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FAQs About Goldfish Stocking/Selection

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Related FAQs:  Goldfish 1, Goldfish Behavior, Goldfish Compatibility, Goldfish Systems, Goldfish Feeding, Goldfish DiseaseGoldfish Breeding/Reproduction

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Goldfish Success
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Question on Goldfish/Tank Stocking       8/9/16
Hi There!
I wrote to you a couple of years ago about our four common goldfish in the 55 gallon tank, and your answer was so helpful, and now I have another question for you along the same lines.
<Let's see>
Some background: in Fall 2014 we pulled our four common goldfish out of our outdoor pond for the winter, and stored them in our 55 gallon tank indoors until the pond outside came up to a livable temperature again in the spring. Summer 2015 the fish reproduced outside in the pond (big shocker to us), so in the Fall of 2015, when we pulled the big fish out of the pond, eight babies came out too! Over the winter 2015-16 we had four adult goldfish and eight baby goldfish in the tank (adults all around 5"-6" and babies all around 0.75"-2"). Knowing that the 55 gallon tank was overstocked, I monitored the tank levels carefully and performed frequent water changes throughout the winter. Spring 2016, four adults and four babies went back outside into the pond, and I decided to keep four babies inside in the 55 gallon for the summer.
Fast-forward to August 2016 (actually, yesterday): the liner in our outdoor pond appears to have a leak, and water is rapidly escaping the pond. I pulled out all remaining goldfish (three of our adults were eaten by something this summer), so in the indoor 55 gallon tank I have one adult (7") and eight babies (all between 3"-4"). I know that my tank is
overstocked (and I'm sure there was a serious shock to the bio load on my filter), so I performed a 50% water change this morning, and plan to do regular ~30% water changes daily until we either repair the pond or get a bigger tank.
In the meantime, do you think that it is safe to keep that many goldfish in a 55 gallon tank?
<With careful feeding, redundant filtration and aeration; yes; should be>
I currently have one filter (rated for 70 gallons) running in the tank. I'm assuming a second filter would be advisable.
<Ah yes>
Is doing a partial water change every day helping or hurting my cycled tank?
<Good question. IF the water quality of your source is "good"; better to do the changes... IF it's not good, best to limit to 10-20 percent every two-three days>
Thank you so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question on Goldfish/Tank Stocking

Hi Bob,
Thank you again for your advice. So far the fish are doing great. I monitor the water parameters carefully, and they are staying right where they should be. I purchased a second filter (so I'm now running two Marineland Penguin 350 filters in the 55 gallon tank) and have been religious about doing a partial water change every day. I have another question for you...
<Go ahead>
It appears a baby from Summer 2015 was left in the pond over the winter and survived, so I pulled him out after I realized he was in there. While I was trying to scoop out the extra fish, *another* baby from this year got caught in my net! He appears to be roughly a month(?) old (he's ~1" long).
He's definitely small enough that our biggest fish wouldn't have a problem eating him, and all of the fish nip at his fins when they see him, though he's great at hiding among the driftwood in the tank, so they don't spot him too often.
My question is, do you think it's ok to leave the tiny baby in the tank with ten other larger goldfish and take the chance that he's a great survivor, or should I put him in my spare 10 gallon tank for the time being, until he grows a little bigger?
<Should be fine either way. Goldfish (minnows) don't have "teeth on their jaws", but further back in the throat/buccal cavity... don't "bite" other fishes>
I imagine even with his hiding spots, such a thing has to put a lot of stress on the little guy. He hangs out alone in the tank while the other ten fish seem to school together with each other. I could put the 10 gallon up next to the 55 gallon so they
could still see each other for the social aspect.
<Mmm; up to you>
Thank you again. I really appreciate you taking the time to write back to me!
<Appreciate your sharing likewise. Cheers, BobF>

Question about Freshwater Links. New GF link        12/8/15
Hi there,
I came across your website years ago when searching for information on goldfish diseases. I loved the way you shared such valuable information and included a great page of individual questions you receive from owners having problems with your answers to each one. So helpful to me when I was first starting out as a stressed-out, first-time fish mom!
Since then I've gone on to create my own website about goldfish information
with a storefront that independent breeders can sell their goldfish on (http://puregoldfish.com/product-category/live-goldfish/)
Might make a nice addition to the page :D
Either way, keep up the great work!
<Will def. add. Thank you for your efforts, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Lionhead goldfish bullying?      3/29/14
Hi there, my name is Jake Saulis,
<Hello Jake,>
I am from the Maritimes in New Brunswick and I have a new 5 gallon tank of 1 week old and I have 2 gold fish in it (both of a small size)
<Not small; young.
There's a difference. Get yourself a side plate out of the cupboard, the sort you eat toast from. Hold it up. That's about the size of an adult fancy Goldfish. Grab a second. That's your two goldfish within a couple years if you look after them properly. As should be immediately obvious, 5 gallons isn't anywhere near big enough for them. 
Yes, lots of people put goldfish in such tanks when they buy them, but the vast majority of such goldfish end up stunted, sick, or most often dead.>
one is a lion-head named Mufasa and the other (Nova) I got today and for the life of me I cannot remember the type but he has HUGE eyes and is orange and white its also from the goldfish family...either way my question is can goldfish become jealous that they have a new friend in the tank?
<If two males, yes, in a very small tank aggression is possible.>
because Mufasa(the Lion-head) will take runs at Nova and nip his fins...that being said Nova gives it back in small portions... Nova seem timid in the tank but Mufasa (the lion head) swims freely and without worry, is the lion-head bullying my other new goldfish?
<Can I have you read this:
You need a 20 gallon tank, minimum, for successful, trouble-free Goldfish keeping. Plus there's lots of other information in that article you'll find relevant.>
Thanks and cant wait to hear from you!
<Most welcome, Neale.> 
re: Lionhead goldfish bullying?
Hi again, great to hear back from you and yes I did read on and saw that 20gallons was about the size needed luckily I have one were just getting it set up over time while the goldfish are still young for when they are larger! One last question before I let you go how can I tell if Mufasa and nova are male or female?
<Juvenile Goldfish are nearly impossible to sex. Once they become sexually mature though, at around 10 cm/4 inches upwards, then males develop distinctive "spawning tubercles" on their heads during the breeding season (typically, mid spring, but may be different indoors). All this said, females do tend to be plumper and bigger, while males are often noticeably more active and pushy, chasing tankmates about. Problem here is that fancy Goldfish often have extreme body shapes anyway, and personality varies as much among Goldfish as any other aquarium fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Can I Add A Third Goldfish to My Tank?    7/22/12
I have a 30 gallon tank with a 75 gallon filter.
There are 2 Oranda goldfish in this tank already.
Do you think I could add a third Oranda to the tank?
Thank you.
<Mmm, no... this volume will already be overcrowded by the two fancy goldfish you already have. See WWM re GF systems. Bob Fenner> 

pics from Goldfish street Hong Kong    10/1/11
Off to HK again Per? Got it, thank you. B

Some pix from friend Perry Chong of Singapore of his shopping in Goldfish Street in Hong Kong

How Many Fish Should I Have In My Tank, Freshwater... GF care 11/26/10
Hi guys,
I'm only very new at this, and I'm finding it very frustrating the information I've been given <by> my the various local pet shops, which just confuses me more.
<We'll try to help.>
I have a 120L tank with cold water fish in it, fantails ,comets, a black more a peppered catfish and comets.
<Seems like too much, I would not have more than 3 goldfish in this sized tank, and even then it's pushing it a bit.>
Every time I talk to the local pet shop they give me different answers and I am left wondering what to believe. I even had one of them sell me a paradise fish to put in with the above in my cold water tank! Needless to say it attacked one of my "boggle" eyed fish and I had it back on their counter within the hour!
<At least you were able to return it.>
My main concern is I'm not sure how many fish I should have in the tank. I would like them to grow big as at the moment they are only between 1cm- 3cms.
<For the moment, goldfish in general get big and messy, and need lots of space. I would go with a trio here and think about a larger tank for them at some point.>
Also I've noticed some of them are losing their scales, they seem rather happy other than that?
<Check your water parameters, they should not be dropping scales.>
Worried Beginner
<See our goldfish section for more.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind1.htm >
Re: How Many Fish Should I Have In My Tank, Freshwater 11/27/10

Thank-you from the sounds of that my tank is WAY too full, I have like 12 in there!
<Oh yes, way too many.>

goldfish breeders?   8/27/09
<Hi there>
I simply have a question that I hope you can answer. It's difficult finding a quality Oranda goldfish breeder here in southern California, so my best bet was to ask you guys if you know of any Oranda goldfish breeders that you would recommend?
<Mmm... it's been so many years since I was active in the trade... I just tried to look via the Net to see if folks I knew in the Sacto area were still about. My best advice (what I would do) is to read through, contact folks at the American Goldfish Association: http://www.americangoldfish.org/
and ask re>
Does not necessarily have to be in southern California, as long as they ship. Thanks!
<Please do report back your experience, observations. Bob Fenner>

Veggie Clip Use, GF fdg. (also, mixing Fancy Goldfish varieties) 5/4/2009
I have a fairly new, 26 gal. system (5 weeks)and a large Chocolate Oranda about 2x4 in., I had a smaller one and lost him, I think due to diet from all I have read as I was only feeding flake food, by the time I knew about feeding peas and such it was too late for him. I started feeding my remaining Oranda one pea a day and pellet or flake food for the second feeding.
<Sounds great.>
Yesterday I purchased a veggie clip, put a small piece of peeled zucchini in this and he loved it....anyway, The little glutton has just about eat that small piece as I left it in there. How long can I leave this in and can I
give him this on a reg. basis?
<You can leave plant food in the tank as long as you want. It won't harm water quality. By all means pipette out (turkey basters are ideal) any bits that are messing up the tank visually, but otherwise, don't worry about it.
It's a good idea to have some thing green for these fish to nibble on 365 days of the year. If you can't manage that, don't worry. Just so long as your Goldies get some greens two or three times a week, they're fine.>
I guess My main question would be what would you consider a well balance diet for a large choc. Oranda?
<Difficult to say, because they're total omnivores, like humans, and adapt to most anything within moderation. It's when we give them *just* dried foods things go wrong. I'd say 2-3 days of flake/pellets, and the rest green foods would be about right. But feel free to mix it up a little. If you're away on vacation, dump some Elodea (pondweed) in the tank, and leave your Goldfish to graze on that for 2 weeks. He'd be just fine on that.>
I want to get him a friend when the local shop get some more. I didn't realize they would be so hard to come by.
<Some of Fancy Goldfish can be hard to track down! But good pet shops should be able to order in specific fish for you. By all means mix varieties, provided you keep varieties that are similar in boisterousness and swimming ability. I'd consider single-tail Goldfish best kept together (Standards, Comets, Shubunkins) and apart from Fancy Goldfish. Within the Fancy Goldfish, the "hardy" Fancy varieties like Moors and Fantails work well together, but the more "delicate" varieties such as Orandas, Ryukins and the like are better mixed-and-matched amongst their own kind. The really delicate Fancies, such as Celestials, Bubble-eyes and Ranchu are difficult to mix, and do best in single variety tanks.>
He is a beautiful orange and black named "smooch" as he will eat from my fingers!
<How sweet!>
Thanks for any advice!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish Questions, sys, sel. of varieties...  -- 04/12/09
I was recently thinking of purchasing goldfish,
<Make sure you read first, and are prepared to buy a big aquarium; at least 125 l/30 gallons, and ideally more, and with a serious filter to boot, not some poky hang-on-the-back unit.
Most folks get small tanks, often kidding themselves they'll upgrade later;
the end result is invariably a sick or dead Goldfish.>
but I didn't know which type of goldfish that I should get. I was wondering what type of goldfish would live long and fits a beginner like me.
<Most any, provided the tank is sufficiently large. Comets and Shubunkins for example are fast and active fish and need plenty of space, while Black Moors don't get so big or swim so much.>
I was actually thinking of choosing an orange Oranda, but when I searched it online, I saw really big Orandas with large things on their heads. The one I saw at the pet shop (and the one that I was hoping to buy) was way smaller and cuter, and the lump on the head was smaller. Does that mean that the ones that i saw were babies?
<Likely; all Orandas will get fairly large, 20 cm/8 inches upwards.>
Or were they a different kind of Orandas?
Also, what kind of tank size would 2-3 Orandas need?
<See above.>
Thank you for reviewing this e-mail and I hope to hear from you again soon.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish Questions -- 04/12/09

Hi again.
About the goldfish question...
After I read your reply, I was thinking of buying a more smaller type of fish. I can purchase a big tank for the Oranda goldfish, and provide it a lot of care, but i was thinking of a smaller fish, that doesn't grow too
big. And when i mean my smaller fish, I do not mean the little 1-inch fish, but fish that are at least 10 cm. Also, a fish that lives more than 2-3 years is fine. I searched on your website, but none of them caught my
interest. What do you recommend? /> --
<Have written about stocking relatively small tanks here:
Unless you're an expert fishkeeper, don't waste your time or money (or fish lives) buying a system less than 15-20 gallons in size; 10 gallon and smaller tanks are [a] difficult to stock properly; and [b] difficult to
maintain. We get dozens of messages each week from people who have made this common mistake, and it's very depressing for me to read them all! Bite the bullet, get a 20 gallon tank (which takes up little more space than a 10 gallon system, and doesn't cost much more either) and start keeping fish the sensible way. If you're thinking about an aquarium smaller than even 10 gallons, then think about getting a vase, filling it with water, and sticking in some cut flowers. Seriously. This will be better for everyone!
Very small tanks rarely work unless you're an expert fishkeeper and know precisely what you're doing. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish, var.s, sel., sys.    02/06/09 Hello all, hope things are going well for you there. I have a question about goldfish please. I have a 75 gallon f/w tank that is just about finished cycling (fishless) and keep going back and forth in my choices about which fish to keep. I went into a local pet store today to buy dogfood and strolled over to the fish area. I saw some goldfish and went over to investigate. I never realized there were so many types, some very beautiful. Please tell me the main differences I would have to acclimate to if I decided to go with goldfish, as well as which types you would recommend and which ones might mix with regular tropical fish, if any. Also, if you feel it is not a good idea to fool with goldfish please let me know that as well. Thank you, James <Goldfish are indeed lovely fish. I've often said that if they cost hundreds of dollars, people would fall over themselves to keep them. But because they're cheap, we tend to ignore them. The reality is that Goldfish are colourful fish well worth keeping. The problem is that they need space, but if you 75 gallons to play with, you're fine. The main issues to deal with are these: Firstly, it's not a good idea to mix Standard and Fancy Goldfish. Standard Goldfish are any with a single tail, not just "Common Goldfish", but also things like Shubunkins and Comets. All the Standard Goldfish are fast-moving fish, and they tend to be boisterous and sometimes bullies. They mix great with one another, so if you like them, by all means mix them. I have a great fondness for the Koi-like Shubunkins, and I know Bob F. is a fan of the Comet, one of the few truly American varieties of Goldfish. Either way, these are spectacular fish. In recent years a lemon yellow version of the Common Goldfish has appeared in the UK trade, and it's a lovely animal as well. Now, on to the Fancies. There are two classes here, the "hardy" ones and the "delicate" ones. The hardy ones are things like Fantails and Black Moors; while they have forked-tails and crooked backs, they are otherwise fairly robust, and with care can even be combined with Standards, provided you make sure everyone gets fed. The "delicate" ones are the varieties with odd deformities (for want of a better term) to the head or abdomen, missing dorsal fins, and so on. Examples include Celestials, Ranchus, Bubble-eyes and so on. All these varieties are best kept in groups of a single variety per aquarium. Otherwise they are prone to being damaged, bullied or otherwise losing out at feeding time. I'm not wild about mixing Goldfish with tropical fish, but you certainly can mix some varieties (Standards and hardy Fancies) with *subtropical* fish when maintained around 20 C (68 F). Things like Corydoras paleatus and Florida Flagfish work quite well. Paradise fish are another option, though some Macropodus species are more aggressive than others, so take care here. The main thing is to avoid keeping nippy species (e.g., Rosy Barbs, Mosquitofish) with Fancy varieties, and obviously don't keep anything "bite size" with big Goldfish (e.g., White Cloud Mountain Minnows, small Danio species). Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish  02/06/09
Thank you Neale. From what you say it seems that if I wanted a more slower moving group in the tank the fancies would be the way to go? <If you want Fancy goldfish, then yes, an aquarium just for them is best.> Also do most varieties of the fancies get along together? <As stated, it depends. Ones that "merely" have the round body and double fins, like Black Moors, Ryukins and Fantails, can be mixed. But the more delicate forms, like Orandas, Pom-poms, Celestials, Bubble-eyes, Lionheads, Ranchus and Pearlscales are all best kept in single-variety tanks. At the very least, the aquarist has to evaluate each fish on a case-by-case basis. Oranda and Ranchus might be kept together, but Celestials shouldn't be mixed with anything. Essentially, ask yourself this: is the deformity of variety X such that it couldn't compete for food with, or be likely to bossed about by, variety Y.> What would be the maximum number to put in a 75 gallon tank? <A safe approach is to allow 20 gallons for the first Goldfish, and then 10 gallons for each additional fish, assuming commensurate filtration and water changes. Fancies do tend to be smaller than Standards, but that bit more sensitive to water quality issues. So let's say 6-7 specimens.> I have a sand bottom and some artificial plants along with some java fern. Will these fish root up the artificial plants or eat java fern? <Yes, they dig up sand. But Java fern attached to bogwood should be fine.> One of the main things I wanted to ask I forgot to. I have read that these are extremely messy fish, putting off more waste than tropicals and also putting off a lot of ammonia. I guess this will mean more tank maintenance than usual? <"More maintenance" depends on filtration. Beefy filtration, i.e., water turnover 6-8 times the volume of the tank per hour, should keep water changes and tank cleaning down to normal levels.> And if I did not keep any tropicals with these would I even need a heater at all? <Goldfish are fine at comfortable room temperatures. Slightly cooling in winter is no problem, though Fancy varieties cannot handle frosty conditions and get Finrot easily if allowed to get cooler than, say, 15 degrees C (59 F).> Thank you again for your help. James <Cheers, Neale.>

Is it possible to piggy-back goldfish to an existing order?  Sel. Hello! I am a goldfish hobbyist in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. I really want 4 - 6 individual Malaysian ping pong Pearlscale (tiku's) goldfish, with the tiny pointy heads and double wide Pearlscale bodies. Is there any way to add on just a few fish to an order already coming to the USA from Ipoh, Malaysia??? They are not available anywhere near me nor via web ordering that I can find, only the Pearlscale Orandas are readily available imported from China (or domestically bred) which isn't what I want at this time. Thanks for any advice or help on this subject!!!! I truly appreciate any help or advice you can offer. The minimum orders are for wholesalers only and I am not a wholesaler. Gratefully, Lisa <Lisa, this is a question to ask your retailer. The better retailers will order in special batches of fish for their customers, but within certain constraints. Fish are traded in boxes, and so while you could order six goldfish from one particular breeder, your retailer would likely have to add some other stock to make up a minimum order. All this varies from place to place, so while I can say that some retailers will order remarkably small quantities of fish for valued clients, often this either takes time (because they need to wait to fill up an entire order) or else becomes expensive (because shipping a half empty box costs the same as a full box, and the price of the livestock is usually a tiny amount compared with air freight). In the meantime, you could ask around on any fish clubs or online forums in your country, and see if there are any local breeders. Cheers, Neale.>

Redcap Oranda problem  11/6/07 Hello, I have a red cap Oranda named snookums for about a year now and is quite healthy and just recently ive noticed the large red cap growth has grown to an extent where it covers the top of its head completely. it also has some kind of clear tissue/membrane growth by its cheeks which doesn't look like any disease at all but looks more like parts of its face... my question and concern is that the membrane by its cheeks is slowly growing and beginning to creep near its eyes. what would be the best thing or method to counter that? <Mmm, there are times, folks who advocate some sort of surgical removal... I do not... I would just wait, allow the fish to develop other senses to finding its way about, food...> ive seen a picture of it in a book (cant remember the title) where they would use a scalpel and remove the membrane quickly while the fish is out of the water for a few seconds? <Yes> I know this sounds barbaric, but they mentioned that this is the only thing that can be done to save it. <Can, will adapt as is...> this is exactly what happened to my brothers goldfish until it was too late and the fish couldn't see where it would swim too, then it just stayed in one place helpless... I really don't want this to happen to my fish, so any help would be appreciated. thanks in advance, Ryan <Try to not worry, anthropomorphize... All will likely be fine. Bob Fenner>

Poop on my goldfish  11/5/07 Hey, I bought a couple of regular goldfish a few weeks ago now ( just the plain orange ones) and I noticed they have poop hanging out of them, it looks like a long string just hanging there. Why does this happen? <Can be a few things... such "feeder" goldfish (aka Comets) are often raised in deplorable conditions, fed minimally... and are parasitized externally and internally... The stress can show up as behavior you mention, as well as pathogenic disease... There is a common misunderstanding that goldfish are "easy" to keep... particularly lowly Comets... If you intend to raise these, I would run them through a series of treatments to rid them of Protozoans and worms. This is quite an undertaking, and has a good deal of related material to understand to do properly. If you're committed, I would start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above, keeping good notes. Bob Fenner>

Help me with my goldfish... Error in placing "feeders" in a tank...    10/24/07 Hi, my nephew won these fish at a carnival and I just so happened to have started a tank about a month prior with only a algae eater in it <I hope not a CAE... please see the Net, WWM re Gyrinocheilus aymonieri> and he asked if I could add these two fish to my tank. So I did, <A mistake... such "feeder, comets" are notoriously unhealthy... invariably infested with a few types of parasites, infectious agents... now your system is as well> and now the one fish has black spots on him and is losing all of his fins, they are deteriorating. And as of this morning, he is getting a white egg textured film on top of his head and off the back of his tail. I am new to the whole goldfish thing, so could you help me find a cure. thanks so much!! Amber <Much to relate to you re developing a course of treatment here... As stated, your whole tank, all the fishes there... are subject to a myriad of pathogens... Best for you to start reading... Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above... till you understand what you've done, what you're up against... You will need to sequentially treat the system, all fishes for bacterial, protozoan, worm et al. diseases... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish, wholesale, from China...  -- 06/28/07 Dear Sirs or Madams, <Howzit?> We are a private-operated corporation long standing and high reputation, engaged in the import and export of ornamental fish in China. We have a grow-out area of 5000m2, which holds 3000 tons of water. It is especially built to cater for our clients from overseas current and future demands. We stock fishes, feed them with good supply of nutrients and water to further improve their health and colour. We have established a network of good farmers, who adopt good farming management practices, providing quality fishes, advice and support. Meanwhile, we are also equipped with 700 quarantine tanks and good packing facilities for quality assurance. <Nice> We have obtained your company from the internet and understood that you are Importers of ornamental fish. As this item falls within the scope of our business activities, we are glad to send you this introductory letter to express our desire to enter into business relationships with you. To give a general idea of various kinds of ornamental fish we enclose our sample list with prices on FOB Shanghai Airport basis for your kind reference. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Yours Sincerely, Joanna Assistant Trade Manager Shanghai Luminous Trading & Development Co., Ltd Tel: 86-21-52730072-202 Fax: 86-21-52732801 E-mail: Ksymm10@163.com guangli_joanna1@yahoo.com Ouyangling518@hotmail.com Website: www.aquariahome.cn <Thank you for writing. We don't deal in livestock, but will post your message for others to find you. Cheers, Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com>

Fantail fish query...and a bit of a rant! - 6/1/07 > Hello to everyone at WWM, and once again my thanks for being there when I need you! <Hello!> > This is just a quick question regarding my fantail fish, Horatio; both my partner (Oliver) and myself have been in touch about him before (we originally thought he was a Pearlscale, but Bob helpfully cleared up any confusion there for us). We're getting a new tank for Horatio based on Bob's confirmation that his tank is way too small (it's 10 gallons and Horatio is already four and a half inches long), but there is one small matter we need clearing up; Bob advised a tank of around 30 gallons, a size I have seen recommended for fantails repeatedly on this site - however, is this US or UK gallons? <Since Bob's an American, I'd suggest US gallons. But opting for 30 UK gallons (36 US gallons) will do harm at all. Of course, being an advocate of the metric system, I'd say let everyone use litres and be done with it!> > I ask because Ollie and I are considering getting a 125 litre tank from Juwel (we were going to get another fish to keep Horatio company, but at the moment that's not possible - the floor won't take a larger tank and we're stuck living here until August - obviously Horatio needs the larger tank now). This tank is around 27 UK gallons; however, if Bob meant 30 UK gallons, we don't want to go too small. I just wanted to ask if this would be sufficient, really, as we can't afford to be buying another new tank in a year or so and we want our fish to be happy for a long time to come. <The Jewel 125 litre tank is a very nice aquarium. It would be a good choice for goldfish. I have the very similar Jewel 180 and enjoy it very much. The only flaw with Jewel tanks is that filter is a low-pressure system. While this means you get excellent biological filtration despite the small size of the pump, it does mean that solid waste is barely sucked up at all. I'm having to siphon out the "wood chippings" from my Panaque catfish almost every day. Adding an external canister filter, such as the Fluval 104 or something similar, as and when funds allow, will make keeping the tank clean a darn sight easier. By the way, the Jewel filters come with a (black) carbon sponge. I happen not to consider carbon even remotely useful, but if you do use it, don't forget to remove it any time you add medications.> > One other thing - I've just come home from investigating a new local pet shop. I'm never going there again. I saw several fish that were struggling for oxygen, two with cotton-mouth, others with fungus and at least a couple with Ick. The people in there hadn't a clue about how to look after fish, it was really upsetting. Short of buying the sick fish (I can't afford enough  tanks or I would've!) is there anything that can be done when shops are being so horribly callous? <Welcome to the "Horrified at Local Pet Shops" club. We were thinking of having some jackets made up. Anyway, what you describe is, sadly, too common. In theory, all pet shops need to meet some basic standards to get a license to trade animals, but in practice these don't seem to affect pet fish to any real degree. What you can do is simply not patronise those stores, and instead look for stores that are members of trade associations (in the UK, OATA). While this doesn't guarantee the store will be a slice of paradise for the fish, it is a very good step in the right direction. Buying the sick fish you see in bad shops, sadly, has the reverse effect: the bad shops simply buy more fish to replace them. Sometimes, its genuine non-malicious ignorance, and having a quiet word with the manager helps. This is often the case where the store is otherwise clean and tidy, and the other animals are healthy. It's just the fish they're having problems with. Explaining what the problem is and suggesting a cure will be appreciated. But other times it is not, and if the rest of the shop is seedy, then these are basically bad people who shouldn't be running a pet store. Writing to the local council is the thing to do here, expressing your concerns and itemising what was wrong. The council should send along an inspector, and in theory at least the shop will have to fix things. The reality is, of course, that councils are often over-stretched checking out schools, hospitals, and the rest, so goldfish come pretty far down the list of priorities.> > Thanks, as ever, for your help and for the wonderful site, <Cheers, Neale>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Goldfish Success
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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