FG, one 2in Fancy G, one celestial eye FG, one 1 1/2 in unknown GF (it has no dorsal fin, humped tail, small pom poms on its face, red and white.  can u tell me the common name?) <Not from the proffered info.> and one 1in black moor.  I also have added a 1 1/2 in rainbow shark, yes this is probably bad.      My question is this:  I have been having terrible issues with bacterial bloom since I have added the celestial eye and rainbow shark. <This minnow is too "mean" to keep with fancy goldfish. Remove it.> It is obvious that this tank has become quite overpopulated (29 gal) <Is too over-populated with just two of the goldfish> and must be the culprit.  All chemical levels are in check.  What can I do to rid the bacterial blooms? <Less fish, feeding, more filtration, circulation, more frequent partial water changes, live plants...> I have tried 2 different types of coagulating agents and this hasn't helped at all. <These "clarifying agents" are not a good idea> No progress here.  Do I need a stronger filter?  It is for a 20-40gal.  I am reluctant to separate these fish because they are currently rather small for now, with the exception of the lionhead, and I don't have the sufficient funds to get another tank right now.  What is my best option?    <To read... on WWM re goldfish systems: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above>   Also, I was fooled into getting my rainbow shark.  Why do all pet store employees give stupid advice? <Mmm, not all... a counter... Why is it that folks are so eager to blindly accept such input? There is no "certifying" agency for such workers...> My fault for relying on them anyway.  So this fish is supposedly very aggressive, yet I  have had him for 2 weeks and he/she swims with the other fish in a friendly manner and causes no problems thus far.  Should I separate him anyway under suspicion?    <Yes. Will eventually become abusive>   I realize now that I really need research more BEFORE I buy fish, if I had, I wouldn't be bothering you, I'm sorry.    <Ahhh!>   Thanks for listening   Christy Bowen <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish issues   3/15/06 Greetings, Crew! I have been using wetwebmedia.com as well as goldfishinfo.com for the last few months as a valuable resource for the care of my common goldfish that I got in September. <Good sources> This is an absolutely amazing website with more info on fish care than one could possibly hope to read in a lifetime. <Mmm, "It's only just begun..."> Thank you so much for taking the time to actually educate fish owners on their pets and for your dedication of them. You have done an excellent job! (If I was a trophy giver-outer-person you guys/girls would totally score one)  ;) <Feel as if our "shelves" are full already, but thank you for your kind words> I have been having some problems the last couple of weeks with my fish and to be honest, I can't quite make sense of what's going on. I had six common goldfish in an Eclipse system aquarium and hood. <Too much for this size/volume> I wound up having to go out of town for the weekend a couple of weeks ago without being able to clean their tank first, which I had already been putting off for several days. When I got back late Sunday evening the tank was far too dirty and one of the smallest fish was lying on his side at the top of the water. <...> He was alive, although his breathing had slowed considerably and he had some pretty good tail rot. <Environmental...> I moved all the fish into a separate container with fresh water <Not all new I hope/trust> right away until I could get their tank into better condition. I put the really sick fish in another container by himself, but by the next morning he had died. He looked pretty bad too. I was so intent on getting their tank cleaned out and decent that I completely forgot to test the water before I got rid of it (Duh). <Yikes> Even though I had cleaned the tank I decided to leave the fish in the container they were in for a few days so the aquarium could, uh, do its thing, I guess. <In a manner of speaking...> Actually, I'm not sure why I did it, but it seemed like a very obvious thing to do at the time. During these few days, two other fish had been acting slightly different and on the day I decided to move the fish back into the aquarium, they were just kind of lying on the bottom. One of them would move to eat, but the other just stayed where it was the whole time. So I put them all back in the tank and added some MelaFix to it. I was pretty freaked out at this point though, so in about an hour I decided to take the two "sick" fish out and isolate them when I saw the one that wouldn't eat doing headstands on the bottom of the tank. He was breathing very slowly and half-an-hour after I put them in isolation he was floating on his side at the surface - dead. I attached a couple of pictures of this fish. I felt kinda strange taking pictures of a dead goldfish, but... And don't be alarmed - this fish has always had one eye. In the picture with the green background, you can see... fungus, I guess (?) on the underside of the fish. And I'm not sure but is he missing a front fin on the side facing upward? In one of the other pictures you can see the fin rot on his tail that he developed at some point, as well as black specs or dots along the body... I know the tail rot is a bacterial infection and that tail/fin rot and fungus are usually the results of a larger problem, but I have no idea where the spots came from. They were never there before, and I can't find any references anywhere to this occurrence. They're not so much patches of discoloration as they are literal, black dots. Meanwhile, I tried to feed the other fish that was in isolation some peas, but she wouldn't eat them. Besides this, and the fact that she was just laying along the bottom, she looked fine. I did a few 50% water changes over the next day or two and tried feeding her "Jungle" Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food (didn't eat it), which I also fed to the rest of the fish. I know this doesn't solve the "real" problem but if I can keep them from dying from infection in the mean time, that's a good start. Next time I went to check on the sick fish she was lying on her side at the bottom, and I actually thought she was dead at first because her breathing had slowed down so much and become irregular. I changed most of the water and then emptied some out so that the surface would be closer to her and there would be more oxygen where she was. I also added a little bit of Epsom salt to her water. When I came home in the evening, she was kinda bent up in a "U" shape on the bottom, which I remember reading somewhere is classic of ammonia poisoning. So I immediately tested the ammonia, which came to a grand ole amount of 0. Since I had been changing the water and the fish hadn't pooped at all while in isolation, ammonia poisoning wouldn't have made much sense anyway. The Nitrite levels were fine, and Nitrate was about 40 and the Ph was about 6.5. If it wasn't ammonia, at this point I didn't know what to think it was. She kept randomly thrashing for a second and then being still for almost a minute sometimes, and then would thrash again and then lay still... She held in there for a while; did this routine for over 24 hours. I didn't know what else to do - I was changing the water a few times a day, I added Melafix and some salt, I tried feeding peas and anti-bacteria food... I even kept the water level low so she would be near oxygen. All to no avail. I can't really say I'm that familiar with goldfish anatomy, but from what I could tell she didn't have growths or rotting or open wounds or visible parasite thingies. The only thing I did notice that concerned me was she was developing black dots just like other fish had, and there was some strange dark circle on the top of her head (this was never there before). The other picture attached is a photo of this. When I first saw it I actually thought it might be fish lice or something creepy like that, but I honestly have no clue what it is now. I read on goldfishinfo.com about "Melanophore Migration," which apparently is when black spots appear when a fish is recovering from an ammonia surge or Low Ph, except my fish obviously didn't 'recover' so why did the black spots start forming? Meanwhile the other fish don't seem to be in any distress. Last night I added a pinch of salt and some "Ammo Lock" (which I've never used before) to the tank and then I tested it this morning and got the following: Hardness: 120; Nitrite: 0; Nitrate: 20; Alkalinity: not quite 80; Ph: 6.0; and Ammonia: 0.06. I did a partial water change right afterwards, but I have to confess: I'm confused. I thought high levels of ammonia usually go hand in hand with a high Ph, except my Ph is low for goldfish and I still have ammonia. I can't remember ever having a Ph reading lower than neutral, so why the drop all the sudden. We have well water, and it does have a softener, but that's always been there. So I guess what I really want to know is 1.) what (or what combination of things) actually killed my goldfish 2.) Where did the black dots and spot on the head come from 3.) why the low ph reading and 4.) what do you suggest I do to prevent losing the remaining goldfish? I'm sorry this email is sooooo long but I'm confused and trying to be accurate with my details. Thank you in advance. I don't expect you to be able to answer everyone of my questions, but the more you can tell me, the better off my goldfish will be! Thanks!!!! Erin <Have just skipped down... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above till you know what you need. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish And Their Environment - 03/14/2006 Hello, <Hi.  Sabrina with you today.> I have two Goldfish a Comet and a Fantail I have had them for 6 months in a 10 litre tank which I think is 4 Gallons (I'm in Australia) <Actually, this is closer to 2.5 gallons, and in either case, far, far too small to support even one goldfish for a great deal of time.  We usually recommend 10 to 20 gallons per goldfish (that's about 38 to 76 liters).  Goldfish are very, very "messy" waste-producing fish that get far too large for such a small tank; they can easily pollute themselves to death, swimming in their own waste essentially.> it was a kit, has a magic jet filter, I do water 50% water changes every fortnight and I follow the instructions to the letter. Firstly the fantail (Rodney) became ill his tail looked clumped together and jagged fairly inactive not eating and being bullied a bit by the comet (Dell Boy) and looking quite unhappy, <All certain signs of a toxic environment - too small a tank for too much fish/fish waste.> the pet shop told me to do 50% water changes every 3 days, <A great piece of advice.> cut down on food to once a day fish flakes, <Take a look here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > and to add Promethyasul to water (a broad spectrum fish treatment for fungal and parasitic diseases) <Mm, medicating is probably unnecessary and maybe even a bad idea at this point.  The fish's affliction is almost certainly just environmental.> after a few days he improved and despite his jagged tail is now seems to be normal, but now the Comet developed red blood coloured streaks around his mouth area that extended to the bottom of his eye, after a day  the eye clouded over and the top of his head seemed as though there was blood coming to the surface of his skin, <All signs of environmental toxicity.> I attended the pet shop and they advised too much acid in the water (no test was done) <This is not the problem.  Though, huge amounts of ammonia (fish waste) in the water WILL bring the pH down, the problem is not the pH (acidity/alkalinity), but the ammonia - toxin, poison - in the water.> and the fish were being burned, <By ammonia, not acid.> they suggested partial water change and to clean filters always a few days after a water change, and to continue with the Promethyasul, <Still not sure I agree at all with medicating....  what is the active ingredient listed on this product?> two days later his eye has cleared the mouth has cleared but the sore on his head looks as if its bleeding looks very sore, he has streaks of blood on one front fin and on one of his under fins, also his side tummy area also looks kind of tinted with blood, <Still signs of ammonal, possibly nitrite poisoning....  some bacterial possibilities as well.> again I attended the pet shop this time with water sample, they said water was great <What are they testing?  I'm starting to question their information seriously.> but PH too high and that was most likely why they are sick, <Uhh.  Just before this, they told you the water was too acidic (this means a very low pH) and now they're telling you the pH is too high?  What are they smoking?  Uhh, in any case, the problem is not your pH, goldfish are VERY tolerant of a wide range of pH, from 6.5 to 8.0....  I strongly urge you to invest in a good liquid reagent test kit (not dipstick style ones) for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, so you won't have to rely on a store for this.  I really, really don't trust that you have zero ammonia and nitrite in the tank at this point, with the descriptions of symptoms.> so yesterday I treated with PH down, <Changing your pH is dangerous.  A constant pH that's a little "off" is better than a fluctuating pH.> went back to the pet shop with another sample and they say the water is perfect, both fish are behaving normally eating a small amount once a day, the comet is still nipping a little at the Fantails tail. <This will continue until they're in a less crowded space.  This tank is just too small for them.> I'm quite worried about them being a Goldfish owner is still new to me,  been I have now been to 4 pet shops and becoming increasingly confused and more so worried about my little buddies, I would appreciate it so much if you could help me. Christine (Rodney & Dell Boy) <Please read on WWM regarding goldfish health, goldfish needs....  and decide if you have the space and funds to devote to a larger tank (or small pond on your porch?) for them.  Otherwise, you might want to consider keeping a single Betta or a few white cloud minnows, more suited to this small system than goldfish.  Please start reading here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm  as well as the links, in blue, at the tops of those pages.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish And Their Environment - II - 03/18/2006 Hi Sabrina, <Hello, Christine!> I cannot thank you enough for your information,  I have read all the information you suggested and feel much more confident.   <I am VERY glad to hear (well, read) this.> I have today purchased a 55 litre tank and all the appropriate accessories, so hopefully they will be happy in their newer cleaner and bigger home.   <Wow, I'm sure they will!> The Promethyasul, you requested the active ingredient its mafenide hydrochloride 24.2mg/ml Aminacrine hydrochloride 3.3mg/ml malachite green 0.4mg/ml. <Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is unnecessary in your case.> I have today done a further 50% water change and have discontinued this medicine. His wound has healed quite quickly but his eyes still are a little blood stained and cloudy, hopefully the new environment will clear up these problems. <I do hope so.  Remember to be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - in this new tank, they'll need you to watch this closely as the tank cycles.  Definitely take a look at WetWebMedia for more information on the Nitrogen cycle and how it will affect your new system.> Thanks again,  -Christine <Very glad to be of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Goldfish, Koi, Aggression And Their Environment - 03/13/2006 Dear Wet Web Media Crew, <Sabrina with you, today> Thank you for the excellent site! I have been browsing through your FAQs for a few weeks now, and they have been a useful resource of information. <Glad to be of service!> Hadn't been expecting to write in myself, but an unexpected problem has developed in my aquarium and I was hoping you might be able to offer some advice on it. <I'll sure try.> I have searched through the FAQs, but I haven't yet found anything specific to what I noticed with my fish - my apologies if this has already been covered.  I am currently keeping three goldfish (a Ryukin, a demekin, and a black moor, all roughly 2" long including tail) and one small koi (2.5" - 3" including tail) in a 20 gallon tank. <Holy carp!  This is far, far too small for these animals....  The koi will absolutely require a MUCH larger space, and soon.  He's a baby right now, and will grow impressively fast if fed well.  I have seen koi that were larger than 20 gallon tanks - seriously!  The largest I've seen were *easily* five feet long.  For real.  This fellah will reach a foot in a year or two; a 20g tank really isn't a good space for him.  Some potential space problems brewing....> The black moor, Othello, was added three weeks ago and all four fish have been living together peacefully until this morning. <Uh-oh....> They were fine around midnight last night, but when I checked around 11 a.m. this morning, Othello's tail had been almost completely shredded, and all of his fins except the pectorals were also badly nipped. (I have attached a photo, in case it is of any use.) I noticed the koi trying to suck at Othello's fins, and I was later informed by one of my family members that the Ryukin and the demekin had also been chasing and nipping at him as early as 7:00 a.m. <I'm not terribly surprised.  The koi may very well have "started" it, or it is also possible that the moor was ill to begin with.> I have since moved Othello into a "baby net" that I hung on the inside of the tank to keep him from getting abused by the other fish. <I would advise you to remove him to another system entirely.  For one, being in such a tiny space will stress him further in his damaged state.  For another, that baby net is seriously cutting into the available space in the tank....  I would place the moor in a separate system to allow him time and space to heal.> Besides the ripped fins, he seems to be fine - he has a good appetite and he holds his fins (or what's left of them) open and erect.   <A good sign to be sure.> My questions to you are: 1.) Do you know of anything that could account for this sudden aggression, and is there any way to rectify it? (I read that females can be chased and nipped by males, but I am fairly certain that Othello is male - he has small white tubercles along the first ray of his pectoral fins and on his gill covers - while the sex of the other three fish is unknown.) <Mm, at that small size, I find it unlikely that the fish are able to show their gender yet - let alone start flirting.> 2.) Is there anything I can do to help his fins and tails heal? <Pristine water quality, possibly Nitrofurazone or Kanamycin in a hospital tank *if* he shows signs of bacterial infection.> 3.) Can/should I keep him separated in the "baby net" until he's completely healed, or are there any downsides to keeping him in the net (e.g., should I place a divider into my tank instead and keep him separated that way?)? <No divider, no net....  really, this fish needs a quarantine tank to provide space and time away from his pals to heal.> 4.) Can/should I reintroduce him to the other fish again later, after he has recovered?   <Not in the 20g.  Really, ideally, these animals need a much bigger space.  For the three goldfish, I'd like to recommend a 30 gallon tank.  They can get by in the 20 for a while, though.  The koi, however, really deserves to be in a pond.  Koi are not small animals, and don't really do well in aquariums.> (This may not be relevant, but in case it is, here are the water conditions of the tank: pH = 7.8, [ammonia] = 0 mg/L, [nitrate] = 10 mg/L, [nitrite] = 0 mg/L. I change about 30% of the water weekly, and condition the water with NovAqua and Aquari-Sol.)   <All very relevant, thanks for adding.  I heartily recommend that you discontinue the regular use of Aquari-Sol; this is a copper based medication.  In too great an amount, or improperly use, can become toxic to the fish.  I know it includes instructions for regular use, but really should not be used except as an anti-parasitic medication.> Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you. Sincerely,  -KT <All the best to you KT.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Freshwater Tank Set-Up ... fancy goldfish in a tiny world - 03/09/2006 Hi :D <Hello> Essentially, I want to set up a freshwater tank, but before I get into my questions, let me tell you a bit of background first. I have a feeling this will be a bit long-winded. I'm a college freshman at the moment and I am in love with goldfish, in particular, bubble-eye goldfish. They're just so cute :D And I know that it's really cruel that they exist because they are illogical beings that can't survive in the wild <Mmm, neither could we> and can barely survive in a tank, but I figure that since they're already here, someone should take care of them properly. Besides, they are so cute XD As for my fish history, it is very short. Just this past Christmas, my parents gave me a pair of bubble-eye goldfish, which I immediately named Fancypants and Mrs. Robinson. They were given to me in a 2.5 gallon plastic bowl (2.5 if filled to the top, so really it was 2 gallons of water, <Way too small...> and plastic so that they would be easy to travel with to my university, just lower the water halfway, cover the top, wrap a blanket around to stabilize temperature, and carefully coddle during the trip, and you're good to go :D worked out amazingly). Now before you get on me for the bowl being too small, I just want to say that I know. The very night of Christmas day when all the guests had gone home and we were all marveling at our new gifts, I spent the whole night Googling goldfish care and found your site and realized immediately that my goldfish's situation was not in the least ideal. PS, your site is amazing and has given me reading material for over two months now (and I've only just found the e-zine @_@). <Ah, good> I fretted over the size of the bowl. I worried over the gravel, which seemed too rough for their delicate cheeks. I even made my parents take back the plant they had bought me (thankfully still unopened) because the leaves were too stiff and sharp, in exchange for a lovely, paper-ish plant that would bend at the slightest touch. I honestly wanted to get a proper tank for my fish but they did seem to be doing fine in their bowl, and my dad strongly discouraged it since it would be a hassle at school (specifically moving between school and home, which is about a 2.5 hour drive), and you know kids. They take more stock in what their parents say than the parents think they do. The fish lived perfectly fine like this at home. I took care of them constantly, making sure to keep a constant feeding schedule and hiding the food when my best friend came over wanting to feed them XD I also did about a pint water change every day, combined with weekly larger water changes of about 30-50%. This kept the water clear. I think the reason they survived at home was the tap water, which came directly from our well situated on our property, which could be added to the tank immediately if not for temperature issues. They remained very active and very social with each other, always ready for food and very seldom showing signs of stress. Mrs. Robinson was even looking healthier than she did when I got her (I presumed as I started to care for them that the pet shop had not done a good job, she was missing scales on her back and had a funky kink in her tail) and Fancypants' bubbles BALLOONED. When it came time for the transition to school after winter break ended (about a month after I got them), everything went fine and dandy. However, the school's water is not as awesome as ours. After a few weeks of being fine, I had the nightmare weekend from hell when they both died. Mrs. Robinson first, who had been struggling for days and finally simply stopped eating, and then Fancypants, sudden and overnight. It's become known as the greatest fish romance ever, since they were so social and caring with each other and then died together. Their deaths have traumatized me because I always get too close, too attached, and too emotional, but they have also given me the determination to start anew and start right. PSS, sorry for unloading all that on you. Once I started typing, I couldn't stop. I've wanted to get that off my chest for a while but no one here understands how I can care for two little fishies so much. This letter just sort of opened the floodgates. So anyway, I want to start a tank with all the right equipment and everything because I want to do it right. I want my fish to live. I want to spend years with them. I have a plan! Having a full-blown tank at school is difficult, but not impossible. Actually, tanks of fish are the only pets we're allowed to have here. Because we're already almost halfway through the semester, I've decided to actually set the tank up as soon as I get home for the summer and then migrate to school with it in the fall. Meanwhile, I want to begin collecting the pieces. What do you think of this line-up? - a 10 or 20g tank, I'm not sure yet, I have to look at them in the stores <A twenty is far better> - Aquaclear Filters by Hagen 150/30 (for 10-30g tanks) - Hagen gravel vacuum size small - Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit - Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Fresh/Saltwater Nitrate Test Kit <The first kit will have a nitrate assay> I also want airline tubing but I don't know how to set it up. Would this work? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00019JLD2/ref=wl_it_dp/104-1764065-8040759?%5Fencoding=UTF8&colid=QSL6E7O5WENO&coliid=I326BUW47DF2QG&v=glance&n=284507 Or is that incomplete? <Mmm, not necessary... you don't want to drill a hole, fit this through the bottom...> This is also the filter I'm thinking about: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00020SVDG/ref=wl_it_dp/104-1764065-8040759?%5Fencoding=UTF8&colid=QSL6E7O5WENO&coliid=I1OBE1U5AQY8B3&v=glance&n=284507 But it says that it doesn't come with replaceable parts, like impellers and cartridges. Are those things that I would have to change often and keep a supply of? <Is an AquaClear Hang-on power filter... is a good unit, cartridges are available in many places... the only part that needs replacing> Should I invest in a cover for the tank? Like one of those big plastic ones that flip up so you can feed the fish? Or would no cover be fine? <... I would get a cover... to keep things in/out> Is it safe to buy most of those things online? <Might be better to get not online, but there are many etailers... listed on WWM> For the tank, I'm assuming it's best to go into an actual store to look and I need to do that anyway to get a sense of size to see what will fit in my room, but what about the others? Is it recommended that I go to an actual store for them as well? I think I should note that I will be buying these things one or two at a time as I get money (another reason why I am waiting till summer to set it up). When I had my fish, since I was sitting home bored in the day a lot and also because I loved them so much, I would just sit around and watch them do their thing. One thing I noticed is that they don't have bad eye sight. They just have severely impaired eye sight. Mostly they see up and maybe forward a little, but they can't see downwards at all or to the sides. So I have a few questions concerning feeding. Along with the fish, I was given TetraFin Goldfish Flakes, "Balanced Nutrition with ProCare for Optimal Health." The main ingredients of this are fish meal, ground brown rice, dried yeast, shrimp meal, feeding oat meal, wheat gluten, soybean oil, and a host of funny chemical names that I won't go into. I really want to give my goldfish a balanced diet and I don't think this matches one because there are no vegetables involved (except for soybean oil but I'm not sure if that really counts). As much as I would love to give them vegetables, there is one problem, very related to their bad eye sight. I get all the frozen peas I and they can want from my dining hall at school but the problem is they sink too fast!! My goldfish never saw them coming!! Or if they did, they couldn't aim for it properly because it was moving so fast (i.e. 1cm/sec). Mostly they didn't have time to react. So the peas just sat at the bottom gathering dust, so to speak, until I picked them out for fear of poisoning my fish. Once the peas are at the bottom, the fish couldn't find them until they accidentally stumbled on one while mouthing gravel and this only happened once. Is there a way to feed vegetables to bubble-eyes so that they will actually get a chance to eat them? Are there any vegetables that will float easily? With a filter, would it be safe to leave the peas at the bottom for the fish to find? <Please see WWM re Goldfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition> Also one thing that makes me a little unhappy with this flake food is the mass amount of unidentifiable synthetic products within it. I don't like this stuff going into my body as it is and I'd hate to think that I was feeding my fish something I wouldn't want to eat myself. Are there any brands that take a more natural route? Or other foods besides vegetables that I can use to supplement their diet? Or is it safer to just stay with the synthetics? <Better to avoid> Another question I have concerns when I move the tank to school next fall. Is there a way to salvage the beneficial bacteria I'll be growing over the summer and bring them with me? Should I just put some of the water in a bottle as well as in with my fish in their travel container? <The latter> Also, just to be cute, I was wondering if it's fine to put a frog or snail in with a goldfish? I heard that snails have the potential to be a little beneficial. Would either be particularly harmful? I've been looking up snails recently and discovered that if you're not careful, they can eat small fish :o Would a snail eat my goldfish while they sleep at the bottom? <Wait till you have more room> Also again, in the meantime, I am lonely for animals at school (we have a habit of acquiring a new pet every few years at home so we have a lot of them). Is there a small fish or aquatic animal (frogs, snails, et cetera) that would do just fine and dandy in a 2 gallon, unfiltered, unheated bowl? (with frequent water changes et cetera involved) <Again... I would hold off> Well, that's, uh, my long-winded, multi-question e-mail XD Thanks for any and all advice you can give me :D And also for your attention and patience. Sincerely, Ken <Bob Fenner>

Goldfish In a Bowl  - 02/25/06 We have two beautiful fantail gold fish in a bowl, both are about 3 inches long nose to end of fantail. The are trying to breath at the top of the water even though I changed the water (Now clean) and have new weed in -what else could be the problem? < Aeration or ammonia burn probably. A bowl is a cruel way to keep goldfish. I recommend an aquarium with aeration and filtration. They are using up way too much oxygen in too little a bowl. Adding an air pump with an airstone would temporarily help. Seriously, look into getting an aquarium if you really want to keep this fish for the long term.-Chuck>

Trying to fix my mistakes. Goldfish sys. mainly   2/23/06 Hello from Utah,    I am new at keeping fish and I have learned my lessons in this as I will not buy anymore fish until I do my homework and have everything prepared for future fish. <Ah, a strong oath> I feel very horrible as what I have caused these poor fish that I currently have and would like to try and make it better if I possibly can. I am just afraid I might be too late or still not understand things correctly. I will try my very best to describe the problems. Also, I do have some pictures of my fish, but not sure the quality or how to add them, I doubt you could really see what I am talking about in the pictures anyways.    Okay I have a 10 gallon tank with a carbon filter that came with the tank. I bought the gravel, fake plants, heater and vacuum. I am not even good on knowing the names of these fish, but will go with what I think they are. I have a 4 inch (from mouth to fin) gold fantail, 3 - 2 inch calico looking fantails, 1 small brownish type of fantail and an algae eater that is also about 4 inches. <... too much life for this volume> I think the algae eater is a Pleco? <Perhaps a Plecostomus of some sort> He is the kind you see at Wal-Mart sucking to the side of a tank. <Hopefully not a Chinese Algae Eater... both are pictured on WWM... the former group get too large for a ten gallon, the CAE too mean...> Okay, so now I have just learned that I have over crowed <Cah! Corvus?> my tank, now sure how I fix that one as I do not have money to go buy at least a 30 gallon tank plus medicines for the fish. <Ah, good>    My large gold fantail about a week ago showed me a small white fuzzy spot/bump on his tail fin (my husband said in his opinion it looked like a fuzzy white pimple). It looks like a piece of fuzzy lint, it sort of had a red base to it, but that comes and goes. It was just one spot and has not gotten any bigger, half the size of a small pea. Last night I just noticed a second white spot on the tail fin, but in a different location. I am worried as I know this is bad. He has slowed down on eating, he still swims around the tank, but not as much as he used to. Other than the 2 white fuzzy spots, he seems fine (well not fine, because then he would be without these problems).    One of the calico fantails yesterday also started just resting at the bottom of the tank on the gravel. He is not leaning to one side or another, just looks as though he is resting but breathing a bit fast, not labored. He has lost interest in food as well. The only thing I can see on him, is a couple small thin red streaks on his tail fin, but barely noticeable.    The other fish seem fine (other than slowly down on their eating and breathing a little quick), even the algae eater looks to be acting fine and his appearance seems fine as well. The only thing I could see a couple weeks ago, was that a couple of the fantails were darting towards the gravel and as if they were attempting scratch their sides. I thought this was normal, I thought maybe fish had itches too. My mistake.    I bought the heater because their water temp. would always seem to change and I found myself having to live the light on at night to keep their water temp. from dropping horribly. So now I am trying to keep the water temp. at 76 degrees. I thought maybe this would help. <Will... in time> I looked online for the proper temp. and 76 is what a website said. I have had the heater for three days now, it stays at 76 during the day and at night drops to between 72 and 74 degrees.    Also, another big huge problem I created and didn't know was, I never once tested the water for the ammonia or nitrate's, etc. <Very common... the principal source of livestock loss...> I am going today to buy the test kits. I feel bad about that too, I honestly just didn't know. So currently I have no clue what the water reads as. I know Wal-Mart has two test kits, I believe one is for ammonia and the other is for nitrate's, that is all they offer. Do I need a better test kit or is there one you may prefer, if so from where might I purchase it? <Look to a dedicated "fish store" for more help here. I would seek out a sturdy ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH test kit... a liquid reagent type... Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has a very nice kit>    I called two local pet stores to describe the white spots on my gold fantail, and one place said it sounded like velvet and the other said it sounded like a body fungus. I was thinking more along the lines of a fungus, but again, I am new and am not sure. I read some of this web-site till 1am last night and tried to learn as much as possible but never saw a picture with the same sort of spot that the gold fantail has. <... very likely the root cause/cure here is environmental... Placing all in the new 30 gallon, maybe adding some salt will likely effect a lasting cure here>    I do water changes once every 2 weeks, now knowing I should be doing this more often. I would do between 25% to 50% water changes. <Best to limit these to 25%> I use Wardley's Complete Conditioner (1 drop per gallon) and Wardley's Chlor Out (5 drops per gallon) and I usually always used tap water and made sure it was as close to room temp. as possible. I also tried to clean the filters/plants and rocks during each water change (every 2 weeks). <Take care not to be too thorough re this last... Clean only half per maintenance period...> Now with the heater though, the tank water smells more also. Not sure if that is normal? <... a few things you could do... add a bit of live plant/grass to the new tank... perhaps some activated carbon to your filtration> One thing I noticed, is that when cleaning the filter, I find it almost impossible to clean deep in the filter in the corners. Any idea's? <Don't worry re> I tried wiping down the inside of the tank as well when I would do the water changes.    I recently purchased the vacuum as well, and had a lot of vacuuming to catch up on. So just this past week, I vacuumed once, then replaced the 25% water with tap water and the Wardley's, then would vacuum again to try and get some more of the poo and stuff away...so another 25% water change. I did this twice and there still seems to be some I missed. Can I vacuum more than twice and do that many water changes right in a row? <Not a good idea... again, only a quarter per week/time>    Also, I was hoping to find out, when I treat my gold fantail and the other fantail that seems to be resting on the bottom, so I keep the algae eater in the tank while treating them? <Yes> I was hoping to keep them all in the tank and treat them all just incase they all might have something, but don't want to hurt the algae eater or any other fish that may not have problems, suck as possible fungus. I have a 2 gallon plastic tank with no filter and no air tube, should I move the algae eater into this tank? This other tank has not been used in awhile, so it would be a fresh start up...and I am afraid of putting the algae eater or any other fish into a fresh set up tank. I know now I should of had a separate quarantine tank set up prior, I wish I would have done my homework before I started this.    Also when I start the medicine, I know to take the carbon out of the filter and just to leave the wool in place so the carbon does not absorb the medicine. But do I do a water change at all before adding the medicine? If so, how much of a water change? <... if you change water you will want to re-add medicines>    I am so hoping I have asked all the questions I needed to ask, as I am very nervous about this whole thing and tend to forget things when I am nervous. I am also very sorry for typing this e-mail so long, I just felt maybe the most detail I could add would help my fish, and me. I love my fish believe it or not and just want to try everything I can to help what I have made wrong. I also promise, I will never buy another fish until I have set up a tank properly, done my research, have test kits and perform them, have medicine on hand for situations like these and have a separate tank for hospital care. I have been having dream after dream about my fish and am always afraid to wake up now and find one of them dead. I am seriously stressing, can someone please help me to fix my mistakes if it is not too late? I will make sure to try and understand the test kits as well. Thanks for your time and have a wonderful day. Christina Sizemore <No worries... Do move all to the larger quarters, slow up on the cleaning routine, and all should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: In Regards to my e-mail 'Trying to fix my mistakes'   2/24/06 Hello again! <Please send prev. corr.> Okay I bought the master test kit from API. I performed the tests. The readings were as follows... Nitrite - 0.25 Nitrate - I suppose that might of been between 80/160. <Yikes!> This one was hard to read as my color in the tube did not match any of the colors on the chart. The color in my tube was more of a cherry red Kool-aid color. I am assuming that is very bad. <Yes> Ammonia - 0.25 <... Ammonia and nitrite should be zero... do you know what these readings portend?> pH - between 7.2 and 7.6 The chat forum said this sounded like ich, so I went last night and bought Mardel, CopperSafe, it treats Ich, Velvet and other external Parasites. So now do I do a 25% water change and use this medicine? <...? Your problem/s are at least rooted in poor water quality... coppering your system will likely kill your livestock that is already challenged by this> If so, can I still keep my Pleco algae eater in at the same time? Or do you still just suggest me buying a 30 gallon tank and new filter to match and placing all the fish including the algae eater into this new tank set up with a little salt added? If so, how much salt do I add? I would assume to buy new gravel as well? I haven't even gone to buy the 30 gallon tank yet, but if you say it is okay to add all the fish to a totally new 30 gallon tank set up with some salt, I will go right now and buy it all then. <... read on WWM re> I just want to save my fish and help them recover from my stupid mistakes. <Then study> Also, one last thing. I believe my levels on the tests were too high? Should I buy a chemical to bring the Nitrite and Nitrate level down? Was the Ammonia level too high? Can I add these chemicals all at once/ How long do I wait till I test again after adding the chemicals? Is there any chemicals you suggest to bring my levels to a stable position? Sorry once again for all the questions. I had wanted to start the water change today on the 10 gallon tank, and start treating all the fish with this new medicine (but now not knowing if they have Ich, Body Fungus or external Parasites, I don't know) I bought. All I know, is there are the small white bumps on the gold fantail and all the fish in the tank are scratching themselves along the sides of the tank and the gravel, allot.  But I will wait until I have heard back from you. Thanks for your time, your knowledge and any suggestions, appreciated more than you know!! P.S. -- I have heard on the forum, a person told me not to listen too much to the people at Petco? I was wondering that too, since the guy I spoke too last night didn't know much (like me, haha). Christine Sizemore <Read my friend... Bob Fenner>  

Update on Red Cap Oranda with Wen damage  - 02/20/06 Hi- I wrote to you on Friday, Feb. 17 for advice regarding my Red Cap Oranda with Wen damage, but have not yet heard back.  The Wen on my fish is now almost entirely shredded away. <Yes, Yeeikes!> He seems more energetic and has been eating.  I guess my main concern now is whether his condition is something that can be transmitted to the other fish.  None of the others show any sign of such an affliction.  What could possibly cause this so suddenly? <Some sort of deep trauma...> Was it appropriate to treat the water in the small tank I put him in with Stress Coat & Epsom Salt? <Yes> Should I add more Epsom salt? <? I would not overdose this... no benefit> It has been 4 days.  Is there another treatment that might help him? <Salts... don't "go away"... unless you change some part of the water, no>   He hasn't been very active, but he also doesn't have much space to move around in just a 2.5 gallon tank.  I don't have anything larger available for him other than the tank with the other Red Cap Orandas & I certainly don't want to endanger them.  If you think it would be safe for the other fish if I were to return him to the larger tank, I would definitely like to do that soon. <I would do this> Hoping to hear from you soon! Thanks in advance! ~Lori Lynn Eder <Bob Fenner>
Re: Input on Update on Red Cap Oranda with Wen damage  - 02/20/06 Crew, <Eric> I would add that the source of the trauma needs to be identified and removed.  As you all know, goldfish will hurt themselves on anything with sharp edges, protrusions, etc.  It is also a possibility that this was the result of bullying or predation.  It is rare, but some goldfish develop a taste for the soft flesh of other fishes' Wens.  Ryukin in particular are known for this. Trying to help, Eric <Ahh, thank you for this... oversight on my part. Yes to this common source/cause... Sharp rocks, other decor are to be avoided in fancy goldfish systems. Bob Fenner>

New Black Moor  - 02/20/06 Hi, <Hi, Amanda!  Jason here.> My husband and I recently purchased our very first aquarium.  We  have a 5 gallon tank with a filter and light.  We have 1 black moor  goldfish, I wanted 2 but the lady at the pet shop convinced me that one is  enough for our size tank. <Yup.  Actually, your tank is a bit small for this guy.  When they are smaller, 10 gallons per fish is usually good for a Goldfish, and when they get bigger... well, a 5 or 6 year old fancy Goldfish who has been well cared for may need 20, 30 or more gallons of water!  As you've observed, these little guys are waste factories!>   (I now agree, seeing how much waste just one  little guy produces!) I know that goldfish are social fish, so I'm worried that  a solitary life wont make for a happy fish. <Goldfish are certainly comfortable with other Goldfish, but by no means need company.  He will live a happy life alone.  To be honest, the one who benefits most from having many Goldfish in a tank is the owner, who gets to enjoy their antics.> (We are unable to upgrade our  tank at this time) What do you think? Should I try to add  another smaller fish to keep him company? <Probably not. In fact, you might consider bumping him up to a 10 gallon, if you can.  He would appreciate it, and the footprint of a 10 gallon isn't that much bigger than a 5 gallon.> Also, I'm currently feeding him flake food, but he never comes to the surface to claim it.  He'll eventually find it on the bottom of the tank,  but I'm worried that he isn't receiving enough to eat this way.  Is it  just difficult for him to see the flakes on the surface or am I doing something  wrong?  Do I need to change what/how I feed him? <If he prefers sinking food, give him sinking food!  There are many fantastic sinking Goldfish pellets available.  One that lists Spirulina as the first ingredient would be best for your Goldfish.  He would also enjoy it if you added an Anacharis, which is a type of live plant that is very easy to care for and that Goldfish love to much on.  More info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm > Thank you so much for your time.   -Amanda Wilburn <Jason N.>

Goldfish Systems 2/18/06 Firstly I'd like to congratulate you on a fantastic site. Very informative and some of the comments the crew make are just hilarious (to me anyway...) Anyway, I have a question about my goldfish tank. It is a 5 gallon tank with two small (1.5 inch) bubble eye goldfish. <Be sure to avoid any sharp decor with these delicate fish.  You may wish to educate yourself on some the special challenges that come w/bubble eyes.> (Very small, I know - I am upgrading to a 60 gallon tank in the near future so they will soon have more than enough space.) <Good.  I have no reservations about QTing small Goldfish in a cycled 5 gallon system for a few weeks, but it is far too small for the long run.> Before buying my fish I cycled the tank using the fishless cycle method, and when I bought the fish nitrites and ammonia were both at zero, unfortunately I underestimated how much waste the fish would produce and so the tank is undergoing another mini-cycle. The tank has a powerhead filter (contains ceramics and sponges) and an air stone. There are also live plants in the tank. I have tried placing gravel and filter media into this tank from my other established tank, but there does not seem to be any sort of change at all! At the moment Ammonia is at 0.25, Nitrite is at 0.2 and pH is 6.8. I do a 20% water change every day (dechlorinated, with Stress Zyme <Stress Zyme is useless.  Discontinue this stuff, at best it does nothing.> and 1g of salt per litre (sorry, I do not know what this would be in relation to gallons) ) <I couldn't seem to work out the weight of a tablespoon of salt; all those math classes are working hard for me.  Anyway, I would use 1 TBSP/5 gallons salt to help the fish breathe during the nitrite spike.> however the ammonia and nitrites are neither rising or falling. <These levels are either rising or 0.  Continue your water changes.> Should I be doing a larger water change? The fish both seem happy, they are swimming and eating normally, not gasping at the surface, but I would like to get the tank right as soon as possible so they are not under any unnecessary stress. <Continue with your water changes.  Keep your water changes small unless you need larger water changes to keep ammonia/nitrite low.  Still, many small water changes is always better than 1 big one.  It sound like you're doing everything right, for now.  Upgrade that tank sooner rather than later.> <By the way, can you switch off HTML in your E-Mail when you write us?  I had to strip out all the tags.> Thank you so much for your help, Emma <Jason N.>

Water Temps/Goldfish   2/13/06 Dear "Crew" I just want a simple answer.  I would like to know the proper water temp for a 55 gallons Goldfish tank.  Also, why would they all of a sudden start hanging around the bottom of the tank?  (have recently changed out the water). Likely your problem here is environmental and/or nutritional. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files at top.> The weather in our area has be very strange.  It has been unusually warm and then has suddenly tuned cold.  Does this matter a great deal?   <Can, yes... if the fish, system is "challenged" already> Searching the web has gotten me no where.  I keep getting several different answers. Thank You, Shawn <"Room temperature" in such a larger volume is fine for goldfish in a heated residential setting... likely in the mid-sixties to lower 70's F. Bob Fenner>

Cycling Tank Issues  02/12/06 Hi, I really appreciated your advice a couple of weeks ago, and have a few follow-up questions for you. About 4 weeks ago we set up a new 20 gallon tank (with a Whisper 20 filter) and a day later added two fancy goldfish.  One of our fish died 2 days ago, and I'm desperate to figure out why and make sure the other fish does not meet the same fate.  Since the beginning I've closely monitored the ammonia and nitrite levels by testing every other day, and have never had detectable amounts of either. <Without adding a purposeful bacteria culture? Odd>   Even so, I performed 20% water changes every three days or so for the first two weeks and we fed the fish sparingly.  With each water change I'm siphoning out the water (and trying to clean gravel,) and then adding fresh tap water to which I've added a conditioner (to remove chlorine, give neutral ph, etc.) and the new water is temperature matched (around 67-68 degrees.)  The tank is kept at room temperature and the thermometer strip always shows it's between 66-68 degrees, so presumably it's right at 67. <This is fine> Then I became concerned that we were actually slowing down the cycling of the tank, and let the water changes go for a week (while monitoring the water, which still registered no ammonia or nitrite.)  My husband and son also fed a little more (but still flake food once a day, and only what they ate in a few minutes.)  Then we suddenly had a lot of algae growth on the side of the tank nearest the light (which was on 12 hours a day every day,) and on the ornaments. <A solid indication that cycling has occurred> After reading your site I concluded I should keep the light off as much as possible (now it's on only 2.5 hours in the evening) and I should change the water more often.  I did a water change, and noticed that our fantail did not look well the next day (clamped top fin and suddenly hanging out on the bottom, when he had been very active.) <Better to reduce the percentage of water changed out maybe... and store new water for a week or more> This was after I e-mailed you a question about our Oranda spending time on the bottom, and it was different because the Oranda looked healthy but resting whereas the fantail looked stressed.  At this point the water in the tank was definitely far dirtier (I had stirred up a lot of fish poop in the water change,) and the algae was still growing quickly.  But the fantail would swim when we approached the tank, and was eating.  So I waited a day (so there would be a day in between changes), and then did another 20% water change.  The next day the fantail looked better (I thought) and was swimming around grousing for food again, although I noticed he seemed weak and would swim a little and then float a bit.  He also would get knocked around easily if swam anywhere near the current from the filter.  The next day we discovered that he swam too close to the filter intake and got stuck, apparently too weak to save himself. <Yikes> Strangely, during this time period the Oranda perked up considerably.  We know rarely see him on the bottom, he seems much more energetic and healthier (top fin up, moves quickly, etc.)  So here's my questions: 1)  How often do you think I should be performing 20%  water changes at this point? <Weekly> 2)  Should I be testing our water quality for anything else, like nitrates (I thought these are beneficial, but I've now read that if they are too high they can be bad?!) <Can be... weekly is fine here (for nitrate... And ammonia, nitrite if "something" seems awry)> 3)  Do I need to be monitoring ph, or anything else? <Not likely with the weekly change outs> 4)  Do you suspect that bad water quality killed my fish? <Maybe... this and accumulative stress> 5)  Do you suspect that too frequent water changes killed my fish? <A contributing cause, yes> 6)  Can I safely do anything about the algae at this point?  I thought that it was beneficial in that it feeds off the fish waste, but it's growing on the side of the tank where we view the fish (the green hairy kind) and there's red rusty gunk growing on the ornaments which looks gross. <Can wipe down on the viewing panels... I'd leave on the ornaments for another month or so> I read that I could remove the ornaments, pour boiling water over them, let them cool and put them back in, but I'm scared to disrupt anything while still cycling the tank (I assume that at our temperature and conditions this will take about 8 weeks.) 7)  I was interested in maybe getting a snail to help feed on the algae (I understand this won't cure the problem, but may help).  Do you recommend this?  Should I wait until the tank is cycled? <I do recommend some larger, non-bisexual species... covered on WWM> 8)  We'd like to maybe replace the fish we lost.  Should I wait until the tank is cycled?   <Definitely, yes> Would that be at about 8 weeks? <Should be by then> Can we safely have two smaller goldfish (1.5 inch) and a snail in a 20 gallon tank? <Yes> I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if we have a problem developing in our tank, or if that fish maybe was ill for another reason (internal parasites or swim bladder problem)? <Not likely> If you've made it through this lengthy message, thanks so much for reading and for any advice you can offer. Best, FishMama <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish Tank Cycling Issues  02/12/06 Sorry, I just sent a long e-mail but realized forgot to ask one other question: Should I get an airstone, or whatever it is you call those things that bubble air up from the bottom?  I thought it might be too much current for little fancy goldfish, but now I'm wondering if it wouldn't help get toxins up from the bottom and oxygenate the water? Thanks again, FishMama <Not likely of much benefit here, though would not hurt. Bob Fenner>

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>

My darling goldfish   2/9/06 Hi! I've searched your site for the information I need. I'm pretty sure it's there somewhere, I just didn't come across it. Hopefully this will be pretty easy and painless. My fish, Schroder, has been a little ill as of late. Now I know it's due to a pH problem (I got the water tested) and have been very slowly treating it back up. It's been a couple days since I started very carefully adding a pH decreaser. Here are my "stats": Ammonia: 0 out of .25 Nitrite: 0 out of.5 Nitrate: 10 out of 40 pH: above 8.4  (I know, scary...) Alkalinity: above 300... I was told that this would decrease as I fixed the pH Hardness: 250 out of 300 Chlorine and Chloramine: 0 Salinity: .3 out of .3 (I know... I need to slow down with that, <?> just trying to reduce as much stress as possible and heard this was one of the ways) He's stopped darting over all, though his eyes are kinda cloudy. At the moment, though he seems to be feeling better already, he is staying pretty still and when he does, his back fins are hanging down real low. He also hasn't been eating for 3-4 days and I'm worried about that mostly. I know his spirit will pick up once the pH is down, but what should I do in the mean time? I've tried peas, baby shrimp, his regular food, but nothing. He's still trying to poop, it looks like, but it doesn't look healthy. Thank you for any help you can give. :) Lyz <Do adjust pH by changing new water outside of the system, and slowly drip/add this to the system... and reduce the amount of salt present through these change-outs. Bob Fenner>

Foam & Fin Rot Question, poisoned goldfish, system   2/7/06 In my goldfish tank in which I have been treating for Finrot w/ T.C. Capsules there is a white foam on top. <... Tetracycline is not efficacious for treating fungal infections, but good for creating foam> It is coming from my lift tubes  from my UGF. When I removed it with my net there was a brownish residue, is  this from the medicine? <Yes> My carbon is expired and I'm going to buy a new one  today. I just want to know why there is foam, and if it is harmful. <Can be... but generally not as long as there is strong circulation, aeration>     My second question is that my goldfish that I have  been treating for Finrot with salt, Pimafix, Melafix, and T.C. capsules for  8days now has a blackish line surrounding his/her damaged fin.  It is not  healing fast. What is the black line? Is it going to heal? Thank You <Is damaged flesh from being poisoned... by your treatment. See WWM re these materials, treating goldfish maladies. Bob Fenner>

Sick goldfish, system    2/3/06 I have 4 goldfish that since a day ago, they have been staying on the  bottom of the tank. <Something's' wrong with their environment> They have not been swimming up to the top since then to get their food. I have only seen them wait until it comes down to the bottom. They float down there on the very bottom and they swim erratically a few times. They swim a little, but barely. We haven't did anything different to the tank, except  my mom soaked the accessories from the tank with vinegar in a pan, rinsed  them really well and put them back in the tank with the fish. She got that from  somebody's advice. Is this why they are like this, because they started acting  like this after she did that?, <Maybe... do you have test kits for water quality?> or is it something else? Please help me, because I don't know if it's serious or not. <Is serious. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above... in the hope that something will become obvious to you re what's wrong here. Bob Fenner>

FW Nitrate confusion? Ongoing goldfish disease/system   2/9/06 Hi      Thanks for the speedy reply. I was told that the nitrates were ok up to 40 by the pet store, so I am now confused... Thanks for the advice.      Paula <Please see WWM... there's a bunch... re nitrates, their implications, consequences. No need to be confused... educate yourself. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish being eaten by CAE, crowded in a system that's likely uncycled and mis-fed dry food only. Now, what's the problem?  - 2/4/2006 Hi, Great site that you have. I have 3 fish in a 10-gallon tank. 2 goldfish and 1 algae eater. I don't exactly know that how big they are, sorry. There names are, Charmander, Tiger, and Stripeback. <Keep your eye on that algae eater...> I have just noticed today that Tiger( biggest and oldest in the tank) is acting funny. He rarely goes up to the surface when food comes( I feed them flake food) <Not good alone> and has a long, brownish/reddish big streak on his tail. And he is swimming very slowly. I don't know what to do. I changed the tank completely <Also a bad idea> just recently and he seemed to be doing fine. Also, we just got the algae fish a couple of weeks ago. Does that have something to do with it? <Not likely> And today, I saw the algae eater on Tiger's tail, sucking on it, like trying to clean it. <Not! Is damaging your goldfish. Should be removed immediately> Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for reading. <See the subject title above? Read on WWM re Goldfish Feeding, Systems, Algae Eaters... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish systems  - 2/4/2006 Hi, I noticed some foams formed on the top surface of the water where the filtered water comes out. I bought the filter 3 days ago. Is there something wrong? My goldfishes seems to be fine though. <Can be trouble... if the fish is breathing hard, not moving much, wicking off with a clean/white paper towel, or dipping out water near the surface is called for> I also found some very small translucent stuff at the bottom of the tank. They look almost like extremely small fish scales collected at the bottom of the tank. Hope to hear from you real soon. Thanks! Regards, Lesley <Might be scales from your goldfish... From an uncycled system? Water quality? Bob Fenner>

New Aquarium Blues... leaping w/o looking/reading... ammonia   2/2/06 Hi Guys! I love Your site, the information is endless.  Anyway, I am a fairly new fish owner.  About 3 months ago I bought a 10 gallon aquarium. the People at PetSmart said that I could fit 8  goldfish in it. <Uh, no> I thought that was a bit much so I  got only 4  goldfish, 1 Plecostomus (which they told me would only get 3" long), <No number two> and one Colombian Ramshorn Snail.  Everything was going fine until I went to a specialty fish Store and the owner told me I needed to get a bigger tank.   <Good for them, you> So we bought  another tank at PetSmart Because the fish shop did not have one in stock. The Aquarium is 75 gallons & rectangular. I came home and  filled my tank up  w/ Machinator <?> and water and put the fish in the next day.  the Aquarium was never Cycled because I didn't know it was supposed of be. How do I cycle an aquarium with fish in it? <... Posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm> Also before I knew better I bought 3 more Goldfish, <...?> another Pleco, and 2 Golden apple snails. The fish store guy told me that goldfish needed 7-10 gallons apiece.  Now I know how big the Plecos are going to get and I don't know what to do with them. Can the Snails Stay with the Goldfish? <... posted> Will the I goldfish out grow the 75 gallons.  Also my water is cloudy and ammonia levels are 4.0 PPM <Deadly toxic... read on WWM re pronto> even though  I have been doing 40% water changes every other day. Oh & by the way if you need to know the size and description of the fish. One 4" Oranda, One 3" Oranda, One 3" Celestial-Eyed sport, one 1 1/2" Ryukin, and one 3/2 inch Ryukin , and me 3" telescope-eyed.  the aquarium has been up for a month.  What do you think about products like Prime & Ammo-lock For Ammonia? <Only stop-gap measures... not solutions/cures> Sorry bout the long E-mail and thanks In Advance... Tisha <Less money/purchasing, and more reading my friend. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Toys ?  1/27/06 Thanks so much for your help with my new Ryukin. It worked really well. Do you know of any goldfish toys I could add to my tank? Lindsay < Goldfish don't usually play with toys. Keep them occupied by varying the types of food that you feed them.-Chuck>

Poor English, aquarium ideas   1/27/06 can i use a sand substrate in a goldfish tank? 20 gal/ 2 black moors/ 6 or 7 Neons <Not a good idea to mix tropicals, goldfish... see WWM re Goldfish Systems. BobF>

Re: Sand, goldfish, memory   1/27/06 Ok, so I won't put Neons with goldfish.  Also, you are saying that sand is not a good idea for a 20 gallon goldfish only tank...?   Would ghost shrimp be ok?   Would a AquaClear 30 or 50 be better?  Do I need a powerhead to get more oxygen in the tank? <Posted on WWM. Go, read there. Bob Fenner>

Green Water 1/21/05 Hello. I have a 29 1/2 gallon fresh water tank that holds 7 fish ranging from different Oranda's, fancy tail gold fish, etc. (all of the goldfish family). About a month ago, I thoroughly cleaned out the tank because of the extreme amount of luminescent "green" water/coloring, to almost the point of not being able to see through the tank. Less than 2 weeks later, the "green" stuff came back. I asked my local pet store and they recommended changing 50% of the water. So I did. (maybe more than 50%). Only to find now that the growth of this green stuff had increased more rapidly. 1 week later I had to change most of the water again. I again consulted the local pet shop, and they recommended a couple snails, along with turning the lights off for approximately 12 to 14 hours a day. It is now not even a week later, and I can barely see through the tank. I have had most of these fish and the tank for about 3 years, and have never encountered this before. I have searched the net to find answers to no avail. This is my first "big" aquarium and I am not too knowledgeable on all the aspects of an aquarium this size. Come to think of it...about a month ago I purchased a "Koi". None of this has ever happened before introducing it to the tank. Could the Koi have something to do with this? <It sounds like you have a problem with excess nutrients in your water, overstocking, maybe overfeeding, all of which can contribute to algae problems.  Take a sample of your water to the fish store and have them test it for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and if you can, get your phosphate level checked, too.  Koi grow way too big for the average home aquarium, I would take this fish back to the store.  Please also see the following links on algae control in freshwater systems.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm   http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgaefaqs.htm>

Goldfish in a bathroom, varieties   1/21/06 Hi, I am thinking about getting two goldfish and I was wondering about a couple of things! Firstly, is it ok to keep the tank in a bathroom, it's quite light but it gets very steamed up if I have a shower or something.   <No worries... the tank water itself will not change appreciably> Also, I was told that a 60cm tank would be ok for two goldfish and this is exactly the amount of room I have, do you need more room than that, do things attach to the outside of the tank etc? or is that size of tank not big enough? <Should be fine> and lastly (!) what's the smallest breed of goldfish? I've been doing research but there are varied answers! Thank you very much! <Mmm, likely Ryukins or Lionheads. Bob Fenner>

Upgrading My Freshwater Goldfish Tank to Real Plants    1/19/06 Hello! I have a question about freshwater plants. A few months back I was having major problems as a first-time fish owner. (I didn't exactly plan on getting fish, I won them at a festival) Anyways, a lot of my goldfish were getting diseased and dying. <Very, too common> In the end I lost 6 fish, and I only have 3 left (Which at the moment are healthy and spunky) Before my mom and I couldn't keep the dangerous chemicals and bacteria (like ammonia, and the dangerous algae) at a low level. We never really had a problem with the PH levels. After putting the last surviving fish into a small emergency bowl (3 gallons) for about 2 months, we finally did research and seasoned the tank like we should have done. (Again, I never planned on getting fish, just kind of happened). <This is how I "got started"> Well anyways, now the ecosystem is chemically balanced and my fish are happy. (been this way for about a month and a half) And we were thinking about replacing all the plastic plants with real ones. I was wondering if this is a good idea at this point. Should I wait longer? <No need to wait further> If not, what kind of plants should I introduce to the ecosystem? (I was thinking of bringing in one plant at a time, not all at once, is that a good idea?) Thanks for your help! Sarah <Some of the best are "grass" types, that are generally just used floating rather than planted/rooted. Elodea/Egeria, Hornwort... Other tough plants that may not be outright consumed (goldfish are largely herbivorous), are Sagittarias, Ceratopteris... Other cool-coldwater plants are detailed on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish bubbles    1/19/06 Hi. My name is Elizabeth and I have a question about my goldfish, Schroder. I recently set up a bigger tank for him (5 gallon vs. 1 gallon), being careful to let it run for a day and put all the requirements in it to help stimulate good bacterial growth. He's been in it for about a week now and he has started to make a lot of little bubbles at the top, kinda like a Betta would for a nest. However, I read on your website that goldfish don't make nests (unless I misunderstood the response). I'm just wondering if I should be worried or not. Thanks for any help you are able to give!! Elizabeth <Can be worrisome... the bubbles are likely the result of excess slime/mucus from the goldfish... combining with air, persisting... An indication of "not-ready" conditions in the water/system. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files at top. I would add the old water if you still have it, to the new tank... feed very carefully, and get/use ammonia, nitrite test kits... and BioSpira. Bob Fenner>

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